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Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326645


Tracking the evolution of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) through genomic surveillance programs is undoubtedly one of the key priorities in the current pandemic situation. Although the genome of SARS-CoV-2 acquires mutations at a slower rate compared with other RNA viruses, evolutionary pressures derived from the widespread circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in the human population have progressively favored the global emergence, though natural selection, of several variants of concern that carry multiple non-synonymous mutations in the spike glycoprotein. These are often placed in key sites within major antibody epitopes and may therefore confer resistance to neutralizing antibodies, leading to partial immune escape, or otherwise compensate infectivity deficits associated with other non-synonymous substitutions. As previously shown by other authors, several emerging variants carry recurrent deletion regions (RDRs) that display a partial overlap with antibody epitopes located in the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). Comparatively, very little attention has been directed towards spike insertion mutations prior to the emergence of the B.1.1.529 (omicron) lineage. This manuscript describes a single recurrent insertion region (RIR1) in the N-terminal domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, characterized by at least 41 independent acquisitions of 1-8 additional codons between Val213 and Leu216 in different viral lineages. Even though RIR1 is unlikely to confer antibody escape, its association with two distinct formerly widespread lineages (A.2.5 and B.1.214.2), with the quickly spreading omicron and with other VOCs and VOIs warrants further investigation concerning its effects on spike structure and viral infectivity.

Journal of the Neurological Sciences ; 429, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1466657


Background and aims: The number of cases of encephalitis in COVID-19 pandemic is increasing. We describe characteristics and outcome of encephalitis in COVID-19 (COV-ENC) patients in one of the most affected regions by COVID-19 of the world, Lombardia, during the first pandemic wave. Methods: A multi-center observational study on neurological complications in COVID-19 patients was conducted by the Italian society of Hospital Neuroscience (SNO). Adult patients admitted to 20 Neurological Departments in Lombardia between February-April 2020 with COV-ENC have been included. Results: 30 COV-ENC patients had a mean age of 66.5 years and male frequency of 56.6%. Altered consciousness was characterized by confusion in 86%, coma in 30%, delirium in 37.9% and alteration of personality traits in 27.6%. Epileptic seizures occurred in 74% of cases. One third of cases had hyperproteinorrachia, one third pleocytosis/hyperproteinorrachia, and remaining third had a normal CSF. PCR for SARS-CoV-2 was negative in all tested patients. EEG was altered in 82.7% of patients. Brain CT and MRI were normal in 9 patients, and among abnormal findings 9 patients had mesial temporal lesions, one of which confirmed with PET imaging. The course was favorable in 39.2% of patients, sequelae were few in 26.6% and moderate in 19.2%, while 20% of patients died. Conclusions: The outcome tends to be worse in male patients. PCR negativity seems to confirm an autoimmune etiology more than a direct invasion of the virus. However, a temporal lobe involvement, detected in 30% of patients with COV-ENC, suggests usual sites of encephalitis due to herpes virus.

Rivista Italiana di Medicina Legale e del Diritto in Campo Sanitario ; 42(2):901-914, 2020.
Article in Italian | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1161405