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1.
Lancet Microbe ; 2023 Jun 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20245381

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Effectively implementing strategies to curb SARS-CoV-2 transmission requires understanding who is contagious and when. Although viral load on upper respiratory swabs has commonly been used to infer contagiousness, measuring viral emissions might be more accurate to indicate the chance of onward transmission and identify likely routes. We aimed to correlate viral emissions, viral load in the upper respiratory tract, and symptoms, longitudinally, in participants who were experimentally infected with SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: In this phase 1, open label, first-in-human SARS-CoV-2 experimental infection study at quarantine unit at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK, healthy adults aged 18-30 years who were unvaccinated for SARS-CoV-2, not previously known to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, and seronegative at screening were recruited. Participants were inoculated with 10 50% tissue culture infectious dose of pre-alpha wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (Asp614Gly) by intranasal drops and remained in individual negative pressure rooms for a minimum of 14 days. Nose and throat swabs were collected daily. Emissions were collected daily from the air (using a Coriolis µ air sampler and directly into facemasks) and the surrounding environment (via surface and hand swabs). All samples were collected by researchers, and tested by using PCR, plaque assay, or lateral flow antigen test. Symptom scores were collected using self-reported symptom diaries three times daily. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04865237. FINDINGS: Between March 6 and July 8, 2021, 36 participants (ten female and 26 male) were recruited and 18 (53%) of 34 participants became infected, resulting in protracted high viral loads in the nose and throat following a short incubation period, with mild-to-moderate symptoms. Two participants were excluded from the per-protocol analysis owing to seroconversion between screening and inoculation, identified post hoc. Viral RNA was detected in 63 (25%) of 252 Coriolis air samples from 16 participants, 109 (43%) of 252 mask samples from 17 participants, 67 (27%) of 252 hand swabs from 16 participants, and 371 (29%) of 1260 surface swabs from 18 participants. Viable SARS-CoV-2 was collected from breath captured in 16 masks and from 13 surfaces, including four small frequently touched surfaces and nine larger surfaces where airborne virus could deposit. Viral emissions correlated more strongly with viral load in nasal swabs than throat swabs. Two individuals emitted 86% of airborne virus, and the majority of airborne virus collected was released on 3 days. Individuals who reported the highest total symptom scores were not those who emitted most virus. Very few emissions occurred before the first reported symptom (7%) and hardly any before the first positive lateral flow antigen test (2%). INTERPRETATION: After controlled experimental inoculation, the timing, extent, and routes of viral emissions was heterogeneous. We observed that a minority of participants were high airborne virus emitters, giving support to the notion of superspreading individuals or events. Our data implicates the nose as the most important source of emissions. Frequent self-testing coupled with isolation upon awareness of first symptoms could reduce onward transmissions. FUNDING: UK Vaccine Taskforce of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy of Her Majesty's Government.

2.
Nature ; 599(7883): 114-119, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2114880

ABSTRACT

The B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified in the state of Maharashtra in late 2020 and spread throughout India, outcompeting pre-existing lineages including B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and B.1.1.7 (Alpha)1. In vitro, B.1.617.2 is sixfold less sensitive to serum neutralizing antibodies from recovered individuals, and eightfold less sensitive to vaccine-elicited antibodies, compared with wild-type Wuhan-1 bearing D614G. Serum neutralizing titres against B.1.617.2 were lower in ChAdOx1 vaccinees than in BNT162b2 vaccinees. B.1.617.2 spike pseudotyped viruses exhibited compromised sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies to the receptor-binding domain and the amino-terminal domain. B.1.617.2 demonstrated higher replication efficiency than B.1.1.7 in both airway organoid and human airway epithelial systems, associated with B.1.617.2 spike being in a predominantly cleaved state compared with B.1.1.7 spike. The B.1.617.2 spike protein was able to mediate highly efficient syncytium formation that was less sensitive to inhibition by neutralizing antibody, compared with that of wild-type spike. We also observed that B.1.617.2 had higher replication and spike-mediated entry than B.1.617.1, potentially explaining the B.1.617.2 dominance. In an analysis of more than 130 SARS-CoV-2-infected health care workers across three centres in India during a period of mixed lineage circulation, we observed reduced ChAdOx1 vaccine effectiveness against B.1.617.2 relative to non-B.1.617.2, with the caveat of possible residual confounding. Compromised vaccine efficacy against the highly fit and immune-evasive B.1.617.2 Delta variant warrants continued infection control measures in the post-vaccination era.


Subject(s)
Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , India , Kinetics , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccination
3.
Nat Med ; 28(5): 1031-1041, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773989

ABSTRACT

Since its emergence in 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused hundreds of millions of cases and continues to circulate globally. To establish a novel SARS-CoV-2 human challenge model that enables controlled investigation of pathogenesis, correlates of protection and efficacy testing of forthcoming interventions, 36 volunteers aged 18-29 years without evidence of previous infection or vaccination were inoculated with 10 TCID50 of a wild-type virus (SARS-CoV-2/human/GBR/484861/2020) intranasally in an open-label, non-randomized study (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT04865237 ; funder, UK Vaccine Taskforce). After inoculation, participants were housed in a high-containment quarantine unit, with 24-hour close medical monitoring and full access to higher-level clinical care. The study's primary objective was to identify an inoculum dose that induced well-tolerated infection in more than 50% of participants, with secondary objectives to assess virus and symptom kinetics during infection. All pre-specified primary and secondary objectives were met. Two participants were excluded from the per-protocol analysis owing to seroconversion between screening and inoculation, identified post hoc. Eighteen (~53%) participants became infected, with viral load (VL) rising steeply and peaking at ~5 days after inoculation. Virus was first detected in the throat but rose to significantly higher levels in the nose, peaking at ~8.87 log10 copies per milliliter (median, 95% confidence interval (8.41, 9.53)). Viable virus was recoverable from the nose up to ~10 days after inoculation, on average. There were no serious adverse events. Mild-to-moderate symptoms were reported by 16 (89%) infected participants, beginning 2-4 days after inoculation, whereas two (11%) participants remained asymptomatic (no reportable symptoms). Anosmia or dysosmia developed more slowly in 15 (83%) participants. No quantitative correlation was noted between VL and symptoms, with high VLs present even in asymptomatic infection. All infected individuals developed serum spike-specific IgG and neutralizing antibodies. Results from lateral flow tests were strongly associated with viable virus, and modeling showed that twice-weekly rapid antigen tests could diagnose infection before 70-80% of viable virus had been generated. Thus, with detailed characterization and safety analysis of this first SARS-CoV-2 human challenge study in young adults, viral kinetics over the course of primary infection with SARS-CoV-2 were established, with implications for public health recommendations and strategies to affect SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Future studies will identify the immune factors associated with protection in those participants who did not develop infection or symptoms and define the effect of prior immunity and viral variation on clinical outcome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Kinetics , Treatment Outcome , Viral Load , Young Adult
4.
Nature ; 603(7902): 706-714, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764186

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant emerged in 20211 and has multiple mutations in its spike protein2. Here we show that the spike protein of Omicron has a higher affinity for ACE2 compared with Delta, and a marked change in its antigenicity increases Omicron's evasion of therapeutic monoclonal and vaccine-elicited polyclonal neutralizing antibodies after two doses. mRNA vaccination as a third vaccine dose rescues and broadens neutralization. Importantly, the antiviral drugs remdesivir and molnupiravir retain efficacy against Omicron BA.1. Replication was similar for Omicron and Delta virus isolates in human nasal epithelial cultures. However, in lung cells and gut cells, Omicron demonstrated lower replication. Omicron spike protein was less efficiently cleaved compared with Delta. The differences in replication were mapped to the entry efficiency of the virus on the basis of spike-pseudotyped virus assays. The defect in entry of Omicron pseudotyped virus to specific cell types effectively correlated with higher cellular RNA expression of TMPRSS2, and deletion of TMPRSS2 affected Delta entry to a greater extent than Omicron. Furthermore, drug inhibitors targeting specific entry pathways3 demonstrated that the Omicron spike inefficiently uses the cellular protease TMPRSS2, which promotes cell entry through plasma membrane fusion, with greater dependency on cell entry through the endocytic pathway. Consistent with suboptimal S1/S2 cleavage and inability to use TMPRSS2, syncytium formation by the Omicron spike was substantially impaired compared with the Delta spike. The less efficient spike cleavage of Omicron at S1/S2 is associated with a shift in cellular tropism away from TMPRSS2-expressing cells, with implications for altered pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Membrane Fusion , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Cell Membrane/metabolism , Cell Membrane/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Intestines/pathology , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Tissue Culture Techniques , Virulence , Virus Replication
5.
Viruses ; 13(5)2021 04 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201926

ABSTRACT

As of April 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has swept through 213 countries and infected more than 132 million individuals globally, posing an unprecedented threat to human health. There are currently no specific antiviral treatments for COVID-19 and vaccination programmes, whilst promising, remain in their infancy. A key to restricting the pandemic is the ability to minimize human-human transmission and to predict the infection status of the population in the face of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. Success in this area is dependent on the rapid detection of COVID-19 positive individuals with current/previous SARS-CoV-2 infection status. In this regard, the ability to detect antibodies directed against the SARS-CoV-Spike protein in patient sera represents a powerful biomarker for confirmation of infection. Here, we report the design of a proof-of-concept cell-based fluorescent serology assay (termed C19-S-I-IFA) to detect SARS-CoV-2 infection. The assay is based on the capture of IgG antibodies in the serum of COVID-19-positive patients using cells exogenously expressing SARS-CoV-2-Spike and their subsequent fluorescent detection. We validate the assay in 30 blood samples collected in Oxford, UK, in 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Importantly, the assay can be modified to express emerging Spike-variants to permit assessments of the cross-reactivity of patient sera to emerging SARS-CoV-2 strains.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/virology , Fluorescent Antibody Technique/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , A549 Cells , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
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