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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1609, 2022 03 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764179

ABSTRACT

Ultrastructural studies of SARS-CoV-2 infected cells are crucial to better understand the mechanisms of viral entry and budding within host cells. Here, we examined human airway epithelium infected with three different isolates of SARS-CoV-2 including the B.1.1.7 variant by transmission electron microscopy and tomography. For all isolates, the virus infected ciliated but not goblet epithelial cells. Key SARS-CoV-2 entry molecules, ACE2 and TMPRSS2, were found to be localised to the plasma membrane including microvilli but excluded from cilia. Consistently, extracellular virions were seen associated with microvilli and the apical plasma membrane but rarely with ciliary membranes. Profiles indicative of viral fusion where tomography showed that the viral membrane was continuous with the apical plasma membrane and the nucleocapsids diluted, compared with unfused virus, demonstrate that the plasma membrane is one site of entry where direct fusion releasing the nucleoprotein-encapsidated genome occurs. Intact intracellular virions were found within ciliated cells in compartments with a single membrane bearing S glycoprotein. Tomography showed concentration of nucleocapsids round the periphery of profiles strongly suggestive of viral budding into these compartments and this may explain how virions gain their S glycoprotein containing envelope.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Epithelium/metabolism , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310852

ABSTRACT

Recent advances in causal inference techniques, more specifically, in the theory of structural causal models, provide the framework for identification of causal effects from observational data in the cases where the causal graph is identifiable, i.e., the data generating mechanism can be recovered from the joint distribution. However, no such studies have been done to demonstrate this concept with a clinical example. We present a complete framework to estimate the causal effect from observational data by augmenting expert knowledge in the model development phase and with a practical clinical application. Our clinical application entails a timely and important research question, i.e., the effect of oxygen therapy intervention in the intensive care unit (ICU);the result of this project is useful in a variety of disease conditions, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) patients in the ICU. We used data from the MIMIC III database, a standard database in the machine learning community that contains 58,976 admissions from an ICU in Boston, MA, for estimating the oxygen therapy effect on morality. We also identified the covariate-specific effect to oxygen therapy from the model for more personalized intervention.

3.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(10): 1383-1394, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621119

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Given the scale of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the development of vaccines based on different platforms is essential, particularly in light of emerging viral variants, the absence of information on vaccine-induced immune durability, and potential paediatric use. We aimed to assess the safety and immunogenicity of an MF59-adjuvanted subunit vaccine for COVID-19 based on recombinant SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein stabilised in a pre-fusion conformation by a novel molecular clamp (spike glycoprotein-clamp [sclamp]). METHODS: We did a phase 1, double-blind, placebo-controlled, block-randomised trial of the sclamp subunit vaccine in a single clinical trial site in Brisbane, QLD, Australia. Healthy adults (aged ≥18 to ≤55 years) who had tested negative for SARS-CoV-2, reported no close contact with anyone with active or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and tested negative for pre-existing SARS-CoV-2 immunity were included. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five treatment groups and received two doses via intramuscular injection 28 days apart of either placebo, sclamp vaccine at 5 µg, 15 µg, or 45 µg, or one dose of sclamp vaccine at 45 µg followed by placebo. Participants and study personnel, except the dose administration personnel, were masked to treatment. The primary safety endpoints included solicited local and systemic adverse events in the 7 days after each dose and unsolicited adverse events up to 12 months after dosing. Here, data are reported up until day 57. Primary immunogenicity endpoints were antigen-specific IgG ELISA and SARS-CoV-2 microneutralisation assays assessed at 28 days after each dose. The study is ongoing and registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04495933. FINDINGS: Between June 23, 2020, and Aug 17, 2020, of 314 healthy volunteers screened, 120 were randomly assigned (n=24 per group), and 114 (95%) completed the study up to day 57 (mean age 32·5 years [SD 10·4], 65 [54%] male, 55 [46%] female). Severe solicited reactions were infrequent and occurred at similar rates in participants receiving placebo (two [8%] of 24) and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose (three [3%] of 96). Both solicited reactions and unsolicited adverse events occurred at a similar frequency in participants receiving placebo and the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine. Solicited reactions occurred in 19 (79%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 86 (90%) of 96 receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Unsolicited adverse events occurred in seven (29%) of 24 participants receiving placebo and 35 (36%) of 96 participants receiving the SARS-CoV-2 sclamp vaccine at any dose. Vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 sclamp elicited a similar antigen-specific response irrespective of dose: 4 weeks after the initial dose (day 29) with 5 µg dose (geometric mean titre [GMT] 6400, 95% CI 3683-11 122), with 15 µg dose (7492, 4959-11 319), and the two 45 µg dose cohorts (8770, 5526-13 920 in the two-dose 45 µg cohort; 8793, 5570-13 881 in the single-dose 45 µg cohort); 4 weeks after the second dose (day 57) with two 5 µg doses (102 400, 64 857-161 676), with two 15 µg doses (74 725, 51 300-108 847), with two 45 µg doses (79 586, 55 430-114 268), only a single 45 µg dose (4795, 2858-8043). At day 57, 67 (99%) of 68 participants who received two doses of sclamp vaccine at any concentration produced a neutralising immune response, compared with six (25%) of 24 who received a single 45 µg dose and none of 22 who received placebo. Participants receiving two doses of sclamp vaccine elicited similar neutralisation titres, irrespective of dose: two 5 µg doses (GMT 228, 95% CI 146-356), two 15 µg doses (230, 170-312), and two 45 µg doses (239, 187-307). INTERPRETATION: This first-in-human trial shows that a subunit vaccine comprising mammalian cell culture-derived, MF59-adjuvanted, molecular clamp-stabilised recombinant spike protein elicits strong immune responses with a promising safety profile. However, the glycoprotein 41 peptide present in the clamp created HIV diagnostic assay interference, a possible barrier to widespread use highlighting the criticality of potential non-spike directed immunogenicity during vaccine development. Studies are ongoing with alternative molecular clamp trimerisation domains to ameliorate this response. FUNDING: Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, National Health and Medical Research Council, Queensland Government, and further philanthropic sources listed in the acknowledgments.


Subject(s)
Adjuvants, Immunologic/pharmacology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Squalene/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Australia , Female , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Polysorbates , Vaccination/adverse effects , Young Adult
4.
Comput Biol Med ; 134: 104518, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1252625

ABSTRACT

Many schools and universities have seen a significant increase in the spread of COVID-19. As such, a number of non-pharmaceutical interventions have been proposed including distancing requirements, surveillance testing, and updating ventilation systems. Unfortunately, there is limited guidance for which policy or set of policies are most effective for a specific school system. We develop a novel approach to model the spread of SARS-CoV-2 quanta in a closed classroom environment that extends traditional transmission models that assume uniform mixing through air recirculation by including the local spread of quanta from a contagious source. In addition, the behavior of students with respect to guideline compliance was modeled through an agent-based simulation. Estimated infection rates were on average lower using traditional transmission models compared to our approach. Further, we found that although ventilation changes were effective at reducing mean transmission risk, it had much less impact than distancing practices. Duration of the class was an important factor in determining the transmission risk. For the same total number of semester hours for a class, delivering lectures more frequently for shorter durations was preferable to less frequently with longer durations. Finally, as expected, as the contact tracing level increased, more infectious students were identified and removed from the environment and the spread slowed, though there were diminishing returns. These findings can help provide guidance as to which school-based policies would be most effective at reducing risk and can be used in a cost/comparative effectiveness estimation study given local costs and constraints.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Contact Tracing , Humans , Policy , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools
5.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; 17(5): 1248-1261, 2021 05 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-897094

ABSTRACT

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) causes lower respiratory tract infections that can be severe and sometimes fatal. The risk for severe RSV infection is highest in infants and older adults. A safe and effective RSV vaccine for older adults represents a serious unmet medical need due to higher morbidity and mortality in this age group. In this randomized, partially double-blind, placebo-controlled, phase 1 dose-escalation study, we evaluated the safety, tolerability and immunogenicity of an investigational messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine encoding the RSV fusion protein (F) stabilized in the prefusion conformation. The study was conducted in healthy younger adults (ages ≥18 and ≤49 years) and healthy older adults (ages ≥60 and ≤79 years). Participants received mRNA-1777 (V171) or placebo as a single intramuscular dose. For each dose level, three sentinel participants were administered open-label mRNA-1777 (V171). Seventy-two younger adults were randomized and administered 25, 100, or 200 µg mRNA-1777 (V171) or placebo, and 107 older adults were randomized and administered 25, 100, 200 or 300 µg mRNA-1777 (V171) or placebo. Primary objectives were safety and tolerability and secondary objectives included humoral and cell-mediated immunogenicity. All dose levels of mRNA-1777 (V171) were generally well tolerated and no serious adverse events related to the vaccine were reported. Immunization with mRNA-1777 (V171) elicited a humoral immune response as measured by increases in RSV neutralizing antibody titers, serum antibody titers to RSV prefusion F protein, D25 competing antibody titers to RSV prefusion F protein, and cell-mediated immune responses to RSV-F peptides.


Subject(s)
Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Vaccines , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Middle Aged , RNA, Messenger , Viral Fusion Proteins
6.
J Clin Med ; 9(11)2020 Nov 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-945850

ABSTRACT

Air-liquid interface (ALI) culture of nasal epithelial cells is a valuable tool in the diagnosis and research of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD). Ex vivo samples often display secondary dyskinesia from cell damage during sampling, infection or inflammation confounding PCD diagnostic results. ALI culture enables regeneration of healthy cilia facilitating differentiation of primary from secondary ciliary dyskinesia. We describe a revised ALI culture method adopted from April 2018 across three collaborating PCD diagnostic sites, including current University Hospital Southampton COVID-19 risk mitigation measures, and present results. Two hundred and forty nasal epithelial cell samples were seeded for ALI culture and 199 (82.9%) were ciliated. Fifty-four of 83 (63.9%) ex vivo samples which were originally equivocal or insufficient provided diagnostic information following in vitro culture. Surplus basal epithelial cells from 181 nasal brushing samples were frozen in liquid nitrogen; 39 samples were ALI-cultured after cryostorage and all ciliated. The ciliary beat patterns of ex vivo samples (by high-speed video microscopy) were recapitulated, scanning electron microscopy demonstrated excellent ciliation, and cilia could be immuno-fluorescently labelled (anti-alpha-tubulin and anti-RSPH4a) in representative cases that were ALI-cultured after cryostorage. In summary, our ALI culture protocol provides high ciliation rates across three centres, minimising patient recall for repeat brushing biopsies and improving diagnostic certainty. Cryostorage of surplus diagnostic samples was successful, facilitating PCD research.

7.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 6(3): e19446, 2020 09 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-810086

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The rapid spread of COVID-19 means that government and health services providers have little time to plan and design effective response policies. It is therefore important to quickly provide accurate predictions of how vulnerable geographic regions such as counties are to the spread of this virus. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to develop county-level prediction around near future disease movement for COVID-19 occurrences using publicly available data. METHODS: We estimated county-level COVID-19 occurrences for the period March 14 to 31, 2020, based on data fused from multiple publicly available sources inclusive of health statistics, demographics, and geographical features. We developed a three-stage model using XGBoost, a machine learning algorithm, to quantify the probability of COVID-19 occurrence and estimate the number of potential occurrences for unaffected counties. Finally, these results were combined to predict the county-level risk. This risk was then used as an estimated after-five-day-vulnerability of the county. RESULTS: The model predictions showed a sensitivity over 71% and specificity over 94% for models built using data from March 14 to 31, 2020. We found that population, population density, percentage of people aged >70 years, and prevalence of comorbidities play an important role in predicting COVID-19 occurrences. We observed a positive association at the county level between urbanicity and vulnerability to COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: The developed model can be used for identification of vulnerable counties and potential data discrepancies. Limited testing facilities and delayed results introduce significant variation in reported cases, which produces a bias in the model.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Models, Statistical , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Population Surveillance/methods , Aged , Algorithms , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Comorbidity , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Machine Learning , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Population Density , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , United States , Urban Population
8.
N Engl J Med ; 383(24): 2320-2332, 2020 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-740054

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: NVX-CoV2373 is a recombinant severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (rSARS-CoV-2) nanoparticle vaccine composed of trimeric full-length SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoproteins and Matrix-M1 adjuvant. METHODS: We initiated a randomized, placebo-controlled, phase 1-2 trial to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of the rSARS-CoV-2 vaccine (in 5-µg and 25-µg doses, with or without Matrix-M1 adjuvant, and with observers unaware of trial-group assignments) in 131 healthy adults. In phase 1, vaccination comprised two intramuscular injections, 21 days apart. The primary outcomes were reactogenicity; laboratory values (serum chemistry and hematology), according to Food and Drug Administration toxicity scoring, to assess safety; and IgG anti-spike protein response (in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [ELISA] units). Secondary outcomes included unsolicited adverse events, wild-type virus neutralization (microneutralization assay), and T-cell responses (cytokine staining). IgG and microneutralization assay results were compared with 32 (IgG) and 29 (neutralization) convalescent serum samples from patients with Covid-19, most of whom were symptomatic. We performed a primary analysis at day 35. RESULTS: After randomization, 83 participants were assigned to receive the vaccine with adjuvant and 25 without adjuvant, and 23 participants were assigned to receive placebo. No serious adverse events were noted. Reactogenicity was absent or mild in the majority of participants, more common with adjuvant, and of short duration (mean, ≤2 days). One participant had mild fever that lasted 1 day. Unsolicited adverse events were mild in most participants; there were no severe adverse events. The addition of adjuvant resulted in enhanced immune responses, was antigen dose-sparing, and induced a T helper 1 (Th1) response. The two-dose 5-µg adjuvanted regimen induced geometric mean anti-spike IgG (63,160 ELISA units) and neutralization (3906) responses that exceeded geometric mean responses in convalescent serum from mostly symptomatic Covid-19 patients (8344 and 983, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: At 35 days, NVX-CoV2373 appeared to be safe, and it elicited immune responses that exceeded levels in Covid-19 convalescent serum. The Matrix-M1 adjuvant induced CD4+ T-cell responses that were biased toward a Th1 phenotype. (Funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04368988).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adjuvants, Immunologic/administration & dosage , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Immunization Schedule , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , Nanoparticles , Pandemics , Saponins , Th1 Cells/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/adverse effects , Vaccines, Synthetic/immunology , Young Adult
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