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1.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 119(36): e2120680119, 2022 09 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001001

ABSTRACT

The systemic immune response to viral infection is shaped by master transcription factors, such as NF-κB, STAT1, or PU.1. Although long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been suggested as important regulators of transcription factor activity, their contributions to the systemic immunopathologies observed during SARS-CoV-2 infection have remained unknown. Here, we employed a targeted single-cell RNA sequencing approach to reveal lncRNAs differentially expressed in blood leukocytes during severe COVID-19. Our results uncover the lncRNA PIRAT (PU.1-induced regulator of alarmin transcription) as a major PU.1 feedback-regulator in monocytes, governing the production of the alarmins S100A8/A9, key drivers of COVID-19 pathogenesis. Knockout and transgene expression, combined with chromatin-occupancy profiling, characterized PIRAT as a nuclear decoy RNA, keeping PU.1 from binding to alarmin promoters and promoting its binding to pseudogenes in naïve monocytes. NF-κB-dependent PIRAT down-regulation during COVID-19 consequently releases a transcriptional brake, fueling alarmin production. Alarmin expression is additionally enhanced by the up-regulation of the lncRNA LUCAT1, which promotes NF-κB-dependent gene expression at the expense of targets of the JAK-STAT pathway. Our results suggest a major role of nuclear noncoding RNA networks in systemic antiviral responses to SARS-CoV-2 in humans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Gene Expression Regulation , Monocytes , RNA, Long Noncoding , SARS-CoV-2 , Alarmins/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Janus Kinases/genetics , Monocytes/immunology , NF-kappa B/genetics , RNA, Long Noncoding/genetics , RNA, Long Noncoding/metabolism , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , STAT Transcription Factors/genetics , Signal Transduction/genetics , Single-Cell Analysis
2.
Nat Biotechnol ; 2022 Jul 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947381

ABSTRACT

The emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants with potential resistance to existing drugs emphasizes the need for new therapeutic modalities with broad variant activity. Here we show that ensovibep, a trispecific DARPin (designed ankyrin repeat protein) clinical candidate, can engage the three units of the spike protein trimer of SARS-CoV-2 and inhibit ACE2 binding with high potency, as revealed by cryo-electron microscopy analysis. The cooperative binding together with the complementarity of the three DARPin modules enable ensovibep to inhibit frequent SARS-CoV-2 variants, including Omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2. In Roborovski dwarf hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2, ensovibep reduced fatality similarly to a standard-of-care monoclonal antibody (mAb) cocktail. When used as a single agent in viral passaging experiments in vitro, ensovibep reduced the emergence of escape mutations in a similar fashion to the same mAb cocktail. These results support further clinical evaluation of ensovibep as a broad variant alternative to existing targeted therapies for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

3.
Eur Respir J ; 2022 Jun 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1902346

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the ACE2 transmembrane peptidase as cellular entry receptor. However, whether SARS-CoV-2 in the alveolar compartment is strictly ACE2-dependent and to what extent virus-induced tissue damage and/or direct immune activation determines early pathogenesis is still elusive. METHODS: Spectral microscopy, single-cell/-nucleus RNA sequencing or ACE2 'gain-of-function' experiments were applied on infected human lung explants and adult stem cell-derived human lung organoids to correlate ACE2 and related host factors with SARS-CoV-2 tropism, propagation, virulence and immune activation compared to SARS-CoV, influenza and MERS-CoV. COVID-19 autopsy material was used to validate ex vivo results. RESULTS: We provide evidence that alveolar ACE2 expression must be considered scarce, thereby limiting SARS-CoV-2 propagation and virus-induced tissue damage in the human alveolus. Instead, ex vivo infected human lungs and COVID-19 autopsy samples showed that alveolar macrophages were frequently positive for SARS-CoV-2. Single-cell/-nucleus transcriptomics further revealed non-productive virus uptake and a related inflammatory and anti-viral activation, especially in 'inflammatory alveolar macrophages', comparable to those induced by SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV but different from NL63 or influenza virus infection. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our findings indicate that severe lung injury in COVID-19 likely results from a macrophage triggered immune activation rather than direct viral damage of the alveolar compartment.

4.
Mol Ther ; 30(5): 1952-1965, 2022 05 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783847

ABSTRACT

For coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), effective and well-understood treatment options are still scarce. Since vaccine efficacy is challenged by novel variants, short-lasting immunity, and vaccine hesitancy, understanding and optimizing therapeutic options remains essential. We aimed at better understanding the effects of two standard-of-care drugs, dexamethasone and anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies, on infection and host responses. By using two COVID-19 hamster models, pulmonary immune responses were analyzed to characterize effects of single or combinatorial treatments. Pulmonary viral burden was reduced by anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment and unaltered or increased by dexamethasone alone. Dexamethasone exhibited strong anti-inflammatory effects and prevented fulminant disease in a severe disease model. Combination therapy showed additive benefits with both anti-viral and anti-inflammatory potency. Bulk and single-cell transcriptomic analyses confirmed dampened inflammatory cell recruitment into lungs upon dexamethasone treatment and identified a specifically responsive subpopulation of neutrophils, thereby indicating a potential mechanism of action. Our analyses confirm the anti-inflammatory properties of dexamethasone and suggest possible mechanisms, validate anti-viral effects of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody treatment, and reveal synergistic effects of a combination therapy, thus informing more effective COVID-19 therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral , Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cricetinae , Dexamethasone/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Transcriptome
5.
mBio ; 13(2): e0370521, 2022 04 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1714363

ABSTRACT

Combinations of direct-acting antivirals are needed to minimize drug resistance mutations and stably suppress replication of RNA viruses. Currently, there are limited therapeutic options against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and testing of a number of drug regimens has led to conflicting results. Here, we show that cobicistat, which is an FDA-approved drug booster that blocks the activity of the drug-metabolizing proteins cytochrome P450-3As (CYP3As) and P-glycoprotein (P-gp), inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication. Two independent cell-to-cell membrane fusion assays showed that the antiviral effect of cobicistat is exerted through inhibition of spike protein-mediated membrane fusion. In line with this, incubation with low-micromolar concentrations of cobicistat decreased viral replication in three different cell lines including cells of lung and gut origin. When cobicistat was used in combination with remdesivir, a synergistic effect on the inhibition of viral replication was observed in cell lines and in a primary human colon organoid. This was consistent with the effects of cobicistat on two of its known targets, CYP3A4 and P-gp, the silencing of which boosted the in vitro antiviral activity of remdesivir in a cobicistat-like manner. When administered in vivo to Syrian hamsters at a high dose, cobicistat decreased viral load and mitigated clinical progression. These data highlight cobicistat as a therapeutic candidate for treating SARS-CoV-2 infection and as a potential building block of combination therapies for COVID-19. IMPORTANCE The lack of effective antiviral treatments against SARS-CoV-2 is a significant limitation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Single-drug regimens have so far yielded limited results, indicating that combinations of antivirals might be required, as previously seen for other RNA viruses. Our work introduces the drug booster cobicistat, which is approved by the FDA and typically used to potentiate the effect of anti-HIV protease inhibitors, as a candidate inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 replication. Beyond its direct activity as an antiviral, we show that cobicistat can enhance the effect of remdesivir, which was one of the first drugs proposed for treatment of SARS-CoV-2. Overall, the dual action of cobicistat as a direct antiviral and a drug booster can provide a new approach to design combination therapies and rescue the activity of compounds that are only partially effective in monotherapy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hepatitis C, Chronic , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Animals , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Cobicistat , Cricetinae , Disease Progression , Humans , Mesocricetus , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load
6.
Vet Pathol ; 59(4): 528-545, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551143

ABSTRACT

The dramatic global consequences of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic soon fueled quests for a suitable model that would facilitate the development and testing of therapies and vaccines. In contrast to other rodents, hamsters are naturally susceptible to infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) rapidly developed into a popular model. It recapitulates many characteristic features as seen in patients with a moderate, self-limiting course of the disease such as specific patterns of respiratory tract inflammation, vascular endothelialitis, and age dependence. Among 4 other hamster species examined, the Roborovski dwarf hamster (Phodopus roborovskii) more closely mimics the disease in highly susceptible patients with frequent lethal outcome, including devastating diffuse alveolar damage and coagulopathy. Thus, different hamster species are available to mimic different courses of the wide spectrum of COVID-19 manifestations in humans. On the other hand, fewer diagnostic tools and information on immune functions and molecular pathways are available than in mice, which limits mechanistic studies and inference to humans in several aspects. Still, under pandemic conditions with high pressure on progress in both basic and clinically oriented research, the Syrian hamster has turned into the leading non-transgenic model at an unprecedented pace, currently used in innumerable studies that all aim to combat the impact of the virus with its new variants of concern. As in other models, its strength rests upon a solid understanding of its similarities to and differences from the human disease, which we review here.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Rodent Diseases , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Lung , Mesocricetus , Mice , Pandemics , Respiratory System , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Sci Adv ; 7(49): eabk0172, 2021 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546430

ABSTRACT

Vaccines are instrumental and indispensable in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Several recent SARS-CoV-2 variants are more transmissible and evade infection- or vaccine-induced protection. We constructed live attenuated vaccine candidates by large-scale recoding of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and showed that the lead candidate, designated sCPD9, protects Syrian hamsters from a challenge with ancestral virus. Here, we assessed immunogenicity and protective efficacy of sCPD9 in the Roborovski dwarf hamster, a nontransgenic rodent species that is highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and severe COVID-19­like disease. We show that a single intranasal vaccination with sCPD9 elicited strong cross-neutralizing antibody responses against four current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), B.1.1.28.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta). The sCPD9 vaccine offered complete protection from COVID-19­like disease caused by the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1 and the two variants of concern B.1.1.7 and B.1.351.

8.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524173

ABSTRACT

With the exception of inactivated vaccines, all SARS-CoV-2 vaccines currently used for clinical application focus on the spike envelope glycoprotein as a virus-specific antigen. Compared to other SARS-CoV-2 genes, mutations in the spike protein gene are more rapidly selected and spread within the population, which carries the risk of impairing the efficacy of spike-based vaccines. It is unclear to what extent the loss of neutralizing antibody epitopes can be compensated by cellular immune responses, and whether the use of other SARS-CoV-2 antigens might cause a more diverse immune response and better long-term protection, particularly in light of the continued evolution towards new SARS-CoV-2 variants. To address this question, we explored immunogenicity and protective effects of adenoviral vectors encoding either the full-length spike protein (S), the nucleocapsid protein (N), the receptor binding domain (RBD) or a hybrid construct of RBD and the membrane protein (M) in a highly susceptible COVID-19 hamster model. All adenoviral vaccines provided life-saving protection against SARS-CoV-2-infection. The most efficient protection was achieved after exposure to full-length spike. However, the nucleocapsid protein, which triggered a robust T-cell response but did not facilitate the formation of neutralizing antibodies, controlled early virus replication efficiently and prevented severe pneumonia. Although the full-length spike protein is an excellent target for vaccines, it does not appear to be the only option for future vaccine design.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Cricetinae , Female , Inflammation , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Viral Matrix Proteins/genetics , Viral Matrix Proteins/immunology
9.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 901, 2021 Sep 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455938

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is challenging, particularly in post-mortem human tissues. However, there is increasing evidence for viral SARS-CoV-2 manifestation in non-respiratory tissues. In this context, it is a current matter of debate, whether SARS-CoV-2 shows hepatotropism. CASE PRESENTATION: Here, we report a case of an 88-year-old women with massive SARS-CoV-2 viremia, severe jaundice and clinical signs of an acute hepatitis, who died within a few days from an acute liver failure without showing any clinical signs of pneumonia. Autopsy revealed a severe chronic and acute liver damage with bile duct infestation by SARS-CoV-2 that was accompanied by higher expressions of angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2), Cathepsin L and transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2). CONCLUSION: Our findings indicate an enhanced biliary susceptibility to viral infection with SARS-CoV-2, that might have resulted from pre-existing severe liver damage. Furthermore, our findings emphasize the differential diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-associated liver failure in the clinical setting of an inexplicable jaundice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Liver Failure, Acute , Aged, 80 and over , Female , Humans , Liver Cirrhosis/complications , Liver Failure, Acute/etiology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Nature ; 599(7884): 283-289, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404888

ABSTRACT

Derailed cytokine and immune cell networks account for the organ damage and the clinical severity of COVID-19 (refs. 1-4). Here we show that SARS-CoV-2, like other viruses, evokes cellular senescence as a primary stress response in infected cells. Virus-induced senescence (VIS) is indistinguishable from other forms of cellular senescence and is accompanied by a senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which comprises pro-inflammatory cytokines, extracellular-matrix-active factors and pro-coagulatory mediators5-7. Patients with COVID-19 displayed markers of senescence in their airway mucosa in situ and increased serum levels of SASP factors. In vitro assays demonstrated macrophage activation with SASP-reminiscent secretion, complement lysis and SASP-amplifying secondary senescence of endothelial cells, which mirrored hallmark features of COVID-19 such as macrophage and neutrophil infiltration, endothelial damage and widespread thrombosis in affected lung tissue1,8,9. Moreover, supernatant from VIS cells, including SARS-CoV-2-induced senescence, induced neutrophil extracellular trap formation and activation of platelets and the clotting cascade. Senolytics such as navitoclax and a combination of dasatinib plus quercetin selectively eliminated VIS cells, mitigated COVID-19-reminiscent lung disease and reduced inflammation in SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters and mice. Our findings mark VIS as a pathogenic trigger of COVID-19-related cytokine escalation and organ damage, and suggest that senolytic targeting of virus-infected cells is a treatment option against SARS-CoV-2 and perhaps other viral infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cellular Senescence/drug effects , Molecular Targeted Therapy , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Aniline Compounds/pharmacology , Aniline Compounds/therapeutic use , Animals , COVID-19/complications , Cell Line , Cricetinae , Dasatinib/pharmacology , Dasatinib/therapeutic use , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Quercetin/pharmacology , Quercetin/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Sulfonamides/pharmacology , Sulfonamides/therapeutic use , Thrombosis/complications , Thrombosis/immunology , Thrombosis/metabolism
11.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 4869, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354100

ABSTRACT

In COVID-19, immune responses are key in determining disease severity. However, cellular mechanisms at the onset of inflammatory lung injury in SARS-CoV-2 infection, particularly involving endothelial cells, remain ill-defined. Using Syrian hamsters as a model for moderate COVID-19, we conduct a detailed longitudinal analysis of systemic and pulmonary cellular responses, and corroborate it with datasets from COVID-19 patients. Monocyte-derived macrophages in lungs exert the earliest and strongest transcriptional response to infection, including induction of pro-inflammatory genes, while epithelial cells show weak alterations. Without evidence for productive infection, endothelial cells react, depending on cell subtypes, by strong and early expression of anti-viral, pro-inflammatory, and T cell recruiting genes. Recruitment of cytotoxic T cells as well as emergence of IgM antibodies precede viral clearance at day 5 post infection. Investigating SARS-CoV-2 infected Syrian hamsters thus identifies cell type-specific effector functions, providing detailed insights into pathomechanisms of COVID-19 and informing therapeutic strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/immunology , Animals , Cricetinae , Cytokines/genetics , Cytokines/immunology , Endothelial Cells/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Inflammation , Lung/immunology , Macrophages/immunology , Mesocricetus , Monocytes/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Signal Transduction , T-Lymphocytes, Cytotoxic/immunology , Toll-Like Receptors/immunology
12.
Cell Rep ; 36(5): 109493, 2021 08 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328703

ABSTRACT

Safe and effective vaccines are urgently needed to stop the pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We construct a series of live attenuated vaccine candidates by large-scale recoding of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and assess their safety and efficacy in Syrian hamsters. Animals were vaccinated with a single dose of the respective recoded virus and challenged 21 days later. Two of the tested viruses do not cause clinical symptoms but are highly immunogenic and induce strong protective immunity. Attenuated viruses replicate efficiently in the upper but not in the lower airways, causing only mild pulmonary histopathology. After challenge, hamsters develop no signs of disease and rapidly clear challenge virus: at no time could infectious virus be recovered from the lungs of infected animals. The ease with which attenuated virus candidates can be produced and administered favors their further development as vaccines to combat the ongoing pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Respiratory System/pathology , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Gene Editing , Genome, Viral , Humans , Immunity , Mesocricetus , Mutation , Pandemics/prevention & control , Vaccines, Attenuated , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
13.
Cell Rep ; 33(10): 108488, 2020 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-938810

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has precipitated an unprecedented and yet-unresolved health crisis worldwide. Different mammals are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2; however, few species examined so far develop robust clinical disease that mirrors severe human cases or allows testing of vaccines and drugs under conditions of severe disease. Here, we compare the susceptibilities of three dwarf hamster species (Phodopus spp.) to SARS-CoV-2 and introduce the Roborovski dwarf hamster (P. roborovskii) as a highly susceptible COVID-19 model with consistent and fulminant clinical signs. Particularly, only this species shows SARS-CoV-2-induced severe acute diffuse alveolar damage and hyaline microthrombi in the lungs, changes described in patients who succumbed to the infection but not reproduced in any experimentally infected animal. Based on our findings, we propose the Roborovski dwarf hamster as a valuable model to examine the efficacy and safety of vaccine candidates and therapeutics, particularly for use in highly susceptible individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Disease Models, Animal , Lung/virology , Phodopus/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Lung/pathology , Lung/physiopathology , Pulmonary Alveoli/physiopathology , Pulmonary Alveoli/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
14.
Cell ; 183(4): 1058-1069.e19, 2020 11 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-785287

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 led to pandemic spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), manifesting with respiratory symptoms and multi-organ dysfunction. Detailed characterization of virus-neutralizing antibodies and target epitopes is needed to understand COVID-19 pathophysiology and guide immunization strategies. Among 598 human monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) from 10 COVID-19 patients, we identified 40 strongly neutralizing mAbs. The most potent mAb, CV07-209, neutralized authentic SARS-CoV-2 with an IC50 value of 3.1 ng/mL. Crystal structures of two mAbs in complex with the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain at 2.55 and 2.70 Å revealed a direct block of ACE2 attachment. Interestingly, some of the near-germline SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing mAbs reacted with mammalian self-antigens. Prophylactic and therapeutic application of CV07-209 protected hamsters from SARS-CoV-2 infection, weight loss, and lung pathology. Our results show that non-self-reactive virus-neutralizing mAbs elicited during SARS-CoV-2 infection are a promising therapeutic strategy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , Antigen-Antibody Reactions , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Binding Sites , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Cricetinae , Crystallography, X-Ray , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Kinetics , Lung/immunology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Molecular Dynamics Simulation , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/chemistry , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
15.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 68(3): 1075-1079, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-781034

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has caused a yet unresolved global crisis. Effective medical intervention by vaccination or therapy seems to be the only possibility to control the pandemic. In this context, animal models are an indispensable tool for basic and applied research to combat SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we established a SARS-CoV-2 infection model in Chinese hamsters suitable for studying pathogenesis of the disease as well as pre-clinical testing of vaccines and therapies. This species of hamster is susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection as demonstrated by robust virus replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract accompanied by bronchitis and pneumonia as well as significant body weight loss following infection. The Chinese hamster features advantages compared to the Syrian hamster model, including more pronounced clinical symptoms, its small size, well-characterized genome, transcriptome and translatome data and availability of molecular tools.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Disease Models, Animal , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Cricetinae , Cricetulus , Disease Susceptibility/pathology , Disease Susceptibility/veterinary , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Virus Replication
17.
Viruses ; 12(7):779, 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-650369

ABSTRACT

In late 2019, an outbreak of a severe respiratory disease caused by an emerging coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, resulted in high morbidity and mortality in infected humans. Complete understanding of COVID-19, the multi-faceted disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, requires suitable small animal models, as does the development and evaluation of vaccines and antivirals. Since age-dependent differences of COVID-19 were identified in humans, we compared the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection in young and aged Syrian hamsters. We show that virus replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract was independent of the age of the animals. However, older hamsters exhibited more pronounced and consistent weight loss. In situ hybridization in the lungs identified viral RNA in bronchial epithelium, alveolar epithelial cells type I and II, and macrophages. Histopathology revealed clear age-dependent differences, with young hamsters launching earlier and stronger immune cell influx than aged hamsters. The latter developed conspicuous alveolar and perivascular edema, indicating vascular leakage. In contrast, we observed rapid lung recovery at day 14 after infection only in young hamsters. We propose that comparative assessment in young versus aged hamsters of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and treatments may yield valuable information, as this small-animal model appears to mirror age-dependent differences in human patients.

18.
Eur Respir J ; 56(5)2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-648811

ABSTRACT

While severe coronavirus infections, including Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), cause lung injury with high mortality rates, protective treatment strategies are not approved for clinical use.We elucidated the molecular mechanisms by which the cyclophilin inhibitors cyclosporin A (CsA) and alisporivir (ALV) restrict MERS-CoV to validate their suitability as readily available therapy in MERS-CoV infection.Calu-3 cells and primary human alveolar epithelial cells (hAECs) were infected with MERS-CoV and treated with CsA or ALV or inhibitors targeting cyclophilin inhibitor-regulated molecules including calcineurin, nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFATs) or mitogen-activated protein kinases. Novel CsA-induced pathways were identified by RNA sequencing and manipulated by gene knockdown or neutralising antibodies. Viral replication was quantified by quantitative real-time PCR and 50% tissue culture infective dose. Data were validated in a murine MERS-CoV infection model.Both CsA and ALV reduced MERS-CoV titres and viral RNA replication in Calu-3 cells and hAECs, improving epithelial integrity. While neither calcineurin nor NFAT inhibition reduced MERS-CoV propagation, blockade of c-Jun N-terminal kinase diminished infectious viral particle release but not RNA accumulation. Importantly, CsA induced interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF1), a pronounced type III interferon (IFNλ) response and expression of antiviral genes. Downregulation of IRF1 or IFNλ increased MERS-CoV propagation in the presence of CsA. Importantly, oral application of CsA reduced MERS-CoV replication in vivo, correlating with elevated lung IFNλ levels and improved outcome.We provide evidence that cyclophilin inhibitors efficiently decrease MERS-CoV replication in vitro and in vivo via upregulation of inflammatory antiviral cell responses, in particular IFNλ. CsA might therefore represent a promising candidate for treating MERS-CoV infection.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cyclophilins/antagonists & inhibitors , Cyclosporine/pharmacology , Interferons/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Alveolar Epithelial Cells/virology , Animals , Calcineurin Inhibitors/pharmacology , Cell Culture Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factor-1/drug effects , Interferon Regulatory Factor-1/metabolism , Interferons/drug effects , Mice , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
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