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1.
Viruses ; 13(11):2290, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | 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.

2.
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
3.
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
4.
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
5.
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
6.
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
7.
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
8.
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
10.
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.

11.
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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