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1.
Viruses ; 14(5)2022 05 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1862912

ABSTRACT

The rapid global spread of severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in an urgent effort to find efficacious therapeutics. Broad-spectrum therapies which could be used for other respiratory pathogens confer advantages, as do those based on targeting host cells that are not prone to the development of resistance by the pathogen. We tested an intranasally delivered carbohydrate-binding module (CBM) therapy, termed Neumifil, which is based on a CBM that has previously been shown to offer protection against the influenza virus through the binding of sialic acid receptors. Using the recognised hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection, we demonstrate that Neumifil significantly reduces clinical disease severity and pathological changes in the nasal cavity. Furthermore, we demonstrate Neumifil binding to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor and spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. This is the first report describing the testing of this type of broad-spectrum antiviral therapy in vivo and provides evidence for the advancement of Neumifil in further preclinical and clinical studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A , COVID-19/drug therapy , Carbohydrates , Cricetinae , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
2.
Antiviral Res ; 203: 105332, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1821130

ABSTRACT

Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 are important to generate protective immunity, with convalescent plasma one of the first therapies approved. An alternative source of polyclonal antibodies suitable for upscaling would be more amendable to regulatory approval and widespread use. In this study, sheep were immunised with SARS-CoV-2 whole spike protein or one of the subunit proteins: S1 and S2. Once substantial antibody titres were generated, plasma was collected and samples pooled for each antigen. Non-specific antibodies were removed via affinity-purification to yield candidate products for testing in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies to whole spike, S1 and S2 proteins were evaluated for in vitro for neutralising activity against SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan-like virus (Australia/VIC01/2020) and a recent variant of concern, B.1.1.529 BA.1 (Omicron), antibody-binding, complement fixation and phagocytosis assays were also performed. All antibody preparations demonstrated an effect against SARS-CoV-2 disease in the hamster model of challenge, with those raised against the S2 subunit providing the most promise. A rapid, cost-effective therapy for COVID-19 was developed which provides a source of highly active immunoglobulin specific to SARS-CoV-2 with multi-functional activity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/therapy , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Immunization, Passive , SARS-CoV-2 , Sheep , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
3.
Elife ; 112022 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1791920

ABSTRACT

The pathogenesis and host-viral interactions of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever orthonairovirus (CCHFV) are convoluted and not well evaluated. Application of the multi-omics system biology approaches, including biological network analysis in elucidating the complex host-viral response, interrogates the viral pathogenesis. The present study aimed to fingerprint the system-level alterations during acute CCHFV-infection and the cellular immune responses during productive CCHFV-replication in vitro. We used system-wide network-based system biology analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from a longitudinal cohort of CCHF patients during the acute phase of infection and after one year of recovery (convalescent phase) followed by untargeted quantitative proteomics analysis of the most permissive CCHFV-infected Huh7 and SW13 cells. In the RNAseq analysis of the PBMCs, comparing the acute and convalescent-phase, we observed system-level host's metabolic reprogramming towards central carbon and energy metabolism (CCEM) with distinct upregulation of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) during CCHFV-infection. Upon application of network-based system biology methods, negative coordination of the biological signaling systems like FOXO/Notch axis and Akt/mTOR/HIF-1 signaling with metabolic pathways during CCHFV-infection were observed. The temporal quantitative proteomics in Huh7 showed a dynamic change in the CCEM over time and concordant with the cross-sectional proteomics in SW13 cells. By blocking the two key CCEM pathways, glycolysis and glutaminolysis, viral replication was inhibited in vitro. Activation of key interferon stimulating genes during infection suggested the role of type I and II interferon-mediated antiviral mechanisms both at the system level and during progressive replication.


Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is an emerging disease that is increasingly spreading to new populations. The condition is now endemic in almost 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, South-Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. CCHF is caused by a tick-borne virus and can cause uncontrolled bleeding. It has a mortality rate of up to 40%, and there are currently no vaccines or effective treatments available. All viruses depend entirely on their hosts for reproduction, and they achieve this through hijacking the molecular machinery of the cells they infect. However, little is known about how the CCHF virus does this and how the cells respond. To understand more about the relationship between the cell's metabolism and viral replication, Neogi, Elaldi et al. studied immune cells taken from patients during an infection and one year later. The gene activity of the cells showed that the virus prefers to hijack processes known as central carbon and energy metabolism. These are the main regulator of the cellular energy supply and the production of essential chemicals. By using cancer drugs to block these key pathways, Neogi, Elaldi et al. could reduce the viral reproduction in laboratory cells. These findings provide a clearer understanding of how the CCHF virus replicates inside human cells. By interfering with these processes, researchers could develop new antiviral strategies to treat the disease. One of the cancer drugs tested in cells, 2-DG, has been approved for emergency use against COVID-19 in some countries. Neogi, Elaldi et al. are now studying this further in animals with the hope of reaching clinical trials in the future.


Subject(s)
Hemorrhagic Fever Virus, Crimean-Congo , Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cross-Sectional Studies , Hemorrhagic Fever Virus, Crimean-Congo/genetics , Humans , Interferons , Leukocytes, Mononuclear
4.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 2022 Mar 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765049

ABSTRACT

Following findings in Northern America of SARS-CoV-2 infections in white-tailed deer, there is concern of similar infections in European deer and their potential as reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 including opportunities for the emergence of new variants. UK deer sera were collected in 2020-2021 from 6 species and a hybrid with 1748 tested using anti-spike and anti-nucleocapsid serology assays. No samples were positive on both assays nor by surrogate neutralization testing. There is no evidence that spill-over infections of SARS-CoV-2 occurred from the human population to UK deer or that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in UK deer (over the study period). Although it cannot be ruled out, study results indicate that spill-over infections followed by circulation of SARS-CoV-2 to the most common European deer species is small.

5.
Front Public Health ; 9: 817431, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686578

ABSTRACT

As the world looks forward to turning a corner in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes increasingly evident that international research cooperation and dialogue is necessary to end this global catastrophe. Last year, we initiated a research topic: "Infectious Disease Surveillance: Cooperative Research in Response to Recent Outbreaks, Including COVID-19," which aimed at featuring manuscripts focused on the essential link between surveillance and cooperative research for emerging and endemic diseases, and highlighting scientific partnerships in countries under-represented in the scientific literature. Here we recognize the body of work published from our manuscript call that resulted in over 50 published papers. This current analysis describes articles and authors from a variety of funded and unfunded international sources. The work exemplifies successful research and publications which are frequently cooperative, and may serve as a basis to model further global scientific engagements.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Humans , International Cooperation , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Viruses ; 13(11)2021 11 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512699

ABSTRACT

The global pandemic of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) has led to an international thrust to study pathogenesis and evaluate interventions. Experimental infection of hamsters and the resulting respiratory disease is one of the preferred animal models since clinical signs of disease and virus shedding are similar to more severe cases of human COVID-19. The main route of challenge has been direct inoculation of the virus via the intranasal route. To resemble the natural infection, we designed a bespoke natural transmission cage system to assess whether recipient animals housed in physically separate adjacent cages could become infected from a challenged donor animal in a central cage, with equal airflow across the two side cages. To optimise viral shedding in the donor animals, a low and moderate challenge dose were compared after direct intranasal challenge, but similar viral shedding responses were observed and no discernible difference in kinetics. The results from our natural transmission set-up demonstrate that most recipient hamsters are infected within the system developed, with variation in the kinetics and levels of disease between individual animals. Common clinical outputs used for the assessment in directly-challenged hamsters, such as weight loss, are less obvious in hamsters who become infected from naturally acquiring the infection. The results demonstrate the utility of a natural transmission model for further work on assessing the differences between virus strains and evaluating interventions using a challenge system which more closely resembles human infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Disease Models, Animal , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cricetinae , Female , Lung/pathology , Male , Nasal Cavity/pathology , Viral Load , Virus Shedding
7.
Front Public Health ; 9: 659695, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441153

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for urgent and on-demand solutions to provide diagnostics, treatment and preventative measures for infectious disease outbreaks. Once solutions are developed, meeting capacities depends on the ability to mitigate technical, logistical and production issues. While it is difficult to predict the next outbreak, augmenting investments in preparedness, such as infectious disease surveillance, is far more effective than mustering last-minute response funds. Bringing research outputs into practice sooner rather than later is part of an agile approach to pivot and deliver solutions. Cooperative multi- country research programs, especially those funded by global biosecurity programs, develop capacity that can be applied to infectious disease surveillance and research that enhances detection, identification, and response to emerging and re-emerging pathogens with epidemic or pandemic potential. Moreover, these programs enhance trust building among partners, which is essential because setting expectation and commitment are required for successful research and training. Measuring research outputs, evaluating outcomes and justifying continual investments are essential but not straightforward. Lessons learned include those related to reducing biological threats and maturing capabilities for national laboratory diagnostics strategy and related health systems. Challenges, such as growing networks, promoting scientific transparency, data and material sharing, sustaining funds and developing research strategies remain to be fully resolved. Here, experiences from several programs highlight successful partnerships that provide ways forward to address the next outbreak.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Communicable Diseases/diagnosis , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
PLoS Negl Trop Dis ; 14(10): e0008699, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-932350

ABSTRACT

Surveillance of highly pathogenic viruses circulating in both human and animal populations is crucial to unveil endemic infections and potential zoonotic reservoirs. Monitoring the burden of disease by serological assay could be used as an early warning system for imminent outbreaks as an increased seroprevalance often precedes larger outbreaks. However, the multitude of highly pathogenic viruses necessitates the need to identify specific antibodies against several targets from both humans as well as from potential reservoir animals such as bats. In order to address this, we have developed a broadly reactive multiplex microsphere immunoassay (MMIA) for the detection of antibodies against several highly pathogenic viruses from both humans and animals. To this aim, nucleoproteins (NP) of Ebola virus (EBOV), Marburg virus (MARV) and nucleocapsid proteins (NP) of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever virus, Rift Valley fever virus and Dobrava-Belgrade hantavirus were employed in a 5-plex assay for IgG detection. After optimisation, specific binding to each respective NP was shown by testing sera from humans and non-human primates with known infection status. The usefulness of our assay for serosurveillance was shown by determining the immune response against the NP antigens in a panel of 129 human serum samples collected in Guinea between 2011 and 2012 in comparison to a panel of 88 sera from the German blood bank. We found good agreement between our MMIA and commercial or in-house reference methods by ELISA or IIFT with statistically significant higher binding to both EBOV NP and MARV NP coupled microspheres in the Guinea panel. Finally, the MMIA was successfully adapted to detect antibodies from bats that had been inoculated with EBOV- and MARV- virus-like particles, highlighting the versatility of this technique and potentially enabling the monitoring of wildlife as well as human populations with this assay. We were thus able to develop and validate a sensitive and broadly reactive high-throughput serological assay which could be used as a screening tool to detect antibodies against several highly pathogenic viruses.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Immunoassay/methods , Microspheres , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Virus Diseases/veterinary , Animals , Chiroptera , Humans , Primates , Virus Diseases/diagnosis , Virus Diseases/virology
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