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1.
J Intern Med ; 2022 Jan 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626956

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Post-marketing pharmacovigilance data are scant on the safety of Covid-19 vaccines among people with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection compared with ordinary vaccine recipients. We compared the post-vaccination adverse events of special interests (AESI), accident and emergency room (A&E) visit, and hospitalization between these two groups. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study using a territory-wide public healthcare database with population-based vaccination records in Hong Kong. RESULTS: In total, 3922 vaccine recipients with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and 1,137,583 vaccine recipients without previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were included. No significant association was observed between previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and AESI or hospitalization. Previous SARS-CoV-2 infection was significantly associated with a lower risk of A&E visit (CoronaVac: HR = 0.56, 95% CI: 0.32, 0.99; Comirnaty: HR = 0.62, 95% CI: 0.47, 0.82). CONCLUSION: No safety signal of Covid-19 vaccination was detected from the comparison between vaccine recipients with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection and those without. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Jan 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1606131

ABSTRACT

This retrospective study of incoming travelers with COVID-19 showed that individuals immunized by mRNA vaccines had significantly longer post-vaccination interval (median: 30.5 days) to breakthrough infection, lower WBC and LDH on admission, and less radiographic abnormalities than those immunized by inactivated virus vaccine who paradoxically had lower respiratory viral load.

3.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1599084

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Bell's palsy is a rare adverse event reported in clinical trials of COVID-19 vaccines. However, to our knowledge no population-based study has assessed the association between the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and Bell's palsy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the risk of Bell's palsy after BNT162b2 and CoronaVac vaccination. METHODS: In this case series and nested case-control study done in Hong Kong, we assessed the risk of Bell's palsy within 42 days following vaccination with BNT162b2 (Fosun-BioNTech [equivalent to Pfizer-BioNTech]) or CoronaVac (from Sinovac Biotech, Hong Kong) using data from voluntary surveillance reporting with the Hospital Authority, the COVID-19 Vaccine Adverse Event Online Reporting system for all health-care professionals, and the Hospital Authority's territory-wide electronic health records from the Clinical Data Analysis and Reporting System. We described reported cases of Bell's palsy among vaccine recipients (aged 18-110 years for CoronaVac and aged 16-110 years for BNT162b2). We compared the estimated age-standardised incidence of clinically confirmed cases among individuals who had received the CoronaVac or BNT162b2 vaccination (up to 42 days before presentation) with the background incidence in the population. A nested case-control study was also done using conditional logistic regression to estimate the odds ratio (OR) for risk of Bell's palsy and vaccination. Cases and controls were matched (1:4) by age, sex, admission setting, and admission date. FINDINGS: Between February 23 and May 4, 2021, 451 939 individuals received the first dose of CoronaVac and 537 205 individuals received the first dose of BNT162b2. 28 clinically confirmed cases of Bell's palsy were reported following CoronaVac and 16 cases were reported following BNT162b2. The age-standardised incidence of clinically confirmed Bell's palsy was 66·9 cases per 100 000 person-years (95% CI 37·2 to 96·6) following CoronaVac vaccination and 42·8 per 100 000 person-years (19·4 to 66·1) for BNT162b2 vaccination. The age-standardised difference for the incidence compared with the background population was 41·5 (95% CI 11·7 to 71·4) for CoronaVac and 17·0 (-6·6 to 40·6) for BNT162b2, equivalent to an additional 4·8 cases per 100 000 people vaccinated for CoronaVac and 2·0 cases per 100 000 people vaccinated for BNT162b2. In the nested case-control analysis, 298 cases were matched to 1181 controls, and the adjusted ORs were 2·385 (95% CI 1·415 to 4·022) for CoronaVac and 1·755 (0·886 to 3·477) for BNT162b2. INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest an overall increased risk of Bell's palsy after CoronaVac vaccination. However, the beneficial and protective effects of the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine far outweigh the risk of this generally self-limiting adverse event. Additional studies are needed in other regions to confirm our findings. FUNDING: The Food and Health Bureau of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China. TRANSLATION: For the Chinese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

4.
COVID ; 1(4):775-783, 2021.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1580971

ABSTRACT

Antigen detection rapid diagnostic tests have been developed for first-line large-scale screening given their rapidity, simplicity, and accuracy. This study evaluates the diagnostic performance of an antigen detection rapid diagnostic test (BLOK BioScience, London, UK) detecting SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. Serially diluted SARS-CoV-2 isolate and 110 NPS from COVID-19 patients were tested to determine the test’s sensitivity, and other viral isolates and 20 NPS from non-infected individuals were, for specificity, also tested. Ten clinical samples from COVID-19 patients with SARS-CoV-2 variants, including alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and eta variants, were collected to evaluate the test’s potential application in detecting emerging variants. Overall sensitivity was 92%, and stratifying into viral loads yielded 100% for Ct < 25 samples including SARS-CoV-2 variants, but 11.11% for Ct ≥30 samples. The analytical sensitivity of log10 TCID50/mL 2.0 was identified for SARS-CoV-2. Ninety-seven percent specificity with only SARS-CoV cross-reactivity lead to the Youden index of 0.89. The rapid diagnostic test has a high sensitivity for detecting SARS-CoV-2 in high viral load samples, possibly including emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, but reduced sensitivity in low viral load samples suggests its optimized usage as a complementary testing method to other tests, including RT-PCR or a point-of-care test for large-scale screening, particularly for pandemic areas or airport border infection control.

5.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(1)2022 Jan 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580330

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants may impact the effectiveness of vaccines, while heterologous vaccine strategy is considered to provide better protection. The immunogenicity of an mRNA-inactivated virus vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 wild-type (WT) and variants was evaluated in the study. SARS-CoV-2 naïve adults (n = 123) were recruited and placed in the following groups: BNT162b2, CoronaVac or BNT162b2-CoronaVac (Combo) Group. Blood samples were collected to measure neutralization antibodies (NAb) by a live virus microneutralization assay (vMN) and surrogate NAb test. The day 56 vMN geometric mean titre (GMT) was 26.2 [95% confident interval (CI), [22.3-30.9] for Combo, 136.9 (95% CI, 104.2-179.7) for BNT162b2, and 14.7 (95% CI, 11.6-18.6) for CoronaVac groups. At 6 months post-first dose, the GMT declined to 8.0, 28.8 and 7.1 in the Combo, BNT162b2 and CoronaVac groups, respectively. Three groups showed reduced neutralizing activity against D614G, beta, theta and delta variants. At day 56 GMT (74.6) and month 6 GMT (22.7), the delta variant in the BNT162b2 group was higher than that in the Combo (day 56, 7.4; month 6, 5.5) and CoronaVac groups (day 56, 8.0; month 6, 5) (p < 0.0001). Furthermore, the mean surrogate NAb value on day 56 in the BNT162b2 group was 594.7 AU/mL and higher than 40.5 AU/mL in Combo and 38.8 AU/mL in CoronaVac groups (p < 0.0001). None of the participants developed severe adverse events, and all other adverse events were self-limiting. The Combo vaccination strategy was safe. The overall vaccine immunogenicity at day 56 and 6 months were comparable to the homologous CoronaVac group but inferior to the homologous BNT162b2 group, against both the WT and all variants. Furthermore, the antibody response of vaccines waned at 6 months and thereby, a third dose of the vaccine is needed for these vaccines.

6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Dec 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574911

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, designated as a Variant of Concern(VOC) by the World Health Organization, carries numerous spike mutations which have are known to evade neutralizing antibodies elicited by COVID-19 vaccines. A deeper understanding of the susceptibility of Omicron variant to vaccine-induced neutralizing antibodies is urgently needed for risk assessment. METHODS: Omicron variant strains HKU691 and HKU344-R346K were isolated from patients using TMPRSS2-overexpressing VeroE6 cells. Whole genome sequence was determined using nanopore sequencing. Neutralization susceptibility of ancestral lineage A virus and the Omicron, Delta and Beta variants to sera from 25 BNT162b2 and 25 Coronavac vaccine recipients was determined using a live virus microneutralization assay. RESULTS: The Omicron variant strain HKU344-R346K has an additional spike R346K mutation, which is present in 8.5% of strains deposited in GISAID database. Only 20% and 24% of BNT162b2 recipients had detectable neutralizing antibody against the Omicron variant HKU691 and HKU344-R346K, respectively, while none of the Coronavac recipients had detectable neutralizing antibody titer against either Omicron isolate. For BNT162b2 recipients, the geometric mean neutralization antibody titers(GMT) of the Omicron variant isolates(5.43 and 6.42) were 35.7-39.9-fold lower than that of the ancestral virus(229.4), and the GMT of both Omicron variant isolates were significantly lower than those of the Beta and Delta variants. There was no significant difference in the GMT between HKU691 and HKU344-R346K. CONCLUSIONS: Omicron variant escapes neutralizing antibodies elicited by BNT162b2 or Coronavac. The additional R346K mutation did not affect the neutralization susceptibility. Our data suggest that the Omicron variant may be associated with lower COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness.

7.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(12)2021 Dec 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572402

ABSTRACT

Immunofluorescence is a traditional diagnostic method for respiratory viruses, allowing rapid, simple and accurate diagnosis, with specific benefits of direct visualization of antigens-of-interest and quality assessment. This study aims to evaluate the potential of indirect immunofluorescence as an in-house diagnostic method for SARS-CoV-2 antigens from nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS). Three primary antibodies raised from mice were used for immunofluorescence staining, including monoclonal antibody against SARS-CoV nucleocapsid protein, and polyclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein and receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Smears of cells from NPS of 29 COVID-19 patients and 20 non-infected individuals, and cells from viral culture were stained by the three antibodies. Immunofluorescence microscopy was used to identify respiratory epithelial cells with positive signals. Polyclonal antibody against SARS-CoV-2 N protein had the highest sensitivity and specificity among the three antibodies tested, detecting 17 out of 29 RT-PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases and demonstrating no cross-reactivity with other tested viruses except SARS-CoV. Detection of virus-infected cells targeting SARS-CoV-2 N protein allow identification of infected individuals, although accuracy is limited by sample quality and number of respiratory epithelial cells. The potential of immunofluorescence as a simple diagnostic method was demonstrated, which could be applied by incorporating antibodies targeting SARS-CoV-2 into multiplex immunofluorescence panels used clinically, such as for respiratory viruses, thus allowing additional routine testing for diagnosis and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 even after the epidemic has ended with low prevalence of COVID-19.

8.
Front Public Health ; 9: 778964, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566669

ABSTRACT

Background: Mounting evidence has revealed the interrelationship between thyroid and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to explain the thyroid dysfunction and autoimmune thyroid disorders observed after coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). There are limited reports of thyroid dysfunction after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. Methods: We report a case of a 40-year-old Chinese woman who developed Graves' disease after BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. A search of PubMed and Embase databases from 1 September 2019 to 31 August 2021 was performed using the following keywords: "COVID," "vaccine," "thyroid," "thyroiditis," and "Graves." Results: A 40-year-old Chinese woman who had 8-year history of hypothyroidism requiring thyroxine replacement. Her anti-thyroid peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies were negative at diagnosis. She received her first and second doses of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine on 6 April and 1 May 2021, respectively. She developed thyrotoxicosis and was diagnosed to have Graves' disease 5 weeks after the second dose of vaccine, with positive thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin level, diffuse goiter with hypervascularity on thyroid ultrasonography and diffusely increased thyroid uptake on technetium thyroid scan. Both anti-thyroid peroxidase and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies became positive. She was treated with carbimazole. Literature search revealed four cases of Graves' disease after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, all after mRNA vaccines; and nine cases of subacute thyroiditis, after different types of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines. Conclusion: Our case represents the fifth in the literature of Graves' disease after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, with an unusual presentation on a longstanding history of hypothyroidism. Clinicians should remain vigilant about potential thyroid dysfunction after SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in the current pandemic.

9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(12)2021 Dec 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555021

ABSTRACT

Vaccinating recovered patients previously infected by COVID-19 with mRNA vaccines to boost their immune response against wild-type viruses (WT), we aimed to investigate whether vaccine platform and time of vaccination affect immunogenicity against the SARS-CoV-2 WT and Delta variant (DV). Convalescent patients infected by COVID-19 were recruited and received one booster dose of the BNT162b2 (PC-B) or CoronaVac (PC-C) vaccines, while SARS-CoV-2 naïve subjects received two doses of the BNT162b2 (CN-B) or CoronaVac (CN-C) vaccines. The neutralizing antibody in sera against the WT and DV was determined with live virus neutralization assay (vMN). The vMN geometric mean titre (GMT) against WT in recovered individuals previously infected by COVID-19 reduced significantly from 60.0 (95% confidence interval (CI), 46.5-77.4) to 33.9 (95% CI, 26.3-43.7) at 6 months post recovery. In the PC-B group, the BNT162b2 vaccine enhanced antibody response against WT and DV, with 22.3-fold and 20.4-fold increases, respectively. The PC-C group also showed 1.8-fold and 2.2-fold increases for WT and DV, respectively, after receiving the CoronaVac vaccine. There was a 10.6-fold increase in GMT in the CN-B group and a 1.3-fold increase in the CN-C group against DV after full vaccination. In both the PC-B and PC-C groups, there was no difference between GMT against WT and DV after vaccination. Subjects in the CN-B and CN-C groups showed inferior GMT against DV compared with GMT against WT after vaccination. In this study, one booster shot effectively enhanced the pre-existing neutralizing activity against WT and DV in recovered subjects.

12.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e2946-e2951, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500988

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Waning immunity occurs in patients who have recovered from Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, it remains unclear whether true re-infection occurs. METHODS: Whole genome sequencing was performed directly on respiratory specimens collected during 2 episodes of COVID-19 in a patient. Comparative genome analysis was conducted to differentiate re-infection from persistent viral shedding. Laboratory results, including RT-PCR Ct values and serum Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG, were analyzed. RESULTS: The second episode of asymptomatic infection occurred 142 days after the first symptomatic episode in an apparently immunocompetent patient. During the second episode, there was evidence of acute infection including elevated C-reactive protein and SARS-CoV-2 IgG seroconversion. Viral genomes from first and second episodes belong to different clades/lineages. The virus genome from the first episode contained a a stop codon at position 64 of ORF8, leading to a truncation of 58 amino acids. Another 23 nucleotide and 13 amino acid differences located in 9 different proteins, including positions of B and T cell epitopes, were found between viruses from the first and second episodes. Compared to viral genomes in GISAID, the first virus genome was phylogenetically closely related to strains collected in March/April 2020, while the second virus genome was closely related to strains collected in July/August 2020. CONCLUSIONS: Epidemiological, clinical, serological, and genomic analyses confirmed that the patient had re-infection instead of persistent viral shedding from first infection. Our results suggest SARS-CoV-2 may continue to circulate among humans despite herd immunity due to natural infection. Further studies of patients with re-infection will shed light on protective immunological correlates for guiding vaccine design.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Genome, Viral , Humans , Reinfection , Whole Genome Sequencing
13.
Cell Discov ; 7(1): 100, 2021 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493085

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is predominantly a respiratory tract infection that significantly rewires the host metabolism. Here, we monitored a cohort of COVID-19 patients' plasma lipidome over the disease course and identified triacylglycerol (TG) as the dominant lipid class present in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-induced metabolic dysregulation. In particular, we pinpointed the lipid droplet (LD)-formation enzyme diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT) and the LD stabilizer adipocyte differentiation-related protein (ADRP) to be essential host factors for SARS-CoV-2 replication. Mechanistically, viral nucleo capsid protein drives DGAT1/2 gene expression to facilitate LD formation and associates with ADRP on the LD surface to complete the viral replication cycle. DGAT gene depletion reduces SARS-CoV-2 protein synthesis without compromising viral genome replication/transcription. Importantly, a cheap and orally available DGAT inhibitor, xanthohumol, was found to suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication and the associated pulmonary inflammation in a hamster model. Our findings not only uncovered the mechanistic role of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein to exploit LDs-oriented network for heightened metabolic demand, but also the potential to target the LDs-synthetase DGAT and LDs-stabilizer ADRP for COVID-19 treatment.

14.
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne) ; 12: 746602, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477814

ABSTRACT

Background: Some studies have indicated that interferon (IFN) may be valuable in COVID-19. We aimed to evaluate the impact of short-term IFN on incident thyroid dysfunction and autoimmunity among COVID-19 survivors. Methods: We included consecutive adults without known thyroid disorder admitted to Queen Mary Hospital for COVID-19 from July 2020 to January 2021 who had thyroid function tests (TFTs) and anti-thyroid antibodies measured both on admission and at three months. Results: 226 patients were included (median age 55.0 years; 49.6% men): 135 were IFN-treated. There tended to be more abnormal TFTs upon reassessment in IFN-treated patients (8.1% vs 2.2%, p=0.080). 179 patients (65.4% IFN-treated) had a complete reassessment of anti-thyroid antibodies. There were significant increases in titres of both anti-thyroid peroxidase antibodies (anti-TPO: baseline 29.21 units [IQR: 14.97 - 67.14] vs reassessment 34.30 units [IQR: 18.82 - 94.65], p<0.001) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies (anti-Tg: baseline 8.23 units [IQR: 5.40 - 18.44] vs reassessment 9.14 units [IQR: 6.83 - 17.17], p=0.001) in the IFN-treated group but not IFN-naïve group. IFN treatment (standardised beta 0.245, p=0.001) was independently associated with changes in anti-TPO titre. Of the 143 patients negative for anti-TPO at baseline, 8 became anti-TPO positive upon reassessment (seven IFN-treated; one IFN-naïve). Incident anti-TPO positivity was more likely to be associated with abnormal TFTs upon reassessment (phi 0.188, p=0.025). Conclusion: IFN for COVID-19 was associated with modest increases in anti-thyroid antibody titres, and a trend of more incident anti-TPO positivity and abnormal TFTs during convalescence. Our findings suggest that clinicians monitor the thyroid function and anti-thyroid antibodies among IFN-treated COVID-19 survivors, and call for further follow-up studies regarding the clinical significance of these changes.


Subject(s)
Autoimmunity/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Interferon beta-1b/adverse effects , Interferon beta-1b/therapeutic use , Thyroid Diseases/chemically induced , Thyroid Function Tests , Thyroid Gland/drug effects , Adult , Antibodies/analysis , Cohort Studies , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Immunoglobulins, Thyroid-Stimulating/analysis , Male , Middle Aged , Survivors , Thyroid Diseases/immunology , Thyrotropin/blood , Thyroxine/blood , Triiodothyronine/blood
15.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(10)2021 Sep 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1438541

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-neutralizing antibody (NAb) production is a crucial humoral response that can reduce re-infection or breakthrough infection. The conventional test used to measure NAb production capacity levels is the live virus-neutralizing assay. However, this test must be conducted under biosafety level-3 containment. Pseudovirus or surrogate NAb tests, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 inhibition tests, can be performed under level-2 containment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of a surrogate SARS-CoV-2 NAb assay (sNAb) using samples from naturally infected individuals and vaccine recipients in comparison with the live virus microneutralization assay (vMN). Three hundred and eighty serum samples which were collected from 197 patients with COVID-19, 96 vaccine recipients and 84 normal individuals were analyzed. Overall, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the sNAb (iFlash-2019-NAb assay, Shenzhen, China) were 97.9%, 94.9%, 98.2%, and 93.8%, respectively. Agreement for the assay relative to vMN for naturally infected individuals and vaccine recipients were 98.5% and 93.9%, respectively. A correlation analysis between sNAb and the vMN for both of these groups yielded an R2 value of 0.83. The iFlash RBD NAb assay is found to be sensitive and reliable for neutralizing antibody measurement in patients with the 2019 coronavirus disease and those who have been vaccinated against it.

16.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(9)2021 Sep 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390815

ABSTRACT

This systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to compare the safety and efficacy of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines according to vaccine platform and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) infection severity. Articles published between 24 January 2020 and 30 May 2021 were retrieved via a PubMed and EMBASE search. A total of 12 reports on phase-3 clinical trials and observational studies of COVID-19 vaccines were included in the review. In terms of vaccine safety, mRNA vaccines showed more relevance to serious adverse events than viral vector and inactivated vaccines, but no solid evidence indicated that COVID-19 vaccines directly caused serious adverse events. Serious metabolic, musculoskeletal, immune-system, and renal disorders were more common among inactivated vaccine recipients, and serious gastrointestinal complications and infections were more common among viral vector and inactivated vaccine recipients. The occurrence of serious vessel disorders was more frequent in mRNA vaccines. In terms of efficacy, two mRNA vaccine doses conferred a lesser risk of SARS-COV-2 infection (odds ratio: 0.05; 95% confidence interval: 0.02-0.13) than did vaccination with viral vector and inactivated vaccines. All vaccines protected more against symptomatic than asymptomatic cases (risk ratio, 0.11 vs. 0.34), but reduced the risk of severe SARS-COV-2 infection. The COVID-19 vaccines assessed in this study are sufficiently safe and effective. The results indicate that two mRNA vaccine doses prevent SARS-COV-2 infection most effectively, but further research is needed due to the high degree of heterogeneity among studies in this sample. Interventions should be implemented continuously to reduce the risks of infection after one vaccine dose and asymptomatic infection.

17.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 7(6): ofaa210, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387982

ABSTRACT

Background: Posterior oropharyngeal saliva is increasingly recognized as a valid respiratory specimen for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. It is easy to collect and suitable for community-wide screening. The optimal timing of collection is currently unknown, and we speculate that an early-morning specimen before oral hygiene and breakfast would increase the diagnostic yield. Methods: Posterior oropharyngeal saliva was collected at 5 different time points within the same day from 18 patients with previously confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection by molecular testing. Cycle threshold (Ct) values were compared. Results: There was an overall trend of lower Ct values from specimens collected in the early morning, with a gradual decrease of viral load towards nighttime, but reaching statistical significance only when compared with the specimens collected at bedtime. Eight out of 13 subjects had a higher viral load in the early morning than the rest of the 4 time points (before lunch, before teatime at 3 pm, before dinner, before bedtime). Conclusions: The result suggests a diurnal variation of viral shedding from the upper respiratory tract with a trend showing higher viral load in the early morning. For community screening purposes, posterior oropharyngeal saliva could be taken throughout the day, but preferably in the early morning to maximize the yield.

18.
Endocrine ; 74(2): 205-214, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1380484

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Thyroid dysfunction, including thyroiditis, is well recognized in COVID-19 patients. We evaluated thyroid ultrasonographic features among COVID-19 survivors, which are less well known. METHODS: Adult COVID-19 survivors without known thyroid disorders who attended dedicated COVID-19 clinic underwent thyroid ultrasonography and assessment of thyroid function and autoimmunity. Adults admitted for acute non-thyroidal surgical problems and negative for COVID-19 were recruited as control. SARS-CoV-2 viral load (VL) was presented as the inverse of cycle threshold values from the real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of the respiratory specimen on admission. RESULTS: In total, 79 COVID-19 patients and 44 non-COVID-19 controls were included. All abnormal thyroid function tests during acute COVID-19 recovered upon follow-up. Thyroid ultrasonography was performed at a median of 67 days after acute COVID-19. The median thyroid volume was 9.73 mL (IQR: 7.87-13.70). In multivariable linear regression, SARS-CoV-2 VL on presentation (standardized beta -0.206, p = 0.042) inversely correlated with thyroid volume, in addition to body mass index at the time of ultrasonography (p < 0.001). Sex-specific analysis revealed similar results among men but not women. Eleven COVID-19 patients (13.9%) had ultrasonographic changes suggestive of thyroiditis, comparable to non-COVID-19 patients (p = 0.375). None of these 11 patients had isolated low thyroid-stimulating hormone levels suggestive of thyroiditis at initial admission or the time of ultrasonography. CONCLUSIONS: Higher SARS-CoV-2 VL on presentation were associated with smaller thyroid volumes, especially in men. Further research is suggested to investigate this possible direct viral effect of SARS-CoV-2 on the thyroid gland. There was no increased rate of ultrasonographic features suggestive of thyroiditis in COVID-19 survivors.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Thyroiditis , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Survivors , Ultrasonography , Viral Load
19.
EBioMedicine ; 71: 103544, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363987

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Several SARS-CoV-2 lineages with spike receptor binding domain (RBD) N501Y mutation have spread globally. We evaluated the impact of N501Y on neutralizing activity of COVID-19 convalescent sera and on anti-RBD IgG assays. METHODS: The susceptibility to neutralization by COVID-19 patients' convalescent sera from Hong Kong were compared between two SARS-CoV-2 isolates (B117-1/B117-2) from the α variant with N501Y and 4 non-N501Y isolates. The effect of N501Y on antibody binding was assessed. The performance of commercially-available IgG assays was determined for patients infected with N501Y variants. FINDINGS: The microneutralization antibody (MN) titers of convalescent sera from 9 recovered COVID-19 patients against B117-1 (geometric mean titer[GMT],80; 95% CI, 47-136) were similar to those against the non-N501Y viruses. However, MN titer of these serum against B117-2 (GMT, 20; 95% CI, 11-36) was statistically significantly reduced when compared with non-N501Y viruses (P < 0.01; one-way ANOVA). The difference between B117-1 and B117-2 was confirmed by testing 60 additional convalescent sera. B117-1 and B117-2 differ by only 3 amino acids (nsp2-S512Y, nsp13-K460R, spike-A1056V). Enzyme immunoassay using 272 convalescent sera showed reduced binding of anti-RBD IgG to N501Y or N501Y-E484K-K417N when compared with that of wild-type RBD (mean difference: 0.1116 and 0.5613, respectively; one-way ANOVA). Of 7 anti-N-IgG positive sera from patients infected with N501Y variants (collected 9-14 days post symptom onset), 6 (85.7%) tested negative for a commercially-available anti-S1-IgG assay. FUNDING: Richard and Carol Yu, Michael Tong, and the Government Consultancy Service (see acknowledgments for full list). INTERPRETATION: We highlighted the importance of using a panel of viruses within the same lineage to determine the impact of virus variants on neutralization. Furthermore, clinicians should be aware of the potential reduced sensitivity of anti-RBD IgG assays.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Viral/ultrastructure , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation/genetics , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
20.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1361759

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Post-vaccination myopericarditis is reported after immunization with COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines. The effect of accidental intravenous injection of this vaccine on the heart is unknown. METHODS: We compared the clinical manifestations, histopathological changes, tissue mRNA expression and serum levels of cytokine/chemokine in Balb/c mice at different time points after intravenous(IV) or intramuscular(IM) vaccine injection with normal saline(NS) control. RESULTS: Though significant weight loss and higher serum cytokine/chemokine levels were found in IM group at 1 to 2 days post-injection(dpi), only IV group developed histopathological changes of myopericarditis as evidenced by cardiomyocyte degeneration, apoptosis and necrosis with adjacent inflammatory cell infiltration and calcific deposits on visceral pericardium, while evidence of coronary artery or other cardiac pathologies was absent. SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen expression by immunostaining was occasionally found in infiltrating immune cells of the heart or injection site, in cardiomyocytes and intracardiac vascular endothelial cells, but not skeletal myocytes. The histological changes of myopericarditis after the first IV-priming dose persisted for 2 weeks and were markedly aggravated by a second IM- or IV-booster dose. Cardiac tissue mRNA expression of IL-1ß, IFN-ß, IL-6 and TNF-α increased significantly from 1dpi to 2dpi in IV but not IM group, compatible with presence of myopericarditis in IV group. Ballooning degeneration of hepatocytes was consistently found in IV group. All other organs appeared normal. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that inadvertent intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines may induce myopericarditis. Brief withdrawal of syringe plunger to exclude blood aspiration may be one possible way to reduce such risk.

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