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1.
Infection ; 2020 Sep 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-774008

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To evaluate the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in conjunctival secretions from patients without ocular symptoms. METHODS: Conjunctival swabs were prospectively collected from laboratory-confirmed Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients without ocular symptoms for reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and viral culture. RESULTS: A total of 158 conjunctival swabs were obtained from 49 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients. The median duration of illness when the first conjunctival swab was obtained was 10 days (range 2-27 days). Four conjunctival swabs from four different patients (4/49, 8.2%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR. The Ct values ranged from 32.7 to 37.7 (mean 35.4). Viral cultures were negative for all four RT-PCR-positive conjunctival swabs. CONCLUSION: Conjunctival secretions of a minority of COVID-19 patients without ocular symptoms may contain relatively low levels of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, but their infectiousness remains undetermined. Appropriate infection control measures should be implemented during ophthalmological assessment of COVID-19 patients to prevent potential nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(18)2020 Sep 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760933

ABSTRACT

Currently available COVID-19 antibody tests using enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or immunochromatographic assay have variable sensitivity and specificity. Here, we developed and evaluated a novel microsphere-based antibody assay (MBA) for detecting immunoglobulin G (IgG) against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleoprotein (NP) and spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD). The seropositive cutoff value was set using a cohort of 294 anonymous serum specimens collected in 2018. The specificity was assessed using serum specimens collected from organ donors or influenza patients before 2020. Seropositive rate was determined among COVID-19 patients. Time-to-seropositivity and signal-to-cutoff (S/CO) ratio were compared between MBA and EIA. MBA had a specificity of 100% (93/93; 95% confidence interval (CI), 96-100%) for anti-NP IgG, 98.9% (92/93; 95% CI 94.2-100%) for anti-RBD IgG. The MBA seropositive rate for convalescent COVID-19 patients was 89.8% (35/39) for anti-NP IgG and 79.5% (31/39) for anti-RBD IgG. The time-to-seropositivity was shorter with MBA than EIA. MBA could better differentiate between COVID-19 patients and negative controls with higher S/CO ratio for COVID-19 patients, lower S/CO ratio with negative controls and fewer specimens in the equivocal range. MBA is robust, simple and is suitable for clinical microbiology laboratory for the accurate determination of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies for diagnosis, serosurveillance, and vaccine trials.

3.
Int J Infect Dis ; 2020 Sep 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-758909

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To develop:(1) two validated risk prediction models for COVID-19 positivity using readily available parameters in a general hospital setting; (2) nomograms and probabilities to allow clinical utilisation. METHODS: Patients with and without COVID-19 were included from 4 Hong Kong hospitals. Database was randomly split 2:1 for model development database (n = 895) and validation database (n = 435). Multivariable logistic regression was utilised for model creation and validated with the Hosmer-Lemeshow (H-L) test and calibration plot. Nomograms and probabilities set at 0.1, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6 were calculated to determine sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV). RESULTS: 1330 patients (mean age 58.2 ± 24.5 years; 50.7% males; 296 COVID-19 positive) were recruited. First prediction model developed had age, total white blood cell count, chest x-ray appearances and contact history as significant predictors (AUC = 0.911 [CI = 0.880-0.941]). Second model developed has same variables except contact history (AUC = 0.880 [CI = 0.844-0.916]). Both were externally validated on H-L test (p = 0.781 and 0.155 respectively) and calibration plot. Models were converted to nomograms. Lower probabilities give higher sensitivity and NPV; higher probabilities give higher specificity and PPV. CONCLUSION: Two simple-to-use validated nomograms were developed with excellent AUCs based on readily available parameters and can be considered for clinical utilisation.

4.
Radiology ; 296(2): E72-E78, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-736233

ABSTRACT

Background Current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) radiologic literature is dominated by CT, and a detailed description of chest radiography appearances in relation to the disease time course is lacking. Purpose To describe the time course and severity of findings of COVID-19 at chest radiography and correlate these with real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or SARS-CoV-2, nucleic acid. Materials and Methods This is a retrospective study of patients with COVID-19 confirmed by using RT-PCR and chest radiographic examinations who were admitted across four hospitals and evaluated between January and March 2020. Baseline and serial chest radiographs (n = 255) were reviewed with RT-PCR. Correlation with concurrent CT examinations (n = 28) was performed when available. Two radiologists scored each chest radiograph in consensus for consolidation, ground-glass opacity, location, and pleural fluid. A severity index was determined for each lung. The lung scores were summed to produce the final severity score. Results The study was composed of 64 patients (26 men; mean age, 56 years ± 19 [standard deviation]). Of these, 58 patients had initial positive findings with RT-PCR (91%; 95% confidence interval: 81%, 96%), 44 patients had abnormal findings at baseline chest radiography (69%; 95% confidence interval: 56%, 80%), and 38 patients had initial positive findings with RT-PCR testing and abnormal findings at baseline chest radiography (59%; 95% confidence interval: 46%, 71%). Six patients (9%) showed abnormalities at chest radiography before eventually testing positive for COVID-19 with RT-PCR. Sensitivity of initial RT-PCR (91%; 95% confidence interval: 83%, 97%) was higher than that of baseline chest radiography (69%; 95% confidence interval: 56%, 80%) (P = .009). Radiographic recovery (mean, 6 days ± 5) and virologic recovery (mean, 8 days ± 6) were not significantly different (P = .33). Consolidation was the most common finding (30 of 64; 47%) followed by ground-glass opacities (21 of 64; 33%). Abnormalities at chest radiography had a peripheral distribution (26 of 64; 41%) and lower zone distribution (32 of 64; 50%) with bilateral involvement (32 of 64; 50%). Pleural effusion was uncommon (two of 64; 3%). The severity of findings at chest radiography peaked at 10-12 days from the date of symptom onset. Conclusion Findings at chest radiography in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 frequently showed bilateral lower zone consolidation, which peaked at 10-12 days from symptom onset. © RSNA, 2020.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/diagnostic imaging , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnostic imaging , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted/methods , Reproducibility of Results , Retrospective Studies , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Severity of Illness Index , Tomography, X-Ray Computed/methods , Young Adult
5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2020 Aug 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-729112

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Waning immunity occurs in patients who have recovered from COVID-19. However, it remains unclear whether true re-infection occurs. METHODS: Whole genome sequencing was performed directly on respiratory specimens collected during two 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 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 serological evidence of elevated C-reactive protein and SARS-CoV-2 IgG seroconversion. Viral genomes from first and second episodes belong to different clades/lineages. Compared to viral genomes in GISAID, the first virus genome has a stop codon at position 64 of orf8 leading to a truncation of 58 amino acids, and 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. 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. 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 the human populations despite herd immunity due to natural infection or vaccination. Further studies of patients with re-infection will shed light on protective correlates important for vaccine design.

6.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-4, 2020 Aug 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-720801

ABSTRACT

Universal masking for healthcare workers and patients in hospitals was adopted to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with compliance rates of 100% and 75.9%, respectively. Zero rates of nosocomial influenza A, influenza B, and respiratory syncytial virus infection were achieved from February to April 2020, which was significantly lower than the corresponding months in 2017-2019.

7.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(16)2020 Aug 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-714483

ABSTRACT

Sensitive molecular assays are critical for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnosis. Here, we designed and evaluated two single-tube nested (STN) real-time RT-PCR assays, targeting SARS-CoV-2 RdRp/Hel and N genes. Both STN assays had a low limit of detection and did not cross react with other human coronaviruses and respiratory viruses. Using 213 initial respiratory specimens from suspected COVID-19 patients, the sensitivity of both the STN COVID-19-RdRp/Hel and the STN COVID-19-N assays was 100% (99/99), while that of the comparator non-nested N assay was 95% (94/99). Among 108 follow-up specimens from confirmed COVID-19 patients who tested negative by the non-nested COVID-19-RdRp/Hel assay, 28 (25.9%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2 by the STN COVID-19-RdRp/Hel or the STN COVID-19-N assay. To evaluate the performance of our novel STN assays in pooled specimens, we created four sample pools, with each pool consisting of one low positive specimen and 49 negative specimens. While the non-nested COVID-19-RdRp/Hel assay was positive in only one of four sample pools (25%), both of the STN assays were positive in two of four samples pools (50%). In conclusion, the STN assays are highly sensitive and specific for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Their boosted sensitivity offers advantages in non-traditional COVID-19 testing algorithms such as saliva screening and pooled sample screening during massive screening.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/standards , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA Replicase/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
9.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2020 Aug 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-694735

ABSTRACT

After two months of relative quiescence, a large COVID-19 outbreak occurred in Hong Kong in July 2020 after gradual relaxation of social distancing policy. Two unique SARS-CoV-2 phylogenetic clusters have been identified among locally-acquired cases, with most genomes belonging to cluster HK1 which is phylogenetically related to SARS-CoV-2 reported overseas.

10.
Int J Mol Sci ; 21(15)2020 Jul 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-693630

ABSTRACT

To control the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent its resurgence in areas preparing for a return of economic activities, a method for a rapid, simple, and inexpensive point-of-care diagnosis and mass screening is urgently needed. We developed and evaluated a one-step colorimetric reverse-transcriptional loop-mediated isothermal amplification assay (COVID-19-LAMP) for detection of SARS-CoV-2, using SARS-CoV-2 isolate and respiratory samples from patients with COVID-19 (n = 223) and other respiratory virus infections (n = 143). The assay involves simple equipment and techniques and low cost, without the need for expensive qPCR machines, and the result, indicated by color change, is easily interpreted by naked eyes. COVID-19-LAMP can detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA with detection limit of 42 copies/reaction. Of 223 respiratory samples positive for SARS-CoV-2 by qRT-PCR, 212 and 219 were positive by COVID-19-LAMP at 60 and 90 min (sensitivities of 95.07% and 98.21%) respectively, with the highest sensitivities among nasopharyngeal swabs (96.88% and 98.96%), compared to sputum/deep throat saliva samples (94.03% and 97.02%), and throat swab samples (93.33% and 98.33%). None of the 143 samples with other respiratory viruses were positive by COVID-19-LAMP, showing 100% specificity. Samples with higher viral load showed shorter detection time, some as early as 30 min. This inexpensive, highly sensitive and specific COVID-19-LAMP assay can be useful for rapid deployment as mobile diagnostic units to resource-limiting areas for point-of-care diagnosis, and for unlimited high-throughput mass screening at borders to reduce cross-regional transmission.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Colorimetry/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Mass Screening/economics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Colorimetry/economics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Limit of Detection , Nasopharynx/virology , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Point-of-Care Systems , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Viral Load
11.
Immunity ; 2020 Aug 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-693493

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has resulted in millions of infections, yet the role of host immune responses in early COVID-19 pathogenesis remains unclear. By investigating 17 acute and 24 convalescent patients, we found that acute SARS-CoV-2 infection resulted in broad immune cell reduction including T, natural killer, monocyte, and dendritic cells (DCs). DCs were significantly reduced with functional impairment, and ratios of conventional DCs to plasmacytoid DCs were increased among acute severe patients. Besides lymphocytopenia, although neutralizing antibodies were rapidly and abundantly generated in patients, there were delayed receptor binding domain (RBD)- and nucleocapsid protein (NP)-specific T cell responses during the first 3 weeks after symptoms onset. Moreover, acute RBD- and NP-specific T cell responses included relatively more CD4 T cells than CD8 T cells. Our findings provided evidence that impaired DCs, together with timely inverted strong antibody but weak CD8 T cell responses, could contribute to acute COVID-19 pathogenesis and have implications for vaccine development.

12.
BMJ Open ; 10(7): e038555, 2020 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-662505

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: There is an outbreak of COVID-19 worldwide. As there is no effective therapy or vaccine yet, rigorous implementation of traditional public health measures such as isolation and quarantine remains the most effective tool to control the outbreak. When an asymptomatic individual with COVID-19 exposure is being quarantined, it is necessary to perform temperature and symptom surveillance. As such surveillance is intermittent in nature and highly dependent on self-discipline, it has limited effectiveness. Advances in biosensor technologies made it possible to continuously monitor physiological parameters using wearable biosensors with a variety of form factors. OBJECTIVE: To explore the potential of using wearable biosensors to continuously monitor multidimensional physiological parameters for early detection of COVID-19 clinical progression. METHOD: This randomised controlled open-labelled trial will involve 200-1000 asymptomatic subjects with close COVID-19 contact under mandatory quarantine at designated facilities in Hong Kong. Subjects will be randomised to receive a remote monitoring strategy (intervention group) or standard strategy (control group) in a 1:1 ratio during the 14 day-quarantine period. In addition to fever and symptom surveillance in the control group, subjects in the intervention group will wear wearable biosensors on their arms to continuously monitor skin temperature, respiratory rate, blood pressure, pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation and daily activities. These physiological parameters will be transferred in real time to a smartphone application called Biovitals Sentinel. These data will then be processed using a cloud-based multivariate physiology analytics engine called Biovitals to detect subtle physiological changes. The results will be displayed on a web-based dashboard for clinicians' review. The primary outcome is the time to diagnosis of COVID-19. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval has been obtained from institutional review boards at the study sites. Results will be published in peer-reviewed journals.


Subject(s)
Artificial Intelligence , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Mobile Applications , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Quarantine , Smartphone , Wearable Electronic Devices , Betacoronavirus , Blood Gas Monitoring, Transcutaneous , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Cloud Computing , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Early Diagnosis , Heart Rate , Hong Kong , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Respiratory Rate , Skin Temperature , Telemedicine
13.
J Hosp Infect ; 2020 Jul 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-635357

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In late 2019, a novel human coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, emerged in Wuhan, China. This virus has caused a global pandemic involving more than 200 countries. SARS-CoV-2 is highly adapted to humans and readily transmits from person-to-person. AIM: The aim of this study was to investigate the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 under various environmental factors, disinfectants and different pH conditions. The efficacy of a variety of laboratory virus inactivation methods and home disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2 were investigated. METHODS: The residual virus in dried form or in solution was titrated on Vero E6 cell line at day 0, 1, 3, 5, and 7 after incubation at different temperatures. The viability of virus was determined after treatment with different disinfectants and pH solutions at room temperature (20∼25oC). FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 was able to retain viability for 3-5 days in dried form or 7 days in solution at room temperature. SARS-CoV-2 could be detected under a wide range of pH conditions from pH4 to pH11 for several days and 1 to 2 days in stool at room temperature but lost 5 logs of infectivity. A variety of commonly used disinfectants and laboratory inactivation procedures were found to reduce viral viability effectively. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on environmental surfaces and raises the possibility of faecal-oral transmission. Commonly used fixatives, nucleic acid extraction methods and heat inactivation were found to significantly reduce viral infectivity that could ensure hospital and laboratory safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

14.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 9(1): 1664-1670, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-630769

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has a wide spectrum of disease severity from mild upper respiratory symptoms to respiratory failure. The role of neutralizing antibody (NAb) response in disease progression remains elusive. This study determined the seroprevalence of 733 non-COVID-19 individuals from April 2018 to February 2020 in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and compared the neutralizing antibody (NAb) responses of eight COVID-19 patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with those of 42 patients not admitted to the ICU. We found that NAb against SARS-CoV-2 was not detectable in any of the anonymous serum specimens from the 733 non-COVID-19 individuals. The peak serum geometric mean NAb titer was significantly higher among the eight ICU patients than the 42 non-ICU patients (7280 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1468-36099]) vs (671 [95% CI, 368-1223]). Furthermore, NAb titer increased significantly at earlier infection stages among ICU patients than among non-ICU patients. The median number of days to reach the peak Nab titers after symptoms onset was shorter among the ICU patients (17.6) than that of the non-ICU patients (20.1). Multivariate analysis showed that oxygen requirement and fever during admission were the only clinical factors independently associated with higher NAb titers. Our data suggested that SARS-CoV-2 was unlikely to have silently spread before the COVID-19 emergence in Hong Kong. ICU patients had an accelerated and augmented NAb response compared to non-ICU patients, which was associated with disease severity. Further studies are required to understand the relationship between high NAb response and disease severity.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Adult , Aged , Cells, Cultured , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics
16.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 20(9): 1051-1060, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-597077

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A cruise ship is a closed-off environment that simulates the basic functioning of a city in terms of living conditions and interpersonal interactions. Thus, the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined because of an onboard outbreak of COVID-19 in February, 2020, provides an opportunity to define the shedding pattern of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and patient antibody responses before and after the onset of symptoms. METHODS: We recruited adult (≥18 years) passengers from Hong Kong who had been on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan in February, 2020. All participants had been found to be negative for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR 4 days before disembarking and were transferred to further quarantine in a public estate in Hong Kong, where they were recruited. Participants were prospectively screened by quantitative RT-PCR (RT-qPCR) of nasopharyngeal and throat swabs, and serum IgG and IgM against internal nucleoprotein and the surface spike receptor-binding protein (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 at baseline (upon entering quarantine) and on days 4, 8, and 12 of quarantine. FINDINGS: On Feb 22, 2020, 215 adults were recruited, of whom nine (4%; 95% CI 2-8) were positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR or serology and were hospitalised. Of these nine patients, nasopharyngeal swab RT-qPCR was positive in eight patients (89%; 57-99) at baseline. All nine patients were positive for anti-RBD IgG by day 8. Eight (89%; 57-99) were simultaneously positive for nasopharyngeal swab RT-PCR and anti-RBD IgG. One patient who was positive for anti-RBD IgG and had a negative viral load had multifocal peripheral ground-glass changes on high-resolution CT that were typical of COVID-19. Five patients (56%; 27-81) with ground-glass changes on high-resolution CT were found to have higher anti-nucleoprotein-IgG OD values on day 8 and 12 and anti-RBD IgG OD value on day 12 than patients without ground-glass changes. Six (67%; 35-88) patients remained asymptomatic throughout the 14-day quarantine period. INTERPRETATION: Patients with COVID-19 can develop asymptomatic lung infection with viral shedding and those with evidence of pneumonia on imaging tend to have an increased antibody response. Positive IgG or IgM confirmed infection of COVID-19 in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. A combination of RT-PCR and serology should be implemented for case finding and contact tracing to facilitate early diagnosis, prompt isolation, and treatment. FUNDING: Shaw Foundation Hong Kong; Sanming-Project of Medicine (Shenzhen); High Level-Hospital Program (Guangdong Health Commission).


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Seroconversion , Virus Shedding , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/diagnostic imaging , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Hong Kong , Humans , Japan/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnostic imaging , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Quarantine , Ships , Thorax/diagnostic imaging , Viral Load , Young Adult
17.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-592405

ABSTRACT

The ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) signals an urgent need for an expansion in treatment options. In this study, we investigated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of 22 antiviral agents with known broad-spectrum antiviral activities against coronaviruses and/or other viruses. They were first evaluated in our primary screening in VeroE6 cells and then the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral agents were further evaluated using viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays. In addition to remdesivir, lopinavir, and chloroquine, our primary screening additionally identified types I and II recombinant interferons, 25-hydroxycholesterol, and AM580 as the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents among the 22 antiviral agents. Betaferon (interferon-ß1b) exhibited the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays among the recombinant interferons. The lipogenesis modulators 25-hydroxycholesterol and AM580 exhibited EC50 at low micromolar levels and selectivity indices of >10.0. Combinational use of these host-based antiviral agents with virus-based antivirals to target different processes of the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle should be evaluated in animal models and/or clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Animals , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Interferons/metabolism , Lipogenesis/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Viral Plaque Assay , Virus Replication/drug effects
18.
Open Forum Infect. Dis. ; 6(7)20200605.
Article in English | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-592170

ABSTRACT

Background: Olfactory dysfunction (OD) has been reported in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, there are knowledge gaps about the severity, prevalence, etiology, and duration of OD in COVID-19 patients. Methods: Olfactory function was assessed in all participants using questionnaires and the butanol threshold test (BTT). Patients with COVID-19 and abnormal olfaction were further evaluated using the smell identification test (SIT), sinus imaging, and nasoendoscopy. Selected patients received nasal biopsies. Systematic review was performed according to PRISMA guidelines. PubMed items from January 1, 2020 to April 23, 2020 were searched. Studies that reported clinical data on olfactory disturbances in COVID-19 patients were analyzed. Results: We included 18 COVID-19 patients and 18 controls. Among COVID-19 patients, 12 of 18 (67%) reported olfactory symptoms and OD was confirmed in 6 patients by BTT and SIT. Olfactory dysfunction was the only symptom in 2 patients. Mean BTT score of patients was worse than controls (P =. 004, difference in means = 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 0.6-2.9). Sinusitis and olfactory cleft obstruction were absent in most patients. Immunohistochemical analysis of nasal biopsy revealed the presence of infiltrative CD68+macrophages harboring severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigen in the stroma. Olfactory dysfunction persisted in 2 patients despite clinical recovery. Systematic review showed that the prevalence of olfactory disturbances in COVID-19 ranged from 5% to 98%. Most studies did not assess olfaction quantitatively. Conclusions: Olfactory dysfunction is common in COVID-19 and may be the only symptom. Coronavirus disease 2019-related OD can be severe and prolonged. Mucosal infiltration by CD68+macrophages expressing SARS-CoV-2 viral antigen may contribute to COVID-19-related OD.

19.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-8, 2020 Jun 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-547446

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of severe respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-laden aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains uncertain. Discordant findings of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples were noted in early reports. METHODS: Sampling of air close to 6 asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients with and without surgical masks was performed with sampling devices using sterile gelatin filters. Frequently touched environmental surfaces near 21 patients were swabbed before daily environmental disinfection. The correlation between the viral loads of patients' clinical samples and environmental samples was analyzed. RESULTS: All air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the 6 patients singly isolated inside airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with 12 air changes per hour. Of 377 environmental samples near 21 patients, 19 (5.0%) were positive by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with a median viral load of 9.2 × 102 copies/mL (range, 1.1 × 102 to 9.4 × 104 copies/mL). The contamination rate was highest on patients' mobile phones (6 of 77, 7.8%), followed by bed rails (4 of 74, 5.4%) and toilet door handles (4 of 76, 5.3%). We detected a significant correlation between viral load ranges in clinical samples and positivity rate of environmental samples (P < .001). CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detectable by air samplers, which suggests that the airborne route is not the predominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Wearing a surgical mask, appropriate hand hygiene, and thorough environmental disinfection are sufficient infection control measures for COVID-19 patients isolated singly in AIIRs. However, this conclusion may not apply during aerosol-generating procedures or in cohort wards with large numbers of COVID-19 patients.

20.
J Med Virol ; 2020 Jun 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-530466

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 using molecular assays is critical for patient management and the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is an increasing number of SARS-CoV-2 viruses with mutations at the primer or probe binding sites, and these mutations may affect the sensitivity of currently available real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays targeting the nucleocapsid (N), envelope (E), and open reading frame 1a or 1b genes. Using sequence-independent single-primer amplification and nanopore whole-genome sequencing, we have found that the nonstructural protein 1 (nsp1) gene, located at the 5' end of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, was highly expressed in the nasopharyngeal or saliva specimens of 9 COVID-19 patients of different clinical severity. Based on this finding, we have developed a novel nsp1 real-time RT-PCR assay. The primers and probes are highly specific for SARS-CoV-2. Validation with 101 clinical specimens showed that our nsp1 RT-PCR assay has a sensitivity of 93.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 86.2%-97.2%), which was similar to those of N and E gene RT-PCR assays. The diagnostic specificity was 100% (95% CI: 92.9%-100%). The addition of nsp1 for multitarget detection of SARS-CoV-2 can avoid false-negative results due to mutations at the primers/probes binding sites of currently available RT-PCR assays.

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