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1.
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 211(2-3): 105-117, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702741

ABSTRACT

Since autumn 2020, rapid antigen tests (RATs) have been implemented in several countries as an important pillar of the national testing strategy to rapidly screen for infections on site during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The current surge in infection rates around the globe is driven by the variant of concern (VoC) omicron (B.1.1.529). Here, we evaluated the performance of nine SARS-CoV-2 RATs in a single-centre laboratory study. We examined a total of 115 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-negative and 166 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive respiratory swab samples (101 omicron, 65 delta (B.1.617.2)) collected from October 2021 until January 2022 as well as cell culture-expanded clinical isolates of both VoCs. In an assessment of the analytical sensitivity in clinical specimen, the 50% limit of detection (LoD50) ranged from 1.77 × 106 to 7.03 × 107 RNA copies subjected to the RAT for omicron compared to 1.32 × 105 to 2.05 × 106 for delta. To score positive in these point-of-care tests, up to 10-fold (LoD50) or 101-fold (LoD95) higher virus loads were required for omicron- compared to delta-containing samples. The rates of true positive test results for omicron samples in the highest virus load category (Ct values < 25) ranged between 31.4 and 77.8%, while they dropped to 0-8.3% for samples with intermediate Ct values (25-30). Of note, testing of expanded virus stocks suggested a comparable RAT sensitivity of both VoCs, questioning the predictive value of this type of in vitro-studies for clinical performance. Given their importance for national test strategies in the current omicron wave, awareness must be increased for the reduced detection rate of omicron infections by RATs and a short list of suitable RATs that fulfill the minimal requirements of performance should be rapidly disclosed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics
2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312777

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is a novel virus of the family Coronaviridae. The virus causes the infectious disease COVID-19. The biology of coronaviruses has been studied for many years. However, bioinformatics tools designed explicitly for SARS-CoV-2 have only recently been developed as a rapid reaction to the need for fast detection, understanding, and treatment of COVID-19. To control the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is of utmost importance to get insight into the evolution and pathogenesis of the virus. In this review, we cover bioinformatics workflows and tools for the routine detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the reliable analysis of sequencing data, the tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluation of containment measures, the study of coronavirus evolution, the discovery of potential drug targets and development of therapeutic strategies. For each tool, we briefly describe its use case and how it advances research specifically for SARS-CoV-2. All tools are freely available online, either through web applications or public code repositories.

3.
Blood ; 139(12): 1903-1907, 2022 03 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673896

ABSTRACT

Vaccine-induced thrombotic thrombocytopenia (VITT) is triggered by vaccination against COVID-19 with adenovirus vector vaccines (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19; Ad26.COV2-S). In this observational study, we followed VITT patients for changes in their reactivity of platelet-activating antiplatelet factor 4 (PF4) immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies by an anti-PF4/heparin IgG enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and a functional test for PF4-dependent, platelet-activating antibodies, and new thrombotic complications. Sixty-five VITT patients (41 females; median, 51 years; range, 18-80 years) were followed for a median of 25 weeks (range, 3-36 weeks). In 48/65 patients (73.8%; CI, 62.0% to 83.0%) the functional assay became negative. The median time to negative functional test result was 15.5 weeks (range, 5-28 weeks). In parallel, EIA optical density (OD) values decreased from median 3.12 to 1.52 (P < .0001), but seroreversion to a negative result was seen in only 14 (21.5%) patients. Five (7.5%) patients showed persistent platelet-activating antibodies and high EIA ODs for >11 weeks. None of the 29 VITT patients who received a second vaccination dose with an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine developed new thromboses or relevant increase in anti-PF4/heparin IgG EIA OD, regardless of whether PF4-dependent platelet-activating antibodies were still present. PF4-dependent platelet-activating antibodies are transient in most patients with VITT. VITT patients can safely receive a second COVID-19 mRNA-vaccine shot.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Thrombocytopenia , Thrombosis , Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Heparin/adverse effects , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Platelet Factor 4 , Thrombocytopenia/chemically induced , Vaccines/adverse effects
4.
Cell Rep ; 37(13): 110169, 2021 12 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616407

ABSTRACT

The importance of pre-existing immune responses to seasonal endemic coronaviruses (HCoVs) for the susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and the course of COVID-19 is the subject of an ongoing scientific debate. Recent studies postulate that immune responses to previous HCoV infections can either have a slightly protective or no effect on SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and, consequently, be neglected for COVID-19 risk stratification. Challenging this notion, we provide evidence that pre-existing, anti-nucleocapsid antibodies against endemic α-coronaviruses and S2 domain-specific anti-spike antibodies against ß-coronavirus HCoV-OC43 are elevated in patients with COVID-19 compared to pre-pandemic donors. This finding is particularly pronounced in males and in critically ill patients. Longitudinal evaluation reveals that antibody cross-reactivity or polyclonal stimulation by SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to be confounders. Thus, specific pre-existing immunity to seasonal coronaviruses may increase susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and predispose individuals to an adverse COVID-19 outcome, guiding risk management and supporting the development of universal coronavirus vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Antibodies/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/etiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/pathogenicity , Cross Reactions/immunology , Female , Germany , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Seasons , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
5.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7276, 2021 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1575708

ABSTRACT

Double membrane vesicles (DMVs) serve as replication organelles of plus-strand RNA viruses such as hepatitis C virus (HCV) and SARS-CoV-2. Viral DMVs are morphologically analogous to DMVs formed during autophagy, but lipids driving their biogenesis are largely unknown. Here we show that production of the lipid phosphatidic acid (PA) by acylglycerolphosphate acyltransferase (AGPAT) 1 and 2 in the ER is important for DMV biogenesis in viral replication and autophagy. Using DMVs in HCV-replicating cells as model, we found that AGPATs are recruited to and critically contribute to HCV and SARS-CoV-2 replication and proper DMV formation. An intracellular PA sensor accumulated at viral DMV formation sites, consistent with elevated levels of PA in fractions of purified DMVs analyzed by lipidomics. Apart from AGPATs, PA is generated by alternative pathways and their pharmacological inhibition also impaired HCV and SARS-CoV-2 replication as well as formation of autophagosome-like DMVs. These data identify PA as host cell lipid involved in proper replication organelle formation by HCV and SARS-CoV-2, two phylogenetically disparate viruses causing very different diseases, i.e. chronic liver disease and COVID-19, respectively. Host-targeting therapy aiming at PA synthesis pathways might be suitable to attenuate replication of these viruses.


Subject(s)
Hepacivirus/genetics , Phosphatidic Acids/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/physiology , 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase , Acyltransferases , Autophagosomes/metabolism , Autophagy , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cell Survival , Dengue Virus , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Membrane Proteins , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Nonstructural Proteins , Viral Proteins , Zika Virus
6.
Cell reports ; 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1565013

ABSTRACT

Wratil et al. find specific antibody responses against seasonal human coronaviruses, which cause the common cold, to be elevated in patients with COVID-19 compared to pre-pandemic blood donors. This specific immunity is likely pre-existing in patients and increases their susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 and severity of COVID-19.

8.
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 210(5-6): 263-275, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366361

ABSTRACT

A versatile portfolio of diagnostic tests is essential for the containment of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Besides nucleic acid-based test systems and point-of-care (POCT) antigen (Ag) tests, quantitative, laboratory-based nucleocapsid Ag tests for SARS-CoV-2 have recently been launched. Here, we evaluated four commercial Ag tests on automated platforms and one POCT to detect SARS-CoV-2. We evaluated PCR-positive (n = 107) and PCR-negative (n = 303) respiratory swabs from asymptomatic and symptomatic patients at the end of the second pandemic wave in Germany (February-March 2021) as well as clinical isolates EU1 (B.1.117), variant of concern (VOC) Alpha (B.1.1.7) or Beta (B.1.351), which had been expanded in a biosafety level 3 laboratory. The specificities of automated SARS-CoV-2 Ag tests ranged between 97.0 and 99.7% (Lumipulse G SARS-CoV-2 Ag (Fujirebio): 97.03%, Elecsys SARS-CoV-2 Ag (Roche Diagnostics): 97.69%; LIAISON® SARS-CoV-2 Ag (Diasorin) and SARS-CoV-2 Ag ELISA (Euroimmun): 99.67%). In this study cohort of hospitalized patients, the clinical sensitivities of tests were low, ranging from 17.76 to 52.34%, and analytical sensitivities ranged from 420,000 to 25,000,000 Geq/ml. In comparison, the detection limit of the Roche Rapid Ag Test (RAT) was 9,300,000 Geq/ml, detecting 23.58% of respiratory samples. Receiver-operating-characteristics (ROCs) and Youden's index analyses were performed to further characterize the assays' overall performance and determine optimal assay cutoffs for sensitivity and specificity. VOCs carrying up to four amino acid mutations in nucleocapsid were detected by all five assays with characteristics comparable to non-VOCs. In summary, automated, quantitative SARS-CoV-2 Ag tests show variable performance and are not necessarily superior to a standard POCT. The efficacy of any alternative testing strategies to complement nucleic acid-based assays must be carefully evaluated by independent laboratories prior to widespread implementation.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Automation/economics , Automation/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/economics , Cohort Studies , False Negative Reactions , Germany , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
Infection ; 50(2): 381-394, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351389

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To determine risk factors for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in healthcare workers (HCWs), characterize symptoms, and evaluate preventive measures against SARS-CoV-2 spread in hospitals. METHODS: In a cross-sectional study conducted between May 27 and August 12, 2020, after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, we obtained serological, epidemiological, occupational as well as COVID-19-related data at a quaternary care, multicenter hospital in Munich, Germany. RESULTS: 7554 HCWs participated, 2.2% of whom tested positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Multivariate analysis revealed increased COVID-19 risk for nurses (3.1% seropositivity, 95% CI 2.5-3.9%, p = 0.012), staff working on COVID-19 units (4.6% seropositivity, 95% CI 3.2-6.5%, p = 0.032), males (2.4% seropositivity, 95% CI 1.8-3.2%, p = 0.019), and HCWs reporting high-risk exposures to infected patients (5.5% seropositivity, 95% CI 4.0-7.5%, p = 0.0022) or outside of work (12.0% seropositivity, 95% CI 8.0-17.4%, p < 0.0001). Smoking was a protective factor (1.1% seropositivity, 95% CI 0.7-1.8% p = 0.00018) and the symptom taste disorder was strongly associated with COVID-19 (29.8% seropositivity, 95% CI 24.3-35.8%, p < 0.0001). An unbiased decision tree identified subgroups with different risk profiles. Working from home as a preventive measure did not protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection. A PCR-testing strategy focused on symptoms and high-risk exposures detected all larger COVID-19 outbreaks. CONCLUSION: Awareness of the identified COVID-19 risk factors and successful surveillance strategies are key to protecting HCWs against SARS-CoV-2, especially in settings with limited vaccination capacities or reduced vaccine efficacy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Pandemics/prevention & control , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Brief Bioinform ; 22(2): 642-663, 2021 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343629

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is a novel virus of the family Coronaviridae. The virus causes the infectious disease COVID-19. The biology of coronaviruses has been studied for many years. However, bioinformatics tools designed explicitly for SARS-CoV-2 have only recently been developed as a rapid reaction to the need for fast detection, understanding and treatment of COVID-19. To control the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is of utmost importance to get insight into the evolution and pathogenesis of the virus. In this review, we cover bioinformatics workflows and tools for the routine detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the reliable analysis of sequencing data, the tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluation of containment measures, the study of coronavirus evolution, the discovery of potential drug targets and development of therapeutic strategies. For each tool, we briefly describe its use case and how it advances research specifically for SARS-CoV-2. All tools are free to use and available online, either through web applications or public code repositories. Contact:evbc@unj-jena.de.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Computational Biology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Biomedical Research , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
11.
Med Microbiol Immunol ; 210(1): 65-72, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033378

ABSTRACT

Successful containment strategies for the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic will depend on reliable diagnostic assays. Point-of-care antigen tests (POCT) may provide an alternative to time-consuming PCR tests to rapidly screen for acute infections on site. Here, we evaluated two SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests: the STANDARD™ F COVID-19 Ag FIA (FIA) and the SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT). For diagnostic assessment, we used a large set of PCR-positive and PCR-negative respiratory swabs from asymptomatic and symptomatic patients and health care workers in the setting of two University Hospitals in Munich, Germany, i.e. emergency rooms, patient care units or employee test centers. For FIA, overall clinical sensitivity and specificity were 45.4% (n = 381) and 97.8% (n = 360), respectively, and for RAT, 50.3% (n = 445) and 97.7% (n = 386), respectively. For primary diagnosis of asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals, diagnostic sensitivities were 60.9% (FIA) (n = 189) and 64.5% (RAT) (n = 256). This questions these tests' utility for the reliable detection of acute SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals, in particular in high-risk settings. We support the proposal that convincing high-quality outcome data on the impact of false-negative and false-positive antigen test results need to be obtained in a POCT setting. Moreover, the efficacy of alternative testing strategies to complement PCR assays must be evaluated by independent laboratories, prior to widespread implementation in national and international test strategies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/immunology , Adult , Antigens, Viral/blood , Child , Child, Preschool , False Negative Reactions , False Positive Reactions , Germany , Humans , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity
12.
Nat Biotechnol ; 39(6): 705-716, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-997913

ABSTRACT

In coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), hypertension and cardiovascular diseases are major risk factors for critical disease progression. However, the underlying causes and the effects of the main anti-hypertensive therapies-angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)-remain unclear. Combining clinical data (n = 144) and single-cell sequencing data of airway samples (n = 48) with in vitro experiments, we observed a distinct inflammatory predisposition of immune cells in patients with hypertension that correlated with critical COVID-19 progression. ACEI treatment was associated with dampened COVID-19-related hyperinflammation and with increased cell intrinsic antiviral responses, whereas ARB treatment related to enhanced epithelial-immune cell interactions. Macrophages and neutrophils of patients with hypertension, in particular under ARB treatment, exhibited higher expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines CCL3 and CCL4 and the chemokine receptor CCR1. Although the limited size of our cohort does not allow us to establish clinical efficacy, our data suggest that the clinical benefits of ACEI treatment in patients with COVID-19 who have hypertension warrant further investigation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Chemokine CCL3/genetics , Chemokine CCL4/genetics , Hypertension/drug therapy , Receptors, CCR1/genetics , Adult , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/administration & dosage , Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/adverse effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/adverse effects , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Disease Progression , Female , Gene Expression Regulation/drug effects , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Hypertension/genetics , Hypertension/pathology , Inflammation/complications , Inflammation/drug therapy , Inflammation/genetics , Inflammation/virology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA-Seq , Respiratory System/drug effects , Respiratory System/pathology , Respiratory System/virology , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Single-Cell Analysis
13.
PLoS Comput Biol ; 16(2): e1007587, 2020 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-7370

ABSTRACT

Genetic perturbation screens using RNA interference (RNAi) have been conducted successfully to identify host factors that are essential for the life cycle of bacteria or viruses. So far, most published studies identified host factors primarily for single pathogens. Furthermore, often only a small subset of genes, e.g., genes encoding kinases, have been targeted. Identification of host factors on a pan-pathogen level, i.e., genes that are crucial for the replication of a diverse group of pathogens has received relatively little attention, despite the fact that such common host factors would be highly relevant, for instance, for devising broad-spectrum anti-pathogenic drugs. Here, we present a novel two-stage procedure for the identification of host factors involved in the replication of different viruses using a combination of random effects models and Markov random walks on a functional interaction network. We first infer candidate genes by jointly analyzing multiple perturbations screens while at the same time adjusting for high variance inherent in these screens. Subsequently the inferred estimates are spread across a network of functional interactions thereby allowing for the analysis of missing genes in the biological studies, smoothing the effect sizes of previously found host factors, and considering a priori pathway information defined over edges of the network. We applied the procedure to RNAi screening data of four different positive-sense single-stranded RNA viruses, Hepatitis C virus, Chikungunya virus, Dengue virus and Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and detected novel host factors, including UBC, PLCG1, and DYRK1B, which are predicted to significantly impact the replication cycles of these viruses. We validated the detected host factors experimentally using pharmacological inhibition and an additional siRNA screen and found that some of the predicted host factors indeed influence the replication of these pathogens.


Subject(s)
Gene Regulatory Networks , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Models, Biological , Viruses/genetics , Genes, Viral , RNA Interference
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