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1.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(3): e0231121, 2022 Jun 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846341

ABSTRACT

The modulators of severe COVID-19 have emerged as the most intriguing features of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis. This is especially true as we are encountering variants of concern (VOC) with increased transmissibility and vaccination breakthroughs. Microbial co-infections are being investigated as one of the crucial factors for exacerbation of disease severity and complications of COVID-19. A key question remains whether early transcriptionally active microbial signature/s in COVID-19 patients can provide a window for future disease severity susceptibility and outcome? Using complementary metagenomics sequencing approaches, respiratory virus oligo panel (RVOP) and Holo-seq, our study highlights the possible functional role of nasopharyngeal early resident transcriptionally active microbes in modulating disease severity, within recovered patients with sub-phenotypes (mild, moderate, severe) and mortality. The integrative analysis combines patients' clinical parameters, SARS-CoV-2 phylogenetic analysis, microbial differential composition, and their functional role. The clinical sub-phenotypes analysis led to the identification of transcriptionally active bacterial species associated with disease severity. We found significant transcript abundance of Achromobacter xylosoxidans and Bacillus cereus in the mortality, Leptotrichia buccalis in the severe, Veillonella parvula in the moderate, and Actinomyces meyeri and Halomonas sp. in the mild COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the metabolic pathways, distinguishing the microbial functional signatures between the clinical sub-phenotypes, were also identified. We report a plausible mechanism wherein the increased transcriptionally active bacterial isolates might contribute to enhanced inflammatory response and co-infections that could modulate the disease severity in these groups. Current study provides an opportunity for potentially using these bacterial species for screening and identifying COVID-19 patient sub-groups with severe disease outcome and priority medical care. IMPORTANCE COVID-19 is invariably a disease of diverse clinical manifestation, with multiple facets involved in modulating the progression and outcome. In this regard, we investigated the role of transcriptionally active microbial co-infections as possible modulators of disease pathology in hospital admitted SARS-CoV-2 infected patients. Specifically, can there be early nasopharyngeal microbial signatures indicative of prospective disease severity? Based on disease severity symptoms, the patients were segregated into clinical sub-phenotypes: mild, moderate, severe (recovered), and mortality. We identified significant presence of transcriptionally active isolates, Achromobacter xylosoxidans and Bacillus cereus in the mortality patients. Importantly, the bacterial species might contribute toward enhancing the inflammatory responses as well as reported to be resistant to common antibiotic therapy, which together hold potential to alter the disease severity and outcome.


Subject(s)
Achromobacter denitrificans , COVID-19 , Coinfection , Microbiota , Achromobacter denitrificans/genetics , Bacillus cereus , Humans , Microbiota/genetics , Phylogeny , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index
2.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 12: 868414, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1779936

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has had an enormous burden on the healthcare system worldwide as a consequence of its new emerging variants of concern (VOCs) since late 2019. Elucidating viral genome characteristics and its influence on disease severity and clinical outcome has been one of the crucial aspects toward pandemic management. Genomic surveillance holds the key to identify the spectrum of mutations vis-à-vis disease outcome. Here, in our study, we performed a comprehensive analysis of the mutation distribution among the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) recovered and mortality patients. In addition to the clinical data analysis, the significant mutations within the two groups were analyzed for their global presence in an effort to understand the temporal dynamics of the mutations globally in comparison with our cohort. Interestingly, we found that all the mutations within the recovered patients showed significantly low global presence, indicating the possibility of regional pool of mutations and the absence of preferential selection by the virus during the course of the pandemic. In addition, we found the mutation S194L to have the most significant occurrence in the mortality group, suggesting its role toward a severe disease progression. Also, we discovered three mutations within the mortality patients with a high cohort and global distribution, which later became a part of variants of interest (VOIs)/VOCs, suggesting its significant role in enhancing viral characteristics. To understand the possible mechanism, we performed molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of nucleocapsid mutations, S194L and S194*, from the mortality and recovered patients, respectively, to examine its impacts on protein structure and stability. Importantly, we observed the mutation S194* within the recovered to be comparatively unstable, hence showing a low global frequency, as we observed. Thus, our study provides integrative insights about the clinical features, mutations significantly associated with the two different clinical outcomes, its global presence, and its possible effects at the structural level to understand the role of mutations in driving the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , Genome, Viral , Humans , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
3.
Front Microbiol ; 13: 763169, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753386

ABSTRACT

Vaccine development against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been of primary importance to contain the ongoing global pandemic. However, studies have demonstrated that vaccine effectiveness is reduced and the immune response is evaded by variants of concern (VOCs), which include Alpha, Beta, Delta, and, the most recent, Omicron. Subsequently, several vaccine breakthrough (VBT) infections have been reported among healthcare workers (HCWs) due to their prolonged exposure to viruses at healthcare facilities. We conducted a clinico-genomic study of ChAdOx1 (Covishield) VBT cases in HCWs after complete vaccination. Based on the clinical data analysis, most of the cases were categorized as mild, with minimal healthcare support requirements. These patients were divided into two sub-phenotypes based on symptoms: mild and mild plus. Statistical analysis showed a significant correlation of specific clinical parameters with VBT sub-phenotypes. Viral genomic sequence analysis of VBT cases revealed a spectrum of high- and low-frequency mutations. More in-depth analysis revealed the presence of low-frequency mutations within the functionally important regions of SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Emphasizing the potential benefits of surveillance, low-frequency mutations, D144H in the N gene and D138Y in the S gene, were observed to potentially alter the protein secondary structure with possible influence on viral characteristics. Substantiated by the literature, our study highlights the importance of integrative analysis of pathogen genomic and clinical data to offer insights into low-frequency mutations that could be a modulator of VBT infections.

4.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0264785, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745317

ABSTRACT

The variability of clinical course and prognosis of COVID-19 highlights the necessity of patient sub-group risk stratification based on clinical data. In this study, clinical data from a cohort of Indian COVID-19 hospitalized patients is used to develop risk stratification and mortality prediction models. We analyzed a set of 70 clinical parameters including physiological and hematological for developing machine learning models to identify biomarkers. We also compared the Indian and Wuhan cohort, and analyzed the role of steroids. A bootstrap averaged ensemble of Bayesian networks was also learned to construct an explainable model for discovering actionable influences on mortality and days to outcome. We discovered blood parameters, diabetes, co-morbidity and SpO2 levels as important risk stratification features, whereas mortality prediction is dependent only on blood parameters. XGboost and logistic regression model yielded the best performance on risk stratification and mortality prediction, respectively (AUC score 0.83, AUC score 0.92). Blood coagulation parameters (ferritin, D-Dimer and INR), immune and inflammation parameters IL6, LDH and Neutrophil (%) are common features for both risk and mortality prediction. Compared with Wuhan patients, Indian patients with extreme blood parameters indicated higher survival rate. Analyses of medications suggest that a higher proportion of survivors and mild patients who were administered steroids had extreme neutrophil and lymphocyte percentages. The ensemble averaged Bayesian network structure revealed serum ferritin to be the most important predictor for mortality and Vitamin D to influence severity independent of days to outcome. The findings are important for effective triage during strains on healthcare infrastructure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Bayes Theorem , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/etiology , Child , China/epidemiology , Female , Humans , India/epidemiology , Machine Learning , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Statistical , Risk Assessment/methods , Risk Factors , Young Adult
5.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 383, 2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1636827

ABSTRACT

A single center open label phase 2 randomised control trial (Clinical Trial Registry of India No. CTRI/2020/05/025209) was done to assess clinical and immunological benefits of passive immunization using convalescent plasma therapy. At the Infectious Diseases and Beleghata General Hospital in Kolkata, India, 80 patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 disease and fulfilling the inclusion criteria (aged more than 18 years, with either mild ARDS having PaO2/FiO2 200-300 or moderate ARDS having PaO2/FiO2 100-200, not on mechanical ventilation) were recruited and randomized into either standard of care (SOC) arm (N = 40) or the convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) arm (N = 40). Primary outcomes were all-cause mortality by day 30 of enrolment and immunological correlates of response to therapy if any, for which plasma abundance of a large panel of cytokines was quantitated before and after intervention to assess the effect of CPT on the systemic hyper-inflammation encountered in these patients. The secondary outcomes were recovery from ARDS and time taken to negative viral RNA PCR as well as to report any adverse reaction to plasma therapy. Transfused convalescent plasma was characterized in terms of its neutralizing antibody content as well as proteome. The trial was completed and it was found that primary outcome of all-cause mortality was not significantly different among severe COVID-19 patients with ARDS randomized to two treatment arms (Mantel-Haenszel Hazard Ratio 0.6731, 95% confidence interval 0.3010-1.505, with a P value of 0.3424 on Mantel-Cox Log-rank test). No adverse effect was reported with CPT. In severe COVID-19 patients with mild or moderate ARDS no significant clinical benefit was registered in this clinical trial with convalescent plasma therapy in terms of prespecified outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , Blood Donors , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/blood , Female , Hospitals, General , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Immunization, Passive , India , Inflammation , Male , Phylogeny , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/immunology , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/therapy , Respiratory Distress Syndrome/virology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Survival Analysis , Treatment Outcome , Viral Load
6.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 11: 783961, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1630423

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has demonstrated the range of disease severity and pathogen genomic diversity emanating from a singular virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2). This diversity in disease manifestations and genomic mutations has challenged healthcare management and resource allocation during the pandemic, especially for countries such as India with a bigger population base. Here, we undertake a combinatorial approach toward scrutinizing the diagnostic and genomic diversity to extract meaningful information from the chaos of COVID-19 in the Indian context. Using methods of statistical correlation, machine learning (ML), and genomic sequencing on a clinically comprehensive patient dataset with corresponding with/without respiratory support samples, we highlight specific significant diagnostic parameters and ML models for assessing the risk of developing severe COVID-19. This information is further contextualized in the backdrop of SARS-CoV-2 genomic features in the cohort for pathogen genomic evolution monitoring. Analysis of the patient demographic features and symptoms revealed that age, breathlessness, and cough were significantly associated with severe disease; at the same time, we found no severe patient reporting absence of physical symptoms. Observing the trends in biochemical/biophysical diagnostic parameters, we noted that the respiratory rate, total leukocyte count (TLC), blood urea levels, and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were directly correlated with the probability of developing severe disease. Out of five different ML algorithms tested to predict patient severity, the multi-layer perceptron-based model performed the best, with a receiver operating characteristic (ROC) score of 0.96 and an F1 score of 0.791. The SARS-CoV-2 genomic analysis highlighted a set of mutations with global frequency flips and future inculcation into variants of concern (VOCs) and variants of interest (VOIs), which can be further monitored and annotated for functional significance. In summary, our findings highlight the importance of SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance and statistical analysis of clinical data to develop a risk assessment ML model.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Genomics , Humans , Mutation , Risk Assessment
7.
Front Genet ; 12: 753648, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605591

ABSTRACT

Globally, SARS-CoV-2 has moved from one tide to another with ebbs in between. Genomic surveillance has greatly aided the detection and tracking of the virus and the identification of the variants of concern (VOC). The knowledge and understanding from genomic surveillance is important for a populous country like India for public health and healthcare officials for advance planning. An integrative analysis of the publicly available datasets in GISAID from India reveals the differential distribution of clades, lineages, gender, and age over a year (Apr 2020-Mar 2021). The significant insights include the early evidence towards B.1.617 and B.1.1.7 lineages in the specific states of India. Pan-India longitudinal data highlighted that B.1.36* was the predominant clade in India until January-February 2021 after which it has gradually been replaced by the B.1.617.1 lineage, from December 2020 onward. Regional analysis of the spread of SARS-CoV-2 indicated that B.1.617.3 was first seen in India in the month of October in the state of Maharashtra, while the now most prevalent strain B.1.617.2 was first seen in Bihar and subsequently spread to the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, and West Bengal. To enable a real time understanding of the transmission and evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes, we built a transmission map available on https://covid19-indiana.soic.iupui.edu/India/EmergingLineages/April2020/to/March2021. Based on our analysis, the rate estimate for divergence in our dataset was 9.48 e-4 substitutions per site/year for SARS-CoV-2. This would enable pandemic preparedness with the addition of future sequencing data from India available in the public repositories for tracking and monitoring the VOCs and variants of interest (VOI). This would help aid decision making from the public health perspective.

8.
Pathogens ; 10(9)2021 Aug 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390714

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) manifests a broad spectrum of clinical presentations, varying in severity from asymptomatic to mortality. As the viral infection spread, it evolved and developed into many variants of concern. Understanding the impact of mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome on the clinical phenotype and associated co-morbidities is important for treatment and preventionas the pandemic progresses. Based on the mild, moderate, and severe clinical phenotypes, we analyzed the possible association between both, the clinical sub-phenotypes and genomic mutations with respect to the severity and outcome of the patients. We found a significant association between the requirement of respiratory support and co-morbidities. We also identified six SARS-CoV-2 genome mutations that were significantly correlated with severity and mortality in our cohort. We examined structural alterations at the RNA and protein levels as a result of three of these mutations: A26194T, T28854T, and C25611A, present in the Orf3a and N protein. The RNA secondary structure change due to the above mutations can be one of the modulators of the disease outcome. Our findings highlight the importance of integrative analysis in which clinical and genetic components of the disease are co-analyzed. In combination with genomic surveillance, the clinical outcome-associated mutations could help identify individuals for priority medical support.

9.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 631769, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1389197

ABSTRACT

Background: SARS-CoV-2 infection may not provide long lasting post-infection immunity. While hundreds of reinfections have reported only a few have been confirmed. Whole genome sequencing (WGS) of the viral isolates from the different episodes is mandatory to establish reinfection. Methods: Nasopharyngeal (NP), oropharyngeal (OP) and whole blood (WB) samples were collected from paired samples of four individuals who were suspected of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection based on distinct clinical episodes and RT-PCR tests. Details from their case record files and investigations were documented. RNA was extracted from the NP and OP samples and subjected to WGS, and the nucleotide and amino acid sequences were subjected to genome and protein-based functional annotation analyses. Serial serology was performed for Anti-N IgG, Anti- S1 RBD IgG, and sVNT (surrogate virus neutralizing test). Findings: Three patients were more symptomatic with lower Ct values and longer duration of illness. Seroconversion was detected soon after the second episode in three patients. WGS generated a genome coverage ranging from 80.07 to 99.7%. Phylogenetic analysis revealed sequences belonged to G, GR and "Other" clades. A total of 42mutations were identified in all the samples, consisting of 22 non-synonymous, 17 synonymous, two in upstream, and one in downstream regions of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Comparative genomic and protein-based annotation analyses revealed differences in the presence and absence of specific mutations in the virus sequences from the two episodes in all four paired samples. Interpretation: Based on the criteria of genome variations identified by whole genome sequencing and supported by clinical presentation, molecular and serological tests, we were able to confirm reinfections in two patients, provide weak evidence of reinfection in the third patient and unable to rule out a prolonged infection in the fourth. This study emphasizes the importance of detailed analyses of clinical and serological information as well as the virus's genomic variations while assessing cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection.

10.
Brief Funct Genomics ; 21(2): 90-102, 2022 Apr 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1360335

ABSTRACT

Infectious diseases are potential drivers for human evolution, through a complex, continuous and dynamic interaction between the host and the pathogen/s. It is this dynamic interaction that contributes toward the clinical outcome of a pathogenic disease. These are modulated by contributions from the human genetic variants, transcriptional response (including noncoding RNA) and the pathogen's genome architecture. Modern genomic tools and techniques have been crucial for the detection and genomic characterization of pathogens with respect to the emerging infectious diseases. Aided by next-generation sequencing (NGS), risk stratification of host population/s allows for the identification of susceptible subgroups and better disease management. Nevertheless, many challenges to a general understanding of host-pathogen interactions remain. In this review, we elucidate how a better understanding of the human host-pathogen interplay can substantially enhance, and in turn benefit from, current and future applications of multi-omics based approaches in infectious and rare diseases. This includes the RNA-level response, which modulates the disease severity and outcome. The need to understand the role of human genetic variants in disease severity and clinical outcome has been further highlighted during the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This would enhance and contribute toward our future pandemic preparedness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/genetics , Genomics/methods , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Humans , Pandemics
12.
Elife ; 102021 06 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262663

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic originating in the Wuhan province of China in late 2019 has impacted global health, causing increased mortality among elderly patients and individuals with comorbid conditions. During the passage of the virus through affected populations, it has undergone mutations, some of which have recently been linked with increased viral load and prognostic complexities. Several of these variants are point mutations that are difficult to diagnose using the gold standard quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) method and necessitates widespread sequencing which is expensive, has long turn-around times, and requires high viral load for calling mutations accurately. Here, we repurpose the high specificity of Francisella novicida Cas9 (FnCas9) to identify mismatches in the target for developing a lateral flow assay that can be successfully adapted for the simultaneous detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as for detecting point mutations in the sequence of the virus obtained from patient samples. We report the detection of the S gene mutation N501Y (present across multiple variant lineages of SARS-CoV-2) within an hour using lateral flow paper strip chemistry. The results were corroborated using deep sequencing on multiple wild-type (n = 37) and mutant (n = 22) virus infected patient samples with a sensitivity of 87% and specificity of 97%. The design principle can be rapidly adapted for other mutations (as shown also for E484K and T716I) highlighting the advantages of quick optimization and roll-out of CRISPR diagnostics (CRISPRDx) for disease surveillance even beyond COVID-19. This study was funded by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, India.


SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has a genome made of RNA (a nucleic acid similar to DNA) that can mutate, potentially making the disease more transmissible, and more lethal. Most countries have monitored the rise of mutated strains using a technique called next generation sequencing (NGS), which is time-consuming, expensive and requires skilled personnel. Sometimes the mutations to the virus are so small that they can only be detected using NGS. Finding cheaper, simpler and faster SARS-CoV-2 tests that can reliably detect mutated forms of the virus is crucial for public health authorities to monitor and manage the spread of the virus. Lateral flow tests (the same technology used in many pregnancy tests) are typically cheap, fast and simple to use. Typically, lateral flow assay strips have a band of immobilised antibodies that bind to a specific protein (or antigen). If a sample contains antigen molecules, these will bind to the immobilised antibodies, causing a chemical reaction that changes the colour of the strip and giving a positive result. However, lateral flow tests that use antibodies cannot easily detect nucleic acids, such as DNA or RNA, let alone mutations in them. To overcome this limitation, lateral flow assays can be used to detect a protein called Cas9, which, in turn, is able to bind to nucleic acids with specific sequences. Small changes in the target sequence change how well Cas9 binds to it, meaning that, in theory, this approach could be used to detect small mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Kumar et al. made a lateral flow test that could detect a Cas9 protein that binds to a nucleic acid sequence found in a specific mutant strain of SARS-CoV-2. This Cas9 was highly sensitive to changes in its target sequence, so a small mutation in the target nucleic acid led to the protein binding less strongly, and the signal from the lateral flow test being lost. This meant that the lateral flow test designed by Kumar et al. could detect mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 virus at a fraction of the price of NGS approaches if used only for diagnosis. The lateral flow test was capable of detecting mutant viruses in patient samples too, generating a colour signal within an hour of a positive sample being run through the assay. The test developed by Kumar et al. could offer public health authorities a quick and cheap method to monitor the spread of mutant SARS-CoV-2 strains; as well as a way to determine vaccine efficacy against new strains.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/genetics , CRISPR-Cas Systems/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats , Humans
15.
Pathogens ; 9(11)2020 Nov 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-909053

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has challenged the research community globally to innovate, interact, and integrate findings across hierarchies. Research on SARS-CoV-2 has produced an abundance of data spanning multiple parallels, including clinical data, SARS-CoV-2 genome architecture, host response captured through transcriptome and genetic variants, microbial co-infections (metagenome), and comorbidities. Disease phenotypes in the case of COVID-19 present an intriguing complexity that includes a broad range of symptomatic to asymptomatic individuals, further compounded by a vast heterogeneity within the spectrum of clinical symptoms displayed by the symptomatic individuals. The clinical outcome is further modulated by the presence of comorbid conditions at the point of infection. The COVID-19 pandemic has produced an expansive wealth of literature touching many aspects of SARS-CoV-2 ranging from causal to outcome, predisposition to protective (possible), co-infection to comorbidity, and differential mortality globally. As challenges provide opportunities, the current pandemic's challenge has underscored the need and opportunity to work for an integrative approach that may be able to thread together the multiple variables. Through this review, we have made an effort towards bringing together information spanning across different domains to facilitate researchers globally in pursuit of their response to SARS-CoV-2.

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