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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 12920, 2022 Jul 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1960505

ABSTRACT

During the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, symptoms of depression are commonly documented among both symptomatic and asymptomatic quarantined COVID-19 patients. Despite that many of the FDA-approved drugs have been showed anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in vitro and remarkable efficacy against COVID-19 in clinical trials, no pharmaceutical products have yet been declared to be fully effective for treating COVID-19. Antidepressants comprise five major drug classes for the treatment of depression, neuralgia, migraine prophylaxis, and eating disorders which are frequently reported symptoms in COVID-19 patients. Herein, the efficacy of eight frequently prescribed FDA-approved antidepressants on the inhibition of both SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV was assessed. Additionally, the in vitro anti-SARS-CoV-2 and anti-MERS-CoV activities were evaluated. Furthermore, molecular docking studies have been performed for these drugs against the spike (S) and main protease (Mpro) pockets of both SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV. Results showed that Amitriptyline, Imipramine, Paroxetine, and Sertraline had potential anti-viral activities. Our findings suggested that the aforementioned drugs deserve more in vitro and in vivo studies targeting COVID-19 especially for those patients suffering from depression.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Antidepressive Agents/pharmacology , Antidepressive Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning/methods , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Pathogens ; 11(8)2022 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1957410

ABSTRACT

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in Egypt in February 2020. Data about the prevalence rates of the SARS-CoV-2 lineages are relatively scarce. To understand the genetic characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 in Egypt during several waves of the pandemic, we analyzed sequences of 1256 Egyptian SARS-CoV-2 full genomes from March 2020 to May 2021. From one wave to the next, dominant strains have been observed to be replaced by other dominant strains. We detected an emerging lineage of SARS-CoV-2 in Egypt that shares mutations with the variant of concern (VOC). The neutralizing capacity of sera collected from cases infected with C.36.3 against dominant strains detected in Egypt showed a higher cross reactivity of sera with C.36.3 compared to other strains. Using in silico tools, mutations in the spike of SARS-CoV-2 induced a difference in binding affinity to the viral receptor. The C.36 lineage is the most dominant SARS-CoV-2 lineage in Egypt, and the heterotrophic antigenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants is asymmetric. These results highlight the value of genetic and antigenic analyses of circulating strains in regions where published sequences are limited.

3.
Vaccine ; 40(32): 4303-4306, 2022 Jul 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1882607

ABSTRACT

The diversity of SARS-CoV-2 continues to lead to the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays are crucial in managing the COVID-19 pandemic by determining the neutralizing antibody response. This study aims to investigate vaccine-induced antibodies against most common variants of SARS-CoV-2 in Egypt. Sera samples were collected from vaccinated participants and neutralizing activity against the SARS-CoV-2 variants was determined using microneutralization assay. Our results show that the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (AstraZeneca), and Ad26.COV2.S COVID-19 (Janssen) vaccines elicited neutralizing antibody responses more than the BBIBP-CorV vaccine (Sinopharm) against B.1, C.36.3, and AY.32 (Delta) variants. While vaccines remain highly effective in managing the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing monitoring of vaccine effectiveness is needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Ad26COVS1 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Egypt/epidemiology , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Pandemics
4.
Arch Virol ; 167(7): 1509-1519, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1858999

ABSTRACT

According to the Lebanese Ministry of Public Health, more than 1,053,000 cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection have been confirmed in Lebanon so far. The actual number of cases is likely to be higher. We conducted a serological study from October 2020 to April 2021 to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies and identify associated factors. Serum samples as well as demographic, health, and behavioral data were collected from 2,783 subjects. Sera were tested by microneutralization assay. Neutralizing antibodies were detected in 58.9% of the study population. The positivity rate increased over the study period. It was highest among the group who remained at work during the COVID-19 pandemic and in peri-urban areas with limited adherence to preventive measures. Sex and age were associated with positivity. Reported previous COVID-19, exposure to a COVID-19 patient in the family, and attending gatherings were associated with increased prevalence. Not taking any precautionary measures against COVID-19 was a risk factor, whereas precautionary measures such as working from home and washing hands were protective. The high neutralizing antibody seroprevalence rates detected in this study emphasize the high transmission rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the community. Adherence to preventive measures and non-pharmaceutical interventions imposed by the government is recommended.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Lebanon/epidemiology , Pandemics , Prevalence , Seroepidemiologic Studies
5.
Virus Res ; 317: 198824, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852224

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a global health concern, despite the ongoing vaccination campaigns, due to the emergence and rapid spread of new variants of the causative agent SARS-CoV-2. These variants are identified and tracked via the marker mutations they carry, and the classification system put in place following tremendous sequencing efforts. In this study, the genomes of 1,230 Lebanese SARS-CoV-2 strains collected throughout 2 years of the outbreak in Lebanon were analyzed, 115 of which sequenced within this project. Strains were classified into seven GISAID clades, the major one being GRY, and 36 Pango lineages, with three variants of concern identified: alpha, delta and omicron. A time course distribution of GISAID clades allowed the visualization of change throughout the two years of the Lebanese outbreak, in conjunction with major events and measures in the country. Subsequent phylogenetic analysis showed the clustering of strains belonging to the same clades. In addition, a mutational survey showed the presence of mutations in the structural, non-structural and accessory proteins. Twenty five (25) mutations were labeled as major, i.e. present in more than 30% of the strains, such as the common Spike_D614G and NSP3_T183I. Whereas 635 were labeled as uncommon, i.e. found in very few of the analyzed strains as well as GISAID records, such as NSP2_I349V. Distribution of these mutations differed between 2020, and the first and the second half of 2021. In summary, this study highlights key genomic aspects of the Lebanese SARS-CoV-2 strains collected in 2020, the first year of the outbreak in Lebanon, versus those collected in 2021, the second year of COVID-19 in Lebanon.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genomics , Humans , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
6.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(12): 3052-3062, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528794

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infects humans and dromedary camels and is responsible for an ongoing outbreak of severe respiratory illness in humans in the Middle East. Although some mutations found in camel-derived MERS-CoV strains have been characterized, most natural variation found across MERS-CoV isolates remains unstudied. We report on the environmental stability, replication kinetics, and pathogenicity of several diverse isolates of MERS-CoV, as well as isolates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, to serve as a basis of comparison with other stability studies. Although most MERS-CoV isolates had similar stability and pathogenicity in our experiments, the camel-derived isolate C/KSA/13 had reduced surface stability, and another camel isolate, C/BF/15, had reduced pathogenicity in a small animal model. These results suggest that although betacoronaviruses might have similar environmental stability profiles, individual variation can influence this phenotype, underscoring the need for continual global viral surveillance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Aerosols , Animals , Camelus , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Virulence , Zoonoses
7.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 15(6): 750-756, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1311033

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Reported laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases underestimate the true burden of disease as cases without laboratory confirmation, and asymptomatic and mild cases are missed by local surveillance systems. Population-based seroprevalence studies can provide better estimates of burden of disease by taking into account infections that were missed by surveillance systems. Additionally, little is known about the determinants of seroconversion in community settings. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional serologic survey among 888 participants in Egypt. RESULTS: Neutralizing antibodies were detected in 30% of study volunteers. Age and educational level were associated with being seropositive as people older than 70 years and people with graduate degrees had lower seroprevalence. Self-reporting cases having COVID-19-related symptoms such as fever, malaise, headache, dyspnea, dry cough, chest pain, diarrhea, and loss of taste or smell were all associated with having antibodies. Fever and loss of taste or smell were strong predictors with odds ratios of 2.1 (95% confidence interval: 1.3-3.5) and 4.5 (95% confidence interval: 2.6-7.8), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our results can guide COVID-19 prevention and control policies and assist in determining the immunity level in some Egyptian communities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Cross-Sectional Studies , Egypt/epidemiology , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies
8.
Pathogens ; 10(6)2021 Jun 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270100

ABSTRACT

Until now, there has been no direct evidence of the effectiveness of repurposed FDA-approved drugs against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Although curcumin, hesperidin, and quercetin have broad spectra of pharmacological properties, their antiviral activities against SARS-CoV-2 remain unclear. Our study aimed to assess the in vitro antiviral activities of curcumin, hesperidin, and quercetin against SARS-CoV-2 compared to hydroxychloroquine and determine their mode of action. In Vero E6 cells, these compounds significantly inhibited virus replication, mainly as virucidal agents primarily indicating their potential activity at the early stage of viral infection. To investigate the mechanism of action of the tested compounds, molecular docking studies were carried out against both SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and main protease (Mpro) receptors. Collectively, the obtained in silico and in vitro findings suggest that the compounds could be promising SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. We recommend further preclinical and clinical studies on the studied compounds to find a potential therapeutic targeting COVID-19 in the near future.

9.
Biology (Basel) ; 10(6)2021 Jun 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269999

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has seen a worldwide spread since its emergence in 2019, including to Lebanon, where 534,968 confirmed cases (8% of the population) and 7569 deaths have been reported as of 14 May 2021. With the genome sequencing of strains from various countries, several classification systems were established via genome comparison. For instance, the GISAID clades classification highlights key mutations in the encoded proteins that could potentially affect the virus' infectivity and transmission rates. In this study, 58 genomes of Lebanese SARS-CoV-2 strains were analyzed, 28 of which were sequenced for this study, and 30 retrieved from the GISAID and GenBank databases. We aimed to classify these strains, establish their phylogenetic relationships, and extract the mutations causing amino acid substitutions within, particularly, the structural proteins. The sequenced Lebanese SARS-COV-2 strains were classified into four GISAID clades and 11 Pango lineages. Moreover, 21 uncommon mutations in the structural proteins were found in the newly sequenced strains, underlining interesting combinations of mutations in the spike proteins. Hence, this study constitutes an observation and description of the current SARS-CoV-2 genetic and clade situation in Lebanon according to the available sequenced strains.

10.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(3): e1009413, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1127804

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted in closed settings to people in contact with COVID-19 patients such as healthcare workers and household contacts. However, household person-to-person transmission studies are limited. Households participating in an ongoing cohort study of influenza incidence and prevalence in rural Egypt were followed. Baseline enrollment was done from August 2015 to March 2017. The study protocol was amended in April 2020 to allow COVID-19 incidence and seroprevalence studies. A total of 290 households including 1598 participants were enrolled and followed from April to October 2020 in four study sites. When a participant showed respiratory illness symptoms, a serum sample and a nasal and an oropharyngeal swab were obtained. Swabs were tested by RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 infection. If positive, the subject was followed and swabs collected on days three, six, nine, and 14 after the first swab day and a serum sample obtained on day 14. All subjects residing with the index case were swabbed following the same sampling schedule. Sera were collected from cohort participants in October 2020 to assess seroprevalence. Swabs were tested by RT-PCR. Sera were tested by Microneutralization Assay to measure the neutralizing antibody titer. Incidence of COVID-19, household secondary attack rate, and seroprevalence in the cohort were determined. The incidence of COVID-19 was 6.9% and the household secondary attack rate was 89.8%. Transmission within households occurred within two-days of confirming the index case. Infections were asymptomatic or mild with symptoms resolving within 10 days. The majority developed a neutralizing antibody titer by day 14 post onset. The overall seroprevalence among cohort participants was 34.8%. These results suggest that within-household transmission is high in Egypt. Asymptomatic or mild illness is common. Most infections seroconvert and have a durable neutralizing antibody titer.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Child , Cohort Studies , Egypt/epidemiology , Family , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
11.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(3)2021 Mar 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125516

ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 at the end of 2019, 64 candidate vaccines are in clinical development and 173 are in the pre-clinical phase. Five types of vaccines are currently approved for emergency use in many countries (Inactivated, Sinopharm; Viral-vector, Astrazeneca, and Gamaleya Research Institute; mRNA, Moderna, and BioNTech/Pfizer). The main challenge in this pandemic was the availability to produce an effective vaccine to be distributed to the world's population in a short time. Herein, we developed a whole virus NRC-VACC-01 inactivated candidate SARS-CoV-2 vaccine and tested its safety and immunogenicity in laboratory animals. In the preclinical studies, we used four experimental animals (mice, rats, guinea pigs, and hamsters). Antibodies were detected as of week three post vaccination and continued up to week ten in the four experimental models. Safety evaluation of NRC-VACC-01 inactivated candidate vaccine in rats revealed that the vaccine was highly tolerable. By studying the effect of booster dose in the immunological profile of vaccinated mice, we observed an increase in neutralizing antibody titers after the booster shot, thus a booster dose was highly recommended after week three or four. Challenge infection of hamsters showed that the vaccinated group had lower morbidity and shedding than the control group. A phase I clinical trial will be performed to assess safety in human subjects.

12.
Front Microbiol ; 11: 596851, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-983705

ABSTRACT

Using convalescent plasma as immunotherapy is an old method for treatment of infectious diseases. Several countries have recently allowed the use of such therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 patients especially those who are critically ill. A similar program is currently being tested in Egypt. Here, we tested 227 plasma samples from convalescent donors in Egypt for neutralizing antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) using a microneutralization (MN) assay. A third of the tested samples did not have antibody titers and 58% had titers between 1:10 and 1:80. Only 12% had titers >1:160. We also compared MN assays using different virus concentrations, plaque reduction neutralization (PRNT) assays, and a chemiluminescence assay that measures immunoglobulin G (IgG) binding to N and S proteins of SARS-CoV-2. Our results indicated that a MN assay using 100 TCID50/ml provides comparable results to PRNT and allows for high throughput testing.

13.
Pharmaceuticals (Basel) ; 13(12)2020 Dec 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968330

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: Drug repositioning is an unconventional drug discovery approach to explore new therapeutic benefits of existing drugs. Currently, it emerges as a rapid avenue to alleviate the COVID-19 pandemic disease. (2) Methods: Herein, we tested the antiviral activity of anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drugs, commonly prescribed to relieve respiratory symptoms, against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the viral causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic. (3) Results: Of these FDA-approved antimicrobial drugs, Azithromycin, Niclosamide, and Nitazoxanide showed a promising ability to hinder the replication of a SARS-CoV-2 isolate, with IC50 of 0.32, 0.16, and 1.29 µM, respectively. We provided evidence that several antihistamine and anti-inflammatory drugs could partially reduce SARS-CoV-2 replication in vitro. Furthermore, this study showed that Azithromycin can selectively impair SARS-CoV-2 replication, but not the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). A virtual screening study illustrated that Azithromycin, Niclosamide, and Nitazoxanide bind to the main protease of SARS-CoV-2 (Protein data bank (PDB) ID: 6lu7) in binding mode similar to the reported co-crystalized ligand. Also, Niclosamide displayed hydrogen bond (HB) interaction with the key peptide moiety GLN: 493A of the spike glycoprotein active site. (4) Conclusions: The results suggest that Piroxicam should be prescribed in combination with Azithromycin for COVID-19 patients.

14.
PLoS One ; 15(11): e0241739, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-934332

ABSTRACT

Due to the challenges for developing vaccines in devastating pandemic situations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), developing and screening of novel antiviral agents are peremptorily demanded. Herein, we developed EGYVIR as a potent immunomodulatory herbal extract with promising antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2. It constitutes of a combination of black pepper extract with curcumin extract. The antiviral effect of EGYVIR extract is attributed to the two key phases of the disease in severe cases. First, the inhibition of the nuclear translocation of NF-kß p50, attenuating the SARS-CoV-2 infection-associated cytokine storm. Additionally, the EGYVIR extract has an in vitro virucidal effect for SARS-CoV-2. The in vitro study of EGYVIR extract against SARS-CoV-2 on Huh-7 cell lines, revealed the potential role of NF-kß/TNFα/IL-6 during the infection process. EGYVIR antagonizes the NF-kß pathway in-silico and in-vitro studies. Consequently, it has the potential to hinder the release of IL-6 and TNFα, decreasing the production of essential cytokines storm elements.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Immunologic Factors/pharmacology , Plant Extracts/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Active Transport, Cell Nucleus/drug effects , Animals , Cell Nucleus/drug effects , Cell Nucleus/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Curcuma/chemistry , Humans , Interleukin-6/metabolism , Kinetics , NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha/metabolism , NF-kappa B p50 Subunit/metabolism , Piper nigrum/chemistry , Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/metabolism , Vero Cells
15.
PLoS One ; 15(10): e0241471, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-895078

ABSTRACT

Anecdotal evidence showed a negative correlation between Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination and incidence of COVID-19. Incidence of the disease in children is much lower than in adults. It is hypothesized that BCG and other childhood vaccinations may provide some protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection through trained or adaptive immune responses. Here, we tested whether BCG, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccines provide cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in BALB/c mice. Results indicated that none of these vaccines provided antibodies capable of neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 up to seven weeks post vaccination. We conclude that if such vaccines have any role in COVID-19 immunity, this role is not antibody-mediated.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Vaccines/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Cross Reactions , Female , Humans , Immune Sera/immunology , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Vaccines, Inactivated/immunology , Viral Vaccines/immunology , Young Adult
16.
Microorganisms ; 8(7)2020 Jul 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-635530

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses belong to a large family of viruses that can cause disease outbreaks ranging from the common cold to acute respiratory syndrome. Since 2003, three zoonotic members of this family evolved to cross species barriers infecting humans and resulting in relatively high case fatality rates (CFR). Compared to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV, CFR = 10%) and pandemic Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, CFR = 6%), the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has scored the highest CFR (approximately 35%). In this review, we systematically summarize the current state of scientific knowledge about MERS-CoV, including virology and origin, epidemiology, zoonotic mode of transmission, and potential therapeutic or prophylactic intervention modalities.

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