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1.
Epidemics ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1877428

ABSTRACT

Objectives To better understand the conditions which have led to one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in Belgian nursing homes in 2020. Setting A nursing home in Flanders, Belgium, which experienced a massive outbreak of COVID-19 after a cultural event. An external volunteer who dressed as a legendary figure visited consecutively the 4 living units on December, 4th and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 the next day. Within days, residents started to display symptoms and the outbreak spread rapidly within the nursing home. Methods We interviewed key informants and collected standardized data from all residents retrospectively. A batch of 115 positive samples with a Ct value of <37 by qRT-PCR were analysed using whole-genome sequencing. Six months after the outbreak, ventilation assessment of gathering rooms in the nursing home was done using a tracer gas test with calibrated CO2 sensors. Results Timeline of diagnoses and symptom onsets clearly pointed to the cultural event as the start of the outbreak, with the volunteer as index case. The genotyping of positive samples depicted the presence of one large cluster, suggesting a single source outbreak. By the end of December, a total of 127 residents and 40 staff were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 since the beginning of the outbreak. The attack rate among residents was 77% and significantly associated with presence at the event but not with close contact or mask wearing. The ventilation assessment showed a high background average CO2 level in four main rooms varying from 657 ppm to 846 ppm. Conclusions Our investigation shows a rapid and widespread single source outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in a nursing home, in which airborne transmission was the most plausible explanation for the massive intra-facility spread. Our results underscore the importance of ventilation and air quality for the prevention of future outbreaks in closed facilities.

2.
Viruses ; 14(6):1198, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1869829

ABSTRACT

We report two clusters of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta variant) infections in a group of 41 Indian nursing students who travelled from New Delhi, India, to Belgium via Paris, France. All students tested negative before departure and had a second negative antigen test upon arrival in Paris. Upon arrival in Belgium, the students were quarantined in eight different houses. Four houses remained COVID-free during the 24 days of follow-up, while all 27 residents of the other four houses developed an infection during quarantine, including the four residents who were fully vaccinated and the two residents who were partially vaccinated. Genome sequencing revealed two distinct clusters affecting one and three houses, respectively. In this group of students, vaccination status did not seem to prevent infection nor decrease the viral load. No severe symptoms were reported. Extensive contact tracing and 3 months of nationwide genomic surveillance confirmed that these outbreaks were successfully contained and did not contribute to secondary community transmission in Belgium. These clusters highlight the importance of repeated testing and quarantine measures among travelers coming from countries experiencing a surge of infections, as all infections were detected 6 days or more after arrival.

3.
Transfusion ; 2022 May 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854202

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The therapeutic benefit of convalescent plasma (CP) therapy to treat COVID-19 may derive from neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) to SARS-CoV-2. To investigate the effects of antigenic variation on neutralization potency of CP, we compared nAb titers against prototype and recently emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2, including Delta and Omicron, in CP donors previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 before and after immunization. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Samples were assayed from previously SARS-CoV-2 infected donors before (n = 17) and after one (n = 43) or two (n = 71) doses of Astra-Zeneca or Pfizer vaccinations. Ab titers against Wuhan/wild type (WT), Alpha, Beta, and Delta SARS-CoV-2 strains were determined by live virus microneutralization assay while titers to Omicron used a focus reduction neutralization test. Anti-spike antibody was assayed by Elecsys anti-SARS-CoV-2 quantitative spike assay (Roche). RESULTS: Unvaccinated donors showed a geometric mean titer (GMT) of 148 against WT, 80 against Alpha but mostly failed to neutralize Beta, Delta, and Omicron strains. Contrastingly, high GMTs were observed in vaccinated donors against all SARS-CoV-2 strains after one vaccine dose (WT:703; Alpha:692; Beta:187; Delta:215; Omicron:434). By ROC analysis, reactivity in the Roche quantitative Elecsys spike assay of 20,000 U/mL was highly predictive of donations with nAb titers of ≥1:640 against Delta (90% sensitivity; 97% specificity) and ≥1:320 against Omicron (89% sensitivity; 81% specificity). DISCUSSION: Vaccination of previously infected CP donors induced high levels of broadly neutralizing antibodies against circulating antigenic variants of SARS-CoV-2. High titer donations could be reliably identified by automated quantitative anti-spike antibody assay, enabling large-scale preselection of high-titer convalescent plasma.

4.
Int J Infect Dis ; 122: 212-214, 2022 May 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1851266

ABSTRACT

On November 24, 2021, a new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant assigned to the lineage B.1.1.529 (Omicron) was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa. Despite the co-circulation of several SARS-CoV-2 variants, co-infection by different variants is not commonly identified. Here, we report two cases of SARS-CoV-2 co-identifications with the Omicron and Delta variants.

5.
Antiviral Res ; 203: 105342, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850636

ABSTRACT

Despite the great success of the administered vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus can still spread, as evidenced by the current circulation of the highly contagious Omicron variant. This emphasizes the additional need to develop effective antiviral countermeasures. In the context of early preclinical studies for antiviral assessment, robust cellular infection systems are required to screen drug libraries. In this study, we reported the implementation of a human glioblastoma cell line, stably expressing ACE2, in a SARS-CoV-2 cytopathic effect (CPE) reduction assay. These glioblastoma cells, designated as U87.ACE2+, expressed ACE2 and cathepsin B abundantly, but had low cellular levels of TMPRSS2 and cathepsin L. The U87.ACE2+ cells fused highly efficiently and quickly with SARS-CoV-2 spike expressing cells. Furthermore, upon infection with SARS-CoV-2 wild-type virus, the U87.ACE2+ cells displayed rapidly a clear CPE that resulted in complete cell lysis and destruction of the cell monolayer. By means of several readouts we showed that the U87.ACE2+ cells actively replicate SARS-CoV-2. Interestingly, the U87.ACE2+ cells could be successfully implemented in an MTS-based colorimetric CPE reduction assay, providing IC50 values for Remdesivir and Nirmatrelvir in the (low) nanomolar range. Lastly, the U87.ACE2+ cells were consistently permissive to all tested SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the current Omicron variant. Thus, ACE2 expressing glioblastoma cells are highly permissive to SARS-CoV-2 with productive viral replication and with the induction of a strong CPE that can be utilized in high-throughput screening platforms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Glioblastoma , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cell Line , Glioblastoma/drug therapy , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Humans , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
6.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-336851

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineages carry distinct spike mutations and represent an antigenic shift resulting in escape from antibodies induced by previous infection or vaccination. We show that hybrid immunity or vaccine boosters result in potent plasma neutralizing activity against Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 and that breakthrough infections, but not vaccination-only, induce neutralizing activity in the nasal mucosa. Consistent with immunological imprinting, most antibodies derived from memory B cells or plasma cells of Omicron breakthrough cases cross-react with the Wuhan-Hu-1, BA.1 and BA.2 receptor-binding domains whereas Omicron primary infections elicit B cells of narrow specificity. While most clinical antibodies have reduced neutralization of Omicron, we identified an ultrapotent pan-variant antibody, that is unaffected by any Omicron lineage spike mutations and is a strong candidate for clinical development.

7.
Biotechniques ; 72(6): 245-254, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1808685

ABSTRACT

Basic and antiviral research on SARS-CoV-2 rely on cellular assays of virus replication in vitro. In addition, accurate detection of virus-infected cells and released virus particles is needed to study virus replication and to profile new candidate antiviral drugs. Here, by flow cytometry, we detect SARS-CoV-2 infection at single cell level and distinguish infected Vero E6 cells from uninfected bystander cells. Furthermore, based on the viral nucleocapsid expression, subpopulations of infected cells that are in an early or late phase of viral replication can be differentiated. Importantly, this flow cytometric technique complements our duplex RT-qPCR detection of viral E and N, and it can be applied to all current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the highly mutated Omicron variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/diagnosis , Chlorocebus aethiops , Flow Cytometry , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
8.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333002

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, characterized by a significant antigenic diversity compared to the previous Delta variant, had led to a decrease in antibody efficacy in both convalescent and vaccinees’ sera resulting in high number of reinfections and breakthrough cases worldwide. However, to date, reinfections are defined by the ECDC as two positive tests ≥60 days apart, influencing retesting policies after an initial positive test in several European countries. We illustrate by a clinical case supplemental by epidemiological data that early reinfections do occur within 60 days especially in young, unvaccinated individuals. In older patient groups, unvaccinated and patients with a basic vaccination scheme are more vulnerable to reinfections compared to patients who received a first booster vaccine. For this reason, we consider that the duration of protection offered by a previous infection should be reconsidered, in particular when a shift between consecutive SARS-CoV-2 variants occurs.

9.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-331342

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccination has resulted in excellent protection against fatal disease, including in the elderly. However, risk factors for post-vaccination fatal COVID-19 are largely unknown. We comprehensively studied three large nursing home outbreaks (20-35% fatal cases) by combining SARS-CoV-2 aerosol monitoring, whole-genome phylogenetic analysis, and immunovirological profiling by digital nCounter transcriptomics. Phylogenetic investigations indicated each outbreak stemmed from a single introduction event, though with different variants (Delta, Gamma, and Mu). SARS-CoV-2 was detected in aerosol samples up to 52 days after the initial infection. Combining demographic, immune and viral parameters, the best predictive models for mortality comprised IFNB1 or age, viral ORF7a and ACE2 receptor transcripts. Comparison with published pre-vaccine fatal COVID-19 signatures and reanalysis of single-cell RNAseq data highlights the unique immune signature in post-vaccine fatal COVID-19 outbreaks. A multi-layered strategy including environmental sampling, immunomonitoring, and early antiviral therapy should be considered to prevent post-vaccination COVID-19 mortality in nursing homes.

11.
Nat Med ; 28(6): 1297-1302, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758268

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 Omicron BA.1 sublineage has been supplanted in many countries by the BA.2 sublineage. BA.2 differs from BA.1 by about 21 mutations in its spike. In this study, we first compared the sensitivity of BA.1 and BA.2 to neutralization by nine therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). In contrast to BA.1, BA.2 was sensitive to cilgavimab, partly inhibited by imdevimab and resistant to adintrevimab and sotrovimab. We then analyzed sera from 29 immunocompromised individuals up to 1 month after administration of Ronapreve (casirivimab and imdevimab) and/or Evusheld (cilgavimab and tixagevimab) antibody cocktails. All treated individuals displayed elevated antibody levels in their sera, which efficiently neutralized the Delta variant. Sera from Ronapreve recipients did not neutralize BA.1 and weakly inhibited BA.2. Neutralization of BA.1 and BA.2 was detected in 19 and 29 out of 29 Evusheld recipients, respectively. As compared to the Delta variant, neutralizing titers were more markedly decreased against BA.1 (344-fold) than BA.2 (nine-fold). We further report four breakthrough Omicron infections among the 29 individuals, indicating that antibody treatment did not fully prevent infection. Collectively, BA.1 and BA.2 exhibit noticeable differences in their sensitivity to therapeutic mAbs. Anti-Omicron neutralizing activity of Ronapreve and, to a lesser extent, that of Evusheld is reduced in patients' sera.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Envelope Proteins
12.
Antiviral Res ; 200: 105294, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757111

ABSTRACT

Despite recent advancements in the development of vaccines and monoclonal antibody therapies for Ebola virus disease, treatment options remain limited. Moreover, management and containment of Ebola virus outbreaks is often hindered by the remote nature of the locations in which the outbreaks originate. Small-molecule compounds offer the advantage of being relatively cheap and easy to produce, transport and store, making them an interesting modality for the development of novel therapeutics against Ebola virus disease. Furthermore, the repurposing of small-molecule compounds, previously developed for alternative applications, can aid in reducing the time needed to bring potential therapeutics from bench to bedside. For this purpose, the Medicines for Malaria Venture provides collections of previously developed small-molecule compounds for screening against other infectious diseases. In this study, we used biologically contained Ebola virus to screen over 4,200 small-molecule drugs and drug-like compounds provided by the Medicines for Malaria Venture (i.e., the Pandemic Response Box and the COVID Box) and the Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3, KU Leuven, Belgium). In addition to confirming known Ebola virus inhibitors, illustrating the validity of our screening assays, we identified eight novel selective Ebola virus inhibitors. Although the inhibitory potential of these compounds remains to be validated in vivo, they represent interesting compounds for the study of potential interventions against Ebola virus disease and might serve as a basis for the development of new therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ebolavirus , Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , DNA Viruses , Humans
13.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330085

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant has been supplanted in many countries by the BA.2 sub-lineage. BA.2 differs from BA.1 by about 21 mutations in its spike. Human anti-spike monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are used for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. However, the capacity of therapeutic mAbs to neutralize BA.1 and BA.2 remains poorly characterized. Here, we first compared the sensitivity of BA.1 and BA.2 to neutralization by 9 therapeutic mAbs. In contrast to BA.1, BA.2 was sensitive to Cilgavimab, partly inhibited by Imdevimab and resistant to Adintrevimab and Sotrovimab. Two combinations of mAbs, Ronapreve (Casirivimab + Imdevimab) and Evusheld (Cilgavimab + Tixagevimab), are indicated as a pre-exposure prophylaxis in immunocompromised persons at risk of severe disease. We analyzed sera from 29 such individuals, up to one month after administration of Ronapreve and/or Evusheld. After treatment, all individuals displayed elevated antibody levels in their sera and neutralized Delta with high titers. Ronapreve recipients did not neutralize BA.1 and weakly impaired BA.2. With Evusheld, neutralization of BA.1 and BA.2 was detected in 19 and 29 out of 29 patients, respectively. As compared to Delta, titers were more severely decreased against BA.1 (344-fold) than BA.2 (9-fold). We further report 4 breakthrough Omicron infections among the 29 participants. Therefore, BA.1 and BA.2 exhibit noticeable differences in their sensitivity to therapeutic mAbs. Anti-Omicron activity of Ronapreve, and to a lesser extent that of Evusheld, is reduced in patients’ sera, a phenomenon associated with decreased clinical efficacy.

14.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 225, 2022 03 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740485

ABSTRACT

Late 2020, SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant emerged in United Kingdom and gradually replaced G614 strains initially involved in the global spread of the pandemic. In this study, we use a Syrian hamster model to compare a clinical strain of Alpha variant with an ancestral G614 strain. The Alpha variant succeed to infect animals and to induce a pathology that mimics COVID-19. However, both strains replicate to almost the same level and induced a comparable disease and immune response. A slight fitness advantage is noted for the G614 strain during competition and transmission experiments. These data do not corroborate the epidemiological situation observed during the first half of 2021 in humans nor reports that showed a more rapid replication of Alpha variant in human reconstituted bronchial epithelium. This study highlights the need to combine data from different laboratories using various animal models to decipher the biological properties of newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disease Models, Animal , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cytokines/genetics , Female , Gastrointestinal Tract/virology , Genome, Viral , Lung/virology , Nasal Lavage Fluid/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication
15.
J Virol Methods ; 304: 114512, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1720562

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has kept the world in suspense for almost 2 years now. The virus spread rapidly worldwide and several variants of concern have emerged: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and recently Omicron. A rapid method to detect key mutations is needed because these variants may jeopardize the effectiveness of immune protection following vaccination or past infection. This article describes an easy, cheap and fast method for the detection of mutations in the spike protein that are indicative for specific variants. This method can easily distinguish Omicron from other variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Mutation , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
16.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-309410

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed an enormous burden on health care systems around the world. In the past, the administration of convalescent plasma of patients having recovered from SARS and severe influenza to patients actively having the disease, showed promising effects on mortality and appeared safe. Whether or not this also holds true for the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus is currently unknown. Methods: DAWn-Plasma is a multicentre nation-wide, randomized, open-label, phase II proof-of-concept clinical trial, evaluating the clinical efficacy and safety of the addition of convalescent plasma to the standard of care in patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in Belgium. Patients hospitalized with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 are eligible when they are symptomatic (i.e. clinical or radiological signs) and have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the 72 hours before study inclusion through a PCR (nasal/nasopharyngeal swab or bronchoalveolar lavage) or a chest-CT scan showing features compatible with COVID-19 in the absence of an alternative diagnosis. Patients are randomized in a 2:1 ratio to either standard of care and convalescent plasma (active treatment group) or standard of care only. The active treatment group receives 2 units of 200 to 250 mL of convalescent plasma within 12 hours after randomization, with a second administration of 2 units 24 to 36 hours after ending the first administration. The trial aims to include 483 patients and will recruit from 25 centres across Belgium. The primary endpoint is the proportion of patients that require mechanical ventilation or have died at day 15. The main secondary endpoints are clinical status on day 15 and day 30 after randomization, as defined by the WHO Progression 10-point ordinal scale, and safety of the administration of convalescent plasma. Discussion: This trial will either provide support or discourage the use of convalescent plasma as early intervention for the treatment of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 infection. Trial registration: Clinicaltrials.gov, Identifier: NCT04429854. Registered 12 June 2020 - Retrospectively registered, https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04429854.

17.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308612

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has gripped the world for over a year 1,2 . SARS-CoV-2 impacts people on a broad clinical spectrum from asymptomatic to severe respiratory and systemic manifestations resulting in death 3 . In addition, intra-host SARS-CoV-2 genomic plasticity periodically leads to emergence of new virus variants with higher transmission capacities 4–6 . Autopsy series have revealed several pathways to death in COVID-19 patients, including respiratory and multi-organ failure, and evidence of SARS-CoV-2 in various organs besides the lungs 7,8 . However, these studies did not demonstrate the presence of infectious virus in extrapulmonary sites nor did they investigate viral intra-host evolution across multiple organs. Here we report a detailed virological analysis of thirteen postmortem COVID-19 cases that confirms two stages of fatal disease evolution based on disease duration and viral loads in lungs and plasma 9 . More importantly, the study is the first to provide proof of viremia and presence of replication-competent SARS-CoV-2 in extrapulmonary organs of an immunocompromised patient, accompanied by tissue-specific patterns of genome diversity in organ-resident SARS-CoV-2 populations. In parallel, potentially more transmissible and virulent strains were detected in multiple organs, including identification of mutations N501Y, T1027I, and Y453F in spike (S) protein. These mutations are hallmarks of more contagious United Kingdom (lineage B.1.1.7), South African (lineage B.1.351), Brazilian (lineage P1 and B.1.1.248) or mink variants 4,10 . Our results provide novel insights about the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 and highlight that COVID-19 treatment and hygiene measures need to be tailored to specific needs of immunocompromised patients.

18.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-328827

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, administered to billions of people worldwide, are mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, however little is known about the molecular basis of antibody cross-protection to emerging variants, such as Omicron (B.1.1.529), and other coronaviruses. To answer this question, 276 neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (nAbs), previously isolated from seronegative and seropositive donors vaccinated with BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine1, were tested for neutralization against the Omicron variant and SARS-CoV-1 virus. Cross-neutralizing antibodies were isolated from 100% of seropositive and 20% of seronegative vaccinees. Only 14.2% and 4.0% of tested antibodies neutralized the Omicron variant and SARS-CoV-1 respectively. These nAbs recognized mainly the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) and targeted class 3 and class 4 epitope regions on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Antibodies targeting class 1/2 epitope regions only rarely showed cross-neutralization activity. Cross-protective antibodies derived from a variety of germlines, the most frequents of which were the IGHV1-58;IGHJ3-1 and IGHV1-69;IGHV4-1. Only 15.6% and 7.8% of predominant gene-derived nAbs elicited against the original Wuhan virus cross-neutralized Omicron and SARS-CoV-1 respectively. Our data provide evidence of the presence of cross-neutralizing antibodies induced by vaccination and map conserved epitopes on the S protein that can inform vaccine design.

19.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327652

ABSTRACT

Despite the great success of the administered vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the virus can still spread, as evidenced by the current circulation of the highly contagious Omicron variant. This emphasizes the additional need to develop effective antiviral countermeasures. In the context of early preclinical studies for antiviral assessment, robust cellular infection systems are required to screen drug libraries. In this study, we reported the implementation of a human glioblastoma cell line, stably expressing ACE2, in a SARS-CoV-2 cytopathic effect (CPE) reduction assay. These glioblastoma cells, designated as U87.ACE2+, expressed ACE2 and cathepsin B abundantly, but had low cellular levels of TMPRSS2 and cathepsin L. The U87.ACE2+ cells fused highly efficiently and quickly with SARS-CoV-2 spike expressing cells. Furthermore, upon infection with SARS-CoV-2 wild-type virus, the U87.ACE2+ cells displayed rapidly a clear CPE that resulted in complete cell lysis and destruction of the cell monolayer. By means of several readouts we showed that the U87.ACE2+ cells actively replicate SARS-CoV-2. Interestingly, the U87.ACE2+ cells could be successfully implemented in an MTS-based colorimetric CPE reduction assay, providing IC50 values for Remdesivir in the low nanomolar range. Lastly, the U87.ACE2+ cells were consistently permissive to all tested SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the current Omicron variant. Thus, ACE2 expressing glioblastoma cells are highly permissive to SARS-CoV-2 with productive viral replication and with the induction of a strong CPE that can be utilized in high-throughput screening platforms.

20.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327356

ABSTRACT

Despite the efficacy of current vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, the spread of the virus is still not under control, as evidenced by the ongoing circulation of the highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. Basic and antiviral research on SARS-CoV-2 relies on cellular assays of virus replication in vitro. In addition, accurate detection of virus-infected cells and released virus particles is needed to study virus replication and to profile new candidate antiviral drugs. Here, by flow cytometry, we detect SARS-CoV-2 infection at single cell level and distinguish infected Vero E6 cells from uninfected bystander cells. Furthermore, based on the viral nucleocapsid expression, subpopulations of infected cells that are in an early or late phase of viral replication can be differentiated. Importantly, this flow cytometric technique complements RT-qPCR detection and can be applied to all current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the highly mutated Omicron variant.

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