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1.
Metabolites ; 12(11)2022 Nov 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2116091

ABSTRACT

The global threat of COVID-19 has led to an increased use of metabolomics to study SARS-CoV-2 infections in animals and humans. In spite of these efforts, however, understanding the metabolome of SARS-CoV-2 during an infection remains difficult and incomplete. In this study, metabolic responses to a SAS-CoV-2 challenge experiment were studied in nasal washes collected from an asymptomatic ferret model (n = 20) at different time points before and after infection using an LC-MS-based metabolomics approach. A multivariate analysis of the nasal wash metabolome data revealed several statistically significant features. Despite no effects of sex or interaction between sex and time on the time course of SARS-CoV-2 infection, 16 metabolites were significantly different at all time points post-infection. Among these altered metabolites, the relative abundance of taurine was elevated post-infection, which could be an indication of hepatotoxicity, while the accumulation of sialic acids could indicate SARS-CoV-2 invasion. Enrichment analysis identified several pathways influenced by SARS-CoV-2 infection. Of these, sugar, glycan, and amino acid metabolisms were the key altered pathways in the upper respiratory channel during infection. These findings provide some new insights into the progression of SARS-CoV-2 infection in ferrets at the metabolic level, which could be useful for the development of early clinical diagnosis tools and new or repurposed drug therapies.

2.
J Virol ; 96(20): e0115222, 2022 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2053122

ABSTRACT

Bats are recognized as important reservoirs of viruses deadly to other mammals, including humans. These infections are typically nonpathogenic in bats, raising questions about host response differences that might exist between bats and other mammals. Tetherin is a restriction factor which inhibits the release of a diverse range of viruses from host cells, including retroviruses, coronaviruses, filoviruses, and paramyxoviruses, some of which are deadly to humans and transmitted by bats. Here, we characterize the tetherin genes from 27 bat species, revealing that they have evolved under strong selective pressure, and that fruit bats and vesper bats express unique structural variants of the tetherin protein. Tetherin was widely and variably expressed across fruit bat tissue types and upregulated in spleen tissue when stimulated with Toll-like receptor agonists. The expression of two computationally predicted splice isoforms of fruit bat tetherin was verified. We identified an additional third unique splice isoform which includes a C-terminal region that is not homologous to known mammalian tetherin variants but was functionally capable of restricting the release of filoviral virus-like particles. We also report that vesper bats possess and express at least five tetherin genes, including structural variants, more than any other mammal reported to date. These findings support the hypothesis of differential antiviral gene evolution in bats relative to other mammals. IMPORTANCE Bats are an important host of various viruses which are deadly to humans and other mammals but do not cause outward signs of illness in bats. Furthering our understanding of the unique features of the immune system of bats will shed light on how they tolerate viral infections, potentially informing novel antiviral strategies in humans and other animals. This study examines the antiviral protein tetherin, which prevents viral particles from escaping their host cell. Analysis of tetherin from 27 bat species reveals that it is under strong evolutionary pressure, and we show that multiple bat species have evolved to possess more tetherin genes than other mammals, some of which encode structurally unique tetherins capable of activity against different viral particles. These data suggest that bat tetherin plays a potentially broad and important role in the management of viral infections in bats.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera , Virus Diseases , Viruses , Humans , Animals , Bone Marrow Stromal Antigen 2/genetics , Antiviral Agents , Toll-Like Receptors
3.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 5680, 2022 04 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1931430

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is responsible for the infectious disease COVID-19, which has rapidly become an international pandemic with significant impact on healthcare systems and the global economy. To assist antiviral therapy and vaccine development efforts, we performed a natural history/time course study of SARS-CoV-2 infection in ferrets to characterise and assess the suitability of this animal model. Ten ferrets of each sex were challenged intranasally with 4.64 × 104 TCID50 of SARS-CoV-2 isolate Australia/VIC01/2020 and monitored for clinical disease signs, viral shedding, and tissues collected post-mortem for histopathological and virological assessment at set intervals. We found that SARS-CoV-2 replicated in the upper respiratory tract of ferrets with consistent viral shedding in nasal wash samples and oral swab samples up until day 9. Infectious SARS-CoV-2 was recovered from nasal washes, oral swabs, nasal turbinates, pharynx, and olfactory bulb samples within 3-7 days post-challenge; however, only viral RNA was detected by qRT-PCR in samples collected from the trachea, lung, and parts of the gastrointestinal tract. Viral antigen was seen exclusively in nasal epithelium and associated sloughed cells and draining lymph nodes upon immunohistochemical staining. Due to the absence of clinical signs after viral challenge, our ferret model is appropriate for studying asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections and most suitable for use in vaccine efficacy studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ferrets , Animals , Nasal Mucosa , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load
4.
NPJ Vaccines ; 5: 96, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1343456

ABSTRACT

The 'D614G' mutation (Aspartate-to-Glycine change at position 614) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein has been speculated to adversely affect the efficacy of most vaccines and countermeasures that target this glycoprotein, necessitating frequent vaccine matching. Virus neutralisation assays were performed using sera from ferrets which received two doses of the INO-4800 COVID-19 vaccine, and Australian virus isolates (VIC01, SA01 and VIC31) which either possess or lack this mutation but are otherwise comparable. Through this approach, supported by biomolecular modelling of this mutation and the commonly-associated P314L mutation in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, we have shown that there is no experimental evidence to support this speculation. We additionally demonstrate that the putative elastase cleavage site introduced by the D614G mutation is unlikely to be accessible to proteases.

5.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(7): e1009759, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1329138

ABSTRACT

The host response to SARS-CoV-2 infection provide insights into both viral pathogenesis and patient management. The host-encoded microRNA (miRNA) response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, however, remains poorly defined. Here we profiled circulating miRNAs from ten COVID-19 patients sampled longitudinally and ten age and gender matched healthy donors. We observed 55 miRNAs that were altered in COVID-19 patients during early-stage disease, with the inflammatory miR-31-5p the most strongly upregulated. Supervised machine learning analysis revealed that a three-miRNA signature (miR-423-5p, miR-23a-3p and miR-195-5p) independently classified COVID-19 cases with an accuracy of 99.9%. In a ferret COVID-19 model, the three-miRNA signature again detected SARS-CoV-2 infection with 99.7% accuracy, and distinguished SARS-CoV-2 infection from influenza A (H1N1) infection and healthy controls with 95% accuracy. Distinct miRNA profiles were also observed in COVID-19 patients requiring oxygenation. This study demonstrates that SARS-CoV-2 infection induces a robust host miRNA response that could improve COVID-19 detection and patient management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/genetics , MicroRNAs/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/blood , Case-Control Studies , Diagnosis, Differential , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Ferrets , Gene Expression , Host Microbial Interactions/genetics , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Longitudinal Studies , Male , MicroRNAs/blood , Middle Aged , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/diagnosis , Orthomyxoviridae Infections/genetics , Pandemics , Supervised Machine Learning
6.
ILAR J ; 62(1-2): 232-237, 2021 12 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1280105

ABSTRACT

This case report discusses Type I hypersensitivity in ferrets following exposure to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) inoculum, observed during a study investigating the efficacy of candidate COVID-19 vaccines. Following a comprehensive internal root-cause investigation, it was hypothesized that prior prime-boost immunization of ferrets with a commercial canine C3 vaccine to protect against the canine distemper virus had resulted in primary immune response to fetal bovine serum (FBS) in the C3 preparation. Upon intranasal exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus cultured in medium containing FBS, an allergic airway response occurred in 6 out of 56 of the ferrets. The 6 impacted ferrets were randomly dispersed across study groups, including different COVID-19 vaccine candidates, routes of vaccine candidate administration, and controls (placebo). The root-cause investigation and subsequent analysis determined that the allergic reaction was unrelated to the COVID-19 vaccine candidates under evaluation. Histological assessment suggested that the allergic response was characterized by eosinophilic airway disease; increased serum immunoglobulin levels reactive to FBS further suggested this response was caused by immune priming to FBS present in the C3 vaccine. This was further supported by in vivo studies demonstrating ferrets administered diluted FBS also presented clinical signs consistent with a hyperallergic response, while clinical signs were absent in ferrets that received a serum-free SARS-CoV-2 inoculum. It is therefore recommended that vaccine studies in higher order animals should consider the impact of welfare vaccination and use serum-free inoculum whenever possible.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hypersensitivity, Immediate , Viral Vaccines , Animals , COVID-19 Vaccines , Dogs , Ferrets , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Metabolites ; 11(5)2021 May 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1234777

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a contagious respiratory disease that is causing significant global morbidity and mortality. Understanding the impact of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection on the host metabolism is still in its infancy but of great importance. Herein, we investigated the metabolic response during viral shedding and post-shedding in an asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 ferret model (n = 6) challenged with two SARS-CoV-2 isolates. Virological and metabolic analyses were performed on (minimally invasive) collected oral swabs, rectal swabs, and nasal washes. Fragments of SARS-CoV-2 RNA were only found in the nasal wash samples in four of the six ferrets, and in the samples collected 3 to 9 days post-infection (referred to as viral shedding). Central carbon metabolism metabolites were analyzed during viral shedding and post-shedding periods using a dynamic Multiple Reaction Monitoring (dMRM) database and method. Subsequent untargeted metabolomics and lipidomics of the same samples were performed using a Liquid Chromatography Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometry (LC-QToF-MS) methodology, building upon the identified differentiated central carbon metabolism metabolites. Multivariate analysis of the acquired data identified 29 significant metabolites and three lipids that were subjected to pathway enrichment and impact analysis. The presence of viral shedding coincided with the challenge dose administered and significant changes in the citric acid cycle, purine metabolism, and pentose phosphate pathways, amongst others, in the host nasal wash samples. An elevated immune response in the host was also observed between the two isolates studied. These results support other metabolomic-based findings in clinical observational studies and indicate the utility of metabolomics applied to ferrets for further COVID-19 research that advances early diagnosis of asymptomatic and mild clinical COVID-19 infections, in addition to assessing the effectiveness of new or repurposed drug therapies.

8.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 67, 2021 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223093

ABSTRACT

Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are likely to be critical in the management of the ongoing pandemic. A number of candidates are in Phase III human clinical trials, including ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222), a replication-deficient chimpanzee adenovirus-vectored vaccine candidate. In preclinical trials, the efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 against SARS-CoV-2 challenge was evaluated in a ferret model of infection. Groups of ferrets received either prime-only or prime-boost administration of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 via the intramuscular or intranasal route. All ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 administration combinations resulted in significant reductions in viral loads in nasal-wash and oral swab samples. No vaccine-associated adverse events were observed associated with the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 candidate, with the data from this study suggesting it could be an effective and safe vaccine against COVID-19. Our study also indicates the potential for intranasal administration as a way to further improve the efficacy of this leading vaccine candidate.

9.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 69(2): 297-307, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1007329

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an emerging virus that has caused significant human morbidity and mortality since its detection in late 2019. With the rapid emergence has come an unprecedented programme of vaccine development with at least 300 candidates under development. Ferrets have proven to be an appropriate animal model for testing safety and efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines due to quantifiable virus shedding in nasal washes and oral swabs. Here, we outline our efforts early in the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak to propagate and characterize an Australian isolate of the virus in vitro and in an ex vivo model of human airway epithelium, as well as to demonstrate the susceptibility of domestic ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) to SARS-CoV-2 infection following intranasal challenge.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ferrets , Animals , Australia , COVID-19/veterinary , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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