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Microorganisms ; 10(6)2022 Jun 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1884282


COVID-19 emerged in late 2019 in China and quickly spread across the globe, causing over 521 million cases of infection and 6.26 million deaths to date. After 2 years, numerous advances have been made. First of all, the preventive vaccine, which has been implemented in record time, is effective in more than 95% of cases. Additionally, in the diagnostic field, there are numerous molecular and antigenic diagnostic kits that are equipped with high sensitivity and specificity. Real Time-PCR-based assays for the detection of viral RNA are currently considered the gold-standard method for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis and can be used efficiently on pooled nasopharyngeal, or oropharyngeal samples for widespread screening. Moreover, additional, and more advanced molecular methods such as droplet-digital PCR (ddPCR), clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and next-generation sequencing (NGS), are currently under development to detect the SARS-CoV-2 RNA. However, as the number of subjects infected with SARS-CoV-2 continuously increases globally, health care systems are being placed under increased stress. Thus, the clinical laboratory plays an important role, helping to select especially asymptomatic individuals who are actively carrying the live replicating virus, with fast and non-invasive molecular technologies. Recent diagnostic strategies, other than molecular methods, have been adopted to either detect viral antigens, i.e., antigen-based immunoassays, or human anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, i.e., antibody-based immunoassays, in nasal or oropharyngeal swabs, as well as in blood or saliva samples. However, the role of mucosal sIgAs, which are essential in the control of viruses entering the body through mucosal surfaces, remains to be elucidated, and in particular the role of the immune response in counteracting SARS-CoV-2 infection, primarily at the site(s) of virus entry that appears to be promising.

Viruses ; 13(9)2021 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1374533


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a newly discovered coronavirus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. COVID-19 has rapidly become a public health emergency of international concern. Although remarkable scientific achievements have been reached since the beginning of the pandemic, the knowledge behind this novel coronavirus, in terms of molecular and pathogenic characteristics and zoonotic potential, is still relatively limited. Today, there is a vaccine, or rather several vaccines, which, for the first time in the history of highly contagious infectious diseases that have plagued mankind, has been manufactured in just one year. Currently, four vaccines are licensed by regulatory agencies, and they use RNA or viral vector technologies. The positive effects of the vaccination campaign are being felt in many parts of the world, but the disappearance of this new infection is still far from being a reality, as it is also threatened by the presence of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants that could undermine the effectiveness of the vaccine, hampering the immunization control efforts. Indeed, the current findings indicate that SARS-CoV-2 is adapting to transmission in humans more efficiently, while further divergence from the initial archetype should be considered. In this review, we aimed to provide a collection of the current knowledge regarding the molecular, phylogenetic, and pathogenetic insights into SARS-CoV-2. The most recent findings obtained with respect to the impact of novel emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants as well as the development and implementation of vaccines are highlighted.

COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Disease Management , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Genome, Viral , Genomics/methods , Host-Pathogen Interactions/immunology , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Structure-Activity Relationship , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Zoonoses
Front Cell Dev Biol ; 8: 577528, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-993339
Microorganisms ; 8(8)2020 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-717751


Until less than two decades ago, all known human coronaviruses (CoV) caused diseases so mild that they did not stimulate further advanced CoV research. In 2002 and following years, the scenario changed dramatically with the advent of the new more pathogenic CoVs, including Severe Acute Respiratory Syndome (SARS-CoV-1), Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV, and the new zoonotic SARS-CoV-2, likely originated from bat species and responsible for the present coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which to date has caused 15,581,007 confirmed cases and 635,173 deaths in 208 countries, including Italy. SARS-CoV-2 transmission is mainly airborne via droplets generated by symptomatic patients, and possibly asymptomatic individuals during incubation of the disease, although for the latter, there are no certain data yet. However, research on asymptomatic viral infection is currently ongoing worldwide to elucidate the real prevalence and mortality of the disease. From a clinical point of view, COVID-19 would be defined as "COVID Planet " because it presents as a multifaceted disease, due to the large number of organs and tissues infected by the virus. Overall, based on the available published data, 80.9% of patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 develop a mild disease/infection, 13.8% severe pneumonia, 4.7% respiratory failure, septic shock, or multi-organ failure, and 3% of these cases are fatal, but mortality parameter is highly variable in different countries. Clinically, SARS-CoV-2 causes severe primary interstitial viral pneumonia and a "cytokine storm syndrome", characterized by a severe and fatal uncontrolled systemic inflammatory response triggered by the activation of interleukin 6 (IL-6) with development of endothelitis and generalized thrombosis that can lead to organ failure and death. Risk factors include advanced age and comorbidities including hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Virus entry occurs via binding the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor present in almost all tissues and organs through the Spike (S) protein. Currently, SARS-CoV-2 infection is prevented by the use of masks, social distancing, and improved hand hygiene measures. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the main biological and clinical features of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, also focusing on the principal measures taken in some Italian regions to face the emergency and on the most important treatments used to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.