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1.
Sci Total Environ ; 820: 153171, 2022 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1629486

ABSTRACT

On the 26th of November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the newly detected B.1.1.529 lineage of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) the Omicron Variant of Concern (VOC). The genome of the Omicron VOC contains more than 50 mutations, many of which have been associated with increased transmissibility, differing disease severity, and potential to evade immune responses developed for previous VOCs such as Alpha and Delta. In the days since the designation of B.1.1.529 as a VOC, infections with the lineage have been reported in countries around the globe and many countries have implemented travel restrictions and increased border controls in response. We putatively detected the Omicron variant in an aircraft wastewater sample from a flight arriving to Darwin, Australia from Johannesburg, South Africa on the 25th of November 2021 via positive results on the CDC N1, CDC N2, and del(69-70) RT-qPCR assays per guidance from the WHO. The Australian Northern Territory Health Department detected one passenger onboard the flight who was infected with SARS-CoV-2, which was determined to be the Omicron VOC by sequencing of a nasopharyngeal swab sample. Subsequent sequencing of the aircraft wastewater sample using the ARTIC V3 protocol with Nanopore and ATOPlex confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant with a consensus genome that clustered with the B.1.1.529 BA.1 sub-lineage. Our detection and confirmation of a single onboard Omicron infection via aircraft wastewater further bolsters the important role that aircraft wastewater can play as an independent and unintrusive surveillance point for infectious diseases, particularly coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aircraft , Australia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , South Africa/epidemiology , Waste Water
3.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3431, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262001

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We demonstrate that despite the large size of the viral RNA genome (~30 kb), infectious full-length cDNA is readily assembled in vitro by a circular polymerase extension reaction (CPER) methodology without the need for technically demanding intermediate steps. Overlapping cDNA fragments are generated from viral RNA and assembled together with a linker fragment containing CMV promoter into a circular full-length viral cDNA in a single reaction. Transfection of the circular cDNA into mammalian cells results in the recovery of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus that exhibits properties comparable to the parental virus in vitro and in vivo. CPER is also used to generate insect-specific Casuarina virus with ~20 kb genome and the human pathogens Ross River virus (Alphavirus) and Norovirus (Calicivirus), with the latter from a clinical sample. Additionally, reporter and mutant viruses are generated and employed to study virus replication and virus-receptor interactions.


Subject(s)
Reverse Genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Base Sequence , Chlorocebus aethiops , Culicidae/virology , Furin/metabolism , Genome, Viral , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Mice , Mutation/genetics , NIH 3T3 Cells , Polymerase Chain Reaction , RAW 264.7 Cells , Receptors, Virus/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/chemistry , Virus Replication
4.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1259627

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of COVID-19, is a readily transmissible and potentially deadly pathogen which is currently re-defining human susceptibility to pandemic viruses in the modern world. The recent emergence of several genetically distinct descendants known as variants of concern (VOCs) is further challenging public health disease management, due to increased rates of virus transmission and potential constraints on vaccine effectiveness. We report the isolation of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs imported into Australia belonging to the B.1.351 lineage, first described in the Republic of South Africa (RSA), and the B.1.1.7 lineage originally reported in the United Kingdom, and directly compare the replication kinetics of these two VOCs in Vero E6 cells. In this analysis, we also investigated a B.1.1.7 VOC (QLD1516/2021) carrying a 7-nucleotide deletion in the open reading frame 7a (ORF7a) gene, likely truncating and rendering the ORF7a protein of this virus defective. We demonstrate that the replication of the B.1.351 VOC (QLD1520/2020) in Vero E6 cells can be detected earlier than the B.1.1.7 VOCs (QLD1516/2021 and QLD1517/2021), before peaking at 48 h post infection (p.i.), with significantly higher levels of virus progeny. Whilst replication of the ORF7a defective isolate QLD1516/2021 was delayed longer than the other viruses, slightly more viral progeny was produced by the mutant compared to the unmutated isolate QLD1517/2021 at 72 h p.i. Collectively, these findings contribute to our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 replication and evolutionary dynamics, which have important implications in the development of future vaccination, antiviral therapies, and epidemiological control strategies for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Open Reading Frames/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Proteins/genetics , Virus Replication , Adult , Animals , Australia , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Kinetics , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasopharynx/virology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/classification , South Africa , United Kingdom , Vero Cells
5.
Exp Gerontol ; 142: 111123, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-943107

ABSTRACT

Aging is the primary risk factor for functional decline; thus, understanding and preventing disability among older adults has emerged as an important public health challenge of the 21st century. The science of gerontology - or geroscience - has the practical purpose of "adding life to the years." The overall goal of geroscience is to increase healthspan, which refers to extending the portion of the lifespan in which the individual experiences enjoyment, satisfaction, and wellness. An important facet of this goal is preserving mobility, defined as the ability to move independently. Despite this clear purpose, this has proven to be a challenging endeavor as mobility and function in later life are influenced by a complex interaction of factors across multiple domains. Moreover, findings over the past decade have highlighted the complexity of walking and how targeting multiple systems, including the brain and sensory organs, as well as the environment in which a person lives, can have a dramatic effect on an older person's mobility and function. For these reasons, behavioral interventions that incorporate complex walking tasks and other activities of daily living appear to be especially helpful for improving mobility function. Other pharmaceutical interventions, such as oxytocin, and complementary and alternative interventions, such as massage therapy, may enhance physical function both through direct effects on biological mechanisms related to mobility, as well as indirectly through modulation of cognitive and socioemotional processes. Thus, the purpose of the present review is to describe evolving interventional approaches to enhance mobility and maintain healthspan in the growing population of older adults in the United States and countries throughout the world. Such interventions are likely to be greatly assisted by technological advances and the widespread adoption of virtual communications during and after the COVID-19 era.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Geriatrics , Physical Functional Performance , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Aging/physiology , Circadian Rhythm/physiology , Cognition , Complementary Therapies , Humans , Middle Aged , Mobility Limitation , Sleep Wake Disorders/complications
6.
Intern Med J ; 51(1): 42-51, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-944728

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization recognised clusters of pneumonia-like cases due to a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 became a pandemic 71 days later. AIM: To report the clinical and epidemiological features, laboratory data and outcomes of the first group of 11 returned travellers with COVID-19 in Australia. METHODS: This is a retrospective, multi-centre case series. All patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection were admitted to tertiary referral hospitals in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. RESULTS: The median age of the patient cohort was 42 years (interquartile range (IQR), 24-53 years) with six men and five women. Eight (72.7%) patients had returned from Wuhan, one from Shenzhen, one from Japan and one from Europe. Possible human-to-human transmission from close family contacts in gatherings overseas occurred in two cases. Symptoms on admission were fever, cough and sore throat (n = 9, 81.8%). Co-morbidities included hypertension (n = 3, 27.3%) and hypercholesterolaemia (n = 2, 18.2%). No patients developed severe acute respiratory distress nor required intensive care unit admission or mechanical ventilation. After a median hospital stay of 14.5 days (IQR, 6.75-21), all patients were discharged. CONCLUSIONS: This is a historical record of the first COVID-19 cases in Australia during the early biocontainment phase of the national response. These findings were invaluable for establishing early inpatient and outpatient COVID-19 models of care and informing the management of COVID-19 over time as the outbreak evolved. Future research should extend this Australian case series to examine global epidemiological variation of this novel infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Discharge , Retrospective Studies , Tertiary Care Centers , Young Adult
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