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Transl Vis Sci Technol ; 10(12): 32, 2021 10 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484163


Purpose: The putative presence of SARS-CoV-2 in ocular specimen puts healthcare workers at risk. We thoroughly examined conjunctival swabs and tear fluid in a large cohort of COVID-19 patients. Methods: A total of 243 symptomatic laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 patients were included in this observational multicenter study. Conjunctival swabs were analyzed by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Next-generation sequencing and phylogenetic analysis were performed to identify viral strains and to determine tissue tropism. Schirmer tear samples from 43 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and 25 healthy controls were analyzed by multiplex cytokine immunoassays. Results: Viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in conjunctival swabs from 17 (7.0%) of 243 COVID-19 patients. Conjunctival samples were positive for viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA as long as 12 days after disease onset. Cycle threshold (Ct) values for conjunctival swabs (mean 34.5 ± 5.1) were significantly higher than nasopharyngeal swabs (mean 16.7 ± 3.6). No correlation between Ct values of conjunctival and nasopharyngeal swabs was observed. The majority of positive conjunctival samples were detected only once and primarily during the first visit. Next-generation sequencing analysis revealed that the virus strain found in the conjunctiva was most often identical to the one found in the nasopharynx. Tear cytokine levels IL-1ß and IL-6 were elevated in COVID-19 patients compared to healthy controls. Conclusions: Conjunctival samples that were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA contained the same viral strain as the nasopharynx. Translational Relevance: The presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA and elevated cytokines in tear fluid confirm the involvement of the ocular surface in COVID-19 disease.

COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , Cohort Studies , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 3461, 2021 02 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1078603


Despite ongoing efforts to characterize the host response toward SARS-CoV-2, a major gap in our knowledge still exists regarding the magnitude and duration of the humoral response. Analysis of the antibody response in mild versus moderate/severe patients, using our new developed quantitative electrochemiluminescent assay for detecting IgM/IgA/IgG antibodies toward SARS-CoV-2 antigens, revealed a rapid onset of IgG/IgA antibodies, specifically in moderate/severe patients. IgM antibodies against the viral receptor binding domain, but not against nucleocapsid protein, were detected at early stages of the disease. Furthermore, we observed a marked reduction in IgM/IgA antibodies over-time. Adapting our assay for ACE2 binding-competition, demonstrated that the presence of potentially neutralizing antibodies is corelated with IgG/IgA. Finally, analysis of the cytokine profile in COVID-19 patients revealed unique correlation of an IL-12p70/IL33 and IgG seroconversion, which correlated with disease severity. In summary, our comprehensive analysis has major implications on the understanding and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Interleukin-12/blood , Interleukin-33/blood , Seroconversion/physiology , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Severity of Illness Index