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Med (N Y) ; 2(5): 591-610.e10, 2021 05 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220962


BACKGROUND: Pregnant women are at increased risk for severe outcomes from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but the pathophysiology underlying this increased morbidity and its potential effect on the developing fetus is not well understood. METHODS: We assessed placental histology, ACE2 expression, and viral and immune dynamics at the term placenta in pregnant women with and without respiratory severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. FINDINGS: The majority (13 of 15) of placentas analyzed had no detectable viral RNA. ACE2 was detected by immunohistochemistry in syncytiotrophoblast cells of the normal placenta during early pregnancy but was rarely seen in healthy placentas at full term, suggesting that low ACE2 expression may protect the term placenta from viral infection. Using immortalized cell lines and primary isolated placental cells, we found that cytotrophoblasts, the trophoblast stem cells and precursors to syncytiotrophoblasts, rather than syncytiotrophoblasts or Hofbauer cells, are most vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. To better understand potential immune mechanisms shielding placental cells from infection in vivo, we performed bulk and single-cell transcriptomics analyses and found that the maternal-fetal interface of SARS-CoV-2-infected women exhibited robust immune responses, including increased activation of natural killer (NK) and T cells, increased expression of interferon-related genes, as well as markers associated with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infection in late pregnancy is associated with immune activation at the maternal-fetal interface even in the absence of detectable local viral invasion. FUNDING: NIH (T32GM007205, F30HD093350, K23MH118999, R01AI157488, U01DA040588) and Fast Grant funding support from Emergent Ventures at the Mercatus Center.

COVID-19 , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Female , Humans , Placenta/metabolism , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2
Cell ; 181(5): 990-996.e5, 2020 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-60444


The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States in January 2020, with subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks detected in all 50 states by early March. To uncover the sources of SARS-CoV-2 introductions and patterns of spread within the United States, we sequenced nine viral genomes from early reported COVID-19 patients in Connecticut. Our phylogenetic analysis places the majority of these genomes with viruses sequenced from Washington state. By coupling our genomic data with domestic and international travel patterns, we show that early SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Connecticut was likely driven by domestic introductions. Moreover, the risk of domestic importation to Connecticut exceeded that of international importation by mid-March regardless of our estimated effects of federal travel restrictions. This study provides evidence of widespread sustained transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the United States and highlights the critical need for local surveillance.

Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Travel , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Connecticut/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans , Likelihood Functions , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , United States/epidemiology , Washington/epidemiology