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NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 83, 2021 Jun 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387359


An array of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants have been isolated, propagated and used in in vitro assays, in vivo animal studies and human clinical trials. Observations of working stocks of SARS-CoV-2 suggest that sequential propagation in Vero cells leads to critical changes in the region of the furin cleavage site, which significantly reduce the value of the working stock for critical research studies. Serially propagating SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells leads to rapid increases in genetic variants while propagation in other cell lines (e.g. Vero/hSLAM) appears to mitigate this risk thereby improving the overall genetic stability of working stocks. From these observations, investigators are urged to monitor genetic variants carefully when propagating SARS-CoV-2 in Vero cells.

J Clin Microbiol ; 59(6)2021 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1158099


LamPORE is a novel diagnostic platform for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA combining loop-mediated isothermal amplification with nanopore sequencing, which could potentially be used to analyze thousands of samples per day on a single instrument. We evaluated the performance of LamPORE against reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) using RNA extracted from spiked respiratory samples and stored nose and throat swabs collected at two UK hospitals. The limit of detection of LamPORE was 10 genome copies/µl of extracted RNA, which is above the limit achievable by RT-PCR, but was not associated with a significant reduction of sensitivity in clinical samples. Positive clinical specimens came mostly from patients with acute symptomatic infection, and among them, LamPORE had a diagnostic sensitivity of 99.1% (226/228; 95% confidence interval [CI], 96.9% to 99.9%). Among negative clinical specimens, including 153 with other respiratory pathogens detected, LamPORE had a diagnostic specificity of 99.6% (278/279; 98.0% to 100.0%). Overall, 1.4% (7/514; 0.5% to 2.9%) of samples produced an indeterminate result on first testing, and repeat LamPORE testing on the same RNA extract had a reproducibility of 96.8% (478/494; 94.8% to 98.1%). LamPORE has a similar performance as RT-PCR for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in symptomatic patients and offers a promising approach to high-throughput testing.

COVID-19 , Nanopore Sequencing , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 81, 2021 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1007628


There is a vital need for authentic COVID-19 animal models to enable the pre-clinical evaluation of candidate vaccines and therapeutics. Here we report a dose titration study of SARS-CoV-2 in the ferret model. After a high (5 × 106 pfu) and medium (5 × 104 pfu) dose of virus is delivered, intranasally, viral RNA shedding in the upper respiratory tract (URT) is observed in 6/6 animals, however, only 1/6 ferrets show similar signs after low dose (5 × 102 pfu) challenge. Following sequential culls pathological signs of mild multifocal bronchopneumonia in approximately 5-15% of the lung is seen on day 3, in high and medium dosed groups. Ferrets re-challenged, after virus shedding ceased, are fully protected from acute lung pathology. The endpoints of URT viral RNA replication & distinct lung pathology are observed most consistently in the high dose group. This ferret model of SARS-CoV-2 infection presents a mild clinical disease.

COVID-19/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Ferrets/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/pharmacology , Dose-Response Relationship, Drug , Female , Lung/immunology , Lung/pathology , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects , Virus Replication/immunology , Virus Shedding/drug effects , Virus Shedding/immunology