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1.
Pharmaceuticals (Basel) ; 15(5)2022 Apr 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1810078

ABSTRACT

The C30 endopeptidase (3C-like protease; 3CLpro) is essential for the life cycle of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2) since it plays a pivotal role in viral replication and transcription and, hence, is a promising drug target. Molecules isolated from animals, insects, plants, or microorganisms can serve as a scaffold for the design of novel biopharmaceutical products. Crotamine, a small cationic peptide from the venom of the rattlesnake Crotalus durissus terrificus, has been the focus of many studies since it exhibits activities such as analgesic, in vitro antibacterial, and hemolytic activities. The crotamine derivative L-peptides (L-CDP) that inhibit the 3CL protease in the low µM range were examined since they are susceptible to proteolytic degradation; we explored the utility of their D-enantiomers form. Comparative uptake inhibition analysis showed D-CDP as a promising prototype for a D-peptide-based drug. We also found that the D-peptides can impair SARS-CoV-2 replication in vivo, probably targeting the viral protease 3CLpro.

2.
Front Immunol ; 13: 838132, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809394

ABSTRACT

The majority of COVID-19 patients experience mild to moderate disease course and recover within a few weeks. An increasing number of studies characterized the long-term changes in the specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune responses, but how COVID-19 shapes the innate and heterologous adaptive immune system after recovery is less well known. To comprehensively investigate the post-SARS-CoV-2 infection sequelae on the immune system, we performed a multi-omics study by integrating single-cell RNA-sequencing, single-cell ATAC-sequencing, genome-wide DNA methylation profiling, and functional validation experiments in 14 convalescent COVID-19 and 15 healthy individuals. We showed that immune responses generally recover without major sequelae after COVID-19. However, subtle differences persist at the transcriptomic level in monocytes, with downregulation of the interferon pathway, while DNA methylation also displays minor changes in convalescent COVID-19 individuals. However, these differences did not affect the cytokine production capacity of PBMCs upon different bacterial, viral, and fungal stimuli, although baseline release of IL-1Ra and IFN-γ was higher in convalescent individuals. In conclusion, we propose that despite minor differences in epigenetic and transcriptional programs, the immune system of convalescent COVID-19 patients largely recovers to the homeostatic level of healthy individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Convalescence , Disease Progression , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear , SARS-CoV-2
3.
J Med Virol ; 2021 Oct 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1718376

ABSTRACT

We used enzyme-linked immunoassay methods to measure the prevalence and the levels of antibody responses to the nucleocapsid (N) protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and four seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoV-OC43, HCoV-HKU1, HCoV 229E, and HCoV-NL63) in a cohort of 115 convalescent plasma donors infected with SARS-CoV-2 (1-61 days after symptom onset) compared to antibody levels in 114 individuals with no evidence of a recent infection with SARS-CoV-2. In the humoral response to the four seasonal coronaviruses, only HCoV-HKU1- and HCoV-229E-assays showed slightly elevated antibody levels in the COVID group compared to the control group. While in the COVID-group the levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies correlated significantly with disease severity, no association was found in the levels of antibodies against the seasonal coronaviruses. The most striking result in both groups was that the levels of antibodies against all tested coronaviruses, including the new SARS-CoV-2 showed a highly significant correlation with each other. There seems to be an individual predisposition to a weaker or stronger humoral immune response against all known seasonal human coronaviruses including the new SARS-CoV-2, which could lead to a definition of low and high responders against human coronaviruses with potential impact on the assessment of postinfection antibody levels and protection.

4.
PLoS Pathog ; 17(10): e1009928, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1484868

ABSTRACT

Non-specific protective effects of certain vaccines have been reported, and long-term boosting of innate immunity, termed trained immunity, has been proposed as one of the mechanisms mediating these effects. Several epidemiological studies suggested cross-protection between influenza vaccination and COVID-19. In a large academic Dutch hospital, we found that SARS-CoV-2 infection was less common among employees who had received a previous influenza vaccination: relative risk reductions of 37% and 49% were observed following influenza vaccination during the first and second COVID-19 waves, respectively. The quadrivalent inactivated influenza vaccine induced a trained immunity program that boosted innate immune responses against various viral stimuli and fine-tuned the anti-SARS-CoV-2 response, which may result in better protection against COVID-19. Influenza vaccination led to transcriptional reprogramming of monocytes and reduced systemic inflammation. These epidemiological and immunological data argue for potential benefits of influenza vaccination against COVID-19, and future randomized trials are warranted to test this possibility.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Cross Protection/physiology , Immunity, Innate/physiology , Influenza Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Down-Regulation , Imidazoles/immunology , Incidence , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Netherlands/epidemiology , Personnel, Hospital , Poly I-C/immunology , Proteomics , Risk Factors , Sequence Analysis, RNA
5.
Viruses ; 13(4)2021 04 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167762

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes COVID-19 and is responsible for the ongoing pandemic. Screening of potential antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2 depend on in vitro experiments, which are based on the quantification of the virus titer. Here, we used virus-induced cytopathic effects (CPE) in brightfield microscopy of SARS-CoV-2-infected monolayers to quantify the virus titer. Images were classified using deep transfer learning (DTL) that fine-tune the last layers of a pre-trained Resnet18 (ImageNet). To exclude toxic concentrations of potential drugs, the network was expanded to include a toxic score (TOX) that detected cell death (CPETOXnet). With this analytic tool, the inhibitory effects of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, remdesivir, and emetine were validated. Taken together we developed a simple method and provided open access implementation to quantify SARS-CoV-2 titers and drug toxicity in experimental settings, which may be adaptable to assays with other viruses. The quantification of virus titers from brightfield images could accelerate the experimental approach for antiviral testing.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Deep Learning , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions , Machine Learning , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Animals , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Phosphoproteins , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects
6.
EMBO J ; 39(20): e106230, 2020 10 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-740598

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection is a public health emergency. COVID-19 typically exhibits respiratory illness. Unexpectedly, emerging clinical reports indicate that neurological symptoms continue to rise, suggesting detrimental effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the central nervous system (CNS). Here, we show that a Düsseldorf isolate of SARS-CoV-2 enters 3D human brain organoids within 2 days of exposure. We identified that SARS-CoV-2 preferably targets neurons of brain organoids. Imaging neurons of organoids reveal that SARS-CoV-2 exposure is associated with altered distribution of Tau from axons to soma, hyperphosphorylation, and apparent neuronal death. Our studies, therefore, provide initial insights into the potential neurotoxic effect of SARS-CoV-2 and emphasize that brain organoids could model CNS pathologies of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Brain/virology , Neurons/virology , Animals , Cell Death , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Nervous System Diseases/virology , Organoids , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells , tau Proteins/metabolism
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