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1.
Clin Chem ; 2020 Jul 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-676579

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was the first major global public health crisis of the 21st century. In March 2003, we reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) the discovery of a novel coronavirus (CoV) responsible for this newly emerged disease. SARS first emerged in Guangdong, China in November 2002, leading to major outbreaks in the Provincial capital Guangzhou in January. We first heard about these outbreaks in mid-February 2003. Hong Kong set up enhanced surveillance for all patients with severe pneumonia of unknown aetiology in Hong Kong, especially those with a travel history to Guangdong. Our investigation for known respiratory pathogens proved negative. We then started to look more broadly for unusual viruses, including attempting virus culture using a range of cell lines not normally used for respiratory viruses, broad-range PCR/RT-PCR, random primer RT-PCR methods as well as electron microscopy of a lung biopsy from a suspected patient. By March 17, 2003, we began to see subtle changes in FRhk 4 monkey kidney cells inoculated with specimens from two suspected patients. By electron microscopy, we could see virus particles within these cells and we then used fixed infected cells to demonstrate antibody responses in paired sera from a number of suspected SARS patients but not in controls. Using random RT-PCR, we were able to identify the virus as a novel coronavirus. The initial short RNA sequence of 646 nucleotides obtained from the random RT-PCR rapidly allowed the development of RT-PCR assays for detecting SARS patients (1). All these findings were shared in real-time via daily teleconferences organized by the WHO to link up laboratories working on this outbreak. Two other laboratories within the network (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, USA and Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg) reported similar findings from other SARS patients but others were still arguing for other aetiologies (e.g., human metapneumovirus). Sharing of data within the WHO network allowed a rapid consensus that the novel coronavirus was indeed the cause of SARS.

3.
Clin Chem ; 66(8): 1102-1104, 2020 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-592499
4.
Clin. Infect. Dis. ; 5(70): 850-858, 20200301.
Article in English | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-326398

ABSTRACT

Background. Respiratory virus-laden particles are commonly detected in the exhaled breath of symptomatic patients or in air sampled from healthcare settings. However, the temporal relationship of detecting virus-laden particles at nonhealthcare locations vs surveillance data obtained by conventional means has not been fully assessed. Methods. From October 2016 to June 2018, air was sampled weekly from a university campus in Hong Kong. Viral genomes were detected and quantified by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Logistic regression models were fitted to examine the adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of ecological and environmental factors associated with the detection of virus-laden airborne particles. Results. Influenza A (16.9% [117/694]) and influenza B (4.5% [31/694]) viruses were detected at higher frequencies in air than rhinovirus (2.2% [6/270]), respiratory syncytial virus (0.4% [1/270]), or human coronaviruses (0% [0/270]). Multivariate analyses showed that increased crowdedness (aOR, 2.3 [95% confidence interval {CI}, 1.5-3.8]; P < .001) and higher indoor temperature (aOR, 1.2 [95% CI, 1.1-1.3]; P < .001) were associated with detection of influenza airborne particles, but absolute humidity was not (aOR, 0.9 [95% CI, .7-1.1]; P = .213). Higher copies of influenza viral genome were detected from airborne particles >4 μm in spring and <1 μm in autumn. Influenza A(H3N2) and influenza B viruses that caused epidemics during the study period were detected in air prior to observing increased influenza activities in the community. Conclusions. Air sampling as a surveillance tool for monitoring influenza activity at public locations may provide early detection signals on influenza viruses that circulate in the community.

5.
J Virol ; 94(15)2020 Jul 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-324607

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe acute respiratory disease in humans. MERS-CoV strains from early epidemic clade A and contemporary epidemic clade B have not been phenotypically characterized to compare their abilities to infect cells and mice. We isolated the clade B MERS-CoV ChinaGD01 strain from a patient infected during the South Korean MERS outbreak in 2015 and compared the phylogenetics and pathogenicity of MERS-CoV EMC/2012 (clade A) and ChinaGD01 (clade B) in vitro and in vivo Genome alignment analysis showed that most clade-specific mutations occurred in the orf1ab gene, including mutations that were predicted to be potential glycosylation sites. Minor differences in viral growth but no significant differences in plaque size or sensitivity to beta interferon (IFN-ß) were detected between these two viruses in vitro ChinaGD01 virus infection induced more weight loss and inflammatory cytokine production in human DPP4-transduced mice. Viral titers were higher in the lungs of ChinaGD01-infected mice than with EMC/2012 infection. Decreased virus-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T cell numbers were detected in the lungs of ChinaGD01-infected mice. In conclusion, MERS-CoV evolution induced changes to reshape its pathogenicity and virulence in vitro and in vivo and to evade adaptive immune response to hinder viral clearance.IMPORTANCE MERS-CoV is an important emerging pathogen and causes severe respiratory infection in humans. MERS-CoV strains from early epidemic clade A and contemporary epidemic clade B have not been phenotypically characterized to compare their abilities to infect cells and mice. In this study, we showed that a clade B virus ChinaGD01 strain caused more severe disease in mice, with delayed viral clearance, increased inflammatory cytokines, and decreased antiviral T cell responses, than the early clade A virus EMC/2012. Given the differences in pathogenicity of different clades of MERS-CoV, periodic assessment of currently circulating MERS-CoV is needed to monitor potential severity of zoonotic disease.

6.
Nature ; 583(7818): 834-838, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-261141

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel coronavirus with high nucleotide identity to SARS-CoV and to SARS-related coronaviruses that have been detected in horseshoe bats, has spread across the world and had a global effect on healthcare systems and economies1,2. A suitable small animal model is needed to support the development of vaccines and therapies. Here we report the pathogenesis and transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 in golden (Syrian) hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus). Immunohistochemistry assay demonstrated the presence of viral antigens in nasal mucosa, bronchial epithelial cells and areas of lung consolidation on days 2 and 5 after inoculation with SARS-CoV-2, followed by rapid viral clearance and pneumocyte hyperplasia at 7 days after inoculation. We also found viral antigens in epithelial cells of the duodenum, and detected viral RNA in faeces. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 was transmitted efficiently from inoculated hamsters to naive hamsters by direct contact and via aerosols. Transmission via fomites in soiled cages was not as efficient. Although viral RNA was continuously detected in the nasal washes of inoculated hamsters for 14 days, the communicable period was short and correlated with the detection of infectious virus but not viral RNA. Inoculated and naturally infected hamsters showed apparent weight loss on days 6-7 post-inoculation or post-contact; all hamsters returned to their original weight within 14 days and developed neutralizing antibodies. Our results suggest that features associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in golden hamsters resemble those found in humans with mild SARS-CoV-2 infections.

7.
Nature ; 2020 May 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-261140

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first detected in Wuhan in December 2019 and caused coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)1,2. In 2003, the closely related SARS-CoV had been detected in domestic cats and a dog3. However, little is known about the susceptibility of domestic pet mammals to SARS-CoV-2. Here, using PCR with reverse transcription, serology, sequencing the viral genome and virus isolation, we show that 2 out of 15 dogs from households with confirmed human cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong were found to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in five nasal swabs collected over a 13-day period from a 17-year-old neutered male Pomeranian. A 2.5-year-old male German shepherd was positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA on two occasions and virus was isolated from nasal and oral swabs. Antibody responses were detected in both dogs using plaque-reduction-neutralization assays. Viral genetic sequences of viruses from the two dogs were identical to the virus detected in the respective human cases. The dogs remained asymptomatic during quarantine. The evidence suggests that these are instances of human-to-animal transmission of SARS-CoV-2. It is unclear whether infected dogs can transmit the virus to other animals or back to humans.

8.
Virus Evolution ; 6(1), 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-260183

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a global health concern as it continues to spread within China and beyond The causative agent of this disease, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), belongs to the genus Betacoronavirus, which also includes severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARSr-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERSr-CoV) Codon usage of viral genes are believed to be subjected to different selection pressures in different host environments Previous studies on codon usage of influenza A viruses helped identify viral host origins and evolution trends, however, similar studies on coronaviruses are lacking In this study, we compared the codon usage bias using global correspondence analysis (CA), within-group CA and between-group CA We found that the bat RaTG13 virus best matched the overall codon usage pattern of SARS-CoV-2 in orf1ab, spike and nucleocapsid genes, while the pangolin P1E virus had a more similar codon usage in membrane gene The amino acid usage pattern of SARS-CoV-2 was generally found similar to bat and human SARSr-CoVs However, we found greater synonymous codon usage differences between SARS-CoV-2 and its phylogenetic relatives on spike and membrane genes, suggesting these two genes of SARS-CoV-2 are subjected to different evolutionary pressures

9.
Lancet Respir Med ; 8(7): 687-695, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-197584

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in December 2019, causing a respiratory disease (coronavirus disease 2019, COVID-19) of varying severity in Wuhan, China, and subsequently leading to a pandemic. The transmissibility and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 remain poorly understood. We evaluate its tissue and cellular tropism in human respiratory tract, conjunctiva, and innate immune responses in comparison with other coronavirus and influenza virus to provide insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis. METHODS: We isolated SARS-CoV-2 from a patient with confirmed COVID-19, and compared virus tropism and replication competence with SARS-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndrome-associated coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and 2009 pandemic influenza H1N1 (H1N1pdm) in ex-vivo cultures of human bronchus (n=5) and lung (n=4). We assessed extrapulmonary infection using ex-vivo cultures of human conjunctiva (n=3) and in-vitro cultures of human colorectal adenocarcinoma cell lines. Innate immune responses and angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 expression were investigated in human alveolar epithelial cells and macrophages. In-vitro studies included the highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus (H5N1) and mock-infected cells as controls. FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 infected ciliated, mucus-secreting, and club cells of bronchial epithelium, type 1 pneumocytes in the lung, and the conjunctival mucosa. In the bronchus, SARS-CoV-2 replication competence was similar to MERS-CoV, and higher than SARS-CoV, but lower than H1N1pdm. In the lung, SARS-CoV-2 replication was similar to SARS-CoV and H1N1pdm, but was lower than MERS-CoV. In conjunctiva, SARS-CoV-2 replication was greater than SARS-CoV. SARS-CoV-2 was a less potent inducer of proinflammatory cytokines than H5N1, H1N1pdm, or MERS-CoV. INTERPRETATION: The conjunctival epithelium and conducting airways appear to be potential portals of infection for SARS-CoV-2. Both SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 replicated similarly in the alveolar epithelium; SARS-CoV-2 replicated more extensively in the bronchus than SARS-CoV. These findings provide important insights into the transmissibility and pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection and differences with other respiratory pathogens. FUNDING: US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, University Grants Committee of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China; Health and Medical Research Fund, Food and Health Bureau, Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Conjunctiva/virology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , Viral Tropism/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Conjunctiva/immunology , Conjunctiva/physiopathology , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/physiopathology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/physiopathology
10.
Euro Surveill ; 25(16)2020 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-108708

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has major impacts on health systems, the economy and society. Assessing infection attack rates in the population is critical for estimating disease severity and herd immunity which is needed to calibrate public health interventions. We have previously shown that it is possible to achieve this in real time to impact public health decision making.AimOur objective was to develop and evaluate serological assays applicable in large-scale sero-epidemiological studies.MethodsWe developed an ELISA to detect IgG and IgM antibodies to the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We evaluated its sensitivity and specificity in combination with confirmatory microneutralisation (MN) and 90% plaque reduction neutralisation tests (PRNT90) in 51 sera from 24 patients with virologically confirmed COVID-19 and in age-stratified sera from 200 healthy controls.ResultsIgG and IgM RBD ELISA, MN and PRNT90 were reliably positive after 29 days from illness onset with no detectable cross-reactivity in age-stratified controls. We found that PRNT90 tests were more sensitive in detecting antibody than MN tests carried out with the conventional 100 tissue culture infectious dose challenge. Heparinised plasma appeared to reduce the infectivity of the virus challenge dose and may confound interpretation of neutralisation test.ConclusionUsing IgG ELISA based on the RBD of the spike protein to screen sera for SARS-CoV-2 antibody, followed by confirmation using PRNT90, is a valid approach for large-scale sero-epidemiology studies.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Serologic Tests/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Animals , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neutralization Tests , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/analysis , Vero Cells , Young Adult
11.
Antiviral Res ; 178: 104786, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-30820

ABSTRACT

An escalating pandemic by the novel SARS-CoV-2 virus is impacting global health and effective therapeutic options are urgently needed. We evaluated the in vitro antiviral effect of compounds that were previously reported to inhibit coronavirus replication and compounds that are currently under evaluation in clinical trials for SARS-CoV-2 patients. We report the antiviral effect of remdesivir, lopinavir, homorringtonine, and emetine against SARS-CoV-2 virus in Vero E6 cells with the estimated 50% effective concentration at 23.15 µM, 26.63 µM, 2.55 µM and 0.46 µM, respectively. Ribavirin or favipiravir that are currently evaluated under clinical trials showed no inhibition at 100 µM. Synergy between remdesivir and emetine was observed, and remdesivir at 6.25 µM in combination with emetine at 0.195 µM may achieve 64.9% inhibition in viral yield. Combinational therapy may help to reduce the effective concentration of compounds below the therapeutic plasma concentrations and provide better clinical benefits.


Subject(s)
Antimetabolites/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Emetine/pharmacology , Homoharringtonine/pharmacology , Lopinavir/pharmacology , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Virus Replication/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Amides/pharmacology , Animals , Betacoronavirus/physiology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Drug Combinations , Epithelial Cells , Humans , Pandemics , Pyrazines/pharmacology , Ribavirin/pharmacology , Vero Cells
14.
Micro. Res. Ann ; 11(9)20200312.
Article in English | ELSEVIER | ID: covidwho-7929

ABSTRACT

A complete genome sequence was obtained for a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) strain isolated from an oropharyngeal swab specimen of a Nepalese patient with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), who had returned to Nepal after traveling to Wuhan, China.

17.
Clin Chem ; 66(4): 549-555, 2020 04 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-545

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A novel coronavirus of zoonotic origin (2019-nCoV) has recently been identified in patients with acute respiratory disease. This virus is genetically similar to SARS coronavirus and bat SARS-like coronaviruses. The outbreak was initially detected in Wuhan, a major city of China, but has subsequently been detected in other provinces of China. Travel-associated cases have also been reported in a few other countries. Outbreaks in health care workers indicate human-to-human transmission. Molecular tests for rapid detection of this virus are urgently needed for early identification of infected patients. METHODS: We developed two 1-step quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR assays to detect two different regions (ORF1b and N) of the viral genome. The primer and probe sets were designed to react with this novel coronavirus and its closely related viruses, such as SARS coronavirus. These assays were evaluated using a panel of positive and negative controls. In addition, respiratory specimens from two 2019-nCoV-infected patients were tested. RESULTS: Using RNA extracted from cells infected by SARS coronavirus as a positive control, these assays were shown to have a dynamic range of at least seven orders of magnitude (2x10-4-2000 TCID50/reaction). Using DNA plasmids as positive standards, the detection limits of these assays were found to be below 10 copies per reaction. All negative control samples were negative in the assays. Samples from two 2019-nCoV-infected patients were positive in the tests. CONCLUSIONS: The established assays can achieve a rapid detection of 2019n-CoV in human samples, thereby allowing early identification of patients.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
18.
Euro Surveill ; 25(3)2020 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-233

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The ongoing outbreak of the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) poses a challenge for public health laboratories as virus isolates are unavailable while there is growing evidence that the outbreak is more widespread than initially thought, and international spread through travellers does already occur. AIM: We aimed to develop and deploy robust diagnostic methodology for use in public health laboratory settings without having virus material available. METHODS: Here we present a validated diagnostic workflow for 2019-nCoV, its design relying on close genetic relatedness of 2019-nCoV with SARS coronavirus, making use of synthetic nucleic acid technology. RESULTS: The workflow reliably detects 2019-nCoV, and further discriminates 2019-nCoV from SARS-CoV. Through coordination between academic and public laboratories, we confirmed assay exclusivity based on 297 original clinical specimens containing a full spectrum of human respiratory viruses. Control material is made available through European Virus Archive - Global (EVAg), a European Union infrastructure project. CONCLUSION: The present study demonstrates the enormous response capacity achieved through coordination of academic and public laboratories in national and European research networks.


Subject(s)
Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , RNA, Viral/analysis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Sensitivity and Specificity
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