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1.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 12(1): 2220577, 2023 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235192

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated the ability to infect a wide range of animal species. Here, we investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection in livestock species in Oman and provided serological evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in cattle, sheep, goats, and dromedary camel using the surrogate virus neutralization and plaque reduction neutralization tests. To better understand the extent of SARS-CoV-2 infection in animals and associated risks, "One Health" epidemiological investigations targeting animals exposed to COVID-19 human cases should be implemented with integrated data analysis of the epidemiologically linked human and animal cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cattle , Humans , Animals , Sheep , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , Oman/epidemiology , Camelus , SARS-CoV-2 , Data Analysis , Goats
2.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 7(1): 397, 2022 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2325082

ABSTRACT

The high effectiveness of the third dose of BNT162b2 in healthy adolescents against Omicron BA.1 has been reported in some studies, but immune responses conferring this protection are not yet elucidated. In this analysis, our study (NCT04800133) aims to evaluate the humoral and cellular responses against wild-type and Omicron (BA.1, BA.2 and/or BA.5) SARS-CoV-2 before and after a third dose of BNT162b2 in healthy adolescents. At 5 months after 2 doses, S IgG, S IgG Fc receptor-binding, and neutralising antibody responses waned significantly, yet neutralising antibodies remained detectable in all tested adolescents and S IgG avidity increased from 1 month after 2 doses. The antibody responses and S-specific IFN-γ+ and IL-2+ CD8+ T cell responses were significantly boosted in healthy adolescents after a homologous third dose of BNT162b2. Compared to adults, humoral responses for the third dose were non-inferior or superior in adolescents. The S-specific IFN-γ+ and IL-2+ CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses in adolescents and adults were comparable or non-inferior. Interestingly, after 3 doses, adolescents had preserved S IgG, S IgG avidity, S IgG FcγRIIIa-binding, against Omicron BA.2, as well as preserved cellular responses against BA.1 S and moderate neutralisation levels against BA.1, BA.2 and BA.5. Sera from 100 and 96% of adolescents tested at 1 and 5 months after two doses could also neutralise BA.1. Our study found high antibody and T cell responses, including potent cross-variant reactivity, after three doses of BNT162b2 vaccine in adolescents in its current formulation, suggesting that current vaccines can be protective against symptomatic Omicron disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Humans , Antibodies, Neutralizing , BNT162 Vaccine , Immunoglobulin G , Interleukin-2
3.
J Infect Dis ; 2022 Jul 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2319602

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The epidemiological advantage of Omicron variant is evidenced by its rapid spread and the ability to outcompete prior variants. Among Omicron sub-lineages, early outbreaks were dominated by BA.1 while BA.2 has gained dominance since February 2022. The relative pathogenicity and transmissibility of BA.1 and BA.2 have not been fully defined. METHODS: We compared viral loads and clinical signs in Syrian hamsters after infection with BA.1, BA.2, or D614G variant. A competitive transmission model and next generation sequencing were used to compare the relative transmission potential of BA.1 and BA.2. RESULTS: BA.1 and BA.2 caused no apparent clinical signs while D614G caused more than 10% weight loss. Higher viral loads were detected from the nasal washes, nasal turbinate and lungs of BA.1 than BA.2 inoculated hamsters. No aerosol transmission was observed for BA.1 or BA.2 under the experimental condition that D614G transmitted efficiently. BA.1 and BA.2 were able to transmit among hamsters via direct contact; however, BA.1 transmitted more efficiently than BA.2 under the competitive transmission model. No recombination was detected from direct contacts exposed simultaneously to BA.1 and BA.2. CONCLUSIONS: Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 demonstrated attenuated pathogenicity and reduced transmission potential in hamsters when compared to early SARS-CoV-2 strains.

4.
Hum Vaccin Immunother ; 19(1): 2206278, 2023 12 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2320726

ABSTRACT

The mRNA-based BNT162b2 and inactivated whole-virus CoronaVac are two widely used COVID-19 vaccines that confer immune protection to healthy individuals. However, hesitancy toward COVID-19 vaccination appeared to be common for patients with neuromuscular diseases (NMDs) due to the paucity of data on the safety and efficacy in this high-risk patient population. Therefore, we examined the underlying factors associated with vaccine hesitancy across time for NMDs and assessed the reactogenicity and immunogenicity of these two vaccines. Patients aged 8-18 years with no cognitive delay were invited to complete surveys in January and April 2022. Patients aged 2-21 years were enrolled for COVID-19 vaccination between June 2021 and April 2022, and they recorded adverse reactions (ARs) for 7 days after vaccination. Peripheral blood was obtained before and within 49 days after vaccination to measure serological antibody responses compared to healthy children and adolescents. Forty-one patients completed vaccine hesitancy surveys for both timepoints, while 22 joined the reactogenicity and immunogenicity arm of the study. Two or more family members vaccinated against COVID-19 was positively associated with intention of vaccination (odds ratio 11.7, 95% CI 1.81-75.1, p = .010). Pain at the injection site, fatigue, and myalgia were the commonest ARs. Most ARs were mild (75.5%, n = 71/94). All 19 patients seroconverted against the wildtype SARS-CoV-2 after two doses of either vaccine, similar to 280 healthy counterparts. There was lower neutralization against the Omicron BA.1 variant. BNT162b2 and CoronaVac were safe and immunogenic for patients with NMDs, even in those on low-dose corticosteroids.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neuromuscular Diseases , Adolescent , Child , Humans , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Inactivated , Child, Preschool , Young Adult
5.
Lancet Microbe ; 4(6): e418-e430, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2300274

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The primary aim of using vaccines in public health responses to SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern is to reduce incidence of severe disease, for which T-cell responses are essential. There is a paucity of data on vaccine-induced T-cell immunity to omicron (B.1.1.529). We aimed to compare SARS-CoV-2 omicron BA.1-specific T-cell responses in adults vaccinated with CoronaVac or BNT162b2. METHODS: For this observational cohort, we recruited adults (aged ≥18 years) from three vaccination centres in Hong Kong. We included participants from four cohorts (cohort 1: participants who received two doses of either BNT162b2 or CoronaVac, cohort 2: participants who received two doses and a booster, cohort 3: participants who received two doses and a booster and had a breakthrough omicron infection, and cohort 4: participants who had a previous non-omicron infection and subsequently received one dose of vaccine). People with confirmed history of COVID-19 at recruitment were excluded from cohort 1 and cohort 2. We collected blood samples before vaccination (for cohort 1 and 2), 1-month following vaccination (for all cohorts), and during convalescence for cohort 3 and 4) and determined the proportion of IFNγ+CD4+ and IFNγ+CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood against SARS-CoV-2 using flow cytometry with peptide pools of SARS-CoV-2 wild type or omicron BA.1. The primary outcome was proportion of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells against SARS-CoV-2 1 month after exposure (ie, vaccination or breakthrough infection). FINDINGS: Overall, between May 21, 2020, and Aug 31, 2021, we recruited 659 participants (231 [35%] men and 428 [65%] women). Of these participants, 428 were included in cohort 1 (214 [50%] received BNT162b2 and 214 [50%] received CoronaVac); 127 in cohort 2 (48 [38%] received all BNT162b2, 40 [31%] received all CoronaVac, and 39 [31%] received two CoronaVac and a booster with BNT162b2); 58 in cohort 3, and 46 in cohort 4 (16 [35%] received CoronaVac and 30 [65%] received BNT162b2). Vaccine-induced T-cell responses to the wild-type and omicron BA.1 variants were generally similar in adults receiving two doses of either CoronaVac (CD4+ cells p=0·33; CD8+ cells p=0·70) or BNT162b2 (CD4+ cells p=0·28; CD8+ cells p=1·0). Using a peptide pool of all structural proteins for stimulation, BNT162b2 induced a higher median frequency of omicron-specific CD4+ T cells in adults younger than 60 years (CD4+ cells 0·012% vs 0·010%, p=0·031; CD8+ cells 0·003% vs 0·000%, p=0·055) and omicron-specific CD8+ T cells in people aged 60 years or older (CD4+ cells 0·015% vs 0·006%, p=0·0070; CD8+ cells 0·007% vs 0·000%, p=0·035). A booster dose of either BNT162b2 or CoronaVac after two doses of CoronaVac boosted waning T-cell responses, but T-cell responses did not exceed those at 1 month after the second dose (CoronaVac CD4+ p=0·41, CD8+ p=0·79; BNT162b2 CD4+ p=0·70 CD8+ p=0·80). INTERPRETATION: The evidence that mRNA and inactivated vaccines based on the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 virus elicited T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 omicron variants might explain the high observed vaccine effectiveness against severe COVID-19 shown by both types of vaccine, despite great differences in neutralising antibody responses. The use of either vaccine can be considered if the primary aim is to reduce severity and death caused by the new omicron subvariants; however, BNT162b2 is preferable for adults older than 60 years. FUNDING: The Health and Medical Research Fund Commissioned Research on the Novel Coronavirus Disease and S H Ho Foundation.


Subject(s)
CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19 , Male , Humans , Adult , Female , Adolescent , BNT162 Vaccine , Hong Kong/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Breakthrough Infections , Cohort Studies
6.
Virol J ; 20(1): 65, 2023 04 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2293274

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a worldwide pandemic with over 627 million cases and over 6.5 million deaths. It was reported that smoking-related chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) might be a crucial risk for COVID-19 patients to develop severe condition. As cigarette smoke (CS) is the major risk factor for COPD, we hypothesize that barrier dysfunction and an altered cytokine response in CS-exposed airway epithelial cells may contribute to increased SARS-CoV-2-induced immune response that may result in increased susceptibility to severe disease. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of CS on SARS-CoV-2-induced immune and inflammatory responses, and epithelial barrier integrity leading to airway epithelial damage. METHODS: Primary human airway epithelial cells were differentiated under air-liquid interface culture. Cells were then exposed to cigarette smoke medium (CSM) before infection with SARS-CoV-2 isolated from a local patient. The infection susceptibility, morphology, and the expression of genes related to host immune response, airway inflammation and damages were evaluated. RESULTS: Cells pre-treated with CSM significantly caused higher replication of SARS-CoV-2 and more severe SARS-CoV-2-induced cellular morphological alteration. CSM exposure caused significant upregulation of long form angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)2, a functional receptor for SARS-CoV-2 viral entry, transmembrane serine protease (TMPRSS)2 and TMPRSS4, which cleave the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 to allow viral entry, leading to an aggravated immune response via inhibition of type I interferon pathway. In addition, CSM worsened SARS-CoV-2-induced airway epithelial cell damage, resulting in severe motile ciliary disorder, junctional disruption and mucus hypersecretion. CONCLUSION: Smoking led to dysregulation of host immune response and cell damage as seen in SARS-CoV-2-infected primary human airway epithelia. These findings may contribute to increased disease susceptibility with severe condition and provide a better understanding of the pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in smokers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cigarette Smoking , Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Respiratory System
7.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 2422, 2023 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2305911

ABSTRACT

Hong Kong experienced a surge of Omicron BA.2 infections in early 2022, resulting in one of the highest per-capita death rates of COVID-19. The outbreak occurred in a dense population with low immunity towards natural SARS-CoV-2 infection, high vaccine hesitancy in vulnerable populations, comprehensive disease surveillance and the capacity for stringent public health and social measures (PHSMs). By analyzing genome sequences and epidemiological data, we reconstructed the epidemic trajectory of BA.2 wave and found that the initial BA.2 community transmission emerged from cross-infection within hotel quarantine. The rapid implementation of PHSMs suppressed early epidemic growth but the effective reproduction number (Re) increased again during the Spring festival in early February and remained around 1 until early April. Independent estimates of point prevalence and incidence using phylodynamics also showed extensive superspreading at this time, which likely contributed to the rapid expansion of the epidemic. Discordant inferences based on genomic and epidemiological data underscore the need for research to improve near real-time epidemic growth estimates by combining multiple disparate data sources to better inform outbreak response policy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hong Kong/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Disease Outbreaks , Basic Reproduction Number
9.
Sci Total Environ ; 875: 162661, 2023 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2274043

ABSTRACT

The paper discusses the implementation of Hong Kong's tailor-made sewage surveillance programme led by the Government, which has demonstrated how an efficient and well-organized sewage surveillance system can complement conventional epidemiological surveillance to facilitate the planning of intervention strategies and actions for combating COVID-19 pandemic in real-time. This included the setting up of a comprehensive sewerage network-based SARS-CoV-2 virus surveillance programme with 154 stationary sites covering 6 million people (or 80 % of the total population), and employing an intensive monitoring programme to take samples from each stationary site every 2 days. From 1 January to 22 May 2022, the daily confirmed case count started with 17 cases per day on 1 January to a maximum of 76,991 cases on 3 March and dropped to 237 cases on 22 May. During this period, a total of 270 "Restriction-Testing Declaration" (RTD) operations at high-risk residential areas were conducted based on the sewage virus testing results, where over 26,500 confirmed cases were detected with a majority being asymptomatic. In addition, Compulsory Testing Notices (CTN) were issued to residents, and the distribution of Rapid Antigen Test kits was adopted as alternatives to RTD operations in areas of moderate risk. These measures formulated a tiered and cost-effective approach to combat the disease in the local setting. Some ongoing and future enhancement efforts to improve efficacy are discussed from the perspective of wastewater-based epidemiology. Forecast models on case counts based on sewage virus testing results were also developed with R2 of 0.9669-0.9775, which estimated that up to 22 May 2022, around 2,000,000 people (~67 % higher than the total number of 1,200,000 reported to the health authority, due to various constraints or limitations) had potentially contracted the disease, which is believed to be reflecting the real situation occurring in a highly urbanized metropolis like Hong Kong.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring , Sewage , Pandemics , Hong Kong/epidemiology
10.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 29(3): 585-589, 2023 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2278518

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) clade B viruses are found in camelids and humans in the Middle East, but clade C viruses are not. We provide experimental evidence for extended shedding of MERS-CoV clade B viruses in llamas, which might explain why they outcompete clade C strains in the Arabian Peninsula.


Subject(s)
Camelids, New World , Coronavirus Infections , Herpesvirus 1, Cercopithecine , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Animals , Humans , Virus Shedding , Camelus
11.
Nat Rev Microbiol ; 21(3): 125-126, 2023 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2276223
12.
Nat Commun ; 14(1): 1793, 2023 03 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2261403

ABSTRACT

Viral and host factors can shape SARS-CoV-2 evolution. However, little is known about lineage-specific and vaccination-specific mutations that occur within individuals. Here, we analysed deep sequencing data from 2,820 SARS-CoV-2 respiratory samples with different viral lineages to describe the patterns of within-host diversity under different conditions, including vaccine-breakthrough infections. In unvaccinated individuals, variant of Concern (VOC) Alpha, Delta, and Omicron respiratory samples were found to have higher within-host diversity and were under neutral to purifying selection at the full genome level compared to non-VOC SARS-CoV-2. Breakthrough infections in 2-dose or 3-dose Comirnaty and CoronaVac vaccinated individuals did not increase levels of non-synonymous mutations and did not change the direction of selection pressure. Vaccine-induced antibody or T cell responses did not appear to have significant impact on within-host SARS-CoV-2 sequence diversification. Our findings suggest that vaccination does not increase exploration of SARS-CoV-2 protein sequence space and may not facilitate emergence of viral variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Antibodies, Viral , Breakthrough Infections , COVID-19 Vaccines , Mutation
13.
Front Immunol ; 14: 1106837, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2268541

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Two doses of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine CoronaVac cannot elicit high efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19, especially against the Omicron variant, but that can be improved by a third dose in adults. The use of a third dose of CoronaVac in adolescents may be supported by immunobridging studies in the absence of efficacy data. Methods: With an immunobridging design, our study (NCT04800133) tested the non-inferiority of the binding and neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses induced by a third dose of CoronaVac in healthy adolescents (N=94, median age 14.2 years, 56% male) compared to adults (N=153, median age 48.1 years, 44% male). Responses against wild-type (WT) and BA.1 SARS-CoV-2 were compared in adolescents. Safety and reactogenicity were also monitored. Results: A homologous third dose of CoronaVac further enhanced antibody response in adolescents compared to just 2 doses. Adolescents mounted non-inferior antibody and T cell responses compared to adults. Although S IgG and neutralizing antibody responses to BA.1 were lower than to WT, they remained detectable in 96% and 86% of adolescents. T cell responses to peptide pools spanning only the mutations of BA.1 S, N and M in adolescents were preserved, increased, and halved compared to WT respectively. No safety concerns were identified. Discussion: The primary vaccination series of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines for adolescents should include 3 doses for improved humoral immunogenicity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adult , Adolescent , Male , Humans , Middle Aged , Female , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Antibodies, Neutralizing
14.
Viruses ; 15(2)2023 02 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2241023

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected millions of people worldwide since its emergence in 2019. Knowing the potential capacity of the virus to adapt to other species, the serological surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 infection in susceptible animals is important. Hong Kong and Seoul are two of Asia's most densely populated urban cities, where companion animals often live in close contact with humans. Sera collected from 1040 cats and 855 dogs during the early phase of the pandemic in Hong Kong and Seoul were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using an ELISA that detects antibodies against the receptor binding domain of the viral spike protein. Positive sera were also tested for virus neutralizing antibodies using a surrogate virus neutralization (sVNT) and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Among feline sera, 4.51% and 2.54% of the samples from Korea and Hong Kong, respectively, tested ELISA positive. However, only 1.64% of the samples from Korea and 0.18% from Hong Kong tested positive by sVNT, while only 0.41% of samples from Korea tested positive by PRNT. Among canine samples, 4.94% and 6.46% from Korea and Hong Kong, respectively, tested positive by ELISA, while only 0.29% of sera from Korea were positive on sVNT and no canine sera tested positive by PRNT. These results confirm a low seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 exposure in companion animals in Korea and Hong Kong. The discordance between the RBD-ELISA and neutralization tests may indicate possible ELISA cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses, especially in canine sera.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cat Diseases , Dog Diseases , Cats , Humans , Animals , Dogs , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary , SARS-CoV-2 , Pandemics , Prevalence , Cat Diseases/epidemiology , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Dog Diseases/epidemiology , Antibodies, Viral , Republic of Korea/epidemiology
15.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 120(4): e2202820120, 2023 01 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2232600

ABSTRACT

Human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E) and NL63 (HCoV-NL63) are endemic causes of upper respiratory infections such as the "common cold" but may occasionally cause severe lower respiratory tract disease in the elderly and immunocompromised patients. There are no approved antiviral drugs or vaccines for these common cold coronaviruses (CCCoV). The recent emergence of COVID-19 and the possible cross-reactive antibody and T cell responses between these CCCoV and SARS-CoV-2 emphasize the need to develop experimental animal models for CCCoV. Mice are an ideal experimental animal model for such studies, but are resistant to HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 infections. Here, we generated 229E and NL63 mouse models by exogenous delivery of their receptors, human hAPN and hACE2 using replication-deficient adenoviruses (Ad5-hAPN and Ad5-hACE2), respectively. Ad5-hAPN- and Ad5-hACE2-sensitized IFNAR-/- and STAT1-/- mice developed pneumonia characterized by inflammatory cell infiltration with virus clearance occurring 7 d post infection. Ad5-hAPN- and Ad5-hACE2-sensitized mice generated virus-specific T cells and neutralizing antibodies after 229E or NL63 infection, respectively. Remdesivir and a vaccine candidate targeting spike protein of 229E and NL63 accelerated viral clearance of virus in these mice. 229E- and NL63-infected mice were partially protected from SARS-CoV-2 infection, likely mediated by cross-reactive T cell responses. Ad5-hAPN- and Ad5-hACE2-transduced mice are useful for studying pathogenesis and immune responses induced by HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 infections and for validation of broadly protective vaccines, antibodies, and therapeutics against human respiratory coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Common Cold , Coronavirus 229E, Human , Coronavirus NL63, Human , Humans , Animals , Mice , Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross Protection
16.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 17(1): e13084, 2023 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2232390

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Measures for mitigation of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) were set to reduce the spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses share similar transmission routes and some common clinical manifestations. Co-circulation of SARS-CoV-2 and other common respiratory viruses is imminent. Therefore, development of multiplex assays for detecting these respiratory viruses is essential for being prepared for future outbreaks of respiratory viruses. METHODS: A panel of three reverse transcription droplet digital PCR (RT-ddPCR) assays were developed to detect 15 different human respiratory viruses. Evaluations of its performance were demonstrated. A total of 100 local and 98 imported COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong were screened for co-infection with other common respiratory viruses. RESULTS: All detected viral targets showed distinct signal clusters using the multiplex RT-ddPCR assays. These assays have a broad range of linearity and good intra-/inter-assay reproducibility for each target. The lower limits of quantification for all targets were ≤46 copies per reaction. Six imported cases of COVID-19 were found to be co-infected with other respiratory viruses, whereas no local case of co-infection was observed. CONCLUSIONS: The multiplex RT-ddPCR assays were demonstrated to be useful for screening of respiratory virus co-infections. The strict preventive measures applied in Hong Kong may be effective in limiting the circulation of other human respiratory viruses. The multiplex assays developed in this study can achieve a robust detection method for clinical and research purposes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coinfection , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Reverse Transcription , Coinfection/diagnosis , Coinfection/epidemiology , Reproducibility of Results , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods
17.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 12(1): e2164218, 2023 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2187798

ABSTRACT

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is enzootic in dromedary camels and causes zoonotic infection and disease in humans. Although over 80% of the global population of infected dromedary camels are found in Africa, zoonotic disease had only been reported in the Arabia Peninsula and travel-associated disease has been reported elsewhere. In this study, genetic diversity and molecular epidemiology of MERS-CoV in dromedary camels in Ethiopia were investigated during 2017-2020. Of 1766 nasal swab samples collected, 61 (3.5%) were detected positive for MERS-CoV RNA. Of 484 turbinate swab samples collected, 10 (2.1%) were detected positive for MERS-CoV RNA. Twenty-five whole genome sequences were obtained from these MERS-CoV positive samples. Phylogenetically, these Ethiopian camel-originated MERS-CoV belonged to clade C2, clustering with other East African camel strains. Virus sequences from camel herds clustered geographically while in an abattoir, two distinct phylogenetic clusters of MERS-CoVs were observed in two sequential sampling collections, which indicates the greater genetic diversity of MERS-CoV in abattoirs. In contrast to clade A and B viruses from the Arabian Peninsula, clade C camel-originated MERS-CoV from Ethiopia had various nucleotide insertions and deletions in non-structural gene nsp3, accessory genes ORF3 and ORF5 and structural gene N. This study demonstrates the genetic instability of MERS-CoV in dromedaries in East Africa, which indicates that the virus is still actively adapting to its camel host. The impact of the observed nucleotide insertions and deletions on virus evolution, viral fitness, and zoonotic potential deserves further study.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , Animals , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/genetics , Camelus , Phylogeny , Ethiopia/epidemiology , Molecular Epidemiology , Travel , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Zoonoses/epidemiology , Genetic Variation , RNA
18.
Nat Med ; 29(2): 348-357, 2023 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2185966

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has demonstrated enhanced transmissibility and escape of vaccine-derived immunity. Although first-generation vaccines remain effective against severe disease and death, robust evidence on vaccine effectiveness (VE) against all Omicron infections, irrespective of symptoms, remains sparse. We used a community-wide serosurvey with 5,310 subjects to estimate how vaccination histories modulated risk of infection in infection-naive Hong Kong during a large wave of Omicron BA.2 epidemic in January-July 2022. We estimated that Omicron infected 45% (41-48%) of the local population. Three and four doses of BNT162b2 or CoronaVac were effective against Omicron infection 7 days after vaccination (VE of 48% (95% credible interval 34-64%) and 69% (46-98%) for three and four doses of BNT162b2, respectively; VE of 30% (1-66%) and 56% (6-97%) for three and four doses of CoronaVac, respectively). At 100 days after immunization, VE waned to 26% (7-41%) and 35% (10-71%) for three and four doses of BNT162b2, and to 6% (0-29%) and 11% (0-54%) for three and four doses of CoronaVac. The rapid waning of VE against infection conferred by first-generation vaccines and an increasingly complex viral evolutionary landscape highlight the necessity for rapidly deploying updated vaccines followed by vigilant monitoring of VE.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Humans , BNT162 Vaccine , Vaccine Efficacy , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Front Immunol ; 13: 982155, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2089843

ABSTRACT

Our study (NCT04800133) aimed to determine the safety and immunogenicity in patients with IEIs receiving a 3-dose primary series of mRNA vaccine BNT162b2 (age 12+) or inactivated whole-virion vaccine CoronaVac (age 3+) in Hong Kong, including Omicron BA.1 neutralization, in a nonrandomized manner. Intradermal vaccination was also studied. Thirty-nine patients were vaccinated, including 16 with homologous intramuscular 0.3ml BNT162b2 and 17 with homologous intramuscular 0.5ml CoronaVac. Two patients received 3 doses of intradermal 0.5ml CoronaVac, and 4 patients received 2 doses of intramuscular BNT162b2 and the third dose with intradermal BNT162b2. No safety concerns were identified. Inadequate S-RBD IgG and surrogate virus neutralization responses were found after 2 doses in patients with humoral immunodeficiencies and especially so against BA.1. Dose 3 of either vaccine increased S-RBD IgG response. T cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 antigens were detected in vaccinated IEI patients by intracellular cytokine staining on flow cytometry. Intradermal third dose vaccine led to high antibody response in 4 patients. The primary vaccination series of BNT162b2 and CoronaVac in adults and children with IEIs should include 3 doses for optimal immunogenicity.


Subject(s)
BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Child , Child, Preschool , Cytokines , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Inactivated , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
20.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 6285, 2022 Oct 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2087205

ABSTRACT

Vaccines that are broadly cross-protective against current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoC) or across the sarbecoviruses subgenus remain a priority for public health. Virus neutralization is the best available correlate of protection. To define the magnitude and breadth of cross-neutralization in individuals with different exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination, we here use a multiplex surrogate neutralization assay based on virus spike receptor binding domains of multiple SARS-CoV-2 VoC, as well as related bat and pangolin viruses. We include sera from cohorts of individuals vaccinated with two or three doses of mRNA (BNT162b2) or inactivated SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavac or Sinopharm) vaccines with or without a history of previous SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV-1 infection. SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV-1 infection followed by BNT162b2 vaccine, Omicron BA.2 breakthrough infection following BNT162b2 vaccine or a third dose of BNT162b2 following two doses of BNT162b2 or Coronavac elicit the highest and broadest neutralization across VoCs. For both breadth and magnitude of neutralization across all sarbecoviruses, those infected with SARS-CoV-1 immunized with BNT162b2 outperform all other combinations of infection and/or vaccination. These data may inform vaccine design strategies for generating broadly neutralizing antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 variants or across the sarbecovirus subgenus.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Neutralization Tests , Antibodies, Viral , Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , Receptors, Virus , RNA, Messenger
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