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1.
Front Immunol ; 14: 1092910, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2231410

ABSTRACT

The factors determining whether infection will occur following exposure to SARS-CoV-2 remain elusive. Certain SARS-CoV-2-exposed individuals mount a specific T-cell response but fail to seroconvert, representing a population that may provide further clarity on the nature of infection susceptibility and correlates of protection against SARS-CoV-2. Exposed seronegative individuals have been reported in patients exposed to the blood-borne pathogens Human Immunodeficiency virus and Hepatitis C virus and the sexually transmitted viruses Hepatitis B virus and Herpes Simplex virus. By comparing the quality of seronegative T-cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 with seronegative cellular immunity to these highly divergent viruses, common patterns emerge that offer insights on the role of cellular immunity against infection. For both SARS-CoV-2 and Hepatitis C, T-cell responses in exposed seronegatives are consistently higher than in unexposed individuals, but lower than in infected, seropositive patients. Durability of T-cell responses to Hepatitis C is dependent upon repeated exposure to antigen - single exposures do not generate long-lived memory T-cells. Finally, exposure to SARS-CoV-2 induces varying degrees of immune activation, suggesting that exposed seronegative individuals represent points on a spectrum rather than a discrete group. Together, these findings paint a complex landscape of the nature of infection but provide clues as to what may be protective early on in SARS-CoV-2 disease course. Further research on this phenomenon, particularly through cohort studies, is warranted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hepatitis C , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroconversion , Immunity, Cellular , Hepacivirus
2.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(12): e370-e376, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2004660

ABSTRACT

On Jan 22, 2020, a day after the USA reported its first COVID-19 case, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering (JHU CSSE) launched the first global real-time coronavirus surveillance system: the JHU CSSE COVID-19 Dashboard. As of June 1, 2022, the dashboard has served the global audience for more than 30 consecutive months, totalling over 226 billion feature layer requests and 3·6 billion page views. The highest daily record was set on March 29, 2020, with more than 4·6 billion requests and over 69 million views. This Personal View reveals the fundamental technical details of the entire data system underlying the dashboard, including data collection, data fusion logic, data curation and sharing, anomaly detection, data corrections, and the human resources required to support such an effort. The Personal View also covers the challenges, ranging from data visualisation to reporting standardisation. The details presented here help develop a framework for future, large-scale public health-related data collection and reporting.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Universities , Data Collection , Public Health
3.
Transfus Med ; 32(5): 402-409, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1909541

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Infections with human parvovirus B19 (B19V) are transmissible by blood components and plasma-derived medicines. The European Pharmacopoeia regulates maximum levels of virus allowed in manufacturers' plasma pools. To evaluate contamination risk prior to re-introduction of UK-sourced plasma for manufacturing, we investigated viraemia frequencies of B19V in plasma samples collected from blood donors before and during COVID-enforced lockdown. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Quantitative PCR for B19V DNA was used to screen pools of 96 anonymised plasma samples collected in England from 2017 (n = 29 505), 2020 (n = 3360) and 2021 (n = 43 200). Selected positive pools were resolved into individual samples. Data on donor notifications and related lookback investigations were collected from European countries by on-line survey in 2020. RESULTS: Screening of 76 065 donations identified 80 B19V-positive pools. While most positive samples had low viral loads (<105  IU ml-1 ), primarily from 2017 (77/29 505; 0.3%), two contained high levels of B19V DNA (1.3 × 108 and 6.3 × 106 IU ml-1 ), both likely to contaminate a final manufacturer's pool and lead to discard. The incidence of B19V infection during lockdown was reduced (1/3360 in 2020; 0/43 200 in 2021). Genomic analysis of positive pools resolved to single samples identified B19V genotype 1 in all nine samples. Seroprevalence of anti-B19V IgG antibodies was 75% (143/192). A survey of B19V screening practices in Europe demonstrated considerable variability. Two blood establishments informed infected blood donors of positive B19V results. CONCLUSION: Information on seroprevalence, incidence and viral loads of B19V viraemia is contributory the evaluation of alternative operational screening strategies for plasma testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Parvoviridae Infections , Parvovirus B19, Human , Antibodies, Viral , Blood Donors , Communicable Disease Control , DNA, Viral , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Parvoviridae Infections/epidemiology , Parvovirus B19, Human/genetics , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Viral Load , Viremia/epidemiology
4.
JCI Insight ; 7(13)2022 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1861743

ABSTRACT

The role of immune responses to previously seen endemic coronavirus epitopes in severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and disease progression has not yet been determined. Here, we show that a key characteristic of fatal outcomes with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is that the immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is enriched for antibodies directed against epitopes shared with endemic beta-coronaviruses and has a lower proportion of antibodies targeting the more protective variable regions of the spike. The magnitude of antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein, its domains and subunits, and the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid also correlated strongly with responses to the endemic beta-coronavirus spike proteins in individuals admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) with fatal COVID-19 outcomes, but not in individuals with nonfatal outcomes. This correlation was found to be due to the antibody response directed at the S2 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which has the highest degree of conservation between the beta-coronavirus spike proteins. Intriguingly, antibody responses to the less cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid were not significantly different in individuals who were admitted to an ICU with fatal and nonfatal outcomes, suggesting an antibody profile in individuals with fatal outcomes consistent with an "original antigenic sin" type response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , Epitopes , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Clin Microbiol ; 60(4): e0228321, 2022 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759279

ABSTRACT

Tools to detect SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and track the ongoing evolution of the virus are necessary to support public health efforts and the design and evaluation of novel COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines. Although next-generation sequencing (NGS) has been adopted as the gold standard method for discriminating SARS-CoV-2 lineages, alternative methods may be required when processing samples with low viral loads or low RNA quality. To this aim, an allele-specific probe PCR (ASP-PCR) targeting lineage-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was developed and used to screen 1,082 samples from two clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil. Probit regression models were developed to compare ASP-PCR performance against 1,771 NGS results for the same cohorts. Individual SNPs were shown to readily identify specific variants of concern. ASP-PCR was shown to discriminate SARS-CoV-2 lineages with a higher likelihood than NGS over a wide range of viral loads. The comparative advantage for ASP-PCR over NGS was most pronounced in samples with cycle threshold (CT) values between 26 and 30 and in samples that showed evidence of degradation. Results for samples screened by ASP-PCR and NGS showed 99% concordant results. ASP-PCR is well suited to augment but not replace NGS. The method can differentiate SARS-CoV-2 lineages with high accuracy and would be best deployed to screen samples with lower viral loads or that may suffer from degradation. Future work should investigate further destabilization from primer-target base mismatch through altered oligonucleotide chemistry or chemical additives.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Alleles , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
6.
J Infect Dis ; 225(6): 971-976, 2022 03 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740893

ABSTRACT

We compared neutralizing antibody titers of convalescent samples collected before and after the emergence of novel strains of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), against the wild-type virus and Alpha (B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) variants. Plasma samples collected in 2020 before emergence of variants showed reduced titers against the Alpha variants, and both sets of samples demonstrated significantly reduced titers against Beta. Comparison of microneutralization titers with those obtained with pseudotype and hemagglutination tests showed a good correlation between their titers and effects of strain variation, supporting the use of these simpler assays for assessing the potency of convalescent plasma against currently circulating and emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Humans , Immunization, Passive , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19 Serotherapy
7.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5861, 2021 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454761

ABSTRACT

Several COVID-19 vaccines have shown good efficacy in clinical trials, but there remains uncertainty about the efficacy of vaccines against different variants. Here, we investigate the efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) against symptomatic COVID-19 in a post-hoc exploratory analysis of a Phase 3 randomised trial in Brazil (trial registration ISRCTN89951424). Nose and throat swabs were tested by PCR in symptomatic participants. Sequencing and genotyping of swabs were performed to determine the lineages of SARS-CoV-2 circulating during the study. Protection against any symptomatic COVID-19 caused by the Zeta (P.2) variant was assessed in 153 cases with vaccine efficacy (VE) of 69% (95% CI 55, 78). 49 cases of B.1.1.28 occurred and VE was 73% (46, 86). The Gamma (P.1) variant arose later in the trial and fewer cases (N = 18) were available for analysis. VE was 64% (-2, 87). ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 provided 95% protection (95% CI 61%, 99%) against hospitalisation due to COVID-19. In summary, we report that ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 protects against emerging variants in Brazil despite the presence of the spike protein mutation E484K.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Brazil , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Cohort Studies , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Treatment Outcome , Vaccination , Viral Load/immunology , Young Adult
8.
J Infect Dis ; 224(4): 595-605, 2021 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367024

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma containing neutralizing antibody to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is under investigation for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment. We report diverse virological characteristics of UK intensive care patients enrolled in the Immunoglobulin Domain of the REMAP-CAP randomized controlled trial that potentially influence treatment outcomes. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs collected pretreatment was quantified by PCR. Antibody status was determined by spike-protein ELISA. B.1.1.7 was differentiated from other SARS-CoV-2 strains using allele-specific probes or restriction site polymorphism (SfcI) targeting D1118H. RESULTS: Of 1274 subjects, 90% were PCR positive with viral loads 118-1.7 × 1011IU/mL. Median viral loads were 40-fold higher in those IgG seronegative (n = 354; 28%) compared to seropositives (n = 939; 72%). Frequencies of B.1.1.7 increased from <1% in November 2020 to 82% of subjects in January 2021. Seronegative individuals with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 had significantly higher viral loads than seropositives (medians 5.8 × 106 and 2.0 × 105 IU/mL, respectively; P = 2 × 10-15). CONCLUSIONS: High viral loads in seropositive B.1.1.7-infected subjects and resistance to seroconversion indicate less effective clearance by innate and adaptive immune responses. SARS-CoV-2 strain, viral loads, and antibody status define subgroups for analysis of treatment efficacy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Load/immunology , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/immunology , Serologic Tests/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , United Kingdom , COVID-19 Serotherapy
9.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 16193, 2021 08 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351975

ABSTRACT

We have optimised a reverse transcription-loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 from extracted RNA for clinical application. We improved the stability and reliability of the RT-LAMP assay by the addition of a temperature-dependent switch oligonucleotide to reduce self- or off-target amplification. We then developed freeze-dried master mix for single step RT-LAMP reaction, simplifying the operation for end users and improving long-term storage and transportation. The assay can detect as low as 13 copies of SARS-CoV2 RNA per reaction (25-µL). Cross reactivity with other human coronaviruses was not observed. We have applied the new RT-LAMP assay for testing clinical extracted RNA samples extracted from swabs of 72 patients in the UK and 126 samples from Greece and demonstrated the overall sensitivity of 90.2% (95% CI 83.8-94.7%) and specificity of 92.4% (95% CI 83.2-97.5%). Among 115 positive samples which Ct values were less than 34, the RT-LAMP assay was able to detect 110 of them with 95.6% sensitivity. The specificity was 100% when RNA elution used RNase-free water. The outcome of RT-LAMP can be reported by both colorimetric detection and quantifiable fluorescent reading. Objective measures with a digitized reading data flow would allow for the sharing of results for local or national surveillance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/standards , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/standards , Sensitivity and Specificity
10.
Virology ; 556: 62-72, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065649

ABSTRACT

Members of the APOBEC family of cytidine deaminases show antiviral activities in mammalian cells through lethal editing in the genomes of small DNA viruses, herpesviruses and retroviruses, and potentially those of RNA viruses such as coronaviruses. Consistent with the latter, APOBEC-like directional C→U transitions of genomic plus-strand RNA are greatly overrepresented in SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences of variants emerging during the COVID-19 pandemic. A C→U mutational process may leave evolutionary imprints on coronavirus genomes, including extensive homoplasy from editing and reversion at targeted sites and the occurrence of driven amino acid sequence changes in viral proteins. If sustained over longer periods, this process may account for the previously reported marked global depletion of C and excess of U bases in human seasonal coronavirus genomes. This review synthesizes the current knowledge on APOBEC evolution and function and the evidence of their role in APOBEC-mediated genome editing of SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
APOBEC Deaminases/metabolism , Coronavirus/genetics , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral/genetics , RNA Editing , APOBEC Deaminases/chemistry , APOBEC Deaminases/genetics , Animals , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
11.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 181, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024793

ABSTRACT

Background: Laboratory diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection (the cause of COVID-19) uses PCR to detect viral RNA (vRNA) in respiratory samples. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has also been detected in other sample types, but there is limited understanding of the clinical or laboratory significance of its detection in blood. Methods: We undertook a systematic literature review to assimilate the evidence for the frequency of vRNA in blood, and to identify associated clinical characteristics. We performed RT-PCR in serum samples from a UK clinical cohort of acute and convalescent COVID-19 cases (n=212), together with convalescent plasma samples collected by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) (n=462 additional samples). To determine whether PCR-positive blood samples could pose an infection risk, we attempted virus isolation from a subset of RNA-positive samples. Results: We identified 28 relevant studies, reporting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 0-76% of blood samples; pooled estimate 10% (95%CI 5-18%). Among serum samples from our clinical cohort, 27/212 (12.7%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected by RT-PCR. RNA detection occurred in samples up to day 20 post symptom onset, and was associated with more severe disease (multivariable odds ratio 7.5). Across all samples collected ≥28 days post symptom onset, 0/494 (0%, 95%CI 0-0.7%) had vRNA detected. Among our PCR-positive samples, cycle threshold (ct) values were high (range 33.5-44.8), suggesting low vRNA copy numbers. PCR-positive sera inoculated into cell culture did not produce any cytopathic effect or yield an increase in detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Conclusions: vRNA was detectable at low viral loads in a minority of serum samples collected in acute infection, but was not associated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 (within the limitations of the assays used). This work helps to inform biosafety precautions for handling blood products from patients with current or previous COVID-19.

12.
Nat Immunol ; 21(11): 1336-1345, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889210

ABSTRACT

The development of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines and therapeutics will depend on understanding viral immunity. We studied T cell memory in 42 patients following recovery from COVID-19 (28 with mild disease and 14 with severe disease) and 16 unexposed donors, using interferon-γ-based assays with peptides spanning SARS-CoV-2 except ORF1. The breadth and magnitude of T cell responses were significantly higher in severe as compared with mild cases. Total and spike-specific T cell responses correlated with spike-specific antibody responses. We identified 41 peptides containing CD4+ and/or CD8+ epitopes, including six immunodominant regions. Six optimized CD8+ epitopes were defined, with peptide-MHC pentamer-positive cells displaying the central and effector memory phenotype. In mild cases, higher proportions of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells were observed. The identification of T cell responses associated with milder disease will support an understanding of protective immunity and highlights the potential of including non-spike proteins within future COVID-19 vaccine design.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Immunologic Memory/immunology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/immunology , Humans , Immunodominant Epitopes/immunology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , United Kingdom , Viral Vaccines/immunology
13.
Euro Surveill ; 25(42)2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-886128

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe progression and geographical distribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in the United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere is unknown because typically only symptomatic individuals are diagnosed. We performed a serological study of blood donors in Scotland in the spring of 2020 to detect neutralising antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 as a marker of past infection and epidemic progression.AimOur objective was to determine if sera from blood bank donors can be used to track the emergence and progression of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.MethodsA pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 virus microneutralisation assay was used to detect neutralising antibodies to SARS-CoV-2. The study comprised samples from 3,500 blood donors collected in Scotland between 17 March and 18 May 2020. Controls were collected from 100 donors in Scotland during 2019.ResultsAll samples collected on 17 March 2020 (n = 500) were negative in the pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 virus microneutralisation assay. Neutralising antibodies were detected in six of 500 donors from 23 to 26 March. The number of samples containing neutralising antibodies did not significantly rise after 5-6 April until the end of the study on 18 May. We found that infections were concentrated in certain postcodes, indicating that outbreaks of infection were extremely localised. In contrast, other areas remained comparatively untouched by the epidemic.ConclusionAlthough blood donors are not representative of the overall population, we demonstrated that serosurveys of blood banks can serve as a useful tool for tracking the emergence and progression of an epidemic such as the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Blood Donors , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Population Surveillance , Adult , COVID-19 , Cluster Analysis , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Geography, Medical , Humans , Inhibitory Concentration 50 , Male , Models, Immunological , Neutralization Tests , Pneumonia, Viral/blood , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland/epidemiology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Urban Population
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