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Life (Basel) ; 11(11)2021 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524066


SARS-CoV-2 isolates from long-term COVID-19 patients play a significant role in understanding the mechanisms of infection and virus persistence. This study describes a SARS-CoV-2 isolate from a 53-year-old woman from Apulia (Italy), who was COVID-19 positive for approximately four months. In this paper we aimed to investigate any potential correlation between genetic mutations and clinical features of this case of infection. The viral isolate was assigned to lineage B.1.177.51 through whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and harbored a novel set of mutations on the Spike protein (V143D, del144/145 and E484K); furthermore, seroneutralization assays showed impaired response of the surveyed strain to BNT162b2 (Comirnaty) Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine-induced (average reduction of 70%) and convalescent sera (average reduction of 19.04%), when compared to VOC P.1. This study highlights the importance of genomic surveillance for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the relevance of monitoring of emerging SARS-CoV-2 mutations in all lineages, and the necessity of testing the response of emerging variants to available therapies and vaccines.

Viruses ; 13(2)2021 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1079723


The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and presents a global health emergency that needs urgent intervention. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. In the United Kingdom (UK), a new variant called B.1.1.7 has emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. The aim of this study is to evaluate the level of protection of sera from 12 patients infected and later healed in Apulia Region (Italy) with Covid-19 between March and November 2020, when the English variant was not circulating in this territory yet, against the new VOC 202012/01 variant by seroneutralization assay. The sera of patients had already been tested before, using a virus belonging to the lineage B.1 and showed an antibody neutralizing titer ranging between 1:160 and 1:320. All the 12 sera donors confirmed the same titers of neutralizing antibodies obtained with a strain belonging to the lineage B.1.1.7 (VOC 202012/01). These data indicate that antibodies produced in subjects infected with variants of Sars-CoV-2 strain before the appearance of the English one, seem to have a neutralizing power also against this variant.

Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Italy , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , United Kingdom , Vero Cells
J Clin Med ; 10(2)2021 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1031141


BACKGROUND: The highly variable manifestation of the COVID-19 disease, from completely asymptomatic to fatal, is both a clinical and a public health issue. The criteria for discharge of hospitalized patients have been based so far on the negative result of Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests, but the persistence of viral fragments may exceed that of the integral virus by weeks. The aim of our study was to verify the clearance of the virus at viral culture in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 that have clinically recovered but are still positive on nasopharyngeal swab. METHODS: The study was conducted in hospitalized patients with positive RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal swab. Patients included were from asymptomatic to severe cases and performed nasopharyngeal control swabbing on day 14 for asymptomatic patient or at least three days after remission of symptoms. RT-PCR positive specimens were sent to a biosafety level 3 laboratory for viral culture. RESULTS: We performed a combined analysis of RT-PCR and a highly sensitive in vitro culture from 84 samples of hospitalized patients. The average age was 46 ± 20.29, and 40.5% of the subjects had radiologically confirmed pneumonia, with average PaO2 of 72.35 ± 12.12and P/F ratio of 315 ± 83.15. Ct values for the N gene were lower in the first swab than in the control one (p < 0.001). The samples from 83 patients were negative at viral culture, and RT-PCR on the respective supernatants always confirmed the absence of viral growth. CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary results demonstrate that patients clinically recovered for at least three days show the viral clearance at viral culture, and presumably they continued to not be contagious.

IDCases ; 22: e00960, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-773664


This report describes the evolution of COVID-19 in a 10 day-old-baby. The mother developed the disease immediately after childbirth and therefore a vertical transmission can be excluded. The isolation of the virus in cell culture with a cytopathic effect already visible after 48 h, indicates that the viral load of the newborn was quite high, but not serious course of the disease was observed. This paper wants to highlight the possible role of newborns and children in the spread of the disease.