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1.
EBioMedicine ; 82: 104185, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1936332

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the aftermath of Covid-19, some patients develop a fibrotic lung disease, i.e., post-COVID-19 lung disease (PCLD), for which we currently lack insights into pathogenesis, disease models, or treatment options. METHODS: Using an AI-guided approach, we analyzed > 1000 human lung transcriptomic datasets associated with various lung conditions using two viral pandemic signatures (ViP and sViP) and one covid lung-derived signature. Upon identifying similarities between COVID-19 and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), we subsequently dissected the basis for such similarity from molecular, cytopathic, and immunologic perspectives using a panel of IPF-specific gene signatures, alongside signatures of alveolar type II (AT2) cytopathies and of prognostic monocyte-driven processes that are known drivers of IPF. Transcriptome-derived findings were used to construct protein-protein interaction (PPI) network to identify the major triggers of AT2 dysfunction. Key findings were validated in hamster and human adult lung organoid (ALO) pre-clinical models of COVID-19 using immunohistochemistry and qPCR. FINDINGS: COVID-19 resembles IPF at a fundamental level; it recapitulates the gene expression patterns (ViP and IPF signatures), cytokine storm (IL15-centric), and the AT2 cytopathic changes, e.g., injury, DNA damage, arrest in a transient, damage-induced progenitor state, and senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). These immunocytopathic features were induced in pre-clinical COVID models (ALO and hamster) and reversed with effective anti-CoV-2 therapeutics in hamsters. PPI-network analyses pinpointed ER stress as one of the shared early triggers of both diseases, and IHC studies validated the same in the lungs of deceased subjects with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2-challenged hamster lungs. Lungs from tg-mice, in which ER stress is induced specifically in the AT2 cells, faithfully recapitulate the host immune response and alveolar cytopathic changes that are induced by SARS-CoV-2. INTERPRETATION: Like IPF, COVID-19 may be driven by injury-induced ER stress that culminates into progenitor state arrest and SASP in AT2 cells. The ViP signatures in monocytes may be key determinants of prognosis. The insights, signatures, disease models identified here are likely to spur the development of therapies for patients with IPF and other fibrotic interstitial lung diseases. FUNDING: This work was supported by the National Institutes for Health grants R01- GM138385 and AI155696 and funding from the Tobacco-Related disease Research Program (R01RG3780).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis , Adult , Animals , Cytokine Release Syndrome , Humans , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/genetics , Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Mice , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Cureus ; 14(5), 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1897870

ABSTRACT

Background and objective Since being declared a global pandemic, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has led to millions of cases and deaths worldwide. Although severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to wreak havoc on individuals, healthcare systems, and economies, the intensive vaccination strategies adopted by several countries have significantly slowed the progress and the severity of the disease. In this study, we aimed to determine the COVID-19 vaccination status among healthcare workers (HCWs) and examine the effects of vaccination on disease manifestations. Materials and methods This cross-sectional study was conducted at a teaching hospital in Northeast India from April 2021 to September 2021, during the second phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. HCWs employed in the hospital who were laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 based on semiquantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) or cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test (CBNAAT) on oropharyngeal samples were included in the study. Data analysis was performed using Microsoft Excel (Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2019, Microsoft Corp., Redmond, WA) Results A total of 178 HCWs reported positive for COVID-19 infection during the study period. Of these, 42 (23.59%) were males and 136 were females (76.40%). Among them, 86 (48.32%) HCWs were fully vaccinated, 58 (32.58%) were partially vaccinated, and 34 (19.10%) were not vaccinated. Most of the HCWs experienced mild disease (145, 81.46%), and only four (2.24%) reported moderate to severe disease. Compared with unvaccinated HCWs, individuals who have had either one or two doses of vaccines were less likely to have moderate to severe disease or seek treatment at the hospital. On symptoms analysis, shortness of breath was found to be more common in unvaccinated individuals than in vaccinated patients, and anosmia and loss of taste were more common in vaccinated than in unvaccinated individuals. No deaths were reported among the participants included in this study. Conclusions Following the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic, a substantial proportion of HCWs were infected with SARS-CoV-2, likely as a result of the acquisition of the virus in the community during the early phase of local spread. Fully vaccinated individuals with COVID-19 were more likely to be completely asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic compared to unvaccinated HCWs.

3.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-337868

ABSTRACT

Compromised DNA repair capacity of individuals could play a critical role in the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection-induced COVID-19. We therefore analyzed the expression of DNA repair genes in publicly available transcriptomic datasets of COVID-19 patients and found that the level of NEIL2, an oxidized base specific mammalian DNA glycosylase, is particularly low in the lungs of COVID-19 patients displaying severe symptoms. Downregulation of pulmonary NEIL2 in CoV-2-permissive animals and postmortem COVID-19 patients validated these results. To investigate the potential roles of NEIL2 in CoV-2 pathogenesis, we infected Neil2 -null ( Neil2 −/− ) mice with a mouse-adapted CoV-2 strain and found that Neil2 −/− mice suffered more severe viral infection concomitant with increased expression of proinflammatory genes, which resulted in an enhanced mortality rate of 80%, up from 20% for the age matched Neil2 +/+ cohorts. We also found that infected animals accumulated a significant amount of damage in their lung DNA. Surprisingly, recombinant NEIL2 delivered into permissive A549-ACE2 cells significantly decreased viral replication. Toward better understanding the mechanistic basis of how NEIL2 plays such a protective role against CoV-2 infection, we determined that NEIL2 specifically binds to the 5’-UTR of SARS-CoV-2 genomic RNA and blocks protein synthesis. Together, our data suggest that NEIL2 plays a previously unidentified role in regulating CoV-2-induced pathogenesis, via inhibiting viral replication and preventing exacerbated proinflammatory responses, and also via its well-established role of repairing host genome damage.

4.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295889

ABSTRACT

A significant surge in cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C, also called Pediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome - PIMS) has been observed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. MIS-C shares many clinical features with Kawasaki disease (KD), although clinical course and outcomes are divergent. We analyzed whole blood RNA sequences, serum cytokines, and formalin fixed heart tissues from these patients using a computational toolbox of two gene signatures, i.e., the 166-gene viral pandemic (ViP) signature, and its 20-gene severe (s)ViP subset that were developed in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection and a 13-transcript signature previously demonstrated to be diagnostic for KD. Our analyses revealed that KD and MIS-C are on the same continuum of the host immune response as COVID-19. While both the pediatric syndromes converge upon an IL15/IL15RA -centric cytokine storm, suggestive of shared proximal pathways of immunopathogenesis, they diverge in other laboratory parameters and cardiac phenotypes. The ViP signatures also revealed unique targetable cytokine pathways in MIS-C, place MIS-C farther along in the spectrum in severity compared to KD and pinpoint key clinical (reduced cardiac function) and laboratory (thrombocytopenia and eosinopenia) parameters that can be useful to monitor severity.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293439

ABSTRACT

Background: In the aftermath of Covid-19, a long-haul form of mysterious and progressive fibrotic lung disease has emerged, i.e., post-COVID-19 lung disease (PCLD), for which we currently lack insights into pathogenesis, disease models, or treatment options. Method: Using an AI-guided approach, we analyzed > 1000 human lung transcriptomic datasets associated with various lung conditions using two viral pandemic (ViP and sViP) and one covid lung gene signatures. Upon identifying similarities between COVID-19 and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), we subsequently dissected the basis for such similarity from molecular, cytopathic, and immunologic perspectives using a panel of IPF-specific gene signatures, alongside signatures of alveolar type II (AT2) cytopathies and of prognostic monocyte-driven processes that are known drivers of IPF. To pinpoint the AT2 processes that are shared points of convergence between COVID-19 and IPF, transcriptome-derived findings were used to construct protein-protein interaction (PPI) network. Key findings were validated in hamster and human adult lung organoid (ALO) pre-clinical models of COVID-19 using immunohistochemistry and qPCR. Findings: We found that COVID-19 resembles IPF at a fundamental level;it recapitulates the gene expression patterns (ViP and IPF signatures), cytokine storm (IL15-centric) and the AT2 cytopathic changes, e.g., injury, DNA damage, arrest in a transient, damage-induced progenitor state, and senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). These immunocytopathic features were induced in pre-clinical COVID models (ALO and hamster) and reversed with effective anti-CoV-2 therapeutics in hamsters. PPI-network analyses pinpointed ER stress as one of the shared early triggers of both diseases, and IHC studies validated the same in the lungs of deceased subjects with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2-challenged hamster lungs. Lungs from tg-mice, in which ER stress is induced specifically in the AT2 cells, faithfully recapitulate the host immune response and alveolar cytopathic changes that are induced by SARS-CoV-2. Interpretation: Like IPF, COVID-19 may be driven by injury-induced ER stress that culminates into progenitor state arrest and SASP in AT2 cells. The ViP signatures in monocytes may be key determinants of prognosis. The insights, signatures, disease models identified here are likely to spur the development of therapies for patients with IPF and other fibrotic interstitial lung disease.

6.
Elife ; 102021 08 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1380072

ABSTRACT

Background: SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, causes widespread damage in the lungs in the setting of an overzealous immune response whose origin remains unclear. Methods: We present a scalable, propagable, personalized, cost-effective adult stem cell-derived human lung organoid model that is complete with both proximal and distal airway epithelia. Monolayers derived from adult lung organoids (ALOs), primary airway cells, or hiPSC-derived alveolar type II (AT2) pneumocytes were infected with SARS-CoV-2 to create in vitro lung models of COVID-19. Results: Infected ALO monolayers best recapitulated the transcriptomic signatures in diverse cohorts of COVID-19 patient-derived respiratory samples. The airway (proximal) cells were critical for sustained viral infection, whereas distal alveolar differentiation (AT2→AT1) was critical for mounting the overzealous host immune response in fatal disease; ALO monolayers with well-mixed proximodistal airway components recapitulated both. Conclusions: Findings validate a human lung model of COVID-19, which can be immediately utilized to investigate COVID-19 pathogenesis and vet new therapies and vaccines. Funding: This work was supported by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) grants 1R01DK107585-01A1, 3R01DK107585-05S1 (to SD); R01-AI141630, CA100768 and CA160911 (to PG) and R01-AI 155696 (to PG, DS and SD); R00-CA151673 and R01-GM138385 (to DS), R01- HL32225 (to PT), UCOP-R00RG2642 (to SD and PG), UCOP-R01RG3780 (to P.G. and D.S) and a pilot award from the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health (P.G, S.D, D.S). GDK was supported through The American Association of Immunologists Intersect Fellowship Program for Computational Scientists and Immunologists. L.C.A's salary was supported in part by the VA San Diego Healthcare System. This manuscript includes data generated at the UC San Diego Institute of Genomic Medicine (IGC) using an Illumina NovaSeq 6000 that was purchased with funding from a National Institutes of Health SIG grant (#S10 OD026929).


Subject(s)
Adult Stem Cells , COVID-19 , Lung/pathology , Models, Biological , Organoids , Adult Stem Cells/virology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Lung/cytology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Organoids/virology , Pulmonary Alveoli/cytology , Pulmonary Alveoli/virology , Respiratory Mucosa/cytology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology
7.
EBioMedicine ; 68: 103390, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267655

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) continues to challenge the limits of our knowledge and our healthcare system. Here we sought to define the host immune response, a.k.a, the "cytokine storm" that has been implicated in fatal COVID-19 using an AI-based approach. METHOD: Over 45,000 transcriptomic datasets of viral pandemics were analyzed to extract a 166-gene signature using ACE2 as a 'seed' gene; ACE2 was rationalized because it encodes the receptor that facilitates the entry of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) into host cells. An AI-based approach was used to explore the utility of the signature in navigating the uncharted territory of Covid-19, setting therapeutic goals, and finding therapeutic solutions. FINDINGS: The 166-gene signature was surprisingly conserved across all viral pandemics, including COVID-19, and a subset of 20-genes classified disease severity, inspiring the nomenclatures ViP and severe-ViP signatures, respectively. The ViP signatures pinpointed a paradoxical phenomenon wherein lung epithelial and myeloid cells mount an IL15 cytokine storm, and epithelial and NK cell senescence and apoptosis determine severity/fatality. Precise therapeutic goals could be formulated; these goals were met in high-dose SARS-CoV-2-challenged hamsters using either neutralizing antibodies that abrogate SARS-CoV-2•ACE2 engagement or a directly acting antiviral agent, EIDD-2801. IL15/IL15RA were elevated in the lungs of patients with fatal disease, and plasma levels of the cytokine prognosticated disease severity. INTERPRETATION: The ViP signatures provide a quantitative and qualitative framework for titrating the immune response in viral pandemics and may serve as a powerful unbiased tool to rapidly assess disease severity and vet candidate drugs. FUNDING: This work was supported by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) [grants CA151673 and GM138385 (to DS) and AI141630 (to P.G), DK107585-05S1 (SD) and AI155696 (to P.G, D.S and S.D), U19-AI142742 (to S. C, CCHI: Cooperative Centers for Human Immunology)]; Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP) (R00RG2628 & R00RG2642 to P.G, D.S and S.D); the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center (to P.G, D.S and S.D); LJI Institutional Funds (to S.C); the VA San Diego Healthcare System Institutional funds (to L.C.A). GDK was supported through The American Association of Immunologists Intersect Fellowship Program for Computational Scientists and Immunologists. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: The host immune response in COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , COVID-19/genetics , Gene Expression Profiling/methods , Interleukin-15/genetics , Receptors, Interleukin-15/genetics , Virus Diseases/genetics , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/administration & dosage , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Artificial Intelligence , Autopsy , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetinae , Cytidine/administration & dosage , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Cytidine/pharmacology , Databases, Genetic , Disease Models, Animal , Gene Regulatory Networks/drug effects , Genetic Markers/drug effects , Humans , Hydroxylamines/administration & dosage , Hydroxylamines/pharmacology , Interleukin-15/blood , Lung/immunology , Mesocricetus , Pandemics , Receptors, Interleukin-15/blood , Virus Diseases/immunology
8.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3309, 2021 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260940

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), necessitates strategies to identify prophylactic and therapeutic drug candidates for rapid clinical deployment. Here, we describe a screening pipeline for the discovery of efficacious SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors. We screen a best-in-class drug repurposing library, ReFRAME, against two high-throughput, high-content imaging infection assays: one using HeLa cells expressing SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 and the other using lung epithelial Calu-3 cells. From nearly 12,000 compounds, we identify 49 (in HeLa-ACE2) and 41 (in Calu-3) compounds capable of selectively inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 replication. Notably, most screen hits are cell-line specific, likely due to different virus entry mechanisms or host cell-specific sensitivities to modulators. Among these promising hits, the antivirals nelfinavir and the parent of prodrug MK-4482 possess desirable in vitro activity, pharmacokinetic and human safety profiles, and both reduce SARS-CoV-2 replication in an orthogonal human differentiated primary cell model. Furthermore, MK-4482 effectively blocks SARS-CoV-2 infection in a hamster model. Overall, we identify direct-acting antivirals as the most promising compounds for drug repurposing, additional compounds that may have value in combination therapies, and tool compounds for identification of viral host cell targets.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning/methods , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Cytidine/administration & dosage , Cytidine/analogs & derivatives , Cytidine/pharmacology , Databases, Pharmaceutical , Drug Discovery/methods , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical/methods , HeLa Cells , High-Throughput Screening Assays/methods , Humans , Hydroxylamines/administration & dosage , Hydroxylamines/pharmacology , Mesocricetus , Nelfinavir/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/drug effects
9.
bioRxiv ; 2021 Apr 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-807000

ABSTRACT

We sought to define the host immune response, a.k.a, the "cytokine storm" that has been implicated in fatal COVID-19 using an AI-based approach. Over 45,000 transcriptomic datasets of viral pandemics were analyzed to extract a 166-gene signature using ACE2 as a 'seed' gene; ACE2 was rationalized because it encodes the receptor that facilitates the entry of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) into host cells. Surprisingly, this 166-gene signature was conserved in all vi ral p andemics, including COVID-19, and a subset of 20-genes classified disease severity, inspiring the nomenclatures ViP and severe-ViP signatures, respectively. The ViP signatures pinpointed a paradoxical phenomenon wherein lung epithelial and myeloid cells mount an IL15 cytokine storm, and epithelial and NK cell senescence and apoptosis determines severity/fatality. Precise therapeutic goals were formulated and subsequently validated in high-dose SARS-CoV-2-challenged hamsters using neutralizing antibodies that abrogate SARS-CoV-2•ACE2 engagement or a directly acting antiviral agent, EIDD-2801. IL15/IL15RA were elevated in the lungs of patients with fatal disease, and plasma levels of the cytokine tracked with disease severity. Thus, the ViP signatures provide a quantitative and qualitative framework for titrating the immune response in viral pandemics and may serve as a powerful unbiased tool to rapidly assess disease severity and vet candidate drugs. ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: The host immune response in COVID-19. PANEL RESEARCH IN CONTEXT: Evidence before this study: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has inspired many groups to find innovative methodologies that can help us understand the host immune response to the virus; unchecked proportions of such immune response have been implicated in fatality. We searched GEO and ArrayExpress that provided many publicly available gene expression data that objectively measure the host immune response in diverse conditions. However, challenges remain in identifying a set of host response events that are common to every condition. There are no studies that provide a reproducible assessment of prognosticators of disease severity, the host response, and therapeutic goals. Consequently, therapeutic trials for COVID-19 have seen many more 'misses' than 'hits'. This work used multiple (> 45,000) gene expression datasets from GEO and ArrayExpress and analyzed them using an unbiased computational approach that relies upon fundamentals of gene expression patterns and mathematical precision when assessing them.Added value of this study: This work identifies a signature that is surprisingly conserved in all viral pandemics, including Covid-19, inspiring the nomenclature ViP-signature. A subset of 20-genes classified disease severity in respiratory pandemics. The ViP signatures pinpointed the nature and source of the 'cytokine storm' mounted by the host. They also helped formulate precise therapeutic goals and rationalized the repurposing of FDA-approved drugs.Implications of all the available evidence: The ViP signatures provide a quantitative and qualitative framework for assessing the immune response in viral pandemics when creating pre-clinical models; they serve as a powerful unbiased tool to rapidly assess disease severity and vet candidate drugs.

10.
mBio ; 11(3)2020 06 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-612678

ABSTRACT

It is well understood that the adaptive immune response to infectious agents includes a modulating suppressive component as well as an activating component. We now show that the very early innate response also has an immunosuppressive component. Infected cells upregulate the CD47 "don't eat me" signal, which slows the phagocytic uptake of dying and viable cells as well as downstream antigen-presenting cell (APC) functions. A CD47 mimic that acts as an essential virulence factor is encoded by all poxviruses, but CD47 expression on infected cells was found to be upregulated even by pathogens, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), that encode no mimic. CD47 upregulation was revealed to be a host response induced by the stimulation of both endosomal and cytosolic pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs). Furthermore, proinflammatory cytokines, including those found in the plasma of hepatitis C patients, upregulated CD47 on uninfected dendritic cells, thereby linking innate modulation with downstream adaptive immune responses. Indeed, results from antibody-mediated CD47 blockade experiments as well as CD47 knockout mice revealed an immunosuppressive role for CD47 during infections with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis Since CD47 blockade operates at the level of pattern recognition receptors rather than at a pathogen or antigen-specific level, these findings identify CD47 as a novel potential immunotherapeutic target for the enhancement of immune responses to a broad range of infectious agents.IMPORTANCE Immune responses to infectious agents are initiated when a pathogen or its components bind to pattern recognition receptors (PRRs). PRR binding sets off a cascade of events that activates immune responses. We now show that, in addition to activating immune responses, PRR signaling also initiates an immunosuppressive response, probably to limit inflammation. The importance of the current findings is that blockade of immunomodulatory signaling, which is mediated by the upregulation of the CD47 molecule, can lead to enhanced immune responses to any pathogen that triggers PRR signaling. Since most or all pathogens trigger PRRs, CD47 blockade could be used to speed up and strengthen both innate and adaptive immune responses when medically indicated. Such immunotherapy could be done without a requirement for knowing the HLA type of the individual, the specific antigens of the pathogen, or, in the case of bacterial infections, the antimicrobial resistance profile.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , CD47 Antigen/metabolism , Immunomodulation/immunology , Receptors, Pattern Recognition/immunology , A549 Cells , Adaptive Immunity/immunology , Animals , CD47 Antigen/genetics , Cell Line, Tumor , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus/immunology , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/immunology , SARS-CoV-2 , Up-Regulation/immunology
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