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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22274772

ABSTRACT

BackgroundCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines are very effective at protecting against severe disease and death. However, the impact of the vaccine used, viral variants, and host factors on disease severity in vaccinated individuals remain poorly understood. Here we compared COVID-19 clinical presentations and outcomes in vaccinated and unvaccinated patients in a tertiary hospital in Mexico City. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants were also determined to study their potential impact on disease severity. MethodsFrom March to September 2021, clinical and demographic characteristics were obtained from 1,014 individuals with a documented SARS-CoV-2 infection, and viral variants were identified in a subset of 386 patients. We compared three groups of patients: 1) unvaccinated, 2) partially vaccinated, and 3) fully vaccinated, stratifying by age groups (<30 years, 31-60 years, and > 61 years) on the clinical outcomes, and including in-hospital mortality. We fitted different multivariate statistical models to evaluate the impact of vaccination status, SARS-CoV-2 lineages, vaccine types, and clinical parameters. Results1,014 patients were included, with 11% being outpatients and 88% hospitalized. Most hospitalized patients were unvaccinated. In patients over 61 years old, mortality was significantly higher in unvaccinated compared to fully vaccinated individuals. In patients aged 31 to 60 years, vaccinated patients were more likely to be outpatients (46%) than unvaccinated individuals (6.1%). The percentage of critical patients over 61 years was higher in unvaccinated than vaccinated individuals (75% vs. 56%, p < 0.001). We found immune disease (OR: 3.12, 95% CI: 1.09-8.34, p = 0.02) and age above 61 years old (OR: 3.51, 95% CI: 2.3-5.2, p = 5.9e-10) as risk factors. While fully vaccination was found as the most protective factor against in-hospital death (OR: 0.25, 95% CI: 0.12-0.46, p = 2.89e-05). ConclusionsThis study suggests that vaccination and particularly full vaccination is essential to reduce mortality in a comorbid population such as that of Mexico. When analyzing the presence of comorbidities and advanced ages as risk factors, complete vaccination was the most significant protective factor against death by COVID-19. We found no strong association between SARS-CoV-2 lineages or vaccine type and disease severity.

2.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22270626

ABSTRACT

Global population immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is accumulating through heterogenous combinations of infection and vaccination. Vaccine distribution in low- and middle-income countries has been variable and reliant on diverse vaccine platforms. We studied B-cell immunity in Mexico, a middle-income country where five different vaccines have been deployed to populations with high SARS-CoV-2 incidence. Levels of antibodies that bound a stabilized prefusion spike trimer, neutralizing antibody titers and memory B-cell expansion correlated with each other across vaccine platforms. Nevertheless, the vaccines elicited variable levels of B-cell immunity, and the majority of recipients had undetectable neutralizing activity against the recently emergent omicron variant. SARS-CoV-2 infection, experienced prior to or after vaccination potentiated B-cell immune responses and enabled the generation of neutralizing activity against omicron and SARS-CoV for all vaccines in nearly all individuals. These findings suggest that broad population immunity to SARS-CoV-2 will eventually be achieved, but by heterogenous paths

3.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266111

ABSTRACT

Patients with COVID-19 may develop abnormal inflammatory response and lymphopenia, followed in some cases by delayed-onset syndromes, often long-lasting after the initial SARS-CoV-2 infection. As viral infections may activate human endogenous retroviral elements (HERV), we studied the effect of SARS-CoV-2 on HERV-W and HERV-K envelope (ENV) expression, known to be involved in immunological and neurological pathogenesis of human diseases. Our results have showed that the exposure to SARS-CoV-2 virus activates early HERV-W and K transcription but only HERV-W ENV protein expression, in an infection- and ACE2-independent way within peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures from one-third of healthy donors. Moreover, HERV-W ENV protein was significantly increased in serum and plasma of COVID-19 patients, correlating with its expression in CD3+ lymphocytes and with disease severity. Finally, HERV-W ENV was found expressed in post-mortem tissues of lungs, heart, brain olfactory bulb and nasal mucosa from acute COVID-19 patients in cell-types relevant for COVID-19-associated pathogenesis within affected organs, but different from those expressing of SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Altogether, the present study revealed that SARS-CoV-2 can induce HERV-W ENV expression in cells from individuals with symptomatic and severe COVID-19. Our data suggest that HERV-W ENV is likely to be involved in pathogenic features underlying symptoms of acute and post-acute COVID. It highlights the importance to further understand patients genetic susceptibility to HERV-W activation and the relevance of this pathogenic element as a prognostic marker and a therapeutic target in COVID-19 associated syndromes. Graphical abstract O_FIG O_LINKSMALLFIG WIDTH=200 HEIGHT=144 SRC="FIGDIR/small/21266111v2_ufig1.gif" ALT="Figure 1"> View larger version (68K): org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@1be71a1org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@1621b8org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@fff085org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@107cb0c_HPS_FORMAT_FIGEXP M_FIG C_FIG

4.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266918

ABSTRACT

Massive testing is a cornerstone in efforts to effectively track infections and stop COVID-19 transmission, including places where good vaccination coverage has been achieved. However, SARS-CoV-2 testing by RT-qPCR requires specialized personnel, protection equipment, commercial kits, and dedicated facilities, which represent significant challenges for massive testing implementation in resource-limited settings. It is therefore important to develop testing protocols that facilitate implementation and are inexpensive, fast, and sufficiently sensitive. In this work, we optimized the composition of a buffer (PKTP) containing a protease, a detergent, and an RNase inhibitor, that is compatible with the RT-qPCR chemistry, allowing for direct testing of SARS-CoV-2 from saliva in an RNA extraction-independent manner. This buffer is compatible with heat-inactivation reducing the biohazard risk of handling the samples. We assessed the PKTP buffer performance in comparison to the RNA-extraction-based protocol of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in saliva samples from 70 COVID-19 patients finding a good sensitivity (82.2% for the N1 and 84.4% for the N2 target, respectively) and correlations (R=0.77, p<0.001 for N1, and R=0.78, p<0.001 for N2). We also propose an auto-collection protocol for saliva samples and a multiplex reaction to reduce the number of PCR reactions per patient and further reduce overall costs while maintaining diagnostic standards in favor of massive testing.

5.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21256786

ABSTRACT

BackgroundCOVID-19 pandemic interrupted routine care for individuals living with HIV, putting them at risk of becoming virologically unsuppressed and ill. Often they are at high risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe disease once infected. For this population, it is urgent to closely monitor HIV plasma viral load (VL) and screen for SARS-COV-2 infection. MethodWe have developed a non-proprietary method to isolate RNA from plasma, nasal secretions (NS), or both. HIV, SARS-CoV-2, and human RP targets in extracted RNA are then RT-qPCR to estimate the VL and classify HIV/SARS-CoV-2 status (i.e., HIV as VL failure or suppressed; SARS-CoV-2 as positive, presumptive positive, negative, or indeterminate). We evaluated this workflow on 133 clinical specimens: 40 plasma specimens (30 HIV-seropositive), 67 NS specimens (31 SARS-CoV-2-positive), and 26 pooled plasma/NS specimens (26 HIV-positive with 10 SARS-CoV-2-positive), and compared the results obtained using the in-house extraction to those using a commercial extraction kit. ResultsIn-house extraction had a detection limit of 200-copies/mL for HIV and 100-copies/mL for SARS-CoV-2. In-house and commercial methods yielded positively correlated HIV VL (R2: 0.98 for contrived samples; 0.81 for seropositive plasma). SARS-CoV-2 detection had 100% concordant classifications in contrived samples, and in clinical NS extracted by in-house method, excluding indeterminate results, was 95% concordant (25 positives, 6 presumptive positives, and 31 negatives) to those using the commercial method. Analysis of pooled plasma/NS showed R2 of 0.91 (contrived samples) and 0.71 (clinical specimens) for HIV VL correlations obtained by both extraction methods, while SARS-CoV-2 detection showed 100% concordance in contrived and clinical specimens. InterpretationOur low-cost workflow for molecular testing of HIV and SARS-CoV-2 could serve as an alternative to current standard assays for laboratories in low-resource settings.

6.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21257020

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUNDPoint-of-care rapid tests to identify SARS-CoV-2 can be of great help because, in principle, they allow decisions to be made at the site of care for treatment, or for the separation of cohorts avoiding cross-infection, especially in emergency situations. METHODSA cross sectional study in adults requesting care in Emergency Rooms (ER), or the outpatient clinics of referral hospitals for COVID-19, to define the diagnostic characteristics of a rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 (the Abbott Panbio) having as a gold standard the RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2. Health personnel in a routine situation within an active pandemic in several cities of Mexico performed the tests. RESULTSA total of 1,069 participants with a mean age of 47 years (SD 16 years), 47% with a self-reported comorbidity, and an overall prevalence of a positive RT-PCR test of 45%, were recruited from eight hospitals in Mexico. Overall sensitivity of the Panbio test was 54.4% (95%CI 51-57) with a positive likelihood ratio of 35.7, a negative likelihood ratio of 0.46 and a Receiver-Operating Characteristics curve area of 0.77. Positivity for the rapid test depended strongly on an estimate of the viral load (Cycle threshold of RT-PCR, Ct), and the days of symptoms. With a Ct[≤]25, sensitivity of the rapid test was 0.82 (95%CI, 0.76-0.87). For patients during the first week of symptoms sensitivity was 69.6% (95%CI 66-73). On the other hand, specificity of the rapid test was above 97.8% in all groups. CONCLUSIONSThe Panbio rapid antigen test for SARS-CoV-2 has a good specificity, but due to low and heterogeneous sensitivity in real life, a negative test in a person with suggestive symptoms at a time of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2 requires confirmation with RT-PCR, and after the first week of symptoms, sensitivity decreases considerably.

7.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21257485

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 outbreak has caused over 3 million deaths worldwide. Understanding disease pathology and the factors that drive severe and fatal clinical outcomes is of special relevance. Studying the role of the respiratory microbiota in COVID-19 is particularly important since its known that the respiratory microbiota interacts with the host immune system, contributing to clinical outcomes in chronic and acute respiratory diseases. Here, we characterized the microbiota in the respiratory tract of patients with mild, severe, or fatal COVID-19, and compared with healthy controls and patients with non-COVID-19-pneumonia. We comparatively studied the microbial composition, diversity, and microbiota structure across study groups and correlated the results with clinical data. We found differences in diversity and abundance of bacteria between groups, higher levels of dysbiosis in the respiratory microbiota of COVID-19 patients (regardless of severity level), differences in diversity structure among mild, severe, and fatal COVID-19, and the presence of specific bacteria that correlated with clinical variables associated with increased mortality risk. Our data suggest that host-related and environmental factors could be affecting the respiratory microbiota before SARS-CoV-2 infection, potentially compromising the immunological response of the host against disease and promoting secondary bacterial infections. For instance, the high levels of dysbiosis coupled with low microbial structural complexity in the respiratory microbiota of COVID-19 patients, possibly resulted from antibiotic uptake and comorbidities, could have consequences for the host and microbial community level. Altogether, our findings identify the respiratory microbiota as a potential factor associated with COVID-19 severity.

8.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21255620

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged in late 2020 and there are at least three variants of concern (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P1) reported by WHO. These variants have several substitutions in the Spike protein that affect receptor binding; they present increased transmissibility and may be associated with reduced vaccine effectiveness. In the present work, we are reporting the identification of a potential variant of interest harboring the mutations T478K, P681H, and T732A in the Spike protein, within the newly named lineage B.1.1.519, which rapidly outcompeted the preexisting variants in Mexico and has been the dominant virus in the country during the first trimester of 2021.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20167379

ABSTRACT

IntroductionSome patients with COVID-19 pneumonia present systemic disease involving multiple systems. There is limited information about the clinical characteristics and events leading to acute kidney injury (AKI). We described the factors associated with the development of AKI and explored the relation of AKI and mortality in Mexican population with severe COVID-19. MethodsWe retrospectively reviewed the medical records of individuals with severe pneumonia caused by SARS-CoV-2 hospitalized at the largest third-level reference institution for COVID-19 care in Mexico between March and April 2020. Demographic information, comorbidities, clinical and laboratory data, dates of mechanical ventilation and hospitalization, mechanical-ventilator settings and use of vasoactive drugs were recorded. ResultsOf 99 patients studied, 58 developed AKI (58.6%). The group with AKI had higher body mass index (p=0.0003) and frequency of obesity (p=0.001); a higher requirement of invasive mechanical ventilation (p=0.008) and vasoactive drugs (p=0.004); greater levels of serum creatinine (p<0.001) and D-dimer on admission (p<0.001); and lower lymphocyte counts (p=0.001) than the non-AKI group. The multivariate analysis indicated that risk factors for AKI were obesity (adjusted hazard ratio (HR)=2.71, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.33-5.51, p=0.005); higher serum creatinine (HR=1.44, CI=1.02- 2.02, p=0.035) and D-dimer levels on admission (HR=1.14, CI=1.06-1.23, p<0.001). Inhospital mortality was higher in the AKI group than in the non-AKI group (65.5% vs. 14.6%; p=0.001). ConclusionsAKI was common in our cohort of patients with severe COVID-19 and it was associated with mortality. The risk factors for AKI were obesity, elevated creatinine levels and higher D-dimer levels on admission.

10.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-120402

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected most countries in the world. Studying the evolution and transmission patterns in different countries is crucial to implement effective strategies for disease control and prevention. In this work, we present the full genome sequence for 17 SARS-CoV-2 isolates corresponding to the earliest sampled cases in Mexico. Global and local phylogenomics, coupled with mutational analysis, consistently revealed that these viral sequences are distributed within 2 known lineages, the SARS-CoV-2 lineage A/G, containing mostly sequences from North America, and the lineage B/S containing mainly sequences from Europe. Based on the exposure history of the cases and on the phylogenomic analysis, we characterized fourteen independent introduction events. Additionally, three cases with no travel history were identified. We found evidence that two of these cases represent local transmission cases occurring in Mexico during mid-March 2020, denoting the earliest events described in the country. Within this Mexican cluster, we also identified an H49Y amino acid change in the spike protein. This mutation is a homoplasy occurring independently through time and space, and may function as a molecular marker to follow on any further spread of these viral variants throughout the country. Our results depict the general picture of the SARS-CoV-2 variants introduced at the beginning of the outbreak in Mexico, setting the foundation for future surveillance efforts. This work is the result of the collaboration of five institutions into one research consortium: three public health institutes and two universities. From the beginning of this work, it was agreed that the experimental leader of each institution would share the first authorship. Those were the criteria followed to assign first co-first authorship in this manuscript. The order of the other authors was randomly assigned. IMPORTANCEUnderstanding the introduction, spread and establishment of SARS-CoV-2 within distinct human populations is crucial to implement effective control strategies as well as the evolution of the pandemics. In this work, we describe that the initial virus strains introduced in Mexico came from Europe and the United States and the virus was circulating locally in the country as early as mid-March. We also found evidence for early local transmission of strains having the mutation H49Y in the Spike protein, that could be further used as a molecular marker to follow viral spread within the country and the region.

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