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Microorganisms ; 11(5)2023 Apr 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20232951


Rare cases of Pseudomonas aeruginosa community-acquired pneumonia (PA-CAP) were reported in non-immunocompromised patients. We describe a case of Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) necrotizing cavitary CAP with a fatal outcome in a 53-year-old man previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, who was admitted for dyspnea, fever, cough, hemoptysis, acute respiratory failure and a right upper lobe opacification. Six hours after admission, despite effective antibiotic therapy, he experienced multi-organ failure and died. Autopsy confirmed necrotizing pneumonia with alveolar hemorrhage. Blood and bronchoalveolar lavage cultures were positive for PA serotype O:9 belonging to ST1184. The strain shares the same virulence factor profile with reference genome PA01. With the aim to better investigate the clinical and molecular characteristics of PA-CAP, we considered the literature of the last 13 years concerning this topic. The prevalence of hospitalized PA-CAP is about 4% and has a mortality rate of 33-66%. Smoking, alcohol abuse and contaminated fluid exposure were the recognized risk factors; most cases presented the same symptoms described above and needed intensive care. Co-infection of PA-influenza A is described, which is possibly caused by influenza-inducing respiratory epithelial cell dysfunction: the same pathophysiological mechanism could be assumed with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Considering the high rate of fatal outcomes, additional studies are needed to identify sources of infections and new risk factors, along with genetic and immunological features. Current CAP guidelines should be revised in light of these results.

Virus Evol ; 8(1): veac042, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915852


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) emerge for their capability to better adapt to the human host aimed and enhance human-to-human transmission. Mutations in spike largely contributed to adaptation. Viral persistence is a prerequisite for intra-host virus evolution, and this likely occurred in immunocompromised patients who allow intra-host long-term viral replication. The underlying mechanism leading to the emergence of variants during viral persistence in the immunocompromised host is still unknown. Here, we show the existence of an ensemble of minor mutants in the early biological samples obtained from an immunocompromised patient and their dynamic interplay with the master mutant during a persistent and productive long-term infection. In particular, after 222 days of active viral replication, the original master mutant, named MB610, was replaced by a minor quasispecies (MB61222) expressing two critical mutations in spike, namely Q493K and N501T. Isolation of the two viruses allowed us to show that MB61222 entry into target cells occurred mainly by the fusion at the plasma membrane (PM), whereas endocytosis characterized the entry mechanism used by MB610. Interestingly, coinfection of two human cell lines of different origin with the SARS-CoV-2 isolates highlighted the early and dramatic predominance of MB61222 over MB610 replication. This finding may be explained by a faster replicative activity of MB61222 as compared to MB610 as well as by the capability of MB61222 to induce peculiar viral RNA-sensing mechanisms leading to an increased production of interferons (IFNs) and, in particular, of IFN-induced transmembrane protein 1 (IFITM1) and IFITM2. Indeed, it has been recently shown that IFITM2 is able to restrict SARS-CoV-2 entry occurring by endocytosis. In this regard, MB61222 may escape the antiviral activity of IFITMs by using the PM fusion pathway for entry into the target cell, whereas MB610 cannot escape this host antiviral response during MB61222 coinfection, since it has endocytosis as the main pathway of entry. Altogether, our data support the evidence of quasispecies fighting for host dominance by taking benefit from the cell machinery to restrict the productive infection of competitors in the viral ensemble. This finding may explain, at least in part, the extraordinary rapid worldwide turnover of VOCs that use the PM fusion pathway to enter into target cells over the original pandemic strain.

J Transl Med ; 18(1): 362, 2020 09 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-788689


BACKGROUND: Since the first outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, the clinical characteristics of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been progressively changed. Data reporting a viral intra-host and inter-host evolution favouring the appearance of mild SARS-CoV-2 strains are since being accumulating. To better understand the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenicity and its adaptation to the host, it is therefore crucial to investigate the genetic and phenotypic characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating lately in the epidemic. METHODS: Nasopharyngeal swabs have been analyzed for viral load in the early (March 2020) and late (May 2020) phases of epidemic in Brescia, Italy. Isolation of SARS-CoV-2 from 2 high viral load specimens identified on March 9 (AP66) and on May 8 (GZ69) was performed on Vero E6 cells. Amount of virus released was assessed by quantitative PCR. Genotypic characterization of AP66 and GZ69 was performed by next generation sequencing followed by an in-depth in silico analysis of nucleotide mutations. RESULTS: The SARS-CoV-2 GZ69 strain, isolated in May from an asymptomatic healthcare worker, showed an unprecedented capability of replication in Vero E6 cells in the absence of any evident cytopathic effect. Vero E6 subculturing, up to passage 4, showed that SARS-CoV-2 GZ69 infection was as productive as the one sustained by the cytopathic strain AP66. Whole genome sequencing of the persistently replicating SARS-CoV-2 GZ69 has shown that this strain differs from the early AP66 variant in 9 nucleotide positions (C2939T; C3828T; G21784T; T21846C; T24631C; G28881A; G28882A; G28883C; G29810T) which lead to 6 non-synonymous substitutions spanning on ORF1ab (P892S; S1188L), S (K74N; I95T) and N (R203K, G204R) proteins. CONCLUSIONS: Identification of the peculiar SARS-CoV-2 GZ69 strain in the late Italian epidemic highlights the need to better characterize viral variants circulating among asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic individuals. The current approach could unravel the ways for future studies aimed at analyzing the selection process which favours viral mutations in the human host.

Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Genetic Variation , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Amino Acid Substitution , Animals , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/genetics , Cytopathogenic Effect, Viral/physiology , Genome, Viral , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2 , Translational Research, Biomedical , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/physiology , Virus Cultivation/methods , Virus Replication/genetics , Virus Replication/physiology , Whole Genome Sequencing