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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(8): 1485-1488, 2022 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1816023

ABSTRACT

A false-positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction result can lead to unnecessary public health measures. We report 2 individuals whose respiratory specimens were contaminated by an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine strain (CoronaVac), likely at vaccination premises. Incidentally, whole genome sequencing of CoronaVac showed adaptive deletions on the spike protein, which do not result in observable changes of antigenicity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccination
2.
Chemical science ; 13(11):3216-3226, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1782305

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 highlights the urgent need to develop sensitive methods for diagnosis and prognosis. To achieve this, multidimensional detection of SARS-CoV-2 related parameters including virus loads, immune response, and inflammation factors is crucial. Herein, by using metal-tagged antibodies as reporting probes, we developed a multiplex metal-detection based assay (MMDA) method as a general multiplex assay strategy for biofluids. This strategy provides extremely high multiplexing capability (theoretically over 100) compared with other reported biofluid assay methods. As a proof-of-concept, MMDA was used for serologic profiling of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The MMDA exhibits significantly higher sensitivity and specificity than ELISA for the detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. By integrating the high dimensional data exploration/visualization tool (tSNE) and machine learning algorithms with in-depth analysis of multiplex data, we classified COVID-19 patients into different subgroups based on their distinct antibody landscape. We unbiasedly identified anti-SARS-CoV-2-nucleocapsid IgG and IgA as the most potently induced types of antibodies for COVID-19 diagnosis, and anti-SARS-CoV-2-spike IgA as a biomarker for disease severity stratification. MMDA represents a more accurate method for the diagnosis and disease severity stratification of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for biomarker discovery of other diseases. A MMDA platform is developed by using metal-tagged antibodies as reporting probes combined with machine learning algorithms, as a general strategy for highly multiplexed biofluid assay.

3.
Front Immunol ; 13: 861050, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785349

ABSTRACT

It has been reported that multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta can reduce neutralization by antibodies, resulting in vaccine breakthrough infections. Virus-antiserum neutralization assays are typically performed to monitor potential vaccine breakthrough strains. However, experiment-based methods took several weeks whether newly emerging variants can break through current vaccines or therapeutic antibodies. To address this, we sought to establish a computational model to predict the antigenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants by sequence alone. In this study, we firstly identified the relationship between the antigenic difference transformed from the amino acid sequence and the antigenic distance from the neutralization titers. Based on this correlation, we obtained a computational model for the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein to predict the fold decrease in virus-antiserum neutralization titers with high accuracy (~0.79). Our predicted results were comparable to experimental neutralization titers of variants, including Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Epsilon, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda, as well as SARS-CoV. Here, we predicted the fold of decrease of Omicron as 17.4-fold less susceptible to neutralization. We visualized all 1,521 SARS-CoV-2 lineages to indicate variants including Mu, B.1.630, B.1.633, B.1.649, and C.1.2, which can induce vaccine breakthrough infections in addition to reported VOCs Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron. Our study offers a quick approach to predict the antigenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants as soon as they emerge. Furthermore, this approach can facilitate future vaccine updates to cover all major variants. An online version can be accessed at http://jdlab.online.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immune Sera , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
4.
EBioMedicine ; 79: 103986, 2022 Apr 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778094

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant evades immunity from past infection or vaccination and is associated with a greater risk of reinfection among recovered COVID-19 patients. We assessed the serum neutralizing antibody (NAb) activity against Omicron variant (Omicron NAb) among recovered COVID-19 patients with or without vaccination. METHODS: In this prospective cohort study with 135 recovered COVID-19 patients, we determined the serum NAb titers against ancestral virus or variants using a live virus NAb assay. We used the receiver operating characteristic analysis to determine the optimal cutoff for a commercially-available surrogate NAb assay. FINDINGS: Among recovered COVID-19 patients, the serum live virus geometric mean Omicron NAb titer was statistically significantly higher among BNT162b2 recipients compared to non-vaccinated individuals (85.4 vs 5.6,P < 0.0001). The Omicron seropositive rates in live virus NAb test (NAb titer ≥10) were statistically significantly higher among BNT162b2 (90.6% [29/32];P < 0.0001) or CoronaVac (36.7% [11/30]; P = 0.0115) recipients when compared with non-vaccinated individuals (12.3% [9/73]). Subgroup analysis of CoronaVac recipients showed that the Omicron seropositive rates were higher among individuals with two doses than those with one dose (85.7% vs 21.7%; P = 0.0045). For the surrogate NAb assay, a cutoff of 109.1 AU/ml, which is 7.3-fold higher than the manufacturer's recommended cutoff, could achieve a sensitivity and specificity of 89.5% and 89.8%, respectively, in detecting Omicron NAb. INTERPRETATION: Among individuals with prior COVID-19, one dose of BNT162b2 or two doses of CoronaVac could induce detectable serum Omicron NAb. Our result would be particularly important for guiding vaccine policies in countries with COVID-19 vaccine shortage. FUNDING: Health and Medical Research Fund, Richard and Carol Yu, Michael Tong (see acknowledgments for full list).

5.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-332139

ABSTRACT

Monitoring population protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants is critical for risk assessment. In this serosurveillance study, older adults show much lower seropositive rates of neutralizing antibody (NAb) against ancestral virus than the younger population. The increase in NAb seopositive rate generally follows the population vaccination uptake rate, but older adults have a much lower NAb seropositive rate than vaccination uptake rate. For all age groups, the seropositive rates of NAb against Omicron variant are much lower than those against the ancestral virus. During the fifth wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong which is dominated by Omicron sublineage BA.2, the case-fatality rate is exceptionally high in the ≥80 year-old age group (9.2%). Our study suggests that the severe BA.2 outbreak in Hong Kong can be attributed by the lack of protective immunity in the population, especially among the vulnerable older adults, and highlights the importance of continual surveillance of protective immunity against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.

6.
Cell Mol Immunol ; 2022 Mar 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768810

ABSTRACT

Live attenuated vaccines might elicit mucosal and sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 that the existing mRNA, adenoviral vector and inactivated vaccines fail to induce. Here, we describe a candidate live attenuated vaccine strain of SARS-CoV-2 in which the NSP16 gene, which encodes 2'-O-methyltransferase, is catalytically disrupted by a point mutation. This virus, designated d16, was severely attenuated in hamsters and transgenic mice, causing only asymptomatic and nonpathogenic infection. A single dose of d16 administered intranasally resulted in sterilizing immunity in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts of hamsters, thus preventing viral spread in a contact-based transmission model. It also robustly stimulated humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, thus conferring full protection against lethal challenge with SARS-CoV-2 in a transgenic mouse model. The neutralizing antibodies elicited by d16 effectively cross-reacted with several SARS-CoV-2 variants. Secretory immunoglobulin A was detected in the blood and nasal wash of vaccinated mice. Our work provides proof-of-principle evidence for harnessing NSP16-deficient SARS-CoV-2 for the development of live attenuated vaccines and paves the way for further preclinical studies of d16 as a prototypic vaccine strain, to which new features might be introduced to improve safety, transmissibility, immunogenicity and efficacy.

7.
Chem Sci ; 13(11): 3216-3226, 2022 Mar 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764224

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 highlights the urgent need to develop sensitive methods for diagnosis and prognosis. To achieve this, multidimensional detection of SARS-CoV-2 related parameters including virus loads, immune response, and inflammation factors is crucial. Herein, by using metal-tagged antibodies as reporting probes, we developed a multiplex metal-detection based assay (MMDA) method as a general multiplex assay strategy for biofluids. This strategy provides extremely high multiplexing capability (theoretically over 100) compared with other reported biofluid assay methods. As a proof-of-concept, MMDA was used for serologic profiling of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The MMDA exhibits significantly higher sensitivity and specificity than ELISA for the detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. By integrating the high dimensional data exploration/visualization tool (tSNE) and machine learning algorithms with in-depth analysis of multiplex data, we classified COVID-19 patients into different subgroups based on their distinct antibody landscape. We unbiasedly identified anti-SARS-CoV-2-nucleocapsid IgG and IgA as the most potently induced types of antibodies for COVID-19 diagnosis, and anti-SARS-CoV-2-spike IgA as a biomarker for disease severity stratification. MMDA represents a more accurate method for the diagnosis and disease severity stratification of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for biomarker discovery of other diseases.

10.
mSphere ; : e0091521, 2022 Mar 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741581

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 infection is a global health issue, and vaccination is the main strategy to control this pandemic. In this study, 189 participants received BNT162b2 or CoronaVac vaccine, and 133 of them recorded adverse events (AEs) daily for 4 weeks after vaccination. Their neutralizing antibody against SARS-CoV-2 was determined with live virus microneutralization (vMN) assay. The vMN geometric mean titer (GMT) on day 56 was 129.9 (95% confidence interval [CI],108.6 to 155.2) in the BNT162b2 group and 13.1 (95% CI, 11.2 to 15.3) in the CoronaVac group. Day 56 vMN GMT was 147.9 (95% CI, 118.9 to 184.1) in females and 129.9 (95% CI, 108.6 to 155.2) in males receiving BNT162b2, while it was 14.0 (95% CI, 11.6 to 17.0) in females and 11.4 (95% CI, 8.7 to 15.0) in males receiving CoronaVac. Injection site pain (88.8%) and redness (77.5%) were the most commonly BNT162b2-related AEs, and injection site pain (37.7%) and tiredness (26.4%) were more frequent in the CoronaVac group. Women showed a higher frequency of headache (45.7% versus 29.4%) and joint pain (26.1 versus 14.7%) than men in BTN162b2 group. Headache (26.5% versus 0%) and tiredness (38.2% versus 5.3%) were more common in women than in men vaccinated with CoronaVac. No correlation between any AE and antibody response was observed in BNT162b2 or CoronaVac platforms. After taking the gender factor into account, in the BNT162b2 group, a low correlation between day 21 vMN titer and redness (rho = 0.34) or itching (rho = 0.32) was presented in females, and a low correlation between day 56 vMN titer and fever (rho = 0.35) was presented in males. Taken together, AEs could have a low correlation with BNT162b2 vaccine response. IMPORTANCE Effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are vital tools for containing the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing population immunity. While currently available vaccines can elicit antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 with high efficacy, the associated side effects may cause vaccine hesitancy. Our work is important in that we have thoroughly analyzed the correlation between immunogenicity and reactogenicity of two COVID-19 vaccines (BNT162b2 and CoronaVac) in the study. Our results showed that women had higher levels of neutralizing antibodies than men after receiving BNT162b2 or CoronaVac. Furthermore, a low correlation was observed between day 21 vMN titer and local reactions (redness and itching) in females, as well as between day 56 vMN titer and fever in males receiving BNT162b2. Thus, common side effects are not always a negative impact of vaccination but may serve as an indicator of immunogenicity of vaccines. Our study may help in increasing the public's acceptance and confidence over COVID-19 vaccination and ultimately achieving the goal of containing COVID-19 pandemic.

11.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735551

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant BA.2 sublineage has increased rapidly in Europe and Asia since January 2022. Here, we report the epidemiological and genomic analysis of a large single source BA.2 outbreak in a housing estate. METHODS: We analyzed the epidemiological information of a community outbreak of BA.2 (STY outbreak). We performed whole viral genome sequencing using the Oxford Nanopore MinION device. We calculated the doubling time of the outbreak within a housing estate. RESULTS: The STY outbreak involved a total of 768 individuals as of 5 th February 2022, including 432 residents, visitors or staff (56.3%) from a single housing estate (KC Estate). The outbreak at the KC Estate has a short doubling time of 1.28 days (95% confidence interval: 0.560-1.935). The outbreak was promptly controlled with the lockdown of 3 buildings within the housing estate. Whole genome sequencing was performed for 133 patients in the STY outbreak, including 106 residents of the KC Estate. All 133 sequences from the STY outbreak belonged to the BA.2 sublineage, and phylogenetic analysis showed that these sequences cluster together. All individuals in the STY cluster had the unique mutation C12525T. CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the exceptionally high transmissibility of the Omicron variant BA.2 sublineage in Hong Kong where stringent measures are implemented as part of the elimination strategy. Continual genomic surveillance is crucial in monitoring the emergence of epidemiologically important Omicron sub-variants.

12.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 926-937, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730559

ABSTRACT

Pandemic influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 vaiants have posed major global threats to public health. Broad-spectrum antivirals blocking viral entry can be an effective strategy for combating these viruses. Here, we demonstrate a frog-defensin-derived basic peptide (FBP), which broadly inhibits the influenza virus by binding to haemagglutinin so as to block low pH-induced HA-mediated fusion and antagonizes endosomal acidification to inhibit the influenza virus. Moreover, FBP can bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike to block spike-mediated cell-cell fusion in 293T/ACE2 cells endocytosis. Omicron spike shows a weak cell-cell fusion mediated by TMPRSS2 in Calu3 cells, making the Omicron variant sensitive to endosomal inhibitors. In vivo studies show that FBP broadly inhibits the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus in mice and SARS-CoV-2 (HKU001a and Delta)in hamsters. Notably, FBP shows significant inhibition of Omicron variant replication even though it has a high number of mutations in spike. In conclusion, these results suggest that virus-targeting FBP with a high barrier to drug resistance can be an effective entry-fusion inhibitor against influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 in vivo.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Mice , Peptides , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
13.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726021

ABSTRACT

The ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) signals an urgent need for an expansion in treatment options. In this study, we investigated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of 22 antiviral agents with known broad-spectrum antiviral activities against coronaviruses and/or other viruses. They were first evaluated in our primary screening in VeroE6 cells and then the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral agents were further evaluated using viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays. In addition to remdesivir, lopinavir, and chloroquine, our primary screening additionally identified types I and II recombinant interferons, 25-hydroxycholesterol, and AM580 as the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents among the 22 antiviral agents. Betaferon (interferon-ß1b) exhibited the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays among the recombinant interferons. The lipogenesis modulators 25-hydroxycholesterol and AM580 exhibited EC50 at low micromolar levels and selectivity indices of >10.0. Combinational use of these host-based antiviral agents with virus-based antivirals to target different processes of the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle should be evaluated in animal models and/or clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Animals , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Interferons/metabolism , Lipogenesis/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Viral Plaque Assay , Virus Replication/drug effects
14.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1722276

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 can infect human and other mammals, including hamsters. Syrian (Mesocricetus auratus) and dwarf (Phodopus sp.) hamsters are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection in the laboratory setting. However, pet shop-related COVID-19 outbreaks have not been reported. METHODS: We conducted an investigation of a pet shop-related COVID-19 outbreak due to Delta variant AY.127 involving at least three patients in Hong Kong. We tested samples collected from the patients, environment, and hamsters linked to this outbreak and performed whole genome sequencing analysis of the RT-PCR-positive samples. RESULTS: The patients included a pet shop keeper (Patient 1), a female customer of the pet shop (Patient 2), and the husband of Patient 2 (Patient 3). Investigation showed that 17.2% (5/29) and 25.5% (13/51) environmental specimens collected from the pet shop and its related warehouse, respectively, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR. Among euthanized hamsters randomly collected from the storehouse, 3% (3/100) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR and seropositive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody by ELISA. Whole genome analysis showed that although all genomes from the outbreak belonged to the Delta variant AY.127, there were at least 3 nucleotide differences among the genomes from different patients and the hamster cages. Genomic analysis suggests that multiple strains have emerged within the hamster population, and these different strains have likely transmitted to human either via direct contact or via the environment. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated probable hamster-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2. As pet trading is common around the world, this can represent a route of international spread of this pandemic virus.

15.
Interface Focus ; 12(2): 20210063, 2022 Apr 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713822

ABSTRACT

Poor housing conditions are known to be associated with infectious diseases such as high Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) incidences. Transmission causes of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in poor housing conditions can be complex. An understanding of the exact mechanism of transmission can help to pinpoint contributing environmental issues. Here, we investigated a Hong Kong COVID-19 outbreak in early 2021 in four traditional Tong Lau houses with subdivided units. There are more than 80 subdivided units of less than 20 m2 floor area each on average. With a total of 34 confirmed COVID-19 cases, the outbreak had an attack rate of 25.4%, being one of the highest attack rates observed in Hong Kong, and ranked among the highest attack rates in reported outbreaks internationally. Tracer gas leakage and decay measurements were performed in the drainage system and in the subdivided units to determine the transport of infectious aerosols by the owner-modified sophisticated wastewater drainage pipe networks and the poor ventilation conditions in some subdivided units. The results show that the outbreak was probably due to multiple transmission routes, i.e. by the drainage pipe spread of stack aerosols, which is enhanced by poor ventilation in the subdivided units.

17.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Jul 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1707925

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Several SARS-CoV-2 lineages with mutations at the spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD) have reduced susceptibility to antibody neutralization, and have been classified as Variants of Concern (VOCs) or Variants of Interest (VOIs). Here, we systematically compared the neutralization susceptibility and RBD binding of different VOCs/VOIs, including B.1.617.1 (kappa variant) and P.3 (theta variant) which were first detected in India and the Philippines, respectively. METHODS: The neutralization susceptibility of the VOCs/VOIs (B.1.351, B.1.617.1 and P.3) and a non-VOC/VOI without RBD mutations (B.1.36.27) to convalescent sera from COVID-19 patients or BNT162b2 vaccinees was determined using a live virus microneutralization (MN) assay. Serum IgG binding to wild type and mutant RBDs were determined using an enzyme immunoassay. RESULTS: The geometric mean neutralization titers (GMT) of B.1.351, P.3, and B.1.617.1 were significantly lower than that of B.1.36.27 for COVID-19 patients infected with non-VOCs/VOIs (3.4-5.7-fold lower) or individuals who have received 2 doses of BNT162b2 vaccine (4.4-7.3-fold lower). The GMT of B.1.351 or P.3 were lower than that of B.1.671.1. For the 4 patients infected with B.1.351 or B.1.617.1, the MN titer was highest for their respective lineage. RBD with E484K or E484Q mutation, either alone or in combination with other mutations, showed greatest reduction in serum IgG binding. CONCLUSION: P.3 and B.1.617.1 escape serum neutralization induced by natural infection or vaccine. Infection with one variant do not confer cross protection for heterologous lineages. Immunogenicity testing for second generation COVID-19 vaccines should include multiple variant and "non-variant" strains.

18.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704370

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Post-vaccination myopericarditis is reported after immunization with COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines. The effect of accidental intravenous injection of this vaccine on the heart is unknown. METHODS: We compared the clinical manifestations, histopathological changes, tissue mRNA expression and serum levels of cytokine/chemokine in Balb/c mice at different time points after intravenous(IV) or intramuscular(IM) vaccine injection with normal saline(NS) control. RESULTS: Though significant weight loss and higher serum cytokine/chemokine levels were found in IM group at 1 to 2 days post-injection(dpi), only IV group developed histopathological changes of myopericarditis as evidenced by cardiomyocyte degeneration, apoptosis and necrosis with adjacent inflammatory cell infiltration and calcific deposits on visceral pericardium, while evidence of coronary artery or other cardiac pathologies was absent. SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen expression by immunostaining was occasionally found in infiltrating immune cells of the heart or injection site, in cardiomyocytes and intracardiac vascular endothelial cells, but not skeletal myocytes. The histological changes of myopericarditis after the first IV-priming dose persisted for 2 weeks and were markedly aggravated by a second IM- or IV-booster dose. Cardiac tissue mRNA expression of IL-1ß, IFN-ß, IL-6 and TNF-α increased significantly from 1dpi to 2dpi in IV but not IM group, compatible with presence of myopericarditis in IV group. Ballooning degeneration of hepatocytes was consistently found in IV group. All other organs appeared normal. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that inadvertent intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines may induce myopericarditis. Brief withdrawal of syringe plunger to exclude blood aspiration may be one possible way to reduce such risk.

19.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Feb 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704368

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of SARS-CoV-2 in the pathogenesis of testicular damage is uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the virological, pathological, and immunological changes in testes of hamsters challenged by SARS-CoV-2 wild-type and its variants by intranasal or direct testicular inoculation using influenza virus A(H1N1)pdm09 as control. RESULTS: Besides self-limiting respiratory tract infection, intranasal SARS-CoV-2 challenge caused acute decrease in sperm count, and serum testosterone and inhibin B at 4 to 7 days post-infection (dpi), and subsequently reduced testicular size and weight, and serum sex hormone level at 42 to 120 dpi. Acute histopathological damage with varying degree of testicular inflammation, haemorrhage, and necrosis, degeneration of seminiferous tubules and disruption of orderly spermatogenesis were seen with increasing virus inoculum. Degeneration and necrosis of Sertoli and Leydig cells were found. Though viral loads and SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapid (N) protein expression were markedly lower in testicular than lung tissues, direct intra-testicular injection showed N expressing interstitial cells and epididymal epithelial cells. Control intranasal or intra-testicular challenge by A(H1N1)pdm09 showed no testicular infection or damage. From 7 to 120 dpi, degeneration and apoptosis of seminiferous tubules, immune complex deposition and depletion of spermatogenic cell and spermatozoa persisted. Intranasal challenge with Omicron and Delta variants could also induce similar testicular changes. These testicular damages can be prevented by vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 can cause acute testicular damage with subsequent chronic asymmetric testicular atrophy and associated hormonal changes despite a self-limiting pneumonia in hamsters. Awareness of possible hypogonadism and subfertility is important in managing convalescent COVID-19 males.

20.
Journal of Hazardous Materials ; : 128504, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1693278

ABSTRACT

Airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been increasingly recognized in the outbreak of COVID-19, especially during the emergence of Omicron variant. We investigated an outbreak due to Omicron variant in a restaurant. Besides the epidemiological and phylogenetic analysis, the secondary attack rates of customers of restaurant-related COVID-19 before (outbreak R1) and after enhancement of indoor air dilution (outbreak R2) were compared. On 27thDecember 2021, an index case attended restaurant R2 for 98minutes. Except for 1 sitting in the same table, six other secondary cases sat in 3 corners at 3 different zones, where designated staff served customers at different zones. The median exposure time was 34minutes (range:19-98minutes). All 7 secondary cases were phylogenetically related to the index. Smoke test demonstrated the airflow direction airflow which explained the distribution of secondary cases. Compared with an earlier COVID-19 outbreak in another restaurant R1 (19thFebruary 2021), just preceding the mandatory requirement of enhancement of indoor air dilution, the secondary attack rates among customers in R2 was significantly lower than that in R1 (3.4%,7/207vs 28.9%,22/76,p<0.001). Enhancement of indoor air dilution including ventilation and installation of air purifier and upper-room ultraviolet-C germicidal irradiation could minimize the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the restaurant.

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