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1.
Microbial Biotechnology ; 05:05, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2152572

ABSTRACT

Respiratory viruses such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and coronaviruses initiate infection at the mucosal surfaces of the upper respiratory tract (URT), where the resident respiratory microbiome has an important gatekeeper function. In contrast to gut-targeting administration of beneficial bacteria against respiratory viral disease, topical URT administration of probiotics is currently underexplored, especially for the prevention and/or treatment of viral infections. Here, we report the formulation of a throat spray with live lactobacilli exhibiting several in vitro mechanisms of action against respiratory viral infections, including induction of interferon regulatory pathways and direct inhibition of respiratory viruses. Rational selection of Lactobacillaceae strains was based on previously documented beneficial properties, up-scaling and industrial production characteristics, clinical safety parameters, and potential antiviral and immunostimulatory efficacy in the URT demonstrated in this study. Using a three-step selection strategy, three strains were selected and further tested in vitro antiviral assays and in formulations: Lacticaseibacillus casei AMBR2 as a promising endogenous candidate URT probiotic with previously reported barrier-enhancing and anti-pathogenic properties and the two well-studied model strains Lacticaseibacillus rhamnosus GG and Lactiplantibacillus plantarum WCFS1 that display immunomodulatory capacities. The three strains and their combination significantly reduced the cytopathogenic effects of RSV, influenza A/H1N1 and B viruses, and HCoV-229E coronavirus in co-culture models with bacteria, virus, and host cells. Subsequently, these strains were formulated in a throat spray and human monocytes were employed to confirm the formulation process did not reduce the interferon regulatory pathway-inducing capacity. Administration of the throat spray in healthy volunteers revealed that the lactobacilli were capable of temporary colonization of the throat in a metabolically active form. Thus, the developed spray with live lactobacilli will be further explored in the clinic as a potential broad-acting live biotherapeutic strategy against respiratory viral diseases.

2.
International Journal of Environmental Research & Public Health [Electronic Resource] ; 18(9):27, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1210064

ABSTRACT

A door-to-door survey was organised in Cuenca, Ecuador, to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 infection and adherence of the population to COVID-19 preventive measures. A total of 2457 persons participated in the study;584 (23.7%) reported having experienced at least one flu-like symptom since the onset of the pandemic. The maximum SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in Cuenca was 13.2% (CI: 12-14.6%) (IgM or IgG positive). Considering PCR confirmed infections, the prevalence was 11% (CI: 10-12.4%). There was no significant difference in seroprevalence between rural and urban areas. Participants aged 35-49 years old, living with a COVID-19 positive person, at least six people in a household, physical contact with someone outside the household, a contact with a person outside the home with flu-like symptoms, using public transport, and not having enough resources for living, significantly increased the odds for SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity. Overall, there was good adherence to COVID-19 preventive measures. Having known someone who tested positive for COVID-19, having a primary or secondary level of education, and having enough resources for living, significantly increased the odds for higher adherence. In conclusion, despite good overall adherence of the population of Cuenca with COVID-19 preventive measures, our study suggests high ongoing COVID-19 transmission in Cuenca, particularly in certain parishes. Prevention should not only focus on behavioural change, but on intensified testing strategies in demographical risk groups.

3.
Aerosol and Air Quality Research ; 21(3):1-10, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1134342

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic resulted in shortages of production and test capacity of FFP2-respirators. Such facemasks are required to be worn by healthcare professionals when performing aerosol-generating procedures on COVID-19 patients. In response to the high demand and short supply, we designed three models of facemasks that are suitable for local production. As these facemasks should meet the requirements of an FFP2-certified facemask, the newly-designed facemasks were tested on the filtration efficiency of the filter material, inward leakage, and breathing resistance with custom-made experimental setups. In these tests, the facemasks were benchmarked against a commercial FFP2 facemask. The filtration efficiency of the facemask’s filter material was also tested with coronavirus-loaded aerosols under physiologically relevant conditions. This multidisciplinary effort resulted in the design and production of facemasks that meet the FFP2 requirements, and which can be produced at local production facilities. © The Author(s).

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