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1.
mBio ; : e0375121, 2022 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741580

ABSTRACT

The widespread coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by infection with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Currently, we have limited understanding of which cells become infected with SARS-CoV-2 in human tissues and where viral RNA localizes on the subcellular level. Here, we present a platform for preparing autopsy tissue for visualizing SARS-CoV-2 RNA using RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with amplification by hybridization chain reaction. We developed probe sets that target different regions of SARS-CoV-2 (including ORF1a and N), as well as probe sets that specifically target SARS-CoV-2 subgenomic mRNAs. We validated these probe sets in cell culture and tissues (lung, lymph node, and placenta) from infected patients. Using this technology, we observe distinct subcellular localization patterns of the ORF1a and N regions. In human lung tissue, we performed multiplexed RNA FISH HCR for SARS-CoV-2 and cell-type-specific marker genes. We found viral RNA in cells containing the alveolar type 2 (AT2) cell marker gene (SFTPC) and the alveolar macrophage marker gene (MARCO) but did not identify viral RNA in cells containing the alveolar type 1 (AT1) cell marker gene (AGER). Moreover, we observed distinct subcellular localization patterns of viral RNA in AT2 cells and alveolar macrophages. In sum, we demonstrate the use of RNA FISH HCR for visualizing different RNA species from SARS-CoV-2 in cell lines and FFPE (formalin fixation and paraffin embedding) autopsy specimens. We anticipate that this platform could be broadly useful for studying SARS-CoV-2 pathology in tissues, as well as extended for other applications, including investigating the viral life cycle, viral diagnostics, and drug screening. IMPORTANCE Here, we developed an in situ RNA detection assay for RNA generated by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. We found viral RNA in lung, lymph node, and placenta samples from pathology specimens from COVID patients. Using high-magnification microscopy, we can visualize the subcellular distribution of these RNA in single cells.

2.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704412

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections have spilled over from humans to companion and wild animals since the inception of the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, whole genome sequencing data of the viral genomes that infect non-human animal species have been scant. Here, we detected and sequenced a SARS-CoV-2 delta variant (AY.3) in fecal samples from an 11-year-old domestic house cat previously exposed to an owner who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Molecular testing of two fecal samples collected 7 days apart yielded relatively high levels of viral RNA. Sequencing of the feline-derived viral genomes showed the two to be identical, and differing by between 4 and 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms in pairwise comparisons to human-derived lineage AY.3 sequences collected in the same geographic area and time period. However, several mutations unique to the feline samples reveal their divergence from this cohort on phylogenetic analysis. These results demonstrate continued spillover infections of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants that threaten human and animal health, as well as highlight the importance of collecting fecal samples when testing for SARS-CoV-2 in animals. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first published case of a SARS-CoV-2 delta variant in a domestic cat in the United States.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Feces/virology , Pets/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cats , Female , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , United States , Whole Genome Sequencing
3.
mBio ; 12(4): e0178121, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1349195

ABSTRACT

The 2',5'-oligoadenylate (2-5A)-dependent endoribonuclease, RNase L, is a principal mediator of the interferon (IFN) antiviral response. Therefore, the regulation of cellular levels of 2-5A is a key point of control in antiviral innate immunity. Cellular 2-5A levels are determined by IFN-inducible 2',5'-oligoadenylate synthetases (OASs) and by enzymes that degrade 2-5A. Importantly, many coronaviruses (CoVs) and rotaviruses encode 2-5A-degrading enzymes, thereby antagonizing RNase L and its antiviral effects. A-kinase-anchoring protein 7 (AKAP7), a mammalian counterpart, could possibly limit tissue damage from excessive or prolonged RNase L activation during viral infections or from self-double-stranded RNAs that activate OAS. We show that these enzymes, members of the two-histidine phosphoesterase (2H-PE) superfamily, constitute a subfamily referred here as 2',5'-PEs. 2',5'-PEs from the mouse CoV mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) (NS2), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) (NS4b), group A rotavirus (VP3), and mouse (AKAP7) were investigated for their evolutionary relationships and activities. While there was no activity against 3',5'-oligoribonucleotides, they all cleaved 2',5'-oligoadenylates efficiently but with variable activity against other 2',5'-oligonucleotides. The 2',5'-PEs are shown to be metal ion-independent enzymes that cleave trimer 2-5A (2',5'-p3A3) producing mono- or diadenylates with 2',3'-cyclic phosphate termini. Our results suggest that the elimination of 2-5A might be the sole function of viral 2',5'-PEs, thereby promoting viral escape from innate immunity by preventing or limiting the activation of RNase L. IMPORTANCE Viruses often encode accessory proteins that antagonize the host antiviral immune response. Here, we probed the evolutionary relationships and biochemical activities of two-histidine phosphoesterases (2H-PEs) that allow some coronaviruses and rotaviruses to counteract antiviral innate immunity. In addition, we investigated the mammalian enzyme AKAP7, which has homology and shared activities with the viral enzymes and might reduce self-injury. These viral and host enzymes, which we refer to as 2',5'-PEs, specifically degrade 2',5'-oligoadenylate activators of the antiviral enzyme RNase L. We show that the host and viral enzymes are metal ion independent and exclusively cleave 2',5'- and not 3',5'-phosphodiester bonds, producing cleavage products with cyclic 2',3'-phosphate termini. Our study defines 2',5'-PEs as enzymes that share characteristic conserved features with the 2H-PE superfamily but have specific and distinct biochemical cleavage activities. These findings may eventually lead to pharmacological strategies for developing antiviral drugs against coronaviruses, rotaviruses, and other viruses.


Subject(s)
A Kinase Anchor Proteins/metabolism , Adenine Nucleotides/metabolism , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/enzymology , Murine hepatitis virus/enzymology , Oligoribonucleotides/metabolism , Rotavirus/enzymology , Animals , Humans , Immunity, Innate/immunology , Interferons/immunology , Mice
4.
Anal Chem ; 93(38): 13063-13071, 2021 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428693

ABSTRACT

Short of a vaccine, frequent and rapid testing, preferably at home, is the most effective strategy to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Herein, we report on single-stage and two-stage molecular diagnostic tests that can be carried out with simple or no instrumentation. Our single-stage amplification is reverse transcription-loop mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) with custom-designed primers targeting the ORF1ab and the N gene regions of the virus genome. Our new two-stage amplification, dubbed Penn-RAMP, comprises recombinase isothermal amplification (RT-RPA) as its first stage and LAMP as its second stage. We compared various sample preparation strategies aimed at deactivating the virus while preserving its RNA and tested contrived and patient samples, consisting of nasopharyngeal swabs, oropharyngeal swabs, and saliva. Amplicons were detected either in real time with fluorescent intercalating dye or after amplification with the intercalating colorimetric dye LCV, which is insensitive to sample's PH. Our single RT-LAMP tests can be carried out instrumentation-free. To enable concurrent testing of multiple samples, we developed an inexpensive heat block that supports both the single-stage and two-stage amplification. Our RT-LAMP and Penn-RAMP assays have, respectively, analytical sensitivities of 50 and 5 virions/reaction. Both our single- and two-stage assays have successfully detected SARS-CoV-2 in patients with viral loads corresponding to the reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) threshold cycle smaller than 32 while operating with minimally processed samples, without nucleic acid isolation. Penn-RAMP provides a 10-fold better sensitivity than RT-LAMP and does not need thermal cycling like PCR assays. All reagents are amenable to dry, refrigeration-free storage. The SARS-CoV-2 test described herein is suitable for screening at home, at the point of need, and in resource-poor settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques , Pandemics , Point-of-Care Systems , RNA, Viral/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
6.
Genome Biol ; 22(1): 169, 2021 06 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388811

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 has led to a global pandemic, resulting in the need for rapid assays to allow diagnosis and prevention of transmission. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) provides a gold standard assay for SARS-CoV-2 RNA, but instrument costs are high and supply chains are potentially fragile, motivating interest in additional assay methods. Reverse transcription and loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) provides an alternative that uses orthogonal and often less expensive reagents without the need for thermocyclers. The presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA is typically detected using dyes to report bulk amplification of DNA; however, a common artifact is nonspecific DNA amplification, which complicates detection. RESULTS: Here we describe the design and testing of molecular beacons, which allow sequence-specific detection of SARS-CoV-2 genomes with improved discrimination in simple reaction mixtures. To optimize beacons for RT-LAMP, multiple locked nucleic acid monomers were incorporated to elevate melting temperatures. We also show how beacons with different fluorescent labels can allow convenient multiplex detection of several amplicons in "single pot" reactions, including incorporation of a human RNA LAMP-BEAC assay to confirm sample integrity. Comparison of LAMP-BEAC and RT-qPCR on clinical saliva samples showed good concordance between assays. To facilitate implementation, we developed custom polymerases for LAMP-BEAC and inexpensive purification procedures, which also facilitates increasing sensitivity by increasing reaction volumes. CONCLUSIONS: LAMP-BEAC thus provides an affordable and simple SARS-CoV-2 RNA assay suitable for population screening; implementation of the assay has allowed robust screening of thousands of saliva samples per week.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques , Nucleic Acid Probes/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva/virology , Sensitivity and Specificity
7.
Cell ; 184(19): 4848-4856, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1363914

ABSTRACT

Since the first reports of a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-like coronavirus in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, there has been intense interest in understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in the human population. Recent debate has coalesced around two competing ideas: a "laboratory escape" scenario and zoonotic emergence. Here, we critically review the current scientific evidence that may help clarify the origin of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Animals , Biological Evolution , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Laboratories , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Zoonoses/virology
8.
Clin Chem ; 68(1): 230-239, 2021 12 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354284

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: High-sensitivity severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigen assays are desirable to mitigate false negative results. Limited data are available to quantify and track SARS-CoV-2 antigen burden in respiratory samples from different populations. METHODS: We developed the Microbubbling SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Assay (MSAA) with smartphone readout, with a limit of detection of 0.5 pg/mL (10.6 fmol/L) nucleocapsid antigen or 4000 copies/mL inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus in nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs. We developed a computer vision and machine learning-based automatic microbubble image classifier to accurately identify positives and negatives and quantified and tracked antigen dynamics in intensive care unit coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inpatients and immunocompromised COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: Compared to qualitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction methods, the MSAA demonstrated a positive percentage agreement of 97% (95% CI 92%-99%) and a negative percentage agreement of 97% (95% CI 94%-100%) in a clinical validation study with 372 residual clinical NP swabs. In immunocompetent individuals, the antigen positivity rate in swabs decreased as days-after-symptom-onset increased, despite persistent nucleic acid positivity. Antigen was detected for longer and variable periods of time in immunocompromised patients with hematologic malignancies. Total microbubble volume, a quantitative marker of antigen burden, correlated inversely with cycle threshold values and days-after-symptom-onset. Viral sequence variations were detected in patients with long duration of high antigen burden. CONCLUSIONS: The MSAA enables sensitive and specific detection of acute infections and quantification and tracking of antigen burden and may serve as a screening method in longitudinal studies to identify patients who are likely experiencing active rounds of ongoing replication and warrant close viral sequence monitoring.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19 , Smartphone , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Machine Learning , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
mBio ; 12(4): e0194821, 2021 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1337436

ABSTRACT

The origins of the calamitous SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are now the subject of vigorous discussion and debate between two competing hypotheses for how it entered the human population: (i) direct infection from a feral source, likely a bat and possibly with an intermediate mammalian host, and (ii) a lab accident whereby bat isolates infected a researcher, who then passed it to others. Here, we ask whether the tools of science can help resolve the origins question and conclude that while such studies can provide important information, these are unlikely to provide a definitive answer. Currently available data combined with historical precedent from other outbreaks and viewed through the prism of Occam's razor favor the feral source hypothesis, but science can provide only probabilities, not certainty.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Public Health Surveillance/methods , Zoonoses/transmission , Zoonoses/virology , Accidents, Occupational , Animals , Chiroptera/virology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
10.
J Virol ; 95(12)2021 05 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247318

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious global health threat. The rapid global spread of SARS-CoV-2 highlights an urgent need to develop effective therapeutics for blocking SARS-CoV-2 infection and spread. Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING) is a chief element in host antiviral defense pathways. In this study, we examined the impact of the STING signaling pathway on coronavirus infection using the human coronavirus OC43 (HCoV-OC43) model. We found that HCoV-OC43 infection did not stimulate the STING signaling pathway, but the activation of STING signaling effectively inhibits HCoV-OC43 infection to a much greater extent than that of type I interferons (IFNs). We also discovered that IRF3, the key STING downstream innate immune effector, is essential for this anticoronavirus activity. In addition, we found that the amidobenzimidazole (ABZI)-based human STING agonist diABZI robustly blocks the infection of not only HCoV-OC43 but also SARS-CoV-2. Therefore, our study identifies the STING signaling pathway as a potential therapeutic target that could be exploited for developing broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics against multiple coronavirus strains in order to face the challenge of future coronavirus outbreaks.IMPORTANCE The highly infectious and lethal SARS-CoV-2 is posing an unprecedented threat to public health. Other coronaviruses are likely to jump from a nonhuman animal to humans in the future. Novel broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics are therefore needed to control known pathogenic coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2 and its newly mutated variants, as well as future coronavirus outbreaks. STING signaling is a well-established host defense pathway, but its role in coronavirus infection remains unclear. In the present study, we found that activation of the STING signaling pathway robustly inhibits infection of HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2. These results identified the STING pathway as a novel target for controlling the spread of known pathogenic coronaviruses, as well as emerging coronavirus outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/metabolism , Coronavirus OC43, Human/metabolism , Membrane Proteins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Signal Transduction , A549 Cells , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus OC43, Human/genetics , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/genetics , Interferon Regulatory Factor-3/metabolism , Membrane Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Membrane Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
11.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0250158, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183679

ABSTRACT

While the world awaits a widely available COVID-19 vaccine, availability of testing is limited in many regions and can be further compounded by shortages of reagents, prolonged processing time and delayed results. One approach to rapid testing is to leverage the volatile organic compound (VOC) signature of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Detection dogs, a biological sensor of VOCs, were utilized to investigate whether SARS-CoV-2 positive urine and saliva patient samples had a unique odor signature. The virus was inactivated in all training samples with either detergent or heat treatment. Using detergent-inactivated urine samples, dogs were initially trained to find samples collected from hospitalized patients confirmed with SARS-CoV-2 infection, while ignoring samples collected from controls. Dogs were then tested on their ability to spontaneously recognize heat-treated urine samples as well as heat-treated saliva from hospitalized SARS-CoV-2 positive patients. Dogs successfully discriminated between infected and uninfected urine samples, regardless of the inactivation protocol, as well as heat-treated saliva samples. Generalization to novel samples was limited, particularly after intensive training with a restricted sample set. A unique odor associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection present in human urine as well as saliva, provides impetus for the development of odor-based screening, either by electronic, chemical, or biological sensing methods. The use of dogs for screening in an operational setting will require training with a large number of novel SARS-CoV-2 positive and confirmed negative samples.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Working Dogs/psychology , Animals , COVID-19/urine , Dogs , Female , Humans , Male , Mass Screening , Proof of Concept Study , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Saliva/chemistry , Specimen Handling/methods , Volatile Organic Compounds/chemistry
12.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(16)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1165017

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are adept at evading host antiviral pathways induced by viral double-stranded RNA, including interferon (IFN) signaling, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR). While dysregulated or inadequate IFN responses have been associated with severe coronavirus infection, the extent to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 activates or antagonizes these pathways is relatively unknown. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects patient-derived nasal epithelial cells, present at the initial site of infection; induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2), the major cell type infected in the lung; and cardiomyocytes (iCM), consistent with cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 disease. Robust activation of IFN or OAS-RNase L is not observed in these cell types, whereas PKR activation is evident in iAT2 and iCM. In SARS-CoV-2-infected Calu-3 and A549ACE2 lung-derived cell lines, IFN induction remains relatively weak; however, activation of OAS-RNase L and PKR is observed. This is in contrast to Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV, which effectively inhibits IFN signaling and OAS-RNase L and PKR pathways, but is similar to mutant MERS-CoV lacking innate immune antagonists. Remarkably, OAS-RNase L and PKR are activated in MAVS knockout A549ACE2 cells, demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 can induce these host antiviral pathways despite minimal IFN production. Moreover, increased replication and cytopathic effect in RNASEL knockout A549ACE2 cells implicates OAS-RNase L in restricting SARS-CoV-2. Finally, while SARS-CoV-2 fails to antagonize these host defense pathways, which contrasts with other coronaviruses, the IFN signaling response is generally weak. These host-virus interactions may contribute to the unique pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Epithelial Cells/immunology , Epithelial Cells/virology , Immunity, Innate , Lung/pathology , Myocytes, Cardiac/immunology , Myocytes, Cardiac/virology , RNA, Double-Stranded/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , A549 Cells , Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/immunology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , Nose/virology , Virus Replication , eIF-2 Kinase
13.
J Clin Microbiol ; 59(5)2021 04 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1083610

ABSTRACT

Community-based health care clinics and hospital outreach services have the potential to expand coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) diagnostics to rural areas. However, reduced specimen stability during extended transport, the absence of a cold chain to centralized laboratories, and biosafety concerns surrounding specimen handling have limited this expansion. In the following study, we evaluated eNAT (Copan Italia, Brescia, Italy) as an alternative transport system to address the biosafety and stability challenges associated with expanding COVID-19 diagnostics to rural and remote regions. In this study, we demonstrated that high-titer severe acute respiratory virus syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) lysate placed into eNAT medium cannot be propagated in cell culture, supporting viral inactivation. To account for off-site testing in these settings, we assessed the stability of contrived nasopharyngeal (NP) specimens stored for up to 14 days in various transport media (eNAT, eSwab, viral transport medium [VTM], saline, and phosphate-buffered saline [PBS]) at 4°C, 22 to 25°C, and 35°C. The molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 was unaffected by sample storage temperature over the 2 weeks when stored in eNAT or PBS (change in cycle threshold, ≤1). In contrast, variable stability was observed across test conditions for other transport media. As eNAT can inactivate SARS-CoV-2, it may support COVID-19 diagnostics at the point of care. Evaluation of compatibility of eNAT with Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 assay demonstrated diagnostic accuracy and sensitivity equivalent to those of VTM. Taken together, these findings suggest that the implementation of eNAT as a collection device can expand COVID-19 testing to areas with limited health care access.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Culture Media , Specimen Handling/standards , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity , Temperature
14.
mBio ; 12(1)2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066822

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the global outbreak of COVID-19. The epidemic accelerated in Philadelphia, PA, in the spring of 2020, with the city experiencing a first peak of infections on 15 April, followed by a decline through midsummer. Here, we investigate spread of the epidemic in the first wave in Philadelphia using full-genome sequencing of 52 SARS-CoV-2 samples obtained from 27 hospitalized patients collected between 30 March and 17 July 2020. Sequences most commonly resembled lineages circulating at earlier times in New York, suggesting transmission primarily from this location, though a minority of Philadelphia genomes matched sequences from other sites, suggesting additional introductions. Multiple genomes showed even closer matches to other Philadelphia isolates, suggestive of ongoing transmission within Philadelphia. We found that all of our isolates contained the D614G substitution in the viral spike and belong to lineages variously designated B.1, Nextstrain clade 20A or 20C, and GISAID clade G or GH. There were no viral sequence polymorphisms detectably associated with disease outcome. For some patients, genome sequences were determined longitudinally or concurrently from multiple body sites. In both cases, some comparisons showed reproducible polymorphisms, suggesting initial seeding with multiple variants and/or accumulation of polymorphisms after infection. These results thus provide data on the sources of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Philadelphia and begin to explore the dynamics within hospitalized patients.IMPORTANCE Understanding how SARS-CoV-2 spreads globally and within infected individuals is critical to the development of mitigation strategies. We found that most lineages in Philadelphia had resembled sequences from New York, suggesting infection primarily but not exclusively from this location. Many genomes had even nearer neighbors within Philadelphia, indicating local spread. Multiple genome sequences were available for some subjects and in a subset of cases could be shown to differ between time points and body sites within an individual, indicating heterogeneous viral populations within individuals and raising questions on the mechanisms responsible. There was no evidence that different lineages were associated with different outcomes in patients, emphasizing the importance of individual-specific vulnerability.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , New York/epidemiology , Philadelphia/epidemiology , Phylogeny , Polymorphism, Genetic , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 469, 2021 01 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1039642

ABSTRACT

Antibody cocktails represent a promising approach to prevent SARS-CoV-2 escape. The determinants for selecting antibody combinations and the mechanism that antibody cocktails prevent viral escape remain unclear. We compared the critical residues in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) used by multiple neutralizing antibodies and cocktails and identified a combination of two antibodies CoV2-06 and CoV2-14 for preventing viral escape. The two antibodies simultaneously bind to non-overlapping epitopes and independently compete for receptor binding. SARS-CoV-2 rapidly escapes from individual antibodies by generating resistant mutations in vitro, but it doesn't escape from the cocktail due to stronger mutational constraints on RBD-ACE2 interaction and RBD protein folding requirements. We also identified a conserved neutralizing epitope shared between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV for antibody CoV2-12. Treatments with CoV2-06 and CoV2-14 individually and in combination confer protection in mice. These findings provide insights for rational selection and mechanistic understanding of antibody cocktails as candidates for treating COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/chemistry , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin Fragments/genetics , Immunoglobulin Fragments/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/genetics , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Models, Molecular , Mutation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
16.
RNA ; 26(12): 1976-1999, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-973202

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus EndoU inhibits dsRNA-activated antiviral responses; however, the physiologic RNA substrates of EndoU are unknown. In this study, we used mouse hepatitis virus (MHV)-infected bone marrow-derived macrophage (BMM) and cyclic phosphate cDNA sequencing to identify the RNA targets of EndoU. EndoU targeted viral RNA, cleaving the 3' side of pyrimidines with a strong preference for U ↓ A and C ↓ A sequences (endoY ↓ A). EndoU-dependent cleavage was detected in every region of MHV RNA, from the 5' NTR to the 3' NTR, including transcriptional regulatory sequences (TRS). Cleavage at two CA dinucleotides immediately adjacent to the MHV poly(A) tail suggests a mechanism to suppress negative-strand RNA synthesis and the accumulation of viral dsRNA. MHV with EndoU (EndoUmut) or 2'-5' phosphodiesterase (PDEmut) mutations provoked the activation of RNase L in BMM, with corresponding cleavage of RNAs by RNase L. The physiologic targets of EndoU are viral RNA templates required for negative-strand RNA synthesis and dsRNA accumulation. Coronavirus EndoU cleaves U ↓ A and C ↓ A sequences (endoY ↓ A) within viral (+) strand RNA to evade dsRNA-activated host responses.


Subject(s)
Murine hepatitis virus/enzymology , RNA/chemistry , Uridylate-Specific Endoribonucleases/metabolism , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/metabolism , Animals , Cells, Cultured , Macrophages/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mutation , Nucleotide Motifs , Protein Binding , RNA/metabolism , Uridylate-Specific Endoribonucleases/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics
17.
J Virol ; 94(21)2020 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-878910

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in China at the end of 2019 and has rapidly caused a pandemic, with over 20 million recorded COVID-19 cases in August 2020 (https://covid19.who.int/). There are no FDA-approved antivirals or vaccines for any coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2. Current treatments for COVID-19 are limited to supportive therapies and off-label use of FDA-approved drugs. Rapid development and human testing of potential antivirals is urgently needed. Numerous drugs are already approved for human use, and subsequently, there is a good understanding of their safety profiles and potential side effects, making them easier to fast-track to clinical studies in COVID-19 patients. Here, we present data on the antiviral activity of 20 FDA-approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2 that also inhibit SARS-CoV and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). We found that 17 of these inhibit SARS-CoV-2 at non-cytotoxic concentrations. We directly followed up seven of these to demonstrate that all are capable of inhibiting infectious SARS-CoV-2 production. Moreover, we evaluated two of these, chloroquine and chlorpromazine, in vivo using a mouse-adapted SARS-CoV model and found that both drugs protect mice from clinical disease.IMPORTANCE There are no FDA-approved antivirals for any coronavirus, including SARS-CoV-2. Numerous drugs are already approved for human use that may have antiviral activity and therefore could potentially be rapidly repurposed as antivirals. Here, we present data assessing the antiviral activity of 20 FDA-approved drugs against SARS-CoV-2 that also inhibit SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV in vitro We found that 17 of these inhibit SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that they may have pan-anti-coronaviral activity. We directly followed up seven of these and found that they all inhibit infectious-SARS-CoV-2 production. Moreover, we evaluated chloroquine and chlorpromazine in vivo using mouse-adapted SARS-CoV. We found that neither drug inhibited viral replication in the lungs, but both protected against clinical disease.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , A549 Cells , Animals , COVID-19 , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Chlorpromazine/pharmacology , Drug Approval , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Treatment Outcome , United States , United States Food and Drug Administration , Virus Replication/drug effects
18.
bioRxiv ; 2020 Nov 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-808974

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses are adept at evading host antiviral pathways induced by viral double-stranded RNA, including interferon (IFN) signaling, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR). While dysregulated or inadequate IFN responses have been associated with severe coronavirus infection, the extent to which the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 activates or antagonizes these pathways is relatively unknown. We found that SARS-CoV-2 infects patient-derived nasal epithelial cells, present at the initial site of infection, induced pluripotent stem cell-derived alveolar type 2 cells (iAT2), the major cell type infected in the lung, and cardiomyocytes (iCM), consistent with cardiovascular consequences of COVID-19 disease. Robust activation of IFN or OAS-RNase L is not observed in these cell types, while PKR activation is evident in iAT2 and iCM. In SARS-CoV-2 infected Calu-3 and A549 ACE2 lung-derived cell lines, IFN induction remains relatively weak; however activation of OAS-RNase L and PKR is observed. This is in contrast to MERS-CoV, which effectively inhibits IFN signaling as well as OAS-RNase L and PKR pathways, but similar to mutant MERS-CoV lacking innate immune antagonists. Remarkably, both OAS-RNase L and PKR are activated in MAVS knockout A549 ACE2 cells, demonstrating that SARS-CoV-2 can induce these host antiviral pathways despite minimal IFN production. Moreover, increased replication and cytopathic effect in RNASEL knockout A549 ACE2 cells implicates OAS-RNase L in restricting SARS-CoV-2. Finally, while SARS-CoV-2 fails to antagonize these host defense pathways, which contrasts with other coronaviruses, the IFN signaling response is generally weak. These host-virus interactions may contribute to the unique pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2. SIGNIFICANCE: SARS-CoV-2 emergence in late 2019 led to the COVID-19 pandemic that has had devastating effects on human health and the economy. Early innate immune responses are essential for protection against virus invasion. While inadequate innate immune responses are associated with severe COVID-19 diseases, understanding of the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with host antiviral pathways is minimal. We have characterized the innate immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infections in relevant respiratory tract derived cells and cardiomyocytes and found that SARS-CoV-2 activates two antiviral pathways, oligoadenylate synthetase-ribonuclease L (OAS-RNase L), and protein kinase R (PKR), while inducing minimal levels of interferon. This in contrast to MERS-CoV which inhibits all three pathways. Activation of these pathways may contribute to the distinctive pathogenesis of SARS-CoV-2.

19.
J Exp Med ; 217(5)2020 05 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-29153
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