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1.
Protein Cell ; 2022 Apr 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1777863

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and repeated outbreaks of coronavirus epidemics in the past two decades emphasize the need for next-generation pan-coronaviral therapeutics. Drugging the multi-functional papain-like protease (PLpro) domain of the viral nsp3 holds promise. However, none of the known coronavirus PLpro inhibitors has been shown to be in vivo active. Herein, we screened a structurally diverse library of 50,080 compounds for potential coronavirus PLpro inhibitors and identified a noncovalent lead inhibitor F0213 that has broad-spectrum anti-coronaviral activity, including against the Sarbecoviruses (SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2), Merbecovirus (MERS-CoV), as well as the Alphacoronavirus (hCoV-229E and hCoV-OC43). Importantly, F0213 confers protection in both SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters and MERS-CoV-infected human DPP4-knockin mice. F0213 possesses a dual therapeutic functionality that suppresses coronavirus replication via blocking viral polyprotein cleavage, as well as promoting antiviral immunity by antagonizing the PLpro deubiquitinase activity. Despite the significant difference of substrate recognition, mode of inhibition studies suggest that F0213 is a competitive inhibitor against SARS2-PLpro via binding with the 157K amino acid residue, whereas an allosteric inhibitor of MERS-PLpro interacting with its 271E position. Our proof-of-concept findings demonstrated that PLpro is a valid target for the development of broad-spectrum anti-coronavirus agents. The orally administered F0213 may serve as a promising lead compound for combating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and future coronavirus outbreaks.

2.
Frontiers in psychology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1711078

ABSTRACT

This study uses an integrated model of resource conservation theory and social learning theory to explore the antecedents of hotel interns’ perceptions of occupational stigma and to explore the mechanisms inherent to retention willingness. This study first manipulated relevant subjects’ experimental materials through a contextual experiment and used a one-way ANOVA to test the effects of competence stereotypes and occupational stereotypes on hotel interns’ stigma perceptions, respectively, and then used partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) as a statistical tool and the SmartPLS 3.0 program to validate the model of hotel interns’ occupational stigma perceptions-intention. The effects of both competence stereotypes and occupational stereotypes on hotel interns’ perceptions of occupational stigma were significant. The results of the partial least squares structural equation model showed that hotel interns’ perceptions of occupational stigma significantly contributed to emotional exhaustion and that emotional exhaustion significantly influenced hotel interns’ retention willingness, hotel interns’ perceptions of occupational stigma had a significant effect on their retention willingness, while the role of emotional exhaustion as a mediating variable and occupational commitment as a moderator. The inner psychological and behavioral linkage mechanisms of hotel interns’ occupational stigma perceptions and their retention willingness under COVID-19 were explored, and the resource dynamics operating mechanism and professional commitment were also confirmed.

3.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 689-698, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713523

ABSTRACT

During the investigation of a pet shop outbreak of severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with probable hamster-to-human transmission, the environmental and hamster samples in epidemiologically linked pet shops were found positive for SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant AY.127 strains which are phylogenetically closely related to patients and reported European strains. This interspecies' spill-over has triggered transmission in 58 patients epidemiologically linked to three pet shops. Incidentally, three dwarf hamsters imported from the Netherlands and centralized in a warehouse distributing animals to pet shops were positive for SARS-CoV-2 spike variant phylogenetically related to European B.1.258 strains from March 2020. This B.1.258 strain almost disappeared in July 2021. While no hamster-to-human transmission of B.1.258-like strain was found in this outbreak, molecular docking showed that its spike receptor-binding domain (RBD) has a similar binding energy to human ACE2 compared to that of Delta variant AY.127. Therefore, the potential of this B.1.258-related spike variant for interspecies jumping cannot be ignored. The co-circulation of B.1.258-related spike variants with Delta AY.127, which originated in Europe and was not previously found in Hong Kong, suggested that hamsters in our wholesale warehouse and retail pet shops more likely have acquired these viruses in the Netherlands or stopovers during delivery by aviation than locally. The risk of human-to-hamster reverse zoonosis by multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants leading to further adaptive spike mutations with subsequent transmission back to humans cannot be underestimated as an outbreak source of COVID-19. Testing imported pet animals susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 is warranted to prevent future outbreaks.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Cricetinae , Hong Kong , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316481

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses have repeatedly crossed species barriers to cause epidemics 1 . “Pan-coronavirus” antivirals targeting conserved viral components involved in coronavirus replication, such as the extensively glycosylated spike protein, can be designed. Here we show that the rationally engineered H84T-banana lectin (H84T-BanLec), which specifically recognizes high-mannose found on viral proteins but seldom on healthy human cells 2 , potently inhibits the highly virulent MERS-CoV, pandemic SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, and other human-pathogenic coronaviruses at nanomolar concentrations. MERS-CoV-infected human DPP4-transgenic mice treated by H84T-BanLec have significantly higher survival, lower viral burden, and reduced pulmonary damage. Similarly, prophylactic or therapeutic H84T-BanLec is effective against SARS-CoV-2 in hamsters. Importantly, intranasally and intraperitoneally administered H84T-BanLec are comparably effective. Time-of-drug-addition assay shows that H84T-BanLec targets virus entry. Real-time structural analysis with high-speed atomic force microscopy depicts multi-molecular associations of H84T-BanLec dimers with the SARS-CoV-2 spike trimer. Single-molecule force spectroscopy demonstrates binding of H84T-BanLec to multiple SARS-CoV-2 spike mannose sites with high affinity, and that H84T-BanLec competes with SARS-CoV-2 spike for binding to cellular ACE2. Modelling experiments identify distinct high-mannose glycans in spike recognized by H84T-BanLec. The multiple H84T-BanLec binding sites on spike likely account for the activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants and the lack of resistant mutants. The broad-spectrum H84T-BanLec should be clinically evaluated in respiratory viral infections including COVID-19.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-324830

ABSTRACT

Highly pathogenic coronaviruses including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) 1,2 , Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) 3,4 , and SARS-CoV-1 5 vary in their transmissibility and pathogenicity. However, infection by all three viruses result in substantial apoptosis in cell culture 6-8 and in patient samples 9-11 , suggesting a potential link between apoptosis and the pathogenesis of coronaviruses. To date, the underlying mechanism of how apoptosis modulates coronavirus pathogenesis is unknown. Here we show that a cysteine-aspartic protease of the apoptosis cascade, caspase-6, serves as an essential host factor for efficient coronavirus replication. We demonstrate that caspase-6 cleaves coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) proteins, generating N fragments that serve as interferon (IFN) antagonists, thus facilitating virus replication. Inhibition of caspase-6 substantially attenuates the lung pathology and body weight loss of SARS-CoV-2-infected golden Syrian hamsters and improves the survival of mouse-adapted MERS-CoV (MERS-CoV MA )-infected human DPP4 knock-in (hDPP4 KI) mice. Overall, our study reveals how coronaviruses exploit a component of the host apoptosis cascade to facilitate their replication. These results further suggest caspase-6 as a potential target of intervention for the treatment of highly pathogenic coronavirus infections including COVID-19 and MERS.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-321467

ABSTRACT

Mice are not susceptible to wildtype SARS-CoV-2 infection. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and P.3 contain mutations in spike, which have been suggested to associate with an increased recognition of mouse ACE2, raising the postulation that they may have evolved to expand species tropism to rodents. Here, we investigated the capacity of B.1.1.7 and other emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants in infecting mouse (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus) under in vitro and in vivo settings. Our results show that B.1.1.7 and P.3, but not B.1 or wildtype SARS-CoV-2, can utilize mouse and rat ACE2 for virus entry in vitro. High infectious virus titers, abundant viral antigen expression, and pathological changes are detected in the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice and rats. Together, these results reveal that the current predominant circulating SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, has gained the capability to expand species tropism to rodents.

7.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 519-531, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1642257

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACTHost circular RNAs (circRNAs) play critical roles in the pathogenesis of viral infections. However, how viruses modulate the biogenesis of host proviral circRNAs to facilitate their replication remains unclear. We have recently shown that Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection increases co-expression of circRNAs and their cognate messenger RNAs (mRNAs), possibly by hijacking specific host RNA binding proteins (RBPs). In this study, we systemically analysed the interactions between the representative circRNA-mRNA pairs upregulated upon MERS-CoV infection and host RBPs. Our analysis identified heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNP C) as a key host factor that governed the expression of numerous MERS-CoV-perturbed circRNAs, including hsa_circ_0002846, hsa_circ_0002061, and hsa_circ_0004445. RNA immunoprecipitation assay showed that hnRNP C could bind physically to these circRNAs. Specific knockdown of hnRNP C by small interfering RNA significantly (P < 0.05 to P < 0.0001) suppressed MERS-CoV replication in human lung adenocarcinoma (Calu-3) and human small airway epithelial (HSAEC) cells. Both MERS-CoV and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection increased the total and phosphorylated forms of hnRNP C to activate the downstream CRK-mTOR pathway. Treatment of MERS-CoV- (IC50: 0.618 µM) or SARS-CoV-2-infected (IC50: 1.233 µM) Calu-3 cells with the mTOR inhibitor OSI-027 resulted in significantly reduced viral loads. Collectively, our study identified hnRNP C as a key regulator of MERS-CoV-perturbed circRNAs and their cognate mRNAs, and the potential of targeting hnRNP C-related signalling pathways as an anticoronaviral strategy.


Subject(s)
Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group C , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , RNA, Circular/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Replication , COVID-19 , Cognition , Heterogeneous-Nuclear Ribonucleoprotein Group C/genetics , Humans , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , RNA, Messenger/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
8.
EBioMedicine ; 73: 103643, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1482542

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Wildtype mice are not susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and P.3, contain mutations in spike that has been suggested to associate with an increased recognition of mouse ACE2, raising the postulation that these SARS-CoV-2 variants may have evolved to expand species tropism to wildtype mouse and potentially other murines. Our study evaluated this possibility with substantial public health importance. METHODS: We investigated the capacity of wildtype (WT) SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 variants in infecting mice (Mus musculus) and rats (Rattus norvegicus) under in vitro and in vivo settings. Susceptibility to infection was evaluated with RT-qPCR, plaque assays, immunohistological stainings, and neutralization assays. FINDINGS: Our results reveal that B.1.1.7 and other N501Y-carrying variants but not WT SARS-CoV-2 can infect wildtype mice. High viral genome copies and high infectious virus particle titres are recovered from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice for 4-to-7 days post infection. In agreement with these observations, robust expression of viral nucleocapsid protein and histopathological changes are detected from the nasal turbinate and lung of B.1.1.7-inocluated mice but not that of the WT SARS-CoV-2-inoculated mice. Similarly, B.1.1.7 readily infects wildtype rats with production of infectious virus particles. INTERPRETATION: Our study provides direct evidence that the SARS-CoV-2 variant, B.1.1.7, as well as other N501Y-carrying variants including B.1.351 and P.3, has gained the capability to expand species tropism to murines and public health measures including stringent murine control should be implemented to facilitate the control of the ongoing pandemic. FUNDING: A full list of funding bodies that contributed to this study can be found in the Acknowledgements section.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Tropism , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , Neutralization Tests , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Rats , Rats, Sprague-Dawley , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Turbinates/pathology , Turbinates/virology , Virus Internalization
10.
Sci Adv ; 7(25)2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276873

ABSTRACT

Infection by highly pathogenic coronaviruses results in substantial apoptosis. However, the physiological relevance of apoptosis in the pathogenesis of coronavirus infections is unknown. Here, with a combination of in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo models, we demonstrated that protein kinase R-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) signaling mediated the proapoptotic signals in Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infection, which converged in the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Inhibiting PERK signaling or intrinsic apoptosis both alleviated MERS pathogenesis in vivo. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and SARS-CoV induced apoptosis through distinct mechanisms but inhibition of intrinsic apoptosis similarly limited SARS-CoV-2- and SARS-CoV-induced apoptosis in vitro and markedly ameliorated the lung damage of SARS-CoV-2-inoculated human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) mice. Collectively, our study provides the first evidence that virus-induced apoptosis is an important disease determinant of highly pathogenic coronaviruses and demonstrates that this process can be targeted to attenuate disease severity.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Apoptosis/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , eIF-2 Kinase/metabolism , Adenine/analogs & derivatives , Adenine/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Animals , Apoptosis/physiology , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/pathology , Cell Line , Coronavirus Infections/etiology , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Dipeptidyl Peptidase 4/genetics , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Humans , Indoles/pharmacology , Lung/virology , Male , Mice, Transgenic , eIF-2 Kinase/antagonists & inhibitors , eIF-2 Kinase/genetics
11.
Int J Biol Sci ; 17(6): 1555-1564, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206436

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by the novel lineage B betacoroanvirus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in significant mortality, morbidity, and socioeconomic disruptions worldwide. Effective antivirals are urgently needed for COVID-19. The main protease (Mpro) of SARS-CoV-2 is an attractive antiviral target because of its essential role in the cleavage of the viral polypeptide. In this study, we performed an in silico structure-based screening of a large chemical library to identify potential SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. Among 8,820 compounds in the library, our screening identified trichostatin A, a histone deacetylase inhibitor and an antifungal compound, as an inhibitor of SARS-CoV-2 Mpro activity and replication. The half maximal effective concentration of trichostatin A against SARS-CoV-2 replication was 1.5 to 2.7µM, which was markedly below its 50% effective cytotoxic concentration (75.7µM) and peak serum concentration (132µM). Further drug compound optimization to develop more stable analogues with longer half-lives should be performed. This structure-based drug discovery platform should facilitate the identification of additional enzyme inhibitors of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/antagonists & inhibitors , Protease Inhibitors/pharmacology , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Chlorocebus aethiops , Computer Simulation , Drug Discovery , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Molecular Structure , Protease Inhibitors/chemistry , Vero Cells
12.
J Cell Mol Med ; 25(10): 4753-4764, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1148073

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has become a global pandemic worldwide. Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are a subclass of endogenous, non-protein-coding RNA, which lacks an open reading frame and is more than 200 nucleotides in length. However, the functions for lncRNAs in COVID-19 have not been unravelled. The present study aimed at identifying the related lncRNAs based on RNA sequencing of peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as health individuals. Overall, 17 severe, 12 non-severe patients and 10 healthy controls were enrolled in this study. Firstly, we reported some altered lncRNAs between severe, non-severe COVID-19 patients and healthy controls. Next, we developed a 7-lncRNA panel with a good differential ability between severe and non-severe COVID-19 patients using least absolute shrinkage and selection operator regression. Finally, we observed that COVID-19 is a heterogeneous disease among which severe COVID-19 patients have two subtypes with similar risk score and immune score based on lncRNA panel using iCluster algorithm. As the roles of lncRNAs in COVID-19 have not yet been fully identified and understood, our analysis should provide valuable resource and information for the future studies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Long Noncoding , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Biomarkers/blood , Case-Control Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Long Noncoding/blood , RNA, Long Noncoding/physiology , Risk Assessment , Severity of Illness Index
13.
Sci Adv ; 6(35): eaba7910, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760200

ABSTRACT

Targeting a universal host protein exploited by most viruses would be a game-changing strategy that offers broad-spectrum solution and rapid pandemic control including the current COVID-19. Here, we found a common YxxØ-motif of multiple viruses that exploits host AP2M1 for intracellular trafficking. A library chemical, N-(p-amylcinnamoyl)anthranilic acid (ACA), was identified to interrupt AP2M1-virus interaction and exhibit potent antiviral efficacy against a number of viruses in vitro and in vivo, including the influenza A viruses (IAVs), Zika virus (ZIKV), human immunodeficiency virus, and coronaviruses including MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. YxxØ mutation, AP2M1 depletion, or disruption by ACA causes incorrect localization of viral proteins, which is exemplified by the failure of nuclear import of IAV nucleoprotein and diminished endoplasmic reticulum localization of ZIKV-NS3 and enterovirus-A71-2C proteins, thereby suppressing viral replication. Our study reveals an evolutionarily conserved mechanism of protein-protein interaction between host and virus that can serve as a broad-spectrum antiviral target.


Subject(s)
Adaptor Proteins, Vesicular Transport/metabolism , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Cinnamates/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , HIV Infections/drug therapy , Influenza, Human/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , ortho-Aminobenzoates/pharmacology , A549 Cells , Animals , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Binding Sites/genetics , COVID-19 , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Dogs , HEK293 Cells , HIV Infections/pathology , HIV-1/drug effects , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Humans , Influenza A virus/drug effects , Influenza, Human/pathology , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Knockout , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Protein Binding/genetics , Protein Transport/drug effects , RNA, Viral/genetics , Receptor, Interferon alpha-beta/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Transforming Growth Factor beta1/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects , Zika Virus/drug effects , Zika Virus Infection/pathology
14.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 9(1): 733-746, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-42285

ABSTRACT

Circular RNAs (circRNAs) are an integral component of the host competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network. These noncoding RNAs are characterized by their unique splicing reactions to form covalently closed loop structures and play important RNA regulatory roles in cells. Recent studies showed that circRNA expressions were perturbed in viral infections and circRNAs might serve as potential antiviral targets. We investigated the host ceRNA network changes and biological relevance of circRNAs in human lung adenocarcinoma epithelial (Calu-3) cells infected with the highly pathogenic Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). A total of ≥49337 putative circRNAs were predicted. Among the 7845 genes which generated putative circRNAs, 147 (1.9%) of them each generated ≥30 putative circRNAs and were involved in various biological, cellular, and metabolic processes, including viral infections. Differential expression (DE) analysis showed that the proportion of DE circRNAs significantly (P < 0.001) increased at 24 h-post infection. These DE circRNAs were clustered into 4 groups according to their time-course expression patterns and demonstrated inter-cluster and intra-cluster variations in the predicted functions of their host genes. Our comprehensive circRNA-miRNA-mRNA network identified 7 key DE circRNAs involved in various biological processes upon MERS-CoV infection. Specific siRNA knockdown of two selected DE circRNAs (circFNDC3B and circCNOT1) significantly reduced MERS-CoV load and their target mRNA expression which modulates various biological pathways, including the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and ubiquitination pathways. These results provided novel insights into the ceRNA network perturbations, biological relevance of circRNAs, and potential host-targeting antiviral strategies for MERS-CoV infection.


Subject(s)
MicroRNAs/metabolism , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/physiology , RNA, Circular/metabolism , RNA, Messenger/metabolism , Virus Replication , Cell Line, Tumor , Gene Expression , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Regulatory Networks , Humans , MicroRNAs/genetics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/pathogenicity , RNA Interference , RNA, Circular/genetics , RNA, Messenger/genetics , RNA, Small Interfering , Transcription, Genetic
15.
Clin Infect Dis ; 71(9): 2428-2446, 2020 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-15867

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A physiological small-animal model that resembles COVID-19 with low mortality is lacking. METHODS: Molecular docking on the binding between angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) of common laboratory mammals and the receptor-binding domain of the surface spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 suggested that the golden Syrian hamster is an option. Virus challenge, contact transmission, and passive immunoprophylaxis studies were performed. Serial organ tissues and blood were harvested for histopathology, viral load and titer, chemokine/cytokine level, and neutralizing antibody titer. RESULTS: The Syrian hamster could be consistently infected by SARS-CoV-2. Maximal clinical signs of rapid breathing, weight loss, histopathological changes from the initial exudative phase of diffuse alveolar damage with extensive apoptosis to the later proliferative phase of tissue repair, airway and intestinal involvement with viral nucleocapsid protein expression, high lung viral load, and spleen and lymphoid atrophy associated with marked chemokine/cytokine activation were observed within the first week of virus challenge. The mean lung virus titer was between 105 and 107 TCID50/g. Challenged index hamsters consistently infected naive contact hamsters housed within the same cages, resulting in similar pathology but not weight loss. All infected hamsters recovered and developed mean serum neutralizing antibody titers ≥1:427 14 days postchallenge. Immunoprophylaxis with early convalescent serum achieved significant decrease in lung viral load but not in lung pathology. No consistent nonsynonymous adaptive mutation of the spike was found in viruses isolated from the infected hamsters. CONCLUSIONS: Besides satisfying Koch's postulates, this readily available hamster model is an important tool for studying transmission, pathogenesis, treatment, and vaccination against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Lung/virology , Molecular Docking Simulation , Viral Load
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