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2.
Indian J Med Res ; 2022 May 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1835120

ABSTRACT

The WHO emergency use-listed (EUL) COVID-19 vaccines were developed against early strains of SARS-CoV-2. With the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) - Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron, it is necessary to assess the neutralizing activity of these vaccines against the VOCs. PubMed and preprint platforms were searched for literature on neutralizing activity of serum from WHO EUL vaccine recipients, against the VOCs, using appropriate search terms till November 30, 2021. Our search yielded 91 studies meeting the inclusion criteria. The analysis revealed a drop of 0-8.9-fold against Alpha variant, 0.3-42.4-fold against Beta variant, 0-13.8-fold against Gamma variant and 1.35-20-fold against Delta variant in neutralization titres of serum from the WHO EUL COVID-19 vaccine recipients, as compared to early SARS-CoV-2 isolates. The wide range of variability was due to differences in the choice of virus strains selected for neutralization assays (pseudovirus or live virus), timing of serum sample collection after the final dose of vaccine (day 0 to 8 months) and sample size (ranging from 5 to 470 vaccinees). The reasons for this variation have been discussed and the possible way forward to have uniformity across neutralization assays in different laboratories have been described, which will generate reliable data. Though in vitro neutralization studies are a valuable tool to estimate the performance of vaccines against the backdrop of emerging variants, the results must be interpreted with caution and corroborated with field-effectiveness studies.

7.
EBioMedicine ; 79: 103997, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778096

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is rampantly spreading across the globe. We assessed the pathogenicity and immune response generated by BA.1.1 sub-lineage of SARS-CoV-2 [Omicron (R346K) variant] in 5 to 6-week old Syrian hamsters and compared the observations with that of Delta variant infection. METHODS: Virus shedding, organ viral load, lung disease and immune response generated in hamsters were sequentially assessed. FINDINGS: The disease characteristics of the Omicron (R346K) variant were found to be similar to that of the Delta variant infection in hamsters like viral replication in the respiratory tract and interstitial pneumonia. The Omicron (R346K) infected hamsters demonstrated lesser body weight reduction and viral RNA load in the throat swab and nasal wash samples in comparison to the Delta variant infection. The viral load in the lungs and nasal turbinate samples and the lung disease severity of the Omicron (R346K) infected hamsters were found comparable with that of the Delta variant infected hamsters. Neutralizing antibody response against Omicron (R346K) variant was detected from day 5 and the cross-neutralization titre of the sera against other variants showed severe reduction ie., 7 fold reduction against Alpha and no titers against B.1, Beta and Delta. INTERPRETATION: This preliminary data shows that Omicron (R346K) variant infection can produce moderate to severe lung disease similar to that of the Delta variant and the neutralizing antibodies produced in response to Omicron (R346K) variant infection shows poor neutralizing ability against other co-circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants like Delta which necessitates caution as it may lead to increased cases of reinfection. FUNDING: This study was supported by Indian Council of Medical Research as an intramural grant (COVID-19) to ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Cricetinae , Humans , India , Mesocricetus , Virulence
9.
Comp Immunol Microbiol Infect Dis ; 85: 101800, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757204

ABSTRACT

Nipah virus (NiV) is one of the priority pathogens with pandemic potential. Though the spread is far slower than SARS-CoV-2, case fatality is the biggest concern. Fruit bats belonging to genus Pteropus are identified to be the main reservoir of the virus causing sporadic cases and outbreaks in Malaysia, Bangladesh and India. The sudden emergence of Nipah in Kerala, India during 2018-2019 has been astonishing with respect to its introduction in the unaffected areas. With this, active Nipah virus surveillance was conducted among bat populations in Southern part of India viz., Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Puducherry and Odisha during January-November 2019. Throat swabs/rectal swabs (n = 573) collected from Pteropus medius and Rousettus leschenaultii bat species and sera of Pteropus medius bats (n = 255) were screened to detect the presence of Nipah viral RNA and anti-Nipah IgG antibodies respectively. Of 255 P. medius bats sera samples, 51 bats (20%) captured from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry demonstrated presence of anti-Nipah IgG antibodies. However, the presence of virus couldn't be detected in any of the bat specimens. The recent emergence of Nipah virus in Kerala in September 2021 warrants further surveillance of Nipah virus among bat populations from the affected and remaining states of India.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chiroptera , Nipah Virus , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Immunoglobulin G , India/epidemiology , Nipah Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742725

ABSTRACT

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Delta variant has evolved to become the dominant SARS-CoV-2 lineage with multiple sub-lineages and there are also reports of re-infections caused by this variant. We studied the disease characteristics induced by the Delta AY.1 variant and compared it with the Delta and B.1 variants in Syrian hamsters. We also assessed the potential of re-infection by these variants in Coronavirus disease 2019 recovered hamsters 3 months after initial infection. The variants produced disease characterized by high viral load in the respiratory tract and interstitial pneumonia. The Delta AY.1 variant produced mild disease in the hamster model and did not show any evidence of neutralization resistance due to the presence of the K417N mutation, as speculated. Re-infection with a high virus dose of the Delta and B.1 variants 3 months after B.1 variant infection resulted in reduced virus shedding, disease severity and increased neutralizing antibody levels in the re-infected hamsters. The reduction in viral load and lung disease after re-infection with the Delta AY.1 variant was not marked. Upper respiratory tract viral RNA loads remained similar after re-infection in all the groups. The present findings show that prior infection could not produce sterilizing immunity but that it can broaden the neutralizing response and reduce disease severity in case of reinfection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Reinfection , Animals , Cricetinae , Mesocricetus , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Trachea
11.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1737033

ABSTRACT

Due to the failure of virus isolation of the Omicron variant in Vero CCL-81 from the clinical specimens of COVID-19 cases, an initial in vivo and subsequent in vitro approach was utilized for the isolation of the virus. A total of 74 oropharyngeal/nasopharyngeal specimens were collected from SARS-CoV-2 positive international travellers and a contact case at Delhi and Mumbai, India. All the specimens were sequenced using next-generation sequencing and simultaneously inoculated onto Vero CCL-81 cells for virus isolation. Subsequently, two omicron positive specimens were inoculated into Syrian hamsters for two passages. The initial passage of the positive hamster specimens was inoculated onto Vero CCL-81 cells. The clinical specimens, hamster specimens, and Vero CCL-81 passages were sequenced to assess the mutational changes in different host species. The replication of the Omicron variant in hamsters was confirmed with the presence of a high viral load in nasal turbinate and lung specimens of both passages. The successful isolation of the virus from hamster specimens with Vero CCL-81 was observed with cytopathic effect in infected cells and high viral load in the cell suspension. The genome analysis revealed the presence of L212C mutation, Tyrosine 69 deletion, and C25000T nucleotide change in spike gene of hamster passage sequences and an absence of V17I mutation in E gene in hamster passage sequences, unlike human clinical specimen and Vero CCL-81 passages. No change was observed in the furin cleavage site in any of the specimen sequences, suggesting intact pathogenicity of the virus isolate. Our data demonstrated successful isolation of the Omicron variant with the in vivo method first followed by in vitro method. The virus isolate could be used in the future to explore different aspects of the Omicron variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Genomics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells
12.
Front Public Health ; 10: 818545, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731870

ABSTRACT

We report here a Nipah virus (NiV) outbreak in Kozhikode district of Kerala state, India, which had caused fatal encephalitis in a 12-year-old boy and the outbreak response, which led to the successful containment of the disease and the related investigations. Quantitative real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR, ELISA-based antibody detection, and whole genome sequencing (WGS) were performed to confirm the NiV infection. Contacts of the index case were traced and isolated based on risk categorization. Bats from the areas near the epicenter of the outbreak were sampled for throat swabs, rectal swabs, and blood samples for NiV screening by real-time RT-PCR and anti-NiV bat immunoglobulin G (IgG) ELISA. A plaque reduction neutralization test was performed for the detection of neutralizing antibodies. Nipah viral RNA could be detected from blood, bronchial wash, endotracheal (ET) secretion, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and anti-NiV immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibodies from the serum sample of the index case. Rapid establishment of an onsite NiV diagnostic facility and contact tracing helped in quick containment of the outbreak. NiV sequences retrieved from the clinical specimen of the index case formed a sub-cluster with the earlier reported Nipah I genotype sequences from India with more than 95% similarity. Anti-NiV IgG positivity could be detected in 21% of Pteropus medius (P. medius) and 37.73% of Rousettus leschenaultia (R. leschenaultia). Neutralizing antibodies against NiV could be detected in P. medius. Stringent surveillance and awareness campaigns need to be implemented in the area to reduce human-bat interactions and minimize spillover events, which can lead to sporadic outbreaks of NiV.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nipah Virus , Child , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Male , Nipah Virus/genetics , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Indian J Med Res ; 151(2 & 3): 200-209, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726321

ABSTRACT

Background & objectives: Since December 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has globally affected 195 countries. In India, suspected cases were screened for SARS-CoV-2 as per the advisory of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The objective of this study was to characterize SARS-CoV-2 sequences from three identified positive cases as on February 29, 2020. Methods: Throat swab/nasal swab specimens for a total of 881 suspected cases were screened by E gene and confirmed by RdRp (1), RdRp (2) and N gene real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reactions and next-generation sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis, molecular characterization and prediction of B- and T-cell epitopes for Indian SARS-CoV-2 sequences were undertaken. Results: Three cases with a travel history from Wuhan, China, were confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2. Almost complete (29,851 nucleotides) genomes of case 1, case 3 and a fragmented genome for case 2 were obtained. The sequences of Indian SARS-CoV-2 though not identical showed high (~99.98%) identity with Wuhan seafood market pneumonia virus (accession number: NC 045512). Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Indian sequences belonged to different clusters. Predicted linear B-cell epitopes were found to be concentrated in the S1 domain of spike protein, and a conformational epitope was identified in the receptor-binding domain. The predicted T-cell epitopes showed broad human leucocyte antigen allele coverage of A and B supertypes predominant in the Indian population. Interpretation & conclusions: The two SARS-CoV-2 sequences obtained from India represent two different introductions into the country. The genetic heterogeneity is as noted globally. The identified B- and T-cell epitopes may be considered suitable for future experiments towards the design of vaccines and diagnostics. Continuous monitoring and analysis of the sequences of new cases from India and the other affected countries would be vital to understand the genetic evolution and rates of substitution of the SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Genome, Viral , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , Humans , India , Models, Molecular , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral , Protein Structure, Tertiary , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
J Med Virol ; 94(7): 3404-3409, 2022 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1712144

ABSTRACT

International travel has been the major source for the rapid spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants across the globe. During SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance, a total of 212 SARS-CoV-2 positive clinical specimens were sequenced using next-generation sequencing. A complete SARS-CoV-2 genome could be retrieved from 90 clinical specimens. Of them, 14 sequences belonged to the Eta variant from clinical specimens of international travelers (n = 12) and local residents (n = 2) of India, and 76 belonged to other SARS-CoV-2 variants. Of all the Eta-positive specimens, the virus isolates were obtained from the clinical specimens of six international travelers. Many variants of interest have been found to cause substantial community transmission or cluster infections. The detection of this variant with lethal E484K mutation across the globe and India necessitates persistent genomic surveillance of the SARS-CoV-2 variants, which would aid in taking preventive action.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
18.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 781287, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1649347

ABSTRACT

Uttar Pradesh is the densely populated state of India and is the sixth highest COVID-19 affected state with 22,904 deaths recorded on November 12, 2021. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) is being used as a potential approach to investigate genomic evolution of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. In this study, a total of 87 SARS-CoV-2 genomes-49 genomes from the first wave (March 2020 to February 2021) and 38 genomes from the second wave (March 2021 to July 2021) from Eastern Uttar Pradesh (E-UP) were sequenced and analyzed to understand its evolutionary pattern and variants against publicaly available sequences. The complete genome analysis of SARS-CoV-2 during the first wave in E-UP largely reported transmission of G, GR, and GH clades with specific mutations. In contrast, variants of concerns (VOCs) such as Delta (71.0%) followed by Delta AY.1 (21.05%) and Kappa (7.9%) lineages belong to G clade with prominent signature amino acids were introduced in the second wave. Signature substitution at positions S:L452R, S:P681R, and S:D614G were commonly detected in the Delta, Delta AY.1, and Kappa variants whereas S:T19R and S:T478K were confined to Delta and Delta AY.1 variants only. Vaccine breakthrough infections showed unique mutational changes at position S:D574Y in the case of the Delta variant, whereas position S:T95 was conserved among Kappa variants compared to the Wuhan isolate. During the transition from the first to second waves, a shift in the predominant clade from GH to G clade was observed. The identified spike protein mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome could be used as the potential target for vaccine and drug development to combat the effects of the COVID-19 disease.

20.
J Infect Public Health ; 15(2): 182-186, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587222

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants in places where the virus is uncontained poses a global threat from the perspective of public health and vaccine efficacy. Travel has been important factor for the easy spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants worldwide. India has also observed the importation of SARS-CoV-2 variants through international travelers. METHODS: In this study, we have collected the oropharyngeal and nasopharyngeal swab specimens from 58 individuals with travel history from United Arab Emirates (UAE), East, West and South Africa, Qatar, Ukraine and Saudi Arabia arrived in India during February-March 2021. The clinical specimens were initially screened for SARS-CoV-2 using Real time RT-PCR. All the specimens were inoculated on to Vero CCL-81 cells for virus isolation. The viral isolates were further sequenced using Next-Generation Sequencing. RESULTS: All 58 cases were tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 using Real time RT-PCR. Four specimens showed progressive infectivity with fusion of the infected cells with neighboring cells leading to large mass of cells. Replication competent virus was confirmed from culture supernatant of the passage 2 using Real time RT-PCR. Two plaque purified SARS-CoV-2 isolates demonstrated high viral RNA load of 3.8-7.5 × 1011 and 1.1-1.6 × 1011 at passage 4 and 5 respectively. Nucleotide variations along with amino acid changes were also observed among these two isolates at passage 2-5. All four cases were male with no symptoms and co-morbidity. The sequence analysis has shown two different clusters, first cluster with nucleotide deletions in the ORF1ab and the spike, while second cluster with deletions in spike region. The viral isolates demonstrated 99.88-99.96% nucleotide identity with the representative sequences of Beta variant (B.1.351). CONCLUSION: These findings suggest easier transmission of SARS-CoV-2 variants with human mobility through international travel. The isolated Beta variant would be useful to determine the protective efficacy of the currently available and upcoming COVID-19 vaccines in India.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Male , United Arab Emirates
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