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1.
J Hosp Infect ; 123: 52-60, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1757533

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are rampant in hospitals and residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs). AIM: To analyse the prevalence of MRSA colonization among residents and staff, and degree of environmental contamination and air dispersal of MRSA in RCHEs. METHODS: Epidemiological and genetic analysis by whole-genome sequencing (WGS) in 12 RCHEs in Hong Kong. FINDINGS: During the COVID-19 pandemic (from September to October 2021), 48.7% (380/781) of RCHE residents were found to harbour MRSA at any body site, and 8.5% (8/213) of staff were nasal MRSA carriers. Among 239 environmental samples, MRSA was found in 39.0% (16/41) of randomly selected resident rooms and 31.3% (62/198) of common areas. The common areas accessible by residents had significantly higher MRSA contamination rates than those that were not accessible by residents (37.2%, 46/121 vs. 22.1%, 17/177, P=0.028). Of 124 air samples, nine (7.3%) were MRSA-positive from four RCHEs. Air dispersal of MRSA was significantly associated with operating indoor fans in RCHEs (100%, 4/4 vs. 0%, 0/8, P=0.002). WGS of MRSA isolates collected from residents, staff and environmental and air samples showed that ST 1047 (CC1) lineage 1 constituted 43.1% (66/153) of all MRSA isolates. A distinctive predominant genetic lineage of MRSA in each RCHE was observed, suggestive of intra-RCHE transmission rather than clonal acquisition from the catchment hospital. CONCLUSION: MRSA control in RCHEs is no less important than in hospitals. Air dispersal of MRSA may be an important mechanism of dissemination in RCHEs with operating indoor fans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus , Staphylococcal Infections , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Carrier State/epidemiology , Humans , Methicillin , Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus/genetics , Pandemics , Staphylococcal Infections/epidemiology
2.
MEDLINE; 2020.
Preprint in English | MEDLINE | ID: ppcovidwho-329976

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 pandemic is the third zoonotic coronavirus (CoV) outbreak of the century after severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) since 2012. Treatment options for CoVs are largely lacking. Here, we show that clofazimine, an anti-leprosy drug with a favorable safety and pharmacokinetics profile, possesses pan-coronaviral inhibitory activity, and can antagonize SARS-CoV-2 replication in multiple in vitro systems, including the human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and ex vivo lung cultures. The FDA-approved molecule was found to inhibit multiple steps of viral replication, suggesting multiple underlying antiviral mechanisms. In a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, prophylactic or therapeutic administration of clofazimine significantly reduced viral load in the lung and fecal viral shedding, and also prevented cytokine storm associated with viral infection. Additionally, clofazimine exhibited synergy when administered with remdesivir. Since clofazimine is orally bioavailable and has a comparatively low manufacturing cost, it is an attractive clinical candidate for outpatient treatment and remdesivir-based combinatorial therapy for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, particularly in developing countries. Taken together, our data provide evidence that clofazimine may have a role in the control of the current pandemic SARS-CoV-2, endemic MERS-CoV in the Middle East, and, possibly most importantly, emerging CoVs of the future.

4.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-327005

ABSTRACT

Highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has posted a new crisis for COVID-19 pandemic control. Within a month, Omicron is dominating over Delta variant in several countries probably due to immune evasion. It remains unclear whether vaccine-induced memory responses can be recalled by Omicron infection. Here, we investigated host immune responses in the first vaccine-breakthrough case of Omicron infection in Hong Kong. We found that the breakthrough infection rapidly recruited potent cross-reactive broad neutralizing antibodies (bNAbs) against current VOCs, including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron, from unmeasurable IC50 values to mean 1:2929 at around 9-12 days, which were higher than the mean peak IC50 values of BioNTech-vaccinees. Cross-reactive spike- and nucleocapsid-specific CD4 and CD8 T cell responses were detected. Similar results were also obtained in the second vaccine-breakthrough case of Omicron infection. Our preliminary findings may have timely implications to booster vaccine optimization and preventive strategies of pandemic control.

5.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326959

ABSTRACT

Background: Nearly 4 billion doses of the BioNTech-mRNA and Sinovac-inactivated vaccines have been administrated globally, yet different vaccine-induced immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) remain incompletely investigated. Methods: We compare the immunogenicity and durability of these two vaccines among fully vaccinated Hong Kong people. Findings: Standard BioNTech and Sinovac vaccinations were tolerated and induced neutralizing antibody (NAb) (100% and 85.7%) and spike-specific CD4 T cell responses (96.7% and 82.1%), respectively. The geometric mean NAb IC50 and median frequencies of reactive CD4 subsets were consistently lower among Sinovac-vaccinees than BioNTech-vaccinees. Against VOCs, NAb response rate and geometric mean IC50 against B1.351 and B.1.617.2 were significantly lower for Sinovac (14.3%, 15 and 50%, 23.2) than BioNTech (79.4%, 107 and 94.1%, 131). Three months after vaccinations, NAbs to VOCs dropped near to detection limit, along with waning memory T cell responses, mainly among Sinovac-vaccinees. Interpretation: Our results indicate that Sinovac-vaccinees may face higher risk to pandemic VOCs breakthrough infection.

6.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326824

ABSTRACT

The Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) was only recently detected in southern Africa, but its subsequent spread has been extensive, both regionally and globally1. It is expected to become dominant in the coming weeks2, probably due to enhanced transmissibility. A striking feature of this variant is the large number of spike mutations3 that pose a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) vaccines and antibody therapies4. This concern is amplified by the findings from our study. We found B.1.1.529 to be markedly resistant to neutralization by serum not only from convalescent patients, but also from individuals vaccinated with one of the four widely used COVID-19 vaccines. Even serum from persons vaccinated and boosted with mRNA-based vaccines exhibited substantially diminished neutralizing activity against B.1.1.529. By evaluating a panel of monoclonal antibodies to all known epitope clusters on the spike protein, we noted that the activity of 17 of the 19 antibodies tested were either abolished or impaired, including ones currently authorized or approved for use in patients. In addition, we also identified four new spike mutations (S371L, N440K, G446S, and Q493R) that confer greater antibody resistance to B.1.1.529. The Omicron variant presents a serious threat to many existing COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, compelling the development of new interventions that anticipate the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2.

7.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326792

ABSTRACT

The devastation caused by SARS-CoV-2 has made clear the importance of pandemic preparedness. To address future zoonotic outbreaks due to related viruses in the sarbecovirus subgenus, we identified a human monoclonal antibody, 10-40, that neutralized or bound all sarbecoviruses tested in vitro and protected against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in vivo. Comparative studies with other receptor-binding domain (RBD)-directed antibodies showed 10-40 to have the greatest breadth against sarbecoviruses and thus its promise as an agent for pandemic preparedness. Moreover, structural analyses on 10-40 and similar antibodies not only defined an epitope cluster in the inner face of the RBD that is well conserved among sarbecoviruses, but also uncovered a new antibody class with a common CDRH3 motif. Our analyses also suggested that elicitation of this class of antibodies may not be overly difficult, an observation that bodes well for the development of a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine.

9.
J Hosp Infect ; 116: 78-86, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404776

ABSTRACT

AIM: To describe the nosocomial transmission of Air, multidrug-resistant, Acinetobacter baumannii, nosocomial, COVID-19 Acinetobacter baumannii (MRAB) in an open-cubicle neurology ward with low ceiling height, where MRAB isolates collected from air, commonly shared items, non-reachable high-level surfaces and patients were analysed epidemiologically and genetically by whole-genome sequencing. This is the first study to understand the genetic relatedness of air, environmental and clinical isolates of MRAB in the outbreak setting. FINDINGS: Of 11 highly care-dependent patients with 363 MRAB colonization days during COVID-19 pandemic, 10 (90.9%) and nine (81.8%) had cutaneous and gastrointestinal colonization, respectively. Of 160 environmental and air samples, 31 (19.4%) were MRAB-positive. The proportion of MRAB-contaminated commonly shared items was significantly lower in cohort than in non-cohort patient care (0/10, 0% vs 12/18, 66.7%; P<0.001). Air dispersal of MRAB was consistently detected during but not before diaper change in the cohort cubicle by 25-min air sampling (4/4,100% vs 0/4, 0%; P=0.029). The settle plate method revealed MRAB in two samples during diaper change. The proportion of MRAB-contaminated exhaust air grills was significantly higher when the cohort cubicle was occupied by six MRAB patients than when fewer than six patients were cared for in the cubicle (5/9, 55.6% vs 0/18, 0%; P=0.002). The proportion of MRAB-contaminated non-reachable high-level surfaces was also significantly higher when there were three or more MRAB patients in the cohort cubicle (8/31, 25.8% vs 0/24, 0%; P=0.016). Whole-genome sequencing revealed clonality of air, environment, and patients' isolates, suggestive of air dispersal of MRAB. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings support the view that patient cohorting in enclosed cubicles with partitions and a closed door is preferred if single rooms are not available.


Subject(s)
Acinetobacter Infections , Acinetobacter baumannii , COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Acinetobacter Infections/drug therapy , Acinetobacter Infections/epidemiology , Acinetobacter baumannii/genetics , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Cross Infection/drug therapy , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Hong Kong Med J ; 27(5): 326-327, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1359443
11.
Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 29(1):4, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1250905

ABSTRACT

Rapid target enrichment sequencing documented the first case of reinfection by SARS-CoV-2. The reinfecting virus has 24 nucleotides (12 amino acids) difference with one stop codon leading to a deletion of 58 amino acid at orf8. Moreover the reinfecting virus is located on a different branch from the first infecting strain on the phylogenetic tree. Retrieval and testing of his initial serum showed that the neutralizing antibody titre of 40 has dropped within 5 months to below 10 at the time of reinfection. Within 3 days after reinfection, his serum antibody level started to rise, and it reached 3200 within 8 days. Besides differentiating reinfection from persistent infection, rapid genome sequencing has been used to demonstrate person-to-person transmission in a family cluster of COVID-19. This technology is also useful for the investigation of hospital outbreak, which led to the refinement of admission SARS-CoV-2 screening strategy. In terms of public health policy, phylogenomics has demonstrated the importance of border control to prevent virus entry and the necessity of stringent social distancing measures to prevent virus dissemination in the community. The close monitoring for virus mutants has led to the discovery of highly transmissible mutants such as the Spike D614G and N501Y and other Spike mutants that may have varying degrees of resistance to remdesivir, therapeutic antibodies, and vaccines.

13.
Viruses ; 11(5):07, 2019.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1017186

ABSTRACT

While bats are increasingly recognized as a source of coronavirus epidemics, the diversity and emergence potential of bat coronaviruses remains to be fully understood. Among 1779 bat samples collected in China, diverse coronaviruses were detected in 32 samples from five different bat species by RT-PCR. Two novel alphacoronaviruses, Rhinolophus sinicus bat coronavirus HKU32 (Rs-BatCoV HKU32) and Tylonycteris robustula bat coronavirus HKU33 (Tr-BatCoV HKU33), were discovered from Chinese horseshoe bats in Hong Kong and greater bamboo bats in Guizhou Province, respectively. Genome analyses showed that Rs-BatCoV HKU32 is closely related to BatCoV HKU10 and related viruses from diverse bat families, whereas Tr-BatCoV HKU33 is closely related to BtNv-AlphaCoV and similar viruses exclusively from bats of Vespertilionidae family. The close relatedness of Rs-BatCoV HKU32 to BatCoV HKU10 which was also detected in Pomona roundleaf bats from the same country park suggests that these viruses may have the tendency of infecting genetically distant bat populations of close geographical proximity with subsequent genetic divergence. Moreover, the presence of SARSr-CoV ORF7a-like protein in Rs-BatCoV HKU32 suggests a common evolutionary origin of this accessory protein with SARS-CoV, also from Chinese horseshoe bats, an apparent reservoir for coronavirus epidemics. The emergence potential of Rs-BatCoV HKU32 should be explored.

14.
Journal of Thoracic Disease ; (2072-1439 (Print))2020.
Article in English | PMC | ID: covidwho-854260

ABSTRACT

In 2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) caused one of the most devastating epidemics known to the developed world. There were two important lessons from this epidemic. Firstly, coronaviruses, in addition to influenza viruses, can cause severe and rapidly spreading human infections. Secondly, bats can serve as the origin and natural animal reservoir of deadly human viruses. Since then, researchers around the world, especially those in Asia where SARS-CoV was first identified, have turned their focus to find novel coronaviruses infecting humans, bats, and other animals. Two human coronaviruses, HCoV-HKU1 and HCoV-NL63, were identified shortly after the SARS-CoV epidemic as common causes of human respiratory tract infections. In 2012, a novel human coronavirus, now called Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), has emerged in the Middle East to cause fatal human infections in three continents. MERS-CoV human infection is similar to SARS-CoV in having a high fatality rate and the ability to spread from person to person which resulted in secondary cases among close contacts including healthcare workers without travel history to the Middle East. Both viruses also have close relationships with bat coronaviruses. New cases of MERS-CoV infection in humans continue to occur with the origins of the virus still unknown in many cases. A multifaceted approach is necessary to control this evolving MERS-CoV outbreak. Source identification requires detailed epidemiological studies of the infected patients and enhanced surveillance of MERS-CoV or similar coronaviruses in humans and animals. Early diagnosis of infected patients and appropriate infection control measures will limit the spread in hospitals, while social distancing strategies may be necessary to control the outbreak in communities if it remained uncontrolled as in the SARS epidemic. FAU - To, Kelvin K. W.

15.
Clin Chem Lab Med ; 58(12): 2001-2008, 2020 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-835981

ABSTRACT

Serological testing for the detection of antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is emerging as an important component of the clinical management of patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as well as the epidemiological assessment of SARS-CoV-2 exposure worldwide. In addition to molecular testing for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, clinical laboratories have also needed to increase testing capacity to include serological evaluation of patients with suspected or known COVID-19. While regulatory approved serological immunoassays are now widely available from diagnostic manufacturers globally, there is significant debate regarding the clinical utility of these tests, as well as their clinical and analytical performance requirements prior to application. This document by the International Federation for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (IFCC) Taskforce on COVID-19 provides interim guidance on: (A) clinical indications and target populations, (B) assay selection, (C) assay evaluation, and (D) test interpretation and limitations for serological testing of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 infection. These evidence-based recommendations will provide practical guidance to clinical laboratories in the selection, verification, and implementation of serological assays and are of the utmost importance as we expand our pandemic response from initial case tracing and containment to mitigation strategies to minimize resurgence and further morbidity and mortality.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , International Agencies , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Serologic Tests/methods , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
16.
J Hosp Infect ; 106(2): 226-231, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-635357

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In late 2019, a novel human coronavirus - severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) - emerged in Wuhan, China. This virus has caused a global pandemic involving more than 200 countries. SARS-CoV-2 is highly adapted to humans and readily transmits from person-to-person. AIM: To investigate the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 under various environmental and pH conditions. The efficacies of various laboratory virus inactivation methods and home disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2 were investigated. METHODS: The residual virus in dried form or in solution was titrated on to Vero E6 cells on days 0, 1, 3, 5 and 7 after incubation at different temperatures. Viral viability was determined after treatment with various disinfectants and pH solutions at room temperature (20-25oC). FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 was able to retain viability for 3-5 days in dried form or 7 days in solution at room temperature. SARS-CoV-2 could be detected under a wide range of pH conditions from pH 4 to pH 11 for several days, and for 1-2 days in stool at room temperature but lost 5 logs of infectivity. A variety of commonly used disinfectants and laboratory inactivation procedures were found to reduce viral viability effectively. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated the stability of SARS-CoV-2 on environmental surfaces, and raises the possibility of faecal-oral transmission. Commonly used fixatives, nucleic acid extraction methods and heat inactivation were found to reduce viral infectivity significantly, which could ensure hospital and laboratory safety during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/growth & development , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/physiopathology , Microbial Viability , Pneumonia, Viral/physiopathology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/pathology , Virulence , Virus Inactivation , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/epidemiology
18.
mSphere ; 5(1), 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-326668

ABSTRACT

So far, dromedary camels are the only known animal reservoir for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Previous published serological studies showed that sera of Bactrian camels were all negative for MERSCoV antibodies. However, a recent study revealed that direct inoculation of Bactrian camels intranasally with MERS-CoV can lead to infection with abundant virus shedding and seroconversion. In this study, we examined the presence of MERS-CoV antibodies in Bactrian and hybrid camels in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (where dromedaries are also present), and Bactrian camels in Xinjiang, China (where dromedaries are absent). For the 29 serum samples from Bactrian camels in Dubai tested by the MERS-CoV spike (S) protein-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (SELISA) and neutralization antibody test, 14 (48%) and 12 (41%), respectively, were positive for MERS-CoV antibodies. All the 12 serum samples that were positive with the neutralization antibody test were also positive for the S-ELISA. For the 11 sera from hybrid camels in Dubai tested with the S-ELISA and neutralization antibody test, 6 (55%) and 9 (82%), respectively, were positive for MERS-CoV antibodies. All the 6 serum samples that were positive for the S-ELISA were also positive with the neutralization antibody test. There was a strong correlation between the antibody levels detected by S-ELISA and neutralizing antibody titers, with a Spearman coefficient of 0.6262 (P<0.0001;95% confidence interval, 0.5062 to 0.7225). All 92 Bactrian camel serum samples from Xinjiang were negative for MERS-CoV antibodies tested using both S-ELISA and the neutralization antibody test. Bactrian and hybrid camels are potential sources of MERS-CoV infection. IMPORTANCE Since its first appearance in 2012, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) has affected >25 countries, with >2,400 cases and an extremely high fatality rate of >30%. The total number of mortalities due to MERS is already greater than that due to severe acute respiratory syndrome. MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has been confirmed to be the etiological agent. So far, dromedaries are the only known animal reservoir for MERS-CoV. Previously published serological studies showed that sera of Bactrian camels were all negative for MERS-CoV antibodies. In this study, we observed that 41% of the Bactrian camel sera and 55% of the hybrid camel sera from Dubai (where dromedaries are also present), but none of the sera from Bactrian camels in Xinjiang (where dromedaries are absent), were positive for MERS-CoV antibodies. Based on these results, we conclude that in addition to dromedaries, Bactrian and hybrid camels are also potential sources of MERS-CoV infection.

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