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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(8): 1485-1488, 2022 Apr 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1816023

ABSTRACT

A false-positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction result can lead to unnecessary public health measures. We report 2 individuals whose respiratory specimens were contaminated by an inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine strain (CoronaVac), likely at vaccination premises. Incidentally, whole genome sequencing of CoronaVac showed adaptive deletions on the spike protein, which do not result in observable changes of antigenicity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccination
2.
EBioMedicine ; 77: 103904, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788047

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Nearly 4 billion doses of the BNT162b2-mRNA and CoronaVac-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 BNT162b2 and CoronaVac 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 CoronaVac-vaccinees than BNT162b2-vaccinees. CoronaVac did not induce measurable levels of nucleocapsid protein-specific IFN-γ+ CD4+ T or IFN-γ+ CD8+ T cells compared with unvaccinated. Against VOCs, NAb response rates and geometric mean IC50 titers against B.1.617.2 (Delta) and B.1.1.529 (Omicron) were significantly lower for CoronaVac (50%, 23.2 and 7.1%, <20) than BNT162b2 (94.1%, 131 and 58.8%, 35.0), respectively. Three months after vaccinations, NAbs to VOCs dropped near to detection limit, along with waning memory T cell responses, mainly among CoronaVac-vaccinees. INTERPRETATION: Our results indicate that vaccinees especially CoronaVac-vaccinees with significantly reduced NAbs may probably face higher risk to pandemic VOCs breakthrough infection. FUNDING: This study was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council Collaborative Research Fund (C7156-20GF and C1134-20GF); the Wellcome Trust (P86433); the National Program on Key Research Project of China (Grant 2020YFC0860600, 2020YFA0707500 and 2020YFA0707504); Shenzhen Science and Technology Program (JSGG20200225151410198 and JCYJ20210324131610027); HKU Development Fund and LKS Faculty of Medicine Matching Fund to AIDS Institute; Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Fund, Innovation and Technology Commission and generous donation from the Friends of Hope Education Fund. Z.C.'s team was also partly supported by the Theme-Based Research Scheme (T11-706/18-N).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Humans , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccination
3.
Chemical science ; 13(11):3216-3226, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1782305

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 highlights the urgent need to develop sensitive methods for diagnosis and prognosis. To achieve this, multidimensional detection of SARS-CoV-2 related parameters including virus loads, immune response, and inflammation factors is crucial. Herein, by using metal-tagged antibodies as reporting probes, we developed a multiplex metal-detection based assay (MMDA) method as a general multiplex assay strategy for biofluids. This strategy provides extremely high multiplexing capability (theoretically over 100) compared with other reported biofluid assay methods. As a proof-of-concept, MMDA was used for serologic profiling of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The MMDA exhibits significantly higher sensitivity and specificity than ELISA for the detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. By integrating the high dimensional data exploration/visualization tool (tSNE) and machine learning algorithms with in-depth analysis of multiplex data, we classified COVID-19 patients into different subgroups based on their distinct antibody landscape. We unbiasedly identified anti-SARS-CoV-2-nucleocapsid IgG and IgA as the most potently induced types of antibodies for COVID-19 diagnosis, and anti-SARS-CoV-2-spike IgA as a biomarker for disease severity stratification. MMDA represents a more accurate method for the diagnosis and disease severity stratification of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for biomarker discovery of other diseases. A MMDA platform is developed by using metal-tagged antibodies as reporting probes combined with machine learning algorithms, as a general strategy for highly multiplexed biofluid assay.

4.
Front Immunol ; 13: 861050, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1785349

ABSTRACT

It has been reported that multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta can reduce neutralization by antibodies, resulting in vaccine breakthrough infections. Virus-antiserum neutralization assays are typically performed to monitor potential vaccine breakthrough strains. However, experiment-based methods took several weeks whether newly emerging variants can break through current vaccines or therapeutic antibodies. To address this, we sought to establish a computational model to predict the antigenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants by sequence alone. In this study, we firstly identified the relationship between the antigenic difference transformed from the amino acid sequence and the antigenic distance from the neutralization titers. Based on this correlation, we obtained a computational model for the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the spike protein to predict the fold decrease in virus-antiserum neutralization titers with high accuracy (~0.79). Our predicted results were comparable to experimental neutralization titers of variants, including Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, Epsilon, Iota, Kappa, and Lambda, as well as SARS-CoV. Here, we predicted the fold of decrease of Omicron as 17.4-fold less susceptible to neutralization. We visualized all 1,521 SARS-CoV-2 lineages to indicate variants including Mu, B.1.630, B.1.633, B.1.649, and C.1.2, which can induce vaccine breakthrough infections in addition to reported VOCs Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron. Our study offers a quick approach to predict the antigenicity of SARS-CoV-2 variants as soon as they emerge. Furthermore, this approach can facilitate future vaccine updates to cover all major variants. An online version can be accessed at http://jdlab.online.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immune Sera , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
Nat Methods ; 19(4): 392-394, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1784009
6.
Adv Exp Med Biol ; 1366: 137-153, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1782744

ABSTRACT

With the increasing global human population, travel, and socioeconomic activities, more and more novel pathogenic viruses will emerge or re-emerge. While more than 260 viruses are known to infect humans, only a small minority of these viral diseases are treatable by clinically approved antiviral drugs. Apart from these identified viruses, new emerging viruses and drug-resistant viruses are also important challenges to our public health and healthcare systems. The COVID-19 and influenza pandemics remind us the importance of getting broad-spectrum antivirals against emerging and re-emerging respiratory viruses. Broad-spectrum antivirals against different viral families for fighting the currently known viruses and novel emerging viruses are urgently needed. Viral entry is the universal first step for viral infection, and therefore is a promising target for identifying broad-spectrum antivirals. In this chapter, we mainly focus on discussing the risks of respiratory viruses, the challenge of finding broad-spectrum antivirals, the entry processes of respiratory viruses, the current studies on broad-spectrum entry inhibitors for respiratory viruses, and the directions for discovering broad-spectrum antivirals in the future.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Virus Diseases , Viruses , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Virus Diseases/drug therapy , Virus Internalization
7.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-332139

ABSTRACT

Monitoring population protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 variants is critical for risk assessment. In this serosurveillance study, older adults show much lower seropositive rates of neutralizing antibody (NAb) against ancestral virus than the younger population. The increase in NAb seopositive rate generally follows the population vaccination uptake rate, but older adults have a much lower NAb seropositive rate than vaccination uptake rate. For all age groups, the seropositive rates of NAb against Omicron variant are much lower than those against the ancestral virus. During the fifth wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong which is dominated by Omicron sublineage BA.2, the case-fatality rate is exceptionally high in the ≥80 year-old age group (9.2%). Our study suggests that the severe BA.2 outbreak in Hong Kong can be attributed by the lack of protective immunity in the population, especially among the vulnerable older adults, and highlights the importance of continual surveillance of protective immunity against emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.

8.
EBioMedicine ; 79: 103986, 2022 Apr 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1778094

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant evades immunity from past infection or vaccination and is associated with a greater risk of reinfection among recovered COVID-19 patients. We assessed the serum neutralizing antibody (NAb) activity against Omicron variant (Omicron NAb) among recovered COVID-19 patients with or without vaccination. METHODS: In this prospective cohort study with 135 recovered COVID-19 patients, we determined the serum NAb titers against ancestral virus or variants using a live virus NAb assay. We used the receiver operating characteristic analysis to determine the optimal cutoff for a commercially-available surrogate NAb assay. FINDINGS: Among recovered COVID-19 patients, the serum live virus geometric mean Omicron NAb titer was statistically significantly higher among BNT162b2 recipients compared to non-vaccinated individuals (85.4 vs 5.6,P < 0.0001). The Omicron seropositive rates in live virus NAb test (NAb titer ≥10) were statistically significantly higher among BNT162b2 (90.6% [29/32];P < 0.0001) or CoronaVac (36.7% [11/30]; P = 0.0115) recipients when compared with non-vaccinated individuals (12.3% [9/73]). Subgroup analysis of CoronaVac recipients showed that the Omicron seropositive rates were higher among individuals with two doses than those with one dose (85.7% vs 21.7%; P = 0.0045). For the surrogate NAb assay, a cutoff of 109.1 AU/ml, which is 7.3-fold higher than the manufacturer's recommended cutoff, could achieve a sensitivity and specificity of 89.5% and 89.8%, respectively, in detecting Omicron NAb. INTERPRETATION: Among individuals with prior COVID-19, one dose of BNT162b2 or two doses of CoronaVac could induce detectable serum Omicron NAb. Our result would be particularly important for guiding vaccine policies in countries with COVID-19 vaccine shortage. FUNDING: Health and Medical Research Fund, Richard and Carol Yu, Michael Tong (see acknowledgments for full list).

9.
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.

10.
Cell Mol Immunol ; 2022 Mar 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1768810

ABSTRACT

Live attenuated vaccines might elicit mucosal and sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 that the existing mRNA, adenoviral vector and inactivated vaccines fail to induce. Here, we describe a candidate live attenuated vaccine strain of SARS-CoV-2 in which the NSP16 gene, which encodes 2'-O-methyltransferase, is catalytically disrupted by a point mutation. This virus, designated d16, was severely attenuated in hamsters and transgenic mice, causing only asymptomatic and nonpathogenic infection. A single dose of d16 administered intranasally resulted in sterilizing immunity in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts of hamsters, thus preventing viral spread in a contact-based transmission model. It also robustly stimulated humoral and cell-mediated immune responses, thus conferring full protection against lethal challenge with SARS-CoV-2 in a transgenic mouse model. The neutralizing antibodies elicited by d16 effectively cross-reacted with several SARS-CoV-2 variants. Secretory immunoglobulin A was detected in the blood and nasal wash of vaccinated mice. Our work provides proof-of-principle evidence for harnessing NSP16-deficient SARS-CoV-2 for the development of live attenuated vaccines and paves the way for further preclinical studies of d16 as a prototypic vaccine strain, to which new features might be introduced to improve safety, transmissibility, immunogenicity and efficacy.

11.
Chem Sci ; 13(11): 3216-3226, 2022 Mar 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764224

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 highlights the urgent need to develop sensitive methods for diagnosis and prognosis. To achieve this, multidimensional detection of SARS-CoV-2 related parameters including virus loads, immune response, and inflammation factors is crucial. Herein, by using metal-tagged antibodies as reporting probes, we developed a multiplex metal-detection based assay (MMDA) method as a general multiplex assay strategy for biofluids. This strategy provides extremely high multiplexing capability (theoretically over 100) compared with other reported biofluid assay methods. As a proof-of-concept, MMDA was used for serologic profiling of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The MMDA exhibits significantly higher sensitivity and specificity than ELISA for the detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. By integrating the high dimensional data exploration/visualization tool (tSNE) and machine learning algorithms with in-depth analysis of multiplex data, we classified COVID-19 patients into different subgroups based on their distinct antibody landscape. We unbiasedly identified anti-SARS-CoV-2-nucleocapsid IgG and IgA as the most potently induced types of antibodies for COVID-19 diagnosis, and anti-SARS-CoV-2-spike IgA as a biomarker for disease severity stratification. MMDA represents a more accurate method for the diagnosis and disease severity stratification of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for biomarker discovery of other diseases.

13.
mSphere ; : e0091521, 2022 Mar 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1741581

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 infection is a global health issue, and vaccination is the main strategy to control this pandemic. In this study, 189 participants received BNT162b2 or CoronaVac vaccine, and 133 of them recorded adverse events (AEs) daily for 4 weeks after vaccination. Their neutralizing antibody against SARS-CoV-2 was determined with live virus microneutralization (vMN) assay. The vMN geometric mean titer (GMT) on day 56 was 129.9 (95% confidence interval [CI],108.6 to 155.2) in the BNT162b2 group and 13.1 (95% CI, 11.2 to 15.3) in the CoronaVac group. Day 56 vMN GMT was 147.9 (95% CI, 118.9 to 184.1) in females and 129.9 (95% CI, 108.6 to 155.2) in males receiving BNT162b2, while it was 14.0 (95% CI, 11.6 to 17.0) in females and 11.4 (95% CI, 8.7 to 15.0) in males receiving CoronaVac. Injection site pain (88.8%) and redness (77.5%) were the most commonly BNT162b2-related AEs, and injection site pain (37.7%) and tiredness (26.4%) were more frequent in the CoronaVac group. Women showed a higher frequency of headache (45.7% versus 29.4%) and joint pain (26.1 versus 14.7%) than men in BTN162b2 group. Headache (26.5% versus 0%) and tiredness (38.2% versus 5.3%) were more common in women than in men vaccinated with CoronaVac. No correlation between any AE and antibody response was observed in BNT162b2 or CoronaVac platforms. After taking the gender factor into account, in the BNT162b2 group, a low correlation between day 21 vMN titer and redness (rho = 0.34) or itching (rho = 0.32) was presented in females, and a low correlation between day 56 vMN titer and fever (rho = 0.35) was presented in males. Taken together, AEs could have a low correlation with BNT162b2 vaccine response. IMPORTANCE Effective vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are vital tools for containing the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing population immunity. While currently available vaccines can elicit antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 with high efficacy, the associated side effects may cause vaccine hesitancy. Our work is important in that we have thoroughly analyzed the correlation between immunogenicity and reactogenicity of two COVID-19 vaccines (BNT162b2 and CoronaVac) in the study. Our results showed that women had higher levels of neutralizing antibodies than men after receiving BNT162b2 or CoronaVac. Furthermore, a low correlation was observed between day 21 vMN titer and local reactions (redness and itching) in females, as well as between day 56 vMN titer and fever in males receiving BNT162b2. Thus, common side effects are not always a negative impact of vaccination but may serve as an indicator of immunogenicity of vaccines. Our study may help in increasing the public's acceptance and confidence over COVID-19 vaccination and ultimately achieving the goal of containing COVID-19 pandemic.

14.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 964-967, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740710

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused the COVID-19 pandemic since early 2020. As of January 2022, the worldwide spreading of SARS-CoV-2 leads to approximately 0.35 billion of human infections and five millions of deaths. Current vaccination is one of the effective ways to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission and reduce the disease severity. However, the antibody level against the immunogen significantly drops several months after the standard two-dose vaccination, and hence a third or fourth dose booster (the same immunogen) has been suggested to boost the antibody response. Here, we described an ultra-effective nasal vaccine booster that potently induced the extraordinary high-level of neutralizing antibody in pre-vaccinated mice. The vaccine booster is composed of a recombinant receptor binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike (either wild-type or omicron) fused with a domain of SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein. In the absence of adjuvants, a single intranasal administration of the booster in pre-vaccinated mice significantly induced systemic and mucosal antibody responses as evidenced by the elevation of the cross-variant neutralizing antibody and induction of IgA in bronchoalveolar lavage respectively. Most importantly, the single dose nasal vaccine booster (omicron version) potently enhanced the neutralizing activity against authentic SARS-CoV-2 omicron virus infection. Taken together, the induction of respiratory mucosal immunity and the enhancement of cross-variant neutralizing activity by the nasal vaccine booster warrants further clinical trials in humans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Mice , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735551

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant BA.2 sublineage has increased rapidly in Europe and Asia since January 2022. Here, we report the epidemiological and genomic analysis of a large single source BA.2 outbreak in a housing estate. METHODS: We analyzed the epidemiological information of a community outbreak of BA.2 (STY outbreak). We performed whole viral genome sequencing using the Oxford Nanopore MinION device. We calculated the doubling time of the outbreak within a housing estate. RESULTS: The STY outbreak involved a total of 768 individuals as of 5 th February 2022, including 432 residents, visitors or staff (56.3%) from a single housing estate (KC Estate). The outbreak at the KC Estate has a short doubling time of 1.28 days (95% confidence interval: 0.560-1.935). The outbreak was promptly controlled with the lockdown of 3 buildings within the housing estate. Whole genome sequencing was performed for 133 patients in the STY outbreak, including 106 residents of the KC Estate. All 133 sequences from the STY outbreak belonged to the BA.2 sublineage, and phylogenetic analysis showed that these sequences cluster together. All individuals in the STY cluster had the unique mutation C12525T. CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the exceptionally high transmissibility of the Omicron variant BA.2 sublineage in Hong Kong where stringent measures are implemented as part of the elimination strategy. Continual genomic surveillance is crucial in monitoring the emergence of epidemiologically important Omicron sub-variants.

16.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732247

ABSTRACT

Our previous studies have shown that cholesterol-conjugated, peptide-based pan-coronavirus (CoV) fusion inhibitors can potently inhibit human CoV infection. However, only palmitic acid (C16)-based lipopeptide drugs have been tested clinically, suggesting that the development of C16-based lipopeptide drugs is feasible. Here, we designed and synthesized a C16-modified pan-CoV fusion inhibitor, EK1-C16, and found that it potently inhibited infection by SARS-CoV-2 and its variants of concern (VOCs), including Omicron, and other human CoVs and bat SARS-related CoVs (SARSr-CoVs). These results suggest that EK1-C16 could be further developed for clinical use to prevent and treat infection by the currently circulating MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and its VOCs, as well as any future emerging or re-emerging coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Palmitic Acid/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Microbiol Spectr ; : e0099321, 2022 Mar 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731261

ABSTRACT

Detection and tracking of antibodies play an increasingly prominent role in population surveillance and implementation of public health measures to combat the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, with much attention placed on developing commercial serological assays as point-of-care diagnostic tools. While many rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) that detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) IgG and IgM antibodies have been evaluated, there is currently limited insight into detection of neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) by such modalities. Here, we evaluate performance characteristics of an RDT that detects SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies and, importantly, nAbs based on both infection- and vaccine-immunized cohorts by direct comparison to known antibody titers obtained from live virus microneutralization (VMN) assays. We further contextualize interpretations of band intensity of the RDT with reference to the World Health Organization (WHO) International Standard. We report a sensitivity of 94.37% and specificity of 92.50% for SARS-CoV-2 IgG detection and a sensitivity of 94.37% and specificity of 92.68% for nAbs. A limit of detection was determined as 3.125 IU/mL and 25.00 IU/mL, respectively, with reference to the WHO International Standard. We confirm that indication of nAb concentration, as elucidated by band intensity on the RDT, correlated with nAb titers defined by VMN assays and surrogate nAb assays. We additionally observe no cross-reactivity of the nAb test line to SARS-CoV-1 but report display of weak seropositivity for one sample on the SARS-CoV-2 IgG test line. Our study reveals promising performance characteristics of the assessed RDT, which implicates its usefulness in a wide range of diagnostic and epidemiological settings. IMPORTANCE In the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, antibody tests play an increasingly important role in detecting previous infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and monitoring of response to vaccinations. In particular, neutralizing antibodies have recently been demonstrated to be highly predictive of immune protection against symptomatic infection. Our study is the first to evaluate a rapid diagnostic test based on samples acquired from both recovered COVID-19 patients and individuals vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2, which detects neutralizing antibodies in addition to SARS-CoV-2 IgG. We report promising sensitivity, specificity, and cross-reactivity profiles, which implicate its usefulness in a wide range of settings as a diagnostic point-of-care tool to aid in curbing transmission and reducing mortality caused by COVID-19 symptoms.

18.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 926-937, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730559

ABSTRACT

Pandemic influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 vaiants have posed major global threats to public health. Broad-spectrum antivirals blocking viral entry can be an effective strategy for combating these viruses. Here, we demonstrate a frog-defensin-derived basic peptide (FBP), which broadly inhibits the influenza virus by binding to haemagglutinin so as to block low pH-induced HA-mediated fusion and antagonizes endosomal acidification to inhibit the influenza virus. Moreover, FBP can bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike to block spike-mediated cell-cell fusion in 293T/ACE2 cells endocytosis. Omicron spike shows a weak cell-cell fusion mediated by TMPRSS2 in Calu3 cells, making the Omicron variant sensitive to endosomal inhibitors. In vivo studies show that FBP broadly inhibits the A(H1N1)pdm09 virus in mice and SARS-CoV-2 (HKU001a and Delta)in hamsters. Notably, FBP shows significant inhibition of Omicron variant replication even though it has a high number of mutations in spike. In conclusion, these results suggest that virus-targeting FBP with a high barrier to drug resistance can be an effective entry-fusion inhibitor against influenza virus and SARS-CoV-2 in vivo.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Animals , COVID-19/drug therapy , Mice , Peptides , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
19.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 06 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726021

ABSTRACT

The ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) signals an urgent need for an expansion in treatment options. In this study, we investigated the anti-SARS-CoV-2 activities of 22 antiviral agents with known broad-spectrum antiviral activities against coronaviruses and/or other viruses. They were first evaluated in our primary screening in VeroE6 cells and then the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 antiviral agents were further evaluated using viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays. In addition to remdesivir, lopinavir, and chloroquine, our primary screening additionally identified types I and II recombinant interferons, 25-hydroxycholesterol, and AM580 as the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents among the 22 antiviral agents. Betaferon (interferon-ß1b) exhibited the most potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity in viral antigen expression, viral load reduction, and plaque reduction assays among the recombinant interferons. The lipogenesis modulators 25-hydroxycholesterol and AM580 exhibited EC50 at low micromolar levels and selectivity indices of >10.0. Combinational use of these host-based antiviral agents with virus-based antivirals to target different processes of the SARS-CoV-2 replication cycle should be evaluated in animal models and/or clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Animals , Antigens, Viral/immunology , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Interferons/metabolism , Lipogenesis/drug effects , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Signal Transduction/drug effects , Vero Cells , Viral Load/drug effects , Viral Plaque Assay , Virus Replication/drug effects
20.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1722276

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 can infect human and other mammals, including hamsters. Syrian (Mesocricetus auratus) and dwarf (Phodopus sp.) hamsters are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection in the laboratory setting. However, pet shop-related COVID-19 outbreaks have not been reported. METHODS: We conducted an investigation of a pet shop-related COVID-19 outbreak due to Delta variant AY.127 involving at least three patients in Hong Kong. We tested samples collected from the patients, environment, and hamsters linked to this outbreak and performed whole genome sequencing analysis of the RT-PCR-positive samples. RESULTS: The patients included a pet shop keeper (Patient 1), a female customer of the pet shop (Patient 2), and the husband of Patient 2 (Patient 3). Investigation showed that 17.2% (5/29) and 25.5% (13/51) environmental specimens collected from the pet shop and its related warehouse, respectively, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR. Among euthanized hamsters randomly collected from the storehouse, 3% (3/100) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA by RT-PCR and seropositive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody by ELISA. Whole genome analysis showed that although all genomes from the outbreak belonged to the Delta variant AY.127, there were at least 3 nucleotide differences among the genomes from different patients and the hamster cages. Genomic analysis suggests that multiple strains have emerged within the hamster population, and these different strains have likely transmitted to human either via direct contact or via the environment. CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated probable hamster-to-human transmission of SARS-CoV-2. As pet trading is common around the world, this can represent a route of international spread of this pandemic virus.

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