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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704370

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Post-vaccination myopericarditis is reported after immunization with COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines. The effect of accidental intravenous injection of this vaccine on the heart is unknown. METHODS: We compared the clinical manifestations, histopathological changes, tissue mRNA expression and serum levels of cytokine/chemokine in Balb/c mice at different time points after intravenous(IV) or intramuscular(IM) vaccine injection with normal saline(NS) control. RESULTS: Though significant weight loss and higher serum cytokine/chemokine levels were found in IM group at 1 to 2 days post-injection(dpi), only IV group developed histopathological changes of myopericarditis as evidenced by cardiomyocyte degeneration, apoptosis and necrosis with adjacent inflammatory cell infiltration and calcific deposits on visceral pericardium, while evidence of coronary artery or other cardiac pathologies was absent. SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen expression by immunostaining was occasionally found in infiltrating immune cells of the heart or injection site, in cardiomyocytes and intracardiac vascular endothelial cells, but not skeletal myocytes. The histological changes of myopericarditis after the first IV-priming dose persisted for 2 weeks and were markedly aggravated by a second IM- or IV-booster dose. Cardiac tissue mRNA expression of IL-1ß, IFN-ß, IL-6 and TNF-α increased significantly from 1dpi to 2dpi in IV but not IM group, compatible with presence of myopericarditis in IV group. Ballooning degeneration of hepatocytes was consistently found in IV group. All other organs appeared normal. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that inadvertent intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines may induce myopericarditis. Brief withdrawal of syringe plunger to exclude blood aspiration may be one possible way to reduce such risk.

2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Feb 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704368

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of SARS-CoV-2 in the pathogenesis of testicular damage is uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the virological, pathological, and immunological changes in testes of hamsters challenged by SARS-CoV-2 wild-type and its variants by intranasal or direct testicular inoculation using influenza virus A(H1N1)pdm09 as control. RESULTS: Besides self-limiting respiratory tract infection, intranasal SARS-CoV-2 challenge caused acute decrease in sperm count, and serum testosterone and inhibin B at 4 to 7 days post-infection (dpi), and subsequently reduced testicular size and weight, and serum sex hormone level at 42 to 120 dpi. Acute histopathological damage with varying degree of testicular inflammation, haemorrhage, and necrosis, degeneration of seminiferous tubules and disruption of orderly spermatogenesis were seen with increasing virus inoculum. Degeneration and necrosis of Sertoli and Leydig cells were found. Though viral loads and SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapid (N) protein expression were markedly lower in testicular than lung tissues, direct intra-testicular injection showed N expressing interstitial cells and epididymal epithelial cells. Control intranasal or intra-testicular challenge by A(H1N1)pdm09 showed no testicular infection or damage. From 7 to 120 dpi, degeneration and apoptosis of seminiferous tubules, immune complex deposition and depletion of spermatogenic cell and spermatozoa persisted. Intranasal challenge with Omicron and Delta variants could also induce similar testicular changes. These testicular damages can be prevented by vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 can cause acute testicular damage with subsequent chronic asymmetric testicular atrophy and associated hormonal changes despite a self-limiting pneumonia in hamsters. Awareness of possible hypogonadism and subfertility is important in managing convalescent COVID-19 males.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314977

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted largely by respiratory droplets or airborne aerosols. Despite being frequently found in the immediate environment and faeces of patients, evidence supporting oral acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 is unavailable. Utilizing Syrian hamster model, we demonstrated that the severity of pneumonia induced by intranasal inhalation of SARS-CoV-2 increased with virus inoculum. SARS-CoV-2 retained its infectivity in vitro in simulated human fed-gastric and fasted-intestinal fluid after two hours. Oral inoculation with the highest intranasal inoculum (10 5 PFU) caused only mild pneumonia in 67% (4/6) of the animals with no clinical symptoms. The lung histopathology and viral load were significantly lower than those infected by the lowest intranasal inoculum (100 PFU). However, 83% oral infection (10/12 hamsters) had similar level of detectable viral shedding from oral swabs and faeces as intranasally infected hamsters. Our findings indicated oral acquisition of SARS-CoV-2 can establish asymptomatic respiratory infection with less efficiency.

4.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308523

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has affected over 9 million patients with more than 460,000 deaths in about 6 months. Understanding the factors that contribute to efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cells, which are not previously reported, may provide insights on SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility and pathogenesis, and reveal targets of intervention. Here, we reported key host and viral determinants that were essential for efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection in the human lung. First, we identified heparan sulfate as an important attachment factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Second, we demonstrated that while cell surface sialic acids significantly restricted SARS-CoV infection, SARS-CoV-2 could largely overcome sialic acid-mediated restriction in both human lung epithelial cells and ex vivo human lung tissue explants. Third, we demonstrated that the inserted furin-like cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 spike was required for efficient virus replication in human lung but not intestine tissues. Overall, these findings contributed to our understanding on efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lungs.

5.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-325226

ABSTRACT

So far, effective antivirals have not been widely available for treating COVID-19. In this study, we identify a dual-functional cross-linking peptide 8P9R which can inhibit the two entry pathways (endocytic pathway and TMPRSS2-mediated surface pathway) of SARS-CoV-2 in cells. The endosomal acidification inhibitors (8P9R and chloroquine) can synergistically enhance the activity of arbidol, a spike-ACE2 fusion inhibitor, against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in cells. In vivo studies indicate that 8P9R or the combination of repurposed drugs (arbidol, chloroquine and camostat which is a TMPRSS2 inhibitor), simultaneously interfering with the two entry pathways of coronavirus, can significantly suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication in hamsters and SARS-CoV in mice. Here, we use drug combination (arbidol, chloroquine, and camostat) and a dual-functional 8P9R to demonstrate that blocking the two entry pathways of coronavirus can be a promising and achievable approach for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 replication in vivo. Cocktail therapy of these drug combinations should be considered in treatment trials for COVID-19.

6.
Nature ; 603(7902): 693-699, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1641975

ABSTRACT

The Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of SARS-CoV-2 emerged in November 2021 and is rapidly spreading among the human population1. Although recent reports reveal that the Omicron variant robustly escapes vaccine-associated and therapeutic neutralization antibodies2-10, the pathogenicity of the virus remains unknown. Here we show that the replication of Omicron is substantially attenuated in human Calu3 and Caco2 cells. Further mechanistic investigations reveal that Omicron is inefficient in its use of transmembrane serine protease 2 (TMPRSS2) compared with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (HKU-001a) and previous variants, which may explain its reduced replication in Calu3 and Caco2 cells. The replication of Omicron is markedly attenuated in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts of infected K18-hACE2 mice compared with that of the wild-type strain and Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, resulting in its substantially ameliorated lung pathology. Compared with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and the Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (1.351) and Delta variants, infection by Omicron causes the lowest reduction in body weight and the lowest mortality rate. Overall, our study demonstrates that the replication and pathogenicity of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 in mice is attenuated compared with the wild-type strain and other variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Virus Replication , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , Caco-2 Cells , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virulence
7.
Emerg Microbes Infect ; 11(1): 368-383, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604258

ABSTRACT

Older individuals are at higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe outcomes, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. In addition, how age modulates SARS-CoV-2 re-infection and vaccine breakthrough infections remain largely unexplored. Here, we investigated age-associated SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis, immune responses, and the occurrence of re-infection and vaccine breakthrough infection utilizing a wild-type C57BL/6N mouse model. We demonstrated that interferon and adaptive antibody response upon SARS-CoV-2 challenge are significantly impaired in aged mice compared to young mice, which results in more effective virus replications and severe disease manifestations in the respiratory tract. Aged mice also showed increased susceptibility to re-infection due to insufficient immune protection acquired during the primary infection. Importantly, two-dose COVID-19 mRNA vaccination conferred limited adaptive immune response among the aged mice, making them susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Collectively, our findings call for tailored and optimized treatments and prevention strategies against SARS-CoV-2 among older individuals.


Subject(s)
Age Factors , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Aging/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Susceptibility , Female , Humans , Immunity , Mice , Mice, Inbred C57BL , Respiratory System/immunology , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vaccination , Virus Replication
8.
EBioMedicine ; 75: 103762, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1587929

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccines in emergency use are efficacious against COVID-19, yet vaccine-induced prevention against nasal SARS-CoV-2 infection remains suboptimal. METHODS: Since mucosal immunity is critical for nasal prevention, we investigated the efficacy of an intramuscular PD1-based receptor-binding domain (RBD) DNA vaccine (PD1-RBD-DNA) and intranasal live attenuated influenza-based vaccines (LAIV-CA4-RBD and LAIV-HK68-RBD) against SARS-CoV-2. FINDINGS: Substantially higher systemic and mucosal immune responses, including bronchoalveolar lavage IgA/IgG and lung polyfunctional memory CD8 T cells, were induced by the heterologous PD1-RBD-DNA/LAIV-HK68-RBD as compared with other regimens. When vaccinated animals were challenged at the memory phase, prevention of robust SARS-CoV-2 infection in nasal turbinate was achieved primarily by the heterologous regimen besides consistent protection in lungs. The regimen-induced antibodies cross-neutralized variants of concerns. Furthermore, LAIV-CA4-RBD could boost the BioNTech vaccine for improved mucosal immunity. INTERPRETATION: Our results demonstrated that intranasal influenza-based boost vaccination induces mucosal and systemic immunity for effective SARS-CoV-2 prevention in both upper and lower respiratory systems. FUNDING: This study was supported by the Research Grants Council Collaborative Research Fund, General Research Fund and Health and Medical Research Fund in Hong Kong; Outbreak Response to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations; Shenzhen Science and Technology Program and matching fund from Shenzhen Immuno Cure BioTech Limited; the Health@InnoHK, Innovation and Technology Commission of Hong Kong; National Program on Key Research Project of China; donations from the Friends of Hope Education Fund; the Theme-Based Research Scheme.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization, Secondary , Influenza Vaccines , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, DNA , Administration, Intranasal , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Disease Models, Animal , Dogs , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunity, Mucosal , Influenza Vaccines/genetics , Influenza Vaccines/immunology , Madin Darby Canine Kidney Cells , Male , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccines, Attenuated/genetics , Vaccines, Attenuated/immunology , Vaccines, DNA/genetics , Vaccines, DNA/immunology , Vero Cells
9.
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.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429186

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effect of low environmental temperature on viral shedding and disease severity of COVID-19 is uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the virological, clinical, pathological, and immunological changes in hamsters housed at room (21 oC), low (12-15 oC), and high (30-33 oC) temperature after challenge by 10 5 plaque-forming units of SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: The nasal turbinate, trachea, and lung viral load and live virus titre were significantly higher (~0.5-log10 gene copies/ß-actin, p<0.05) in the low temperature group at 7 days post-infection (dpi). The low temperature group also demonstrated significantly higher level of TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-1ß, and CCL3, and lower level of the antiviral IFN-α in lung tissues at 4dpi than the other two groups. Their lungs were grossly and diffusely haemorrhagic, with more severe and diffuse alveolar and peribronchiolar inflammatory infiltration, bronchial epithelial cell death, and significantly higher mean total lung histology scores. By 7dpi, the low temperature group still showed persistent and severe alveolar inflammation and haemorrhage, and little alveolar cell proliferative changes of recovery. The viral loads in the oral swabs of the low temperature group were significantly higher from 10-17dpi by about 0.5-1.0-log10 gene copies/ß-actin. The mean neutralizing antibody titre of the low temperature group was significantly (p<0.05) lower than that of the room temperature group at 7dpi and 30dpi. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that low environmental temperature exacerbated the degree of virus shedding, disease severity, and tissue proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines expression, and suppressed the neutralizing antibody response of SARS-CoV-2-infected hamsters. Keeping warm in winter may reduce the severity of COVID-19.

11.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 1102, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428909

ABSTRACT

Emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2 have been shown to rapidly replace original circulating strains in humans soon after they emerged. There is a lack of experimental evidence to explain how these natural occurring variants spread more efficiently than existing strains of SARS-CoV-2 in transmission. We found that the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) increased competitive fitness over earlier parental D614G lineages in in-vitro and in-vivo systems. Using hamster transmission model, we further demonstrated that the Alpha variant is able to replicate and shed more efficiently in the nasal cavity of hamsters than other variants with low dose and short duration of exposure. The capability to initiate effective infection with low inocula may be one of the key factors leading to the rapid transmission of emerging variants of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/transmission , Cell Line/virology , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
12.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2790, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387341

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is of zoonotic origin and contains a PRRA polybasic cleavage motif which is considered critical for efficient infection and transmission in humans. We previously reported on a panel of attenuated SARS-CoV-2 variants with deletions at the S1/S2 junction of the spike protein. Here, we characterize pathogenicity, immunogenicity, and protective ability of a further cell-adapted SARS-CoV-2 variant, Ca-DelMut, in in vitro and in vivo systems. Ca-DelMut replicates more efficiently than wild type or parental virus in Vero E6 cells, but causes no apparent disease in hamsters, despite replicating in respiratory tissues. Unlike wild type virus, Ca-DelMut causes no obvious pathological changes and does not induce elevation of proinflammatory cytokines, but still triggers a strong neutralizing antibody and T cell response in hamsters and mice. Ca-DelMut immunized hamsters challenged with wild type SARS-CoV-2 are fully protected, with little sign of virus replication in the upper or lower respiratory tract, demonstrating sterilizing immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virus Replication/genetics , Animals , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Cytokines/immunology , Cytokines/metabolism , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus , Mice, Inbred BALB C , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virulence/genetics , Virulence/immunology
13.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 134, 2021 01 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387323

ABSTRACT

Understanding the factors that contribute to efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human cells may provide insights on SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility and pathogenesis, and reveal targets of intervention. Here, we analyze host and viral determinants essential for efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection in both human lung epithelial cells and ex vivo human lung tissues. We identify heparan sulfate as an important attachment factor for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Next, we show that sialic acids present on ACE2 prevent efficient spike/ACE2-interaction. While SARS-CoV infection is substantially limited by the sialic acid-mediated restriction in both human lung epithelial cells and ex vivo human lung tissues, infection by SARS-CoV-2 is limited to a lesser extent. We further demonstrate that the furin-like cleavage site in SARS-CoV-2 spike is required for efficient virus replication in human lung but not intestinal tissues. These findings provide insights on the efficient SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lungs.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/transmission , Sialic Acids/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virus Attachment , Animals , Caco-2 Cells , Cell Line, Tumor , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cricetinae , Furin/metabolism , HEK293 Cells , Heparitin Sulfate/metabolism , Humans , Intestinal Mucosa/metabolism , Intestines/virology , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/pathology , Vero Cells , Virus Internalization , Virus Replication/physiology
14.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1361759

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Post-vaccination myopericarditis is reported after immunization with COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines. The effect of accidental intravenous injection of this vaccine on the heart is unknown. METHODS: We compared the clinical manifestations, histopathological changes, tissue mRNA expression and serum levels of cytokine/chemokine in Balb/c mice at different time points after intravenous(IV) or intramuscular(IM) vaccine injection with normal saline(NS) control. RESULTS: Though significant weight loss and higher serum cytokine/chemokine levels were found in IM group at 1 to 2 days post-injection(dpi), only IV group developed histopathological changes of myopericarditis as evidenced by cardiomyocyte degeneration, apoptosis and necrosis with adjacent inflammatory cell infiltration and calcific deposits on visceral pericardium, while evidence of coronary artery or other cardiac pathologies was absent. SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen expression by immunostaining was occasionally found in infiltrating immune cells of the heart or injection site, in cardiomyocytes and intracardiac vascular endothelial cells, but not skeletal myocytes. The histological changes of myopericarditis after the first IV-priming dose persisted for 2 weeks and were markedly aggravated by a second IM- or IV-booster dose. Cardiac tissue mRNA expression of IL-1ß, IFN-ß, IL-6 and TNF-α increased significantly from 1dpi to 2dpi in IV but not IM group, compatible with presence of myopericarditis in IV group. Ballooning degeneration of hepatocytes was consistently found in IV group. All other organs appeared normal. CONCLUSIONS: This study provided in-vivo evidence that inadvertent intravenous injection of COVID-19 mRNA-vaccines may induce myopericarditis. Brief withdrawal of syringe plunger to exclude blood aspiration may be one possible way to reduce such risk.

15.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(3): e719-e734, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338687

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Mass vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is ongoing amidst widespread transmission during the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Disease phenotypes of SARS-CoV-2 exposure occurring around the time of vaccine administration have not been described. METHODS: Two-dose (14 days apart) vaccination regimen with formalin-inactivated whole virion SARS-CoV-2 in golden Syrian hamster model was established. To investigate the disease phenotypes of a 1-dose regimen given 3 days prior (D-3), 1 (D1) or 2 (D2) days after, or on the day (D0) of virus challenge, we monitored the serial clinical severity, tissue histopathology, virus burden, and antibody response of the vaccinated hamsters. RESULTS: The 1-dose vaccinated hamsters had significantly lower clinical disease severity score, body weight loss, lung histology score, nucleocapsid protein expression in lung, infectious virus titers in the lung and nasal turbinate, inflammatory changes in intestines, and a higher serum neutralizing antibody or IgG titer against the spike receptor-binding domain or nucleocapsid protein when compared to unvaccinated controls. These improvements were particularly noticeable in D-3, but also in D0, D1, and even D2 vaccinated hamsters to varying degrees. No increased eosinophilic infiltration was found in the nasal turbinate, lung, and intestine after virus challenge. Significantly higher serum titer of fluorescent foci microneutralization inhibition antibody was detected in D1 and D2 vaccinated hamsters at day 4 post-challenge compared to controls despite undetectable neutralizing antibody titer. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination just before or soon after exposure to SARS-CoV-2 does not worsen disease phenotypes and may even ameliorate infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Cricetinae , Humans , Mesocricetus , Vaccines, Inactivated
16.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(2): e503-e512, 2021 07 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315661

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is primarily an acute respiratory tract infection. Distinctively, a substantial proportion of COVID-19 patients develop olfactory dysfunction. Especially in young patients, loss of smell can be the first or only symptom. The roles of inflammatory obstruction of the olfactory clefts, inflammatory cytokines affecting olfactory neuronal function, destruction of olfactory neurons or their supporting cells, and direct invasion of olfactory bulbs in causing olfactory dysfunction are uncertain. METHODS: We investigated the location for the pathogenesis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) from the olfactory epithelium (OE) to the olfactory bulb in golden Syrian hamsters. RESULTS: After intranasal inoculation with SARS-CoV-2, inflammatory cell infiltration and proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine responses were detected in the nasal turbinate tissues. The responses peaked between 2 and 4 days postinfection, with the highest viral load detected at day 2 postinfection. In addition to the pseudo-columnar ciliated respiratory epithelial cells, SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens were also detected in the mature olfactory sensory neurons labeled by olfactory marker protein, in the less mature olfactory neurons labeled by neuron-specific class III ß-tubulin at the more basal position, and in the sustentacular cells, resulting in apoptosis and severe destruction of the OE. During the entire course of infection, SARS-CoV-2 viral antigens were not detected in the olfactory bulb. CONCLUSIONS: In addition to acute inflammation at the OE, infection of mature and immature olfactory neurons and the supporting sustentacular cells by SARS-CoV-2 may contribute to the unique olfactory dysfunction related to COVID-19, which is not reported with SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Olfactory Receptor Neurons , Animals , Cricetinae , Humans , Mesocricetus , Olfactory Mucosa , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Clin Infect Dis ; 72(12): e978-e992, 2021 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1269557

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Clinical outcomes of the interaction between the co-circulating pandemic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and seasonal influenza viruses are unknown. METHODS: We established a golden Syrian hamster model coinfected by SARS-CoV-2 and mouse-adapted A(H1N1)pdm09 simultaneously or sequentially. The weight loss, clinical scores, histopathological changes, viral load and titer, and serum neutralizing antibody titer were compared with hamsters challenged by either virus. RESULTS: Coinfected hamsters had more weight loss, more severe lung inflammatory damage, and tissue cytokine/chemokine expression. Lung viral load, infectious virus titers, and virus antigen expression suggested that hamsters were generally more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 than to A(H1N1)pdm09. Sequential coinfection with A(H1N1)pdm09 one day prior to SARS-CoV-2 exposure resulted in a lower lung SARS-CoV-2 titer and viral load than with SARS-CoV-2 monoinfection, but a higher lung A(H1N1)pdm09 viral load. Coinfection also increased intestinal inflammation with more SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein expression in enterocytes. Simultaneous coinfection was associated with delay in resolution of lung damage, lower serum SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibody, and longer SARS-CoV-2 shedding in oral swabs compared to that of SARS-CoV-2 monoinfection. CONCLUSIONS: Simultaneous or sequential coinfection by SARS-CoV-2 and A(H1N1)pdm09 caused more severe disease than monoinfection by either virus in hamsters. Prior A(H1N1)pdm09 infection lowered SARS-CoV-2 pulmonary viral loads but enhanced lung damage. Whole-population influenza vaccination for prevention of coinfection, and multiplex molecular diagnostics for both viruses to achieve early initiation of antiviral treatment for improvement of clinical outcome should be considered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coinfection , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza, Human , Animals , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Humans , Mesocricetus , Mice , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Clin Infect Dis ; 71(16): 2139-2149, 2020 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1153181

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is believed to be mostly transmitted by medium- to large-sized respiratory droplets, although airborne transmission may be possible in healthcare settings involving aerosol-generating procedures. Exposure to respiratory droplets can theoretically be reduced by surgical mask usage. However, there is a lack of experimental evidence supporting surgical mask usage for prevention of COVID-19. METHODS: We used a well-established golden Syrian hamster SARS-CoV-2 model. We placed SARS-CoV-2-challenged index hamsters and naive hamsters into closed system units each comprising 2 different cages separated by a polyvinyl chloride air porous partition with unidirectional airflow within the isolator. The effect of a surgical mask partition placed between the cages was investigated. Besides clinical scoring, hamster specimens were tested for viral load, histopathology, and viral nucleocapsid antigen expression. RESULTS: Noncontact transmission was found in 66.7% (10/15) of exposed naive hamsters. Surgical mask partition for challenged index or naive hamsters significantly reduced transmission to 25% (6/24, P = .018). Surgical mask partition for challenged index hamsters significantly reduced transmission to only 16.7% (2/12, P = .019) of exposed naive hamsters. Unlike the severe manifestations of challenged hamsters, infected naive hamsters had lower clinical scores, milder histopathological changes, and lower viral nucleocapsid antigen expression in respiratory tract tissues. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 could be transmitted by respiratory droplets or airborne droplet nuclei which could be reduced by surgical mask partition in the hamster model. This is the first in vivo experimental evidence to support the possible benefit of surgical mask in prevention of COVID-19 transmission, especially when masks were worn by infected individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Masks , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Cricetinae , Female , Male , Pandemics , Viral Load
19.
Nature ; 593(7859): 418-423, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1137788

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic is the third outbreak this century of a zoonotic disease caused by a coronavirus, following the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 20031 and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in 20122. Treatment options for coronaviruses are limited. Here we show that clofazimine-an anti-leprosy drug with a favourable safety profile3-possesses inhibitory activity against several coronaviruses, and can antagonize the replication of SARS-CoV-2 and MERS-CoV in a range of in vitro systems. We found that this molecule, which has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, inhibits cell fusion mediated by the viral spike glycoprotein, as well as activity of the viral helicase. Prophylactic or therapeutic administration of clofazimine in a hamster model of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis led to reduced viral loads in the lung and viral shedding in faeces, and also alleviated the inflammation associated with viral infection. Combinations of clofazimine and remdesivir exhibited antiviral synergy in vitro and in vivo, and restricted viral shedding from the upper respiratory tract. Clofazimine, which is orally bioavailable and comparatively cheap to manufacture, is an attractive clinical candidate for the treatment of outpatients and-when combined with remdesivir-in therapy for hospitalized patients with COVID-19, particularly in contexts in which costs are an important factor or specialized medical facilities are limited. Our data provide evidence that clofazimine may have a role in the control of the current pandemic of COVID-19 and-possibly more importantly-in dealing with coronavirus diseases that may emerge in the future.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Clofazimine/pharmacology , Coronavirus/classification , Coronavirus/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Adenosine Monophosphate/therapeutic use , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Alanine/therapeutic use , Animals , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacokinetics , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/pharmacokinetics , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Biological Availability , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Clofazimine/pharmacokinetics , Clofazimine/therapeutic use , Coronavirus/growth & development , Coronavirus/pathogenicity , Cricetinae , DNA Helicases/antagonists & inhibitors , Drug Synergism , Female , Humans , Life Cycle Stages/drug effects , Male , Mesocricetus , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Species Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/antagonists & inhibitors , Transcription, Genetic/drug effects , Transcription, Genetic/genetics
20.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1517, 2021 03 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125914

ABSTRACT

Up to date, effective antivirals have not been widely available for treating COVID-19. In this study, we identify a dual-functional cross-linking peptide 8P9R which can inhibit the two entry pathways (endocytic pathway and TMPRSS2-mediated surface pathway) of SARS-CoV-2 in cells. The endosomal acidification inhibitors (8P9R and chloroquine) can synergistically enhance the activity of arbidol, a spike-ACE2 fusion inhibitor, against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV in cells. In vivo studies indicate that 8P9R or the combination of repurposed drugs (umifenovir also known as arbidol, chloroquine and camostat which is a TMPRSS2 inhibitor), simultaneously interfering with the two entry pathways of coronaviruses, can significantly suppress SARS-CoV-2 replication in hamsters and SARS-CoV in mice. Here, we use drug combination (arbidol, chloroquine, and camostat) and a dual-functional 8P9R to demonstrate that blocking the two entry pathways of coronavirus can be a promising and achievable approach for inhibiting SARS-CoV-2 replication in vivo. Cocktail therapy of these drug combinations should be considered in treatment trials for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Drug Repositioning , Peptides/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Chloroquine/pharmacology , Drug Discovery , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Indoles/pharmacology , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells
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