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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 8991, 2022 May 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1868022

ABSTRACT

Knowledge about contagiousness is key to accurate management of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Epidemiological studies suggest that in addition to transmission through droplets, aerogenic SARS-CoV-2 transmission contributes to the spread of infection. However, the presence of virus in exhaled air has not yet been sufficiently demonstrated. In pandemic situations low tech disposable and user-friendly bedside devices are required, while commercially available samplers are unsuitable for application in patients with respiratory distress. We included 49 hospitalized COVID-19 patients and used a disposable modular breath sampler to measure SARS-CoV-2 RNA load in exhaled air samples and compared these to SARS-CoV-2 RNA load of combined nasopharyngeal throat swabs and saliva. Exhaled air sampling using the modular breath sampler has proven feasible in a clinical COVID-19 setting and demonstrated viral detection in 25% of the patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , RNA, Viral , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Nasopharynx , Pharynx , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Mar 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1831053

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Older age is associated with increased severity and death from respiratory infections, including coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). The tuberculosis vaccine Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) may provide heterologous protection against non-tuberculous infections, and has been proposed as a potential preventive strategy against Covid-19. METHODS: In this multicenter, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned elderly individuals (60 years or older, n=2014) to intracutaneous vaccination with BCG (n=1008) or placebo (n=1006). The primary endpoint was the cumulative incidence of respiratory tract infections that required medical intervention, during 12 months of follow-up. Secondary endpoints included the incidence of Covid-19, and the effect of BCG vaccination on the cellular and humoral immune responses. RESULTS: The cumulative incidence of respiratory tract infection requiring medical intervention was 0.029 in the BCG-vaccinated group and 0.024 in the control group (subdistribution hazard ratio [SHR], 1.26; 98.2% confidence interval [CI], 0.65 to 2.44). 51 and 48 individuals tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by PCR in the BCG and placebo group, respectively (SHR, 1.053; 95% CI, 0.71 to 1.56). No difference was observed in the frequency of adverse events. BCG vaccination was associated with enhanced cytokines responses after influenza, and partially also after SARS-CoV-2 stimulation. In patients diagnosed with Covid-19, antibody responses after infection were significantly stronger if the volunteers had previously received BCG. CONCLUSIONS: BCG-vaccination had no effect on the incidence of respiratory tract infections, including SARS-CoV-2 infection, in elderly volunteers. However, BCG vaccination improved cytokine responses stimulated by influenza and SARS-CoV-2, and induced stronger antibody titers after Covid-19 infection.

3.
Front Immunol ; 13: 838132, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809394

ABSTRACT

The majority of COVID-19 patients experience mild to moderate disease course and recover within a few weeks. An increasing number of studies characterized the long-term changes in the specific anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune responses, but how COVID-19 shapes the innate and heterologous adaptive immune system after recovery is less well known. To comprehensively investigate the post-SARS-CoV-2 infection sequelae on the immune system, we performed a multi-omics study by integrating single-cell RNA-sequencing, single-cell ATAC-sequencing, genome-wide DNA methylation profiling, and functional validation experiments in 14 convalescent COVID-19 and 15 healthy individuals. We showed that immune responses generally recover without major sequelae after COVID-19. However, subtle differences persist at the transcriptomic level in monocytes, with downregulation of the interferon pathway, while DNA methylation also displays minor changes in convalescent COVID-19 individuals. However, these differences did not affect the cytokine production capacity of PBMCs upon different bacterial, viral, and fungal stimuli, although baseline release of IL-1Ra and IFN-γ was higher in convalescent individuals. In conclusion, we propose that despite minor differences in epigenetic and transcriptional programs, the immune system of convalescent COVID-19 patients largely recovers to the homeostatic level of healthy individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Convalescence , Disease Progression , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear , SARS-CoV-2
4.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5621, 2021 09 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1437680

ABSTRACT

Although serological studies have shown that antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 play an important role in protection against (re)infection, the dynamics of mucosal antibodies during primary infection and their potential impact on viral load and the resolution of disease symptoms remain unclear. During the first pandemic wave, we assessed the longitudinal nasal antibody response in index cases with mild COVID-19 and their household contacts. Nasal and serum antibody responses were analysed for up to nine months. Higher nasal receptor binding domain and spike protein-specific antibody levels at study inclusion were associated with lower viral load. Older age was correlated with more frequent COVID-19 related symptoms. Receptor binding domain and spike protein-specific mucosal antibodies were associated with the resolution of systemic, but not respiratory symptoms. Finally, receptor binding domain and spike protein-specific mucosal antibodies remained elevated up to nine months after symptom onset.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/analysis , Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19/diagnosis , Nasal Mucosa/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/statistics & numerical data , Child , Humans , Immunity, Mucosal , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Nasal Mucosa/immunology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Severity of Illness Index , Viral Load , Young Adult
5.
Viruses ; 13(2)2021 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1079725

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged as a new human pathogen in late 2019 and it has infected over 100 million people in less than a year. There is a clear need for effective antiviral drugs to complement current preventive measures, including vaccines. In this study, we demonstrate that berberine and obatoclax, two broad-spectrum antiviral compounds, are effective against multiple isolates of SARS-CoV-2. Berberine, a plant-derived alkaloid, inhibited SARS-CoV-2 at low micromolar concentrations and obatoclax, which was originally developed as an anti-apoptotic protein antagonist, was effective at sub-micromolar concentrations. Time-of-addition studies indicated that berberine acts on the late stage of the viral life cycle. In agreement, berberine mildly affected viral RNA synthesis, but it strongly reduced infectious viral titers, leading to an increase in the particle-to-pfu ratio. In contrast, obatoclax acted at the early stage of the infection, which is in line with its activity to neutralize the acidic environment in endosomes. We assessed infection of primary human nasal epithelial cells that were cultured on an air-liquid interface and found that SARS-CoV-2 infection induced and repressed expression of specific sets of cytokines and chemokines. Moreover, both obatoclax and berberine inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in these primary target cells. We propose berberine and obatoclax as potential antiviral drugs against SARS-CoV-2 that could be considered for further efficacy testing.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Berberine/pharmacology , Indoles/pharmacology , Pyrroles/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Virus Replication/drug effects , Adolescent , Animals , COVID-19/virology , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Male , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Vero Cells
7.
Curr Biol ; 30(18): R1014-R1018, 2020 09 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-703973

ABSTRACT

Recently, a petition was offered to the European Commission calling for an immediate ban on animal testing. Although a Europe-wide moratorium on the use of animals in science is not yet possible, there has been a push by the non-scientific community and politicians for a rapid transition to animal-free innovations. Although there are benefits for both animal welfare and researchers, advances on alternative methods have not progressed enough to be able to replace animal research in the foreseeable future. This trend has led first and foremost to a substantial increase in the administrative burden and hurdles required to make timely advances in research and treatments for human and animal diseases. The current COVID-19 pandemic clearly highlights how much we actually rely on animal research. COVID-19 affects several organs and systems, and the various animal-free alternatives currently available do not come close to this complexity. In this Essay, we therefore argue that the use of animals is essential for the advancement of human and veterinary health.


Subject(s)
Animal Experimentation , Biomedical Research , Coronavirus Infections , Disease Models, Animal , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Animals , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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