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Nature ; 602(7896): 307-313, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585832


Emerging variants of concern (VOCs) are driving the COVID-19 pandemic1,2. Experimental assessments of replication and transmission of major VOCs and progenitors are needed to understand the mechanisms of replication and transmission of VOCs3. Here we show that the spike protein (S) from Alpha (also known as B.1.1.7) and Beta (B.1.351) VOCs had a greater affinity towards the human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor than that of the progenitor variant S(D614G) in vitro. Progenitor variant virus expressing S(D614G) (wt-S614G) and the Alpha variant showed similar replication kinetics in human nasal airway epithelial cultures, whereas the Beta variant was outcompeted by both. In vivo, competition experiments showed a clear fitness advantage of Alpha over wt-S614G in ferrets and two mouse models-the substitutions in S were major drivers of the fitness advantage. In hamsters, which support high viral replication levels, Alpha and wt-S614G showed similar fitness. By contrast, Beta was outcompeted by Alpha and wt-S614G in hamsters and in mice expressing human ACE2. Our study highlights the importance of using multiple models to characterize fitness of VOCs and demonstrates that Alpha is adapted for replication in the upper respiratory tract and shows enhanced transmission in vivo in restrictive models, whereas Beta does not overcome Alpha or wt-S614G in naive animals.

COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication , Amino Acid Substitution , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Animals, Laboratory/virology , COVID-19/veterinary , Cricetinae , Disease Models, Animal , Epithelial Cells/virology , Female , Ferrets/virology , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virulence/genetics
Arch Virol ; 165(12): 2847-2856, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-841309


Here, we investigated the fecal, oral, blood, and skin virome of 10 laboratory rabbits using a viral metagenomic method. In the oral samples, we detected a novel polyomavirus (RabPyV), and phylogenetic analysis based on the large T antigen, VP1 and VP2 regions indicated that the novel strain might have undergone a recombination event. Recombination analysis based on related genomes confirmed that RabPyV is a multiple recombinant between rodent-like and avian-like polyomaviruses. In fecal samples, three partial or complete genome sequences of viruses belonging to the families Picobirnaviridae, Parvoviridae, Microviridae and Coronaviridae were characterized, and phylogenetic trees were constructed based on the predicted amino acid sequences of viral proteins. This study increases the amount of genetic information on viruses present in laboratory rabbits.

Metagenome , Polyomavirus/isolation & purification , Rabbits/virology , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viruses/classification , Animals , Animals, Laboratory/virology , Blood/virology , Feces/virology , Genome, Viral , Mouth/virology , Phylogeny , Skin/virology , Viruses/isolation & purification , Whole Genome Sequencing