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1.
Commun Biol ; 4(1): 1389, 2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585764

ABSTRACT

In light of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants potentially undermining humoral immunity, it is important to understand the fine specificity of the antiviral antibodies. We screened 20 COVID-19 patients for antibodies against 9 different SARS-CoV-2 proteins observing responses against the spike (S) proteins, the receptor-binding domain (RBD), and the nucleocapsid (N) protein which were of the IgG1 and IgG3 subtypes. Importantly, mutations which typically occur in the B.1.351 "South African" variant, significantly reduced the binding of anti-RBD antibodies. Nine of 20 patients were critically ill and were considered high-risk (HR). These patients showed significantly higher levels of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-ß) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), and lower levels of CD4+ T cells expressing LAG-3 compared to standard-risk (SR) patients. HR patients evidenced significantly higher anti-S1/RBD IgG antibody levels and an increased neutralizing activity. Importantly, a large proportion of S protein-specific antibodies were glycosylation-dependent and we identified a number of immunodominant linear epitopes within the S1 and N proteins. Findings derived from this study will not only help us to identify the most relevant component of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 humoral immune response but will also enable us to design more meaningful immunomonitoring methods for anti-COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Proteins/immunology , Adaptive Immunity/immunology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Female , Humans , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/genetics , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism
2.
Eur J Med Res ; 26(1): 147, 2021 Dec 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1582004

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a public health emergency of international concern. Quantitative testing of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) virus is demanded in evaluating the efficacy of antiviral drugs and vaccines and RT-PCR can be widely deployed in the clinical assay of viral loads. Here, we developed a quantitative RT-PCR method for SARS-CoV-2 virus detection in this study. METHODS: RT-PCR kits targeting E (envelope) gene, N (nucleocapsid) gene and RdRP (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase) gene of SARS-CoV-2 from Roche Diagnostics were evaluated and E gene kit was employed for quantitative detection of COVID-19 virus using Cobas Z480. Viral load was calculated according to the standard curve established by series dilution of an E-gene RNA standard provided by Tib-Molbiol (a division of Roche Diagnostics). Assay performance was evaluated. RESULTS: The performance of the assay is acceptable with limit of detection (LOD) below 10E1 copies/µL and lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) as 10E2 copies/µL. CONCLUSION: A quantitative detection of the COVID-19 virus based on RT-PCR was established.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Humans , Limit of Detection , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load/methods
3.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1572657

ABSTRACT

The current COVID-19 pandemic demands massive testing by Real-time RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction), which is considered the gold standard diagnostic test for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, the virus continues to evolve with mutations that lead to phenotypic alterations as higher transmissibility, pathogenicity or vaccine evasion. Another big issue are mutations in the annealing sites of primers and probes of RT-PCR diagnostic kits leading to false-negative results. Therefore, here we identify mutations in the N (Nucleocapsid) gene that affects the use of the GeneFinder COVID-19 Plus RealAmp Kit. We sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 17 positive samples with no N gene detection but with RDRP (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase) and E (Envelope) genes detection, and observed a set of three different mutations affecting the N detection: a deletion of 18 nucleotides (Del28877-28894), a substitution of GGG to AAC (28881-28883) and a frameshift mutation caused by deletion (Del28877-28878). The last one cause a deletion of six AAs (amino acids) located in the central intrinsic disorder region at protein level. We also found this mutation in 99 of the 14,346 sequenced samples by the Sao Paulo state Network for Pandemic Alert of Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, demonstrating the circulation of the mutation in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Continuous monitoring and characterization of mutations affecting the annealing sites of primers and probes by genomic surveillance programs are necessary to maintain the effectiveness of the diagnosis of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Brazil/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , DNA Primers , False Negative Reactions , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Mutation , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
Viruses ; 13(12)2021 11 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1542793

ABSTRACT

Evidence varies as to how far aerosols spread from individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 in hospital rooms. We investigated the presence of aerosols containing SARS-CoV-2 inside of dedicated COVID-19 patient rooms. Three National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health BC 251 two-stage cyclone samplers were set up in each patient room for a six-hour sampling period. Samplers were place on tripods, which each held two samplers at various heights above the floor. Extracted samples underwent reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for selected gene regions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus nucleocapsid. Patient medical data were compared between participants in rooms where virus-containing aerosols were detected and those where they were not. Of 576 aerosols samples collected from 19 different rooms across 32 participants, 3% (19) were positive for SARS-CoV-2, the majority from near the head and foot of the bed. Seven of the positive samples were collected inside a single patient room. No significant differences in participant clinical characteristics were found between patients in rooms with positive and negative aerosol samples. SARS-CoV-2 viral aerosols were detected from the patient rooms of nine participants (28%). These findings provide reassurance that personal protective equipment that was recommended for this virus is appropriate given its spread in hospital rooms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Patients' Rooms , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Hospitals , Humans , Middle Aged , Patients' Rooms/statistics & numerical data , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
5.
Bull Exp Biol Med ; 171(2): 230-233, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525548

ABSTRACT

The presence of IgG and IgM antibodies in the venous blood of 76 patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection was determined by ELISA using Russian test systems. Different levels of IgM antibodies to N-protein and receptor binding domain of the Spike protein (RBD) were revealed. The dynamics of IgG antibodies to the whole virion antigen and recombinant antigens showed high values on weeks 4-5 of the disease. The level of IgG antibodies to Nprotein remained low throughout the observation period. The characteristic dynamics of IgG measured using test systems with sorbed whole virion or recombinant spike proteins reflects the duration of the disease.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antigens, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Time Factors , Virion/genetics , Virion/immunology
6.
J Infect Dis ; 224(8): 1287-1293, 2021 10 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1505875

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Previous studies demonstrated that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA can be detected for weeks after infection. The significance of this finding is unclear and, in most patients, does not represent active infection. Detection of subgenomic RNA has been proposed to represent productive infection and may be a useful marker for monitoring infectivity. METHODS: We used quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) to quantify total and subgenomic nucleocapsid (sgN) and envelope (sgE) transcripts in 185 SARS-CoV-2-positive nasopharyngeal swab samples collected on hospital admission and to relate to symptom duration. RESULTS: We find that all transcripts decline at the same rate; however, sgE becomes undetectable before other transcripts. The median duration of symptoms to a negative test is 14 days for sgE and 25 days for sgN. There is a linear decline in subgenomic compared to total RNA, suggesting that subgenomic transcript copy number is dependent on copy number of total transcripts. The mean difference between total and sgN is 16-fold and the mean difference between total and sgE is 137-fold. This relationship is constant over duration of symptoms, allowing prediction of subgenomic copy number from total copy number. CONCLUSIONS: Subgenomic RNA may be no more useful in determining infectivity than a copy number threshold determined for total RNA.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load , Aged , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Feasibility Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/pathology , Nasopharynx/virology , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/statistics & numerical data , Reference Values , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
7.
Virus Res ; 307: 198618, 2022 01 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504602

ABSTRACT

The second wave of COVID-19 caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome virus (SARS-CoV-2) is rapidly spreading over the world. Mechanisms behind the flee from current antivirals are still unclear due to the continuous occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants. Brazil is the world's second-most COVID-19 affected country. In the present study, we identified the genomic and proteomic variants of Brazilian SARS-CoV-2 isolates. We identified 16 different genotypic variants were found among the 27 isolates. The genotypes of three isolates such as Bra/1236/2021 (G15), Bra/MASP2C844R2/2020 (G11), and Bra/RJ-DCVN5/2020 (G9) have a unique mutant in NSP4 (S184N), 2'O-Mutase (R216N), membrane protein (A2V) and Envelope protein (V5A). A mutation in RdRp of SARS-CoV-2, particularly the change of Pro-to Leu-at 323 resulted in the stabilization of the structure in BRA/CD1739-P4/2020. NSP4, NSP5 protein mutants are more virulent in genotype 15 and 16. A fast protein folding rate changes the structural stability and leads to escape for current antivirals. Thus, our findings help researchers to develop the best potent antivirals based on the new mutant of Brazilian isolates.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus 3C Proteases/genetics , Protein Folding , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Nonstructural Proteins/genetics , Brazil , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Genetic Variation/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Virulence/genetics
8.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 21658, 2021 11 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503936

ABSTRACT

More than one year since Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak, the gold standard technique for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection is still the RT-qPCR. This is a limitation to increase testing capacities, particularly at developing countries, as expensive reagents and equipment are required. We developed a two steps end point RT-PCR reaction with SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid (N) gene and Ribonuclease P (RNase P) specific primers where viral amplicons were verified by agarose gel electrophoresis. We carried out a clinical performance and analytical sensitivity evaluation for this two-steps end point RT-PCR method with 242 nasopharyngeal samples using the CDC RT-qPCR protocol as a gold standard technique. With a specificity of 95.8%, a sensitivity of 95.1%, and a limit of detection of 20 viral RNA copies/uL, this two steps end point RT-PCR assay is an affordable and reliable method for SARS-CoV-2 detection. This protocol would allow to extend COVID-19 diagnosis to basic molecular biology laboratories with a potential positive impact in surveillance programs at developing countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/economics , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , DNA Primers , Electrophoresis, Agar Gel/methods , Humans , Laboratories , Nasopharynx/virology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Ribonuclease P/genetics , Ribonuclease P/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
J Virol ; 95(16): e0018721, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1486048

ABSTRACT

Subversion of the host cell cycle to facilitate viral replication is a common feature of coronavirus infections. Coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein can modulate the host cell cycle, but the mechanistic details remain largely unknown. Here, we investigated the effects of manipulation of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) N protein on the cell cycle and the influence on viral replication. Results indicated that PEDV N induced Vero E6 cell cycle arrest at S-phase, which promoted viral replication (P < 0.05). S-phase arrest was dependent on the N protein nuclear localization signal S71NWHFYYLGTGPHADLRYRT90 and the interaction between N protein and p53. In the nucleus, the binding of N protein to p53 maintained consistently high-level expression of p53, which activated the p53-DREAM pathway. The key domain of the N protein interacting with p53 was revealed to be S171RGNSQNRGNNQGRGASQNRGGNN194 (NS171-N194), in which G183RG185 are core residues. NS171-N194 and G183RG185 were essential for N-induced S-phase arrest. Moreover, small molecular drugs targeting the NS171-N194 domain of the PEDV N protein were screened through molecular docking. Hyperoside could antagonize N protein-induced S-phase arrest by interfering with interaction between N protein and p53 and inhibit viral replication (P < 0.05). The above-described experiments were also validated in porcine intestinal cells, and data were in line with results in Vero E6 cells. Therefore, these results reveal the PEDV N protein interacts with p53 to activate the p53-DREAM pathway, and subsequently induces S-phase arrest to create a favorable environment for virus replication. These findings provide new insight into the PEDV-host interaction and the design of novel antiviral strategies against PEDV. IMPORTANCE Many viruses subvert the host cell cycle to create a cellular environment that promotes viral growth. PEDV, an emerging and reemerging coronavirus, has led to substantial economic loss in the global swine industry. Our study is the first to demonstrate that PEDV N-induced cell cycle arrest during the S-phase promotes viral replication. We identified a novel mechanism of PEDV N-induced S-phase arrest, where the binding of PEDV N protein to p53 maintains consistently high levels of p53 expression in the nucleus to mediate S-phase arrest by activating the p53-DREAM pathway. Furthermore, a small molecular compound, hyperoside, targeted the PEDV N protein, interfering with the interaction between the N protein and p53 and, importantly, inhibited PEDV replication by antagonizing cell cycle arrest. This study reveals a new mechanism of PEDV-host interaction and also provides a novel antiviral strategy for PEDV. These data provide a foundation for further research into coronavirus-host interactions.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/chemistry , Host-Pathogen Interactions/drug effects , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/drug effects , Quercetin/analogs & derivatives , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/chemistry , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Binding Sites , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/drug effects , Epithelial Cells/virology , Gene Expression Regulation , High-Throughput Screening Assays , Host-Pathogen Interactions/genetics , Molecular Docking Simulation , Nuclear Localization Signals , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/genetics , Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus/metabolism , Protein Binding , Protein Conformation , Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs , Quercetin/chemistry , Quercetin/pharmacology , S Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints/drug effects , S Phase Cell Cycle Checkpoints/genetics , Signal Transduction , Swine , Swine Diseases/drug therapy , Swine Diseases/genetics , Swine Diseases/metabolism , Swine Diseases/virology , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/antagonists & inhibitors , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/genetics , Tumor Suppressor Protein p53/metabolism , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
10.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1471002

ABSTRACT

West Java Health Laboratory (WJHL) is one of the many institutions in Indonesia that have sequenced SARS-CoV-2 genome. Although having submitted a large number of sequences since September 2020, however, these submitted data lack advanced analyses. Therefore, in this study, we analyze the variant distribution, hotspot mutation, and its impact on protein structure and function of SARS-CoV-2 from the collected samples from WJHL. As many as one hundred sixty-three SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences submitted by West Java Health Laboratory (WJHL), with collection dates between September 2020 and June 2021, were retrieved from GISAID. Subsequently, the frequency and distribution of non-synonymous mutations across different cities and regencies from these samples were analyzed. The effect of the most prevalent mutations from dominant variants on the stability of their corresponding proteins was examined. The samples mostly consisted of people of working-age, and were distributed between female and male equally. All of the sample sequences showed varying levels of diversity, especially samples from West Bandung which carried the highest diversity. Dominant variants are the VOC B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant, B.1.466.2 variant, and B.1.470 variant. The genomic regions with the highest number of mutations are the spike, NSP3, nucleocapsid, NSP12, and ORF3a protein. Mutation analysis showed that mutations in structural protein might increase the stability of the protein. Oppositely, mutations in non-structural protein might lead to a decrease in protein stability. However, further research to study the impact of mutations on the function of SARS-CoV-2 proteins are required.


Subject(s)
Genome, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Papain-Like Proteases/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Disease Hotspot , Female , Humans , Indonesia , Male , Molecular Docking Simulation , Mutation/genetics , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Protein Stability , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Whole Genome Sequencing
11.
Biosensors (Basel) ; 11(10)2021 Oct 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470794

ABSTRACT

Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) has been recently studied as an alternative method for cost-effective diagnostics in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Recent reports document that LAMP-based diagnostic methods have a comparable sensitivity and specificity to that of RT-qPCR. We report the use of a portable Arduino-based LAMP-based amplification system assisted by pH microelectrodes for the accurate and reliable diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 during the first 3 min of the amplification reaction. We show that this simple system enables a straightforward discrimination between samples containing or not containing artificial SARS-CoV-2 genetic material in the range of 10 to 10,000 copies per 50 µL of reaction mix. We also spiked saliva samples with SARS-CoV-2 synthetic material and corroborated that the LAMP reaction can be successfully monitored in real time using microelectrodes in saliva samples as well. These results may have profound implications for the design of real-time and portable quantitative systems for the reliable detection of viral pathogens including SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Humans , Microelectrodes , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/instrumentation , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/instrumentation , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Point-of-Care Systems , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Reaction Time , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Saliva/virology
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 20471, 2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1469980

ABSTRACT

Dual-labeled PNA probe used RT-LAMP molecular rapid assay targeting SARS-CoV-2 ORF1ab and N genes was developed, and the analytical, clinical performances for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA extracted from clinical nasopharyngeal swab specimens were evaluated in this study. Data showed that this assay is highly specific for SARS-CoV-2, and the absolute detection limit is 1 genomic copy per microliter of viral RNA which can be considered to be comparable to gold-standard molecular diagnostic method real-time reverse transcriptase PCR. Both clinical sensitivity and specificity against a commercial real-time RT-PCR assay were determined as identical. In conclusion, the PNA RT-LAMP assay showed high analytical and clinical accuracy which are identical to real-time RT-PCR which has been routinely used for the detection of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Genes, Viral , Humans , Limit of Detection , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Polyproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Proteins/genetics
13.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0108921, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467673

ABSTRACT

Routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 is rare for institutes of higher education due to prohibitive costs and supply chain delays. During spring 2021, we routinely tested all residential students 1 to 2 times per week using pooled, RNA-extraction-free, reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) testing of saliva at a cost of $0.43/sample with same-day results. The limit of detection was 500 copies/ml on individual samples, and analysis indicates 1,000 and 2,500 copies/ml in pools of 5 and 10, respectively, which is orders of magnitude more sensitive than rapid antigen tests. Importantly, saliva testing flagged 83% of semester positives (43,884 tests administered) and was 95.6% concordant with nasopharyngeal diagnostic results (69.0% concordant on the first test when the nucleocapsid gene (N1) cycle threshold (CT) value was >30). Moreover, testing reduced weekly cases by 59.9% in the spring despite far looser restrictions, allowing for more normalcy while eliminating outbreaks. We also coupled our testing with a survey to clarify symptoms and transmissibility among college-age students. While only 8.5% remained asymptomatic throughout, symptoms were disparate and often cold-like (e.g., only 37.3% developed a fever), highlighting the difficulty with relying on symptom monitoring among this demographic. Based on reported symptom progression, we estimate that we removed 348 days of infectious individuals by routine testing. Interestingly, viral load (CT value) at the time of testing did not affect transmissibility (R2 = 0.0085), though those experiencing noticeable symptoms at the time of testing were more likely to spread the virus to close contacts (31.6% versus 14.3%). Together, our findings support routine testing for reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Implementation of cost- and resource-efficient approaches should receive strong consideration in communities that lack herd immunity. IMPORTANCE This study highlights the utility of routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 using pooled saliva while maintaining high sensitivity of detection (under 2,500 copies/ml) and rapid turnaround of high volume (up to 930 samples in 8 h by two technicians and one quantitative PCR [qPCR] machine). This pooled approach allowed us to test all residential students 1 to 2 times per week on our college campus during the spring of 2021 and flagged 83% of our semester positives. Most students were asymptomatic or presented with symptoms mirroring common colds at the time of testing, allowing for removal of infectious individuals before they otherwise would have sought testing. To our knowledge, the total per-sample consumable cost of $0.43 is the lowest to date. With many communities still lagging in vaccination rates, routine testing that is cost-efficient highlights the capacity of the laboratory's role in controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/economics , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Mass Screening/economics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/economics , Saliva/virology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Humans , Illinois , Limit of Detection , Mass Screening/methods , Nasopharynx/virology , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Universities , Viral Load/methods
14.
Front Immunol ; 12: 725240, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463472

ABSTRACT

Ongoing evolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus strains is posing new COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment challenges. To help efforts to meet these challenges we examined data acquired from proteomic analyses of human SARS-CoV-2-infected cell lines and samples from COVID-19 patients. Initially, 129 unique peptides were identified, which were rigorously evaluated for repeats, disorders, polymorphisms, antigenicity, immunogenicity, toxicity, allergens, sequence similarity to human proteins, and contributions from other potential cross-reacting pathogenic species or the human saliva microbiome. We also screened SARS-CoV-2-infected NBHE and A549 cell lines for presence of antigenic peptides, and identified paratope peptides from crystal structures of SARS-CoV-2 antigen-antibody complexes. We then selected four antigen peptides for docking with known viral unbound T-cell receptor (TCR), class I and II peptide major histocompatibility complex (pMHC), and identified paratope sequences. We also tested the paratope binding affinity of SARS-CoV T- and B-cell peptides that had been previously experimentally validated. The resultant antigenic peptides have high potential for generating SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies, and the paratope peptides can be directly used to develop a COVID-19 diagnostics assay. The presented genomics and proteomics-based in-silico approaches have apparent utility for identifying new diagnostic peptides that could be used to fight SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/metabolism , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/metabolism , Peptides/metabolism , Pulmonary Alveoli/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , A549 Cells , COVID-19/immunology , Cell Line , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Epitope Mapping , Epitopes, B-Lymphocyte/genetics , Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte/genetics , HLA Antigens/metabolism , Humans , Molecular Docking Simulation , Peptides/genetics , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Phosphoproteins/metabolism , Protein Binding , Proteomics , Receptors, Antigen/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
15.
J Med Virol ; 93(10): 5969-5976, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1453609

ABSTRACT

In-house assays for the diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), are feasible alternatives, particularly in developing countries. Cycle threshold (Ct ) values obtained by qRT-PCR were compared with clinical and laboratory data from saliva of inpatients with COVID-19 and asymptomatic health workers (AHW) were studied. Saliva specimens from 58 inpatients confirmed by qRT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 using nasopharyngeal specimens, and 105 AHW were studied by qRT-PCR using three sets of primers for the N (N1, N2, and N3) gene of SARS-CoV-2, according to the CDC Diagnostic Panel protocol, showing a positivity of 88% for inpatients and 8% for AHW. Bivariate analysis revealed an association between Ct < 38.0 values for N2 and mechanical ventilation assistance among patients (p = .013). In addition, values of aspartate-transaminase, lactate dehydrogenase, and ferritin showed significant correlations with Ct values of N1 and N3 genes in inpatients. Therefore, our results show that Ct values correlate with some relevant clinical data for inpatients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/diagnosis , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Inpatients/statistics & numerical data , Adult , Aged , Asymptomatic Infections , Biomarkers/blood , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Saliva/virology , Severity of Illness Index
16.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5753, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1447302

ABSTRACT

Patients with COVID-19 shed SARS-CoV-2 RNA in stool, sometimes well after their respiratory infection has cleared. This may be significant for patient health, epidemiology, and diagnosis. However, methods to preserve stool, and to extract and quantify viral RNA are not standardized. We test the performance of three preservative approaches at yielding detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA: the OMNIgene-GUT kit, Zymo DNA/RNA shield kit, and the most commonly applied, storage without preservative. We test these in combination with three extraction kits: QIAamp Viral RNA Mini Kit, Zymo Quick-RNA Viral Kit, and MagMAX Viral/Pathogen Kit. We also test the utility of ddPCR and RT-qPCR for the reliable quantification of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from stool. We identify that the Zymo DNA/RNA preservative and the QiaAMP extraction kit yield more detectable RNA than the others, using both ddPCR and RT-qPCR. Taken together, we recommend a comprehensive methodology for preservation, extraction and detection of RNA from SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses in stool.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , Feces/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Humans , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Preservation, Biological/standards , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic , Reference Standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Specimen Handling/standards , Viral Load/standards
17.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A ; 118(41)2021 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1437721

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of the current COVID-19 pandemic, is one of the biggest threats to public health. However, the dynamic of SARS-CoV-2 infection remains poorly understood. Replication-competent recombinant viruses expressing reporter genes provide valuable tools to investigate viral infection. Low levels of reporter gene expressed from previous reporter-expressing recombinant (r)SARS-CoV-2 in the locus of the open reading frame (ORF)7a protein have jeopardized their use to monitor the dynamic of SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro or in vivo. Here, we report an alternative strategy where reporter genes were placed upstream of the highly expressed viral nucleocapsid (N) gene followed by a porcine tescherovirus (PTV-1) 2A proteolytic cleavage site. The higher levels of reporter expression using this strategy resulted in efficient visualization of rSARS-CoV-2 in infected cultured cells and excised lungs or whole organism of infected K18 human angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) transgenic mice. Importantly, real-time viral infection was readily tracked using a noninvasive in vivo imaging system and allowed us to rapidly identify antibodies which are able to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 infection in vivo. Notably, these reporter-expressing rSARS-CoV-2, in which a viral gene was not deleted, not only retained wild-type (WT) virus-like pathogenicity in vivo but also exhibited high stability in vitro and in vivo, supporting their use to investigate viral infection, dissemination, pathogenesis, and therapeutic interventions for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 in vivo.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Gene Expression Regulation, Viral , Genes, Reporter , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Proteins , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Chlorocebus aethiops , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/biosynthesis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Female , Humans , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Teschovirus/genetics , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/biosynthesis , Viral Proteins/genetics
18.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 18955, 2021 09 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1437688

ABSTRACT

The world is facing an exceptional pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2. To allow the diagnosis of COVID-19 infections, several assays based on the real-time PCR technique have been proposed. The requests for diagnosis are such that it was immediately clear that the choice of the most suitable method for each microbiology laboratory had to be based, on the one hand, on the availability of materials, and on the other hand, on the personnel and training priorities for this activity. Unfortunately, due to high demand, the shortage of commercial diagnostic kits has also become a major problem. To overcome these critical issues, we have developed a new qualitative RT-PCR probe. Our system detects three genes-RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), envelope (E) and nucleocapsid (N)-and uses the ß-actin gene as an endogenous internal control. The results from our assay are in complete agreement with the results obtained using a commercially available kit, except for two samples that did not pass the endogenous internal control. The coincidence rate was 0.96. The LoD of our assay was 140 cp/reaction for N and 14 cp/reaction for RdRp and E. Our kit was designed to be open, either for the nucleic acid extraction step or for the RT-PCR assay, and to be carried out on several instruments. Therefore, it is free from the industrial production logics of closed systems, and conversely, it is hypothetically available for distribution in large quantities to any microbiological laboratory. The kit is currently distributed worldwide (called MOLgen-COVID-19; Adaltis). A new version of the kit for detecting the S gene is also available.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Humans , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins/genetics , Qualitative Research , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sensitivity and Specificity
19.
Jpn J Infect Dis ; 74(5): 465-472, 2021 Sep 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436361

ABSTRACT

Soon after the 2019 outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 in Wuhan, China, a protocol for real-time RT-PCR assay detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was established by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) in Japan. The protocol used Charité's nucleocapsid (Sarbeco-N) and NIID nucleocapsid (NIID-N2) assays. During the following months, SARS-CoV-2 spread and caused a global pandemic, and various SARS-CoV-2 sequences were registered in public databases, such as the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID). In this study, we evaluated the S2 assay (NIID-S2) that was newly developed to replace the Sarbeco-N assay and the performance of the NIID-N2 and NIID-S2 assays, referring to mismatches in the primer/probe targeted region. We found that the analytical sensitivity and specificity of the NIID-S2 set were comparable to those of the NIID-N2 assay, and the detection rate for clinical specimens was identical to that of the NIID-N2 assay. Furthermore, among the available sequences (approximately 192,000), the NIID-N2 and NIID-S2 sets had 2.6% and 1.2% mismatched sequences, respectively, although most of these mismatches did not affect the amplification efficiency, except the 3' end of the NIID-N2 forward primer. These findings indicate that the previously developed NIID-N2 assay is suitable for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 with support from the newly developed NIID-S2 set.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , DNA Primers/genetics , Humans , Japan , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
20.
Biosci Rep ; 41(9)2021 09 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406416

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the global pandemic of the Coronavirus disease in late 2019 (COVID-19). Vaccine development efforts have predominantly been aimed at 'Extra-viral' Spike (S) protein as vaccine vehicles, but there are concerns regarding 'viral immune escape' since multiple mutations may enable the mutated virus strains to escape from immunity against S protein. The 'Intra-viral' Nucleocapsid (N-protein) is relatively conserved among mutant strains of coronaviruses during spread and evolution. Herein, we demonstrate novel vaccine candidates against SARS-CoV-2 by using the whole conserved N-protein or its fragment/peptides. Using ELISA assay, we showed that high titers of specific anti-N antibodies (IgG, IgG1, IgG2a, IgM) were maintained for a reasonably long duration (> 5 months), suggesting that N-protein is an excellent immunogen to stimulate host immune system and robust B-cell activation. We synthesized three peptides located at the conserved regions of N-protein among CoVs. One peptide showed as a good immunogen for vaccination as well. Cytokine arrays on post-vaccination mouse sera showed progressive up-regulation of various cytokines such as IFN-γ and CCL5, suggesting that TH1 associated responses are also stimulated. Furthermore, vaccinated mice exhibited an elevated memory T cells population. Here, we propose an unconventional vaccine strategy targeting the conserved N-protein as an alternative vaccine target for coronaviruses. Moreover, we generated a mouse monoclonal antibody specifically against an epitope shared between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, and we are currently developing the First-in-Class humanized anti-N-protein antibody to potentially treat patients infected by various CoVs in the future.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Murine-Derived , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19 Vaccines/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immune Evasion , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Mice , Models, Animal , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS Virus/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sequence Homology, Amino Acid , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Th1 Cells/immunology , Vaccines, Subunit/administration & dosage , Vaccines, Subunit/genetics , Vaccines, Subunit/immunology
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