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2.
PLoS One ; 16(4): e0245423, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183618

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In order to identify an inexpensive yet highly stable SARS-CoV-2 collection device as an alternative to foam swabs stored in transport media, both contrived ("surrogate") CoV-positive and patient-collected spun polyester swabs stored in dry tubes were evaluated for time- and temperature-stability using qPCR. METHODS: Surrogate specimens were prepared by combining multiple, residual SARS-CoV-2-positive clinical specimens and diluting to near-LOD levels in either porcine or human mucus ("matrix"), inoculating foam or polyester nasal swabs, and sealing in dry tubes. Swabs were then subjected to one of three temperature excursions: (1) 4°C for up to 72 hours; (2) 40°C for 12 hours, followed by 32°C for up to 60 hours; or (3) multiple freeze-thaw cycles (-20°C). The stability of extracted SARS-CoV-2 RNA for each condition was evaluated by qPCR. Separate usability studies for the dry polyester swab-based HealthPulse@home COVID-19 Specimen Collection Kit were later conducted in both adult and pediatric populations. RESULTS: Polyester swabs stored dry demonstrated equivalent performance to foam swabs for detection of low and moderate SARS-CoV-2 viral loads. Mimicking warm- and cold- climate shipment, surrogate specimens were stable following either 72 hours of a high-temperature excursion or two freeze-thaw cycles. In addition, usability studies comprised of self-collected patient specimens yielded sufficient material for molecular testing, as demonstrated by RNase P detection. CONCLUSIONS: Polyester nasal swabs stored in dry collection tubes offer a robust and inexpensive self-collection method for SARS-CoV-2 viral load testing, as viral RNA remains stable under conditions required for home collection and shipment to the laboratory.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Specimen Handling/methods , Animals , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Nasopharynx/virology , Polyesters , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Swine
3.
Cell Res ; 30(12): 1078-1087, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-912896

ABSTRACT

Silent hypoxia has emerged as a unique feature of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). In this study, we show that mucins are accumulated in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF) of COVID-19 patients and are upregulated in the lungs of severe respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-infected mice and macaques. We find that induction of either interferon (IFN)-ß or IFN-γ upon SARS-CoV-2 infection results in activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) signaling through an IDO-Kyn-dependent pathway, leading to transcriptional upregulation of the expression of mucins, both the secreted and membrane-bound, in alveolar epithelial cells. Consequently, accumulated alveolar mucus affects the blood-gas barrier, thus inducing hypoxia and diminishing lung capacity, which can be reversed by blocking AhR activity. These findings potentially explain the silent hypoxia formation in COVID-19 patients, and suggest a possible intervention strategy by targeting the AhR pathway.


Subject(s)
Interferons/metabolism , Mucus/metabolism , Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon/metabolism , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Epithelial Cells/cytology , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Epithelial Cells/virology , Humans , Hypoxia , Interferon-beta/pharmacology , Interferon-gamma/pharmacology , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Macaca , Mice , Mice, Inbred ICR , Mice, Transgenic , Mucins/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Signal Transduction , Up-Regulation/drug effects
4.
New Microbes New Infect ; 37: 100756, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-805707

ABSTRACT

Dornase alfa, the recombinant form of the human DNase I enzyme, breaks down neutrophil extracellular traps (NET) that include a vast amount of DNA fragments, histones, microbicidal proteins and oxidant enzymes released from necrotic neutrophils in the highly viscous mucus of cystic fibrosis patients. Dornase alfa has been used for decades in patients with cystic fibrosis to reduce the viscoelasticity of respiratory tract secretions, to decrease the severity of respiratory tract infections, and to improve lung function. Previous studies have linked abnormal NET formations to lung diseases, especially to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). It is well known that novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia progresses to ARDS and even multiple organ failure. High blood neutrophil levels are an early indicator of COVID-19 and predict severe respiratory diseases. Also it is reported that mucus structure in COVID-19 is very similar to that in cystic fibrosis due to the accumulation of excessive NET in the lungs. In this study, we showed the recovery of three individuals with COVID-19 after including dornase alfa in their treatment. We followed clinical improvement in the radiological analysis (two of three cases), oxygen saturation (Spo2), respiratory rate, disappearance of dyspnoea, coughing and a decrease in NET formation and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral load after the treatment. Also here, we share our preliminary results suggesting that dornase alfa has an anti-viral effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection in a green monkey kidney cell line, Vero, and a bovine kidney cell line, MDBK, without determined cytotoxicity on healthy peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

5.
Microb Risk Anal ; 16: 100140, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-779468

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infect the human respiratory tract. A prototype thermodynamic equilibrium model is presented here for the probability of the virions getting through the mucus barrier and infecting epithelial cells based on the binding affinity (Kmucin) of the virions to mucin molecules in the mucus and parameters for binding and infection of the epithelial cell. Both MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 bind strongly to their cellular receptors, DDP4 and ACE2, respectively, and infect very efficiently both bronchus and lung ex vivo cell cultures which are not protected by a mucus barrier. According to the model, mucin binding could reduce the infectivity for MERS-CoV compared to SARS-CoV-2 by at least 100-fold depending on the magnitude of Kmucin. Specifically Kmucin values up to 106 M-1 have little protective effect and thus the mucus barrier would not remove SARS-CoV-2 which does not bind to sialic acids (SA) and hence would have a very low Kmucin. Depending on the viability of individual virions, the ID50 for SARS-CoV-2 is estimated to be ~500 virions (viral RNA genomic copies) representing 1 to 2 pfu. In contrast MERS-CoV binds both SA and human mucin and a Kmucin of 5 × 109 M-1 as reported for lectins would mop up 99.83% of the virus according to the model with the ID50 for MERS-CoV estimated to be ~295,000 virions (viral RNA genomic copies) representing 819 pfu. This could in part explain why MERS-CoV is poorly transmitted from human to human compared to SARS-CoV-2. Some coronaviruses use an esterase to escape the mucin, although MERS-CoV does not. Instead, it is shown here that "clustering" of virions into single aerosol particles as recently reported for rotavirus in extracellular vesicles could provide a co-operative mechanism whereby MERS-CoV could theoretically overcome the mucin barrier locally and a small proportion of 10 µm diameter aerosol particles could contain ~70 virions based on reported maximum levels in saliva. Although recent evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 initiates infection in the nasal epithelium, the thermodynamic equilibrium models presented here could complement published approaches for modelling the physical entry of pathogens to the lung based on the fate and transport of the pathogen particles (as for anthrax spores) to develop a dose-response model for aerosol exposure to respiratory viruses. This would enable the infectivity through aerosols to be defined based on molecular parameters as well as physical parameters. The role of the spike proteins of MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 binding to SA and heparan sulphate, respectively, may be to aid non-specific attachment to the host cell. It is proposed that a high Kmucin is the cost for subsequent binding of MERS-CoV to SAs on the cell surface to partially overcome the unfavourable entropy of immobilisation as the virus adopts the correct orientation for spike protein interactions with its protein cellular receptor DPP4.

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