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1.
mBio ; 12(2)2021 04 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206005

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection causing the COVID-19 pandemic calls for immediate interventions to avoid viral transmission, disease progression, and subsequent excessive inflammation and tissue destruction. Primary normal human bronchial epithelial cells are among the first targets of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Here, we show that ColdZyme medical device mouth spray efficiently protected against virus entry, excessive inflammation, and tissue damage. Applying ColdZyme to fully differentiated, polarized human epithelium cultured at an air-liquid interphase (ALI) completely blocked binding of SARS-CoV-2 and increased local complement activation mediated by the virus as well as productive infection of the tissue model. While SARS-CoV-2 infection resulted in exaggerated intracellular complement activation immediately following infection and a drop in transepithelial resistance, these parameters were bypassed by single pretreatment of the tissues with ColdZyme mouth spray. Crucially, our study highlights the importance of testing already evaluated and safe drugs such as ColdZyme mouth spray for maintaining epithelial integrity and hindering SARS-CoV-2 entry within standardized three-dimensional (3D) in vitro models mimicking the in vivo human airway epithelium.IMPORTANCE Although our understanding of COVID-19 continuously progresses, essential questions regarding prophylaxis and treatment remain open. A hallmark of severe SARS-CoV-2 infection is a hitherto-undescribed mechanism leading to excessive inflammation and tissue destruction associated with enhanced pathogenicity and mortality. To tackle the problem at the source, transfer of SARS-CoV-2, subsequent binding, infection, and inflammatory responses have to be avoided. In this study, we used fully differentiated, mucus-producing, and ciliated human airway epithelial cultures to test the efficacy of ColdZyme medical device mouth spray in terms of protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Importantly, we found that pretreatment of the in vitro airway cultures using ColdZyme mouth spray resulted in significantly shielding the epithelial integrity, hindering virus binding and infection, and blocking excessive intrinsic complement activation within the airway cultures. Our in vitro data suggest that ColdZyme mouth spray may have an impact in prevention of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Respiratory Mucosa/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Bronchi/cytology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Complement C3/immunology , Epithelial Cells , Humans , Immunity, Innate/drug effects , Nasal Mucosa/drug effects , Nasal Mucosa/immunology , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Oral Sprays , Respiratory Mucosa/immunology , Respiratory Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Attachment/drug effects
2.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 47, 2021 Mar 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1159813

ABSTRACT

To generate an inexpensive readily manufactured COVID-19 vaccine, we employed the LVS ΔcapB vector platform, previously used to generate potent candidate vaccines against Select Agent diseases tularemia, anthrax, plague, and melioidosis. Vaccines expressing SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins are constructed using the LVS ΔcapB vector, a highly attenuated replicating intracellular bacterium, and evaluated for efficacy in golden Syrian hamsters, which develop severe COVID-19-like disease. Hamsters immunized intradermally or intranasally with a vaccine co-expressing the Membrane and Nucleocapsid proteins and challenged 5 weeks later with a high dose of SARS-CoV-2 are protected against severe weight loss and lung pathology and show reduced viral loads in the oropharynx and lungs. Protection correlates with anti-Nucleocapsid antibody. This potent vaccine should be safe; inexpensive; easily manufactured, stored, and distributed; and given the high homology between Membrane and Nucleocapsid proteins of SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, potentially serve as a universal vaccine against the SARS subset of pandemic causing ß-coronaviruses.

3.
Am J Surg Pathol ; 45(1): 14-24, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1015416

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is caused by a newly discovered coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Although SARS-CoV-2 is visualized on electron microscopy, there is an increasing demand for widely applicable techniques to visualize viral components within tissue specimens. Viral protein and RNA can be detected on formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and in situ hybridization (ISH), respectively. Herein, we evaluate the staining performance of ISH for SARS-CoV-2 and an IHC directed at the SARS-CoV nucleocapsid protein and compare these results to a gold standard, tissue quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We evaluated FFPE sections from 8 COVID-19 autopsies, including 19 pulmonary and 39 extrapulmonary samples including the heart, liver, kidney, small intestine, skin, adipose tissue, and bone marrow. We performed RNA-ISH for SARS-CoV-2 on all cases with IHC for SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 qRT-PCR performed on selected cases. Lungs from 37 autopsies performed before the COVID-19 pandemic served as negative controls. The ISH and IHC slides were reviewed by 4 observers to record a consensus opinion. Selected ISH and IHC slides were also reviewed by 4 independent observers. Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 was identified on both the IHC and ISH platforms. Within the postmortem lung, detected viral protein and RNA were often extracellular, predominantly within hyaline membranes in patients with diffuse alveolar damage. Among individual cases, there was regional variation in the amount of detectable virus in lung samples. Intracellular viral RNA and protein was localized to pneumocytes and immune cells. Viral RNA was detected on RNA-ISH in 13 of 19 (68%) pulmonary FFPE blocks from patients with COVID-19. Viral protein was detected on IHC in 8 of 9 (88%) pulmonary FFPE blocks from patients with COVID-19, although in 5 cases the stain was interpreted as equivocal. From the control cohort, FFPE blocks from all 37 patients were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA-ISH, whereas 5 of 13 cases were positive on IHC. Collectively, when compared with qRT-PCR on individual tissue blocks, the sensitivity and specificity for ISH was 86.7% and 100%, respectively, while those for IHC were 85.7% and 53.3%, respectively. The interobserver variability for ISH ranged from moderate to almost perfect, whereas that for IHC ranged from slight to moderate. All extrapulmonary samples from COVID-19-positive cases were negative for SARS-CoV-2 by ISH, IHC, and qRT-PCR. SARS-CoV-2 is detectable on both RNA-ISH and nucleocapsid IHC. In the lung, viral RNA and nucleocapsid protein is predominantly extracellular and within hyaline membranes in some cases, while intracellular locations are more prominent in others. The intracellular virus is detected within pneumocytes, bronchial epithelial cells, and possibly immune cells. The ISH platform is more specific, easier to analyze and the interpretation is associated with the improved interobserver agreement. ISH, IHC, and qRT-PCR failed to detect the virus in the heart, liver, and kidney.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , Immunohistochemistry , In Situ Hybridization , Lung/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Phosphoproteins/analysis , Predictive Value of Tests , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reproducibility of Results
4.
Front Mol Biosci ; 7: 197, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-732872

ABSTRACT

Here we report our perspective on applying GapmeR technology in combination with recombinant angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in the treatment of COVID-19 patients. GapmeR is a cell-permeating antisense single-stranded DNA molecule that can be designed to specifically target intracellular severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Once internalized into host cells, such as lung alveolar cells, GapmeR molecules can bind to the viral RNA. This RNA/DNA hybrid will then be degraded by the RNase H enzyme abundantly present in the host cells. GapmeRs can be delivered to COVID-19 patients through inhalation or via nebulization. SARS-CoV-2-targeted GapmeR can also be given to frontline healthcare workers as a prophylactic protection. The recombinant ACE2 protein, the efficacy of which is being evaluated in clinical trials, will bind to the spike (S) glycoprotein of extracellular SARS-CoV-2 and potentially block viral infectivity. We propose that combining inhalable SARS-CoV-2-targeted GapmeRs with recombinant ACE2 could provide a viable and rapidly implementable more effective therapeutic approach for eradicating SARS-CoV-2 and save millions of lives.

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