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1.
Preprint in English | PUBMED | ID: ppcovidwho-293057

ABSTRACT

Background: To reduce the coronavirus disease burden in England, along with many other countries, the Government implemented a package of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that have also impacted other transmissible infectious diseases such as norovirus. It is unclear what future norovirus disease incidence is likely to look like upon lifting these restrictions. Methods: Here we use a mathematical model of norovirus fitted to community incidence data in England to project forward expected incidence based on contact surveys that have been collected throughout 2020-2021. Results: We report that susceptibility to norovirus infection has likely increased between March 2020 to mid-2021. Depending upon assumptions of future contact patterns incidence of norovirus that is similar to pre-pandemic levels or an increase beyond what has been previously reported is likely to occur once restrictions are lifted. Should adult contact patterns return to 80% of pre-pandemic levels the incidence of norovirus will be similar to previous years. If contact patterns return to pre-pandemic levels there is a potential for the expected annual incidence to be up to 2-fold larger than in a typical year. The age-specific incidence is similar across all ages. Conclusions: Continued national surveillance for endemic diseases such as norovirus will be essential after NPIs are lifted to allow healthcare services to adequately prepare for a potential increase in cases and hospital pressures beyond what is typically experienced.

4.
Mbio ; 12(2):9, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1434904

ABSTRACT

The angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor is a major severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) host range determinant, and understanding SARS-CoV-2-ACE2 interactions will provide important insights into COVID-19 pathogenesis and animal model development. SARS-CoV-2 cannot infect mice due to incompatibility between its receptor binding domain and the murine ACE2 receptor. Through molecular modeling and empirical in vitro validation, we identified 5 key amino acid differences between murine and human ACE2 that mediate SARS-CoV-2 infection, generating a chimeric humanized murine ACE2. Additionally, we examined the ability of the humanized murine ACE2 receptor to permit infection by an additional preemergent group 2B coronavirus, WIV-1, providing evidence for the potential pan-virus capabilities of this chimeric receptor. Finally, we predicted the ability of these determinants to inform host range identification of preemergent coronaviruses by evaluating hot spot contacts between SARS-CoV-2 and additional potential host receptors. Our results identify residue determinants that mediate coronavirus receptor usage and host range for application in SARSCoV-2 and emerging coronavirus animal model development. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) is a major public health threat and one of two related coronaviruses that have caused epidemics in modern history. A method of screening potential infectible hosts for preemergent and future emergent coronaviruses would aid in mounting rapid response and intervention strategies during future emergence events. Here, we evaluated determinants of SARS-CoV-2 receptor interactions, identifying key changes that enable or prevent infection. The analysis detailed in this study will aid in the development of model systems to screen emergent coronaviruses as well as treatments to counteract infections.

5.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ; 203(9):1, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1407332
6.
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine ; 203(9), 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1277575

ABSTRACT

RATIONALE While SARS-CoV-2 viral infection, acute lung injury, and inflammation resolve in a timely manner in most individuals, there is growing clinical evidence of long-term sequelae of COVID-19 in some patients, particularly in vulnerable populations. We established a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection using a mouseadapted virus and a standard laboratory strain of mice that displays age-dependent disease severity. In comparison to young BALB/c mice, old BALB/c mice display increased morbidity and mortality when infected with SARS-CoV-2 MA-10, and most succumb to acute infection or reach the criteria for humane euthanasia within 7 days of infection. We examined the lung pathology of older BALB/c mice that survive acute infection to determine the potential long-term pulmonary manifestations of COVID-19 in vulnerable populations such as the elderly.METHODS Mice were randomized and assigned to specific harvest days spanning 30 days prior to the start of the experiment. BALB/cAnNHsd mice were intranasally infected with SARS-CoV-2 MA-10 and clinical signs of disease were monitored, including weight loss and lung function via whole body plethysmography. At each time point, animals were sacrificed and lung lobes were collected for viral titer and histopathological analyses. Lung viral titers of the caudal right lobe were determined by plaque assay. Histopathology of the left lobe was assessed utilizing formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded specimens.RESULTSIn comparison to 10-week-old BALB/c mice, 1-year-old BALB/c mice were highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 MA-10, displaying high morbidity and mortality, even requiring a lower viral dose than young BALB/c mice to yield similar kinetics of weight loss and clinical signs. In some experiments, survival of older mice was low as ∼15% at day 7. For older mice surviving to days 15 and 30 post infection, acute lung injury resolved but there were regionally extensive consolidated areas containing proliferative smooth muscle actin-positive fibroblasts, collagen accumulation, and admixed immune cells with formation of tertiary lymphoid organs. Mice displaying this pulmonary fibroproliferative response did not have detectable levels of virus in the lung.CONCLUSIONSThis mouse adapted SARS-CoV-2 model reveals a response in older mice surviving acute lung injury with robust chronic inflammation and tissue remodeling resulting in pulmonary fibrosis despite viral clearance of the tissue. This offers a model to investigate mediators driving the fibroproliferative and inflammatory responses that may be a COVID-19 sequela and cause persistent pulmonary dysfunction in some vulnerable patients such as the elderly.

7.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-9016

ABSTRACT

Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 have demonstrated clinical benefit in cases of mild to moderate SARS-CoV-2 infection, substantially reducing the risk for hospitalization and severe disease1-4. Treatment generally requires the administration of high doses of these mAbs with limited efficacy in preventing disease complications or mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients5. Here we report the development and evaluation of Fc-optimized anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs with superior potency to prevent or treat COVID-19 disease. In several animal models of COVID-19 disease6,7, we demonstrate that selective engagement of activating FcgammaRs results in improved efficacy in both preventing and treating disease-induced weight loss and mortality, significantly reducing the dose required to confer full protection upon SARS-CoV-2 challenge and treatment of pre-infected animals. Our results highlight the importance of FcgammaR pathways in driving antibody-mediated antiviral immunity, while excluding any pathogenic or disease-enhancing effects of FcgammaR engagement of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies upon infection. These findings have important implications for the development of Fc-engineered mAbs with optimal Fc effector function and improved clinical efficacy against COVID-19 disease.

8.
Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 29(1):135-136, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1250916

ABSTRACT

Background: We previously showed that β-D-N4-hydroxycytidine (rNHC) and its orally bioavailable prodrug, molnupiravir, acts as a broad-spectrum antiviral against coronaviruses in vitro and in vivo through lethal mutagenesis. Molnupiravir is currently in clinical trials for the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, there are concerns that rNHC could be metabolized to dNHC and cause mutations in host cells. We examined the in vitro antiviral and mammalian cell mutagenic activity of three different nucleoside/base analogs, rNHC, favipiravir, and ribavirin, on SARS-CoV-2. We further examined the in vitro genotoxicity of a panel of antiviral nucleotide/nucleoside analogs, including rNHC, using a modified HPRT gene mutation assay. Methods: A549-hACE2 cells were infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the presence of nucleoside analogs. After 48 hours, the supernatants were collected and viral RNA was extracted. We constructed multiplexed-Primer ID libraries from viral RNA and sequenced them using MiSeq. HPRT knockout assays were performed using CHO-K1 cells treated with a panel of nucleotide/nucleoside analogs for 32 days. After 6-thioguanine selection, resistant cell colonies were counted as a measure of HPRT knockout mutations in host cells, and HPRT mRNA was sequenced from selected colonies. Results: rNHC showed dose-dependent antiviral and mutagenic effects against SAR-CoV-2 in vitro. In the 10 μM group, we found 7-fold and 14-fold increases in the overall substitution rate and the C to U mutation rate, respectively. The HPRT assay showed an rNHC dose-dependent increase in the number of resistant colonies with HPRT gene mutations. Other analogs showed no significant increase in the number of 6-thioG resistant colonies except for a slight increase with favipiravir (Fig 1a). Most colonies had missense substitutions or frame-shift deletions within HPRT mRNA, with most being distinct. Conclusion: rNHC showed a dose-dependent inhibition and mutagenic effect of SAR-CoV-2 in vitro. However, rNHC would be expected to be metabolized into the deoxynucleotide pool (by host RNR), resulting in DNA mutation of dividing mammalian cells. We demonstrated such mutagenic potential in a simple mammalian cell detection scheme. Molnupiravir has considerable potential as an orally bioavailable direct acting antiviral against SARS-CoV2 early in infection, especially in high risk patients. However, clinical use should be carefully considered in light of its potential mutagenic effects on the host.

9.
Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 29(1):304-305, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1250563

ABSTRACT

Background: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 viral variants threatens current anti-viral and preventative strategies, including monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. Critically, the limited supply of vaccines and the complex logistics surrounding the delivery of infusion-based therapies herald the need for an easily produced, distributed, and specific direct-acting antiviral for COVID-19 that limits progression of illness and ideally prevents transmission. Methods: The efficacy of molnupiravir was evaluated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, Phase 2 dose-range finding study using realtime polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and virus isolation was conducted at 11 study sites in the U.S. Participants were randomized if they had signs or symptoms of COVID-19 within 7 days, and a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR within 4 days of enrollment. Initially, participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive 200 mg molnupiravir or placebo twice daily for 5 days. Subsequently, in the dose-range finding portion of the study, participants were randomized in a 3:1 ratio to receive 200, 400, or 800 mg molnupiravir or placebo twice daily for 5 days. Nasopharyngeal swabs were analyzed from 175 subjects at enrollment, Day 3, and Day 5 for SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Samples were stored at 4°C for up to 72 hours, shipped refrigerated, aliquoted, and stored at -80°C until testing. Vero E6 cell monolayers were infected with the sample for 1 hour. Culture medium was analyzed for viral load at 2 and 5 days post-infection by RT-PCR. Results: Seventy-eight (45%) participants, median 4.62 days (min. 1.40, max. 7.54) from symptom onset, had a positive SARS-CoV-2 culture at enrollment (52 on active and 26 on placebo). The percentage of participants with a positive viral culture at enrollment who were positive on Day 3 was 20.4% on active and 28% on placebo (p = 0.56). At day 5, 24% of placebo participants were culturethe positive compared to none treated with molnupiravir (p = 0.001). Between treatment, comparisons were performed using Fisher's exact test. Conclusion: This is the first demonstration of reduced infectiousness by antiviral therapy in people with SARS-2 infection. This simple, short-course oral therapy may benefit individuals and public health and is unlikely to be impacted by spike-protein variants.

10.
Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 29(1):237-238, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1250195

ABSTRACT

Background: SARS-CoV-2 vaccines have shown promising efficacy in human adult trials, but immunogenicity and efficacy studies in the pediatric population are lagging behind. Here we evaluated the immunogenicity of two prefusion stabilized Spike protein (S-2P) vaccine platforms in infant Rhesus Macaques (RM): an adjuvanted S-P2 subunit and mRNA vaccine. Methods: Infant RMs (2.5 months-old) were immunized intramuscularly at weeks (wks) 0 & 4 with 15 μg S-P2 adjuvanted with the toll-like receptor 7/8 agonist 3M-052 in stable emulsion (n=8), or 30 μg of S-P2 mRNA in lipid nanoparticles (mRNA-LNP, Moderna) (n=8). Blood was collected at wks 0, 4, 6, 8, & 14. Plasma (Spike[S]) and salivary (receptor binding domain [RBD]) IgG responses were measured by ELISA and epitope specificity by multiparameter bead array. Antibody function was assessed by an ACE2 blocking assay and neutralization by pseudovirus (PSVA) and whole virus neutralization assays, both with D614G. Flow cytometry was applied to measure S-specific memory B cells using fluorochrome-conjugated recombinant S, and S-specific IL-2, IL-17, TNF-α, or IFN-γ producing T cells after stimulation with overlapping peptides of full-length S. Results: No adverse effects were observed with either vaccine. Plasma S-specific IgG responses were induced by both vaccines at wk 4, increased after the second dose, and persisted through wk 14 (Fig 1A). All S regions were targeted by plasma IgG (Fig 1B), and RBD-specific IgG was also detected in saliva. Serum antibodies achieved >95% ACE2 blocking by wk 6 (1:10 dilution), remaining >90% at wk 14. Geometric mean ID50 titers of neutralizing antibodies in the PSVA exceeded 10[3] from wk 6 through wk 14 (Fig 1C) and strongly correlated with whole virion neutralization (p<0.0001). In the protein vaccine group, S-specific CD27+ memory B cells peaked at 3.1% (mean) of total memory B cells;and S-specific CD4+ T cell responses were dominated by IL-17 and IFN-γ Mean S-specific CD27+ B cells peaked at 0.9% total memory B cells in mRNA vaccinees and S-specific CD4+ T cells produced IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-17, or TNF-α. Conclusion: The S-2P-3M-052-SE and mRNA-LNP vaccines were well-tolerated and highly immunogenic in infant Rhesus Macaques, with persistent IgG binding and neutralization responses that are comparable to those reported for adult RMs and humans. Our results provide proof-of-concept that a pediatric SARS-CoV-2 vaccine could induce long term protection against SARS-CoV-2.

11.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-8848

ABSTRACT

The nose is the portal for SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting the nose as a target for topical antiviral therapies. Because detergents are virucidal, Johnson and Johnson's Baby Shampoo (J&J) was tested as a topical virucidal agent in SARS-CoV-2 infected subjects. Twice daily irrigation of J&J in hypertonic saline, hypertonic saline alone, or no intervention were compared (n = 24/group). Despite demonstrated safety and robust efficacy in in vitro virucidal assays, J&J irrigations had no impact on viral titers or symptom scores in treated subjects relative to controls. Similar findings were observed administering J&J to infected cultured human airway epithelia using protocols mimicking the clinical trial regimen. Additional studies of cultured human nasal epithelia demonstrated that lack of efficacy reflected pharmacokinetic failure, with the most virucidal J&J detergent components rapidly absorbed from nasal surfaces. This study emphasizes the need to assess the pharmacokinetic characteristics of virucidal agents on airway surfaces to guide clinical trials.

12.
Epidemiol Infect ; 148: e267, 2020 08 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-912841

ABSTRACT

Previous research on respiratory infection transmission among university students has primarily focused on influenza. In this study, we explore potential transmission events for multiple respiratory pathogens in a social contact network of university students. University students residing in on-campus housing (n = 590) were followed for the development of influenza-like illness for 10-weeks during the 2012-13 influenza season. A contact network was built using weekly self-reported contacts, class schedules, and housing information. We considered a transmission event to have occurred if students were positive for the same pathogen and had a network connection within a 14-day period. Transmitters were individuals who had onset date prior to their infected social contact. Throat and nasal samples were analysed for multiple viruses by RT-PCR. Five viruses were involved in 18 transmission events (influenza A, parainfluenza virus 3, rhinovirus, coronavirus NL63, respiratory syncytial virus). Transmitters had higher numbers of co-infections (67%). Identified transmission events had contacts reported in small classes (33%), dormitory common areas (22%) and dormitory rooms (17%). These results suggest that targeting person-to-person interactions, through measures such as isolation and quarantine, could reduce transmission of respiratory infections on campus.


Subject(s)
Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , Social Networking , Students , Virus Diseases/transmission , Coinfection/virology , Female , Housing , Humans , Male , Michigan , Respiratory Tract Infections/transmission , Universities
13.
Journal of Immunology ; 204(1), 2020.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-881910

ABSTRACT

Immune homeostasis is the state where the immune system maintains stability in the absence of insult. Much of the analysis of immune homeostasis has focused on systemic immunity, but it is also likely to be important in an organ specific manner. There is evidence that homeostatic immunity can affect subsequent responses to infection or vaccination. Since the lungs are a major site of infection, we used the Collaborative Cross (CC) mouse genetic reference population to study the genetic regulation of the breadth of baseline immune cell populations in the lung and identify loci regulating these cells at the steady state. We found that all immune cell populations measured showed strong genetic (i.e. strain-specific) variation in cell type abundances. We identified 12 quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with variation in 12 immune cell populations or the relationships between cell populations. Given the role of various immune cells in the lungs during respiratory virus pathogenesis, we asked whether any of the mapped QTL correlated with influenza A virus (IAV) or Severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) disease following infection in the same strains of mice. Notably, a locus we mapped for baseline abundance of CD8+ T cells in the lungs was associated with peak weight loss following IAV infection. Additionally, a locus mapped for variation in Ly6C+ monocyte/macrophage abundance was associated with SARS-CoV titer at days 2 and 4 post-infection. These data suggest that abundance of lung leukocyte populations prior to infection could serve as predictors of immune responses to respiratory viruses.

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