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2.
Cell ; 185(9): 1539-1548.e5, 2022 Apr 28.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35429436

Virus-like particle (VLP) and live virus assays were used to investigate neutralizing immunity against Delta and Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variants in 259 samples from 128 vaccinated individuals. Following Delta breakthrough infection, titers against WT rose 57-fold and 3.1-fold compared with uninfected boosted and unboosted individuals, respectively, versus only a 5.8-fold increase and 3.1-fold decrease for Omicron breakthrough infection. Among immunocompetent, unboosted patients, Delta breakthrough infections induced 10.8-fold higher titers against WT compared with Omicron (p = 0.037). Decreased antibody responses in Omicron breakthrough infections relative to Delta were potentially related to a higher proportion of asymptomatic or mild breakthrough infections (55.0% versus 28.6%, respectively), which exhibited 12.3-fold lower titers against WT compared with moderate to severe infections (p = 0.020). Following either Delta or Omicron breakthrough infection, limited variant-specific cross-neutralizing immunity was observed. These results suggest that Omicron breakthrough infections are less immunogenic than Delta, thus providing reduced protection against reinfection or infection from future variants.


COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans
3.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(2): e1009914, 2022 02.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35143587

As novel SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to emerge, it is critical that their potential to cause severe disease and evade vaccine-induced immunity is rapidly assessed in humans and studied in animal models. In early January 2021, a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant designated B.1.429 comprising 2 lineages, B.1.427 and B.1.429, was originally detected in California (CA) and it was shown to have enhanced infectivity in vitro and decreased antibody neutralization by plasma from convalescent patients and vaccine recipients. Here we examine the virulence, transmissibility, and susceptibility to pre-existing immunity for B 1.427 and B 1.429 in the Syrian hamster model. We find that both variants exhibit enhanced virulence as measured by increased body weight loss compared to hamsters infected with ancestral B.1 (614G), with B.1.429 causing the most marked body weight loss among the 3 variants. Faster dissemination from airways to parenchyma and more severe lung pathology at both early and late stages were also observed with B.1.429 infections relative to B.1. (614G) and B.1.427 infections. In addition, subgenomic viral RNA (sgRNA) levels were highest in oral swabs of hamsters infected with B.1.429, however sgRNA levels in lungs were similar in all three variants. This demonstrates that B.1.429 replicates to higher levels than ancestral B.1 (614G) or B.1.427 in the oropharynx but not in the lungs. In multi-virus in-vivo competition experiments, we found that B.1. (614G), epsilon (B.1.427/B.1.429) and gamma (P.1) dramatically outcompete alpha (B.1.1.7), beta (B.1.351) and zeta (P.2) in the lungs. In the nasal cavity, B.1. (614G), gamma, and epsilon dominate, but the highly infectious alpha variant also maintains a moderate size niche. We did not observe significant differences in airborne transmission efficiency among the B.1.427, B.1.429 and ancestral B.1 (614G) and WA-1 variants in hamsters. These results demonstrate enhanced virulence and high relative oropharyngeal replication of the epsilon (B.1.427/B.1.429) variant in Syrian hamsters compared to an ancestral B.1 (614G) variant.


COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Animals , COVID-19/pathology , Disease Models, Animal , Female , Humans , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Mesocricetus , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Virulence
4.
medRxiv ; 2022 Feb 09.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35075459

SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron strains are the most globally relevant variants of concern (VOCs). While individuals infected with Delta are at risk to develop severe lung disease 1 , Omicron infection causes less severe disease, mostly upper respiratory symptoms 2,3 . The question arises whether rampant spread of Omicron could lead to mass immunization, accelerating the end of the pandemic. Here we show that infection with Delta, but not Omicron, induces broad immunity in mice. While sera from Omicron-infected mice only neutralize Omicron, sera from Delta-infected mice are broadly effective against Delta and other VOCs, including Omicron. This is not observed with the WA1 ancestral strain, although both WA1 and Delta elicited a highly pro-inflammatory cytokine response and replicated to similar titers in the respiratory tracts and lungs of infected mice as well as in human airway organoids. Pulmonary viral replication, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, and overall disease progression are markedly reduced with Omicron infection. Analysis of human sera from Omicron and Delta breakthrough cases reveals effective cross-variant neutralization induced by both viruses in vaccinated individuals. Together, our results indicate that Omicron infection enhances preexisting immunity elicited by vaccines, but on its own may not induce broad, cross-neutralizing humoral immunity in unvaccinated individuals.

5.
Nat Microbiol ; 7(2): 277-288, 2022 02.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35013591

Associations between vaccine breakthrough cases and infection by different SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants have remained largely unexplored. Here we analysed SARS-CoV-2 whole-genome sequences and viral loads from 1,373 persons with COVID-19 from the San Francisco Bay Area from 1 February to 30 June 2021, of which 125 (9.1%) were vaccine breakthrough infections. Vaccine breakthrough infections were more commonly associated with circulating antibody-resistant variants carrying ≥1 mutation associated with decreased antibody neutralization (L452R/Q, E484K/Q and/or F490S) than infections in unvaccinated individuals (78% versus 48%, P = 1.96 × 10-8). Differences in viral loads were non-significant between unvaccinated and fully vaccinated cases overall (P = 0.99) and according to lineage (P = 0.09-0.78). Symptomatic vaccine breakthrough infections had comparable viral loads (P = 0.64), whereas asymptomatic breakthrough infections had decreased viral loads (P = 0.023) compared with infections in unvaccinated individuals. In 5 cases with serial samples available for serologic analyses, vaccine breakthrough infections were found to be associated with low or undetectable neutralizing antibody levels attributable to an immunocompromised state or infection by an antibody-resistant lineage. Taken together, our results show that vaccine breakthrough infections are overrepresented by antibody-resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants, and that symptomatic breakthrough infections may be as efficient in spreading COVID-19 as unvaccinated infections, regardless of the infecting lineage.


Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cohort Studies , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Phylogeny , San Francisco/epidemiology , Vaccination , Viral Load/statistics & numerical data , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult
6.
NPJ Vaccines ; 7(1): 9, 2022 Jan 27.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35087081

Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne arbovirus that can cause severe congenital birth defects. The utmost goal of ZIKV vaccines is to prevent both maternal-fetal infection and congenital Zika syndrome. A Zika purified inactivated virus (ZPIV) was previously shown to be protective in non-pregnant mice and rhesus macaques. In this study, we further examined the efficacy of ZPIV against ZIKV infection during pregnancy in immunocompetent C57BL6 mice and common marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus). We showed that, in C57BL/6 mice, ZPIV significantly reduced ZIKV-induced fetal malformations. Protection of fetuses was positively correlated with virus-neutralizing antibody levels. In marmosets, the vaccine prevented vertical transmission of ZIKV and elicited neutralizing antibodies that remained above a previously determined threshold of protection for up to 18 months. These proof-of-concept studies demonstrate ZPIV's protective efficacy is both potent and durable and has the potential to prevent the harmful consequence of ZIKV infection during pregnancy.

8.
JAMA Neurol ; 78(11): 1355-1366, 2021 11 01.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34515766

Importance: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cytologic testing and flow cytometry are insensitive for diagnosing neoplasms of the central nervous system (CNS). Such clinical phenotypes can mimic infectious and autoimmune causes of meningoencephalitis. Objective: To ascertain whether CSF metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) can identify aneuploidy, a hallmark of malignant neoplasms, in difficult-to-diagnose cases of CNS malignant neoplasm. Design, Setting, and Participants: Two case-control studies were performed at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The first study used CSF specimens collected at the UCSF Clinical Laboratories between July 1, 2017, and December 31, 2019, and evaluated test performance in specimens from patients with a CNS malignant neoplasm (positive controls) or without (negative controls). The results were compared with those from CSF cytologic testing and/or flow cytometry. The second study evaluated patients who were enrolled in an ongoing prospective study between April 1, 2014, and July 31, 2019, with presentations that were suggestive of neuroinflammatory disease but who were ultimately diagnosed with a CNS malignant neoplasm. Cases of individuals whose tumors could have been detected earlier without additional invasive testing are discussed. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome measures were the sensitivity and specificity of aneuploidy detection by CSF mNGS. Secondary subset analyses included a comparison of CSF and tumor tissue chromosomal abnormalities and the identification of neuroimaging characteristics that were associated with test performance. Results: Across both studies, 130 participants were included (median [interquartile range] age, 57.5 [43.3-68.0] years; 72 men [55.4%]). The test performance study used 125 residual laboratory CSF specimens from 47 patients with a CNS malignant neoplasm and 56 patients with other neurological diseases. The neuroinflammatory disease study enrolled 12 patients and 17 matched control participants. The sensitivity of the CSF mNGS assay was 75% (95% CI, 63%-85%), and the specificity was 100% (95% CI, 96%-100%). Aneuploidy was detected in 64% (95% CI, 41%-83%) of the patients in the test performance study with nondiagnostic cytologic testing and/or flow cytometry, and in 55% (95% CI, 23%-83%) of patients in the neuroinflammatory disease study who were ultimately diagnosed with a CNS malignant neoplasm. Of the patients in whom aneuploidy was detected, 38 (90.5%) had multiple copy number variations with tumor fractions ranging from 31% to 49%. Conclusions and Relevance: This case-control study showed that CSF mNGS, which has low specimen volume requirements, does not require the preservation of cell integrity, and was orginally developed to diagnose neurologic infections, can also detect genetic evidence of a CNS malignant neoplasm in patients in whom CSF cytologic testing and/or flow cytometry yielded negative results with a low risk of false-positive results.


Biomarkers, Tumor/cerebrospinal fluid , Central Nervous System Neoplasms/cerebrospinal fluid , Central Nervous System Neoplasms/diagnosis , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Adult , Aged , Case-Control Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Metagenomics , Middle Aged , Sensitivity and Specificity , Sequence Analysis, DNA/methods
9.
bioRxiv ; 2021 Aug 25.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34462750

As novel SARS-CoV-2 variants continue to emerge, it is critical that their potential to cause severe disease and evade vaccine-induced immunity is rapidly assessed in humans and studied in animal models. In early January 2021, a novel variant of concern (VOC) designated B.1.429 comprising 2 lineages, B.1.427 and B.1.429, was originally detected in California (CA) and shown to enhance infectivity in vitro and decrease antibody neutralization by plasma from convalescent patients and vaccine recipients. Here we examine the virulence, transmissibility, and susceptibility to pre-existing immunity for B 1.427 and B 1.429 in the Syrian hamster model. We find that both strains exhibit enhanced virulence as measured by increased body weight loss compared to hamsters infected with ancestral B.1 (614G), with B.1.429 causing the most body weight loss among all 3 lineages. Faster dissemination from airways to parenchyma and more severe lung pathology at both early and late stages were also observed with B.1.429 infections relative to B.1. (614G) and B.1.427 infections. In addition, subgenomic viral RNA (sgRNA) levels were highest in oral swabs of hamsters infected with B.1.429, however sgRNA levels in lungs were similar in all three strains. This demonstrates that B.1.429 replicates to higher levels than ancestral B.1 (614G) or B.1.427 in the upper respiratory tract (URT) but not in the lungs. In multi-virus in-vivo competition experiments, we found that epsilon (B.1.427/B.1.429) and gamma (P.1) dramatically outcompete alpha (B.1.1.7), beta (B.1.351) and zeta (P.2) in the lungs. In the URT gamma, and epsilon dominate, but the highly infectious alpha variant also maintains a moderate size niche. We did not observe significant differences in airborne transmission efficiency among the B.1.427, B.1.429 and ancestral B.1 (614G) variants in hamsters. These results demonstrate enhanced virulence and high relative fitness of the epsilon (B.1.427/B.1.429) variant in Syrian hamsters compared to an ancestral B.1 (614G) strain. AUTHOR SUMMARY: In the last 12 months new variants of SARS-CoV-2 have arisen in the UK, South Africa, Brazil, India, and California. New SARS-CoV-2 variants will continue to emerge for the foreseeable future in the human population and the potential for these new variants to produce severe disease and evade vaccines needs to be understood. In this study, we used the hamster model to determine the epsilon (B.1.427/429) SARS-CoV-2 strains that emerged in California in late 2020 cause more severe disease and infected hamsters have higher viral loads in the upper respiratory tract compared to the prior B.1 (614G) strain. These findings are consistent with human clinical data and help explain the emergence and rapid spread of this strain in early 2021.

10.
Sci Adv ; 7(31)2021 Jul.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34330709

Interpretation of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) serosurveillance studies is limited by poorly defined performance of antibody assays over time in individuals with different clinical presentations. We measured antibody responses in plasma samples from 128 individuals over 160 days using 14 assays. We found a consistent and strong effect of disease severity on antibody magnitude, driven by fever, cough, hospitalization, and oxygen requirement. Responses to spike protein versus nucleocapsid had consistently higher correlation with neutralization. Assays varied substantially in sensitivity during early convalescence and time to seroreversion. Variability was dramatic for individuals with mild infection, who had consistently lower antibody titers, with sensitivities at 6 months ranging from 33 to 98% for commercial assays. Thus, the ability to detect previous infection by SARS-CoV-2 is highly dependent on infection severity, timing, and the assay used. These findings have important implications for the design and interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance studies.

11.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 98, 2021 06 01.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34074327

BACKGROUND: Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) of body fluids is an emerging approach to identify occult pathogens in undiagnosed patients. We hypothesized that metagenomic testing can be simultaneously used to detect malignant neoplasms in addition to infectious pathogens. METHODS: From two independent studies (n = 205), we used human data generated from a metagenomic sequencing pipeline to simultaneously screen for malignancies by copy number variation (CNV) detection. In the first case-control study, we analyzed body fluid samples (n = 124) from patients with a clinical diagnosis of either malignancy (positive cases, n = 65) or infection (negative controls, n = 59). In a second verification cohort, we analyzed a series of consecutive cases (n = 81) sent to cytology for malignancy workup that included malignant positives (n = 32), negatives (n = 18), or cases with an unclear gold standard (n = 31). RESULTS: The overall CNV test sensitivity across all studies was 87% (55 of 63) in patients with malignancies confirmed by conventional cytology and/or flow cytometry testing and 68% (23 of 34) in patients who were ultimately diagnosed with cancer but negative by conventional testing. Specificity was 100% (95% CI 95-100%) with no false positives detected in 77 negative controls. In one example, a patient hospitalized with an unknown pulmonary illness had non-diagnostic lung biopsies, while CNVs implicating a malignancy were detectable from bronchoalveolar fluid. CONCLUSIONS: Metagenomic sequencing of body fluids can be used to identify undetected malignant neoplasms through copy number variation detection. This study illustrates the potential clinical utility of a single metagenomic test to uncover the cause of undiagnosed acute illnesses due to cancer or infection using the same specimen.


Body Fluids , Liquid Biopsy/methods , Metagenome , Metagenomics/methods , Neoplasms/diagnosis , Neoplasms/etiology , Body Fluids/microbiology , Case-Control Studies , Computational Biology/methods , Cytogenetic Analysis , Disease Management , Disease Susceptibility , Flow Cytometry , Histocytochemistry , Humans , In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence , Liquid Biopsy/standards , Metagenomics/standards , Neoplasms/metabolism , Reproducibility of Results , Sensitivity and Specificity
12.
Nature ; 596(7870): 103-108, 2021 08.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34153975

Rapidly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants jeopardize antibody-based countermeasures. Although cell culture experiments have demonstrated a loss of potency of several anti-spike neutralizing antibodies against variant strains of SARS-CoV-21-3, the in vivo importance of these results remains uncertain. Here we report the in vitro and in vivo activity of a panel of monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), which correspond to many in advanced clinical development by Vir Biotechnology, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Regeneron and Lilly, against SARS-CoV-2 variant viruses. Although some individual mAbs showed reduced or abrogated neutralizing activity in cell culture against B.1.351, B.1.1.28, B.1.617.1 and B.1.526 viruses with mutations at residue E484 of the spike protein, low prophylactic doses of mAb combinations protected against infection by many variants in K18-hACE2 transgenic mice, 129S2 immunocompetent mice and hamsters, without the emergence of resistance. Exceptions were LY-CoV555 monotherapy and LY-CoV555 and LY-CoV016 combination therapy, both of which lost all protective activity, and the combination of AbbVie 2B04 and 47D11, which showed a partial loss of activity. When administered after infection, higher doses of several mAb cocktails protected in vivo against viruses with a B.1.351 spike gene. Therefore, many-but not all-of the antibody products with Emergency Use Authorization should retain substantial efficacy against the prevailing variant strains of SARS-CoV-2.


Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/pharmacology , Antibodies, Viral/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Humans , Male , Mesocricetus/immunology , Mesocricetus/virology , Mice , Mice, Transgenic , Post-Exposure Prophylaxis , Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vero Cells
13.
Cell ; 184(13): 3426-3437.e8, 2021 06 24.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33991487

We identified an emerging severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant by viral whole-genome sequencing of 2,172 nasal/nasopharyngeal swab samples from 44 counties in California, a state in the western United States. Named B.1.427/B.1.429 to denote its two lineages, the variant emerged in May 2020 and increased from 0% to >50% of sequenced cases from September 2020 to January 2021, showing 18.6%-24% increased transmissibility relative to wild-type circulating strains. The variant carries three mutations in the spike protein, including an L452R substitution. We found 2-fold increased B.1.427/B.1.429 viral shedding in vivo and increased L452R pseudovirus infection of cell cultures and lung organoids, albeit decreased relative to pseudoviruses carrying the N501Y mutation common to variants B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1. Antibody neutralization assays revealed 4.0- to 6.7-fold and 2.0-fold decreases in neutralizing titers from convalescent patients and vaccine recipients, respectively. The increased prevalence of a more transmissible variant in California exhibiting decreased antibody neutralization warrants further investigation.


Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Humans , Mutation/genetics , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods
14.
J Infect Dis ; 224(2): 207-217, 2021 07 15.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33893501

We combined viral genome sequencing with contact tracing to investigate introduction and evolution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 lineages in Santa Clara County, California, from 27 January to 21 March 2020. From 558 persons with coronavirus disease 2019, 101 genomes from 143 available clinical samples comprised 17 lineages, including SCC1 (n = 41), WA1 (n = 9; including the first 2 reported deaths in the United States, with postmortem diagnosis), D614G (n = 4), ancestral Wuhan Hu-1 (n = 21), and 13 others (n = 26). Public health intervention may have curtailed the persistence of lineages that appeared transiently during February and March. By August, only D614G lineages introduced after 21 March were circulating in Santa Clara County.


COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , California/epidemiology , Contact Tracing , Female , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genotype , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Phylogeny , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Travel , Young Adult
15.
Cell ; 184(10): 2587-2594.e7, 2021 05 13.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33861950

The highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2, first identified in the United Kingdom, has gained a foothold across the world. Using S gene target failure (SGTF) and SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing, we investigated the prevalence and dynamics of this variant in the United States (US), tracking it back to its early emergence. We found that, while the fraction of B.1.1.7 varied by state, the variant increased at a logistic rate with a roughly weekly doubling rate and an increased transmission of 40%-50%. We revealed several independent introductions of B.1.1.7 into the US as early as late November 2020, with community transmission spreading it to most states within months. We show that the US is on a similar trajectory as other countries where B.1.1.7 became dominant, requiring immediate and decisive action to minimize COVID-19 morbidity and mortality.


COVID-19 , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , United States/epidemiology
16.
medRxiv ; 2021 Mar 05.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33688675

Serosurveillance studies are critical for estimating SARS-CoV-2 transmission and immunity, but interpretation of results is currently limited by poorly defined variability in the performance of antibody assays to detect seroreactivity over time in individuals with different clinical presentations. We measured longitudinal antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in plasma samples from a diverse cohort of 128 individuals over 160 days using 14 binding and neutralization assays. For all assays, we found a consistent and strong effect of disease severity on antibody magnitude, with fever, cough, hospitalization, and oxygen requirement explaining much of this variation. We found that binding assays measuring responses to spike protein had consistently higher correlation with neutralization than those measuring responses to nucleocapsid, regardless of assay format and sample timing. However, assays varied substantially with respect to sensitivity during early convalescence and in time to seroreversion. Variations in sensitivity and durability were particularly dramatic for individuals with mild infection, who had consistently lower antibody titers and represent the majority of the infected population, with sensitivities often differing substantially from reported test characteristics (e.g., amongst commercial assays, sensitivity at 6 months ranged from 33% for ARCHITECT IgG to 98% for VITROS Total Ig). Thus, the ability to detect previous infection by SARS-CoV-2 is highly dependent on the severity of the initial infection, timing relative to infection, and the assay used. These findings have important implications for the design and interpretation of SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance studies.

17.
medRxiv ; 2021 Mar 09.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33758899

We identified a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant by viral whole-genome sequencing of 2,172 nasal/nasopharyngeal swab samples from 44 counties in California. Named B.1.427/B.1.429 to denote its 2 lineages, the variant emerged around May 2020 and increased from 0% to >50% of sequenced cases from September 1, 2020 to January 29, 2021, exhibiting an 18.6-24% increase in transmissibility relative to wild-type circulating strains. The variant carries 3 mutations in the spike protein, including an L452R substitution. Our analyses revealed 2-fold increased B.1.427/B.1.429 viral shedding in vivo and increased L452R pseudovirus infection of cell cultures and lung organoids, albeit decreased relative to pseudoviruses carrying the N501Y mutation found in the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variants. Antibody neutralization assays showed 4.0 to 6.7-fold and 2.0-fold decreases in neutralizing titers from convalescent patients and vaccine recipients, respectively. The increased prevalence of a more transmissible variant in California associated with decreased antibody neutralization warrants further investigation.

18.
Med (N Y) ; 2(4): 411-422.e5, 2021 04 09.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33521749

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) primarily affects the lungs, but evidence of systemic disease with multi-organ involvement is emerging. Here, we developed a blood test to broadly quantify cell-, tissue-, and organ-specific injury due to COVID-19. METHODS: Our test leverages genome-wide methylation profiling of circulating cell-free DNA in plasma. We assessed the utility of this test to identify subjects with severe disease in two independent, longitudinal cohorts of hospitalized patients. Cell-free DNA profiling was performed on 104 plasma samples from 33 COVID-19 patients and compared to samples from patients with other viral infections and healthy controls. FINDINGS: We found evidence of injury to the lung and liver and involvement of red blood cell progenitors associated with severe COVID-19. The concentration of cell-free DNA correlated with the World Health Organization (WHO) ordinal scale for disease progression and was significantly increased in patients requiring intubation. CONCLUSIONS: This study points to the utility of cell-free DNA as an analyte to monitor and study COVID-19. FUNDING: This work was supported by NIH grants 1DP2AI138242 (to I.D.V.), R01AI146165 (to I.D.V., M.P.C., F.M.M., and J.R.), 1R01AI151059 (to I.D.V.), K08-CA230156 (to W.G.), and R33-AI129455 to C.Y.C., a Synergy award from the Rainin Foundation (to I.D.V.), a SARS-CoV-2 seed grant at Cornell (to I.D.V.), a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada fellowship PGS-D3 (to A.P.C.), and a Burroughs-Wellcome CAMS Award (to W.G.). D.C.V. is supported by a Fonds de la Recherche en Sante du Quebec Clinical Research Scholar Junior 2 award. C.Y.C. is supported by the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation.


COVID-19 , Cell-Free Nucleic Acids , Virus Diseases , Humans , Methylation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
19.
Sci Adv ; 7(6)2021 02.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33536218

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), has emerged as the cause of a global pandemic. We used RNA sequencing to analyze 286 nasopharyngeal (NP) swab and 53 whole-blood (WB) samples from 333 patients with COVID-19 and controls. Overall, a muted immune response was observed in COVID-19 relative to other infections (influenza, other seasonal coronaviruses, and bacterial sepsis), with paradoxical down-regulation of several key differentially expressed genes. Hospitalized patients and outpatients exhibited up-regulation of interferon-associated pathways, although heightened and more robust inflammatory responses were observed in hospitalized patients with more clinically severe illness. Two-layer machine learning-based host classifiers consisting of complete (>1000 genes), medium (<100), and small (<20) gene biomarker panels identified COVID-19 disease with 85.1-86.5% accuracy when benchmarked using an independent test set. SARS-CoV-2 infection has a distinct biosignature that differs between NP swabs and WB and can be leveraged for COVID-19 diagnosis.


COVID-19/diagnosis , Nasopharynx/virology , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Area Under Curve , COVID-19/metabolism , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Gene Library , Humans , Machine Learning , RNA, Viral/blood , ROC Curve , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Transcriptome
20.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 780, 2021 01 12.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33436939

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus motivates diverse diagnostic approaches due to the novel causative pathogen, incompletely understood clinical sequelae, and limited availability of testing resources. Given the variability in viral load across and within patients, absolute viral load quantification directly from crude lysate is important for diagnosis and surveillance. Here, we investigate the use of digital droplet PCR (ddPCR) for SARS-CoV-2 viral load measurement directly from crude lysate without nucleic acid purification. We demonstrate ddPCR accurately quantifies SARS-CoV-2 standards from purified RNA and multiple sample matrices, including commonly utilized universal transport medium (UTM). In addition, we find ddPCR functions robustly at low input viral copy numbers on nasopharyngeal swab specimens stored in UTM without upfront RNA extraction. We also show ddPCR, but not qPCR, from crude lysate shows high concordance with viral load measurements from purified RNA. Our data suggest ddPCR offers advantages to qPCR for SARS-CoV-2 detection with higher sensitivity and robustness when using crude lysate rather than purified RNA as input. More broadly, digital droplet assays provide a potential method for nucleic acid measurement and infectious disease diagnosis with limited sample processing, underscoring the utility of such techniques in laboratory medicine.


COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/virology , Viral Load , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/standards , Humans , Nasal Mucosa/virology , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Sensitivity and Specificity
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