Pediatric COVID-19 (pCOVID-19) is rarely severe, however a minority of SARS-CoV-2-infected children may develop MIS-C, a multisystem inflammatory syndrome with significant morbidity. In this longitudinal multi-institutional study, we used multi-omics to identify novel time- and treatment-related immunopathological signatures in children with COVID-19 (n=105) and MIS-C (n=76). pCOVID-19 was characterized by enhanced type I IFN responses, and MIS-C by type II IFN- and NF-κB dependent responses, matrisome activation, and increased levels of Spike protein. Reduced levels of IL-33 in pCOVID-19, and of CCL22 in MIS-C suggested suppression of Th2 responses. Expansion of TRBV11-2 T-cell clonotypes in MIS-C was associated with inflammation and signatures of T-cell activation, and was reversed by glucocorticoids. The association of MIS-C with the combination of HLA A*02, B*35, C*04 alleles suggests genetic susceptibility. MIS-C B cells showed higher mutation load. Use of IVIG was identified as a confounding factor in the interpretation of autoantibody levels.
Where did the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) come from? Did it spread to ‘patient zero’ through proactive human-animal contact? Why did humans faced an increasing number of zoonotic diseases in the past few decades? In this article, we propose a new theory by which human pollution such as artificial lighting and noise accentuate pathogen shedding from bats and other wild habitants in urban environments. This theory differs from the current hypothesis that wildlife trades and bushmeat consumption largely contribute to the spillover of zoonotic pathogens to humans. As natural reservoirs, bats harbor the greatest number of zoonotic viruses among all mammalian orders, while they also have a unique immune system to maintain functioning. Some bat species roost in proximity with human settlements, including urban communities and surrounding areas that are potentially most impacted by anthropogenic activities. We review the behavioral changes of wild habitants, including bats and other species, caused by environmental pollution such as artificial lighting and noise pollution, with focus on the spillover of zoonotic pathogens to humans. We found that there is a strong positive correlation between environmental stress and the behavior and health conditions of wild species, including bats. Specifically, artificial lighting attracts insectivorous bats to congregate around streetlights, resulting in changes in their diets and improved likelihood of close contact with humans and animals. Moreover, many bat species avoid lit areas by expending more energies on commuting and foraging. Noise pollution has similar effects on bat behavior. Bats exposed to chronic noise pollution have weakened immune functions, increased viral shedding, and declined immunity during pregnancy, lactation, and vulnerable periods due to noised-induced stress. Other wild species exposed to artificial lighting and noise pollution also show stress-induced behaviors and deteriorated health. Overall, evidence supports our hypothesis that artificial lighting and noise pollution have been overlooked as long-term contributors to the spillover of zoonotic pathogens to humans in urban environments.
In a side-by-side comparison of evolutionary dynamics between the 2019/2020 SARS-CoV-2 and the 2003 SARS-CoV, we were surprised to find that SARS-CoV-2 resembles SARS-CoV in the late phase of the 2003 epidemic after SARS-CoV had developed several advantageous adaptations for human transmission. Our observations suggest that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission to an extent similar to late epidemic SARS-CoV. However, no precursors or branches of evolution stemming from a less human-adapted SARS-CoV-2-like virus have been detected. The sudden appearance of a highly infectious SARS-CoV-2 presents a major cause for concern that should motivate stronger international efforts to identify the source and prevent near future re-emergence. Any existing pools of SARS-CoV-2 progenitors would be particularly dangerous if similarly well adapted for human transmission. To look for clues regarding intermediate hosts, we analyze recent key findings relating to how SARS-CoV-2 could have evolved and adapted for human transmission, and examine the environmental samples from the Wuhan Huanan seafood market. Importantly, the market samples are genetically identical to human SARS-CoV-2 isolates and were therefore most likely from human sources. We conclude by describing and advocating for measured and effective approaches implemented in the 2002-2004 SARS outbreaks to identify lingering population(s) of progenitor virus.
Broad-spectrum antiviral platforms that can decrease or inhibit viral infection would alleviate many threats to global public health. Nonetheless, effective technologies of this kind are still not available. Here, we describe a programmable icosahedral canvas for the self-assembly of icosahedral shells that have viral trapping and antiviral properties. Programmable triangular building blocks constructed from DNA assemble with high yield into various shell objects with user-defined geometries and apertures. We have created shells with molecular masses ranging from 43 to 925 MDa (8 to 180 subunits) and with internal cavity diameters of up to 280 nm. The shell interior can be functionalized with virus-specific moieties in a modular fashion. We demonstrate this virus-trapping concept by engulfing hepatitis B virus core particles and adeno-associated viruses. We demonstrate the inhibition of hepatitis B virus core interactions with surfaces in vitro and the neutralization of infectious adeno-associated viruses exposed to human cells.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection continues to be a serious global public health threat. The 3C-like protease (3CLpro) is a virus protease encoded by SARS-CoV-2, which is essential for virus replication. We have previously reported a series of small-molecule 3CLpro inhibitors effective for inhibiting replication of human coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture and in animal models. Here we generated a series of deuterated variants of a 3CLpro inhibitor, GC376, and evaluated the antiviral effect against SARS-CoV-2. The deuterated GC376 displayed potent inhibitory activity against SARS-CoV-2 in the enzyme- and the cell-based assays. The K18-hACE2 mice develop mild to lethal infection commensurate with SARS-CoV-2 challenge doses and were proposed as a model for efficacy testing of antiviral agents. We treated lethally infected mice with a deuterated derivative of GC376. Treatment of K18-hACE2 mice at 24 h postinfection with a derivative (compound 2) resulted in increased survival of mice compared to vehicle-treated mice. Lung virus titers were decreased, and histopathological changes were ameliorated in compound 2–treated mice compared to vehicle-treated mice. Structural investigation using high-resolution crystallography illuminated binding interactions of 3CLpro of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV with deuterated variants of GC376. Taken together, deuterated GC376 variants have excellent potential as antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2.
In this self published report I compare comprehensive COVID19 antibody signatures after each of the vaccines and natural infection. The results are then used to examine our future with the now endemic virus.All data is open source. The Tableau Public dashboards can be freely downloaded, complete with the embedded data.The samples used to generate the data came from the Cure-Hub antibody survey, which is currently enrolling. You can sign up for an antibody test and participate in the one of a kind citizen science project at Cure-Hub.com.Report Link: SARS-CoV-2 Vaccines, Breakthrough Infections and Lasting Natural Immunity (cure-hub.com)
This self published report compares antibody neutralization of the SARS-CoV-2 WT and Delta variants. In total there are samples from 49 individuals who have received either of the approved vaccines or recovered from natural infection.Data is open source an the Tableau Public dashboards can be freely downloaded.At Cure-Hub we are now exlusively testing antibody neutralization against Delta. This is because Delta is the only variant circulating in the USA. If you would like an antibody test and to participate in this one of a kind citizen science project, then sign up at Cure-Hub.com.Report Link: Antibody Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 Wild Type and Delta Variants (cure-hub.com)
Zika virus (ZIKV) is an arbovirus belonging to Flaviviridae family that emerged as a global health threat due to its association with microcephaly and other severe neurological complications, including Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) and Congenital Zika Syndrome (CZS). ZIKV disease has been linked to neuroinflammation and neuronal cell death. Neurodegenerative processes may be exacerbated by metabolites produced by the kynurenine pathway, an important pathway for the degradation of tryptophan, which induces neuronal dysfunction due to enhanced excitotoxicity. Here, we exploited the hypothesis that ZIKV-induced neurodegeneration can be rescued by blocking a target enzyme of the kynurenine pathway, the Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO-1). RT-PCR analysis showed increased levels of IDO-1 RNA expression in undifferentiated primary neurons isolated from wild type (WT) mice infected by ZIKV ex vivo, as well as in the brain of ZIKV-infected A129 mice. Pharmacological inhibition of IDO-1 enzyme with 1-methyl-D-tryptophan – 1-MT, in both in vitro and in vivo systems, led to significant reduction of ZIKV-induced neuronal death without interfering with the ability of ZIKV to replicate in those cells. Furthermore, in vivo analyses using both genetically modified mice (IDO-/- mice) and A129 mice treated with 1-MT resulted in reduced microgliosis, astrogliosis and Caspase-3 positive cells in the brain of ZIKV-infected A129 mice. Interestingly, increased levels of CCL5 and CXCL-1 chemokines were found in the brain of 1-MT treated-mice. Together, our data indicate that IDO-1 blockade provides a neuroprotective effect against ZIKV-induced neurodegeneration, and this is amenable to inhibition by pharmacological treatment.
Biosynthesis and replication, from A to Z Four nucleobases. adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G), and thymine (T), are usually thought to be invariable in DNA. In bacterial viruses, however, each of the DNA bases have variations that help them to escape degradation by bacterial restriction enzymes. In the genome of cyanophage S-2L, A is completely replaced by diaminopurine (Z), which forms three hydrogen bonds with T and thus creates non–Watson-Crick base pairing in the DNA of this virus (see the Perspective by Grome and Isaacs). Zhou et al. and Sleiman et al. determined the biochemical pathway that produces Z, which revealed more Z genomes in viruses hosted in bacteria distributed widely in the environment and phylogeny. Pezo et al. identified a DNA polymerase that incorporates Z into DNA while rejecting A. These findings enrich our understanding of biodiversity and expand the genetic palette for synthetic biology. Science, this issue p. 512, 516, 520; see also p. 460 DNA modifications vary in form and function but generally do not alter Watson-Crick base pairing. Diaminopurine (Z) is an exception because it completely replaces adenine and forms three hydrogen bonds with thymine in cyanophage S-2L genomic DNA. However, the biosynthesis, prevalence, and importance of Z genomes remain unexplored. Here, we report a multienzyme system that supports Z-genome synthesis. We identified dozens of globally widespread phages harboring such enzymes, and we further verified the Z genome in one of these phages, Acinetobacter phage SH-Ab 15497, by using liquid chromatography with ultraviolet and mass spectrometry. The Z genome endows phages with evolutionary advantages for evading the attack of host restriction enzymes, and the characterization of its biosynthetic pathway enables Z-DNA production on a large scale for a diverse range of applications. Characterization of the Z-genome biosynthetic pathway reveals its wide distribution among bacteriophages. Characterization of the Z-genome biosynthetic pathway reveals its wide distribution among bacteriophages.