ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0335.v1
Online: 22 July 2022 (09:57:40 CEST)
The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2), etiological agent of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has spread since December 2019, resulting in massive health and economic crisis worldwide. While efforts to stop the pandemic are crucial, collecting epidemiological data to help manage current and future pandemics will be important. In addition to humans, serological and molecular based studies have demonstrated SARS CoV-2 exposure in several wild, domestic and farmed animals. For examples Shriner and the team showed serologically an exposure of 40% to the white deer living in close proximity to urban centers. Additional reports have also emerged of susceptibility of animal’s species like cats, ferrets, raccoon dogs, cynomolgus macaques, rhesus macaques, white-tailed deer, rabbits, Egyptian fruit bats, and Syrian hamsters to SARS-CoV-2 infection.. It’s worth emphasizing that these reports are based on experimental data mostly derived from Europe, USA, South America and parts of Asia. In limited instances natural infections of SARS-CoV-2 have been reported in pet dogs, cats, tigers, lions, snow leopards, pumas, gorillas at zoos and farmed mink and ferrets. The presence of the virus in animal species and an understanding of whether these are natural or recent human to animal transmissions is important. It’s possible that such transmission could passage the virus or subject the virus to a different immunological pressure thereby helping with the development of viral variants in addition to being a host for future reservoirs of the virus. In Kenya SARS-CoV-2 was first detected on March 12th 2020 from imported human cases of persons who had travelled from the United States. This was followed by detection of imported cases majorly from China, Sweden and United Kingdom. Later infections were confirmed in Nairobi and Mombasa suggesting further cases of disease importations through the major ports of entry. However, no comparable data on animal exposure have hitherto been generated in Kenya. To address this key concern, we focused on three objectives; 1) development of a robust antibody ELISA based on crude SARS-CoV-2 lysate. 2) SARS-CoV-2 serology of domestic animals in Kenya. 3) Corroboration of the crude lysate based seroprevalence data and a commercial ELISA kit based on the Spike receptor binding domain (RBD) antigen. Our sample set included camel sera (both pre- & post outbreak sera), as well as sera from cats and dogs collected at the peak of the pandemic. Our results using the ELISA based on crude SARS-CoV-2 lysate indicated SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in camels (71%, N=145), cats 11% (N=16) and dogs (81%, N=36) with varying titer levels. These findings were comparable to those obtained using the commercial ELISA kit based on the spike RBD antigens. In summary, the data warrants two key conclusions: (i) we have demonstrated that the crude lysate ELISA allows for SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection, and given its potential to offer robust detection could be applied for initial mass screening (ii) although the current study cannot disentangle the relative contributions of antigenic cross-reactivity, pre-pandemic exposure to SARS-CoV-2 or human-animal transmission, it nonetheless demonstrates for the first time the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 like antibodies in domestic and wild animals in Kenya. Our findings set the scene for further research into the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in domestic and wild animals to understand their potential epidemiological implications.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0145.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: saliva; COVID-19 diagnosis; coronavirus; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 6 July 2021 (12:26:41 CEST)
Background. A previous study demonstrated the performance of the Salivette® (SARSTEDT, Numbrecht, Germany) as a homogeneous saliva collection system to diagnose COVID-19 by RT-qPCR, notably for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. However, for convalescent patients, the corroboration of molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 in paired nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) and saliva samples was unsatisfactory. Objectives. The aim of the present work was to assess the concordance level of SARS-CoV-2 detection between paired sampling of NPSs and saliva collected with Salivette® at two time points, with ten days of interval. Results. A total of 319 paired samples from 145 outpatients (OP) and 51 healthcare workers (HW) were collected. Due to significant waiting rate at hospital, most of the patients ate and/or drank in waiting their turn. Consequently, a mouth washing was systematically proposed prior saliva collection. None of the HW were diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 positive using NPS or saliva specimens at both time points (n=95) by RT-qPCR. The virus was detected in 56.3% (n=126/224) of the NPS samples from OP, but solely 26.8% (n=60/224) of the paired saliva specimens. The detection of the internal cellular control, the human RNase P, in more than 98% of the saliva samples, underlined that the low sensitivity of saliva specimens (45.2%) for SARS-CoV-2 detection was not attributed to an improper saliva sample storing or RNA extraction. Conclusions. Then, the mouth washing decreased viral load of buccal cavity conducting to impairment of SARS-CoV-2 detection. Viral loads in saliva neo-produced appeared insufficient for molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2. At the time that saliva tests could be a rapid, simple and noninvasive strategy to assess on large scale schooled children in France, the determination of the performance of saliva collection become imperative to standardize procedures.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0184.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; diagnosis; antibody; serology; screening
Online: 6 April 2020 (14:09:34 CEST)
To date, viral RNA detection is almost the only way to confirm SARS-CoV-2infectionin practice.However, variousreasons can cause low sensitivity for RNA detection, and thisposes aserious challenge to disease control. We tested the performance of detecting total antibody(Ab) and IgM levels in serum by the methods of chemiluminescence, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and colloidal golddetection. The datashowed that the sensitivity and specificity for detecting total Ab and IgM levels were high by all three methods, and the sensitivity was higher for detecting total Ab than for detecting IgM. Evidence from studieshas shown thatviral RNA testingcombinedwith serological testing could increase the diagnostic sensitivity while maintaining a high specificity. Specific serology testsfor SARS-CoV-2 havegreat value for clinical practice and public health.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0640.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: SARS-COV-2; Loop-mediated isothermal amplification; Portable device.
Online: 28 July 2021 (17:49:56 CEST)
This paper reports the design, development, and testing of a novel, yet simple and low-cost portable device for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2. The device performs loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) and provides visually distinguishable images of the fluorescence emitted from the samples. The device utilises an aluminium block embedded with a cartridge heater for isothermal heating of the sample and a single-board computer and camera for fluorescence detection. The device demonstrates promising results within 20 minutes using clinically relevant starting concentrations of the synthetic template. Time-to-signal data for this device are considerably lower compared to standard qPCR machine (~10-20 minutes vs >38 minutes) for 1×105 starting template copy number. The device in its fully optimized and characterized state can potentially be used as simple to operate, rapid, sensitive, and inexpensive platform for population screening as well as point-of-need SARS-CoV-2 detection and patient management.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0181.v1
Subject: Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 detection; Immunofluorescence; Paper-based diagnostic device
Online: 7 July 2021 (13:18:33 CEST)
We report on an immunofluorescent paper-based assay for the detection of severe acute respiratory symptom coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) humanized antibody. The paper-based device was fabricated by using lamination technique for easy and optimized handling. Our approach utilises a two-step strategy that involves (i) initial coating of the paper-electrode with recombinant SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antigen to capture the target SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies, and (ii) subsequent detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using fluorophore-conjugated IgG antibody. The fluorescence readout was observed with fluorescence microscopy. The images were processed and quantified using a MATLAB program. The assay can selectively detect SARS-CoV-2 humanized antibodies spiked in PBS and healthy human serum samples with the relative standard deviation of approximately 6.4% (for n = 3). It has broad dynamic ranges (1 ng to 50 ng/µL in PBS and 5 to 100 ng/µL in human serum samples) for SARS-CoV-2 humanized antibodies with the detection limits of 2 ng/µL (0.025 IU/mL) and 10 ng/µL (0.125 IU/mL) in PBS and human serum samples, respectively. We believe that our assay has the potential to be used as a simple, rapid, and inexpensive paper-based diagnostic device with a portable fluorescent reader to provide point-of-care diagnosis. This assay can be used for rapid examination of a large batch of samples toward clinical screening of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies as a confirmed infected active case or to evaluate the immune response to a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0188.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 serology; ELISA; N protein; COVID-19; serosurvey
Online: 2 July 2020 (07:19:44 CEST)
As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which is caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2, continues to spread rapidly around the world, there is a need for well validated serological assays that allow the detection of viral specific antibody responses in COVID-19 patients or recovered individuals. In this study, we established and used multiple indirect Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA)-based serological assays to study the antibody response in COVID-19 patients. In order to validate the assays we determined the cut off values, sensitivity and specificity of the assays using sera collected from pre-pandemic healthy controls, COVID-19 patients at different time points after disease-onset, and seropositive sera to other human coronaviruses. The developed SARS-CoV-2 S1 subunit of the spike glycoprotein and nucleocapsid (N)-based ELISAs not only showed high specificity and sensitivity but also did not show any cross-reactivity with other CoVs. We also show that all RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 patients tested in our study developed both virus specific IgM and IgG antibodies as early as week one after disease onset. Our data also suggest that the inclusion of both S1 and N in serological testing would capture as many potential SARS-CoV-2 positive cases as possible than using any of them alone. This is specifically important for tracing contacts and cases and conducting large-scale epidemiological studies to understand the true extent of virus spread in populations.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0158.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; wastewater; passive sampler; autosampler; RT-qPCR
Online: 11 February 2022 (08:38:07 CET)
Wastewater-based surveillance is emerging as an important tool for COVID-19 pandemic trending. Current methods of wastewater collection, such as grab and auto-composite sampling, have drawbacks that impede effective surveillance, especially from small catchments with limited accessibility. Passive samplers, which are more cost-effective and require fewer resources to process, are promising candidates for monitoring wastewater for SARS-CoV-2. Here, we compared traditional auto sampling with passive sampling for SARS-CoV-2 detection in wastewater. Torpedo-style 3D printed passive sampler device containing both cotton swabs and electronegative filter membranes was used. Between April and June 2021, fifteen passive samplers were placed at a local hospital wastewater outflow alongside an auto sampler. Reverse transcription and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) was used to detect SARS-CoV-2 in the samples after processing and RNA extraction. The swab and membrane of the passive sampler showed similar detection rates and Ct values for SARS-CoV-2 RNA for the N1 and N2 gene targets. The passive method performed as well as the grab/auto sampling, with no significant differences between N1 and N2 Ct values. There were discrepant results on two days with negative grab/auto samples and positive passive samples, which might be related to the longer duration of passive sampling in the study. Overall, the passive sampler was rapid, reliable and cost-effective, and could be used as an alternative sampling method for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0187.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; stools; COVID-19; MIS-C; children
Online: 10 May 2021 (13:00:43 CEST)
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome related to SARS-CoV-2 infection (MIS-C) is a rare severe illness affecting pediatric patients. No data are available in literature about the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in faeces in patients with MIS-C. The SARS-CoV-2 positivity was evaluated in fecal samples obtained in a prospective cohort of pediatric patients admitted to our tertiary Hos-pital and diagnosed with MIS-C or COVID-19 between April 15, 2020, and February 29, 2021. The real-time RT-PCR was performed using a validated kit. The assay measures 3 target genes: SARS-CoV-2 gene E, gene N, gene ORF1ab. Overall, 16/63 (25%) fecal samples revealed the pres-ence of SARS -CoV-2 RNA. No differences were detected about time from presumptive viral ex-posure and the time of stool collection (14 vs 8 days, p> 0,05) as well as about the presence of gas-trointestinal symptoms (p>0.05) between patients with positive (+) stools for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and patients tested negative (-). Among children with MIS-C, stools were collected 27.5 days as median (95% CI 14-34) after presumed contact and the positivity rate was 12.5% (4/32). According to our data, we could suggest contact precautions with all patients with MIS-C. Further sample collection is ongoing to verify our preliminary data.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0337.v1
Online: 19 April 2020 (07:14:52 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus behind COVID-19 pandemic is acquiring new mutations in its genome. Although some mutations provide benefits to the virus against human immune response, a number of them may result in their reduced pathogenicity and virulence. By analyzing more than 3000 high-coverage, complete genome sequences deposited in the GISAID database, here I report a unique 28881-28883:GGG>AAC trinucleotide-bloc mutation in the SARS-CoV-2 genome that results in two sub-strains, described here as SARS-CoV-2g (28881-28883:GGG genotype) and SARS-CoV-2a (28881-28883:AAC genotype). Computational analysis and literature review suggest that this bloc mutation would bring 203-204:RG(arginine-glycine)>KR(lysine-arginine) amino acid changes in the nucleocapsid (N) protein affecting the SR (serine-arginine)-rich motif of the protein, a critical region for the transcription of viral RNA and replication of the virus. Thus, 28881-28883:GGG>AAC bloc-mutation is expected to modulate the pathogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2. Remarkably, SARS-CoV-2g and SARS-CoV-2a strains can be linked with the heterogeneity of COVID-19 cases across different regions within and between countries by analyzing existing data. Sequence analysis suggests that severely affected cities, such as Milan, Lombardy, New York, Paris have the predominant presence of SARS-CoV-2g strains, whereas less affected places like Abruzzo, Lyon, Valencia have a relatively higher presence of SARS-CoV-2a, an indication that the latter strain may contribute to the reduced cases of COVID-19. A similar relationship is observed when Netherlands, Portugal are compared with Spain, France and Germany. These analyses suggest that the SARS-CoV-2 has already evolved into a less infective SARS-CoV-2a affecting COVID-19 cases in different regions. The time a country or region needs to acquire SARS-CoV-2a strains may be indicative to the time it would need to overcome the peak of the COVID-19 cases. To confirm these assumptions, prompt retrospective and prospective epidemiological studies should be conducted in different countries to understand the course of pathogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2a and SARS-CoV-2g. Potential drugs can be designed targeting 28881-28883 region of the N protein to modulate virus pathogenicity.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0015.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: Wastewater; Surveillance; SARS-CoV-2; Wastewater based epidemiology; COVID-19; Detection; Sewage
Online: 4 April 2022 (11:04:30 CEST)
Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) is presently wreaking havoc on public health and socio-economic development. Besides the upper and lower respiratory tract involvement, gastrointestinal symptoms are also reported in COVID-19 patients through gut-lung axis. Finding its way through the feces of infected individuals and other sources, the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 (ssRNA) is reported widely in wastewater and is being used as a fingerprint for its detection. With millions of cases arriving every day, there is a need to level up the testing speed efficiency. Due to the restricted sampling potential of testing laboratories, clinical testing is unable to track all the symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. Wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE) bestows an auxiliary monitoring tool that will contribute in community level screening. Sample collection, concentration, RNA extraction, quantification and data analysis are the main steps involved in implementation of WBE that can be relied upon as an alarm call for an upcoming wave, emergence of a new variant or any future pandemic. WBE can be a cheaper and more practical alternative to high end and sophisticated clinical testing for community transmission detection. Worldwide, there are more than 300 reports entailing the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater exhibiting unique temporal trends with five of them in India. This review aims to address the present knowledge on surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater and its implications.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0430.v1
Online: 24 April 2020 (08:58:13 CEST)
Sars-CoV-2 outbreak represents a public health emergency, affecting different regions of the world. Lung is the organ more damaged due to the high presence of Sars-CoV-2 binding receptor ACE2 on epithelial alveolar cells. Severity of infection vary from absence of symptomatology to be more severe, characterized by acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), multiorgan failure and sepsis requiring treatment in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).It is not still clear why in a small percentage of patients immune system is not able to efficiently suppress viral replication. It has been documented as predictive factors for severity and susceptibility affections of cardiovascular system such as heart failure (HF), coronary heart disease (CHD) and risk factors for atherosclerotic progression, hypertension and diabetes among others.Atherosclerotic progression, as chronic inflammation process, is characterized by immune system dysregulation leading to pro-inflammatory pattern, including (Interleukin 6) IL-6, Tumor Necrosis Factor α (TNF-α) and IL-1β raise. Reviewing immune system and inflammation profiles in atherosclerosis and laboratory results report in severe Sars-CoV-2 infection we have supposed a pathogenetic correlation. Atherosclerosis may be a pathogenetic ideal substrate to high viral replication ability leading to adverse outcomes, how reported in patients with cardiovascular factors. Moreover, level of atherosclerotic progression may impact on a different degree of severe infection and in a vicious circle feeding itself Sars-CoV-2 may exacerbate atherosclerotic progression due to excessive and aberrant plasmatic concentration of cytokines.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0439.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; reinfection; re-detected positive; Japan
Online: 16 April 2021 (11:09:45 CEST)
Since SARS-CoV-2 has spread all over the world, one of the key questions is how long immunity works for protecting hosts from infection. However, it was difficult to distinguish reinfection from re-detected positive cases caused by other reasons. We confirmed 23 re-detected positive cases in Sapporo City in 2020, and among them, the case with 205-days interval from initial onset to the second confirmation date was found. We calculated the probability of observing more than one case with over d-days interval of re-detection, pobs, to find out whether the case with 205-days interval had the similar epidemiological characteristic with others or not. We found that 5th percentile and its 95% confidence interval of pobs was 118 (45, 216) for Sapporo City data and 92 (86, 98) for KCDC data. This result indirectly suggested the case with 205-days interval was reinfection.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0215.v2
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Algebra & Number Theory Keywords: COVID-19; deep learning; radiography; automated detection; medical imaging; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 19 October 2020 (10:49:25 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the whole world, taking over half a million lives and capsizing the world economy in unprecedented magnitudes. With the world scampering for a vaccine, early detection and containment is the only redress. Existing diagnostic technologies with high accuracy like RT-PCRs are expensive and sophisticated, requiring skilled individuals for specimen collection and screening, resulting in lower outreach. So, methods excluding direct human intervention are much sought after, and artificial intelligence-driven automated diagnosis, especially with radiography images, captured the researchers' interest. This survey marks a detailed inspection of the deep-learning-based automated detection of COVID-19 works done to date, a comparison of the available datasets, methodical challenges like imbalanced datasets, and others, along with probable solutions with different pre-processing methods, and scopes of future exploration in this arena. We also benchmarked the performance of 315 deep models in diagnosing COVID-19, Normal, and Pneumonia from x-ray images of a custom dataset created from four others. The dataset is publicly available at https://github.com/rgbnihal2/COVID-19-X-ray-Dataset. Our results show that DenseNet201 model with Quadratic SVM classifier performs the best (accuracy: 98.16%, sensitivity: 98.93%, specificity: 98.77%) and maintains high accuracies in other similar architectures as well. This proves that even though radiography images might not be conclusive for radiologists, but it is so for deep learning algorithms for detecting COVID-19. We hope this extensive review will provide a comprehensive guideline for researchers in this field.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0740.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: COVID-19; Virus Detection; Viral Diagnostics; Diagnostics; SARS-CoV-2; Coronavirus; PCR
Online: 31 July 2020 (09:31:18 CEST)
Accurate and timely testing has become an essential measure in combatting the COVID-19 global pandemic. Currently, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based assays are the most relied on methods for SARS-CoV-2 detection. This traditional workflow involves a viral RNA extraction from the viral transport media storing nasopharyngeal swabs collected from patients, followed by PCR based detection. While accurate, this methodology is time consuming and resource heavy, causing for delays in receiving results or limited access to testing. Herein, we demonstrate a validated method for SARS-CoV-2 detection from viral transport media using a two-step, direct-to-PCR workflow revolving around shaker-mill homogenization. This method completely bypasses the extraction steps of the traditional workflow, replacing it with 30 seconds of mechanical disruption sufficient to allow for COVID-19 detection with a 96.43% sensitivity and 100% specificity when compared to traditional extraction to PCR based methods.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0448.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: betacoronaviruses; genomics; SARS-CoV; MERS-CoV; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19
Online: 27 May 2020 (08:50:46 CEST)
In the 21st century, three highly pathogenic betacoronaviruses have emerged, with an alarming rate of human morbidity and case fatality. Genomic information has been widely used to understand the pathogenesis, animal origin and mode of transmission of betacoronaviruses in the aftermath of the 2002-03 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and 2012 Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) outbreaks. Furthermore, genome sequencing and bioinformatic analysis have had an unprecedented relevance in the battle against the 2019-20 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the newest and most devastating outbreak caused by a coronavirus in the history of mankind, allowing the follow up of disease spread and transmission dynamics in near real time. Here, we review how genomic information has been used to tackle outbreaks caused by emerging, highly pathogenic, betacoronavirus strains, emphasizing on SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0189.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus; SARS CoV; SARS CoV-2; novel CoV; India
Online: 12 April 2020 (09:17:16 CEST)
COVID-19 disease outbreak was started in the December, 2019 in the Wuhan city of China which is also known as the largest transportation hub of China. During the spring festival of China the situation become epidemic. Soon, the virus is imported to many regions including the low income countries. Till now, 234073 infected reported cases of the COVID-19 in the world with the total of 9840 deaths (March 20, 2020). The common symptoms of the COVID-19 are the cough, high fever, sore throat, fatigue and breathlessness. The disease is found to be mild in most of the people, some of cases reported to the pneumonia also with multi organ dysfunction and acute ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). It is found that the incubation period for the infection is 2-14 days which is usually 4 days in maximum of cases. India has reported 283 cases of COVID-19 infections till now with 4 deaths. India is still at stage 2 on local transmission as per WHO report 60. WHO reported 60 clearly stated that there is no community transmission occurred in India yet which can be prevented by the avoiding mass gathering and proper screening of the people. Govt. of India has taken many initiatives to minimize the spread of COVID-19 infection in the country. The infection rate of the COVID-19 in India remains low related to population size of the country. It is because of fast government action to quarantine the suspected people and shut down all its borders. There is a great slowdown in the global economy due to COVID-19 attack which is likely to costs around $1 trillion. The spread of COVID-19 infection can be reduced by minimizing the H-H transmissions. Still there is need of Anti-n-CoV drug development which can replace the supporting therapies for the treatment of infection.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0201.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 Detection, SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Test, SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test, False Negative, False Positive, Sensitivity, Specificity, Point-of-care testing (POCT), SARS-CoV-2 Mutants
Online: 25 March 2021 (15:33:14 CET)
The COVID-19 pandemic has created huge damage to society and brought panics around the world. Such panics can be ascribed to the seemingly deceptive features of the COVID-19: compared to other deadly viral outspreads, it has medium transmission and mortality rates. As a result, the severity of the causative coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was deeply underestimated by the society at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Based on this, in this review, we define the viruses with features similar to those of SARS-CoV-2 as the Panic Zone viruses. To contain those viruses, accurate and fast diagnosis followed by effective isolation and treatment of patients are pivotal at the early stage of virus breakouts. This is especially true when there is no cure or vaccine available for a transmissible disease, which is the case for current COVID-19 pandemic. As of January 2021, more than two hundred kits for the COVID-19 diagnosis on the market are surveyed in this review, while emerging sensing techniques for SARS-CoV-2 are also discussed. It is of critical importance to rationally use these kits for the efficient management and control of the Panic Zone viruses. Therefore, we discuss guidelines to select diagnostic kits at different outbreak stages of the Panic Zone viruses, SARS-CoV-2 in particular. While it is of utmost importance to use nucleic acid-based detection kits with low false negativity (high sensitivity) at the early stage of an outbreak, the low false positivity (high specificity) gains its importance at later stages of the outbreak. When a society is set to reopen from the lock-down stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes critical to have antibody based immunoassay kits with high specificity to identify people who can safely return to the society after their recovery of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Given that the emergence of mutant viruses at the beginning of 2021 has complicated current battle against the COVID-19, we also discussed approaches and guidelines to detect viral mutants in the middle of the second wave of the pandemic that started at the end of 2020. Finally, since a massive attack from a viral pandemic requires a massive defense from the whole society, we urge both government and private sectors to research and develop more affordable and reliable point-of-care testing (POCT) kits, which can be used massively by the general public (and therefore called as massive POCT) to contain Panic Zone viruses in future.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0216.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; field work; community; diagnosis; rapid detection; inactivation; RT-qPCR
Online: 14 April 2020 (08:41:04 CEST)
Outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been recorded in different countries across the globe. The virus is highly contagious, hence early detection, isolation, and quarantine of infected patients will play an important role in containing the viral spread. Diagnosis in a mobile lab can aid to find infected patients in time. Here, we develop a field-deployable diagnostic workflow that can reliably detect COVID-19. Instruments used in this workflow could easily fit in a mobile cabin hospital and also be installed in the community. Different steps from sample inactivation to detection were optimized to find the fastest steps and portable instruments in detection of COVID-19. Each step was compared to that of the normal laboratory diagnosis set-up. From the results, our proposed workflow (80 min) was two times faster compared to that of the normal laboratory workflow (183 min) and a maximum of 32 samples could be detected at each run. Additionally, we showed that using 1% Rewocid WK-30 could inactivate the novel coronavirus directly without affecting the overall detection results. Comparison of our workflow using an in-house assay to that of a commercially acquired assay produced highly reliable results. From the 250 hospital samples tested, there was a high concordance 247/250 (98.8%) between the two assays. The in-house assay sensitivity and specificity were 116/116 (100%) and 131/134 (97.8%) compared to that of the commercial assay. Based on these results, we believe that our workflow is fast, reliable, adaptable and most importantly, field deployable.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0551.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Coronavirus; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV; MERS-CoV; Antiviral therapy
Online: 23 July 2020 (11:43:46 CEST)
Background: To prioritize the development of antiviral compounds, it is necessary to compare their relative preclinical activity and clinical efficacy. Methods: We reviewed in vitro, animal model, and clinical studies of candidate anti-coronavirus compounds and placed extracted data in an online relational database. Results: As of July 2020, the Coronavirus Antiviral Research Database (CoV-RDB; covdb.stanford.edu) contained >2,400 cell culture, entry assay and biochemical experiments, 240 animal model studies, and 56 clinical studies from >300 published papers. SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV, and MERS-CoV account for approximately 85% of the data. Approximately 75% of experiments involved compounds with a known or likely mechanism of action, including receptor binding inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies (20%); viral protease inhibitors (18%); polymerase inhibitors (9%); interferons (8%); fusion inhibitors (8%); host endosomal trafficking inhibitors (7%); and host protease inhibitors (5%). For 724 compounds with a known or likely mechanism, 95 (13%) are licensed in the US for other indications, 72 (10%) are licensed outside the US or are in human trials, and 557 (77%) are pre-clinical investigational compounds. Conclusion: CoV-RDB facilitates comparisons between different candidate antiviral compounds, thereby helping scientists, clinical investigators, public health officials, and funding agencies prioritize the most promising compounds and repurposed drugs for further development.
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: human coronavirus; SARS-CoV; MERS-CoV; SARS-CoV-2; envelope protein; immunopathology
Online: 25 May 2020 (17:54:57 CEST)
Since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, human coronaviruses (hCoVs) have been identified as causative agents of severe acute respiratory tract infections. Two more hCoV outbreaks have since occurred, the most recent being SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The clinical presentation of SARS and MERS is remarkably similar to COVID-19, with hyperinflammation causing a severe form of the disease in some patients. Previous studies show that the expression of the SARS-CoV E protein is associated with the hyperinflammatory response that could culminate in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a potentially fatal complication. This immune-mediated damage is largely caused by a cytokine storm, which is induced by significantly elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1beta and IL-6, which are partly mediated by the expression of the SARS-CoV E protein. The interaction between the SARS-CoV E protein and the host protein, syntenin, as well as the viroporin function of SARS-CoV E, are linked to this cytokine dysregulation. This review aims to compare the clinical presentation of virulent hCoVs with a specific focus on the cause of the immunopathology. The review also proposes that inhibition of IL-1beta and IL-6 in severe cases can improve patient outcome.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0481.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Wastewater; Surveillance; False-positive; False-negative; RT-PCR
Online: 19 April 2021 (13:08:13 CEST)
Wastewater surveillance for pathogens using the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) is an effective, resource-efficient tool for gathering additional community-level public health information, including the incidence and/or prevalence and trends of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater may provide an early-warning signal of COVID-19 infections in a community. The capacity of the world’s environmental microbiology and virology laboratories for SARS-CoV-2 RNA characterization in wastewater is rapidly increasing. However, there are no standardized protocols nor harmonized quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) procedures for SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance. This paper is a technical review of factors that can lead to false-positive and -negative errors in the surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, culminating in recommendations and strategies that can be implemented to identify and mitigate these errors. Recommendations include, stringent QA/QC measures, representative sampling approaches, effective virus concentration and efficient RNA extraction, amplification inhibition assessment, inclusion of sample processing controls, and considerations for RT-PCR assay selection and data interpretation. Clear data interpretation guidelines (e.g., determination of positive and negative samples) are critical, particularly during a low incidence of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater. Corrective and confirmatory actions must be in place for inconclusive and/or potentially significant results (e.g., initial onset or reemergence of COVID-19 in a community). It will also be prudent to perform inter-laboratory comparisons to ensure results are reliable and interpretable for ongoing and retrospective analyses. The strategies that are recommended in this review aim to improve SARS-CoV-2 characterization for wastewater surveillance applications. A silver lining of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the efficacy of wastewater surveillance was demonstrated during this global crisis. In the future, wastewater will play an important role in the surveillance of a range of other communicable diseases.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0442.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: COVID-19; molecular diagnostic; SARS-CoV-2; Real-time PCR
Online: 29 July 2022 (03:10:47 CEST)
RT-PCR tests have become the gold standard for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the extreme number of cases in periodic waves of infection, there is a severe financial and logistical strain on diagnostic laboratories. For this reason, alternative implementations, and validations of academic protocols, that employ the lowest cost and most widely available equipment and reagents found in different regions, is essential. In this study, we report an alternative implementation of the EUA 2019-nCoV CDC assay which uses a previously characterized duplex PCR reaction for the N1 and RNAse P target regions and an additional uniplex reaction for the N2 target region. Taking advantage of the Abbott m2000 Sample Preparation System and NEB Luna Universal Probe One-Step RT-qPCR kit, some of the most widely available and lowest cost nucleic acid extraction and amplification platforms, this modified test shows a state-of-the-art analytical and clinical sensitivities and specificities, when compared with the Seegene Allplex-SARS-CoV-2 assay. This implementation has the potential to be verified and implemented by diagnostic laboratories around the world to guarantee low-cost RT-PCR tests that can take advantage of widely available equipment and reagents.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202206.0098.v1
Online: 7 June 2022 (09:00:26 CEST)
Despite the remarkable success of SARS CoV-2 vaccines, the rise of variants, some of which are more resistant to the effects of vaccination, highlights the potential need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. We used the Multiple Antigen Presenting System (MAPS) technology, in which proteins are presented on a polysaccharide polymer to induce antibody, Th1, Th17 and CD8+ T cell responses, to engineer a novel vaccine targeting SARS CoV-2. This vaccine contains a fragment of the spike (S) protein receptor-binding domain (RBD) sequence of the original D614G strain and was used to immunize nonhuman primates (NHP) for assessment of immunological responses and protection against SARS CoV-2 challenge. The SARS CoV-2 MAPS vaccine generated robust neutralizing antibodies as well as Th1, Th17 and cytotoxic CD8 T-cell responses in NHPs. Furthermore, MAPS-immunized NHPs had significantly lower viral loads in the nasopharynx and lung compared to control animals. Taken together, these findings support the use of the MAPS platform to make a SARS CoV-2 vaccine. The nature of the platform also could enable its use for the inclusion of different variants in a single vaccine.
Online: 7 June 2021 (13:01:18 CEST)
Wastewater surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 has garnered extensive public attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as a proposed complement to existing disease surveillance systems. Over the past year, methods for detection and quantification of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in untreated sewage have advanced, and concentrations in wastewater have been shown to correlate with trends in reported cases. Despite the promise of wastewater surveillance, for these measurements to translate into useful public health tools, it is necessary to bridge the communication and knowledge gaps between researchers and public health responders. Here we describe the key uses, barriers, and applicability of SARS-CoV-2 wastewater surveillance for supporting public health decisions and actions, including establishing ethical consideration for monitoring. Overall, while wastewater surveillance to assess community infections is not a new idea, by addressing these barriers, the COVID-19 pandemic may be the initiating event that turns this emerging public health tool into a sustainable nationwide surveillance system.
Online: 27 January 2021 (15:08:12 CET)
To date, uncertainty remains about how long the protective immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 persists and reports of suspected reinfection began to be described in recovered patients months after the first episode. Viral evolution may favor reinfections, and the recently described spike mutations, particularly in the receptor binding domain (RBD) in SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating in the UK, South Africa, and most recently in Brazil, have raised concern on their potential impact in infectivity, immune escape and reinfection. We report a case of reinfection from distinct SARS-CoV-2 lineages presenting the E484K mutation in Brazil, a variant associated with escape from neutralizing antibodies.
Online: 15 January 2021 (13:14:15 CET)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) as the current coronavirus pandemic is an infectious disease that initially confirmed in China in late December 2019. In this study, we analyzed 131 complete sequences of SARS-CoV-2 from Asia. Our results show that there are fifteen major mutations in Asia which most of them are co-evolved. There were five groups based on co-mutations which three of them resulted in clade G including (241C>T, 3037C>T, 14408C>T, and 23403A>G), (28881G>A, 28882G>A, 28883G>C and 23403A>G) and (25563G>T and 23403A>G). Co-mutations in (8782C>T and 28144T>C) and (1397G>A, 28688T>C, 29742G>T and 11083G>T) were clustered in clade S and a new clade outside of GISAID classification, respectively. Sequences with a mutation in 26144G>T had low variability without any co-mutation which formed clade V. In this study, we showed that Most of the circulated viruses in Asia collected in five co-mutation groups which may affect the transmissibility and vaccine designing strategies.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0002.v1
Online: 4 January 2021 (08:27:33 CET)
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a well-known group of viruses in veterinary medicine. We currently know four genera of Coronavirus, alfa, beta, gamma and delta. Wild, farmed and pet animals are infected with CoVs belonging to all four genera. Seven human respiratory coronaviruses have still been identified, four of which cause upper respiratory tract diseases, specifically, the common cold, and the last three that have emerged cause severe acute respiratory syndromes, SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. In this review we briefly describe animal coronaviruses and what we actually know about SARS-CoV-2 infection in farm and domestic animals.
Online: 29 May 2020 (03:41:50 CEST)
The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused a global public health crisis. The spread of SARS-CoV-2 by contact is widely accepted, but the relative importance of aerosol transmission for the spread of COVID-19 is controversial. Here we characterize the distribution of SARA-CoV-2 in 123 aerosol samples, 63 masks, and 30 surface samples collected at various locations in Wuhan, China. The positive percentages of viral RNA included 21% of the aerosol samples from an intensive care unit and 39% of the masks from patients with a range of conditions. A viable virus was isolated from the surgical mask of one critically ill patient while all viral RNA positive aerosol samples were cultured negative. The SARS-CoV-2 detected in masks from patients, ambient air, and respirators from health workers compose a chain of emission, transport, and recipient of the virus. Our results indicate that masks are effective in protecting against the spread of viruses, and it is strongly recommended that people throughout the world wear masks to break the chain of virus transmission and thus protect themselves and others from SARS-CoV-2.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0400.v1
Online: 27 March 2020 (02:48:01 CET)
The world is currently going through a serious pandemic of viral infection with SARS-CoV-2, a new isolate of coronavirus, resembling and surpassing the crisis that occurred in 2002 and 2013 with SARS and MERS, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 has currently infected more than 142,000 people, causing 5,000 deaths and reaching more than 130 countries worldwide. The very large spreading capacity of the virus clearly demonstrates the potential threat of respiratory viruses to human health, alarming governments around the world that preventive health policies and scientific research are pivotal to overcoming the crisis. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) causes flu-like symptoms in most cases. However, approximately 15% of patients will need hospitalization, and 5% require assisted ventilation, depending on the cohorts studied. What is intriguing, however, is the higher susceptibility of elderly individuals, especially those who are more than 60 years old and have comorbidities, including hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, the death rate in this group may be up to 10-12%. Interestingly, children are somehow protected and not included as a risk group.Thus, here, we discuss some possibilities of molecular and cellular mechanisms by which elderly subjects may be more susceptible to severe COVID-19. In this sense, we raise two main points: i) increased ACE-2 expression in pulmonary and heart tissue of chronic angiotensin 1 receptor (AT1R) blocker users and hypertensive individuals and ii) antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) after previous exposure to other circulating coronaviruses. We believe these are pivotal points for a better understanding of the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 and must be addressed with attention by physicians and scientists in the field.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202101.0024.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 antibodies; COVID-19; infertility; lockdown; IVF; SARS-CoV-2 serological testing
Online: 4 January 2021 (12:07:44 CET)
The COVID-19 pandemic had profound negative effects on millions of couples affected by infertility and in need to resort to assisted reproductive technologies. There is no consensus over the optimal way and moment of screening triage-negative asymptomatic patients and staff. We present SARS-CoV-2 antibodies’ (IgM, IgG) seroprevalence in 516 triage-negative patients and 30 fertility care providers. The sampling for SARS-CoV-2 serological assays took place from the lockdown release throughout the second half of 2020 (17.05 - 01.12.2020). It revealed an increased seroprevalence of antibodies that closely followed the local epidemiology of COVID-19, with the highest rate of seropositivity coincident with the peak of the second wave. From 546 triage-negative individuals whose blood samples were assessed for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, 6% yielded positive results. The overall seroconversion rate was 2.8% for IgG and 5.1% for IgM. In the group with positive IgM, we observed a negative predictive value for IgM of 98.36% (95% CI: 88.79 – 99.78%), which is clinically meaningful. Serological testing of triage-negative patients up to seven days prior to the actual fertility procedure might avoid the more expensive and not more sensitive molecular testing currently being used for patient screening in most fertility units.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0548.v1
Subject: Engineering, Automotive Engineering Keywords: ANN; COVID-19; CT; mRNA; MRI; RT-PCR; SARS-CoV-2; XCR
Online: 23 July 2021 (15:02:40 CEST)
Accurate early diagnosis of COVID-19 viral pneumonia, primarily in asymptomatic people is essential to reduce the spread of the disease, the burden on healthcare capacity, and the overall death rate. It is essential to design affordable and accessible solutions to distinguish pneumonia caused by COVID-19 from other types of pneumonia. In this work, we propose a reliable approach based on deep transfer learning that requires few computations and converges faster. Experimental results demonstrate that our proposed framework for transfer learning is a potential and effective approach to detect and diagnose types of pneumonia from chest X-ray images with a test accuracy of 94.0%.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0184.v1
Online: 12 April 2020 (05:36:40 CEST)
Coronaviruses (CoVs) are positive-stranded RNA viruses that infect humans and animals. Infection by CoVs such as HCoV-229E, -NL63, -OC43 and -HKUI1 leads to the common cold, short lasting rhinitis, cough, sore throat and fever. However, CoVs such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and the newest SARS-CoV-2 (the causative agent of COVID-19) lead to severe and deadly diseases with mortality rates ranging between ~1 to 35% depending on factors such as age and pre-existing conditions. Despite continuous global health threats to human, there are no approved vaccines or drugs targeting human CoVs, and the recent outbreak of COVID-19 emphasizes an urgent need for therapeutic interventions. Using computational and bioinformatics tools, here we present the feasibility of reported broad-spectrum RNA polymerase inhibitors as anti- SARS-CoV-2 drugs targeting its main RNA polymerase, suggesting that investigational and approved nucleoside RNA polymerase inhibitors have potential as anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs. However, we note that it is also possible for SARS-CoV-2 to evolve and acquire drug resistance mutations against these nucleoside inhibitors.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0065.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Microbiology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV; influenza; pneumonia; respiratory tract infectious diseases
Online: 3 August 2020 (08:44:56 CEST)
The short study implicates few basic similarities of COVID-19 such as diseases origination, symptoms, diagnosis with other relatable viral diseases viz SARS-CoV, common Flu, pneumonia etc. In the present situation, other viral diseases are frequently chaotic and misled with COVID-19 disease because of few clinical features similarities in signs and symptoms and also due to lack of specific diagnostic test. To avoid unnecessary suspects, quarantines of false positive results and to prevent the spread of COVID-19 diseases, the scientific technical research field are highly encourage to implement an efficient, rapid and sophisticated superior test for early stages of infection detection. It will be significantly convenient for physician, laboratory technicians and most importantly the common population facing a psychological disturbance.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0390.v1
Subject: Engineering, Electrical & Electronic Engineering Keywords: Biosensing; Coronaviru; , SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Early diagnosis; Epidemic control; Respiration monitor; Photoacoustic imaging; Neurostimulation
Online: 23 August 2022 (03:44:42 CEST)
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has caused tremendous damage to social economy and people’s health. Some major issues fighting COVID-19 include early and accurate diagnosis and the shortage of ventilator machines for critical patients. In this work, we propose a closed-loop solution to deal with COVID-19: portable biosensing and wearable photoacoustic imaging for early and accurate diagnosis of infection and magnetically neuromodulation or minimally invasive electrical stimulation to replace the traditional ventilation. Proposed technique can guarantee ubiquitous and onsite detection, and electrical hypoglossal stimulator can be more effective in helping severe patients as well as reducing complications caused by ventilators.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Cardiology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV; SARS-CoV-2; Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2; renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system
Online: 25 March 2020 (03:56:27 CET)
The role of the Renin-Angiotensin-Aldosterone System (RAAS) in Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection has become a controversial topic of discussion. RAAS inhibitors, such as Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), which are used to treat cardiovascular diseases, have been implicated in potentially increasing cell surface levels of ACE2. ACE2 is the host receptor for COVID-19 that was discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since December, COVID-19 has transmitted rapidly across the world and has become a global pandemic. COVID-19 is similar to the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) with the first case reported in Saudi Arabia in September 2012. COVID-19, also known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is also similar to SARS-CoV, which first infected humans in the Guangdong province of southern China in 2002, and caused an epidemic between November 2002 and July 2003. Both SARS-CoV and COVID-19 use ACE2 to enter host cells. ACE2 is primarily expressed in the mouth, lung, heart, esophagus, kidney, bladder, and intestines, and is a component of RAAS, which serves to maintain vascular tone and blood volume. Inhibition or activation of other components of RAAS has been shown to directly increase or decrease the expression and/or activity of ACE2. Furthermore, RAAS-targeting therapeutics, such as ACE inhibitors and ARBs, have also been shown to regulate the expression and/or activity of ACE2, albeit in animal models. Although these changes in ACE2 have been demonstrated only in animal models, there is no evidence that administration of RAAS-targeting therapeutics to humans for the treatment of hypertension, diabetes, and other cardiovascular diseases (e.g., myocardial infarction and heart failure) causes changes in ACE2 expression. Nor is there clinical evidence that RAAS-targeting therapeutics augment COVID-19 infection, morbidity, or mortality. However, clinical evidence does suggest that ACE2 expression may protect against respiratory distress caused by a variety of noxious agents. This review attempts to provide a balanced overview of the potential role of RAAS in regulating ACE2, and the role of ACE2 during COVID-19 infection. Evidence is provided to show that the expression of ACE2 may mediate both positive and negative outcomes, depending on the timing of ACE2 expression.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0162.v1
Online: 12 October 2022 (03:28:14 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and urgent need of rapid and accurate diagnostic tests for detection and screening of this infection. In our proposal, a biosensor based on the ELISA immunoassay was developed for monitoring antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in human serum samples. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N-protein) was selected as a specific receptor for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid immunoglobulin G. Thus, the N-protein was immobilized on surface of screen-printed carbon electrode (SPCE) modified with carboxylated graphene (CG). The IgG-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid concentration was quantified using a secondary antibody labelled with horseradish peroxidase (HRP) (anti-IgG-HRP) catalyzed by 3,3’,5,5’-tetramethylbenzidine (TMB) mediator by chronoamperometry. A linear response was obtained in the range of 1:1000-1:200 v/v in phosphate buffer solution (PBS) and the limit of detection calculated was of 1:4947 v/v. The chronoamperometric method showed electrical signals directly proportional to antibody concentrations due to Ag-Ab specific and stable binding reaction.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0209.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: cluster analysis; SARS-CoV-2; Variant
Online: 11 August 2022 (06:01:14 CEST)
Viral variant analysis is a bedrock of the disease surveillance. When combined with temporospatial analysis variant analysis can further the knowledge of disease spread in a study area. This paper suggests a method to perform the analysis in an operational setting which will allow for real-time surveillance of viral variants and allow local public health professionals to rapidly respond to changes in the evolution of the disease. This method includes three main subprocesses: preprocessing, analysis, and rendering. This method can be performed across multiple software platforms. A use case is given in which it was found that this method helped a hospital system understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Northeast, Ohio.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0226.v1
Online: 17 May 2022 (08:57:44 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for society, especially for those residing in long-term care facilities (LTCF). This study aimed to describe rates of infection, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19 among older people and staff of LTCF in Minas Gerais (Brazil) and identify strategies to prevent and control the disease spread. This cross-sectional study was conducted with 164 LTCF (6,017 older people). Among the studied LTCF, 48.7% confirmed COVID-19 infection in older people, resulting in 39.6% hospitalization and 32.3% death among infected. Moreover, 68.9% of LTCF confirmed COVID-19 infection in the staff, with 7.3% hospitalization and 1.2% death. Preventive measures were identified and classified as organizational, infrastructure, hygiene items and personal protective equipment, and staff training against COVID-19. These measures showed strategies and barriers experienced in the daily routine of LTCF during the pandemic. LTCF in Brazil experienced challenges similar to observed worldwide. Results highlighted the importance of continuity and improvement of protective measures for older people in LTCF, especially in low- and middle-income countries.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0271.v1
Online: 9 March 2021 (12:37:24 CET)
Background The World Health Organization has recently recognized Long COVID, calling the international medical community to strengthen research and comprehensive care of patients with this condition. However, if Long COVID pertains to children as well is not yet clear. Methods An anonymous, online survey was developed by an organization of parents of children suffering from persisting symptoms since initial infection. Parents were asked to report signs and symptoms, physical activity and mental health issues. Only children with symptoms persisting for more than four weeks were included. Results 510 children were included (56.3% females) infected between January 2020 and January 2021. At their initial COVID-19 infection, 22 (4.3%) children were hospitalized. Overall, children had persisting COVID-19 for a mean of 8.2 months (SD 3.9). Most frequent symptoms were: Tiredness and weakness (444 patients, 87.1% of sample), Fatigue (410, 80.4%), Headache (401, 78.6%), Abdominal pain (387, 75.9%), Muscle and joint pain (309, 60.6%), Post-exertional malaise (274, 53.7%), rash (267, 52.4%). 484 (94.9%) children had had at least four symptoms. 129 (25.3%) children have suffered constant COVID-19 infection symptoms, 252 (49.4%) have had periods of apparent recovery and then symptoms returning, and 97 (19.0%) had a prolonged period of wellness followed by symptoms. Only 51 (10.0%) children have returned to previous levels of physical activity. Parents reported a significant prevalence of Neuropsychiatric symptoms. Conclusions Our study provides further evidence on Long COVID in children. Symptoms like fatigue, headache, muscle and joint pain, rashes and heart palpitations, and mental health issues like lack of concentration and short memory problems, were particularly frequent and confirm previous observations, suggesting that they may characterize this condition. A better comprehension of Long COVID is urgently needed..
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0543.v1
Online: 21 December 2020 (19:10:09 CET)
Prevention practices have been extensively used to contain the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These include social distancing, wearing masks, disinfection of hands, and sanitization of contact surfaces. However, the excessive usage of chemical disinfectants pose long term adverse effects to human health and the environment. Development of effective and environmentally friendly biocides, or virucidal agents, will help mitigate the ill effects of chemical disinfectants. Enzymes are potential candidates for the preparation of biocides against bacteria and viruses. Exploration of the virucidal activity of commercial enzymes, will highlight prospective, readily available sources for research on enzyme based biocides. In this study, the virucidal effect of some com-mercial enzyme preparations has been investigated against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Vida Defense (2000 µg/ml), Excellacor (1500 µg/ml), and SEBkinase (3000 µg/ml) reduced SARS-CoV-2 viral ti-ters by ≥1 log CCID50 (≥90%). ImmunoSEB (6000µg/ml) and Peptizyme SP (500µg/ml) reduced the SARS-CoV-2 viral titers by 0.8 log CCID50 (84.2%). The study indicates that enzyme prepara-tions offer the potential to be explored further for an anti-viral biocide against SARS‐CoV‐2 for reducing the risk of COVID‐19 transmission. However, further studies are mandated to improve efficacy and establish safety.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0555.v1
Online: 23 September 2020 (17:44:21 CEST)
Background: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has caused more than 745,000 deaths worldwide. Vitamin D has been identified as a potential strategy to prevent or treat this disease. The purpose of the study was to measure vitamin D at hospital admission of COVID-19; Methods: We included critically ill patients with the polymerase chain reaction positive test for COVID-19, from March to April, 2020. Statistical significance was defined as P < .05. All tests were 2-tailed; Results: A total of 35 patients (median age, 60 years; 26 [74.3%] male) were included. Vitamin D levels were categorized as deficient for 14 participants (40%). Vitamin D deficiency was associated with vitamin A (P= 0.003) and Zinc (P= 0.019) deficiency and lower levels of albumin (P= 0.026) and prealbumin (P= 0.009). Overall, none of the studied variables were associated with vitamin D status: mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) or hospital stay, necessity of vasoactive agents, intubation, prone position, C reactive protein (CRP), Dimer-D, Interleukin 6 levels (IL-6), ferritin levels, or bacterial superinfection; Conclusions: In this single-center, retrospective cohort study, deficient vitamin D status was found in 40% in COVID-19 critically ill patients. However, deficient vitamin D status was not associated with inflammation or outcome.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0425.v1
Online: 18 September 2020 (09:58:49 CEST)
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is clearly taking a firmer grip on South Africa and more podiatrists will face the potential transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Government response was swift with the implementation of a travel ban, strict national lockdown as well as social distancing and hygiene protocols in line with international health regulations. Co-morbidities such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, endemic to South Africa, are considered a dangerous combination with COVID-19, making many South Africans vulnerable to contracting the COVID-19. Patients with diabetes as well as the aged are vulnerable, both in terms of potential combined complications and challenges in continuity in foot care. The demands of the pandemic may outstrip the ability of the health systems to cope. Should this time arrive, all healthcare practitioners, including podiatrists, would have to step in and take on a role beyond their scope of practice in order to ensure that the healthcare system does not get overwhelmed. It is important for podiatrists to keep abreast with the developments around the COVID-19, in order that they may institute appropriate clinical practice which will ensure maximum protection for themselves, staff and patients as well as providing quality foot health care.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0327.v1
Online: 15 September 2020 (04:24:17 CEST)
In regions lacking genomic data, analysis of sequences from the early stages of an outbreak can provide important insights into the diversity of pathogens present. Following the detection of the first imported case of COVID-19 in the Northern sector of Ghana on 13th March 2020, we have now molecularly characterized and phylogenetically analysed sequences including three (3) complete genomes of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) isolated from nine (9) patients observed in Ghana. Eight (8) of these patients reported with a recent history of foreign travel and one (1) with no history of foreign travel. We performed high throughput sequencing for 9 samples following the determination of high concentration of viral RNA. In addition, we estimated the potential impact that long distance transportation of samples to testing centres may have on sequencing outcomes. Here, two samples that were closest in terms of viral RNA concentration but transported from sites which are over 400km apart were assessed. All sequences were compared to previous sequences from Ghana and representative sequences from regions where our patients had previously travelled. Complete genomes were obtained for three (3) sequences and with another near complete genome with a coverage of 95.6%. Sequences with coverage in excess of 80% were found to belong to three lineages namely A, B.1 and B.2. Our sequences clustered in two different clades with the majority falling within a clade composed of sequences from sub-Saharan Africa. Less RNA fragmentation was seen in sample KATH23 which was collected 9km compared with sample TTH6 which was collected and transported over a distance of 400km to the testing site. The clustering of several sequences from sub-Saharan Africa suggests regional circulation of the viruses in the subregion. Importantly, there may be the need to decentralize testing sites and build more capacity across Africa to boost the sequencing output of the subregion.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0024.v1
Online: 4 June 2020 (05:50:09 CEST)
COVID-19 pandemic has caused a large-scale havoc in almost every country across the globe, putting major challenges for the healthcare system in many parts of the world. Several of the laboratories are running in the race with undying efforts for developing potential vaccine, drugs or therapeutics to treat or prevent the infection. However, with the limited time window and high rate of infection, the task is very big for humanity to find a cure. With hundreds of genomic data of SARS-CoV-2 virus isolates from humans are being submitted almost every day, it is coming into knowledge that virus is mutating, slower in countries with sporadic cases, but higher in countries experiencing large outbreak. These types of mutations in virus may bring challenges in vaccine or therapeutic development for use in each and every country, as each hotspot region may have their own pattern of mutations in virus with ongoing outbreak. In our current study, we retrieved non-synonymous mutation data of around 12,225 SARS-CoV-2 virus samples isolated from humans globally, and discovered all mutations that are collectively happening in antibody epitope regions of the virus country-wise. We found a few numbers of epitope regions in SARS-CoV-2 that are highly conserved collectively in all variants and may be used for epitope-based vaccine development for whole world. We also found epitope regions that are conserved collectively in SARS-CoV-2 variants country-wise and can be used for customized epitope-based vaccine development in each different country.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0509.v1
Online: 31 May 2020 (20:50:18 CEST)
“Severe acute respiratory syndrome” (SARS) due to Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infection is a known cause of death. Sometimes demise can occur unexpectedly in apparently previous healthy individual after a brief period of trivial flue-like symptoms. In this dobtfull cases the forensic pathologist could be requested to define cause of death occurred outside hospital. In this report the authors describe two thorough autopsied cases of SARS-CoV-2 related deaths occurred suddenly at home and not preceded by hospitalization, highlighting associated histopathologic patterns and correlating them to pathophysiology of viral infection.
Online: 27 April 2020 (09:55:03 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the respiratory infection known as COVID-19. From an immunopathological standpoint, coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2 induce an increase in a variety of T-helper 1 (Th1) and inflammatory cytokines and chemokines including interleukins IL-1, IL-6, CCL2 protein and CXCL10 protein. In the absence of proven antiviral agents or an effective vaccine, substances with immunomodulatory activity may be able to inhibit inflammatory and Th1 cytokines and/or yield an anti-inflammatory and/or Th2 immune response to counteract COVID-19 symptoms and severity. This report briefly describes four unconventional but commercially accessible immunomodulatory agents that could be employed in clinical trials to evaluate their effectiveness at alleviating disease symptoms and severity: Low-dose oral interferon-alpha, microdose DNA, low-dose thimerosal and phytocannabinoids.
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0339.v1
Online: 19 April 2020 (08:22:24 CEST)
The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 is a challenge in the actual medical scenario. Besides the classical lung and respiratory disease, patients infected with the virus can present with cardiac injury, and pathogenic mechanisms point to a direct infection of the heart.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0019.v2
Online: 3 April 2020 (15:23:50 CEST)
OBJECTIVE: Recent worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of respiratory coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is a current, ongoing life-threatening crisis and international public health emergency. The early diagnosis and management of the disease remains a major challenge. In this review, we aim to summarize the updated epidemiology, causes, clinical manifestation and diagnosis, as well as prevention and control of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.MATERIALS AND METHODS: A broad search of the literature was performed in “PubMed” “Medline” “Web of knowledge”, and “Google Scholar” World Health Organization-WHO” using the keywords “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus”, “2019-nCoV”, “COVID-19, “SARS”, “SARS-CoV-2” “Epidemiology” “Transmission” “Pathogenesis” “Clinical Characteristics”. We reviewed and documented the information obtained from literature on epidemiology, pathogenesis and clinical appearances of SARS-CoV-2 infection.RESULTS: The global cases of COVID-19 as of April 2, 2020 have risen to more than 900,000 and morbidity has reached more than 47,000. The incidence rate for COVID-19 has been predicted to be higher than the previous outbreaks of other coronavirus family members, including those of SARS-CoV and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). The main clinical presentation of SARS-CoV-2 infection ranges from asymptomatic stages to severe lower respiratory infection in the form of pneumonia. Most of the patients also presented with fever, cough, sore throat, headache, fatigue, myalgia and breathlessness.Individuals at higher risk for severe illness include elderly people and patients with a weakened immune system or that are suffering from a underlying chronic medical condition like hypertension, diabetes, cancer, respiratory illness or cardiovascular diseases.CONCLUSIONS: SARS-Cov-2 has emerged as a worldwide threat, currently affecting 170 countries and territories across the globe. There is still much to be understood regarding SARS-CoV-2 about its virology, epidemiology and clinical management strategies; this knowledge will be essential to both manage the current pandemic and to conceive comprehensive measures to prevent such outbreaks in the future.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0354.v1
Online: 24 February 2020 (14:03:12 CET)
Covid-19 has now become a public health concern worldwide. The infection primarily involves the respiratory tract. Hitherto, some Covid-19 pneumonia patients carry the viral nucleic acids, and the active virus was detected in stool specimens. The virus discharged with feces is a potential contagious source. In the present study, three Covid-19 respiratory tract infection patients showed no gastrointestinal symptoms, and two were positive for viral nucleic acids in anal swab specimens remained positive 6 and at least 14 days after virus turned negative in the respiratory tract, respectively (details of the patients were listed in Fig 1). Thus, for Covid-19-infected patients with or without gastrointestinal symptoms, viral nucleic acids in stool specimens or anal swab specimens should be focused on for testing in order to decide the isolation duration of the patient.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0587.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV; Accessory Protein; ORF8; ORF8ab
Online: 24 July 2020 (13:51:12 CEST)
COVID-19 pandemic in first seven months has led to more than 15 million confirmed infected cases and 600,000 deaths. SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent for COVID-19 has proved a great challenge for its ability to spread in asymptomatic stages and a diverse disease spectrum it has generated. This has created a challenge of unimaginable magnitude not only affecting human health and life but also potentially generating a long-lasting socioeconomic impact. Both medical sciences and biomedical research have also been challenged consequently leading to a large number of clinical trials and vaccine initiatives. While known proteins of pathobiological importance are targets for these therapeutic approaches, it is imperative to explore other factors of viral significance. Accessory proteins are one such trait that have diverse roles in coronavirus pathobiology. Here we analyze certain genomic characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 accessory protein ORF8, predict upon its protein features and review current available literature regarding its function. We have also undertaken review of ORF8 homolog ORF8ab from SARS-CoV with a purpose of developing holistic understanding of these proteins for reason that coronaviruses have been infecting humans repeatedly and might continue to do so. Despite low nucleotide and protein identity and differentiating genome level characteristics, there appears to be significant structural integrity and functional proximity between these proteins pointing towards their high significance. There is further need for comprehensive genomics and structural-functional studies to lead towards definitive conclusions regarding their criticality and that can eventually define their relevance to therapeutics development.
Subject: Life Sciences, Other Keywords: Sars-CoV-2; homology modelling; envelope membrane glycoprotein; Bat; Pangolin; Sars-CoV
Online: 9 May 2020 (08:43:08 CEST)
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a new viral infection caused by the severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Genomic analyses have revealed that SARS-CoV-2 is related to Pangolin and Bat coronaviruses. In this report, a structural comparison between the Sars-CoV-2 Envelope and Membrane proteins from different human isolates with homologous proteins from closely related viruses is described. The analyses here reported show the high structural similarity of Envelope and Membrane proteins to the counterparts from Pangolin and Bat coronavirus isolates. However, the comparisons have also highlighted structural differences specific of Sars-CoV-2 proteins which may be correlated to the cross-species transmission and/or to the properties of the virus. Structural modelling has been applied to map the variant sites onto the predicted three-dimensional structure of the Envelope and Membrane proteins.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0260.v2
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV; SARS-like coronavirus; 2019-nCoV; SARS-CoV-2; angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2); RdRp; Remdesivir; and neutralizing antibody
Online: 10 July 2020 (16:21:17 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerging, highly transmissible, and pathogenic coronavirus in humans, which has caused global public health emergency and economic crisis. To date, millions of infections and thousands of deaths have been reported worldwide, and the numbers continue to rise. Currently, there is no specific drug or vaccine against this deadly virus; therefore, there is a pressing need to understand the mechanism through which this virus enters the host cell. Viral entry into the host cell is a multistep process in which SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the receptor binding domain of the spike glycoprotein (S) to recognize ACE2 receptors on the human cells; this initiates host cell entry by promoting viral-host cell membrane fusion through large scale conformational changes in the S protein. Receptor recognition and fusion are critical and essential steps of viral infections and are key determinants of the viral host range and cross-species transmission. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the origin and evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and the roles of key viral factors. We discuss the RNA dependent RNA polymerase structure of SARS-CoV-2, its significance in drug discovery, and explain the receptor recognition mechanisms of coronaviruses. We provide a comparative analysis of the SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 S proteins, receptor-binding specificity, and discuss the differences in their antigenicity based on biophysical and structural characteristics.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0390.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Recombinant protein; Protease; DPP4; SARS-CoV-2; MERS-CoV
Online: 17 November 2020 (11:38:02 CET)
Proteases catalyse irreversible posttranslational modifications that often alter a biological function of the substrate. The protease dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) is a pharmacological target in type 2 diabetes therapy primarily because it inactivates glucagon-like protein-1. DPP4 also has roles in steatosis, insulin resistance, cancers and inflammatory and fibrotic diseases. In addition, DPP4 binds to the spike protein of MERS virus, causing it to be the human cell surface receptor for that virus. DPP4 has been identified as a potential binding target of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, so this question requires experimental investigation. Understanding protein structure and function requires reliable protocols for production and purification. We developed such strategies for baculovirus generated soluble recombinant human DPP4 (residues 29-766) produced in insect cells. Purification used differential ammonium sulphate precipitation, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, dye affinity chromatography in series with immobilised metal affinity chromatography, and ion exchange chromatography. The binding affinities of DPP4 to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein and its receptor binding domain (RBD) were measured using surface plasmon resonance and ELISA. This optimised DPP4 purification procedure yielded 1 to 1.8 mg of pure fully active soluble DPP4 protein per litre of insect cell culture with specific activity >30 U/mg, indicative of high purity. No specific binding between DPP4 and CoV-2 spike protein was detected by surface plasmon resonance or ELISA. In summary, a procedure for high purity high yield soluble human DPP4 was achieved and used to show that, unlike MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 does not bind human DPP4.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0375.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; spike glycoprotein; epitope; electrochemical biosensor; point of care; immunological diagnostic
Online: 29 March 2022 (08:39:31 CEST)
The coronavirus disease of 2019, COVID-19, is caused by an infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was recognized in late 2019 and has since spread worldwide leading to a pandemic with unprecedented health and financial consequences. There remains an enormous demand for new diagnostic methods that can deliver fast, low-cost, and easy-to-use confirmation of a SARS-CoV-2 infection. We have developed an affordable electrochemical biosensor for the rapid detection of serological immunoglobulin (Ig) G antibody in sera against the Spike protein. Materials and Methods: A previously identified linear B-cell epitope (EP) specific to SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein and recognized by IgG in patient sera was selected for the target molecule. After synthesis, the EP was immobilized onto the surface of the working electrode of a commercially available screen-printed electrode (SPE). The capture of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgGs allowed the formation of an immunocomples that was measured by square wave voltammetry from its generation of hydroquinone (HQ). Results: An evaluation of the performance of the EP-based biosensor presented a selectivity and specificity for COVID-19 of 93% and 100%, respectively. No cross-reaction was observed to antibodies against other diseases that included Chagas disease, Chikungunya, Leishmaniosis, and Dengue. Differentiation of infected and non-infected individuals was possible even at high dilution factor that decreased the required sample volumes to a few microliters. Conclusion: The final device proved suitable for diagnosing COVID-19 assaying actual serum samples and the results displayed good agreement with the molecular biology diagnoses. The flexibility to conjugate other EPs to SPEs suggests that this technology could be rapidly adapted to diagnose new variants of SARS-CoV-2 or other pathogens.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0422.v1
Online: 29 March 2020 (06:16:20 CEST)
Currently, the world is struggling with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Prion-like domains are critical for virulence and the development of therapeutic targets; however, the prion-like domains in the SARS-CoV-2 proteome have not been analyzed. In this in silico study, using the PLAAC algorithm, we identified the presence of prion-like domains in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Compared with other viruses, a striking difference was observed in the distribution of prion-like domains in the spike protein, since SARS-CoV-2 was the only coronavirus with a prion-like domain found in the receptor-binding domain of the S1 region of the spike protein. The presence and unique distribution of prion-like domains in the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domains of the spike protein is particularly interesting, since although the SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV S proteins share the same host cell receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates a 10- to 20-fold higher affinity for ACE2. Finally, we identified prion-like domains in the α1 helix of the ACE2 receptor that interact with the viral receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2. Taken together, the present findings indicate that the identified PrDs in the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD) and ACE2 region that interact with RBD have important functional roles in viral adhesion and entry.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0058.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: Emerging infectious diseases; coronaviruses; COVID-19; SARS-CoV; SARS-CoV-2; MERS-CoV; zoonotic diseases
Online: 3 September 2020 (04:54:38 CEST)
The ongoing global pandemic caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has once again demonstrated the significance of the Coronaviridae family in causing human disease outbreaks. As SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in December 2019, information on its tropism, host range, and clinical presentation in animals is limited. Given the limited information, data from other coronaviruses may be useful to inform scientific inquiry, risk assessment and decision-making. We review the endemic and emerging alpha- and betacoronavirus infections of wildlife, livestock, and companion animals, and provide information on the receptor usage, known hosts, and clinical signs associated with each host for 15 coronaviruses discovered in people and animals. This information can be used to guide implementation of a One Health approach that involves human health, animal health, environmental, and other relevant partners in developing strategies for preparedness, response, and control to current and future coronavirus disease threats.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0381.v1
Subject: Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; wastewater monitoring; environmental surveillance; RT-LAMP; building-level; near-source; passive sampling
Online: 17 May 2021 (10:07:04 CEST)
Community-level wastewater monitoring for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA has demonstrated useful correlation with both coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) case numbers and clinical testing positivity. Wastewater monitoring on college campuses has demonstrated promising predictive capacity for the presence and absence of COVID-19 cases. However, to date, such monitoring has largely relied upon composite or grab samples and reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) techniques, which limits the accessibility and scalability of wastewater monitoring. In this study, we piloted a workflow that uses tampons as passive swabs for collection and reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. Results for the developed workflow were available same day, with a time to result following tampon swab collection of approximately three hours. The RT-LAMP 95% limit of detection (76 gene copies reaction-1) was greater than RT-droplet digital PCR (ddPCR; 3.3 gene copies reaction-1). Nonetheless, during a building-level wastewater monitoring campaign conducted in the midst of weekly clinical testing of all students, the workflow demonstrated a same-day positive predictive value (PPV) of 33% and negative predictive value (NPV) of 80% for incident COVID-19 cases. The NPV is comparable to that reported by wastewater monitoring using RT-qPCR. These observations suggest that even with lower analytical sensitivity the tampon swab and RT-LAMP workflow offers a cost-effective and rapid approach that could be leveraged for scalable same-day building-level wastewater monitoring for COVID-19.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0409.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: angiotensin-converting enzyme 2; SARS-CoV-2; spike protein; COVID-19
Online: 9 April 2020 (09:59:37 CEST)
Objectives Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has high infectivity in humans, attributed to the strong affinity of its spike (S) protein to human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). Here, we analyzed the structural similarity of the S protein between SARS-CoV-2 and other SARS-related coronaviruses (CoVs). Methods We performed multiple alignment analysis of nine amino acid sequences of CoV S proteins from NCBI with MAFFT web-based software, followed by phylogeny analysis. Three-dimensional structure modeling was performed by SWISS-MODEL. We calculated the template modeling score between the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 and that of other SARS-related CoVs. Results The S1 domain of the unclassified CoV RaTG13 (the host of which is the intermediate horseshoe bat) was structurally very similar to that of SARS-CoV-2, implying that RaTG13 could be the origin of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, the folding property of the entire S protein was nearly the same between SARS-CoV-2 and RaTG13 after the PRRA amino acid insertion was removed from SARS-CoV-2. Conclusions RaTG13 could have a high binding affinity to ACE2, similar to SARS-CoV-2, and it is therefore highly likely to infect other animals. Therefore, massive research and monitoring of CoVs in animals is necessary to prevent future COVID-19-like disasters.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0247.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: Covid-19 vaccination coverage; anti-SARS-CoV-2 herd immunity; Covid-19 vaccination strategy; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 27 April 2022 (05:04:20 CEST)
The pandemic associated with SARS-CoV-2 is a worldwide public health challenge. The WHO has proposed to achieve 70% COVID-19 vaccination coverage in all countries by mid-2022. Nevertheless, the prevention strategy based on COVID-19 vaccination and other applied prevention measures have not been sufficient to prevent SARS-CoV-2 epidemic waves. The study assessed the vaccination coverage that would be required to establish herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2 by taking into account virus transmissibility (Ro values from 1.1 to 10) and Covid-19 vaccination effectiveness. The study found that Covid-19 vaccination programs could establish herd immunity against SARS-CoV-2 with Ro < 3 with levels of Covid-19 vaccination effectiveness of 10−100% and against viruses with Ro values ranging from 3 to 10 with levels of Covid-19 vaccination effectiveness of 70−100%. Factors reducing Covid-19 vaccination effectiveness (emergent variants, reinfections, high risk individuals) and factors increasing SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility (close settings) increased percentages of vaccination coverage that would be required to establish herd immunity. The vaccination coverage objective of 70% could be adequate against SARS-CoV-2 with Ro values of 1.1−2.5, while percentages of vaccination coverage of 80% and 90% could be more adequate against viruses with Ro values of 2.5−3.5 and >3.5, respectively. On February 2022, the vaccination coverage for complete vaccination was lower than 70% in 73.2% of the countries of the world. Percentages of Covid-19 vaccination coverage must be increased in most countries of the world to increase individual and herd immunity levels in the population.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0272.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 (CoV-2); COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic; smell; anosmia; taste; ageusia
Online: 16 April 2020 (12:42:44 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 (CoV-2) is a coronavirus which is causing the actual COVID-19 pandemic. The disease caused by 2019 new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was named coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) by the World Health Organization in February 2020. Primary non-specific reported symptoms of 2019-nCoV infection at the prodromal phase are malaise, fever, and dry cough. The most commonly reported signs and symptoms are fever (98%), cough (76%), dyspnea (55%), and myalgia or fatigue (44%). Nonetheless, recent reports suggest an association between COVID-19 and altered olfactory and taste functions, although smell seems to be more affected than taste. These associations of smell and taste dysfunctions and CoV-2 are consistent with case reports describing a patient with SARS with long term anosmia after recovery from respiratory distress, with the observation that olfactory function is commonly altered after infection with endemic coronaviruses, and with data demonstrating that intentional experimental infection of humans with CoV-299 raises the thresholds at which odors can be detected. Post-viral anosmia and is one of the leading causes of loss of sense of smell in adults, accounting for up to 40% cases of anosmia. Viruses that give rise to the common cold are well known to cause post-infectious loss, and over 200 different viruses are known to cause upper respiratory tract infections. I reviewed the possible mechanisms of smell and taste loss in COVID-19. I concluded that since the existence of such a relationship is likely, it is highly recommended that those patients who experience complications such as smell and/or taste loss, even as unique symptoms, should be considered as potential SARS-CoV-2 virus carriers.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0439.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pathology & Pathobiology Keywords: COVID19; SARS-CoV-2 virus; Oro-nasopharyngeal; fecal; vaccination; asym-symptomatic; rapid diagnostic test
Online: 28 September 2022 (11:51:21 CEST)
Coronavirus is a disease caused by a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which emerged as a global pandemic in 2019 from Wuhan, China. Since its emergence, it has caused immense suffering to human life, 6.27 million lives have been lost, movement curtailed and social dynamics disrupted. The golden standard for getting samples for SARS-CoV-2 detection is through oral- nasopharyngeal swab, this method of sample collection is invasive and uncomfortable, thus stigmatized the general population, and thereby impeded the progress of controlling the spread through mass testing. Being a contact disease, mechanisms to encourage mass testing is key to reduce the spread. This study thus developed a complimentary sample type to test for SARS-CoV-2, the use of human feces. Fecal samples were collected from 100 asym-symptomatic individuals suspected to be infected with COVID-19, virus RNA was then extracted and profiled through Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR). The antigen rapid diagnostic test revealed high positivity rate of 44%, but the real time polymerase chain reaction results on nasopharyngeal and fecal samples revealed a significant variation, high number of the patients tested positive with stool samples compared to the nasopharyngeal swabs, with 43 and 37%, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 virus was detected in both symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals; however, the symptomatic registered a higher positivity of 25% compared to 20% among the asymptomatic patients. Vaccination only lowered the risk of infection, fully and partially vaccinated lowered the infection level to 10% compared to 20% among the unvaccinated. Finally, gender parity in relation to COVID19 was evaluated, more females (56%) compared to males were recruited in this study, out of which (20; 43.4%) were positive, and 26 (56.6%) were negative based on fecal RT-qPCR outcomes. Based on the outcome of this study, rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT) however cheap and or fast does not provide accurate information, moreover, the virus does not stay longer within the Oro-nasopharyngeal region, thus the invalid or negative results, thus use of feces should be adopted as a confirmatory test to ascertain the COVID19 status of an individual.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0085.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; CoV-Mpro; CoV-Nsp12 polymerase; CoV-Nsp13 helicase
Online: 5 March 2020 (11:50:45 CET)
The recently emerged severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) caused a major outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and instigated a widespread fear and has threatened global health security. Although phenomenal efforts are in progress to effectively combat this COVID-19 outbreak. Still, no licensed antiviral drugs or vaccines are available, and treatment is limited to supportive care and few repurposed drugs. In this urgency situation, computational drug discovery methods provide both an alternative and a supplement to tiresome high-throughput screening, particularly in the hit-to-lead-optimization stage. Identification of small molecules that specifically target viral replication apparatus has shown the most successful strategy in antiviral drug discovery. The present study deals with the identification of potential compounds that specifically interact with SARS-CoV-2 vital proteins, including main protease (Mpro), Nsp12 RNA-dependent-RNA-polymerase (RdRp) and Nsp13 helicase. A constructive and integrated virtual screening efforts together with molecular dynamics simulations identified potential binding modes and favourable molecular interaction profile of corresponding compounds. Moreover, structurally important binding site residues in conserved motifs located inside the active site are elucidated, which displayed relative importance in ligand binding based on residual energy decomposition analysis. Although the current study lacks experimental validation, the structural information obtained from this computational study paved the way to identify and design specific targeted inhibitors to combat COVID-19 outbreak.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; RT-PCR; nucleic acids; direct testing; loop-mediated isothermal amplification; LAMP
Online: 5 April 2021 (12:21:19 CEST)
The availability of simple SARS-CoV-2 detection methods is crucial to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. This study examined whether a commercial LAMP assay can reliably detect SARS-CoV-2 genomes directly in respiratory samples without having to extract nucleic acids (NA) beforehand. Nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS, n = 220) were tested by real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR and with the LAMP assay. For RT-PCR, NA were investigated. For LAMP, NA from 26 NPS in viral transport medium (VTM) were tested. The other 194 NPS were analyzed directly without prior NA extraction [140 samples in VTM; 54 dry swab samples stirred in phosphate buffered saline]. Ten NPS were tested directly by LAMP using a sous-vide cooking unit. The isothermal assay demonstrated excellent specificity (100%) but moderate sensitivity (68.8%), with a positive predictive value of 1 and a negative predictive value of 0.65 for direct testing of NPS in VTM. The use of dry swabs, even without NA extraction, improved the analytical sensitivity; up to 6% of samples showed signs of inhibition. The LAMP could be performed successfully with a sous-vide cooking unit. This technique is very fast, requires little laboratory resources and can replace rapid antigen tests or verify reactive rapid tests on site.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0471.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pediatrics Keywords: children; seroprevalence; antibodies; SARS-CoV-2; Vietnam
Online: 31 October 2022 (07:37:55 CET)
Background: The robustness of sero-surveillence has delineated the high burden of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children; however, these existing data showed wide variation. This study aimed to identify the serostatus of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and associated factors among children following the fourth pandemic wave in Vietnam. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted at Vietnam National Children’s Hospital (VNCH) between March 13 and April 3, 2022. 4,032 eligible children seeking medical care for any medical condition not related to acute Covid-19 infections was tested for IgG SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies by ADVIA Centaur® SARS-CoV-2 IgG (sCOVG) assay using the residuals of routine blood samples. Results: The median age of enrolled children was 39 (IQR=14-82) months. The overall seropositive prevalence was 59.2%, and the median antibody titer was 4.78 [IQR 2.38-9.57] UI/mL. The risk of seropositivity and the median antibody titer was not related to gender (58.6% versus 60.1%, 4.9 versus 4.6 UI/mL, all p>0.05). Among age groups, the highest seroprevalence was reported in the children aged 13 to <36 months old. Children aged ≤12 months were likely to be seropositive compared to children aged 36 to <60 months (59.2% versus 57.5%, p=0.49) and those aged ≥144 months (59.2% versus 65.5%, p=0.16). Children aged ≥144 months exhibited a significantly higher titer of protective COVID-19 antibodies than other age groups (p <0.001). In multivariate logistic regression, we observed independent factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity, including the age 13 to <36 months (OR=1.29, 95%CI=1.06-1.56, p=0.01), 60 to <144 months (OR=79, 95%CI=0.67-0.95, p=0.01), ≥144 months (OR=1.84, 95%CI=1.21-2.8, p=0.005), the presence of infected household members (OR=2.36, 95%CI=2.06–2.70, p<0.001), participants from Hanoi (OR=1.54, 95%CI=1.34-1.77, p<0.001), underlying conditions (OR=0.71, 95%CI=0.60-0.85, p<=0.001), and using corticosteroids or immunosuppressants (OR=0.64, 95%CI=0.48-0.86, p=0.003). Conclusions: This study highlights a high seroprevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among children seeking medical care for non-COVID-19-related conditions in a tertiary children’s hospital in Hanoi, Vietnam. In the context of reopening in-person schools and future emerged COVID-19 variants, this point will also be a key message about the necessity of “rush-out” immunization coverage for children, especially those under the age of three years.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0241.v1
Online: 16 September 2022 (08:07:10 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 is constantly evolving leading to new variants. We analysed data from 4,400 SARS-CoV-2-positive samples in order to continue variant surveillance in Italy to evaluate their epidemiological and relative impact on public health in the period April-December 2021. The main circulating strain (76.2%) was Delta followed by Alpha (13.3%), Omicron (5.3%) and Gamma variants (2.9%). B.1.1 lineages, Eta, Beta, Iota, Mu and Kappa variants represented around 1% of cases. Overall, 48.2% of subjects were not vaccinated with a lower median age compared to vaccinated subjects (47 vs. 61 years). An increasing number of infections in vaccinated subjects was observed overtime, with the highest proportion in November (85.2%). Variants correlated with clinical status; the largest proportion of symptomatic patients (59.6%) was observed among Delta variant, while subjects harboring Gamma variant showed the highest proportion of asymptomatics (21.6%), albeit also of deaths (5.4%). The Omicron variant was only found in vac-cinated subjects, of which 47% were hospitalized. Diffusivity and pathogenicity associated with the different SARS-CoV-2 variants are likely to have relevant public health implications, both at national and international level. Our study pro-vides data on the rapid changes in the epidemiological landscape of SARS-CoV-2 variants in Italy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0430.v1
Online: 25 August 2022 (10:00:27 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic initiated a race to determine the best measures to control the disease and to save as many people as possible. Efforts to implement social distancing, the use of masks, and massive vaccination programs turned out to be essential in reducing the devastating effects of the pandemic. Nevertheless, the high mutation rates of SARS-CoV-2 challenge the vaccination strategy and maintain the threat of new outbreaks due to the risk of infection surges and even lethal variations able to resist the effects of vaccines and upset the balance. Most of the new therapies tested against SARS-CoV-2 came from already available formulations developed to treat other diseases, so they were not specifically developed for SARS-CoV-2. In parallel, the knowledge produced regarding the molecular mechanisms involved in this disease was vast due to massive efforts worldwide. Taking advantage of such a vast molecular understanding of virus genomes and disease mechanisms, a targeted molecular therapy based on siRNA specifically developed to reach exclusive SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences was tested in a non-transformed human cell model. Since coronavirus can escape from siRNA by producing siRNA inhibitors, a complex strategy to simultaneously strike both the viral infectious mechanism and the capability of evading siRNA therapy was developed. The combined administration of the chosen produced siRNA proved to be highly effective in successfully reducing viral load and keeping virus replication under control, even after many days of treatment, unlike the combinations of siRNAs lacking this anti-anti-siRNA capability. Additionally, the developed therapy did not harm the normal cells, which was demonstrated because, instead of testing the siRNA in nonhuman cells or in transformed human cells, a non-transformed human thyroid cell was specifically chosen for the experiment. The proposed siRNA combination deeply reduced the viral load throughout the experiment and allowed cellular recovery, thus representing a potential innovation, to be considered as an additional weapon for therapy of COVID-19 and even other infectious diseases.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0051.v1
Online: 4 July 2022 (10:28:04 CEST)
For the first time in history, we have witnessed the origin and development of a pandemic. To handle the accelerated accumulation of viral mutations and to comprehend the virus' evolutionary adaptation in humans, an unparalleled program of genetic sequencing and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 variants has been undertaken. Several scientists have theorized that, with the Omicron surge producing a more contagious but less severe disease, the end of COVID-19 is near. However, by analyzing the behavior shown by this virus for 2 years, we have noted that pandemic viruses do not always show a decreased virulence. Instead, it appears there is an evolutionary equilibrium between transmissibility and virulence. We have termed this concept “intermittent virulence”. The present work analyzes the temporal and epidemiological behavior of SARS-CoV-2 and suggests that there is a high possibility that new virulent variants will arise in the near future, although it is improbable that SARS-CoV-2´s virulence will be the same as was seen during the pandemic phase.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202205.0253.v1
Online: 19 May 2022 (08:01:56 CEST)
The Covid-19 pandemic has influenced the style of work of many people. However, it remains a question to what extent it has influenced the work of outdoor workers like forestry workers. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess the level of professional burnout among forest-ry workers, as a lack of burnout symptoms is a dimension of well-being at work. The Oldenburg Burnout Inventory was administered to 42 respondents. Both subscales of the inventory were reliable: Cronbach’s alpha was 0.806 for disengagement and 0.865 for exhaustion. The mean number of overtime hours was 10.13 hours per month. The mean disengagement score of 2.24 was lower than the reference value of 2.25, but the mean exhaustion score of 2.33 was high-er than the reference value of 2.1. Age correlated significantly with stage of work, as did exhaustion with stage of work, and over-time hours with disengagement. The average forestry officer had no symptoms of disengagement and slight symptoms of exhaustion. These results suggest that being in the forest can help prevent burnout. Overtime work and a heavy workload appear to threaten forestry workers’ well-being, as they can cause exhaustion and lower commitment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0225.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-Cov-2; arbidol; treatment
Online: 26 April 2022 (04:07:48 CEST)
Background The spread of COVID-19 continues, the mutation of SARS-COV-2 is still difficult to control, and the need for antiviral drugs to treat COVID-19 remains urgent. The use of arbidol in the treatment of COVID-19 is limited and controversial. Methods To clarify the efficacy of arbidol on COVID-19, we collected 25 cases and 178 related studies. We analyzed the treatment information of arbidol based on the obtained cases, expanded the scope of the study, and collected current studies on the treatment of COVID-19 in various databases for in-depth analysis. Results History analysis showed that arbidol was effective (76% cure rate) compared with other drugs. However, compared with other antiviral drugs or standard therapy, the arbidol group had no significant advantage in reducing the time to negative virus transformation, length of hospital stays, or improvement in CT (MD=0.22, 95%CI -0.29-0.73; MD = 0.61, 95% CI 1.46 to 2.67; RR=1.15, 95%CI 0.88-1.50); Analysis of adverse events showed no significant difference between the arbidol group and the other groups (RR=0.82, 95%CI 0.25-2.71). Conclusion Our study showed that arbidol had no significant effect on COVID-19, but showed a slight advantage in CT improvement and adverse events. Our study objectively evaluated the efficacy of arbidol in the treatment of COVID-19 and provided some guidance for arbidol in the treatment of COVID-19.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0654.v1
Online: 29 July 2021 (12:23:23 CEST)
The aim of this study was the reconstruction of SARS-CoV-2 evolutionary dynamics in time and space in Italy and Europe between February and June 2020. The cluster analysis showed that pure Italian clusters were observed mainly after the lockdown and distancing measures were adopted. Lineage B and B.1 spread between late January and early February 2020, from China to Veneto and Lombardy, respectively. Lineage B.1.1 most probably evolved within Italy and spread from central to south Italian regions, and to European countries. The lineage B.1.1.1 entered Italy only in the second half of March and remained localized in Piedmont until June 2020. In conclusion, the reconstructed ancestral scenario suggests a central role of China and Italy in the widespread diffusion of the D614G variant in Europe in the early phase of the pandemic and more dispersed exchanges involving several European countries from the second half of March 2020.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0122.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; canine; gastrointestinal; infection; virus
Online: 5 April 2021 (12:23:45 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 infects a range of host species. However, the susceptibility of companion animals to SARS-CoV-2 and their potential ability to transmit the virus to humans remains unclear. Here, we present a detailed clinical description of an immunosuppressed dog that was infected with SARS-CoV-2. The dog had severe gastrointestinal (GI) clinical signs, coagulopathy, elevated hepatic transaminases, and met canine systemic inflammatory response syndrome criteria, without respiratory clinical signs, mirroring a subset of humans with GI-restricted COVID-19. Viral sequencing demonstrated divergence from other reported sequences, based on phylogenetic analysis. The dog shed high levels of virus for a prolonged time period with positive virus isolation. The dog’s immunosuppressed state may have increased both susceptibility to infection and disease progression. Together, our findings suggest that certain individual companion animals may be at higher risk for severe SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19-like disease, and high viral shedding, which may pose a transmission risk to humans.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0596.v1
Online: 23 December 2020 (15:58:38 CET)
We report the treatment of a 21-year-old female Covid-19 patient by a novel combination of minocycline and a guanosine-restricted diet. Minocycline is an antibiotic with well documented broad spectrum anti-viral effects, including evidence of activity against SARS-CoV-2. Deprivation of guanosine has been documented as an effective anti-viral modality in vitro and in animal models, and specific in vitro activity against CoV-SARS-2 has been reported. The patient's symptoms resolved rapidly.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0203.v4
Online: 2 November 2020 (10:18:00 CET)
The science around the use of masks by the general public to impede COVID-19 transmission is advancing rapidly. Policymakers need guidance on how masks should be used by the general population to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In this narrative review, we develop an analytical framework to examine mask usage, considering and synthesizing the relevant literature to inform multiple areas: population impact; transmission characteristics; source control; PPE; sociological considerations; and implementation considerations. A primary route of transmission of COVID-19 is via respiratory droplets, and is known to be transmissible from presymptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. Reducing disease spread requires two things: first, limit contacts of infected individuals via physical distancing and other measures, and second, reduce the transmission probability per contact. The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces the transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected droplets in both laboratory and clinical contexts. Public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high. The decreased transmissibility could substantially reduce the death toll and economic impact while the cost of the intervention is low. Given the current shortages of medical masks we recommend the adoption of public cloth mask wearing, as an effective form of source control, in conjunction with existing hygiene, distancing, and contact tracing strategies. Because many respiratory droplets become smaller due to evaporation, we recommend increasing focus on a previously overlooked aspect of mask usage: mask-wearing by infectious people ("source control") with benefits at the population-level, rather than mask-wearing by susceptible people, such as health-care workers, with focus on individual outcomes. We recommend that public officials and governments strongly encourage the use of widespread face masks in public, including the use of appropriate regulation.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0040.v2
Online: 28 September 2020 (03:19:50 CEST)
To address the expression pattern of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor ACE2 and the viral priming protease, TMPRSS2, in the respiratory tract, this study investigated RNA sequencing transcriptome profiling of samples of airway and oral mucosa. As shown, ACE2 has medium levels of expression in both small airway epithelium and masticatory mucosa, and high levels of expression in nasal epithelium. The expression of ACE2 is low in mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, and can’t be detected in alveolar macrophages. TMPRSS2 is highly expressed in small airway epithelium and nasal epithelium, and has lower expression in masticatory mucosa. Our results provide the molecular basis that the nasal mucosa is the most susceptible locus in the respiratory tract for SARS-CoV-2 infection and consequently for subsequent droplet transmission and should be the focus for protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0487.v1
Online: 21 September 2020 (03:35:15 CEST)
The age-related mortality and morbidity risk of COVID-19 has been considered speculative without enough scientific evidence. This study aimed to collect more evidence on the association between patient age and risk of severe disease state and/or mortality from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Genomic dataset along with metadata (3608 samples) retrieved from GISAID from different geographical regions were grouped into 10 age groups (0-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90, 91-100 years) as well as high-risk or low-risk according to patient clinical status. Genomic sequences were aligned and analyzed using MAFFT and FASTTREE to build a phylogenetic tree in order to identify age-risk associations based on phylogenetic clustering. Case fatality rates (CFR), as well as the Odds ratio (OR) for high-risk outcomes, were calculated for different age groups. Results revealed that individuals aged between 25-50 years have the best immune response to the infection. On the other hand, disease fatality was higher in patients aging above 50 years. We created an application to calculate the OR of being at high risk given a certain age threshold from GISAID datasets. OR values increased between ages 1-10 years (1.271) and 11-20 years (1.313) but reduced at age range 21-30 years (1.290) and increased again for 61-70 years (2.465). CFR calculated for each of the age groups had peak values at 90-100 years (26.8%) and the lowest at 0-10 years (0%). The CFR for ages above 50 years was about twice greater (11.6%-26.8%) than that for ages below (0-6.6%). The phylogenetic analysis revealed that the majority of samples obtained from India showed low-risk among different age groups and were defined as clade GH. Another cluster from Singapore visualization showed unfavorable patient outcome across several age groups and were classified under clade O. To conclude, this study analyses showed a variety of age-risk associations. As scientists from different countries upload more genomes to globally shared databases, more evidence will reinforce mortality risk associations in COVID-19 patients.
TECHNICAL NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0659.v1
Online: 30 August 2020 (11:22:12 CEST)
We show that low quality of all 427 Brazilian SARS-CoV-2 genomes recently published in Science (1) challenges their phylogenetic inference and may lead to incorrect typing of viral strains in clades with no statistical support. Absence of basecalling quality in genome assemblies and proper phylogeny parameter estimates preclude the assessment of signal-to-noise ratio in the data, downstream analysis and conclusions.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0270.v1
Online: 16 May 2020 (16:51:36 CEST)
A novel approach has been suggested to use isoelectric points of viral and human proteins to quickly identify proteins that are effective in not allowing virus particles to attach to human receptor cells by virtue of their electrical charge. The method has been applied to SARS CoV-2 to suggest potentially important human proteins that can be suitable for making anti-viral drugs.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0061.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Lysosomotropism; Chloroquine
Online: 5 May 2020 (04:29:48 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the largest challenges in medicine and health care worldwide in recent decades, and it is infecting and killing increasing numbers of people every day. In this paper, we discuss the possible relationships among lysosomotropism, increasing lysosomal pH, and the SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease process, and we deduce a possible approach for treatment and prophylaxis. Lysosomotropism is a biological characteristic of small molecules, such as (hydroxyl)chloroquine, amitriptyline, NB 06, or sertraline, which is present in addition to intrinsic receptor-mediated or enzymatic pharmacological effects. Lysosomotropic compounds affect prominent inflammatory messengers, such as IL1B, CCL4, CCL20, and IL6, as well as cathepsin L dependent viral entry (fusion) into host cells. Therefore, this heterogeneous group of compounds is a promising candidate for the prevention and treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infections, as well as influenza A infections and cytokine release syndrome (CRS) triggered by bacterial or viral infections. Patients who have already taken medications with lysosomotropic compounds for other pre-existing conditions may benefit from this treatment in the COVID-19 pandemic. Increased lysosomal pH levels play an important role in the disease process in common skin disorders, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis, thus suggesting that affected individuals might benefit from their particular conditions in the COVID-19 pandemic. We suggest data analysis of patients with these diseases, and who are treated with lysosomotropic compounds, and, if the results are promising, subsequent clinical testing of off-label therapy with clinically approved lysosomotropic compounds in the current COVID-19 pandemic and future influenza A pandemics.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0532.v1
Online: 30 April 2020 (13:58:41 CEST)
The disproportionate incidences of COVID-19-related hospitalization and mortality for different age groups and various underlying health conditions is a result of a complex social predisposition to the exposure, resistance, and tolerance for the infection. Based on the observed data as well as the molecular mechanisms for viral entry and replication, cellular senescence related to aging, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes appears to be strongly correlated with the SARS-CoV-2 infections resulting in higher COVID-19 related complications and mortality. Establishing such a correlation may allow us to better explain the pathobiology as well as the differential nature of the SARS-CoV-2 infections and consider targeted control and therapeutic strategies to combat the disease.
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0363.v2
Online: 22 April 2020 (06:23:01 CEST)
Covid-19 is often related to hyperinflammation that drives lung or multi-organ injury. The immunopathological mechanisms that cause excessive inflammation following SARS-Cov-2 infection are under investigation while different approaches to limit hyperinflammation in affected patients are being proposed. Here, a computational protein-protein interaction network approach was used on recently available data to identify possible Covid-19 inflammatory mechanisms and bioactive genes. First, network analysis of putative SARS-Cov-2 cellular receptors and their directly associated proteins, led to the mining of a robust neutrophil response signature and multiple relevant inflammatory genes. Second, analysis of RNA-seq datasets of lung epithelial cells infected with SARS-Cov-2 revealed that infected cells specifically expressed neutrophil-attracting chemokines, further supporting the likely role of neutrophils in Covid-19 inflammation. Third, analysis of RNA-seq datasets of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from Covid-19 patients, identified neutrophil-specific genes and chemokines. Different immunoregulatory and neutrophil-relevant molecules mined here such as, TNFR, IL8, CXCR1, CXCR2, ADAM10, GPR84, MME-neprilysin, ANPEP and LAP3 are druggable and might be therapeutic targets in efforts to limit SARS-Cov-2 inflammation in severe clinical cases. The role of neutrophils in Covid-19 needs to be studied further.
Online: 21 April 2020 (08:19:11 CEST)
Mycophenolate mofetil was reported to have broad in vitro activity against different viruses and had been tried in combination with IFN-β in treating MERS infection. We tested the pharmacological activity of mycophenolate mofetil using SARS-CoV-2 infected Vero cells. The half-maximal effective concentration (EC50) of mycophenolate mofetil against SARS-CoV-2 was 0.47 μM while that of remdesivir was 0.77 μM. Molecular docking results of mycophenolate mofetil to potential target proteins of COVID-19 suggested that mycophenolate mofetil might inhibit SARS-CoV-2 mainly by interacting with DHODH and IMPDH2. Furthermore, mycophenolate mofetil as an immunosuppressant may be a good therapeutic option for the management of hyperinflammation in patients with severe COVID-19. Based on its high potency against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells, its good pharmacokinetics and clinical safety profile, mycophenolate mofetil deserves further exploration as potential treatment for COVID-19.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0304.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Clinical Neurology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Neurology; coronavirus
Online: 17 April 2020 (15:27:14 CEST)
The recently emerged coronavirus named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS- CoV-2) is the newest threat to human health. It has already infected more than half a million people worldwide, leading to a lot of deaths. Although it causes mild flu-like disease in most patients, lethality may increase to more than 20% in elderly subjects, especially those with comorbidities, like hypertension, diabetes or lung and cardiac disease, and the mechanisms are still elusive. Common symptoms at the onset of illness are fever, cough, myalgia or fatigue, headache, and diarrhea or constipation. Interestingly, respiratory viruses have also placed themselves as relevant agents for CNS pathologies. Here we discuss several CNS related features, referred by several patients, especially at the beginning of the disease. Thus, we also discuss the possibility by which SARS-CoV-2 may affect the olfactive system of patients, either directly or indirectly.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0299.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; coronavirus; remdesivir
Online: 17 April 2020 (13:02:03 CEST)
The global pandemic of SARS-CoV-2, the causative viral pathogen of COVID-19, has driven the biomedical community to action – to uncover and develop anti-viral interventions. One potential therapeutic approach currently being evaluated in numerous clinical trials is the agent remdesivir, which has endured a long and winding developmental path. Remdesivir is a nucleotide analog prodrug that perturbs viral replication, originally evaluated in clinical trials to thwart the Ebola outbreak in 2014. Subsequent evaluation by numerous virology laboratories demonstrated the ability of remdesivir to inhibit coronavirus replication, including SARS-CoV-2. Here, we provide an overview of its mechanism of action, discovery, and the current studies exploring its clinical effectiveness.
CONCEPT PAPER | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0282.v1
Online: 16 April 2020 (15:44:39 CEST)
Purpose: Pandemic Novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has emerger centered from wuhan, China. Structurally homologous spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 receptor is taxonomically homologous with SARS-Cov and SARS associated bat coronavirus. Still now scientists are trying to find out proper vaccine and treatments for this disease. Methods: Systematically we modeled and compared the structure of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein along with Bat Cov, Bat SARS Cov and SARS Cov Urbani. S1 and S2 unit of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) are attached with ACE2 and furin, here we docked 5 Ca+ chelating drugs with these two proteins. Results: Structural comparison with all these spike proteins revealed that less significant but not negligible difference exists among them. Inserted stable nucleotide sequences and corresponding surface exposed peptidal region may be considered as epitope. Docking result with Toxicokinetics and half life of Penicillamine can effectly inhibit the attachment site of spike protein of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Conclusions: Docking summery and the pharmacokinetics with toxicokinetics index recommend that Penicillamine can able to inhibit the infection of SARS-CoV-2.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0045.v1
Online: 6 April 2020 (09:28:00 CEST)
The emerging of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates globally. One of the most prominent characteristics of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is lymphopenia which is in contrast to other viral infections. This controversy might be explained by the evaluation of impaired innate and adaptive immune responses during the SARS-CoV-2 infection. During the innate immune response, poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) hyperactivated due to virus entry and extensive DNA damage sequentially leading to NAD+ depletion, ATP depletion and finally cell death. In contrast to the immune response against viral infections, cytotoxic T lymphocytes decline sharply in SARS-CoV-2 infection which might be due to infiltration and trapping in the lower respiratory tract. In addition, there are more factors proposed to involve in lymphopenia in COVID-19 infection like the role of CD38 which functions as NADase and intensifies NAD depletion which in turn affects NAD+ dependent Sirtuin proteins, as the regulators of cell death and viability. Lung tissue sequestration following cytokine storm supposed to be another reason for lymphopenia in COVID-19 patients. Protein 7a as one of the virus-encoded proteins induces apoptosis in various organ-derived cell lines. These mechanisms proposed to induce lymphopenia, although there are still more studies needed to clarify the underlying mechanisms for lymphopenia in COVID-19 patients.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0379.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Coronaviruses; MERS-CoV; SARS-CoV-2; Serological assay; VSV pseudovirus
Online: 23 May 2020 (16:46:15 CEST)
Emerging highly pathogenic human coronaviruses (CoVs) represent a serious ongoing threat to the public health worldwide. The spike (S) proteins of CoVs are surface glycoproteins that facilitate viral entry into host cells via attachment to their respective cellular receptors. The S protein is believed to be a major immunogenic component of CoVs and a target for neutralizing antibodies (nAbs) and most candidate vaccines. Development of a safe and convenient assay is thus urgently needed to determine the prevalence of CoVs nAbs in the population, to study immune response in infected individuals, and to aid in vaccines and viral entry inhibitors evaluation. While live virus-based neutralization assays are used as gold standard serological methods to detect and measure nAbs, handling of highly pathogenic live CoVs requires strict bio-containment conditions in biosafety level-3 laboratories. On the other hand, use of replication-incompetent pseudoviruses bearing CoVs S proteins could represent a safe and useful method to detect nAbs in serum samples under biosafety level-2 conditions. Here, we describe a detailed protocol of a safe and convenient assay to generate vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV)-based pseudoviruses to evaluate and measure nAbs against highly pathogenic CoVs. The protocol covers methods to produce VSV pseudovirus bearing the S protein of the Middle East respiratory syndrome-CoV (MERS-CoV) and the severe acute respiratory syndrome-CoV-2 (SARS-CoV-2), pseudovirus titration, and pseudovirus neutralizing assay. Such assay could be adapted by different laboratories and researchers working on highly pathogenic CoVs without the need to handle live viruses in biosafety level-3 environment.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0749.v2
Subject: Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 infection; Interleukin 6; NFB; Nsp5; Cox2; SARS-CoV-2 interactome; Nonlinear dynamics of inflammation
Online: 15 March 2021 (12:18:02 CET)
In the present work we propose a dynamical mathematical model of the lung cells inflammation process in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this scenario the main protease Nsp5 enhances the inflammatory process, increasing the levels of NF kB, IL-6, Cox2, and PGE2 with respect to a reference state without the virus. In presence of the virus the translation rates of NF kB and IkB arise to a high constant value, and when the translation rate of IL-6 also increases above the threshold value of 7 pg mL-1 s-1 the model predicts a persistent over stimulated immune state with high levels of the cytokine IL-6. Our model shows how such over stimulated immune state becomes autonomous of the signals from other immune cells such as macrophages and lymphocytes, and does not shut down by itself. We also show that in the context of the dynamical model presented here, Dexamethasone or Nimesulide have little effect on such inflammation state of the infected lung cell, and the only form to suppress it is with the inhibition of the activity of the viral protein Nsp5.To that end, our model suggest that drugs like Saquinavir may be useful. In this form, our model suggests that Nsp5 is effectively a central node underlying the severe acute lung inflammation during SARS-CoV-2 infection. The persistent production of IL-6 by lung cells can be one of the causes of the cytokine storm observed in critical patients with COVID19. Nsp5 seems to be the switch to start inflammation, the consequent overproduction of the ACE2 receptor, and an important underlying cause of the most severe cases of COVID19.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0333.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: 2-Deoxyglucose; Adverse effects; COVID-19; Glutamine; PI3K/Akt
Online: 1 July 2021 (13:04:43 CEST)
The treatment of viral infections is challenging owing to the intricate structure and metabolism of the viruses. In addition, they can highjack host cellular metabolism, mutate and adapt to harsh environmental conditions. The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) displays further resilient attributes, making its eradication even more difficult. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus whose replication can be targeted by limiting the substrates available for structural incorporation. One such molecule that limits substrate availability and has received much attention lately is 2-Deoxy-d-glucose (2-DG). SARS-CoV-2 infection induces glycolysis, impairs mitochondrial function, and damages the infected cells. Administration of 2-DG can inhibit increased glycolytic flux and some other metabolic processes to cause the cessation of viral replication. This article provides a review of the mechanism of action and safety concerns associated with administering 2-DG in the treatment of COVID-19. The drug can have adverse effects on normal cell metabolism since it targets cells non-selectively, possibly in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the drug has limited use in SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with stroke, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and critical illness.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0708.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Phytochemicals; SARS-CoV-2; S-Protein; Molecular docking; ACE 2
Online: 28 December 2020 (16:51:12 CET)
Since December 2019, the worldwide spread of COVID-19 has brought the majority of the world to a standstill, affecting daily lives as well as economy. Under these conditions, it is imperative to develop a cure as soon as possible. On account of some of the adverse side effects of the existing conventional drugs, researchers all around the world are screening natural antiviral phytochemicals as potential therapeutic agents against COVID-19. This paper aims to review interactions of some specific phytochemicals with the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the Spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 and suggest their possible therapeutic applications. Literature search was done based on the wide array of in-silico studies conducted using broad spectrum phytochemicals against SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses. We shortlisted 26 such phytochemicals specifically targeting the S protein and its interactions with host receptors. To validate the previously published results, we also conducted molecular docking using the AutoDockVina application and identified 6 high potential phytochemicals for therapeutic use based on their binding energies. Besides this, availability of these compounds, their mode of action, toxicity data and cost-effectiveness were also taken into consideration. Our review specifically identifies 6 phytochemicals that can be used as potential treatments for COVID-19 based on their availability, toxicology results and low costs of production. However, all these compounds need to be further validated by wet lab experiments and should be approved for clinical use only after appropriate trials.
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; in silico drug discovery; gene expression profile; tensor decomposition; feature extraction
Online: 8 December 2020 (10:17:05 CET)
To better understand the genes with altered expression caused by infection with the novel coronavirus strain SARS-CoV-2 causing COVID-19 infectious disease, a tensor decomposition (TD)-based unsupervised feature extraction (FE) approach was applied to a gene expression profile dataset of the mouse liver and spleen with experimental infection of mouse hepatitis virus, which is regarded as a suitable model of human coronavirus infection. TD-based unsupervised FE selected 134 altered genes, which were enriched in protein-protein interactions with orf1ab, polyprotein, and 3C-like protease that are well known to play critical roles in coronavirus infection, suggesting that these 134 genes can represent the coronavirus infectious process. We then selected compounds targeting the expression of the 134 selected genes based on a public domain database. The identified drug compounds were mainly related to known antiviral drugs, several of which were also included in those previously screened with an in silico method to identify candidate drugs for treating COVID-19.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0156.v1
Subject: Materials Science, Nanotechnology Keywords: Bacterial detection; Biosensors; Clinical pathogen; COVID-19; Electrospun nanofibers; Nano-biosensors; Point-of-care; SARS-CoV-2; Viral detection.
Online: 3 November 2020 (14:15:34 CET)
Biosensors are measurement devices that can sense several biomolecules, and are widely used for the detection of relevant clinical pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, showing outstanding results. Because of the latent existing risk of facing another pandemic like the one we are living due to COVID-19, researchers are constantly looking forward to developing new technologies for diagnosis and treatment of infections caused by different bacteria and viruses. Regarding that, nanotechnology has improved biosensors design and performance through the development of materials and nanoparticles that enhance their affinity, selectivity, and efficacy in detecting these pathogens, such as employing nanoparticles, graphene quantum dots, and electrospun nanofibers. Therefore, this work aims to present a comprehensive review that exposes how biosensors work in terms of bacterial and viral detection, and the nanotechnological features that are contributing to achieving a faster yet still efficient COVID-19 diagnosis at the point-of-care.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0330.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 (CoV-2); COVID-19; coronavirus; pandemic; respiratory distress; brainstem; respiratory center
Online: 19 April 2020 (05:37:30 CEST)
Covid-19 pandemic has captivated scientists to investigate if this new disease can affect the central nervous system (CNS). The most challenging symptoms of Covid-19 are related to respiratory distress, and most patients admitted in intensive care units cannot breathe by their own. Therefore, a crucial question is if respiratory distress can be partially explained by the CNS affection. SARS-Cov-2 is a beta-coronavirus that shares high similarities with SARS-CoV. The infection of SARS‐CoV has been reported in the brains from both patients and experimental animals, where the brainstem was heavily infected. Those coronaviruses have been able to invade the brainstem via a synapse‐connected route to the medullary respiratory center, where the infected regions included the nucleus of the solitary tract and nucleus ambiguous. The vagal afferent nerves from receptors in the lung communicate with the medulla and pons respiratory control centers to coordinate inspiration and expiration. This suggests that neuroinvasion of SARS‐CoV‐2 might play a role in the acute respiratory failure of Covid-19. Therefore, acute respiratory distress in Covid-19 can be partially explained by brainstem dysfunction, suggesting the needs of more specific and aggressive treatments with the direct participation of neurologists and neurointensivists.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0390.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; SARS-CoV; ACE2; spike protein; phosphorylation; O-β-GlcNAcylation; molecular docking; chloroquine; 2-hydroxybenzohydrazine
Online: 22 April 2020 (06:01:00 CEST)
The novel coronavirus COVID- 19 disease is extremely contagious and has been spread worldwide. First COVID-19 case was identified in December, 2019 and within three months, more than one million affected cases and over 65,000 deaths have been reported. SARS-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) also known as 2019-nCoV is a causative agent of COVID-19 disease and belongs to the SARS CoV (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome corona virus) family. The SARS-CoV-2 enters the human body by binding its viral surface spike protein with the host angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors and cause infection. To prevent the virus entry and its transmission in the human body, we focused on the two domains of ACE2: i) the N-terminal extracellular binding domain (18-740 residues) reported for coronavirus spike interaction, and ii) the C-terminal cytoplasmic region (762-805 residues) to prevent the virus transmission. Therefore, we proposed: i) inhibition of receptor binding domain (RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 and human ACE2 protein may prevent the virus entry to the host and ii) inhibition of phosphorylation at Ser-787 of ACE2 protein may prevent the transmission of the virus in the COVID-19 patients. In the past, the critical role of Ser 787 in human ACE2 protein has been experimentally verified in SARS-CoV transmission, that upon binding to the receptor, SARS- CoV induces CKII- mediated phosphorylation of ACE2 at Ser-787 that in-turn facilitate virus entry to host cells, followed by replication and activation of ACE2, initiates downstream signaling leading to lung fibrosis. Therefore, in this study, we have suggested post-translational modification (PTM) O-β-GlcNAcylation, and two compounds Chloroquine and 2-hydroxybenzohydrazine might share the common pathways to prevent the COVID-19 infection in human. The addition of O-β-GlcNAcylation at same or neighboring Ser/ Thr residues results in phosphorylation inhibition and a change in protein structural and functional confirmations. Thereby, using neural networking methods, we have identified Ser/ Thr residues in ACE2 that are potential sites for phosphorylation and / or O-β-GlcNAcylation. Molecular docking showed that UDP-GlcNAc has more binding affinity with Ser-787 than the phosphoryl group. Moreover, chloroquine and 2-hydroxybenzohydrazine also showed great potential to bind at Ser-787 that may result in inhibition of Ser-787 phosphorylation and downstream signaling. Furthermore, O-β-GlcNAcylation, chloroquine and 2-hydroxybenzohydrazine showed their high affinity at ACE2-SARS-CoV-2receptor binding domain that may prevent the entry of SARS-CoV-2 into human body. In conclusion, inhibition of human ACE2 phosphorylation at Ser-787 and ACE2-SARS-CoV-2 binding domain could be promising targets against SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence & Robotics Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Deep Transfer Learning; Convolutional Neural Network; Machine Learning; GAN
Online: 7 April 2020 (10:59:04 CEST)
The coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic is putting healthcare systems across the world under unprecedented and increasing pressure according to the World Health Organization (WHO). With the advances in computer algorithms and especially Artificial Intelligence, the detection of this type of virus in the early stages will help in fast recovery and help in releasing the pressure off healthcare systems. In this paper, a GAN with deep transfer learning for coronavirus detection in chest x-ray images is presented. The lack of benchmark datasets for covid-19 especially in chest x-rays images is the main motivation of this research. The main idea is to collect all the possible images for covid-19 that exists until the writing of this research and use the GAN network to generate more images to help in the detection of the virus from the available x-rays images with the highest accuracy possible. The dataset used in this research was collected from different sources and it is available for researchers to download and use it. The number of images in the collected dataset is 307 images for four different types of classes. The classes are the covid-19, normal, pneumonia bacterial, and pneumonia virus. The dataset is divided into 90% for the GAN and the training and the validation phase, while 10% used in the testing phase. The GAN helps in generating more images from the original dataset to be 30 times larger than the originally collected dataset. The GAN also help in overcoming the overfitting problem and made the proposed model more robust. Three deep transfer models are selected in this research for investigation. The models are the Alexnet, Googlenet, and Restnet18. Those models are selected based on their small number of layers on their architectures, which will reflect in reducing the complexity of the models and the consumed memory and time. Using a combination of GAN and deep transfer models prove it is efficiency according to validation, testing accuracy, and performance measurements such as precision, recall, and F1 score. Three case scenarios are tested through the paper, the first scenario which includes 4 classes from the dataset, while the second scenario includes 3 classes and the third scenario includes 2 classes. All the scenarios include the covid-19 class as it is the main target of this research to be detected. In the first scenario, the Googlenet is selected to be the main deep transfer model as it achieves 80.6% in testing accuracy. In the second scenario, the Alexnet is selected to be the main deep transfer model as it achieves 85.2% in testing accuracy, while in the third scenario which includes 2 classes(covid-19, and normal), Googlenet is selected to be the main deep transfer model as it achieves 100% in testing accuracy and 99.9% in the validation accuracy. All the performance measurement strengthen the obtained results through the research. Finally, this research may be considered one of the first trails to use GAN and deep transfer models together to help in detecting coronaviruses (covid-19) within the absence of a benchmark dataset around the world, especially in x-rays chest images.
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; RATG13; BtCoV/4991; SARS-like (SL-) corona virus; pneumonia
Online: 24 May 2020 (20:02:22 CEST)
Genomic analysis indicates that SARS-CoV-2 is most related to RaTG13, a beta corona virus derived from bats by 96% 1. At present, RaTG13 is only available on the public database in the form of a genome sequence. The genome of RaTG13 (MN996532.1) was sequenced from the RNA of a bat faecal swab collected in 2013 from Yunnan, China, however the exact location is not mentioned. Since RaTG13 is one of the main supports for SARS-CoV-2 to have a natural origin, it is of utmost importance to understand the sample location. RNA dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) sequence of RaTG13 shows that it is 100% similar to that of bat corona virus BtCoV/4991 and 98.7-98.9% similar to SARS-CoV-2 RdRp 2. BtCoV/4991 was described to be a SARS-like (SL-) corona virus from bat faeces sampled in an abandoned mine from Mojiang 2. Both the publications 1,2 are authored by Dr. Zheng-li Shi (Z-L Shi), who is described as the bat woman of China 3. However, BtCoV/4991 has not been mentioned by Zhou et al 2020 1 where novel corona virus was first described. Based on the RdRp sequence similarities, similarities in sample collection dates, sample locations, and the fact that RaTG13 is mentioned synonymous to BtCoV/4991 on the Chinese bat database, it is predicted that RaTG13 and BtCoV/4991 originate from the same sample. The sample, bat faecal swab was collected in 2013 from an abandoned mineshaft in Mojiang by Dr. Shi and her work group. In 2012, in a Mojiang mineshaft, six mine workers suffered from atypical pneumonia and three of them died. These workers were engaged in the work of clearing debris from a mineshaft which had a lot of bats and bat faeces 3,4. A detailed health investigation indicated that the miners suffered from atypical pneumonia mostly of the viral origin 4. Therefore, in the light of the present Covid-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2, the fact that its phylogenetic neighbour RaTG13 originated from bat faeces collected from a mineshaft, which was also the origin of pneumonia-like disease in miners in 2012, should be noted.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0264.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: plaque assay; neutralization; SARS; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; Avicel; methylcellulose; COVID
Online: 16 May 2020 (15:51:52 CEST)
When working with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 during a pandemic response, having a rapid, reproducible and reliable assay for infectious virus quantitation and utilization for evaluation of potential therapeutics is critical. Compared to traditional agarose overlay plaques visualized with neutral red, assays performed with Avicel R RC-591 semi-solid overlay provide a simplified format for rapid and easy detection and neutralization testing. The method is easily modified for higher throughput using dispensers or automated processing. Fixation using formalin provides flexibility when dealing with pathogenic agents such as SARS-CoV-2 where tissue culture plates might be removed from biocontainment for staining. Although plaque assays are considered straightforward in principle, having an easily reproducible, consistent plaque assay is an invaluable tool.
SHORT NOTE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0516.v1
Online: 30 April 2020 (05:51:35 CEST)
Objective: On March 11, 2020 the WHO declared that COVID-19 is pandemic. Among the risk factors for many infectious diseases, a role of the ABO blood group system is reported in the literature. We argue whether it is necessary to investigate the relationship between ABO blood groups and susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection and if we should consider some blood groups as potential risk factors for COVID-19. Results: Based on the scientific evidence reported in this letter, we believe that further studies are needed to investigate how the ABO polymorphism influences the host susceptibility, individual response and clinical risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0245.v1
Online: 18 October 2022 (03:52:19 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein binds to the cell receptor angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE2) as the first step in viral cell entry. SARS-CoV-2 spike protein expression in ACE2-expressing cell surface induces cell–cell membrane fusion, thus forming syncytia. To exert its fusiogenic activity, the spike protein is typically processed at a specific site (S1/S2 site) by cellular proteases such as furin. The C488 residue, located at the spike–ACE2 interacting surface, is critical for the fusiogenic and infectious roles of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We further demonstrated that the C488 residue of spike protein is involved in subcellular targeting and S1/S2 processing. C488 mutant spike localization to the Golgi apparatus and cell surface were impaired. Consequently, the S1/S2 processing of the spike protein, probed by anti-Ser-686-cleaved spike antibody, markedly decreased in C488 mutant spike proteins. Moreover, brefeldin A-mediated endoplasmic reticulum-to-Golgi traffic suppression also suppressed spike protein S1/S2 processing. As brefeldin A treatment and C488 mutation inhibited S1/S2 processing and syncytia formation, the C488 residue of spike protein is required for functional spike protein processing.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0516.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pediatrics Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Omicron; children; hospitalization
Online: 30 August 2022 (09:00:24 CEST)
(1) Background: When the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 first emerged in Germany in January 2022, data on related disease severity among children and adolescents was not yet available. Given Omicron’s high transmissibility, the ability to assess its impact on admission and hospitalization rates in children’s hospitals is critical for the purpose of understanding the scope of its burden on the German health care system. (2) Methods: From January 24, 2022 to July 31, 2022, SARS-CoV-2 cases admitted to German pediatric hospitals were monitored via a national, clinician-led reporting system (CLRS) established by the German Society for Pediatric Infectious Diseases (DGPI). Cases treated on general wards and intensive care units, as well as patient age and need for respiratory support were recorded. (3) Results: From January to July 2022, a median of 1.7 cases (range 0.4–3) per reporting pediatric hospital per day were hospitalized on general wards, whereas a median of 0.1 cases (range 0–0.4 cases) were on intensive care units. Of all hospitalized patients, 4.2% received respiratory support. (4) Conclusions: Despite the high incidence rates documented in connection with the Omicron variant in early 2022, the number of pediatric hospital admissions, and especially the number of cases with need for intensive care treatment and respiratory support due to a symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, remained relatively low. Higher Omicron incidence rates had only a modest impact on SARS-CoV-2-related admissions and hospitalization in German children’s hospitals.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202208.0014.v2
Online: 2 August 2022 (12:25:20 CEST)
Introduction: Studies conducted in real-life scenarios on vaccine protection against COVID-19 constitute an important global priority, but one that is currently mostly neglected in low- and middle-income countries such as Angola. Here, we analyze for the first-time vaccine protection against COVID-19 in a real-life scenario after 6 months of implementing a multi-vaccination plan in Angola, providing estimation of odds ratios in vaccinated individuals and vaccine efficacy against infection by SARS-CoV-2 in a period that coincided with the identification of the Omicron variant in the country. Methods: We used a negative test case-control design to assess the effectiveness of vaccination against confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. A total of 4.232 vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals with the result of a rapid antigen diagnostic test against SARS-CoV-2 performed from December 27 to 28, 2021 were included in the study. Data were extracted from the Digital Vaccination Record Platform (Rediv) of the Ministry of Health of Angola. All ethical procedures related to the authorization necessary to carry out the study were followed. Statistical analyzes were performed using version 18.104.22.168 of CDC's Epi Info. Frequency distributions and measures of central tendency were used to characterize the study universe. The general and sex-adjusted and age-adjusted odds ratios, were evaluated by comparing the chances of vaccination between cases and controls, and their associated 95% CI, which were calculated using the Mantel-Haenszel stratification method. The risk classification of Axel Kroeger, Piscoya and Alarcon was used to interpret the odds ratio. The Breslow-Day statistic was used to assess the homogeneity of the odds ratios. Vaccine efficacy was calculated using the odds ratio applying the accepted statistical vaccine efficacy formula:(1 − odds ratio) × 100. For all estimates, a P value < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Results: The population consisted of 63.63% male and 36.37% female. The mean age was 36 years with a standard deviation of 13. 83. Regarding vaccination status, 83.27% of individuals were vaccinated and 16.73% were unvaccinated, with 21.81% positive and 78.19% negative for SARS -CoV-2. The odds of SARS-CoV-2 infection were 0.85 (95% CI 0.70 – 1.03) times lower in vaccinated compared to unvaccinated individuals, with P=0.09. The overall vaccine efficacy (VE) was 15% (95% CI -3 – 30). Conclusion: There was no statistically significant decrease in the chances of SARS-CoV-2 infection in vaccinated versus unvaccinated individuals. However, the overall vaccine efficacy was 15%.