REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0020.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Immunology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Immunopathogenesis; Cytokine storm; IL-6; macrophages; neutrophils
Online: 2 August 2020 (11:53:17 CEST)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is now a global pandemic caused by the new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Unlike other known coronaviruses, such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), SARS-CoV-2 reveals new clinical, immunological, and pathologic features. The lymphocyte depletion, macrophage and neutrophil hyperactivation, cytokine dysregulation, thrombophilia, delayed antiviral response, and immune exhaustion are key immunological findings linked to the clinical progression of this disease. Understanding and identifying the underlying immunological basis of COVID-19 is crucial to designing effective therapies. Here, we provide an overview of immunopathogenesis driven by SARS-CoV-2 after its interactions with the immune system.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0060.v3
Online: 6 July 2021 (11:30:53 CEST)
The greatest pandemic of the century, COVID-19, is an ongoing global public health problem. With a clinically approved treatment available only for those who are acutely ill and are hospitalized, the control of this disease in the general population is still largely dependent on the preventive measures issued by the World Health Organization. Among the general control measures other than immunization with the COVID-19 vaccines, handwashing with soap and water has been emphasized the most because it is cost-effective and easily accessible to the general public. Studies have reported that soaps offer unique chemical properties that can completely destroy enveloped viruses. However, the general public seems to be still uncertain about whether soaps can shield us from a highly contagious disease such as COVID-19. In an attempt to help eliminate the uncertainty, we analyzed the mechanisms underlying the efficacy of soap and its prospect for preventing the spread of COVID-19. In this paper, we provide an overview of the history and characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the current global COVID-19 situation, the possible mechanisms of the deactivation of viruses by soaps, and the potential effectiveness of soap in eliminating coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2.
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/preprints202008.0353.v1
Subject: Engineering, Biomedical & Chemical Engineering Keywords: aptamers; theranostics; SARS-COV-2; COVID-19; bioaffinity
Online: 17 August 2020 (08:01:15 CEST)
The novel coronavirus named by WHO and Coronavirus Study Group (CSG) as SARS-COV-2 is the etiological agent of the newly emerged Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 has become a pandemic threat as the WHO declared it a public health emergency of international concern. Early and precise detection of the virus is important for effective diagnosis and treatment. Various testing kits and assays, including real-time reverse Transcriptase PCR, thermal screening guns, ELISA-based immunoassays, and Point-of-Care (POC), have been implemented or are being explored to detect the virus and/or characterise cellular and antibody responses to the infection. However, these approaches have inherent limitations such as non-specificity, high cost, characterize by long turnaround times for test results, and can be labour intensive. Aptamers, which are single-stranded oligonucleotides, generated artificially by SELEX (Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment) may offer the capacity to generate high affinity bioprobes for monitoring relevant SARS-COV 2 and COVID-19 biomarkers. This article discusses the prospects of implementing aptasensing technologies for rapid point-of-care detection of SARS-COV-2.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0292.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: Omicron; Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; Variants of concern
Online: 20 October 2022 (02:16:05 CEST)
Since the beginning of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, there have been multiple peaks of the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus virus 2) infection, mainly due to the emergence of new variants, each with a new set of mutations in the viral genome, which have led to changes in the pathogenicity, transmissibility, and morbidity. The Omicron variant is the most recent variant of concern (VOC) to emerge and was recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) on November 26, 2021. The Omicron lineage is phylogenetically distinct from earlier variants, including the previously dominant Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant. Previous research has reported the most common clinical manifestations of the Omicron variant to be fever, runny nose, sore throat, severe headache, and fatigue. The reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, rapid antigen assays, and chest computed tomography (CT) scans can help diagnose those with the Omicron variant. Furthermore, many agents are expected to have therapeutic benefits for those infected with the Omicron variant, including TriSb92, molnupiravir, nirmatrelvir, and their combination, corticosteroids, and interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor blockers. Despite being milder than previous variants, the Omicron variant threatens many lives, particularly among the unvaccinated, due to its higher transmissibility, pathogenicity, and infectivity. This review summarizes the essential features of the Omicron variant, including its history, genome, transmissibility, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, management, and the effectiveness of existing vaccines against this VOC.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0005.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Pandemic; Viral Genomics
Online: 1 April 2020 (09:22:38 CEST)
The COVID-19 pandemic is due to infection caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 that impacts the lower respiratory tract. The spectrum of symptoms ranges from asymptomatic infections to mild respiratory symptoms to the lethal form of COVID-19 which is associated with severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress and fatality. At present, the global case fatality rate of COVID-19 laboratory confirmed cases is ~4.7% ranging from ~0.3-0.4% in Chile and Israel to ~10.8% in Italy. To address this global crisis, up-to-date information on the viral genomics and transcriptomics is crucial for understanding the origins and global dispersal of the virus, providing insight into viral pathogenicity, transmission and epidemiology, and enabling strategies for therapeutic interventions, drug discovery and vaccine development. Therefore, this review provides a comprehensive overview of COVID-19 epidemiology, genomic etiology, findings from recent transcriptomic map analysis, viral-human protein interactions, molecular diagnostics, and the current status of vaccine and novel therapeutic intervention development. Moreover, we provide an extensive list of resources that will help the scientific community access numerous types of databases related to SARS-CoV-2 OMICs and approaches to therapeutics related to COVID-19 treatment.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0449.v2
Subject: Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Covid-19; pandemic; primer; India; mortality rate; evolution; updated primer; evolving pandemic
Online: 1 June 2020 (11:08:03 CEST)
In this paper we first provide a primer on SARS-CoV-2 and Covid-19 delineating the etiopathogenesis, epidemiology, clinical manifestations and the natural history of the disease. We then trace the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic highlighting the characteristics of the epidemic in China where the pandemic originated, select countries of Europe which peaked during April, and Brazil, US and India where the pandemic has taken serious turns recently. We also project some possible trajectories for the mega cities of India based on the demographic characteristics of these cities in comparison to New York city. This is an updated version of the article from mid-April published online.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0196.v1
Subject: Biology, Physiology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; PCR persistent positive; respiratory infection; COVID-19
Online: 12 December 2022 (09:04:59 CET)
Background and Objectives: Most individuals infected by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms of COVID-19, which usually resolve after few days. Regardless of symptoms, infected people can transmit the virus to others especially on the first days of infection. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is used to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection; some individuals show persistent PCR-positivity after recovering from COVID-19. In this study, 12 individuals who showed persistence of COVID-19 symptoms and of SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positivity were followed-up. Methods: nasopharyngeal samples were collected for SARS-CoV-2 detection by RT-qPCR; clinical and epidemiological data were analyzed. Results: that persistence of SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity was associated with duration of symptoms (rs 0.81338), which varied between one and 49 days, with 75% of the individuals reporting symptoms for more than two weeks; 83.33% of cases remained positive after two weeks of onset of symptoms, despite decreases in viral load. Conclusion: neither RT-qPCR test nor a symptom-based approach alone are sufficient to evaluate discontinuation of patient isolation; other factors such as viral loads and symptom severity should also be considered. Additional studies are needed to understand how RT-PCR-positivity is related to symptoms and the risk of viral transmission, and to better support isolation guidelines.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0145.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Exosome; Extracellular Vesicle; Diagnostics; Vaccine; Treatment
Online: 12 June 2020 (09:01:02 CEST)
Our first modern global pandemic is caused by a nanosized lipid vesicle, called SARS-CoV-2. Its molecular structure and biogenesis have remarkable similarities with Extracellular Vesicles (EVs, most notably exosomes) that are constantly shed by all cells during their life. Their resemblance may not be a coincidence. Growing body of evidence has shown that EVs have significant roles in various biological processes, including viral infection, transmission and anti-viral response. Drawing comparison with the virus might shed light on how we could fight the COVID-19 disease. This may include novel EV research and diagnostics technologies as well as novel EV-based treatments.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0185.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; variant; sublineage; transmission; immunity; infection; vaccination; non-pharmaceutical interventions
Online: 14 March 2022 (11:19:04 CET)
The scientific, private and industrial sectors use a wide variety of technological platforms available to achieve protection against SARS-CoV-2, including vaccines. However, the virus evolves continually into new highly virulent variants, which might overcome the protection provided by vaccines and may re-expose the population to infections. Mass vaccinations should be continued in combination with more or less obligation mandatory non-pharmaceutical interventions. Therefore, the key questions to be answered are: (i) How to identify the primary and secondary infections of SARS-CoV-2? (ii) Why are neutralizing antibodies not long-lasting in both the cases of natural infections and post-vaccinations? (iii) Which are the factors responsible for this decay in neutralizing antibodies? (iv) What strategy could be adapted to develop long-term herd immunity? (v) Is the Spike the only vaccine candidate or a vaccine cocktail is better?
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/preprints202004.0082.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Nursing & Health Studies Keywords: COVID-19; global pandemic; global health emergency; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 7 April 2020 (10:08:47 CEST)
The 2019 novel coronavirus (previously 2019-nCoV) or coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has been summarized as on March 29, 2020. COVID-19 is a highly transmittable and pathogenic viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SERS-CoV-2). The disease was first seen during an outbreak in Wuhan, China and continuous spreading from human to human around the sphere. The disease is uncontrolled and increasing the death toll through. The world is facing a global challenge to protect human lives caused by coronavirus outbreak. The number of infected patients is increasing day by day due to COVID-19 as a pandemic. The world health organization (WHO) has declared global public health emergency on January 30, 2020. The disease has been spread around 201 countries with total confirmed cases 634835 and death cases 29891 as on March 29, 2020. The goal of this review to summaries and update the clinical/medical features and suggestions for diagnosis of the COVID-19 as a pandemic. The discussion of the various therapeutic algorithms, risk, prevention and control based on the latest reports has been provided.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0022.v1
Online: 2 May 2020 (16:29:38 CEST)
During December 2019, a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 has emerged in Wuhan, China. The human to human transmission of this virus has also been established. The virus has so far infected more than 2 million people and spread over 200 countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global health emergency due to its spread well beyond China. It has been established that this virus originates from bats and uses an intermediate host for transfer to humans. The knowledge about the intermediate host is important to find the virus shuttle mechanism to stop future outbreaks. For this, the genetic and structural analysis of coronaviruses spike proteins was performed using a computer-assisted approach.To conduct the In silico analysis, 43 sequences of spike protein belong to different species were retrieved from the NCBI nucleotide database. Pairwise and multiple sequence alignments were performed to check the similarities and differences of the retrieved sequences. Moreover, to highlight relationships among different species, phylogenetics analysis was performed using the MEGA software tool. In the end, protein structure alignment (superimposition) was performed against the reference structure by UCSF Chimera software. The results highlighted that the maximum similarity of human protein was found against Bat and Pangolinsequences. Moreover, among Bat and Pangolin, the highest similarity was found against pangolin based on phylogenetics analysis. These results suggest that SARS-CoV-2 transfers from bats to humans through pangolins.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0432.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Infectious disease; Pandemics; Epidemics; Biomedical Research
Online: 19 February 2021 (10:03:47 CET)
It is known for decades that viruses from the Coronoviridae family can adapt to human-to-human transmission. In 2020, SARS-CoV-2 caused a global pandemic of unprecedented scale imposing the loss of millions of human lives and being at the heart of a global economic crisis. Thus, we overviewed key research advances generated from the identification of the etiological agent to a better understanding of its origin, evolution and factors underlying global spread. Furthermore, we analyze the scientific productivity using the PubMed database. We found that the total number of publications increased more than 8% in 2020 when compared with 2019 or the average publications per year in the previous quinquennial. Remarkably, 86,638 publications related with COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 were published in 2020. Furthermore, there was also an increase in 2020 of publications in other major infectious diseases, such as AIDS, tuberculosis, or malaria. This success is likely the result from the vigorous, international, collaborative, and multidisciplinary response by the research community. During 2020 it was demonstrated, that with adequate support, it is possible to boost the rate of scientific progress in infectious diseases. Sustained investment in science will be key to address existing and future pandemics as the human population increases.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202106.0060.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; variants; vaccines; immune dysregulated; comorbidities; antibody; Spike protein; biomolecules; coronavirus
Online: 2 June 2021 (09:56:14 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic which has been a topic of major concern to global human health. The challenge to restrain the COVID-19 pandemic is further compounded by the emergence of several SARS-CoV-2 variants viz. B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P1 and, B.1.617., which show in-creased transmissibility and resistance towards vaccines and therapies. Importantly, the likelihood of susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection among individuals with dysregulated immune response or comorbidities needs greater attention. Herein, we provide a comprehensive perspective regarding ongoing vaccine (mRNA, protein-based, viral vector based etc.) and therapeutic (mono-clonal antibodies, small molecules, plasma therapy, etc.) modalities designed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. We also discuss in detail the challenges posed by different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) identified across the globe and their effects on therapeutic and prophylactic interventions.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0075.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; immunotherapeutics; therapeutics; vaccines
Online: 7 April 2020 (02:01:34 CEST)
A novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), causing an emerging coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China has resulted in an outbreak in China which has taken a catastrophic turn with high toll rates in China and subsequently spreading across the globe. The rapid spread of this virus to more than 175 countries while affecting nearly 500,000 persons and causing more than 22,000 human deaths, it has resulted in a pandemic situation in the world. The SARS-CoV-2 virus belongs to the genus Betacoronavirus, like MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, all of which originated in bats. It is highly contagious, causing symptoms like fever, dyspnea, asthenia and pneumonia, thrombocytopenia and the severely infected patients succumb to the disease. Coronaviruses (CoVs) among all known RNA viruses have the largest genomes ranging from 26 to 32 kb in length. Extensive research has been conducted to understand the molecular basis of the SARS-CoV-2 infection and evolution, develop effective therapeutics, antiviral drugs and vaccines, and to design rapid and confirmatory viral diagnostics as well as adopt appropriate prevention and control strategies. Till date, no clinically proclaimed, proven therapeutic antibodies or specific drugs and therapeutics, and vaccines have turned up. Several molecular diagnostic tests such as Real Time-PCR, isothermal loop-mediated amplification of coronavirus (i-LACO), full genome analysis by next-generation sequencing (NGS), multiplex nucleic acid amplification, and microarray-based assays are in use currently for the laboratory confirmation of this CoV infection. In this review article, we describe the basic molecular organization and phylogenetic analysis of the coronaviruses, including the SARS-CoV-2, and recent advances in diagnosis and vaccine development in brief and focusing mainly on developing potential therapeutic options that can be explored to manage this pandemic virus infection, which would help in valid countering of COVID-19.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0251.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Spike protein; Mutant; Genome
Online: 12 July 2020 (12:03:16 CEST)
The severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), greatly varies from patient to patient. In the present study, we explored and compared mutation profiles of SARS-CoV-2 isolated from mildly affected and severely affected COVID-19 patients in order to explore any relationship between mutation profile and disease severity. Genomic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 were downloaded from GISAID database. With the help of Genome Detective Coronavirus Typing Tool, genomic sequences were aligned with the Wuhan seafood market pneumonia virus reference sequence and all the mutations were identified. Distribution of mutant variants was then compared between mildly and severely affected groups. Among the numerous mutations detected, 14,408C>T and 23,403A>G mutations resulting in RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) P323L and spike protein D614G mutations, respectively, were found predominantly in severely affected group (>82%) compared with mildly affected group (<46%, p<0.001). The 241C>T mutation in the non-coding region of the genome was also found predominantly in severely affected group. The 3,037C>T, a silent mutation, also appeared in relatively high frequency in severely affected group. We concluded that RdRp P323L and spike protein D614G mutations predominate in severely affected COVID-19 patients. Further studies will be required to explore whether these mutations have any impact on the severity of COVID-19.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0577.v1
Online: 30 December 2022 (09:13:21 CET)
Background: Signaling by toll like receptors (TLRs) initiates important immune responses against viral infection. The role of TLRs in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections is not well elucidated. Thus, we investigated the interaction of TLRs agonists and SARS-COV-2 antigens with immune cells in vitro. Material & methods: 30 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients (15 severe and 15 moderate) and 10 age and sex matched control (HC) were enrolled. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated and activated with TLR3, 7, 8 and 9 agonists, the spike protein (SP) of SARS-CoV-2 and the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) unit of SP. Frequencies of CD3+IFN-β+ T cells, and CD3+IFN-g+ T cells was evaluated by flow cytometry. Interferon (IFN)-b gene expression was assessed by qRT-PCR. Results: The frequency of CD3+IFN-β+ T cells was higher in moderate and severe patients at baseline in comparison with HCs. Stimulation of PBMCs from moderate patients with SP and TLR8 agonist significantly upregulated the frequency of CD3+IFN-β+ T cells (P=0.0005 and 0.0024, respectively) when compared to non-stimulated (NS) samples. The greatest increase in CD3+IFN-b+ T cell frequency in PBMCs from severe patients was seen with TLR8 and TLR7 agonists when compared to NS (P= 0.003 and 0.0167, respectively). TLR stimulation did not significantly enhance the frequency of CD3+IFN-g+ T cells generated from PBMCs from moderate and severe patients compared with unstimulated controls. However, the frequency of CD3+IFN-ɣ+ T cells in PBMCs from moderate patients was upregulated by agonists of TLR3, 8 and 9, SP and RBD when compared with NS samples from HCs. The expression of the IFN-β gene after stimulation of CD3+T cells with the TLR8 agonist was also up-regulated in moderate than severe patients (moderate vs. severe: p=0.0006). In addition, stimulation of CD3+ T cells with SP, up-regulated the expression of IFN-β gene expression in cells from patients with moderate disease (moderate vs. severe: p=0.01). Conclusion: Stimulation of PBMCs from COVID-19 patients with a TLR8 agonist and with SP enhanced IFN-b protein and gene levels. This may potentiate immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 infection and prevent viral replication and spread.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0534.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, Serological test, Sensitivity, Specificity, Serosurveillance.
Online: 20 April 2021 (11:36:09 CEST)
Background: Flow-through dot-blot assay (FT-DBA) for SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG detection will provide a reliable and affordable immunoassay for the rapid serosurveillance against COVID-19. Method: SARS-CoV-2 antigens were immobilized on nitrocellulose membrane to capture IgG immunoglobulins, which were then detected with AuNP anti-human IgG. A total of 181 samples were characterized with in-house and commercial immunoassay. The positive panel consisted of RT-PCR positive samples from patients with both <14 days and >14 days from the onset of symptoms, while the negative panel contained samples collected either from the pre-pandemic era dengue patients from healthy donors during the pandemic period. Results: In-house ELISA selected a total of 79 true seropositive and 100 seronegative samples. The sensitivity of samples with <14 days using FT-DBA was 94.7% which increased to 100% for samples >14 days. The overall detection sensitivity and specificity were 98.8% and 98%, respectively, whereas the overall PPV and NPV were 97.6% and 99%. Moreover, comparative analysis between ELISA and FT-DBA revealed clinical agreement of Cohen’s Kappa value of 0.944. Conclusion: The assay can confirm past SARS-CoV-2 infection with high accuracy within 2 minutes compared to ELISA. It can help track SARS-CoV-2 disease progression, population screening, and vaccination response.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0189.v1
Online: 9 July 2020 (12:18:46 CEST)
Background: The novel emerging virus SARS-CoV-2 has affected all human-kind during the first half of 2020. The aim of the study was to survey the actual circumstances from January until May. Methods: The data are collected and released systematically, by law, from the National Epidemiological Surveillance of Infectious Disease (NESID). Findings: Analysis of these data revealed that the infection spread in Japan from late March to early April 2020. The SARS-CoV-2 infection rate at its peak was estimated to be 10%. Thus, the size of the population who may have been exposed to the novel virus in Japan is estimated at 0.2 million, which is relatively small. The number of related deaths is likely to converge on 1,000 people. Interpretation: Applying the law of large numbers allows estimation of the infection rate as well as of the size of the affected population by statistical analysis. How to collect the data must be defined before the data analysis is suggested to be important to reflect the actual circumstances about COVID-19.
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.
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/preprints202007.0262.v1
Subject: Keywords: SARS-COV-2; COVID-19; Lockdown; Epidemiological Models; Machine Learning; Transmission
Online: 12 July 2020 (15:18:48 CEST)
In Wuhan city of China, an episode of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) happened. during late December and it has quickly spread to all places in the world. Until May 29, 2020, cases were high in the USA with 1.7 Million, Russia with approximately 387 thousand, the UK with 271 thousand confirmed cases. Everybody on the planet is anxious to know when the coronavirus pandemic will end. In this scourge, most nations force extreme medication measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. Modeling has been utilized broadly by every national government and the World Health Organization in choosing the best procedures to seek after in relieving the impacts of COVID-19. Many epidemiological models are studied to understand the spread of the illness and its prediction to find maximum capacity for human-to-human transmission so that control techniques can be adopted. Also, arrangements for the medical facilities required such as hospital beds and medical supplies can be made in advance. Many models are used to anticipate the results keeping in view the present scenario. There is an urgent need to study the various models and their impacts. In this study, we present a systematic literature review on epidemiological models for the outbreak of novel coronavirus in India. The epidemiological dynamics of COVID-19 is also studied. Here, In addition, an attempt to take out the results from the exploration and comparing it with the real data. The study helps to choose the models that are progressive and dependable to predict and give legitimate methods for various strategies.
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.
Online: 3 July 2020 (09:45:43 CEST)
The novel respiratory disease COVID-19 has reached the status of worldwide pandemic and large efforts are currently being undertaken in molecularly characterizing the virus causing it, SARS-CoV-2. The genomic variability of SARS-CoV-2 specimens scattered across the globe can underly geographically specific etiological effects. In the present study, we gather the 48,635 SARS-CoV-2 complete genomes currently available thanks to the collection endeavor of the GISAID consortium and thousands of contributing laboratories. We analyze and annotate all SARS-CoV-2 mutations compared with the reference Wuhan genome NC_045512.2, observing an average of 7.23 mutations per sample. Our analysis shows the prevalence of single nucleotide transitions as the major mutational type across the world. There exist at least three clades characterized by geographic and genomic specificity. In particular, the clade G, prevalent in Europe, carries a D614G mutation in the Spike protein, which is responsible for the initial interaction of the virus with the host human cell. Our analysis may drive local modulation of antiviral strategies based on the molecular specificities of this novel virus.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0192.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Veterinary Medicine Keywords: animal; COVID-19; intermediate host; SARS-COV-2
Online: 16 May 2020 (18:06:34 CEST)
A novel coronavirus has been reported as the causative pathogen of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak Wuhan city, China in December 2019. Due to the rapid spreading of COVID-19 worldwide, it has been announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). Hospitalized patients in Wuhan are associated with the Huanan seafood wholesale market where live animals, such as poultry, bats, snakes, frogs, rabbits, marmots, and hedgehogs are sold in that market which suggests a possible zoonotic infection. Therefore, it is essential to identify the potential animal reservoir, and the possibility of infection for other animal species. This short review aims to provide an overview on the relation between severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus‐2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) infection and animals.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202002.0220.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pathology & Pathobiology Keywords: coronavirus; COVID-19 pneumonia; pathology; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 2 March 2020 (01:34:58 CET)
There is currently a lack of pathologic data on the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pneumonia, or COVID-19, from autopsy or biopsy. Two patients who recently underwent lung lobectomies for adenocarcinoma were retrospectively found to have had COVID-19 at the time of surgery. These two cases thus provide important first opportunities to study the pathology of COVID-19. Pathologic examinations revealed that, apart from the tumors, the lungs of both patients exhibited edema, proteinaceous exudate, focal reactive hyperplasia of pneumocytes with patchy inflammatory cellular infiltration, and multinucleated giant cells. Hyaline membranes were not prominent. Since both patients did not exhibit symptoms of pneumonia at the time of surgery, these changes likely represent an early phase of the lung pathology of COVID-19 pneumonia.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0348.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-COV-2; COVID-19; clinical pathology; pathogenesis; immunopathology
Online: 23 March 2020 (07:51:17 CET)
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by a novel coronavirus named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome - Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in early December 2019 in China and attained a pandemic situation worldwide by its rapid spread to nearly 167 countries with 287.239 confirmed cases and 11.921 human deaths with a case fatality rate (CFR) of around 4 per cent. Bats were considered as the reservoir host, and the search of a probable intermediate host is still going on. Animals have anticipated culprit of SARS-CoV-2 as of now. The disease is mainly manifested by pneumonia and related respiratory signs and symptoms, but the involvement of the gastrointestinal system and nervous system is also suggested. The severe form of the disease associated with death is mainly reported in older and immune-compromised patients with pre-existing disease history. Death in severe cases is attributed to respiratory failure associated with hyperinflammation. Cytokine storm syndrome associated with rampant inflammation in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection is considered as the leading killer of COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 patients were reported with higher levels of many pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines like IFN-g, IL-1b, IP-10, and MCP-1. Furthermore, severe cases of COVID-19 revealed higher levels of TNF-α, G-CSF, and MIP-1A. Blood profile of the COVID-19 patients exhibits lymphopenia, leucopenia, thrombocytopenia and RNAaemia along with increased levels of aspartate aminotransferase. SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnant women does not lead to fetus mortalities unlike other zoonotic coronaviruses like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV, with no evidence of intrauterine transmission to neonates. Rapid and confirmatory diagnostics have been developed, and high efforts are being made to develop effective vaccines and therapeutics. In the absence of any virus-specific therapeutic, internationally health care authorities are recommending adoption of effective prevention and control measures to counter and contain this pandemic virus. This paper is an overview of this virus and the disease with a particular focus on SARS-COV-2 / COVID-19 clinical pathology, pathogenesis and immunopathology along with a few recent research developments.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0663.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; interactome; ciliary-flagellar dysfunction; infertility; pathogenicity
Online: 25 December 2020 (13:18:03 CET)
Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). There is sufficient experimental evidence to confirm that SARS-CoV-2 infection produces states of ciliary and flagellar dysfunction. However, these studies are unable to explain the observed effects molecularly, because they lack a sufficient understanding of the interaction between human proteins and virus proteins. Using the physical-chemical study of the human interactome in interaction with the SARS-CoV-2 proteome, we found evidence of interactions to explain the experimental effects from a molecular perspective. We found that ten viral proteins interact with key components in the maintenance of the molecular structure of axoneme. Additionally, we evaluated the pulmonary and extrapulmonary pathogenesis of COVID-19 from the point of view of ciliary dysfunction, and warned about other possible complications such as episodes of transient infertility that, due to the limitations of our work, would need verification.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202301.0250.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Feline; Canine; seroprevalence; zoonosis
Online: 13 January 2023 (10:21:53 CET)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has affected millions of people worldwide since its emergence in 2019. The current global pandemic was driven by human-to-human transmission. Knowing the zoonotic origin of the disease and the potential capacity of the virus to adapt to other species, it is important to understand the extent of natural SARS-CoV-2 infection of animals, in particular cats and dogs in households that are in direct contact with their owners. Hong Kong and Seoul are two of the most densely-populated urban cities in Asia, where companion animals often live in close contact with humans. In this study, we screened sera from 1,040 cats and 855 dogs during the early phase of the pandemic in Hong Kong and Seoul for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by using an ELISA that detects antibodies against the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the viral spike protein. Sera testing positive on ELISA were also tested for the presence of neutralizing antibodies using a surrogate virus neutralization (sVNT) and plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). Among feline sera, 4.51% and 2.54% of samples from Korea and Hong Kong, respectively, tested ELISA positive. However only 1.64% of samples from Korea and 0.18% from Hong Kong tested positive by sVNT, while only 0.41% of samples from Korea tested positive by PRNT. Among canine samples, 4.94% and 6.46% from Korea and Hong Kong, respectively, tested positive by ELISA, while only 0.29% sera from Korea were positive on sVNT and no canine sera tested positive by PRNT. These results confirm a low seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 exposure in companion animals in Korea and Hong Kong. The discordance between RBD-ELISA and neutralization tests may indicate possible ELISA cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses, especially in canine sera.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0456.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; environmental influences; humidity; SARS-CoV-2; seasonality; temperature
Online: 20 July 2020 (07:41:44 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 virus infections in humans were first reported in December 2019, the boreal winter. The resulting COVID-19 pandemic was declared by the WHO in March 2020. By July 2020 COVID-19 is present in 213 countries and territories, with over 12 million confirmed cases and over half a million attributed deaths. Knowledge of other viral respiratory diseases suggests that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 could be modulated by seasonally-varying environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. Many studies on the environmental sensitivity of COVID-19 are appearing online, and some have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Initially, these studies raised the hypothesis that climatic conditions would subdue the viral transmission rate in places entering the boreal summer and that southern hemisphere countries would experience enhanced disease. For the latter, the COVID-19 peak would coincide with the peak of the influenza season, increasing misdiagnosis and placing an additional burden on health systems. In this review, we assess the evidence that environmental drivers are a significant factor in the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic, globally and regionally. We critically assessed 42 peer-reviewed and 80 preprint publications that met qualifying criteria. Since the disease has been prevalent for only half a year in the northern, and a quarter of a year in the southern hemisphere, datasets capturing a full seasonal cycle in one locality are not yet available. Analyses based on space-for-time substitutions, i.e. using data from climatically distinct locations as a surrogate for seasonal progression, have been inconclusive. The reported studies present a strong northern bias. Socio-economic conditions peculiar to the ‘Global South’ have been omitted as confounding variables, thereby weakening evidence of environmental signals. We explore why research to date has failed to show convincing evidence for environmental modulation of COVID-19, and discuss directions for future research. We conclude that the evidence thus far suggests a weak modulation effect, currently overwhelmed by the scale and rate of the spread of COVID-19. Seasonally-modulated transmission, if it exists, will be more evident in 2021 and subsequent years.
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/preprints202005.0367.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; viral load; children
Online: 23 May 2020 (10:15:07 CEST)
Background: The question of whether children are less likely to pass on SARS-CoV-2 is important for planning society’s response to the pandemic. A document available on the Charité hospital website has not been formally published but is frequently referred to as supporting the notion that viral loads are similar in children and adults. Methods: The summary data from this document was extracted and used to produce summary statistics for three age groups: younger children (ages up to 11), older children (ages 12 to 19) and adults (ages 20 and above). Viral loads between the two children’s groups and the adult group were compared using Welch’s t test, which only requires group means and standard deviations and which is robust against moderate departures from normality. Findings: Viral loads were significantly lower than in adults for both younger children (p=0.04) and older children (p=0.04). Overall, viral loads were lower in children than adults (p=0.005). Interpretation: For both younger and older children, on average those with detectable SARS-CoV-2 have significantly lower viral loads than adults. Funding: No funding was received for this analysis.
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.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202212.0469.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Reinfection
Online: 26 December 2022 (03:53:55 CET)
Background: Repeated SARS-CoV-2 infections are plausible and related published data are scarce. We aimed to identify factors associated with the risk of recurrent (three episodes) laboratory-confirmed symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted and 1,700 healthcare workers were enrolled. We used risk ratios (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) to evaluate factors associated with symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections. Results: We identified 14 participants with recurrent illness episodes. Therefore, the incidence rate was 8.5 per 10,000 person-months. In multiple model, vaccinated adults (vs. unvaccinated, RR = 1.05 [1.03 - 1.06]) and those with a severe first illness episode (vs mild disease, RR = 1.05 [1.01 - 1.10]) were at increased risk for repeated symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 reinfections. Increasing age showed a protective effect (per each additional year of age: RR = 0.98 [0.97 - 0.99]). Conclusions: Our results suggest that recurrent SARS-CoV-2 infections are rare events in adults and they seem to be determined, partially, by vaccination status and age.
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.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0486.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Immunology Keywords: COVID-19; comorbidity; SARS-CoV-2; leukemia; NAFLD; psoriasis; cancer; type II diabetes
Online: 21 September 2020 (03:32:58 CEST)
Background: Comorbidities have been frequently reported in COVID-19 patients, which often lead to more severe outcomes. The underlying molecular mechanisms behind these clinical observations have not yet been explained. Herein, we investigated the disease-specific gene expression signatures that may induce susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods: We studied 30 frequently occurring acute, chronic, or infectious diseases of recent times that have shown comorbidity in one or another respiratory disease(s) caused by pathogenic human infecting coronaviruses, especially SARS-CoV-2. We retrieved array-based gene expression data for each disease and control from relevant datasets. Subsequently, all the datasets were quantile normalized, and log-2 transformed data was used for analysis. Results The expression of ACE2 receptor and host proteases, namely FURIN and TMPRSS2 that are essential for cellular entry of SARS-CoV-2, was upregulated in all six studied subtypes of leukemia (hereafter, referred as leukemia). The expression of ACE2 was also increased in psoriasis, lung cancer, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), breast cancer, and pulmonary arterial hypertension patients. The expression of FURIN was higher in psoriasis, NAFLD, lung cancer, and in type II diabetic liver, whereas it was lowered in breast cancer. Similarly, the expression of TMPRSS2 was increased during lung cancer and type II diabetes; it was decreased during psoriasis, NAFLD, lung cancer, breast cancer, and cervical cancer.Furthermore, a heightened expression of genes that are involved in immune response was observed in leukemia patients, as shown by the higher expression of IFNA2, IFNA8, IFNA10, IFNA14, IFNA16, IFNA21, IFNB1, CXCL10, and IL6. The expression of JAK1, STAT1, IL6, and CXCL10 was higher in NAFLD. Besides, JAK1 and STAT1 were upregulated in type II diabetic muscles. In addition, most of the upregulated genes in COVID-19 patients showed a similar trend in leukemia, NAFLD, and psoriasis. Furthermore, SARS-CoV-2, SARS-CoV and MERS CoV, were found to commonly alter two genes, namely, CARBONIC ANHYDRASE 11 and CLUSTERIN.Conclusions: The genes that may confer susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection are mostly upregulated in leukemia patients; hence, leukemia patients are relatively more susceptible to develop COVID-19, followed by other chronic disorders, such as, NAFLD, type II diabetes, psoriasis, and hypertension. This study identifies key genes that are altered in the studied diseases types, which may aid in the infection of SARS-CoV-2 and underlie COVID-19 associated comorbidities.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0126.v1
Online: 7 May 2020 (13:20:42 CEST)
Evidence for the potential for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-19 continues to accumulate, with important implications for healthcare workers, as well as the general public. Three lines of evidence support this conclusion.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202207.0384.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pediatrics Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; children; clinical features; comorbidities; male genderSARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, children, clinical features, comorbidities, male gender
Online: 26 July 2022 (04:43:02 CEST)
Background: Given the potential for additional development to clarify a better knowledge of the overall impact of COVID-19 on the pediatric population, the clinical symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and adolescents are still being explored. Morbidity in children is characterized by a variable clinical course. Our study's goal was to compare clinical aspects of 230 pediatric patients who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were hospitalized between April 2020 and March 2022. Methods: In a retrospective analysis, we compared two groups hospitalized in the infectious diseases clinical ward IX at the National Institute for Infectious Diseases "Prof. Dr. Matei Bals," Bucharest, Romania. The first group of 88 patients was admitted between (April–December 2020) and their clinical manifestations were compared with the second group of 142 children followed between July 2021 and March 2022. Results: Of 230 children, the median age was 4.5 (interquartile range 0.6-17) years, 53.9% were male. 88 (36.21%) patients (first group) were admitted during the second wave in Romania, mostly aged < 5 years old, and experienced digestive manifestations like fever (p=0.001), and diarrhoea (p=0.004). The second group experienced different clinical signs when compared with the first group, with higher temperature and increased respiratory symptoms analogous to those of acute respiratory viral infections. The proportion in the second group increased, and 64.5% had symptoms for a median interval of 5 days; age (0-4 -years old) and length of stay were both proportionally inversely (p<0.01) and with correlation with hospital admission (p = 0.04). We report two Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome (PIMS) in the second group, with favourable evolution under treatment. Comorbidities were risk factors for complications appear (p < 0.001) in both groups. All paediatric cases admitted to our clinic evolved favourably and no death was recorded. Conclusions: In the first group children experienced digestive symptoms, whereas the second group experienced mild and moderate respiratory symptoms. We confirmed risk factors for severe cases as manifestations across the age spectrum, 0-4 (digestive symptoms) and 5-12 years old (for respiratory symptoms), associated comorbidities, fever, and male gender. The potential effects of COVID-19 infection in children older than 5 years should encourage caregivers to vaccinate and improve the prognosis among pediatric patients at risk.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0394.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; physician trainee; resident; fellow; risk factors
Online: 14 April 2021 (17:42:02 CEST)
Risk factors for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection are not well-defined in resident physicians and fellows (trainees). We aimed to identify sociodemographic, occupational and community factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among trainees during the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in New York City (NYC). In this retrospective cohort study, we administered an electronic survey between June 26 and August 31, 2020 to trainees at the Mount Sinai Health System in NYC to assess risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection between February 1 and June 30, 2020. We used Bayesian generalized linear mixed effect regression and structural equation models to examine associations. SAR-CoV-2 infection was determined by self-reported IgG antibody and reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction results and confirmed with laboratory results. Among 2354 trainees invited to participate, 328 (14%) completed the survey and reported test results. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was 20.1%. Assignment to medical-surgical units (odds ratio [OR], 2.51; 95% CI, 1.18-5.34), and training in emergency medicine, critical care and anesthesiology (OR, 2.93; 95% CI, 1.24-6.92) were independently associated with infection. Deployment to care for unfamiliar patient populations was protective against infection (OR, 0.16; 95% CI, 0.03-0.73). Community factors were not significantly associated with infection after adjustment for occupational factors. Our findings may inform tailored infection prevention strategies for trainees responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0301.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; smoking; nicotine; nicotinic cholinergic system; inflammation
Online: 18 May 2020 (11:51:44 CEST)
Smoking is a risk factor for respiratory infections and there is reasonable concern that it may affect COVID-19 susceptibility and severity. Recent studies have focused on the interaction between smoking (and nicotine) and ACE2 expression, suggesting that ACE2 up-regulation could contribute to enhanced viral cell entry. However, case series have shown that there is an unexpectedly low prevalence of smoking among hospitalized COVID-19 cases. Since early April, we were the first to hypothesize that dysfunction of the nicotinic cholinergic system (NCS) may be implicated in the pathophysiology of severe COVID-19. We recently reported that many of the clinical manifestations of severe COVID-19 could be explained by dysregulation of the NCS. In this study, we present an amino acid sequence in the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein which is homologous to a sequence of a snake venom toxin. We present the 3D structural location of this “toxin-like” sequence on the Spike Glycoprotein. These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 could potentially interact with acetylcholine receptors causing dysregulation of the NCS and the cholinergic anti-inflammatory pathway.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202203.0369.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; immunology; nasopharynx; intestines; lungs; mathematical modeling; modular approach; pathophysiology of COVID-19
Online: 28 March 2022 (14:40:14 CEST)
Patients with COVID-19 may develop pneumonia, severe symptoms of acute respiratory distress syndrome, and multiple organ failure. Nevertheless, the variety of forms of this disease, requires further research on the pathogenesis of this disease. Based on the analysis of published data on the concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 in biological fluids of the nasopharynx, lungs and intestines and using a developed modular model of the virus distribution in human tissue and organs, an assessment of the SARS-CoV-2 reproduction in various compartments of the body is presented. Most of viral particles can enter into the esophagus from nasopharynx. Entering viral particles into the gastrointestinal tract will obviously be accompanied by infection of the intestinal epithelium and accumulation of the virus in the intestinal lumen in an amount proportional their secretory and protein-synthetic activities. The relatively low concentration of SARS-CoV-2 in tissues implies an essential role of transport processes and redistribution of the virus from nasopharynx and intestines to lungs. The model simulations also supposes that sanitation of the nasopharynx mucosa at the initial stage of the infectious process considering inhibition of the virus accumulation by means of cellular and humoral responses has prospects for the use in medicine practice.
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; vaccine; coronavirus; monoclonal antibodies
Online: 3 December 2020 (09:20:35 CET)
Knowing the “point of view” of the immune system is essential to understand the characteristic of a pandemic, such as that generated by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV)-2, responsible for the Coronavirus Disease (COVID)-19. In this review, we will discuss the general host/pathogen interactions dictating protective immune response or immunopathology, addressing the role of immunity or immunopathology in influencing the clinical infection outcome, and debate the potential immunoprophylactic and immunotherapy strategies required to fight the virus infection.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0466.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; variant; low pathogenicity; Singapore
Online: 29 May 2020 (12:47:07 CEST)
Number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 exceeded 5 million as of May 21, 2020. Global average of the case fatality rate of COVID-19 is about 7% so far. There exist variations in case fatality rates among countries. Particularly, Singapore and Qatar have exceptionally low case fatality rates with 0.1% while France’s rate is almost 20%. Since no magic bullet treatment for COVID-19 exists, we investigated SARS-CoV-2 strains specific to Singapore in this study to identify a clade with low pathogenicity. Variant analysis revealed that a clade with variants ORF1ab L3606F, A4489V, S2015R, T2016K, and N P13L is common in Singapore. Based on our analysis of variants and historical case statistics, the clade is dominant in a recent surge. Therefore, we suggest that low case fatality rate of Singapore possibly is attributed to the clade. Although contribution of each variant to the low pathogenicity is not clear, L3606F alone does not accomplish such low pathogenicity from the comparison with case fatality data from Japan, where L3606F is dominant. Further investigation is necessary to conclude to validate this finding.
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/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/preprints202003.0242.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; spike protein; multiepitope vaccine; molecular modeling
Online: 15 March 2020 (12:45:54 CET)
The outbreak of 2019-novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes severe respiratory infection (COVID-19) has spread in China, and the world health organization declared it pandemic. However, no approved drug or vaccines are available, and treatment is mainly supportive and through a few repurposed drugs. In this urgency situation, development of SARS-CoV-2 based vaccines is immediately required. Immunoinformatic and molecular modelling are generally used time-efficient methods to accelerate the discovery and design of the candidate peptides for vaccine development. In recent years, the use of multiepitope vaccines is proved to be a promising immunization strategy against viruses and pathogens, which induce more comprehensive protective immunity. The current study demonstrated a comprehensive in-silico strategy to design stable multiepitope vaccine construct (MVC) from B-cell and T-cell epitopes of essential SARS-CoV-2 proteins with the help of adjuvants and linkers. The integrated molecular dynamics simulations analysis revealed the stability of MVC and its interaction with human Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which trigger an innate and adaptive immune response. Later, the in-silico cloning in a known pET28a vector system also estimated the possibility of MVC expression in E. Coli. Despite this study lacks validation of this vaccine construct in terms of its efficacy, the current integrated strategy encompasses the initial multiple epitope vaccine design concepts. After validation, this MVC can present to be a better prophylactic solution against COVID-19.
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.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pharmacology & Toxicology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; 3CLpro; PLpro; RdRp; AAK1; inhibitor; dock; molecular dynamics
Online: 15 March 2020 (02:34:14 CET)
The current outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan, China has killed more than 2600 people since December 2019. Currently there is no effective treatment for this epidemic. Drug for anti SARS-CoV-2 are urgently needed. In this study we evaluated two compound libraries containing launched drugs and compounds from 300 kinds of Traditional Chinese Medicine in order to find anti SARS-CoV-2 drugs. Docking and then calculating binding free energy were performed as workflow against four key anti-SARS-CoV-2 drug targets, 3CLpro, PLpro and RdRp from SARSCoV-2, and AAK1 from human as well. As a result, drugs launched with potential for antiviral usage were selected in the hope of providing some knowledge for future drug discovery.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0126.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: Covid-19; SARS-CoV-2; coronavirus; seroprevalence; antibody testing
Online: 7 December 2020 (08:19:40 CET)
SARS-CoV-2 continues to widely circulate in populations globally. Underdetection is acknowledged and is problematic when attempting to capture the true prevalence. Seroprevalence studies, where blood samples from a population sample are tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that react to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, are a common method for estimating the proportion of people previously infected with the virus in a given population. However, obtaining reliable estimates from seroprevalence studies is challenging for a number of reasons, and the uncertainty in the results is often overlooked by scientists, policy makers and the media. This paper reviews the methodological issues that arise in designing these studies, and the main sources of uncertainty that affect the results. We discuss the choice of study population, recruitment of subjects, uncertainty surrounding the accuracy of antibody tests themselves, and the relationship between antibodies and infection over time. Understanding these issues can help the reader to interpret and critically evaluate the results of seroprevalence studies.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0009.v5
Online: 7 July 2020 (18:09:21 CEST)
The world is facing a major health crisis, the global pandemic of COVID-19 caused by the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, for which no approved antiviral agents or vaccines are currently available. Here we describe a collection of codon-optimized coding sequences for SARS-CoV-2 cloned into Gateway-compatible entry vectors, which enable rapid transfer into a variety of expression and tagging vectors. The collection is freely available via Addgene. We hope that widespread availability of this SARS-CoV-2 resource will enable many subsequent molecular studies to better understand the viral life cycle and how to block it.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0326.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; neutralizing antibodies; immunotherapy; vaccine
Online: 19 April 2020 (04:52:17 CEST)
We review aspects of the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the COVID- 19 pandemic. The topics we cover are relevant to immunotherapy with plasma from recovered patients and with monoclonal antibodies against the viral S-protein. The development of vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, an essential public health tool, will also be informed by an understanding of the antibody response in infected patients. Although virus-neutralizing antibodies are likely to protect, antibodies could potentially trigger immunopathogenic events in SARS-CoV-2-infected patients or enhance infection. An awareness of these possibilities may benefit clinicians and the developers of antibody-based therapies and vaccines.
HYPOTHESIS | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0253.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Platelet Activating Factor; PAF; SARS-CoV-2; Covid-19
Online: 21 June 2020 (10:27:22 CEST)
Purpose of this article is to project from the point of view of the scientific data concerning PAF and as a new approach by involving PAF, in order to contribute to clarification and proposal a possible mechanism of action of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and to give a possible explanation for its observed side effects-complications of Covid-19 disease. The article is not intended to suggest any specific drugs, but clarifying the mechanism is the first step in illuminating the direction of prescribing the targets of medication that may be appropriate for the prevention, treatment, and cure of Covid-19 disease. More specifically, the purpose of this article is to provide unequivocal evidence indicating that: 1 It would not be unexpected for PAFR to participate in the entry of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 into the cell. 2 There is interdependence and relationship of the receptors ACER and PAFR, which means the involvement of PAF in the processes related to coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 as well as to its effects exercised by the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. 3 The receptors ACER, PAFR and TLRs are also involved in inflammation as well as in virus binding to stabilize and enter into the cell, and so they are "communicating vessels" with PAF being " a missing link" 4 Consequently there is a correlations of COVID-19 disease manifestations and biological characteristics with those caused by PAF, which shows the involvement of PAF in COVID-19 disease.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0055.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Coronaviruses; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Viral Persistence; Reinfection; Long COVID
Online: 5 May 2021 (12:44:52 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to wreak havoc threatening the public health services and imposing economic collapse worldwide. Tailoring public health responses to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic depends on understanding the mechanism of viral replication, disease pathogenesis, and accurately identifying acute infections and mapping the spreading risk of hotspots across the globe. However, effective identification and isolation of persons with asymptomatic and mild SARS-CoV-2 infections remain the major obstacles to efforts in controlling the SARS-CoV-2 spread and hence the pandemic. Understanding the mechanism of persistent viral shedding, reinfection, and the post-acute sequalae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) is crucial in our efforts to combat the pandemic and provide better care and rehabilitation to survivors. Here we present a living literature review on SARS-CoV-2 viral persistence, reinfection and PASC. We also highlight potential areas of research to uncover putative links between viral persistence, intra-host evolution, host immune status, and protective immunity to guide and direct future basic science and clinical research priorities.
Online: 18 March 2021 (10:56:35 CET)
We report the first detection of Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus from a dog in Connecticut during February 2021. Complete genome sequencing and phylo-genetic analysis of the hCoV-19/USA/CT-CVMDL-Dog-1/2021 (CT_Dog/2021) virus were con-ducted to identify the origin and lineage of the virus. The CT_Dog/2021 virus belonged to the GH/B1.2. genetic lineage and was genetically close to SARS-CoV-2 identified from humans in the U.S. during the winter of 2020-2021. However, it was not related to other SARS-CoV-2 identified from companion animals in the U.S. It contained both D614G in spike and P323L in nsp12 substitutions which have become the dominant mutations in the United States. The continued sporadic detections of SARS-CoV-2 in companion animals warrant public health concerns about their potential to become a new reservoir species of SARS-CoV-2.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0780.v1
Online: 31 December 2020 (09:25:54 CET)
With the arrival of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, a new stage of the pandemic commenced, with new challenges ahead. During the coming months, countries will be implementing their COVID-19 vaccination programs depending on their implementation of vaccine availability and its prescription on risk stratification. Although children will not benefit from active immunization programs, now, with the beginning of the era of the anti-COVID19 vaccines, the suffering of children can no longer be ethically tolerated or neglected. The time has come to provide specific lasting strategies for children living in the COVID-19 era. Here we propose a child-focused indirect COVID-19 vaccination strategy.For better or worse, children depend on their natural caregivers (adults) and the rest of society for their well-being and achieving their full potential. We believe that including in the priority categories also those adults in close contact with children could ensure a safety net of child protection.A child-focused vaccination strategy would allow the faster return to "normality" for children and their families. Such an approach would not only enable the reopening and continuity of essential services for children but also would allow adults to return to their routine economic/productive activities.
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/preprints202207.0349.v1
Online: 25 July 2022 (05:26:08 CEST)
To assess the efficacy of washing cloth masks, we simulated SARS-CoV-2 contamination in tricoline fabric and tested decontaminants to reduce viral particles. Viral suspensions using two variants (B.1.1.28 and P.1) were inoculated in these fabrics, and the inactivation kinetics were evaluated after washing with various household disinfection products (Soap powder, Lysoform®, Hypochlorite sodium and 70% Alcohol), rinse numbers, and exposure times. Afterward, the fabrics were washed in sterile water, viral RNA extracted and amplified using RT-qPCR. Finally, viral replication in cell cultures was examined. Our findings show that all biocidal treatments successfully disinfected the tissue tested. Some products showed less reduction in viral loads, Soap powder (1.60 x 104, 1.04 x 103), Soap powder and Lysoform® (1.60 x 104, 1.04 x 103) and Alcohol 70% (1.02 x 103, 5.91 x 101) respectively. However, when sodium hypochlorite was used, this reduction was significantly increased (viral inactivation in 100% of the washes). After the first wash, the reduction of viral particles was greater for the P.1 variant than for the B.1.1.28 variant (W = 51759, p 0.05). In conclusion the sodium hypochlorite role on cloth masks disinfection may also have implications for future health emergencies as well as recommended by WHO.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0604.v1
Online: 24 November 2020 (09:12:42 CET)
With increasing fatalities, the COVID-19 pandemic constitutes a formidable global health challenge. The causative agent, SARS-CoV-2 constantly tests the efficacy of the immune system of its victims. The protective ability of the innate immune system as the first responder largely determines the progression of disease and its clinical prognosis. Evidence suggests that mortalities associated with COVID-19 are largely due to hyperinflammation and a dysregulated immune response. Consequently, the degree of the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL1, IL-6, and TNF alpha remarkably distinguishes between mild and severe cases of COVID-19. The early prediction of a cytokine storm is made possible by several serum chemistry and hematological markers. The prompt use of these markers for laboratory tests, and the aggressive prevention and management of a cytokine release syndrome is critical in determining the level of morbidity and fatality associated with COVID-19. With respect to the SARS-CoV-2 and the host cell, this literature review focuses on the dynamics of the COVID-19 disease highlighting on the pathogenesis, and the markers of Cytokine Storm. It also proffers solutions by critically looking at the current and potential pharmacological agents that are or can be used to mitigate and manage cytokine storms.
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.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0342.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; nasopharyngeal swab; RNA extraction; RT-PCR
Online: 14 May 2021 (14:46:42 CEST)
Background: the devastating outbreak of COVID-19 poses serious challenges for the diagnostics laboratories, which are often facing global shortage of reagents and equipment. With the aim of increasing the diagnostic throughput for SARS-CoV-2 molecular test, the purpose of this study was to validate an additional RNA extraction method respect to those already recommended by WHO and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Methods: a new protocol for RNA extraction from nasopharyngeal swab was set up, adapting the Qiagen RNeasy 96 plate and validated on a set of 100 clinical samples analyzed in parallel by Roche-Magnapure method (already recommended by CDC guidelines). Results: the internal control and target genes analysis showed a good agreement between the two extraction methods indicating that the two methods can be considered equivalent and that the RNeasy-adapted method can be applied for the SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics. The addition of this new extraction method resulted in a throughput increase for SARS-CoV-2 molecular test of about 2000 samples/month during the initial months of the pandemic emergency in which the lack of reagents for the extraction led to an insufficient sample processing throughput of the analysis of the swabs.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0141.v1
Subject: Biology, Animal Sciences & Zoology Keywords: mammals; wildlife; SARS-CoV-2; human-to-wildlife transmission; COVID-19
Online: 8 May 2020 (09:56:01 CEST)
It has been a long time since the world has experienced a pandemic with such a rapid devastating impact as the current COVID-19 pandemic. The causative agent, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is further unusual in that it appears capable of infecting many different mammal species. As a significant proportion of people worldwide are infected with SARS-CoV-2 and may spread the infection unknowingly before symptoms occur or without any symptoms ever occurring, there is a non-negligible risk of humans spreading SARS-CoV-2 to wildlife, in particular mammals. Because of SARS-CoV-2’s evolutionary origins in bats and reports of humans transmitting the virus to pets and zoo animals, regulations for prevention of human-to-animal transmission have so far focused mostly on these animal groups. Here, we summarize recent studies and reports that show that a wide range of distantly related mammals are likely susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 and that susceptibility or resistance to the virus is in general not predictable, or only to some extent, by phylogenetic proximity to known susceptible or resistant hosts. In the absence of solid evidence on the SARS-CoV-2 susceptibility/resistance for each of the >5,500 mammal species, we argue that sanitary precautions should be taken when interacting with any mammal species in the wild. Preventing human-to-wildlife SARS-CoV-2 transmission is important for protecting these (sometimes endangered) animals from disease, but also to avoid establishment of novel SARS-CoV-2 reservoirs in wild animals. The risk of repeated re-infection of humans from such a wildlife reservoir could severely hamper SARS-CoV-2 control efforts. For wildlife fieldworkers interacting directly or indirectly with mammals, we recommend sanitary precautions such as physical distancing, wearing face masks and gloves, and frequent decontamination, which are very similar to regulations currently imposed to prevent transmission among humans.
Subject: Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Infection Control; Epidemic Surveillance; International Cooperation
Online: 3 March 2020 (11:30:01 CET)
The disease COVID-19 is highly infectious, and infectious in asymptomatic incubation period. The national epidemic development has been effectively controlled and continues improving, especially in areas outside Hubei province. Such periodical results were achieved by the joint efforts of the whole society, including not only the hard work and dedication of the front-line medical workers but also the active cooperation of the general public. The strict epidemic prevention and control measurements have brought remarkable control results. In the present study, the basic infection number of the coronavirus R0 (basic replication number of the infection) before and after prevention and control measurements was simulated to elaborate the measurements of the Chinese government on epidemic prevention and control, providing reference for the people around the world.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0312.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2(COVID-19); + ssRNA; ribosomal – framshift; Pseudoknot; replication; model; drug; vaccine
Online: 14 August 2020 (08:26:31 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 or COVID-19, a new seventh human corona virus, has out-broken in Wuhan, China since 31st December 2019, and quickly escalated to take the form of pandemic which killed many human beings throughout almost all countries across continents. The rapidity of its transmission from human to human is far greater than all previous human corona viruses which came into existence like SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, etc. The nucleotide sequence of SARS-CoV-2 (isolates Wuhan-Hu-1) is 29,875 bp in ss-RNA. Symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infected pneumonia include from asymptomatic to high fever and/or respiratory illnesses. Coronavirus virion (spherical/round /elliptical in shape) consists of three parts- outer membrane or envelope, nucleocapsid and genome (RNA). SARS-CoV-2 was shown to use receptor, angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) for attachment to the cells through its surface spike (S) protein (S1), and the virion enters into the host cell through two routes- direct membrane fusion and endocytotic pathway. The RNA of SARS-CoV acts directly as mRNA and here minus(-) 1 programmed ribosomal frameshift (-1PRF) is being operated by slippery sequence and pseudoknot, so it translates 16 nonstructural proteins including RNA dependent RNA replicase. Then genomic RNA replicated continuously on – strand RNA template and subgenomic RNA transcribed discontinuously on –RNA template to sgmRNA. Subgenomic RNAs/sgmRNAs synthesize all structural proteins. This article takes into consideration the details of established theories of viral structure, viral attachment, mode of entry into human cells, different models of replication and transcription of virus genome proposed by eminent scientists over the years, and makes an in depth examination highlighting meaningful points or important target cites of viral propagation or synthesis, which are conserved, for prompt development of potent drugs or vaccine to counter COVID-19 for which human race is anxiously and eagerly waiting.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0092.v1
Subject: Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; epitopes; B-cell; T-cell; immuno informatics; MHC-I; MHC-II
Online: 4 August 2020 (11:18:27 CEST)
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new discovered strain where WHO officially declares the disease as COVID-19 while the virus responsible for it called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2. The incubation period of this disease is between 14 days. Ordinary clinical symptoms that reported around the world include fever, cough, fatigue, diarrhoea and vomiting as well as asymptomatic for certain people. Infection is spread mainly through broad droplets. In early March 2020, WHO again has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic with currently no specific treatment. The potential use of SARS-COV-2 proteome as a vaccine candidate by analysing through B-cell and T-cell antigenicity by using a immunoinformatics approach as a vaccine development early stage. In this study, we used consensus sequence for SARS-COV-2 proteome that was retrieved from NCBI database. VaxiJen 2.0 was mainly used to identify the antigenic property of SARS-COV-2 proteins. IEDB then used to analyse the B-cell epitope, the presence of T cell immunogenic epitope in SARS-COV-2 proteins was obtained by using compromise method of MHC class I and II tools that accessible respectively using ProPred-1 server and MHC II Binding Prediction in IEDB database. The best epitopes of B and T-cell epitopes were predicted with high antigencity and the information is disseminated through web-based database resource (https://covid-19.omicstutorials.com/epitopes/). This study will be useful to find a new epitope-based candidate for SARS-COV-2. However, further study needs to be done for the next stages of vaccine development.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0326.v3
Subject: Social Sciences, Econometrics & Statistics Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-Cov-2; coronavirus; sample selection bias; bivariate probit; social distancing; public goods; macroeconomic
Online: 9 June 2020 (07:46:26 CEST)
This paper surveys estimates of the transmission features of the novel coronavirus, and then proposes a model to address sample-selection bias in estimated determinants of infection. Containment assumptions of the infection forecasting models depend on assumed effects of policies and self-regulating behavior. In the commons dilemma of the pandemic, the perceived ‘low risks’ of unregulated marginal choices do not reflect the full social cost, implying non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) to reduce mortality can enhance social welfare. As more economic activity renews with liftings of restrictive NPI (RNPI), a critical question concerns the ability of milder NPI (MNPI) and voluntary precautions to mitigate the risk of greater infections and deaths while also limiting the pandemic’s economic damage and its social costs. Ineffective NPI could lead to continued COVID-19 waves and new types of crises, worsened expectations and delayed economic recoveries. From the central range of surveyed estimates of transmission and alternative herd-immunity-threshold estimates, a ‘worst-case’ virus guidepost suggests eventual deaths of around 25 to 41 million worldwide and 1.1 to 1.7 million in the U.S. needed to reach herd immunity with no vaccine or treatment. The most optimistic study surveyed (theoretical model from a non-reviewed preprint study) combined with the low end of the range of the estimated mortality rate suggests 6 to 9 million deaths worldwide and 250 to 370 thousand in the U.S. to reach herd immunity. Successes in the mix of NPI, treatments, and vaccine can limit the eventual global death toll of the virus. Improved estimation models for forecasting and decision making may assist in better targeting the local timings and mix of NPI. Diagnostic tests for the virus have been largely limited to symptomatic cases, causing possible sample selection bias. A recursive bivariate probit model of infection and testing is proposed along with several possible applications from cross-section or panel-data estimation. Multiple potential explanatory variables, data sources, and estimation needs are specified and discussed.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0377.v1
Online: 21 April 2020 (06:56:12 CEST)
SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that is the causative agent of Coronavirus infectious disease 2019 (COVD-19). As of the 17th April 2020, it has infected 2 114 269 people resulting in 145 144 deaths. The timing, magnitude and longevity of humoral immunity is not yet understood for SARS-CoV-2. Nevertheless, understanding this is urgently required to inform the likely future dynamics of the pandemic, to guide strategies to allow relaxation of social distancing measures and to understand how to deploy limiting vaccine doses when they become available to achieve maximum impact. SARS-CoV-2 is the seventh human coronavirus to be described. Four human coronaviruses circulate seasonally and cause common colds. Two other coronaviruses, SARS and MERS, have crossed from animal sources into humans but have not become endemic. Here we review what is known about the human humoral immune response to epidemic SARS CoV and MERS CoV and to the seasonal, endemic coronaviruses. Then we summarize recent, mostly non-peer reviewed studies into SARS-CoV-2 serology and reinfection in humans and non-human primates and summarize current pressing research needs.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0549.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Africa; SARS-CoV-2 virus spread; lower COVID-19 disease burden; African populations; demographic pyramid; trained immunity; government measures
Online: 24 May 2021 (09:56:05 CEST)
COVID-19 differential spread and impacts across regions is a major focus for researchers and policy makers. Africa has attracted tremendous attention due to predictions of catastrophic impacts that have not yet materialized. Early in the pandemic, the seemingly low African case count was largely attributed to low testing and case reporting. However, there is also reason to consider that many African countries got out ahead of the virus early on. Factors explaining low spread include early government mandated lockdowns, community-wide actions, population distribution, social contacts, and ecology of human habitation. While recent data from seroprevalence studies posit more extensive circulation of the virus, continuing low COVID-19 burden may be explained by the demographic pyramid, prevalence of pre-existing conditions, trained immunity, genetics, and broader sociocultural dynamics. Though all these prongs contribute to the observed profile of COVID-19 in Africa, some provide stronger evidence than others. This review is important to expand what is known about the differential impacts of pandemics enhancing scientific understanding and gearing appropriate public health responses. Also, highlighting potential lessons the world may draw from Africa for global health on assumptions regarding deadly viral pandemics given its long experience with infectious diseases.
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/preprints202012.0283.v3
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Covid-19; wildlife; host-switching; reservoirs; risk assessment; surveillance
Online: 26 March 2021 (10:25:36 CET)
The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 likely emerged from a wildlife source with transmission to humans followed by rapid geographic spread throughout the globe and severe impacts on both human health and the global economy. Since the onset of the pandemic, there have been many instances of human-to-animal transmission involving companion, farmed and zoo animals, and limited evidence for spread into free-living wildlife. The establishment of reservoirs of infection in wild animals would create significant challenges to infection control in humans and could pose a threat to the welfare and conservation status of wildlife. We discuss the potential for exposure, onward transmission and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in an initial selection of wild mammals (bats, canids, felids, mustelids, great apes, rodents and cervids). Dynamic risk assessment and targeted surveillance are important tools for the early detection of infection in wildlife, and here we describe a framework for collating and synthesising emerging information to inform targeted surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in wildlife. Surveillance efforts should be integrated with information from public and veterinary health initiatives to provide insights into the potential role of wild mammals in the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0604.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19; reverse transcription; qPCR; SARS-CoV-2; molecular diagnosis
Online: 3 August 2021 (15:34:05 CEST)
The reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) is an established tool for the diagnosis of RNA pathogens. Its potential for automation has caused it to be used as a presence/absence diagnostic tool even when RNA quantification is not required. This technology has been pushed to the forefront of public awareness by the COVID-19 pandemic, as its global application has enabled rapid and analytically sensitive mass testing, with the first test targeting three viral genes published within days of the publication of the SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequence. One of those, targeting the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase gene, has been heavily criticised for supposed scientific flaws at the molecular and methodological level and this criticism has been extrapolated to doubts about the validity of RT-qPCR for COVID-19 testing in general. We have analysed this assay in detail and our findings reveal some limitations, but also highlight the robustness of the RT-qPCR methodology for SARS-CoV-2 detection. Whilst our data show that some errors can be tolerated, it is always prudent to confirm that primer and probe sequences complement their intended target, since when errors do occur, they may result in a reduction in the analytical sensitivity. However, in this case it is unlikely that a mismatch will result in poor specificity or significant number of false positive SARS-CoV-2 diagnoses, especially as this is routinely checked by diagnostic laboratories as part of their quality assurance.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0204.v1
Online: 12 May 2020 (05:45:58 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of CoV disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a highly pathogenic and transmissible CoV that is presently plaguing the global human population and economy. No proven effective anti-viral therapy or vaccine currently exist, and supportive care remains to be the cornerstone treatment. Through previous lessons learned from SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV studies, scientific groups worldwide have rapidly expanded the knowledge pertaining to SARS-CoV-2 virology that included in vitro and in vivo models for testing of anti-viral therapies, and randomized clinical trials. In the present narrative, we review SARS-CoV-2 virology, clinical features, pathophysiology, and animal models with a specific focus on anti-viral and adjunctive therapies currently being tested or require testing in animal models and randomized clinical trials.
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.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0325.v1
Online: 23 March 2020 (01:30:06 CET)
The pandemic threat SARS-CoV-2 is now beyond control though the country of origin of this virus had already been limited for the new infection. Number of infected people and countries have been increasing day by day. Considering the previous pandemic flues, it is hypothesizing that COVID-19 will be reduced with warming the global environmental temperature. Therefore, the current study was aimed to analyze the effect of temperature and relative humidity (RH) on spreading of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The COVID-19 confirmed cases of 31 different states in China and 70 cities of 11 countries were obtained from several online databases. The real time temperature and humidity of the respective regions were taken from an online weather forecasting data source. Correlation analyses showed that SARS-CoV-2 infectivity and spreading negatively correlated with temperature of most of the states of China or cities of the world or in a country. The effect of humidity on COVID-19 was found to be positively correlated inside the China and difference of humidity was not found among countries and/or various regions of the world. Moreover, a minimum number of COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in the temperate regions compared to regions/countries compared to regions/countries with relatively low temperature. In conclusion, the SARS-CoV-2 infection has been found in a wide range of temperatures. It might be hypothesized that comparatively elevated air temperature could play a detrimental effect for SARS-CoV-2 spread.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Pathology & Pathobiology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2 neuroinvasion; COVID-19; infant; Choroid plexus
Online: 15 March 2021 (13:03:33 CET)
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was initially characterized as a respiratory illness. Neurological manifestations were reported mostly in severely affected patients. Routes for brain infection and the presence of virus particles in situ have not been well described, raising controversy about how the virus causes neurological symptoms. Here, we report the autopsy findings of a 1-year old infant with COVID-19. In addition to pneumonitis and multiple organ damage related to thrombosis, SARS-CoV-2 infected the choroid plexus, ventricles, and cerebral cortex. This is the first evidence of SARS-CoV-2 detection in an infant post-mortem brain.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202006.0041.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; 2019-nCOV; Shedding; Detection
Online: 4 June 2020 (17:34:28 CEST)
There is a new public health crisis threatening the world with the emergence and spread of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which originated in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by WHO. Most patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 exhibited symptoms of fever, cough, myalgia, fatigue and shortness of breath. Many infected people may be asymptomatic. It is generally believed that airway exposure to respiratory droplets from an infected patient is the main transmission route of this disease. However, apart from respiratory source, other source specimens like faecal matter and urine could be possible for COVID-19 infectivity. The spreading other routes of the virus has been alarming sign, both for public and health care professionals. Understanding the spreading routes of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial for patient management and defining biosafety strategies for public and health care workers.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0329.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; protease; docking; pharmacophore; Zinc15
Online: 19 April 2020 (05:33:03 CEST)
A big race for the search for novel lead has begun due to the emergence of COVID-19 across the globe. More than 6,00,000 cases of afflicted patients worldwide has been reported till date with high mortality and morbidity. At present no approved drugs are known for COVID-19. Phylogenetic analysis present strong nucleotide sequence similarity of around 80% with SARS-CoV. Therefore, the drugs used for treating SARS-CoV and MERS are being used for SARS-CoV-2 also. Recently, the crystal structure of COVID-19 is reported and hence, we have used this tom predict the binding affinity with SARS-CoV-2-main protease and prepared a pharmacophore that may be used for future design of novel inhibitors.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0102.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; pandemic; DNA vaccine; immunity; protection
Online: 8 October 2022 (03:02:18 CEST)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has caused more than 600 million cases and over 6 million deaths worldwide. Vaccination has been the main strategy used to contain the spread of the virus, and to avoid hospitalizations and deaths. Currently, there are two mRNA-based and one adenovirus vectored vaccines approved and available for use in the U.S. population. The versatility, low cost and rapid-to-manufacture attributes of DNA vaccines are important advantages over other platforms. However, DNA vaccination must meet higher efficiency levels for use in humans. Importantly, in vivo DNA delivery combined with electroporation (EP) has been successfully used in the veterinary field. Here we evaluated the safety, immunogenicity and protective efficacy of a novel linear SARS-CoV-2 DNA vaccine candidate for delivered by intramuscular injection followed by electroporation (Vet-ePorator™) in ferrets. The results demonstrated that the linear SARS-CoV-2 DNA vaccine candidate did not cause unexpected side effects, and was able to elicit neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses using a low dose of the linear DNA construct in prime-boost regimen, and significantly reduced shedding of infectious SARS-CoV-2 through oral and nasal secretions in a ferret model.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0281.v2
Online: 7 September 2020 (04:15:59 CEST)
Spike (S) protein of Coronaviruses help in receptor attachment and virus entry into the host cells. While S protein is required for virus entry, it is also important as an immunogen as it is the most accessible part of the virus architecture. S protein form knob like structures (viral spikes) protruding outwards in the form of homotrimers containing an S1 and S2 as monomers. Mutations in structural proteins of virus play crucial role in determining virulence and also in many instances influencing emergence of antibody escape variants and cellular tropism. In this paper we have performed in depth analyses of spike protein sequences from various parts of the world and tried to correlate the data with possible functional relevance of such mutations.
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; Quinine; Hydroxy-Chloroquine; Chloroquine; COVID-19; antiviral
Online: 6 July 2020 (09:19:06 CEST)
Since there is no vaccine or regulatory approved therapy available for treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the medical need to prevent the transition of a mild into the severe COVID-19 stage of infection is of outmost importance. Among several drug candidates, Chloroquine (CQN) and Hydroxy-Chloroquine (H-CQN) have been tested most intensively. However, the therapeutic effect of H-CQN and CQN has been discussed controversially in the light of severe side effects. Originally, H-CQN descended from the natural substance Quinine, a medicinal product used since the Middle Ages and is now regulatory approved for various indications. We hypothesized that Quinine also exerts anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. First, virus production in Vero B4 cells was analyzed by Western blot, showing that Quinine exerts antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 that at 10 µM was even stronger than that of H-CQN or CQN. Second, fluorescence end-point and time lapse analysis of SARS-CoV-2-mNeonGreen-infected Caco-2 cells could confirm a similar antiviral effect of Quinine in a human-derived cell line. Thereby, our in vitro studies revealed, that the antiviral effect appears to be specific, since in Vero cells Quinine impacted cell viability at approximately 50-fold higher concentration, while the therapeutic window of H-CQN and CQN was approximately 10-fold lower. In Caco-2 cells no toxic effect was observed while complete block of infection occurred between 50 and 100 µM at high MOIs. In conclusion, our data indicate that Quinine would have the potential of a well tolerable and widely used treatment option for SARS-CoV-2 infections, with a predictable and significantly better toxicological profile when compared to H-CQN or CQN.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0396.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; coronavirus; variant analysis; phylogenetic analysis; viral evolution
Online: 24 May 2020 (18:25:47 CEST)
The severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) viral genome is an RNA virus consisting of approximately 30,000 bases. As part of testing efforts, whole genome sequencing of human isolates has resulted in over 1,600 complete genomes publicly available from GenBank. We have performed a comparative phylogenetic analysis of the sequences, in order to detect common mutations within the population. Analysis of variants occurring within the assembled genomes yields 417 variants occurring in at least 1% of the completed genomes, including 229 within the 5’ untranslated region (UTR), 152 within the 3’UTR, 2 within intergenic regions and 34 within coding sequences.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0073.v2
Subject: Mathematics & Computer Science, Numerical Analysis & Optimization Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; SEIR modeling; Italy; stochastic modeling; swarm intelligence; Google COVID 19 Community Mobility Reports
Online: 5 May 2020 (16:10:48 CEST)
We applied a generalized SEIR epidemiological model to the recent SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the world, with a focus on Italy and its Lombardia, Piemonte, and Veneto regions. We focus on the application of a stochastic approach in fitting the model numerous parameters using a Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) solver, to improve the reliability of predictions in the medium term (30 days). We analyze the official data and the predicted evolution of the epidemic in the Italian regions, and we compare the results with data and predictions of Spain and South Korea. We link the model equations to the changes in people’s mobility, with reference to Google’s COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports. We discuss the effectiveness of policies taken by different regions and countries and how they have an impact on past and future infection scenarios.
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/preprints202009.0375.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: co-infection; SARS-CoV-2; pike glycoprotein; stop mutations
Online: 17 September 2020 (05:33:59 CEST)
There is a rising global concern for the ongoing outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 due to its high transmission rate and unavailability of treatment. Through the binding of its spike glycoprotein with angiotensin type 2 (ACE2), SARS-CoV-2 can efficiently get in the cells of patients and start its pandemic cycle. Herein, the biological diversity of SARS-CoV-2 infection was assessed in Babylon province of Iraq by investigating the possible genetic variations of the spike glycoprotein. A specific coding region of 795 bp within the viral spike (S) gene was amplified from 19 patients who suffered from obvious symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Sequencing results identified fifteen novel nucleic acid variations with a variety of distributions within the investigated samples. The electropherograms of all the identified variations showed obvious co-infections with at least two different viral strains per sample. Within these co-infections, the majority of samples exhibited three nonsense single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)s, p.301Cdel, p.380Ydel, and p.436del, which yielded three truncated SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoproteins of 301, 380, and 436 amino acids length, respectively. The network and phylogenetic analyses indicated that for all viral infections were derived from multi-ancestral origins. Results inferred from the specific clade-based tree entailed that some viral strains were derived from European G-clade sequences. In conclusion, our data demonstrated the absence of any single strain infection among all investigated viral samples in the studied area, which may entail a higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 in this country. Through the identified high frequency of truncated spike proteins, we suggest that defective SARS-CoV-2 may depend on helper strains having intact spikes in its infection. Alternatively, another putative ACE2-independent route of viral infection way also suggested. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to describe the co-infection of multiple strains of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with COVID-19.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202210.0241.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, General Medical Research Keywords: evolution; mutation; genomic surveillance; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; ViralVar; webtool
Online: 17 October 2022 (12:59:07 CEST)
The unprecedented growth of publicly available SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence data has increased demand for effective and accessible SARS-CoV-2 data analysis and visualization tools. A majority of the currently available tools either require computational expertise to deploy or limit user input to pre-selected subsets of SARS-CoV-2 genomes. To address these limitations, we developed ViralVar, a publicly available, point-and-click webtool that gives users the freedom to investigate and visualize user-selected subsets of SARS-CoV-2 genomes obtained from the GISAID public database. ViralVar has two primary features that enable: 1) visualization of spatiotemporal dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 lineages, and 2) structural/functional analysis of genomic mutations. As proof-of-principle, ViralVar was used to explore the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the USA in the pediatric, adult, and elderly population (n > 1.7 million genomes). While the spatiotemporal dynamics of variants did not differ between these age groups, several USA-specific sublineages arose relative to the rest of the world. Our development and utilization of ViralVar to provide insights on the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in the USA demonstrates the importance of developing accessible tools to facilitate and accelerate large-scale surveillance of circulating pathogens. The ViralVar webserver is freely available at http://viralvar.org/.
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0308.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; children; household; contact tracing
Online: 14 October 2020 (13:33:49 CEST)
We analyzed the characteristics of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infected children during lock-down period in Catalonia (Spain), and their transmission role within the households. Among 295 traced household contacts of 89 pediatric patients, children were classified as final index cases in only 3.4% of the traced homes.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0333.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; pregnancy; trophoblasts; interactome; placenta
Online: 21 May 2020 (03:38:05 CEST)
COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving medical emergency that has drawn global attention, unprecedented in any disease of its kind in recent times. The magnitude of the health crisis emerging from this pandemic has overwhelmed health care workers worldwide and called in for extraordinary measures to contain this virus. A simple Pubmed query on “COVID-19” returned with 12214 articles (as on May 17th, 2020), published just within a few months. A detailed survey revealed around 250 clinical reports, 8 clinical trials, 9 meta-analyses, and 906 reviews that were published during this time span. Combining the strings “COVID-19 and Pregnancy” yielded a total of 132 reports while querying “COVID-19 and Placenta” returned with just 11 articles Even taking into considerations that few materials are in the PrePrint Server, we still have a gross under-representation of studies addressing the effect of this disease on pregnancy outcome and maternal & child health. An essential aspect of a successful pregnancy is proper placentation, where transiently invasive placental trophoblast cells invade the maternal endometrium to establish a functional feto-maternal communication. Based on the elegant study by David. E. Gordon, et al. published in Nature (April 30, 2020), which identified 332 human host proteins interacting with SARS-nCoV2 using an affinity-based purification, we interrogated several gene expression data sets available at NCBI-GEO related to trophoblast invasion and differentiation. Both of these processes are indispensable for placentation and fetal survival. Our analysis showed several overlaps with the interactome proteins implying that SARS-CoV-2 infection can affect several proteins, which are crucial for trophoblasts function. GeneMANIA and STRING based functional analysis further revealed that several of that SARS-CoV-2 interacting trophoblast proteins as a hub for the protein-protein interaction network. Our study thus elucidates the possible effect of SARS-CoV-2 infection on placenta formation and pregnancy outcome.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202005.0518.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biophysics Keywords: virus; extracellular vesicles; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; membrane vesicluation
Online: 31 May 2020 (21:35:23 CEST)
Within the micro and nano world, tiny membrane-enclosed bits of material are more or less free to move and act as communication tools within cells, between cells, between different tissues and between organisms in global environment. Based on the mechanism of membrane budding and vesiculation that includes all types of cells, in this review, we attempted to present a review on SARS-CoV-2 virus actions in compartments of different scales (cells and their surroundings, tissues, organisms and society). Interactions of the virus with cells on a molecular level, with neural system, endothelium, hematopoietic system, gastrointestinal system and genitourinary system. Transmission route between organisms and between mother and fetus are considered. Also, transmission of virus through contact with materials and with environment, the suggested measures to prevent contamination with the virus and to support the organism against the disease are given.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202007.0613.v3
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: infective dose; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; respiratory viruses; viral load; viral dynamics
Online: 7 December 2020 (11:36:05 CET)
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is pandemic. Prevention and control strategies require an improved understanding of SARS-CoV-2 dynamics. We did a rapid review of the literature on SARS-CoV-2 viral dynamics with a focus on infective dose. We sought comparisons of SARS-CoV-2 with other respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV. We examined laboratory animal, and human studies. The literature on infective dose, transmission, and routes of exposure was limited specially in humans, and varying endpoints were used for measurement of infection. We propose the minimum infective dose of COVID-19 in humans, is higher than 100 particles, possibly slightly lower than the 700 particles estimated for H1N1 influenza. Despite variability in animal studies, there was some evidence that increased dose at exposure correlated with higher viral load clinically, and severer symptoms. Higher viral load measures did not reflect COVID-19 severity. Aerosol transmission seemed to raise the risk of more severe respiratory complications in animals. An accurate quantitative estimate of the infective dose of SARS-CoV-2 in humans is not currently feasible and needs further research. Further work is also required on the relationship between routes of transmission, infective dose, co-infection, and outcomes.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202104.0586.v1
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: Coronavirus; COVID-19; cross-species transmission; evolution; immune response; SARS-CoV-2
Online: 21 April 2021 (16:25:25 CEST)
Nowadays, the human population is facing the third and may be the worst pandemic caused by human coronaviruses (CoVs). The virus was first reported in Wuhan, China on 31 December 2019 and spread within short time to almost all countries of the world. Genome analysis of the early virus isolates has revealed high similarity with SARS-CoV and hence the new virus was officially named SARS-CoV-2. Since CoVs have the largest genome among all RNA viruses, they can adapt many point mutation and recombination events; particularly in spike gene, that enable these viruses to rapidly change and evolve in nature. CoVs are known to cross the species boundaries by using different cellular receptors. SARS-CoV-2 is believed to originate in bats and transmitted to human being through an ill-defined intermediate host. In the current review, different aspects of SARS-CoV-2 biology and pathogenicity are discussed including virus genetics and evolution, spike protein and its role in evolution and adaptation to novel hosts, and virus transmission and persistence in nature. In addition, the immune response developed during SARS-CoV-2 infection is demonstrated with special reference to the interplay between immune cells and their role in disease progression. We believe that SARS-CoV-2 outbreak will not be the last and spillover of CoVs from bats will continue. Therefore, establishing intervention approaches to reduce the likelihood of future CoVs spillover from the natural reservoirs is a priority.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0673.v1
Subject: Keywords: Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2); trafficking; localization; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19
Online: 26 November 2020 (12:10:41 CET)
With the emergence of the novel corona virus SARS-CoV-2 since December 2019, more than 43 million cases have been reported worldwide. This virus has shown high infectivity and severe symptoms in some cases leading to over 1 million deaths globally. Despite the collaborative and concerted research efforts that has been made, no effective treatment for COVID-19 (corona virus disease-2019) is currently available. SARS-CoV-2 uses the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) as an initial mediator for viral attachment and host cell invasion. ACE2 is widely distributed in human tissues including the cell surface of lung cells which represent the primary site of the infection. Inhibiting or reducing cell surface availability of ACE2 represents a promising therapy for tackling COVID-19. In this context, most ACE2–based therapeutic strategies have aimed to achieve this through the use of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or neutralizing the virus by exogenous administration of ACE2. However, through this review, we present another perspective focusing on the subcellular localization and trafficking of ACE2. Membrane targeting of ACE2, shedding and its cellular trafficking pathways including internalization are not well elucidated. Therefore, hereby we present an overview on the fate of newly synthesized ACE2, its post translational modifications, what is known of its trafficking pathways. In addition, we highlight the possibility that some of the identified ACE2 missense variants might affect its trafficking efficiency and localization and hence may explain some of the observed variable severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Extensive understanding of these processes is necessary to evaluate the potential use of ACE2 as a credible therapeutic target.
COMMUNICATION | doi:10.20944/preprints202201.0087.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Cell & Developmental Biology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2 RNA; mitochondria; placenta; padlock
Online: 6 January 2022 (12:35:00 CET)
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic dictated new priorities in biomedicine research. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19, is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus. In this pilot study, we optimized our padlock assay to visualize genomic/subgenomic regions using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded placental samples obtained from a confirmed case of COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was localized in trophoblastic cells. We also checked the presence of the virion by immunolocalization of its glycoprotein spike. In addition, we imaged mitochondria of placental villi keeping in mind that the mitochondrion has been suggested as a potential residence of the SARS-CoV-2 genome. Indeed, we observed a substantial overlapping of SARS-CoV-2 RNA and mitochondria in trophoblastic cells. This intriguing linkage correlated with an aberrant mitochondrial network. Overall, to our knowledge, this is the first study that provides the evidence of a co-localization of the SARS-CoV-2 genome and mitochondria in SARS-CoV-2 infected tissue. These findings also support the notion that SARS-CoV-2 infection could reprogram mitochondrial activity in highly specialized maternal/fetal interface.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202004.0369.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; spike protein; ACE1; ACE2; host-virus interaction; drug repurposing
Online: 2 August 2020 (09:23:18 CEST)
Respiratory transmission is the primary route of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is the known receptor of SARS-CoV-2 surface spike glycoprotein for entry into human cells. A recent study reported absent to low expression of ACE2 in a variety of human lung epithelial cell samples. Three bioprojects (PRJEB4337, PRJNA270632 and PRJNA280600) invariably found abundant expression of ACE1 (a homolog of ACE2 and also known as ACE) in human lungs compared to very low expression of ACE2. In fact, ACE1 has a wider and more abundant tissue distribution compared to ACE2. Although it is not obvious from the primary sequence alignment of ACE1 and ACE2, comparison of X-ray crystallographic structures show striking similarities in the regions of the peptidase domains (PD) of these proteins, which is known (for ACE2) to interact with the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Critical amino acids in ACE2 that mediate interaction with the viral spike protein are present and organized in the same order in the PD of ACE1. In silico analysis predicts comparable interaction of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein with ACE1 and ACE2. In addition, this study predicts from a list of 1263 already approved drugs that may interact with ACE2 and/or ACE1, potentially interfere with the entry of SARS-CoV-2 inside the host cells and alleviate the symptoms of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
BRIEF REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0394.v2
Online: 30 March 2020 (08:25:51 CEST)
The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2 or 2019-nCoV) and its spread to the whole world is currently posing one of the major threats to human health and the world economy. It has been suggested that SARS-CoV-2 is similar to SARS-CoV based on the genome sequence comparison. Despite the genomic similarity between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2, the spike glycoprotein and receptor binding domain in SARS-CoV-2 shows considerable difference compared to SARS-CoV, due to the presence of several point mutations. We analyzed the receptor binding domain (RBD) from recently published 3D structure of spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-2 and compared with RBD of SARS-CoV. The observations highlight few important features of RBD in the light of the recently published findings from the 3D structures of spike glycoprotein and its complex with human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) (Yan, R., et al. (2020); Wrapp, D., et al. (2020); Walls, A. C., et al. (2020)).
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0058.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Molecular Biology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Phylogenetic analysis; Next generation sequence analysis; Virus-Host interaction; Immunology; Antiviral agents; Vaccine; Virus diagnosis
Online: 2 August 2021 (16:17:24 CEST)
The global COVID-19 pandemic claiming global spread continues to evolve, now to the verge of a third wave of outbreak possibly caused by the novel variants of concern of severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). The test positivity rate (TPR) and case fatal-ity rate (CFR) have increased steeply in the second wave of COVID-19 compared to the first. From the example of Kerala, a state in southern India, positivity increased from 1.33% at the peak of wave one in 10th June 2020 to 13.45% during 10th June 2021 in the second wave of pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped single-stranded RNA virus. Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme-2 (ACE-2) is a trans membrane surface protein present on multiple types of cells in the human body to which the viral spike protein attaches. Genetic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 and ACE2 receptor can affect the transmission, clinical manifestations, mortality and the efficacy of drugs and vaccines for COVID-19. Mutations are the primary cause of genetic variations. Given the high TPR and CFR, it is necessary to understand the variations of SARS-CoV-2 and cellular receptors of SARS-CoV-2 at the molecular level. In this review, we summarize the impact of genetic and ep-igenetic variations in determining COVID-19 pathogenesis and disease outcome.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0631.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; In silico; Immunoinformatics; Vaccine designing
Online: 26 September 2020 (13:01:26 CEST)
As the number of infections and deaths caused by the recent COVID-19 pandemic is increasing dramatically day-by-day, scientists are rushing towards developing possible counter-measures to fight the deadly virus, SARS-CoV-2. Although many efforts have already been put forward for designing and developing potential vaccines, however, most of them are proved to possess negative consequences. Therefore, in this study, the methods of immunoinformatics were exploited to design novel epitope-based subunit vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2, targeting four essential proteins of the virus i.e., spike glycoprotein, nucleocapsid phosphoprotein, membrane glycoprotein, and envelope protein. The highly antigenic, non-allergenic, non-toxic, non-human homolog and 100% conserved (across other isolates from different regions of the world) epitopes were used for constructing the vaccine. In total, fourteen CTL epitopes and eighteen HTL epitopes were used to construct the vaccine. Thereafter, several in silico validations i.e., the molecular docking, molecular dynamics simulation (including the RMSF and RMSD studies), and immune simulation studies were also performed which predicted that the designed vaccine should be quite safe, effective, and stable within the biological environment. Finally, in silico cloning and codon adaptation studies were also conducted to design an effective mass production strategy of the vaccine. However, more in vivo and in vitro studies are required on the predicted vaccine to finally validate its safety and efficacy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202003.0360.v2
Subject: Life Sciences, Genetics Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; transcriptional inhibition; COVID-19; drug repurposing; TMPRSS2
Online: 28 April 2020 (09:39:02 CEST)
There is an urgent need to identify effective therapies for COVID-19. The SARS-CoV-2 host factor protease TMPRSS2 is required for viral entry and thus an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. In mouse, knockout of tmprss2 led to protection against SARS-CoV-1 with no deleterious phenotypes, and in human populations genetic loss of TMPRSS2 does not appear to be selected against. Here, we mined publicly available gene expression data to identify several compounds that down-regulate TMPRSS2. Recognizing the need for immediately available treatment options, we focused on FDA-approved drugs. We found 20 independent studies that implicate estrogenic and androgenic compounds as transcriptional modulators of TMPRSS2, suggesting these classes of drugs may be promising therapeutic candidates for clinical testing and observational studies of COVID-19. We also note that expression of TMPRSS2 is highly variable and skewed in humans, with a minority of individuals having extremely high expression. Combined with literature showing that inhibition of TMPRSS2 protease activity reduces SARS-CoV-2 viral entry in human cells, our results raise the hypothesis that modulation of TMPRSS2 expression is a promising therapeutic avenue for COVID-19.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202102.0319.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; Non-Communicable Chronic Diseases (NCCDs); Clinical features; Institucionalized or hospitalized elderly; meta-analisys.
Online: 1 July 2021 (11:21:00 CEST)
Abstract: The objective of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the factors associated with mortality of elderly Italians diagnosed with the new coronavirus who resided in institutions or who were hospitalized as a result of the disease. Methods: A systematic review following the recommenda-tions of The Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI), where the PEO strategy was utilized - Population, Exposure and Outcome. P, being the elderly over 65 years old. E, the SARS-CoV_2 pandemic. O, mortality. The NCBI / PubMed, LILACS, EMBASE and CINAHL databases were used until July 31, 2020.; Results: Five Italian studies were included in the meta-analysis, with the number of elderly people varying between 18 and 1591 patients. The main morbidities presented by the elderly in the studies were: dementia, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and hypertension. Conclusions: The factors as-sociated with the mortality of elderly Italian people diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 who lived in in-stitutions or who were hospitalized because of the disease were evaluated. It was found that de-mentia, diabetes, chronic kidney disease and hypertension are the main the main diagnosed dis-eases for mortality in elderly people with Covid-19.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0478.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: Antarctica; coronavirus; COVID-19; mitigation measures; reverse zoonoses; risk assessment; SARS-CoV-2; wildlife
Online: 21 August 2020 (09:21:25 CEST)
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has spread rapidly to most parts of the world, causing high numbers of deaths and significant social and economic impacts. SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus with a suggested zoonotic origin and with the potential for cross-species transmission among animals. Antarctica can be considered the only continent free of SARS-CoV-2 although at the end of the 2019-2020 tourist season, at least one SARS-CoV-2 positive tourist visited the Antarctic Peninsula. Therefore, concerns have been expressed regarding the potential human introduction of this virus to the continent through the activities of research or tourism with potential effects including those related to human health, but also the potential for virus transmission to Antarctic wildlife. This reverse-zoonotic transmission risk to Antarctic wildlife is assessed considering the available information on host susceptibility, dynamics of the infection in humans, and contact interactions between humans and Antarctic wildlife. Measures to reduce the risk are proposed as well as the identification of knowledge gaps related to this issue.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0530.v2
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Allergology Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19; antibodies; cohort; population-based; body mass index; ECLIA
Online: 23 September 2021 (11:10:54 CEST)
In March 2020, several mass gathering events were related to the Falles festival in Borriana (Spain), resulting in a 536 laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases outbreak among participants. Our objective was to estimate anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies persistence six months after and factors associated with antibody response. A prospective population-based cohort study was carried out by the Public Health Center of Castellon and the Emergency and Clinical Analysis and Microbiology Services of Hospital de la Plana in Vila-real. In October 2020, sero-epidemiologic study to estimate the persistence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by a electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) was implemented. We enrolled 484 (90.2%) of the 536 members of the initial outbreak cohort and detected persistent antibodies in 479 (99%) without re-infection episodes. Five participants had a negative antibody test. Factors associated with a negative result were a lower body mass index (BMI), and less contact with other COVID-19 cases. Among the 469 participants with two ECLIA tests, 96 (20.5%) had an increase of antibodies and 373 (79.5%) a decline. Increased antibodies were associated with older age, higher BMI, more severe illness, and low current smokers. After a COVID-19 infection, a high proportion of cases maintained detectable anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.