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Publication
Journal: The Lancet
May/19/2020
Abstract
Background: No specific antiviral drug has been proven effective for treatment of patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Remdesivir (GS-5734), a nucleoside analogue prodrug, has inhibitory effects on pathogenic animal and human coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in vitro, and inhibits Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, SARS-CoV-1, and SARS-CoV-2 replication in animal models.
Methods: We did a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trial at ten hospitals in Hubei, China. Eligible patients were adults (aged ≥18 years) admitted to hospital with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, with an interval from symptom onset to enrolment of 12 days or less, oxygen saturation of 94% or less on room air or a ratio of arterial oxygen partial pressure to fractional inspired oxygen of 300 mm Hg or less, and radiologically confirmed pneumonia. Patients were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to intravenous remdesivir (200 mg on day 1 followed by 100 mg on days 2-10 in single daily infusions) or the same volume of placebo infusions for 10 days. Patients were permitted concomitant use of lopinavir-ritonavir, interferons, and corticosteroids. The primary endpoint was time to clinical improvement up to day 28, defined as the time (in days) from randomisation to the point of a decline of two levels on a six-point ordinal scale of clinical status (from 1=discharged to 6=death) or discharged alive from hospital, whichever came first. Primary analysis was done in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population and safety analysis was done in all patients who started their assigned treatment. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04257656.
Findings: Between Feb 6, 2020, and March 12, 2020, 237 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to a treatment group (158 to remdesivir and 79 to placebo); one patient in the placebo group who withdrew after randomisation was not included in the ITT population. Remdesivir use was not associated with a difference in time to clinical improvement (hazard ratio 1·23 [95% CI 0·87-1·75]). Although not statistically significant, patients receiving remdesivir had a numerically faster time to clinical improvement than those receiving placebo among patients with symptom duration of 10 days or less (hazard ratio 1·52 [0·95-2·43]). Adverse events were reported in 102 (66%) of 155 remdesivir recipients versus 50 (64%) of 78 placebo recipients. Remdesivir was stopped early because of adverse events in 18 (12%) patients versus four (5%) patients who stopped placebo early.
Interpretation: In this study of adult patients admitted to hospital for severe COVID-19, remdesivir was not associated with statistically significant clinical benefits. However, the numerical reduction in time to clinical improvement in those treated earlier requires confirmation in larger studies.
Funding: Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences Emergency Project of COVID-19, National Key Research and Development Program of China, the Beijing Science and Technology Project.
Publication
Journal: Methods in Molecular Biology
November/12/2015
Abstract
Coronaviruses (CoVs), enveloped positive-sense RNA viruses, are characterized by club-like spikes that project from their surface, an unusually large RNA genome, and a unique replication strategy. Coronaviruses cause a variety of diseases in mammals and birds ranging from enteritis in cows and pigs and upper respiratory disease in chickens to potentially lethal human respiratory infections. Here we provide a brief introduction to coronaviruses discussing their replication and pathogenicity, and current prevention and treatment strategies. We also discuss the outbreaks of the highly pathogenic Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the recently identified Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV).
Publication
Journal: Cell
May/30/2020
Abstract
Understanding adaptive immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is important for vaccine development, interpreting coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pathogenesis, and calibration of pandemic control measures. Using HLA class I and II predicted peptide "megapools," circulating SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cells were identified in ∼70% and 100% of COVID-19 convalescent patients, respectively. CD4+ T cell responses to spike, the main target of most vaccine efforts, were robust and correlated with the magnitude of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgA titers. The M, spike, and N proteins each accounted for 11%-27% of the total CD4+ response, with additional responses commonly targeting nsp3, nsp4, ORF3a, and ORF8, among others. For CD8+ T cells, spike and M were recognized, with at least eight SARS-CoV-2 ORFs targeted. Importantly, we detected SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ T cells in ∼40%-60% of unexposed individuals, suggesting cross-reactive T cell recognition between circulating "common cold" coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2.
Keywords: CD4; CD8; COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; T cells; coronavirus; cross-reactivity; epitopes.
Publication
Journal: General Psychiatry
March/27/2020
Abstract
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic emerged in Wuhan, China, spread nationwide and then onto half a dozen other countries between December 2019 and early 2020. The implementation of unprecedented strict quarantine measures in China has kept a large number of people in isolation and affected many aspects of people's lives. It has also triggered a wide variety of psychological problems, such as panic disorder, anxiety and depression. This study is the first nationwide large-scale survey of psychological distress in the general population of China during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Publication
Journal: Journal of Virology
January/26/2005
Abstract
Despite extensive laboratory investigations in patients with respiratory tract infections, no microbiological cause can be identified in a significant proportion of patients. In the past 3 years, several novel respiratory viruses, including human metapneumovirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus (SARS-CoV), and human coronavirus NL63, were discovered. Here we report the discovery of another novel coronavirus, coronavirus HKU1 (CoV-HKU1), from a 71-year-old man with pneumonia who had just returned from Shenzhen, China. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR showed that the amount of CoV-HKU1 RNA was 8.5 to 9.6 x 10(6) copies per ml in his nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPAs) during the first week of the illness and dropped progressively to undetectable levels in subsequent weeks. He developed increasing serum levels of specific antibodies against the recombinant nucleocapsid protein of CoV-HKU1, with immunoglobulin M (IgM) titers of 1:20, 1:40, and 1:80 and IgG titers of <1:1,000, 1:2,000, and 1:8,000 in the first, second and fourth weeks of the illness, respectively. Isolation of the virus by using various cell lines, mixed neuron-glia culture, and intracerebral inoculation of suckling mice was unsuccessful. The complete genome sequence of CoV-HKU1 is a 29,926-nucleotide, polyadenylated RNA, with G+C content of 32%, the lowest among all known coronaviruses with available genome sequence. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that CoV-HKU1 is a new group 2 coronavirus. Screening of 400 NPAs, negative for SARS-CoV, from patients with respiratory illness during the SARS period identified the presence of CoV-HKU1 RNA in an additional specimen, with a viral load of 1.13 x 10(6) copies per ml, from a 35-year-old woman with pneumonia. Our data support the existence of a novel group 2 coronavirus associated with pneumonia in humans.
Publication
Journal: The Lancet
June/4/2020
Abstract
Background: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes COVID-19 and is spread person-to-person through close contact. We aimed to investigate the effects of physical distance, face masks, and eye protection on virus transmission in health-care and non-health-care (eg, community) settings.
Methods: We did a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate the optimum distance for avoiding person-to-person virus transmission and to assess the use of face masks and eye protection to prevent transmission of viruses. We obtained data for SARS-CoV-2 and the betacoronaviruses that cause severe acute respiratory syndrome, and Middle East respiratory syndrome from 21 standard WHO-specific and COVID-19-specific sources. We searched these data sources from database inception to May 3, 2020, with no restriction by language, for comparative studies and for contextual factors of acceptability, feasibility, resource use, and equity. We screened records, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias in duplicate. We did frequentist and Bayesian meta-analyses and random-effects meta-regressions. We rated the certainty of evidence according to Cochrane methods and the GRADE approach. This study is registered with PROSPERO, CRD42020177047.
Findings: Our search identified 172 observational studies across 16 countries and six continents, with no randomised controlled trials and 44 relevant comparative studies in health-care and non-health-care settings (n=25 697 patients). Transmission of viruses was lower with physical distancing of 1 m or more, compared with a distance of less than 1 m (n=10 736, pooled adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 0·18, 95% CI 0·09 to 0·38; risk difference [RD] -10·2%, 95% CI -11·5 to -7·5; moderate certainty); protection was increased as distance was lengthened (change in relative risk [RR] 2·02 per m; pinteraction=0·041; moderate certainty). Face mask use could result in a large reduction in risk of infection (n=2647; aOR 0·15, 95% CI 0·07 to 0·34, RD -14·3%, -15·9 to -10·7; low certainty), with stronger associations with N95 or similar respirators compared with disposable surgical masks or similar (eg, reusable 12-16-layer cotton masks; pinteraction=0·090; posterior probability >95%, low certainty). Eye protection also was associated with less infection (n=3713; aOR 0·22, 95% CI 0·12 to 0·39, RD -10·6%, 95% CI -12·5 to -7·7; low certainty). Unadjusted studies and subgroup and sensitivity analyses showed similar findings.
Interpretation: The findings of this systematic review and meta-analysis support physical distancing of 1 m or more and provide quantitative estimates for models and contact tracing to inform policy. Optimum use of face masks, respirators, and eye protection in public and health-care settings should be informed by these findings and contextual factors. Robust randomised trials are needed to better inform the evidence for these interventions, but this systematic appraisal of currently best available evidence might inform interim guidance.
Funding: World Health Organization.
Publication
Journal: Nature Reviews Microbiology
June/1/2009
Abstract
Although coronaviruses were first identified nearly 60 years ago, they only received notoriety in 2003 when one of their members was identified as the aetiological agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Previously these viruses were known to be important agents of respiratory and enteric infections of domestic and companion animals and to cause approximately 15% of all cases of the common cold. This Review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of coronavirus replication, interactions with the host immune response and disease pathogenesis. It also highlights the recent identification of numerous novel coronaviruses and the propensity of this virus family to cross species barriers.
Publication
Journal: Annual Review of Virology
November/8/2017
Abstract
The coronavirus spike protein is a multifunctional molecular machine that mediates coronavirus entry into host cells. It first binds to a receptor on the host cell surface through its S1 subunit and then fuses viral and host membranes through its S2 subunit. Two domains in S1 from different coronaviruses recognize a variety of host receptors, leading to viral attachment. The spike protein exists in two structurally distinct conformations, prefusion and postfusion. The transition from prefusion to postfusion conformation of the spike protein must be triggered, leading to membrane fusion. This article reviews current knowledge about the structures and functions of coronavirus spike proteins, illustrating how the two S1 domains recognize different receptors and how the spike proteins are regulated to undergo conformational transitions. I further discuss the evolution of these two critical functions of coronavirus spike proteins, receptor recognition and membrane fusion, in the context of the corresponding functions from other viruses and host cells.
Authors
Publication
Journal: Frontiers in Immunology
May/19/2020
Abstract
Background: The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has posed great threat to human health. T cells play a critical role in antiviral immunity but their numbers and functional state in COVID-19 patients remain largely unclear. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the counts of T cells and serum cytokine concentration from data of 522 patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and 40 healthy controls. In addition, the expression of T cell exhaustion markers were measured in 14 COVID-19 cases. Results: The number of total T cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were dramatically reduced in COVID-19 patients, especially in patients requiring Intensive Care Unit (ICU) care. Counts of total T cells, CD8+ T cells or CD4+ T cells lower than 800, 300, or 400/μL, respectively, were negatively correlated with patient survival. T cell numbers were negatively correlated to serum IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α concentration, with patients in the disease resolution period showing reduced IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α concentrations and restored T cell counts. T cells from COVID-19 patients had significantly higher levels of the exhausted marker PD-1. Increasing PD-1 and Tim-3 expression on T cells was seen as patients progressed from prodromal to overtly symptomatic stages. Conclusions: T cell counts are reduced significantly in COVID-19 patients, and the surviving T cells appear functionally exhausted. Non-ICU patients with total T cells counts lower than 800/μL may still require urgent intervention, even in the immediate absence of more severe symptoms due to a high risk for further deterioration in condition.
Keywords: COVID-19; SARS- CoV-2; T cell exhaustion; T cell reduction; cytokine strom.
Publication
Journal: Journal of Advanced Research
April/7/2020
Abstract
The coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is a highly transmittable and pathogenic viral infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which emerged in Wuhan, China and spread around the world. Genomic analysis revealed that SARS-CoV-2 is phylogenetically related to severe acute respiratory syndrome-like (SARS-like) bat viruses, therefore bats could be the possible primary reservoir. The intermediate source of origin and transfer to humans is not known, however, the rapid human to human transfer has been confirmed widely. There is no clinically approved antiviral drug or vaccine available to be used against COVID-19. However, few broad-spectrum antiviral drugs have been evaluated against COVID-19 in clinical trials, resulted in clinical recovery. In the current review, we summarize and comparatively analyze the emergence and pathogenicity of COVID-19 infection and previous human coronaviruses severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). We also discuss the approaches for developing effective vaccines and therapeutic combinations to cope with this viral outbreak.
Publication
Journal: Journal of Affective Disorders
August/17/2020
Abstract
Background: As a major virus outbreak in the 21st century, the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to unprecedented hazards to mental health globally. While psychological support is being provided to patients and healthcare workers, the general public's mental health requires significant attention as well. This systematic review aims to synthesize extant literature that reports on the effects of COVID-19 on psychological outcomes of the general population and its associated risk factors.
Methods: A systematic search was conducted on PubMed, Embase, Medline, Web of Science, and Scopus from inception to 17 May 2020 following the PRISMA guidelines. A manual search on Google Scholar was performed to identify additional relevant studies. Articles were selected based on the predetermined eligibility criteria.
Results: Relatively high rates of symptoms of anxiety (6.33% to 50.9%), depression (14.6% to 48.3%), post-traumatic stress disorder (7% to 53.8%), psychological distress (34.43% to 38%), and stress (8.1% to 81.9%) are reported in the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, Spain, Italy, Iran, the US, Turkey, Nepal, and Denmark. Risk factors associated with distress measures include female gender, younger age group (≤40 years), presence of chronic/psychiatric illnesses, unemployment, student status, and frequent exposure to social media/news concerning COVID-19.
Limitations: A significant degree of heterogeneity was noted across studies.
Conclusions: The COVID-19 pandemic is associated with highly significant levels of psychological distress that, in many cases, would meet the threshold for clinical relevance. Mitigating the hazardous effects of COVID-19 on mental health is an international public health priority.
Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Depression; General population; Mental health; Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Publication
Journal: The Lancet
May/15/2020
Abstract
The Bergamo province, which is extensively affected by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic, is a natural observatory of virus manifestations in the general population. In the past month we recorded an outbreak of Kawasaki disease; we aimed to evaluate incidence and features of patients with Kawasaki-like disease diagnosed during the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.All patients diagnosed with a Kawasaki-like disease at our centre in the past 5 years were divided according to symptomatic presentation before (group 1) or after (group 2) the beginning of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Kawasaki- like presentations were managed as Kawasaki disease according to the American Heart Association indications. Kawasaki disease shock syndrome (KDSS) was defined by presence of circulatory dysfunction, and macrophage activation syndrome (MAS) by the Paediatric Rheumatology International Trials Organisation criteria. Current or previous infection was sought by reverse-transcriptase quantitative PCR in nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs, and by serological qualitative test detecting SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG, respectively.

Findings
Group 1 comprised 19 patients (seven boys, 12 girls; aged 3·0 years [SD 2·5]) diagnosed between Jan 1, 2015, and Feb 17, 2020. Group 2 included ten patients (seven boys, three girls; aged 7·5 years [SD 3·5]) diagnosed between Feb 18 and April 20, 2020; eight of ten were positive for IgG or IgM, or both. The two groups differed in disease incidence (group 1 vs group 2, 0·3 vs ten per month), mean age (3·0 vs 7·5 years), cardiac involvement (two of 19 vs six of ten), KDSS (zero of 19 vs five of ten), MAS (zero of 19 vs five of ten), and need for adjunctive steroid treatment (three of 19 vs eight of ten; all p<0·01).

In the past month we found a 30-fold increased incidence of Kawasaki-like disease. Children diagnosed after the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic began showed evidence of immune response to the virus, were older, had a higher rate of cardiac involvement, and features of MAS. The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic was associated with high incidence of a severe form of Kawasaki disease. A similar outbreak of Kawasaki-like disease is expected in countries involved in the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic.None.
Publication
Journal: Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
May/21/2020
Abstract
Background: COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to significantly affect the mental health of healthcare workers (HCWs), who stand in the frontline of this crisis. It is, therefore, an immediate priority to monitor rates of mood, sleep and other mental health issues in order to understand mediating factors and inform tailored interventions. The aim of this review is to synthesize and analyze existing evidence on the prevalence of depression, anxiety and insomnia among HCWs during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Methods: A systematic search of literature databases was conducted up to April 17th, 2020. Two reviewers independently assessed full-text articles according to predefined criteria. Risk of bias for each individual study was assessed and data pooled using random-effects meta-analyses to estimate the prevalence of specific mental health problems. The review protocol is registered in PROSPERO and is available online.
Findings: Thirteen studies were included in the analysis with a combined total of 33,062 participants. Anxiety was assessed in 12 studies, with a pooled prevalence of 23·2% and depression in 10 studies, with a prevalence rate of 22·8%. A subgroup analysis revealed gender and occupational differences with female HCPs and nurses exhibiting higher rates of affective symptoms compared to male and medical staff respectively. Finally, insomnia prevalence was estimated at 38·9% across 5 studies.
Interpretation: Early evidence suggests that a considerable proportion of HCWs experience mood and sleep disturbances during this outbreak, stressing the need to establish ways to mitigate mental health risks and adjust interventions under pandemic conditions.
Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Coronavirus; Depression; Health care workers; Insomnia; Mental health.
Publication
Journal: New England Journal of Medicine
August/5/2013
Abstract
BACKGROUND
In September 2012, the World Health Organization reported the first cases of pneumonia caused by the novel Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV). We describe a cluster of health care-acquired MERS-CoV infections.
METHODS
Medical records were reviewed for clinical and demographic information and determination of potential contacts and exposures. Case patients and contacts were interviewed. The incubation period and serial interval (the time between the successive onset of symptoms in a chain of transmission) were estimated. Viral RNA was sequenced.
RESULTS
Between April 1 and May 23, 2013, a total of 23 cases of MERS-CoV infection were reported in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Symptoms included fever in 20 patients (87%), cough in 20 (87%), shortness of breath in 11 (48%), and gastrointestinal symptoms in 8 (35%); 20 patients (87%) presented with abnormal chest radiographs. As of June 12, a total of 15 patients (65%) had died, 6 (26%) had recovered, and 2 (9%) remained hospitalized. The median incubation period was 5.2 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9 to 14.7), and the serial interval was 7.6 days (95% CI, 2.5 to 23.1). A total of 21 of the 23 cases were acquired by person-to-person transmission in hemodialysis units, intensive care units, or in-patient units in three different health care facilities. Sequencing data from four isolates revealed a single monophyletic clade. Among 217 household contacts and more than 200 health care worker contacts whom we identified, MERS-CoV infection developed in 5 family members (3 with laboratory-confirmed cases) and in 2 health care workers (both with laboratory-confirmed cases).
CONCLUSIONS
Person-to-person transmission of MERS-CoV can occur in health care settings and may be associated with considerable morbidity. Surveillance and infection-control measures are critical to a global public health response.
Publication
Journal: mBio
April/2/2013
Abstract
A novel human coronavirus (HCoV-EMC/2012) was isolated from a man with acute pneumonia and renal failure in June 2012. This report describes the complete genome sequence, genome organization, and expression strategy of HCoV-EMC/2012 and its relation with known coronaviruses. The genome contains 30,119 nucleotides and contains at least 10 predicted open reading frames, 9 of which are predicted to be expressed from a nested set of seven subgenomic mRNAs. Phylogenetic analysis of the replicase gene of coronaviruses with completely sequenced genomes showed that HCoV-EMC/2012 is most closely related to Tylonycteris bat coronavirus HKU4 (BtCoV-HKU4) and Pipistrellus bat coronavirus HKU5 (BtCoV-HKU5), which prototype two species in lineage C of the genus Betacoronavirus. In accordance with the guidelines of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses, and in view of the 75% and 77% amino acid sequence identity in 7 conserved replicase domains with BtCoV-HKU4 and BtCoV-HKU5, respectively, we propose that HCoV-EMC/2012 prototypes a novel species in the genus Betacoronavirus. HCoV-EMC/2012 may be most closely related to a coronavirus detected in Pipistrellus pipistrellus in The Netherlands, but because only a short sequence from the most conserved part of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase-encoding region of the genome was reported for this bat virus, its genetic distance from HCoV-EMC remains uncertain. HCoV-EMC/2012 is the sixth coronavirus known to infect humans and the first human virus within betacoronavirus lineage C.
OBJECTIVE
Coronaviruses are capable of infecting humans and many animal species. Most infections caused by human coronaviruses are relatively mild. However, the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by SARS-CoV in 2002 to 2003 and the fatal infection of a human by HCoV-EMC/2012 in 2012 show that coronaviruses are able to cause severe, sometimes fatal disease in humans. We have determined the complete genome of HCoV-EMC/2012 using an unbiased virus discovery approach involving next-generation sequencing techniques, which enabled subsequent state-of-the-art bioinformatics, phylogenetics, and taxonomic analyses. By establishing its complete genome sequence, HCoV-EMC/2012 was characterized as a new genotype which is closely related to bat coronaviruses that are distant from SARS-CoV. We expect that this information will be vital to rapid advancement of both clinical and vital research on this emerging pathogen.
Publication
Journal: Journal of Virology
September/22/2003
Abstract
Coronavirus entry is mediated by the viral spike (S) glycoprotein. The 180-kDa oligomeric S protein of the murine coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus strain A59 is posttranslationally cleaved into an S1 receptor binding unit and an S2 membrane fusion unit. The latter is thought to contain an internal fusion peptide and has two 4,3 hydrophobic (heptad) repeat regions designated HR1 and HR2. HR2 is located close to the membrane anchor, and HR1 is some 170 amino acids (aa) upstream of it. Heptad repeat (HR) regions are found in fusion proteins of many different viruses and form an important characteristic of class I viral fusion proteins. We investigated the role of these regions in coronavirus membrane fusion. Peptides HR1 (96 aa) and HR2 (39 aa), corresponding to the HR1 and HR2 regions, were produced in Escherichia coli. When mixed together, the two peptides were found to assemble into an extremely stable oligomeric complex. Both on their own and within the complex, the peptides were highly alpha helical. Electron microscopic analysis of the complex revealed a rod-like structure approximately 14.5 nm in length. Limited proteolysis in combination with mass spectrometry indicated that HR1 and HR2 occur in the complex in an antiparallel fashion. In the native protein, such a conformation would bring the proposed fusion peptide, located in the N-terminal domain of HR1, and the transmembrane anchor into close proximity. Using biological assays, the HR2 peptide was shown to be a potent inhibitor of virus entry into the cell, as well as of cell-cell fusion. Both biochemical and functional data show that the coronavirus spike protein is a class I viral fusion protein.
Publication
Journal: Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B
April/15/2020
Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 has caused tens of thousands of infections and more than one thousand deaths. There are currently no registered therapies for treating coronavirus infections. Because of time consuming process of new drug development, drug repositioning may be the only solution to the epidemic of sudden infectious diseases. We systematically analyzed all the proteins encoded by SARS-CoV-2 genes, compared them with proteins from other coronaviruses, predicted their structures, and built 19 structures that could be done by homology modeling. By performing target-based virtual ligand screening, a total of 21 targets (including two human targets) were screened against compound libraries including ZINC drug database and our own database of natural products. Structure and screening results of important targets such as 3-chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro), Spike, RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), and papain like protease (PLpro) were discussed in detail. In addition, a database of 78 commonly used anti-viral drugs including those currently on the market and undergoing clinical trials for SARS-CoV-2 was constructed. Possible targets of these compounds and potential drugs acting on a certain target were predicted. This study will provide new lead compounds and targets for further in vitro and in vivo studies of SARS-CoV-2, new insights for those drugs currently ongoing clinical studies, and also possible new strategies for drug repositioning to treat SARS-CoV-2 infections.
Publication
Journal: Virology Journal
May/28/2019
Abstract
Coronaviruses (CoVs) primarily cause enzootic infections in birds and mammals but, in the last few decades, have shown to be capable of infecting humans as well. The outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and, more recently, Middle-East respiratory syndrome (MERS) has demonstrated the lethality of CoVs when they cross the species barrier and infect humans. A renewed interest in coronaviral research has led to the discovery of several novel human CoVs and since then much progress has been made in understanding the CoV life cycle. The CoV envelope (E) protein is a small, integral membrane protein involved in several aspects of the virus' life cycle, such as assembly, budding, envelope formation, and pathogenesis. Recent studies have expanded on its structural motifs and topology, its functions as an ion-channelling viroporin, and its interactions with both other CoV proteins and host cell proteins.This review aims to establish the current knowledge on CoV E by highlighting the recent progress that has been made and comparing it to previous knowledge. It also compares E to other viral proteins of a similar nature to speculate the relevance of these new findings. Good progress has been made but much still remains unknown and this review has identified some gaps in the current knowledge and made suggestions for consideration in future research.The most progress has been made on SARS-CoV E, highlighting specific structural requirements for its functions in the CoV life cycle as well as mechanisms behind its pathogenesis. Data shows that E is involved in critical aspects of the viral life cycle and that CoVs lacking E make promising vaccine candidates. The high mortality rate of certain CoVs, along with their ease of transmission, underpins the need for more research into CoV molecular biology which can aid in the production of effective anti-coronaviral agents for both human CoVs and enzootic CoVs.
Publication
Journal: Journal of Virology
June/10/2012
Abstract
Recently, we reported the discovery of three novel coronaviruses, bulbul coronavirus HKU11, thrush coronavirus HKU12, and munia coronavirus HKU13, which were identified as representatives of a novel genus, Deltacoronavirus, in the subfamily Coronavirinae. In this territory-wide molecular epidemiology study involving 3,137 mammals and 3,298 birds, we discovered seven additional novel deltacoronaviruses in pigs and birds, which we named porcine coronavirus HKU15, white-eye coronavirus HKU16, sparrow coronavirus HKU17, magpie robin coronavirus HKU18, night heron coronavirus HKU19, wigeon coronavirus HKU20, and common moorhen coronavirus HKU21. Complete genome sequencing and comparative genome analysis showed that the avian and mammalian deltacoronaviruses have similar genome characteristics and structures. They all have relatively small genomes (25.421 to 26.674 kb), the smallest among all coronaviruses. They all have a single papain-like protease domain in the nsp3 gene; an accessory gene, NS6 open reading frame (ORF), located between the M and N genes; and a variable number of accessory genes (up to four) downstream of the N gene. Moreover, they all have the same putative transcription regulatory sequence of ACACCA. Molecular clock analysis showed that the most recent common ancestor of all coronaviruses was estimated at approximately 8100 BC, and those of Alphacoronavirus, Betacoronavirus, Gammacoronavirus, and Deltacoronavirus were at approximately 2400 BC, 3300 BC, 2800 BC, and 3000 BC, respectively. From our studies, it appears that bats and birds, the warm blooded flying vertebrates, are ideal hosts for the coronavirus gene source, bats for Alphacoronavirus and Betacoronavirus and birds for Gammacoronavirus and Deltacoronavirus, to fuel coronavirus evolution and dissemination.
Publication
Journal: Nature
January/5/2011
Abstract
Cellular messenger RNA (mRNA) of higher eukaryotes and many viral RNAs are methylated at the N-7 and 2'-O positions of the 5' guanosine cap by specific nuclear and cytoplasmic methyltransferases (MTases), respectively. Whereas N-7 methylation is essential for RNA translation and stability, the function of 2'-O methylation has remained uncertain since its discovery 35 years ago. Here we show that a West Nile virus (WNV) mutant (E218A) that lacks 2'-O MTase activity was attenuated in wild-type primary cells and mice but was pathogenic in the absence of type I interferon (IFN) signalling. 2'-O methylation of viral RNA did not affect IFN induction in WNV-infected fibroblasts but instead modulated the antiviral effects of IFN-induced proteins with tetratricopeptide repeats (IFIT), which are interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) implicated in regulation of protein translation. Poxvirus and coronavirus mutants that lacked 2'-O MTase activity similarly showed enhanced sensitivity to the antiviral actions of IFN and, specifically, IFIT proteins. Our results demonstrate that the 2'-O methylation of the 5' cap of viral RNA functions to subvert innate host antiviral responses through escape of IFIT-mediated suppression, and suggest an evolutionary explanation for 2'-O methylation of cellular mRNA: to distinguish self from non-self RNA. Differential methylation of cytoplasmic RNA probably serves as an example for pattern recognition and restriction of propagation of foreign viral RNA in host cells.
Publication
Journal: Frontiers in Public Health
May/15/2020
Abstract
Objective: The recent outbreak of Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is reminiscent of the SARS outbreak in 2003. We aim to compare the severity and mortality between male and female patients with COVID-19 or SARS. Study Design and Setting: We extracted the data from: (1) a case series of 43 hospitalized patients we treated, (2) a public data set of the first 37 cases of patients who died of COVID-19 and 1,019 patients who survived in China, and (3) data of 524 patients with SARS, including 139 deaths, from Beijing in early 2003. Results: Older age and a high number of comorbidities were associated with higher severity and mortality in patients with both COVID-19 and SARS. Age was comparable between men and women in all data sets. In the case series, however, men's cases tended to be more serious than women's (P = 0.035). In the public data set, the number of men who died from COVID-19 is 2.4 times that of women (70.3 vs. 29.7%, P = 0.016). In SARS patients, the gender role in mortality was also observed. The percentage of males were higher in the deceased group than in the survived group (P = 0.015). Conclusion: While men and women have the same prevalence, men with COVID-19 are more at risk for worse outcomes and death, independent of age.
Publication
Journal: Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews
February/16/2006
Abstract
Coronaviruses are a family of enveloped, single-stranded, positive-strand RNA viruses classified within the Nidovirales order. This coronavirus family consists of pathogens of many animal species and of humans, including the recently isolated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). This review is divided into two main parts; the first concerns the animal coronaviruses and their pathogenesis, with an emphasis on the functions of individual viral genes, and the second discusses the newly described human emerging pathogen, SARS-CoV. The coronavirus part covers (i) a description of a group of coronaviruses and the diseases they cause, including the prototype coronavirus, murine hepatitis virus, which is one of the recognized animal models for multiple sclerosis, as well as viruses of veterinary importance that infect the pig, chicken, and cat and a summary of the human viruses; (ii) a short summary of the replication cycle of coronaviruses in cell culture; (iii) the development and application of reverse genetics systems; and (iv) the roles of individual coronavirus proteins in replication and pathogenesis. The SARS-CoV part covers the pathogenesis of SARS, the developing animal models for infection, and the progress in vaccine development and antiviral therapies. The data gathered on the animal coronaviruses continue to be helpful in understanding SARS-CoV.
Publication
Journal: The Lancet Neurology
July/5/2020
Abstract
Background: The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is of a scale not seen since the 1918 influenza pandemic. Although the predominant clinical presentation is with respiratory disease, neurological manifestations are being recognised increasingly. On the basis of knowledge of other coronaviruses, especially those that caused the severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome epidemics, cases of CNS and peripheral nervous system disease caused by SARS-CoV-2 might be expected to be rare.
Recent developments: A growing number of case reports and series describe a wide array of neurological manifestations in 901 patients, but many have insufficient detail, reflecting the challenge of studying such patients. Encephalopathy has been reported for 93 patients in total, including 16 (7%) of 214 hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, and 40 (69%) of 58 patients in intensive care with COVID-19 in France. Encephalitis has been described in eight patients to date, and Guillain-Barré syndrome in 19 patients. SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in the CSF of some patients. Anosmia and ageusia are common, and can occur in the absence of other clinical features. Unexpectedly, acute cerebrovascular disease is also emerging as an important complication, with cohort studies reporting stroke in 2-6% of patients hospitalised with COVID-19. So far, 96 patients with stroke have been described, who frequently had vascular events in the context of a pro-inflammatory hypercoagulable state with elevated C-reactive protein, D-dimer, and ferritin. WHERE NEXT?: Careful clinical, diagnostic, and epidemiological studies are needed to help define the manifestations and burden of neurological disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Precise case definitions must be used to distinguish non-specific complications of severe disease (eg, hypoxic encephalopathy and critical care neuropathy) from those caused directly or indirectly by the virus, including infectious, para-infectious, and post-infectious encephalitis, hypercoagulable states leading to stroke, and acute neuropathies such as Guillain-Barré syndrome. Recognition of neurological disease associated with SARS-CoV-2 in patients whose respiratory infection is mild or asymptomatic might prove challenging, especially if the primary COVID-19 illness occurred weeks earlier. The proportion of infections leading to neurological disease will probably remain small. However, these patients might be left with severe neurological sequelae. With so many people infected, the overall number of neurological patients, and their associated health burden and social and economic costs might be large. Health-care planners and policy makers must prepare for this eventuality, while the many ongoing studies investigating neurological associations increase our knowledge base.
Publication
Journal: Journal of Pharmaceutical Analysis
April/13/2020
Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a kind of viral pneumonia with an unusual outbreak in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has been marked as the third introduction of a highly pathogenic coronavirus into the human population after the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the twenty-first century. In this minireview, we provide a brief introduction of the general features of SARS-CoV-2 and discuss current knowledge of molecular immune pathogenesis, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 on the base of the present understanding of SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV infections, which may be helpful in offering novel insights and potential therapeutic targets for combating the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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