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Viruses, Volume 15, Issue 4 (April 2023) – 217 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The use of molecular models has been combined for the first time with experimental in vitro studies, and, as a result, has led to the discovery that one of the most prescribed drugs globally, aspirin, might also become a new efficient treatment for bunyavirus infections. As a safe, easily administrable and inexpensive drug, our discovery illustrates the large potential applications of repurposing aspirin to fight against viruses beyond SARS-CoV-2. View this paper
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15 pages, 4275 KiB  
Article
Identification and Molecular Characterization of a Novel Carlavirus Infecting Chrysanthemum morifolium in China
by Jiapeng Li, Xiaoyin Wu, Hui Liu, Xiaomei Wang, Shaokui Yi, Xueting Zhong, Yaqin Wang and Zhanqi Wang
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1029; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041029 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1798
Abstract
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) is an important ornamental and medicinal plant suffering from many viruses and viroids worldwide. In this study, a new carlavirus, tentatively named Chinese isolate of Carya illinoinensis carlavirus 1 (CiCV1-CN), was identified from chrysanthemum plants in Zhejiang Province, [...] Read more.
Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) is an important ornamental and medicinal plant suffering from many viruses and viroids worldwide. In this study, a new carlavirus, tentatively named Chinese isolate of Carya illinoinensis carlavirus 1 (CiCV1-CN), was identified from chrysanthemum plants in Zhejiang Province, China. The genome sequence of CiCV1-CN was 8795 nucleotides (nt) in length, with a 68-nt 5′-untranslated region (UTR) and a 76-nt 3′-UTR, which contained six predicted open reading frames (ORFs) that encode six corresponding proteins of various sizes. Phylogenetic analyses based on full-length genome and coat protein sequences revealed that CiCV1-CN is in an evolutionary branch with chrysanthemum virus R (CVR) in the Carlavirus genus. Pairwise sequence identity analysis showed that, except for CiCV1, CiCV1-CN has the highest whole-genome sequence identity of 71.3% to CVR-X6. At the amino acid level, the highest identities of predicted proteins encoded by the ORF1, ORF2, ORF3, ORF4, ORF5, and ORF6 of CiCV1-CN were 77.1% in the CVR-X21 ORF1, 80.3% in the CVR-X13 ORF2, 74.8% in the CVR-X21 ORF3, 60.9% in the CVR-BJ ORF4, 90.2% in the CVR-X6 and CVR-TX ORF5s, and 79.4% in the CVR-X21 ORF6. Furthermore, we also found a transient expression of the cysteine-rich protein (CRP) encoded by the ORF6 of CiCV1-CN in Nicotiana benthamiana plants using a potato virus X-based vector, which can result in a downward leaf curl and hypersensitive cell death over the time course. These results demonstrated that CiCV1-CN is a pathogenic virus and C. morifolium is a natural host of CiCV1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next-Generation Sequencing in Plant Virology 2.0)
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12 pages, 5970 KiB  
Article
Identification of a Conserved, Linear Epitope on VP3 of Enterovirus A Species Recognized by a Broad-Spectrum Monoclonal Antibody
by Lie Fu, Xiao-Yu Zhang, Wei-Ping Jin, Chen Wang, Sha-Sha Qian, Meng-Jun Wang, Wen-Hui Wang, Sheng-Li Meng, Jing Guo, Ze-Jun Wang, Xiao-Qi Chen and Shuo Shen
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1028; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041028 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1513
Abstract
Outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have occurred frequently in the Asian-Pacific region over the last two decades, caused mainly by the serotypes in Enterovirus A species. High-quality monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are needed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the [...] Read more.
Outbreaks of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) have occurred frequently in the Asian-Pacific region over the last two decades, caused mainly by the serotypes in Enterovirus A species. High-quality monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are needed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of the diagnosis of enteroviruses associated HFMD. In this study, a mAb 1A11 was generated using full particles of CV-A5 as an immunogen. In indirect immunofluorescence and Western blotting assays, 1A11 bound to the viral proteins of CV-A2, CV-A4, CV-A5, CV-A6, CV-A10, CV-A16, and EV-A71 of the Enterovirus A and targeted VP3. It has no cross-reactivity to strains of Enterovirus B and C. By mapping with over-lapped and truncated peptides, a minimal and linear epitope 23PILPGF28 was identified, located at the N-terminus of the VP3. A BLAST sequence search of the epitope in the NCBI genus Enterovirus (taxid: 12059) protein database indicates that the epitope sequence is highly conserved among the Enterovirus A species, but not among the other enterovirus species, first reported by us. By mutagenesis analysis, critical residues for 1A11 binding were identified for most serotypes of Enterovirus A. It may be useful for the development of a cost-effective and pan-Enterovirus A antigen detection for surveillance, early diagnosis and differentiation of infections caused by the Enterovirus A species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Virology and Viral Diseases)
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19 pages, 3627 KiB  
Article
The Synthetic Opioid Fentanyl Increases HIV Replication and Chemokine Co-Receptor Expression in Lymphocyte Cell Lines
by Janani Madhuravasal Krishnan, Ling Kong, Rebekah Karns, Mario Medvedovic, Kenneth E. Sherman and Jason T. Blackard
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1027; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041027 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2179
Abstract
Background: In the United States, the illicit use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl has led to a serious public health crisis. Synthetic opioids are known to enhance viral replication and to suppress immunologic responses, but their effects on HIV pathogenesis remain unclear. [...] Read more.
Background: In the United States, the illicit use of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl has led to a serious public health crisis. Synthetic opioids are known to enhance viral replication and to suppress immunologic responses, but their effects on HIV pathogenesis remain unclear. Thus, we examined the impact of fentanyl on HIV-susceptible and HIV-infected cell types. Methods: TZM-bl and HIV-infected lymphocyte cells were incubated with fentanyl at varying concentrations. Expression levels of the CXCR4 and CCR5 chemokine receptors and HIV p24 antigen were quantified with ELISA. HIV proviral DNA was quantified using SYBR RT-PCR. Cell viability was detected with the MTT assay. RNAseq was performed to characterize cellular gene regulation in the presence of fentanyl. Results: Fentanyl enhanced expression of both chemokine receptor levels in a dose-dependent manner in HIV-susceptible and infected cell lines. Similarly, fentanyl induced viral expression in HIV-exposed TZM-bl cells and in HIV-infected lymphocyte cell lines. Multiple genes associated with apoptosis, antiviral/interferon response, chemokine signaling, and NFκB signaling were differentially regulated. Conclusions: Synthetic opioid fentanyl impacts HIV replication and chemokine co-receptor expression. Increased virus levels suggest that opioid use may increase the likelihood of transmission and accelerate disease progression. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV and Drugs of Abuse 2.0)
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7 pages, 2319 KiB  
Brief Report
Lipid Accumulation in Host Cells Promotes SARS-CoV-2 Replication
by Tatjana Seitz, Christian Setz, Pia Rauch, Ulrich Schubert and Claus Hellerbrand
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041026 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1646
Abstract
Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is still affecting the lives of people around the globe and remains a major public health threat. Lipid levels in the host cells have been shown to promote SARS-CoV-2 replication, and since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, several studies have [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) is still affecting the lives of people around the globe and remains a major public health threat. Lipid levels in the host cells have been shown to promote SARS-CoV-2 replication, and since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, several studies have linked obesity and other components of the metabolic syndrome with severity of illness, as well as mortality in patients with COVID-19. The aim of this study was to obtain insights into the pathophysiological mechanisms of these associations. First, we established an in vitro model simulating high fatty acid levels and showed that this situation induced the uptake of fatty acids and triglyceride accumulation in human Calu-3 lung cells. Importantly, we found that lipid accumulation significantly enhanced the replication of SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan type or the variant of concern, Delta, in Calu-3 cells. In summary, these findings indicate that hyperlipidemia as found in patients with obesity promotes viral replication and herewith the disease course of COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 and Other Coronaviruses)
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15 pages, 2374 KiB  
Article
Effectiveness, Tolerability and Prescribing Choice of Antiviral Molecules Molnupiravir, Remdesivir and Nirmatrelvir/r: A Real-World Comparison in the First Ten Months of Use
by Cosmo Del Borgo, Silvia Garattini, Carolina Bortignon, Anna Carraro, Daniela Di Trento, Andrea Gasperin, Alessandra Grimaldi, Sara Giovanna De Maria, Sara Corazza, Tiziana Tieghi, Valeria Belvisi, Blerta Kertusha, Margherita De Masi, Ombretta D’Onofrio, Gabriele Bagaglini, Gabriella Bonanni, Paola Zuccalà, Paolo Fabietti, Eeva Tortellini, Mariasilvia Guardiani, Alessandra Spagnoli, Raffaella Marocco, Danilo Alunni Fegatelli, Miriam Lichtner and LATINA COVID-groupadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1025; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041025 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2667
Abstract
In 2022, three antiviral drugs—molnupiravir, remdesivir and nirmatrelvir/ritonavir—were introduced for treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients. The aim of this study is the evaluation of their effectiveness and tolerability in a real-life setting. A single-center observational study was set up, with the [...] Read more.
In 2022, three antiviral drugs—molnupiravir, remdesivir and nirmatrelvir/ritonavir—were introduced for treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 in high-risk patients. The aim of this study is the evaluation of their effectiveness and tolerability in a real-life setting. A single-center observational study was set up, with the involvement of 1118 patients, with complete follow-up data, treated between the 5th of January and the 3rd of October 2022 at Santa Maria Goretti’s hospital in Latina, Central Italy. A univariable and a multivariable analysis were performed on clinical and demographic data and composite outcome, the persistence of symptoms at 30 days and time to negativization, respectively. The three antivirals showed a similar effectiveness in containing the progression of the infection to severe COVID-19 and a good tolerability in the absence of serious adverse effects. Persistence of symptoms after 30 days was more common in females than males and less common in patients treated with molnupiravir and nirmatrelvir/r. The availability of different antiviral molecules is a strong tool and, if correctly prescribed, they can have a significant role in changing the natural history of infection for frail persons, in which vaccination could be not sufficient for the prevention of severe COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficacy and Safety of Antiviral Therapy)
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10 pages, 981 KiB  
Article
Epidemiologic and Clinical Characteristics of Human Bocavirus Infection in Children with or without Acute Gastroenteritis in Acre, Northern Brazil
by Fábyla D’ Tácia Brito Trindade, Endrya Socorro Foro Ramos, Patrícia Santos Lobo, Jedson Ferreira Cardoso, Edvaldo Tavares Penha Júnior, Delana Andreza Melo Bezerra, Mayara Annanda Oliveira Neves, Jorge Alberto Azevedo Andrade, Monica Cristina Moraes Silva, Joana D’Arc Pereira Mascarenhas, Sylvia Fátima Santos Guerra and Luana Silva Soares
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1024; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041024 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1580
Abstract
Human bocavirus (HBoV) is an emerging virus detected around the world that may be associated with cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE). However, its contribution to AGE has not been elucidated. This study aimed to describe the frequency, clinical features, and HBoV species circulation [...] Read more.
Human bocavirus (HBoV) is an emerging virus detected around the world that may be associated with cases of acute gastroenteritis (AGE). However, its contribution to AGE has not been elucidated. This study aimed to describe the frequency, clinical features, and HBoV species circulation in children up to 5 years with or without AGE symptoms in Acre, Northern Brazil. A total of 480 stool samples were collected between January and December 2012. Fecal samples were used for extraction, nested PCR amplification, and sequencing for genotyping. Statistical analysis was applied to verify the association between epidemiological and clinical characteristics. Overall, HBoV-positivity was 10% (48/480), with HBoV-positive rates of 8.4% (19/226) and 11.4% (29/254) recorded in diarrheic and non-diarrheic children, respectively. The most affected children were in the age group ranging between 7 and 24 months (50%). HBoV infection was more frequent in children who live in urban areas (85.4%), use water from public networks (56.2%), and live with adequate sewage facilities (50%). Co-detection with other enteric viruses was 16.7% (8/48) and the most prevalent coinfection was RVA+ HBoV (50%, 4/8). HBoV-1 was the most frequent species detected in diarrheic and non-diarrheic children, responsible for 43.8% (21/48) of cases, followed by HBoV-3 (29.2%, 14/48) and HBoV-2 (25%, 12/48). In this study, HBoV infection was not always associated with AGE, as most HBoV cases belonged to the non-diarrheal group. Future studies are warranted in order to determine the role of HBoV in causing acute diarrhea disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viral Gastroenteritis 2022)
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13 pages, 3690 KiB  
Article
The RL13 Temperance Factor Represses Replication of the Highly Cell Culture-Adapted Towne Strain of Human Cytomegalovirus
by Amine Ourahmane, Laura Hertel and Michael A. McVoy
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1023; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041023 - 21 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1255
Abstract
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) has evolved to replicate while causing minimal damage, maintain life-long latency, reactivate sub-clinically, and, in spite of robust host immunity, produce and shed infectious virus in order to transmit to new hosts. The CMV temperance factor RL13 may contribute to [...] Read more.
Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) has evolved to replicate while causing minimal damage, maintain life-long latency, reactivate sub-clinically, and, in spite of robust host immunity, produce and shed infectious virus in order to transmit to new hosts. The CMV temperance factor RL13 may contribute to this strategy of coexistence with the host by actively restricting viral replication and spread. Viruses with an intact RL13 gene grow slowly in cell culture, release little extracellular virus, and form small foci. By contrast, viruses carrying disruptive mutations in the RL13 gene form larger foci and release higher amounts of cell-free infectious virions. Such mutations invariably arise during cell culture passage of clinical isolates and are consistently found in highly adapted strains. The potential existence in such strains of other mutations with roles in mitigating RL13’s restrictive effects, however, has not been explored. To this end, a mutation that frame shifts the RL13 gene in the highly cell culture-adapted laboratory strain Towne was repaired, and a C-terminal FLAG epitope was added. Compared to the frame-shifted parental virus, viruses encoding wild-type or FLAG-tagged wild-type RL13 produced small foci and replicated poorly. Within six to ten cell culture passages, mutations emerged in RL13 that restored replication and focus size to those of the RL13-frame-shifted parental virus, implying that none of the numerous adaptive mutations acquired by strain Towne during more than 125 cell culture passages mitigate the temperance activity of RL13. Whilst RL13-FLAG expressed by passage zero stocks was localized exclusively within the virion assembly compartment, RL13-FLAG with a E208K substitution that emerged in one lineage was mostly dispersed into the cytoplasm, suggesting that localization to the virion assembly compartment is likely required for RL13 to exert its growth-restricting activities. Changes in localization also provided a convenient way to assess the emergence of RL13 mutations during serial passage, highlighting the usefulness of RL13-FLAG Towne variants for elucidating the mechanisms underlying RL13’s temperance functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Molecular Biology of Human Cytomegalovirus)
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19 pages, 5033 KiB  
Article
Metagenomic Detection of Divergent Insect- and Bat-Associated Viruses in Plasma from Two African Individuals Enrolled in Blood-Borne Surveillance
by Gregory S. Orf, Ana Olivo, Barbara Harris, Sonja L. Weiss, Asmeeta Achari, Guixia Yu, Scot Federman, Dora Mbanya, Linda James, Samuel Mampunza, Charles Y. Chiu, Mary A. Rodgers, Gavin A. Cloherty and Michael G. Berg
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1022; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041022 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2582
Abstract
Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) has enabled the high-throughput multiplexed identification of sequences from microbes of potential medical relevance. This approach has become indispensable for viral pathogen discovery and broad-based surveillance of emerging or re-emerging pathogens. From 2015 to 2019, plasma was collected from [...] Read more.
Metagenomic next-generation sequencing (mNGS) has enabled the high-throughput multiplexed identification of sequences from microbes of potential medical relevance. This approach has become indispensable for viral pathogen discovery and broad-based surveillance of emerging or re-emerging pathogens. From 2015 to 2019, plasma was collected from 9586 individuals in Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo enrolled in a combined hepatitis virus and retrovirus surveillance program. A subset (n = 726) of the patient specimens was analyzed by mNGS to identify viral co-infections. While co-infections from known blood-borne viruses were detected, divergent sequences from nine poorly characterized or previously uncharacterized viruses were also identified in two individuals. These were assigned to the following groups by genomic and phylogenetic analyses: densovirus, nodavirus, jingmenvirus, bastrovirus, dicistrovirus, picornavirus, and cyclovirus. Although of unclear pathogenicity, these viruses were found circulating at high enough concentrations in plasma for genomes to be assembled and were most closely related to those previously associated with bird or bat excrement. Phylogenetic analyses and in silico host predictions suggested that these are invertebrate viruses likely transmitted through feces containing consumed insects or through contaminated shellfish. This study highlights the power of metagenomics and in silico host prediction in characterizing novel viral infections in susceptible individuals, including those who are immunocompromised from hepatitis viruses and retroviruses, or potentially exposed to zoonotic viruses from animal reservoir species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Applications of Next-Generation Sequencing in Virus Discovery 2.0)
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15 pages, 578 KiB  
Article
Human Papillomavirus Infections and Increased Risk of Incident Osteoporosis: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study
by Kevin Sheng-Kai Ma, Ning-Chien Chin, Ting-Yu Tu, Yao-Cheng Wu, Hei-Tung Yip, James Cheng-Chung Wei and Ren-in Chang
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1021; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041021 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1507
Abstract
Patients with viral infections are susceptible to osteoporosis. This cohort study investigated the correlation between human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and the risk of osteoporosis via 12,936 patients with new-onset HPV infections and propensity score-matched non-HPV controls enrolled in Taiwan. The primary endpoint was [...] Read more.
Patients with viral infections are susceptible to osteoporosis. This cohort study investigated the correlation between human papillomavirus (HPV) infections and the risk of osteoporosis via 12,936 patients with new-onset HPV infections and propensity score-matched non-HPV controls enrolled in Taiwan. The primary endpoint was incident osteoporosis following HPV infections. Cox proportional hazards regression analysis and the Kaplan-Meier method was used to determine the effect of HPV infections on the risk of osteoporosis. Patients with HPV infections presented with a significantly high risk of osteoporosis (adjusted hazard ratio, aHR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.06–1.65) after adjusting for sex, age, comorbidities and co-medications. Subgroup analysis provided that populations at risk of HPV-associated osteoporosis were females (aHR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.04–1.71), those aged between 60 and 80 years (aHR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.01–2.08 for patients aged 60–70; aHR = 1.51; 95% CI = 1.07–2.12 for patients aged 70–80), and patients with long-term use of glucocorticoids (aHR = 2.17; 95% CI = 1.11–4.22). HPV-infected patients who did not receive treatments for HPV infections were at a greater risk (aHR = 1.40; 95% CI = 1.09–1.80) of osteoporosis, while the risk of osteoporosis in those who received treatments for HPV infections did not reach statistical significance (aHR = 1.14; 95% CI = 0.78–1.66). Patients with HPV infections presented with a high risk of subsequent osteoporosis. Treatments for HPV infections attenuated the risk of HPV-associated osteoporosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Virology Research in Taiwan)
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36 pages, 1943 KiB  
Review
Current Clinical Landscape and Global Potential of Bacteriophage Therapy
by Nicole Marie Hitchcock, Danielle Devequi Gomes Nunes, Job Shiach, Katharine Valeria Saraiva Hodel, Josiane Dantas Viana Barbosa, Leticia Alencar Pereira Rodrigues, Brahm Seymour Coler, Milena Botelho Pereira Soares and Roberto Badaró
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1020; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041020 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 5831
Abstract
In response to the global spread of antimicrobial resistance, there is an increased demand for novel and innovative antimicrobials. Bacteriophages have been known for their potential clinical utility in lysing bacteria for almost a century. Social pressures and the concomitant introduction of antibiotics [...] Read more.
In response to the global spread of antimicrobial resistance, there is an increased demand for novel and innovative antimicrobials. Bacteriophages have been known for their potential clinical utility in lysing bacteria for almost a century. Social pressures and the concomitant introduction of antibiotics in the mid-1900s hindered the widespread adoption of these naturally occurring bactericides. Recently, however, phage therapy has re-emerged as a promising strategy for combatting antimicrobial resistance. A unique mechanism of action and cost-effective production promotes phages as an ideal solution for addressing antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections, particularly in lower- and middle-income countries. As the number of phage-related research labs worldwide continues to grow, it will be increasingly important to encourage the expansion of well-developed clinical trials, the standardization of the production and storage of phage cocktails, and the advancement of international collaboration. In this review, we discuss the history, benefits, and limitations of bacteriophage research and its current role in the setting of addressing antimicrobial resistance with a specific focus on active clinical trials and case reports of phage therapy administration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Viruses)
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13 pages, 1187 KiB  
Article
Vector Competence of Aedes albopictus for Yellow Fever Virus: Risk of Reemergence of Urban Yellow Fever in Brazil
by Rossela Damasceno-Caldeira, Joaquim Pinto Nunes-Neto, Carine Fortes Aragão, Maria Nazaré Oliveira Freitas, Milene Silveira Ferreira, Paulo Henrique Gomes de Castro, Daniel Damous Dias, Pedro Arthur da Silva Araújo, Roberto Carlos Feitosa Brandão, Bruno Tardelli Diniz Nunes, Eliana Vieira Pinto da Silva, Lívia Carício Martins, Pedro Fernando da Costa Vasconcelos and Ana Cecília Ribeiro Cruz
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1019; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041019 - 21 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2412
Abstract
The risk of the emergence and reemergence of zoonoses is high in regions that are under the strong influence of anthropogenic actions, as they contribute to the risk of vector disease transmission. Yellow fever (YF) is among the main pathogenic arboviral diseases in [...] Read more.
The risk of the emergence and reemergence of zoonoses is high in regions that are under the strong influence of anthropogenic actions, as they contribute to the risk of vector disease transmission. Yellow fever (YF) is among the main pathogenic arboviral diseases in the world, and the Culicidae Aedes albopictus has been proposed as having the potential to transmit the yellow fever virus (YFV). This mosquito inhabits both urban and wild environments, and under experimental conditions, it has been shown to be susceptible to infection by YFV. In this study, the vector competence of the mosquito Ae. albopictus for the YFV was investigated. Female Ae. albopictus were exposed to non-human primates (NHP) of the genus Callithrix infected with YFV via a needle inoculation. Subsequently, on the 14th and 21st days post-infection, the legs, heads, thorax/abdomen and saliva of the arthropods were collected and analyzed by viral isolation and molecular analysis techniques to verify the infection, dissemination and transmission. The presence of YFV was detected in the saliva samples through viral isolation and in the head, thorax/abdomen and legs both by viral isolation and by molecular detection. The susceptibility of Ae. albopictus to YFV confers a potential risk of reemergence of urban YF in Brazil. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arboviral Lifecycle)
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15 pages, 2950 KiB  
Article
Antigen-Specific Antibody Signature Is Associated with COVID-19 Outcome
by Bárbara Batista Salgado, Maele Ferreira Jordão, Thiago Barros do Nascimento de Morais, Danielle Severino Sena da Silva, Ivanildo Vieira Pereira Filho, Wlademir Braga Salgado Sobrinho, Nani Oliveira Carvalho, Rafaella Oliveira dos Santos, Julia Forato, Priscilla Paschoal Barbosa, Daniel A. Toledo-Teixeira, Kerollen Runa Pinto, Ingrid Silva Correia, Isabelle Bezerra Cordeiro, Júlio Nino de Souza Neto, Enedina Nogueira de Assunção, Fernando Fonseca Almeida Val, Gisely Cardoso Melo, Vanderson de Souza Sampaio, Wuelton Marcelo Monteiro, Fabiana Granja, William M. de Souza, Spartaco Astolfi Filho, Jose Luiz Proenca-Modena, Jaila Dias Borges Lalwani, Marcus Vinícius Guimarães de Lacerda, Paulo Afonso Nogueira and Pritesh Lalwaniadd Show full author list remove Hide full author list
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1018; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041018 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1724
Abstract
Numerous studies have focused on inflammation-related markers to understand COVID-19. In this study, we performed a comparative analysis of spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) protein-specific IgA, total IgG and IgG subclass response in COVID-19 patients and compared this to their disease outcome. We [...] Read more.
Numerous studies have focused on inflammation-related markers to understand COVID-19. In this study, we performed a comparative analysis of spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) protein-specific IgA, total IgG and IgG subclass response in COVID-19 patients and compared this to their disease outcome. We observed that the SARS-CoV-2 infection elicits a robust IgA and IgG response against the N-terminal (N1) and C-terminal (N3) region of the N protein, whereas we failed to detect IgA antibodies and observed a weak IgG response against the disordered linker region (N2) in COVID-19 patients. N and S protein-specific IgG1, IgG2 and IgG3 response was significantly elevated in hospitalized patients with severe disease compared to outpatients with non-severe disease. IgA and total IgG antibody reactivity gradually increased after the first week of symptoms. Magnitude of RBD-ACE2 blocking antibodies identified in a competitive assay and neutralizing antibodies detected by PRNT assay correlated with disease severity. Generally, the IgA and total IgG response between the discharged and deceased COVID-19 patients was similar. However, significant differences in the ratio of IgG subclass antibodies were observed between discharged and deceased patients, especially towards the disordered linker region of the N protein. Overall, SARS-CoV-2 infection is linked to an elevated blood antibody response in severe patients compared to non-severe patients. Monitoring of antigen-specific serological response could be an important tool to accompany disease progression and improve outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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15 pages, 3258 KiB  
Article
Epidemiological Surveillance Reveals the Rise and Establishment of the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 Variant in Brazil
by Joice do Prado Silva, Aline Brito de Lima, Luige Biciati Alvim, Frederico Scott Varella Malta, Cristiane Pinheiro Toscano Brito Mendonça, André Henrique Barbosa de Carvalho, Jéssica Silqueira Hickson Rios, Paula Luize Camargos Fonseca, Daniel Costa Queiroz, Luíza Campos Guerra de Araújo e Santos, Alessandro Clayton de Souza Ferreira, Renan Pedra de Souza, Renato Santana de Aguiar and Danielle Alves Gomes Zauli
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1017; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041017 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1696
Abstract
The introduction of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) in Brazil has been associated with major impacts on the epidemiological and public health scenario. In this study, 291,571 samples were investigated for SARS-CoV-2 variants from August 2021 to March 2022 (the highest peak of [...] Read more.
The introduction of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) in Brazil has been associated with major impacts on the epidemiological and public health scenario. In this study, 291,571 samples were investigated for SARS-CoV-2 variants from August 2021 to March 2022 (the highest peak of positive cases) in four geographical regions of Brazil. To identify the frequency, introduction, and dispersion of SARS-CoV-2 variants in 12 Brazilian capitals, VOCs defining spike mutations were identified in 35,735 samples through genotyping and viral genome sequencing. Omicron VOC was detected in late November 2021 and replaced the Delta VOC in approximately 3.5 weeks. We estimated viral load differences between SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron through the evaluation of the RT-qPCR cycle threshold (Ct) score in 77,262 samples. The analysis demonstrated that the Omicron VOC has a lower viral load in infected patients than the Delta VOC. Analyses of clinical outcomes in 17,586 patients across the country indicated that individuals infected with Omicron were less likely to need ventilatory support. The results of our study reinforce the importance of surveillance programs at the national level and showed the introduction and faster dispersion of Omicron over Delta VOC in Brazil without increasing the numbers of severe cases of COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Mathematical Modeling of Viral Infection)
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14 pages, 244 KiB  
Article
How do German General Practitioners Manage Long-/Post-COVID? A Qualitative Study in Primary Care
by Beatrice E. Bachmeier, Salome Hölzle, Mohamed Gasser and Marjan van den Akker
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1016; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041016 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1661
Abstract
Background: Many patients with ongoing complaints after a SARS-CoV-2 infection are treated in primary care. Existing medical guidelines on how to diagnose and treat Long-/Post-COVID are far from being comprehensive. This study aims to describe how German general practitioners (GPs) deal with this [...] Read more.
Background: Many patients with ongoing complaints after a SARS-CoV-2 infection are treated in primary care. Existing medical guidelines on how to diagnose and treat Long-/Post-COVID are far from being comprehensive. This study aims to describe how German general practitioners (GPs) deal with this situation, what problems they experience when managing such patients, and how they solve problems associated with the diagnosis and treatment of Long-/Post-COVID. Methods and Findings: We conducted a qualitative study and interviewed 11 GPs. The most commonly described symptoms were ongoing fatigue, dyspnea, chest tightness and a decrease in physical capacity. The most common way to identify Long-/Post-COVID was by exclusion. Patients suffering from Long-/Post-COVID were generally treated by their GPs and rarely referred. A very common non-pharmacological intervention was to take a wait-and-see approach and grant sick leave. Other non-pharmacological interventions included lifestyle advices, physical exercise, acupuncture and exercises with intense aromas. Pharmacological treatments focused on symptoms, like respiratory symptoms or headaches. Our study’s main limitations are the small sample size and therefore limited generalizability of results. Conclusions: Further research is required to develop and test pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions for patients with Long-/Post-COVID. In addition, strategies to prevent the occurrence of Long-/Post-COVID after an acute infection with SARS-CoV-2 have to be developed. The routine collection of data on the diagnosis and management of Long-/Post-COVID may help in the formulation of best practices. It is up to policymakers to facilitate the necessary implementation of effective interventions in order to limit the huge societal consequences of large groups of patients suffering from Long-/Post-COVID. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue COVID-19: Prognosis and Long-Term Sequelae)
14 pages, 4682 KiB  
Review
Asfarviruses and Closely Related Giant Viruses
by Sihem Hannat, Bernard La Scola, Julien Andreani and Sarah Aherfi
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1015; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041015 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1988
Abstract
Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus, so called because of its “mimicking microbe”, was discovered in 2003 and was the founding member of the first family of giant viruses isolated from amoeba. These giant viruses, present in various environments, have opened up a previously unexplored [...] Read more.
Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus, so called because of its “mimicking microbe”, was discovered in 2003 and was the founding member of the first family of giant viruses isolated from amoeba. These giant viruses, present in various environments, have opened up a previously unexplored field of virology. Since 2003, many other giant viruses have been isolated, founding new families and taxonomical groups. These include a new giant virus which was isolated in 2015, the result of the first co-culture on Vermamoeba vermiformis. This new giant virus was named “Faustovirus”. Its closest known relative at that time was African Swine Fever Virus. Pacmanvirus and Kaumoebavirus were subsequently discovered, exhibiting phylogenetic clustering with the two previous viruses and forming a new group with a putative common ancestor. In this study, we aimed to summarise the main features of the members of this group of giant viruses, including Abalone Asfarvirus, African Swine Fever Virus, Faustovirus, Pacmanvirus, and Kaumoebavirus. Full article
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14 pages, 2730 KiB  
Article
Human Cytomegalovirus UL23 Antagonizes the Antiviral Effect of Interferon-γ by Restraining the Expression of Specific IFN-Stimulated Genes
by Hankun Wang, Weijian Peng, Jialin Wang, Chunling Zhang, Wangchun Zhao, Yanhong Ran, Xiaoping Yang, Jun Chen and Hongjian Li
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1014; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041014 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1439
Abstract
Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) is a critical component of innate immune responses in humans to combat infection by many viruses, including human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). IFN-γ exerts its biological effects by inducing hundreds of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). In this study, RNA-seq analyses revealed that HCMV tegument [...] Read more.
Interferon-γ (IFN-γ) is a critical component of innate immune responses in humans to combat infection by many viruses, including human cytomegalovirus (HCMV). IFN-γ exerts its biological effects by inducing hundreds of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). In this study, RNA-seq analyses revealed that HCMV tegument protein UL23 could regulate the expression of many ISGs under IFN-γ treatment or HCMV infection. We further confirmed that among these IFN-γ stimulated genes, individual APOL1 (Apolipoprotein-L1), CMPK2 (Cytidine/uridine monophosphate kinase 2), and LGALS9 (Galectin-9) could inhibit HCMV replication. Moreover, these three proteins exhibited a synergistic effect on HCMV replication. UL23-deficient HCMV mutants induced higher expression of APOL1, CMPK2, and LGALS9, and exhibited lower viral titers in IFN-γ treated cells compared with parental viruses expressing full functional UL23. Thus, UL23 appears to resist the antiviral effect of IFN-γ by downregulating the expression of APOL1, CMPK2, and LGALS9. This study highlights the roles of HCMV UL23 in facilitating viral immune escape from IFN-γ responses by specifically downregulating these ISGs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 65-Year Anniversary of the Discovery of Cytomegalovirus)
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14 pages, 3558 KiB  
Article
Topical Protease Inhibitor Decreases Anal Carcinogenesis in a Transgenic Mouse Model of HPV Anal Disease
by Laura C. Gunder, Hillary R. Johnson, Evan Yao, Tyra H. Moyer, Heather A. Green, Nathan Sherer, Wei Zhang and Evie H. Carchman
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1013; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041013 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1360
Abstract
Anal cancer is a major health problem. This study seeks to determine if the topical protease inhibitor Saquinavir (SQV), is effective at the prevention of anal cancer in transgenic mice with established anal dysplasia. K14E6/E7 mice were entered into the study when the [...] Read more.
Anal cancer is a major health problem. This study seeks to determine if the topical protease inhibitor Saquinavir (SQV), is effective at the prevention of anal cancer in transgenic mice with established anal dysplasia. K14E6/E7 mice were entered into the study when the majority spontaneously developed high-grade anal dysplasia. To ensure carcinoma development, a subset of the mice was treated with a topical carcinogen: 7,12-Dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA). Treatment groups included: no treatment, DMBA only, and topical SQV with/without DMBA. After 20 weeks of treatment, anal tissue was harvested and evaluated histologically. SQV was quantified in the blood and anal tissue, and tissue samples underwent analysis for E6, E7, p53, and pRb. There was minimal systemic absorption of SQV in the sera despite high tissue concentrations. There were no differences in tumor-free survival between SQV-treated and respective control groups but there was a lower grade of histological disease in the mice treated with SQV compared to those untreated. Changes in E6 and E7 levels with SQV treatment suggest that SQV may function independently of E6 and E7. Topical SQV decreased histological disease progression in HPV transgenic mice with or without DMBA treatment without local side effects or significant systemic absorption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Efficacy and Safety of Antiviral Therapy)
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16 pages, 1540 KiB  
Article
The Role of the Leishmania infantum Infected Dogs as a Potential Reservoir Host for Toscana Virus in a Zoonotic Visceral Leishmaniasis Focus of Northern Tunisia
by Khalil Dachraoui, Ifhem Chelbi, Imen Labidi, Raja Ben Osman, Aida Sayadi, Mourad Ben Said, Saifedine Cherni, Mohammed Abdo Saghir Abbas, Rémi Charrel and Elyes Zhioua
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1012; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041012 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1515
Abstract
The role of dogs as reservoir hosts for Toscana virus (TOSV) remains undetermined. This study investigated TOSV and Leishmania infantum infections in one healthy and three infected dogs with Leishmania (A, B, C) following natural exposition to sandfly bites in a focus of [...] Read more.
The role of dogs as reservoir hosts for Toscana virus (TOSV) remains undetermined. This study investigated TOSV and Leishmania infantum infections in one healthy and three infected dogs with Leishmania (A, B, C) following natural exposition to sandfly bites in a focus of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL) located in Northern Tunisia from June to October 2020. At the end of the exposition period, infected and healthy dogs were examined for TOSV and L. infantum infections by xenodiagnosis using a colony of Phlebotomus perniciosus. Pools of freshly engorged P. perniciosus at days 0 and those at days 7 post-feeding were screened for TOSV and L. infantum by nested PCR in the polymerase gene and kinetoplast minicircle DNA, respectively. In the exposure site, P. pernicious is the most abundant sandfly species. The infection rates of sandflies with TOSV and L. infantum were 0.10 and 0.05%, respectively. Leishmania infantum DNA and TOSV RNA were detected in P. perniciosus females fed on dog B and C, respectively. The isolation of TOSV in Vero cells was achieved from two pools containing P. perniciosus fed on dog C. No pathogens were detected in P. perniciosus females fed on dog A and on control dog. We report for the first time the reservoir competence of dog with ZVL in the transmission of TOSV to sandfly vectors in natural settings, in addition to its role as a main reservoir host of L. infantum. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sand Fly-Borne Phleboviruses, Volume II)
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8 pages, 3662 KiB  
Brief Report
Role of Histamine and Related Signaling in Kaposi’s Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Pathogenesis and Oncogenesis
by Jungang Chen, Jiao Song, Karlie Plaisance-Bonstaff, Shengyu Mu, Steven R. Post, Lu Dai and Zhiqiang Qin
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1011; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041011 - 20 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1372
Abstract
Although Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) has been reported to cause several human cancers including Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), the mechanisms of KSHV-induced tumorigenesis, especially virus–host interaction network, are still not completely understood, which therefore hinders the development of effective [...] Read more.
Although Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) has been reported to cause several human cancers including Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) and primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), the mechanisms of KSHV-induced tumorigenesis, especially virus–host interaction network, are still not completely understood, which therefore hinders the development of effective therapies. Histamine, together with its receptors, plays an important role in various allergic diseases by regulating different inflammation and immune responses. Our previous data showed that antagonists targeting histamine receptors effectively repressed KSHV lytic replication. In the current study, we determined that histamine treatment increased cell proliferation and anchorage-independent growth abilities of KSHV-infected cells. Furthermore, histamine treatment affected the expression of some inflammatory factors from KSHV-infected cells. For clinical relevance, several histamine receptors were highly expressed in AIDS-KS tissues when compared to normal skin tissues. We determined that histamine treatment promoted KSHV-infected lymphoma progression in immunocompromised mice models. Therefore, besides viral replication, our data indicate that the histamine and related signaling are also involved in other functions of KSHV pathogenesis and oncogenesis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Opportunistic Viral Infections)
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14 pages, 3287 KiB  
Article
High-Risk Regions of African Swine Fever Infection in Mozambique
by Azido Ribeiro Mataca, Francisco Alyson Silva Oliveira, Ângelo André Lampeão, José Pereira Mendonça, Maria Aparecida Scatamburlo Moreira, Rinaldo Aparecido Mota, Wagnner José Nascimento Porto, David Germano Gonçalves Schwarz and Abelardo Silva-Júnior
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1010; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041010 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1612
Abstract
African swine fever (ASF) is a transboundary infectious disease that can infect wild and domestic swine and requires enhanced surveillance between countries. In Mozambique, ASF has been reported across the country, spreading between provinces, mainly through the movement of pigs and their by-products. [...] Read more.
African swine fever (ASF) is a transboundary infectious disease that can infect wild and domestic swine and requires enhanced surveillance between countries. In Mozambique, ASF has been reported across the country, spreading between provinces, mainly through the movement of pigs and their by-products. Subsequently, pigs from bordering countries were at risk of exposure. This study evaluated the spatiotemporal distribution and temporal trends of ASF in swine in Mozambique between 2000 and 2020. During this period, 28,624 cases of ASF were reported across three regions of the country. In total, the northern, central, and southern regions presented 64.9, 17.8, and 17.3% of the total cases, respectively. When analyzing the incidence risk (IR) of ASF per 100,000 pigs, the Cabo Delgado province had the highest IR (17,301.1), followed by the Maputo province (8868.6). In the space-time analysis, three clusters were formed in each region: (i) Cluster A involved the provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula (north), (ii) Cluster B involved the province of Maputo and the city of Maputo (south), and (iii) Cluster C consisted of the provinces of Manica and Sofala (central) in 2006. However, when analyzing the temporal trend in the provinces, most were found to be decreasing, except for Sofala, Inhambane, and Maputo, which had a stationary trend. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the spatial distribution of ASF in Mozambique. These findings will contribute to increasing official ASF control programs by identifying high-risk areas and raising awareness of the importance of controlling the borders between provinces and countries to prevent their spread to other regions of the world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endemic and Emerging Swine Viruses 2023)
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14 pages, 1278 KiB  
Article
Intact Proviral DNA Analysis of the Brain Viral Reservoir and Relationship to Neuroinflammation in People with HIV on Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy
by Dana Gabuzda, Jun Yin, Vikas Misra, Sukrutha Chettimada and Benjamin B. Gelman
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1009; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041009 - 20 Apr 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2009
Abstract
HIV establishes a persistent viral reservoir in the brain despite viral suppression in blood to undetectable levels on antiretroviral therapy (ART). The brain viral reservoir in virally suppressed HIV+ individuals is not well-characterized. In this study, intact, defective, and total HIV proviral genomes [...] Read more.
HIV establishes a persistent viral reservoir in the brain despite viral suppression in blood to undetectable levels on antiretroviral therapy (ART). The brain viral reservoir in virally suppressed HIV+ individuals is not well-characterized. In this study, intact, defective, and total HIV proviral genomes were measured in frontal lobe white matter from 28 virally suppressed individuals on ART using the intact proviral DNA assay (IPDA). HIV gag DNA/RNA levels were measured using single-copy assays and expression of 78 genes related to inflammation and white matter integrity was measured using the NanoString platform. Intact proviral DNA was detected in brain tissues of 18 of 28 (64%) individuals on suppressive ART. The median proviral genome copy numbers in brain tissue as measured by the IPDA were: intact, 10 (IQR 1–92); 3′ defective, 509 (225–858); 5′ defective, 519 (273–906); and total proviruses, 1063 (501–2074) copies/106 cells. Intact proviral genomes accounted for less than 10% (median 8.3%) of total proviral genomes in the brain, while 3′ and 5′ defective genomes accounted for 44% and 49%, respectively. There was no significant difference in median copy number of intact, defective, or total proviruses between groups stratified by neurocognitive impairment (NCI) vs. no NCI. In contrast, there was an increasing trend in intact proviruses in brains with vs. without neuroinflammatory pathology (56 vs. 5 copies/106 cells, p = 0.1), but no significant differences in defective or total proviruses. Genes related to inflammation, stress responses, and white matter integrity were differentially expressed in brain tissues with >5 vs. +5 intact proviruses/106 cells. These findings suggest that intact HIV proviral genomes persist in the brain at levels comparable to those reported in blood and lymphoid tissues and increase CNS inflammation/immune activation despite suppressive ART, indicating the importance of targeting the CNS reservoir to achieve HIV cure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV Neurological Disorders)
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16 pages, 3392 KiB  
Article
Virulence Profiles of Wild-Type, P.1 and Delta SARS-CoV-2 Variants in K18-hACE2 Transgenic Mice
by Yasmin da Silva Santos, Thais Helena Martins Gamon, Marcela Santiago Pacheco de Azevedo, Bruna Larotonda Telezynski, Edmarcia Elisa de Souza, Danielle Bruna Leal de Oliveira, Jamille Gregório Dombrowski, Livia Rosa-Fernandes, Giuseppe Palmisano, Leonardo José de Moura Carvalho, Maria Cecília Rui Luvizotto, Carsten Wrenger, Dimas Tadeu Covas, Rui Curi, Claudio Romero Farias Marinho, Edison Luiz Durigon and Sabrina Epiphanio
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 999; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040999 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1761
Abstract
Since December 2019, the world has been experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and we now face the emergence of several variants. We aimed to assess the differences between the wild-type (Wt) (Wuhan) strain and [...] Read more.
Since December 2019, the world has been experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), and we now face the emergence of several variants. We aimed to assess the differences between the wild-type (Wt) (Wuhan) strain and the P.1 (Gamma) and Delta variants using infected K18-hACE2 mice. The clinical manifestations, behavior, virus load, pulmonary capacity, and histopathological alterations were analyzed. The P.1-infected mice showed weight loss and more severe clinical manifestations of COVID-19 than the Wt and Delta-infected mice. The respiratory capacity was reduced in the P.1-infected mice compared to the other groups. Pulmonary histological findings demonstrated that a more aggressive disease was generated by the P.1 and Delta variants compared to the Wt strain of the virus. The quantification of the SARS-CoV-2 viral copies varied greatly among the infected mice although it was higher in P.1-infected mice on the day of death. Our data revealed that K18-hACE2 mice infected with the P.1 variant develop a more severe infectious disease than those infected with the other variants, despite the significant heterogeneity among the mice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue SARS-CoV-2 Research in Brazil)
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15 pages, 1798 KiB  
Article
Evaluating Novel Quantification Methods for Infectious Baculoviruses
by Keven Lothert, Elena Bagrin and Michael W. Wolff
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 998; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040998 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 2036
Abstract
Accurate and rapid quantification of (infectious) virus titers is of paramount importance in the manufacture of viral vectors and vaccines. Reliable quantification data allow efficient process development at a laboratory scale and thorough process monitoring in later production. However, current gold standard applications, [...] Read more.
Accurate and rapid quantification of (infectious) virus titers is of paramount importance in the manufacture of viral vectors and vaccines. Reliable quantification data allow efficient process development at a laboratory scale and thorough process monitoring in later production. However, current gold standard applications, such as endpoint dilution assays, are cumbersome and do not provide true process analytical monitoring. Accordingly, flow cytometry and quantitative polymerase chain reaction have attracted increasing interest in recent years, offering various advantages for rapid quantification. Here, we compared different approaches for the assessment of infectious viruses, using a model baculovirus. Firstly, infectivity was estimated by the quantification of viral nucleic acids in infected cells, and secondly, different flow cytometric approaches were investigated regarding analysis times and calibration ranges. The flow cytometry technique included a quantification based on post-infection fluorophore expression and labeling of a viral surface protein using fluorescent antibodies. Additionally, the possibility of viral (m)RNA labeling in infected cells was investigated as a proof of concept. The results confirmed that infectivity assessment based on qPCR is not trivial and requires sophisticated method optimization, whereas staining of viral surface proteins is a fast and feasible approach for enveloped viruses. Finally, labeling of viral (m)RNA in infected cells appears to be a promising opportunity but will require further research. Full article
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11 pages, 3302 KiB  
Article
Structural Consequences of Antigenic Variants of Human A/H3N2 Influenza Viruses
by David Francis Burke
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1008; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041008 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
The genetic basis of antigenic drift of human A/H3N2 influenza virus is crucial to understanding the constraints of influenza evolution and determinants of vaccine escape. Amino acid changes at only seven positions near the receptor binding site of the surface hemagglutinin protein have [...] Read more.
The genetic basis of antigenic drift of human A/H3N2 influenza virus is crucial to understanding the constraints of influenza evolution and determinants of vaccine escape. Amino acid changes at only seven positions near the receptor binding site of the surface hemagglutinin protein have been shown to be responsible for the major antigenic changes for over forty years. Experimental structures of HA are now available for the majority of the observed antigenic clusters of A/H3N2. An analysis of the HA structures of these viruses reveals the likely consequences of these mutations on the structure of HA and thus, provides a structural basis for the antigenic changes seen in human influenza viruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Virology and Viral Diseases)
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21 pages, 3830 KiB  
Article
VirClust—A Tool for Hierarchical Clustering, Core Protein Detection and Annotation of (Prokaryotic) Viruses
by Cristina Moraru
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1007; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041007 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2122
Abstract
Recent years have seen major changes in the classification criteria and taxonomy of viruses. The current classification scheme, also called “megataxonomy of viruses”, recognizes six different viral realms, defined based on the presence of viral hallmark genes (VHGs). Within the realms, viruses are [...] Read more.
Recent years have seen major changes in the classification criteria and taxonomy of viruses. The current classification scheme, also called “megataxonomy of viruses”, recognizes six different viral realms, defined based on the presence of viral hallmark genes (VHGs). Within the realms, viruses are classified into hierarchical taxons, ideally defined by the phylogeny of their shared genes. To enable the detection of shared genes, viruses have first to be clustered, and there is currently a need for tools to assist with virus clustering and classification. Here, VirClust is presented. It is a novel, reference-free tool capable of performing: (i) protein clustering, based on BLASTp and Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) similarities; (ii) hierarchical clustering of viruses based on intergenomic distances calculated from their shared protein content; (iii) identification of core proteins and (iv) annotation of viral proteins. VirClust has flexible parameters both for protein clustering and for splitting the viral genome tree into smaller genome clusters, corresponding to different taxonomic levels. Benchmarking on a phage dataset showed that the genome trees produced by VirClust match the current ICTV classification at family, sub-family and genus levels. VirClust is freely available, as a web-service and stand-alone tool. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Viruses)
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18 pages, 1573 KiB  
Article
RAPIDprep: A Simple, Fast Protocol for RNA Metagenomic Sequencing of Clinical Samples
by Rachel L. Tulloch, Karan Kim, Chisha Sikazwe, Alice Michie, Rebecca Burrell, Edward C. Holmes, Dominic E. Dwyer, Philip N. Britton, Jen Kok and John-Sebastian Eden
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1006; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041006 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1737
Abstract
Emerging infectious disease threats require rapid response tools to inform diagnostics, treatment, and outbreak control. RNA-based metagenomics offers this; however, most approaches are time-consuming and laborious. Here, we present a simple and fast protocol, the RAPIDprep assay, with the aim of providing [...] Read more.
Emerging infectious disease threats require rapid response tools to inform diagnostics, treatment, and outbreak control. RNA-based metagenomics offers this; however, most approaches are time-consuming and laborious. Here, we present a simple and fast protocol, the RAPIDprep assay, with the aim of providing a cause-agnostic laboratory diagnosis of infection within 24 h of sample collection by sequencing ribosomal RNA-depleted total RNA. The method is based on the synthesis and amplification of double-stranded cDNA followed by short-read sequencing, with minimal handling and clean-up steps to improve processing time. The approach was optimized and applied to a range of clinical respiratory samples to demonstrate diagnostic and quantitative performance. Our results showed robust depletion of both human and microbial rRNA, and library amplification across different sample types, qualities, and extraction kits using a single workflow without input nucleic-acid quantification or quality assessment. Furthermore, we demonstrated the genomic yield of both known and undiagnosed pathogens with complete genomes recovered in most cases to inform molecular epidemiological investigations and vaccine design. The RAPIDprep assay is a simple and effective tool, and representative of an important shift toward the integration of modern genomic techniques with infectious disease investigations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section General Virology)
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15 pages, 300 KiB  
Article
Prevalence of Human Papillomavirus in Different Mucous Membranes in HIV Concordant Couples in Rwanda
by Schifra Uwamungu, Bethelehem Nigussie, Claude Mambo Muvunyi, Bengt Hasséus, Maria Andersson and Daniel Giglio
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1005; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041005 - 19 Apr 2023
Viewed by 1620
Abstract
Background: The prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in other anatomical sites besides the uterine cervix is unknown in East Africa. Here, we assessed the prevalence and concordance of HPVs in different anatomical sites in HIV concordant couples in Rwanda. Methods: Fifty HIV-positive [...] Read more.
Background: The prevalence of human papillomavirus (HPV) infections in other anatomical sites besides the uterine cervix is unknown in East Africa. Here, we assessed the prevalence and concordance of HPVs in different anatomical sites in HIV concordant couples in Rwanda. Methods: Fifty HIV-positive concordant male-female couples at the HIV clinic at the University Teaching Hospital of Kigali in Rwanda were interviewed, swabbed from the oral cavity (OC), oropharynx (OP), anal canal (AC), vagina (V), uterine cervix (UC) and penis. A pap smear test and a self-collected vaginal swab (Vself) were taken. Twelve high-risk (HR)-HPVs were analyzed. Results: HR-HPVs occurred in 10%/12% in OC, 10%/0% in OP and 2%/24% in AC (p = 0.002) in men and women, respectively. HR-HPVs occurred in 24% of UC, 32% of Vself, 30% of V and 24% of P samples. Only 22.2% of all HR-HPV infections were shared by both partners (κ −0.34 ± 0.11; p = 0.004). The type-specific HR-HPV concordance was significant between male to female OC-OC (κ 0.56 ± 0.17), V-VSelf (κ 0.70 ± 0.10), UC-V (κ 0.54 ± 0.13), UC-Vself (κ 0.51 ± 0.13) and UC-female AC (κ 0.42 ± 0.15). Conclusions: HPV infections are prevalent in HIV-positive couples in Rwanda but concordance within couples is low. Vaginal self-sampling for HPV is representative of cervical HPV status. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Virology and Viral Diseases)
13 pages, 1306 KiB  
Article
Whole Genomic Sequence Analysis of Human Adenovirus Species C Shows Frequent Recombination in Tianjin, China
by Yue Lei, Zhichao Zhuang, Yang Liu, Zhaolin Tan, Xin Gao, Xiaoyan Li and Dongjing Yang
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1004; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041004 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1393
Abstract
Human adenovirus species C (HAdV-C) is frequently detected in China and worldwide. For the first time, 16 HAdV-C strains were isolated from sewage water (14 strains) and hospitalised children with diarrhoea (2 strains,) in Tianjin, China. Nearly complete genome data were successfully obtained [...] Read more.
Human adenovirus species C (HAdV-C) is frequently detected in China and worldwide. For the first time, 16 HAdV-C strains were isolated from sewage water (14 strains) and hospitalised children with diarrhoea (2 strains,) in Tianjin, China. Nearly complete genome data were successfully obtained for these viruses. Subsequently, genomic and bioinformatics analyses of the 16 HAdV-C strains were performed. A phylogenetic tree of the complete HAdV-C genome divided these strains into three types: HAdV-C1, HAdV-C2, HAdV-C5. Phylogenetic analysis based on the fiber gene showed similar outcomes to analyses of the hexon gene and complete HAdV-C genomes, whereas the penton gene sequences showed more variation than previously reported. Furthermore, analysis of the whole-genome sequencing revealed seven recombination patterns transmitted in Tianjin, of which at least four patterns have not been previously reported. However, the penton base gene sequences of the HAdV-C species had significantly lower heterogeneity than those of the hexon and fiber gene sequences of recombinant isolates; that is, many strains were distinct in origin, but shared hexon and fiber genes. These data illustrate the importance of frequent recombination in the complexity of the HAdV-C epidemic in Tianjin, thus emphasising the necessity for HAdV-C sewage and virological monitoring in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Virology and Viral Diseases)
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22 pages, 2524 KiB  
Article
Stabilization of the Quadruplex-Forming G-Rich Sequences in the Rhinovirus Genome Inhibits Uncoating—Role of Na+ and K+
by Antonio Real-Hohn, Martin Groznica, Georg Kontaxis, Rong Zhu, Otávio Augusto Chaves, Leonardo Vazquez, Peter Hinterdorfer, Heinrich Kowalski and Dieter Blaas
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1003; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041003 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1762
Abstract
Rhinoviruses (RVs) are the major cause of common cold, a respiratory disease that generally takes a mild course. However, occasionally, RV infection can lead to serious complications in patients debilitated by other ailments, e.g., asthma. Colds are a huge socioeconomic burden as neither [...] Read more.
Rhinoviruses (RVs) are the major cause of common cold, a respiratory disease that generally takes a mild course. However, occasionally, RV infection can lead to serious complications in patients debilitated by other ailments, e.g., asthma. Colds are a huge socioeconomic burden as neither vaccines nor other treatments are available. The many existing drug candidates either stabilize the capsid or inhibit the viral RNA polymerase, the viral proteinases, or the functions of other non-structural viral proteins; however, none has been approved by the FDA. Focusing on the genomic RNA as a possible target for antivirals, we asked whether stabilizing RNA secondary structures might inhibit the viral replication cycle. These secondary structures include G-quadruplexes (GQs), which are guanine-rich sequence stretches forming planar guanine tetrads via Hoogsteen base pairing with two or more of them stacking on top of each other; a number of small molecular drug candidates increase the energy required for their unfolding. The propensity of G-quadruplex formation can be predicted with bioinformatics tools and is expressed as a GQ score. Synthetic RNA oligonucleotides derived from the RV-A2 genome with sequences corresponding to the highest and lowest GQ scores indeed exhibited characteristics of GQs. In vivo, the GQ-stabilizing compounds, pyridostatin and PhenDC3, interfered with viral uncoating in Na+ but not in K+-containing phosphate buffers. The thermostability studies and ultrastructural imaging of protein-free viral RNA cores suggest that Na+ keeps the encapsulated genome more open, allowing PDS and PhenDC3 to diffuse into the quasi-crystalline RNA and promote the formation and/or stabilization of GQs; the resulting conformational changes impair RNA unraveling and release from the virion. Preliminary reports have been published. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enteroviruses 2023)
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17 pages, 1893 KiB  
Article
The Role of Airborne Particles in the Epidemiology of Clade 2.3.4.4b H5N1 High Pathogenicity Avian Influenza Virus in Commercial Poultry Production Units
by Joe James, Caroline J. Warren, Dilhani De Silva, Thomas Lewis, Katherine Grace, Scott M. Reid, Marco Falchieri, Ian H. Brown and Ashley C. Banyard
Viruses 2023, 15(4), 1002; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15041002 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3391
Abstract
Since October 2021, Europe has experienced the largest avian influenza virus (AIV) epizootic, caused by clade 2.3.4.4b H5N1 high pathogenicity AIV (HPAIV), with over 284 poultry infected premises (IPs) and 2480 dead H5N1-positive wild birds detected in Great Britain alone. Many IPs have [...] Read more.
Since October 2021, Europe has experienced the largest avian influenza virus (AIV) epizootic, caused by clade 2.3.4.4b H5N1 high pathogenicity AIV (HPAIV), with over 284 poultry infected premises (IPs) and 2480 dead H5N1-positive wild birds detected in Great Britain alone. Many IPs have presented as geographical clusters, raising questions about the lateral spread between premises by airborne particles. Airborne transmission over short distances has been observed for some AIV strains. However, the risk of airborne spread of this strain remains to be elucidated. We conducted extensive sampling from IPs where clade 2.3.4.4b H5N1 HPAIVs were confirmed during the 2022/23 epizootic, each representing a major poultry species (ducks, turkeys, and chickens). A range of environmental samples were collected inside and outside houses, including deposited dust, feathers, and other potential fomites. Viral RNA (vRNA) and infectious viruses were detected in air samples collected from inside and outside but in close proximity to infected houses, with vRNA alone being detected at greater distances (≤10 m) outside. Some dust samples collected outside of the affected houses contained infectious viruses, while feathers from the affected houses, located up to 80 m away, only contained vRNA. Together, these data suggest that airborne particles harboring infectious HPAIV can be translocated short distances (<10 m) through the air, while macroscopic particles containing vRNA might travel further (≤80 m). Therefore, the potential for airborne transmission of clade 2.3.4.4b H5N1 HPAIV between premises is considered low. Other factors, including indirect contact with wild birds and the efficiency of biosecurity, represent greater importance in disease incursion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aerosol Transmission of Viral Disease)
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