Current Research on SARS-CoV-2

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Medical Research".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2024) | Viewed by 12327

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale of Puglia and Basilicata, Anthrax Reference Institute of Italy, 71121 Foggia, Italy
Interests: microbiology; SARS-CoV-2; molecular diagnostics; molecular typing; vaccines; immunology; mass spectrometry MALDI-TOF

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global outbreak of coronavirus, an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus. The virus may manifest itself in a variety of ways, ranging from no symptoms to severe pneumonia and death. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, over 2 million people in the European Region have died from the disease.

At the present time, several variants of concern have emerged and demonstrated increased transmissibility and evasion of immune responses from prior SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination. This emergency has also highlighted the importance of prevention systems and environmental microbiological monitoring as fundamental elements in the response to epidemics and other such threats to individual and collective health.

This Special Issue aims to provide a comprehensive overview on the recent advances and future prospects in the field of SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis.

  • Original research and reviews are welcome.
  • Research areas of interest of this Life Special Issue may include:
  • Genetic variation of SARS-CoV-2;
  • Immune evasion of SARS-CoV-2 variants;
  • New diagnostic methods for SARS-CoV-2;
  • Detection of SARS-CoV-2 in the environment;
  • Epidemiological studies.

Dr. Lorenzo Pace
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Life is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • SARS-CoV-2
  • vaccine response
  • immune escape
  • WGS
  • new variant
  • diagnosis

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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9 pages, 1210 KiB  
Communication
SARS-CoV-2 in Animal Companions: A Serosurvey in Three Regions of Southern Italy
by Angelica Bianco, Alessio Bortolami, Angela Miccolupo, Roldano Sottili, Paola Ghergo, Stefano Castellana, Laura Del Sambro, Loredana Capozzi, Matteo Pagliari, Francesco Bonfante, Donato Ridolfi, Carmela Bulzacchelli, Anna Giannico and Antonio Parisi
Life 2023, 13(12), 2354; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13122354 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 712
Abstract
Several animal species have been found to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The occurrence of infection in dogs and cats living in close contact with owners deserves particular attention from public health authorities in a One Health approach. In this study, we conducted [...] Read more.
Several animal species have been found to be susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection. The occurrence of infection in dogs and cats living in close contact with owners deserves particular attention from public health authorities in a One Health approach. In this study, we conducted serological screening to identify SARS-CoV-2 exposure in the sera from dogs and cats in three regions of southern Italy sampled during the years 2021 and 2022. We collected 100 serum samples in 2021 (89 from dogs and 11 from cats) and 640 in 2022 (577 from dogs and 63 from cats). Overall, the ELISA positivity rate was found to be 2.7% (20/740), with higher seroprevalence in dogs. Serum neutralization tests confirmed positivity only in two samples collected from dogs, and the assays, performed with serologically distinct SARS-CoV-2 variants, showed variant-specific positivity. This paper shows that monitoring SARS-CoV-2 exposure in animals might be affected by the viral antigenic evolution, which requires continuous updates to the serological tests used. Serological surveys are useful in understanding the true extent of exposure occurring in specific animal populations, not suffering the same limitations as molecular tests, and could help in identifying the infecting virus if tests able to characterize the immune response are used. The use of variant-specific validated serological methods should always be considered in serosurvey studies in order to determine the real impact of emerging variants on animal populations and its implications for veterinary and human health, as well as to identify potential reservoirs of the virus and its evolutionary changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on SARS-CoV-2)
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13 pages, 1291 KiB  
Article
Patients with Hepatitis C Undergoing Direct-Acting Antiviral Treatment Have a Lower SARS-CoV-2 Infection Rate
by Chin-Wen Hsu, Wan-Wen Yang, Chia-Yi Hou, I-Jung Feng, Ting-Yi Huang, Pei-Lun Lee, How-Ran Guo, Chien-Yuan Huang and Shih-Bin Su
Life 2023, 13(12), 2326; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13122326 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 945
Abstract
This study retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 602 patients with first-time positive results for the HCV nucleic acid test between 1 May 2021 and 31 March 2023, exploring the association between DAA treatment and SARS-CoV-2 infection. The results showed that 9.8% of [...] Read more.
This study retrospectively analyzed the medical records of 602 patients with first-time positive results for the HCV nucleic acid test between 1 May 2021 and 31 March 2023, exploring the association between DAA treatment and SARS-CoV-2 infection. The results showed that 9.8% of HCV patients were co-infected with SARS-CoV-2. Gender, age, vaccination status, and HCV genotype did not significantly affect SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, patients undergoing DAA treatment showed significantly lower rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection and mortality compared to those not undergoing DAA treatment. The analysis also compared patients undergoing different DAA treatments, with Epclusa and Maviret showing superior protection against SARS-CoV-2. Furthermore, this study explored the severity and mortality of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients undergoing and having completed DAA treatment. It revealed that patients diagnosed with COVID-19 during DAA treatment experienced only mild symptoms, and none died, suggesting a potential protective effect of DAA treatment against severe outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The findings contribute to the understanding of the interplay between HCV, DAA treatment, and SARS-CoV-2 infection, highlighting the need for continued monitoring and healthcare measures for individuals with chronic conditions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on SARS-CoV-2)
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14 pages, 2946 KiB  
Article
High Risk of Heart Tumors after COVID-19
by Lubov Mitrofanova, Igor Makarov, Ekaterina Goncharova, Taiana Makarova, Anna Starshinova, Dmitry Kudlay and Evgeny Shlaykhto
Life 2023, 13(10), 2087; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13102087 - 20 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 7008
Abstract
An emergence of evidence suggests that severe COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of developing breast and gastrointestinal cancers. The aim of this research was to assess the risk of heart tumors development in patients who have had COVID-19. Methods: A comparative [...] Read more.
An emergence of evidence suggests that severe COVID-19 is associated with an increased risk of developing breast and gastrointestinal cancers. The aim of this research was to assess the risk of heart tumors development in patients who have had COVID-19. Methods: A comparative analysis of 173 heart tumors was conducted between 2016 and 2023. Immunohistochemical examination with antibodies against spike SARS-CoV-2 was performed on 21 heart tumors: 10 myxomas operated before 2020 (the control group), four cardiac myxomas, one proliferating myxoma, three papillary fibroelastomas, two myxofibrosarcomas, one chondrosarcoma resected in 2022–2023. Immunohistochemical analysis with antibodies against CD34 and CD68 was also conducted on the same 11 Post-COVID period heart tumors. Immunofluorescent examination with a cocktail of antibodies against spike SARS-CoV-2/CD34 and spike SARS-CoV-2/CD68 was performed in 2 cases out of 11 (proliferating myxoma and classic myxoma). Results: A 1.5-fold increase in the number of heart tumors by 2023 was observed, with a statistically significant increase in the number of myxomas. There was no correlation with vaccination, and no significant differences were found between patients from 2016–2019 and 2021–2023 in terms of gender, age, and cardiac rhythm dis-orders. Morphological examination revealed the expression of spike SARS-CoV-2 in tumor cells, endothelial cells, and macrophages in 10 out of 11 heart tumors. Conclusion: The detection of SARS-CoV-2 persistence in endothelium and macrophages as well as in tumor cells of benign and malignant cardiac neoplasms, the increase in the number of these tumors, especially cardiac myxomas, after the pandemic by 2023 may indicate a trend toward an increased risk of cardiac neoplasms in COVID-19 patients, which re-quires further research on this issue and a search for new evidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on SARS-CoV-2)
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Review

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23 pages, 862 KiB  
Review
COVID-19 and Laboratory Markers from Romanian Patients—A Narrative Review
by Ovidiu Musat, Virgiliu Bogdan Sorop, Madalina Ioana Sorop, Viorica Lazar, Daniela Teodora Marti, Monica Susan, Cecilia Roberta Avram, Andrada Oprisoni, Dan Dumitru Vulcanescu, Florin George Horhat, Iulia Cristina Bagiu, Delia Ioana Horhat and Mircea Mihai Diaconu
Life 2023, 13(9), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13091837 - 30 Aug 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1139
Abstract
COVID-19 has significantly impacted the whole world, and Romania was no exception. Biomarkers play a crucial role in understanding and managing the disease. However, research regarding laboratory analyses for patients with COVID-19 is fairly limited. For detection, PCR testing is still considered the [...] Read more.
COVID-19 has significantly impacted the whole world, and Romania was no exception. Biomarkers play a crucial role in understanding and managing the disease. However, research regarding laboratory analyses for patients with COVID-19 is fairly limited. For detection, PCR testing is still considered the golden standard, while antibodies are still useful for monitoring both patients and their vaccination status. In our country, biomarkers such as CRP, LDH, transaminases, cardiac, and iron markers have been used to assess the status of patients and even predict illness outcome. CRP, IL-6, LDH, FER, fibrinogen, creatinine, and vitamin D levels have been associated with increased severity, risk of ICU admission, and death. Cardiac markers and D-dimers are also good predictors, but their role seems more important in patients with complications. HDL cholesterol and BUN levels were also suggested as potential biomarkers. Hematological issues in SARS-CoV-2 infections include neutrophilia, lymphopenia and their ratio, while PCT, which is a marker of bacterial infections, is better to be used in patients with co- or supra-infections. The current research is a narrative review that focuses on the laboratory results of Romanian COVID-19 patients. The goal of this article is to provide an update on the research on biomarkers and other laboratory tests conducted inside the borders of Romania and identify gaps in this regard. Secondly, options for further research are discussed and encouraged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on SARS-CoV-2)
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Other

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11 pages, 243 KiB  
Protocol
Protocol for a Randomized, Open-Label Clinical Trial on the Effect of Mouthwash on Salivary SARS-CoV-2 Load
by Keiji Konishi, Daisuke Onozuka, Satoko Takatera, Hiroo Matsuo, Hisao Yoshida, Shigeto Hamaguchi, Shungo Yamamoto, Ryuichi Minoda Sada, Koichiro Suzuki and Satoshi Kutsuna
Life 2023, 13(12), 2312; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13122312 - 08 Dec 2023
Viewed by 681
Abstract
Mouthwashes containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) or on-demand aqueous chlorine dioxide (ACD) have potential to reduce the salivary severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) load in individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study will evaluate the effect of CPC and on-demand ACD mouthwashes on [...] Read more.
Mouthwashes containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) or on-demand aqueous chlorine dioxide (ACD) have potential to reduce the salivary severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) load in individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection. This study will evaluate the effect of CPC and on-demand ACD mouthwashes on salivary SARS-CoV-2 levels in individuals with acute asymptomatic or mild SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) staying in a residential recuperation facility in Osaka, Japan. This randomized, open-label clinical trial will include three equal-sized groups (CPC mouthwash, on-demand ACD mouthwash, and placebo), with 30 participants per group. A stratified replacement block method will be used to ensure balanced allocation based on symptom presence and days since symptom onset. Participants will use mouthwash at set times for 7 days or until the end of recuperation. Saliva samples will be collected at multiple time points and tested for SARS-CoV-2 using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. The primary outcome will be changes in salivary SARS-CoV-2 viral load 2 h after the first mouthwash use compared with the pre-mouthwash level. Secondary outcomes will include changes in salivary viral load and clinical parameters at different time points. This study was registered with the Japan Registry of Clinical Trials on 18 October 2022 (jRCTs051220107). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on SARS-CoV-2)
14 pages, 2562 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Effectiveness of Bivalent COVID-19 Vaccination: A Preliminary Report
by Ssu-Yu Chen, Chien-Yu Lin, Hsin Chi, Shun-Long Weng, Sung-Tse Li, Yu-Lin Tai, Ya-Ning Huang, Hsiang Huang, Chao-Hsu Lin and Nan-Chang Chiu
Life 2023, 13(10), 2094; https://doi.org/10.3390/life13102094 - 21 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1225
Abstract
Vaccination has been a game-changer in the long battle against COVID-19. However, waning vaccine-induced immunity and the immune evasion of emerging variants create challenges. The rapid-fire development of bivalent vaccines (BVs), comprising ancestral strains and a new variant, was authorized to prevent COVID-19, [...] Read more.
Vaccination has been a game-changer in the long battle against COVID-19. However, waning vaccine-induced immunity and the immune evasion of emerging variants create challenges. The rapid-fire development of bivalent vaccines (BVs), comprising ancestral strains and a new variant, was authorized to prevent COVID-19, but the effectiveness of the updated vaccines remains largely unclear. Electronic databases were searched to investigate the immunogenicity and reactogenicity of BVs in humans. As of March 2023, 20 trials were identified. Compared with monovalent vaccination, the induced immunogenicity against ancestral strains was similar. The BVs demonstrated approximately 33–50% higher immunogenicity values against additional variant strains. An observational cohort study showed the additional clinical effectiveness of the BVs. The adverse events were similar. In conclusion, our systematic review found that the BVs had equal immunogenicity against ancestral strains without safety concerns. Approximately 33–50% increased additional antibody titers and clinical effectiveness against additional variant strains were observed in subjects with a BV vaccine with moderate heterogeneity, especially for BA.1-containing BVs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Research on SARS-CoV-2)
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