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Viruses, Volume 13, Issue 2 (February 2021) – 213 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Clonal expansion of hepatocytes, a risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), occurs in the liver during chronic hepatitis B virus infection. Hepatocytes are self-renewing, and the emergence of HCC from hepatocytes involves initiation (genetic) and promotion (cell proliferation). Genetic changes are due to random integration of HBV DNA and oxidative DNA damage caused by chronic inflammation. Promotion is due to replacement of hepatocytes killed by the immune response leading to loss of some hepatocyte lineages and expansion of others, including hepatocytes that no longer sustain virus replication. Shown here, as an example, is a focus of woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) core antigen-negative hepatocytes in the liver of a woodchuck with chronic WHV infection. View this paper
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Open AccessArticle
Integrase-Defective Lentiviral Vector Is an Efficient Vaccine Platform for Cancer Immunotherapy
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 355; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020355 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 515
Abstract
Integrase-defective lentiviral vectors (IDLVs) have been used as a safe and efficient delivery system in several immunization protocols in murine and non-human primate preclinical models as well as in recent clinical trials. In this work, we validated in preclinical murine models our vaccine [...] Read more.
Integrase-defective lentiviral vectors (IDLVs) have been used as a safe and efficient delivery system in several immunization protocols in murine and non-human primate preclinical models as well as in recent clinical trials. In this work, we validated in preclinical murine models our vaccine platform based on IDLVs as delivery system for cancer immunotherapy. To evaluate the anti-tumor activity of our vaccine strategy we generated IDLV delivering ovalbumin (OVA) as a non-self-model antigen and TRP2 as a self-tumor associated antigen (TAA) of melanoma. Results demonstrated the ability of IDLVs to eradicate and/or controlling tumor growth after a single immunization in preventive and therapeutic approaches, using lymphoma and melanoma expressing OVA. Importantly, LV-TRP2 but not IDLV-TRP2 was able to break tolerance efficiently and prevent tumor growth of B16F10 melanoma cells. In order to improve the IDLV efficacy, the human homologue of murine TRP2 was used, showing the ability to break tolerance and control the tumor growth. These results validate the use of IDLV for cancer therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Lentiviral Vectors)
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Open AccessArticle
Resveratrol Inhibits HCoV-229E and SARS-CoV-2 Coronavirus Replication In Vitro
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 354; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020354 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 654
Abstract
A novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in China at the end of 2019 causing a large global outbreak. As treatments are of the utmost importance, drug repurposing embodies a rich and rapid drug discovery landscape, where candidate drug [...] Read more.
A novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in China at the end of 2019 causing a large global outbreak. As treatments are of the utmost importance, drug repurposing embodies a rich and rapid drug discovery landscape, where candidate drug compounds could be identified and optimized. To this end, we tested seven compounds for their ability to reduce replication of human coronavirus (HCoV)-229E, another member of the coronavirus family. Among these seven drugs tested, four of them, namely rapamycin, disulfiram, loperamide and valproic acid, were highly cytotoxic and did not warrant further testing. In contrast, we observed a reduction of the viral titer by 80% with resveratrol (50% effective concentration (EC50) = 4.6 µM) and lopinavir/ritonavir (EC50 = 8.8 µM) and by 60% with chloroquine (EC50 = 5 µM) with very limited cytotoxicity. Among these three drugs, resveratrol was less cytotoxic (cytotoxic concentration 50 (CC50) = 210 µM) than lopinavir/ritonavir (CC50 = 102 µM) and chloroquine (CC50 = 67 µM). Thus, among the seven drugs tested against HCoV-229E, resveratrol demonstrated the optimal antiviral response with low cytotoxicity with a selectivity index (SI) of 45.65. Similarly, among the three drugs with an anti-HCoV-229E activity, namely lopinavir/ritonavir, chloroquine and resveratrol, only the latter showed a reduction of the viral titer on SARS-CoV-2 with reduced cytotoxicity. This opens the door to further evaluation to fight Covid-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drug-Repositioning Opportunities for Antiviral Therapy)
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Open AccessReview
Recent Advances in Bunyavirus Glycoprotein Research: Precursor Processing, Receptor Binding and Structure
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 353; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020353 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 448
Abstract
The Bunyavirales order accommodates related viruses (bunyaviruses) with segmented, linear, single-stranded, negative- or ambi-sense RNA genomes. Their glycoproteins form capsomeric projections or spikes on the virion surface and play a crucial role in virus entry, assembly, morphogenesis. Bunyavirus glycoproteins are encoded by a [...] Read more.
The Bunyavirales order accommodates related viruses (bunyaviruses) with segmented, linear, single-stranded, negative- or ambi-sense RNA genomes. Their glycoproteins form capsomeric projections or spikes on the virion surface and play a crucial role in virus entry, assembly, morphogenesis. Bunyavirus glycoproteins are encoded by a single RNA segment as a polyprotein precursor that is co- and post-translationally cleaved by host cell enzymes to yield two mature glycoproteins, Gn and Gc (or GP1 and GP2 in arenaviruses). These glycoproteins undergo extensive N-linked glycosylation and despite their cleavage, remain associated to the virion to form an integral transmembrane glycoprotein complex. This review summarizes recent advances in our understanding of the molecular biology of bunyavirus glycoproteins, including their processing, structure, and known interactions with host factors that facilitate cell entry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bunyavirus 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) G Protein Vaccines With Central Conserved Domain Mutations Induce CX3C-CX3CR1 Blocking Antibodies
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 352; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020352 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 424
Abstract
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection can cause bronchiolitis, pneumonia, morbidity, and some mortality, primarily in infants and the elderly, for which no vaccine is available. The RSV attachment (G) protein contains a central conserved domain (CCD) with a CX3C motif implicated in the [...] Read more.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection can cause bronchiolitis, pneumonia, morbidity, and some mortality, primarily in infants and the elderly, for which no vaccine is available. The RSV attachment (G) protein contains a central conserved domain (CCD) with a CX3C motif implicated in the induction of protective antibodies, thus vaccine candidates containing the G protein are of interest. This study determined if mutations in the G protein CCD would mediate immunogenicity while inducing G protein CX3C-CX3CR1 blocking antibodies. BALB/c mice were vaccinated with structurally-guided, rationally designed G proteins with CCD mutations. The results show that these G protein immunogens induce a substantial anti-G protein antibody response, and using serum IgG from the vaccinated mice, these antibodies are capable of blocking the RSV G protein CX3C-CX3CR1 binding while not interfering with CX3CL1, fractalkine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
BK Polyomavirus Micro-RNAs: Time Course and Clinical Relevance in Kidney Transplant Recipients
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 351; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020351 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 366
Abstract
Background: Kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) are exposed to a high risk of BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) replication, which in turn may lead to graft loss. Although the microRNAs (miRNAs) bkv-miR-B1-3p and bkv-miR-B1-5p are produced during the viral cycle, their putative value as markers of [...] Read more.
Background: Kidney transplant recipients (KTRs) are exposed to a high risk of BK polyomavirus (BKPyV) replication, which in turn may lead to graft loss. Although the microRNAs (miRNAs) bkv-miR-B1-3p and bkv-miR-B1-5p are produced during the viral cycle, their putative value as markers of viral replication has yet to be established. In KTRs, the clinical relevance of the changes over time in BKPyV miRNA levels has not been determined. Methods: In a retrospective study, we analyzed 186 urine samples and 120 plasma samples collected from 67 KTRs during the first year post-transplantation. Using a reproducible, standardized, quantitative RT-PCR assay, we measured the levels of bkv-miR-B1-3p and bkv-miR-B1-5p (relative to the BKPyV DNA load). Results: Detection of the two miRNAs had low diagnostic value for identifying patients with DNAemia or for predicting DNAuria during follow-up. Seven of the 14 KTRs with a sustained BKPyV infection within the first year post-transplantation showed a progressive reduction in the DNA load and then a rapid disappearance of the miRNAs. DNA and miRNA loads were stable in the other seven KTRs. Conclusions: After the DNA-based diagnosis of BKPyV infection in KTRs, bkv-miR-B1-3p and bkv-miR-B1-5p levels in the urine might be valuable markers for viral replication monitoring and thus might help physicians to avoid an excessive reduction in the immunosuppressive regimen. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue BK Virus and Transplantation)
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Open AccessReview
Antiviral Bioactive Compounds of Mushrooms and Their Antiviral Mechanisms: A Review
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 350; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020350 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 408
Abstract
Mushrooms are used in their natural form as a food supplement and food additive. In addition, several bioactive compounds beneficial for human health have been derived from mushrooms. Among them, polysaccharides, carbohydrate-binding protein, peptides, proteins, enzymes, polyphenols, triterpenes, triterpenoids, and several other compounds [...] Read more.
Mushrooms are used in their natural form as a food supplement and food additive. In addition, several bioactive compounds beneficial for human health have been derived from mushrooms. Among them, polysaccharides, carbohydrate-binding protein, peptides, proteins, enzymes, polyphenols, triterpenes, triterpenoids, and several other compounds exert antiviral activity against DNA and RNA viruses. Their antiviral targets were mostly virus entry, viral genome replication, viral proteins, and cellular proteins and influenced immune modulation, which was evaluated through pre-, simultaneous-, co-, and post-treatment in vitro and in vivo studies. In particular, they treated and relieved the viral diseases caused by herpes simplex virus, influenza virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Some mushroom compounds that act against HIV, influenza A virus, and hepatitis C virus showed antiviral effects comparable to those of antiviral drugs. Therefore, bioactive compounds from mushrooms could be candidates for treating viral infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antivirals for Newly Emerging Viral Diseases of Global Importance)
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Open AccessArticle
Dengue Virus Serotype 2 Intrahost Diversity in Patients with Different Clinical Outcomes
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 349; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020349 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 422
Abstract
Intrahost genetic diversity is thought to facilitate arbovirus adaptation to changing environments and hosts, and it might also be linked to viral pathogenesis. Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) has circulated in Brazil since 1990 and is associated with severe disease and explosive outbreaks. [...] Read more.
Intrahost genetic diversity is thought to facilitate arbovirus adaptation to changing environments and hosts, and it might also be linked to viral pathogenesis. Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) has circulated in Brazil since 1990 and is associated with severe disease and explosive outbreaks. Intending to shed light on the viral determinants for severe dengue pathogenesis, we sought to analyze the DENV-2 intrahost genetic diversity in 68 patient cases clinically classified as dengue fever (n = 31), dengue with warning signs (n = 19), and severe dengue (n = 18). Unlike previous DENV intrahost diversity studies whose approaches employed PCR, here we performed viral whole-genome deep sequencing from clinical samples with an amplicon-free approach, representing the real intrahost diversity scenario. Striking differences were detected in the viral population structure between the three clinical categories, which appear to be driven mainly by different infection times and selection pressures, rather than being linked with the clinical outcome itself. Diversity in the NS2B gene, however, showed to be constrained, irrespective of clinical outcome and infection time. Finally, 385 non-synonymous intrahost single-nucleotide variants located along the viral polyprotein, plus variants located in the untranslated regions, were consistently identified among the samples. Of them, 124 were exclusively or highly detected among cases with warning signs and among severe cases. However, there was no variant that by itself appeared to characterize the cases of greater severity, either due to its low intrahost frequency or the conservative effect on amino acid substitution. Although further studies are necessary to determine their real effect on viral proteins, this heightens the possibility of epistatic interactions. The present analysis represents an initial effort to correlate DENV-2 genetic diversity to its pathogenic potential and thus contribute to understanding the virus’s dynamics within its human host. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Endemic Arboviruses)
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Open AccessEditorial
Erasing the Invisible Line to Empower the Pandemic Response
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 348; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020348 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 498
Abstract
A challenging debate has arisen on the role of veterinary expertise in facing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It seems totally unreasonable that in most countries, veterinary diagnostic and tracing forces were not deployed at the start to perform strategic tasks, which could have mitigated [...] Read more.
A challenging debate has arisen on the role of veterinary expertise in facing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. It seems totally unreasonable that in most countries, veterinary diagnostic and tracing forces were not deployed at the start to perform strategic tasks, which could have mitigated the outcome of this dramatic health emergency. Erasing the invisible line between human and veterinary virology will empower the response to future pandemics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Viruses: State-of-the-Art Research in Italy)
Open AccessArticle
Radioligand Assay-Based Detection of Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in Hospital Workers Treating Patients with Severe COVID-19 in Japan
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 347; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020347 - 23 Feb 2021
Viewed by 348
Abstract
This study aimed to clarify whether infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is prevalent among the staff of a hospital providing treatment to patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) using radioligand assay (RLA). One thousand samples from the staff [...] Read more.
This study aimed to clarify whether infection by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is prevalent among the staff of a hospital providing treatment to patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) using radioligand assay (RLA). One thousand samples from the staff of a general hospital providing treatment to patients with severe COVID-19 were assayed for SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (N) IgG using RLA. Nine patients with COVID-19 who had been treated in inpatient settings and had already recovered were used as control subjects, and 186 blood donor samples obtained more than 10 years ago were used as negative controls. Four of the 1000 samples showed apparently positive results, and approximately 10 or more samples showed slightly high counts. Interestingly, a few among the blood donor samples also showed slightly high values. To validate the results, antibody examinations using ELISA and neutralizing antibody tests were performed on 21 samples, and chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA) was performed on 201 samples, both resulting in a very high correlation. One blood donor sample showed slightly positive results in both RLA and CLIA, suggesting a cross-reaction. This study showed that five months after the pandemic began in Japan, the staff of a general hospital with a tertiary emergency medical facility had an extremely low seroprevalence of the antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Further investigation will be needed to determine whether the slightly high results were due to cross-reactions or a low titer of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The quantitative RLA was considered sensitive enough to detect low titers of antibodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Antibody Responses to Viral Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Predominance of HBV Genotype B and HDV Genotype 1 in Vietnamese Patients with Chronic Hepatitis
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 346; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020346 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 390
Abstract
Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) coinfection will additionally aggravate the hepatitis B virus (HBV) burden in the coming decades, with an increase in HBV-related liver diseases. Between 2018 and 2019, a total of 205 HBV patients clinically characterized as chronic hepatitis B (CHB; n [...] Read more.
Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) coinfection will additionally aggravate the hepatitis B virus (HBV) burden in the coming decades, with an increase in HBV-related liver diseases. Between 2018 and 2019, a total of 205 HBV patients clinically characterized as chronic hepatitis B (CHB; n = 115), liver cirrhosis (LC; n = 21), and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC; n = 69) were recruited. HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies against surface antigens (anti-HBs), and core antigens (anti-HBc) were determined by ELISA. The presence of hepatitis B viral DNA and hepatitis delta RNA was determined. Distinct HBV and HDV genotypes were phylogenetically reconstructed and vaccine escape mutations in the “a” determinant region of HBV were elucidated. All HBV patients were HbsAg positive, with 99% (n = 204) and 7% (n = 15) of them being positive for anti-HBc and anti-HBs, respectively. Anti-HBs positivity was higher among HCC (15%; n = 9) compared to CHB patients. The HBV-B genotype was predominant (65%; n = 134), followed by HBV-C (31%; n = 64), HBV-D, and HBV-G (3%; n = 7). HCC was observed frequently among young individuals with HBV-C genotypes. A low frequency (2%; n = 4) of vaccine escape mutations was observed. HBV-HDV coinfection was observed in 16% (n = 33) of patients with the predominant occurrence of the HDV-1 genotype. A significant association of genotypes with alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) enzyme levels was observed in HBV monoinfections. The prevalence of the HDV-1 genotype is high in Vietnam. No correlation was observed between HDV-HBV coinfections and disease progression when compared to HBV monoinfections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Aerosolized Exposure to H5N1 Influenza Virus Causes Less Severe Disease Than Infection via Combined Intrabronchial, Oral, and Nasal Inoculation in Cynomolgus Macaques
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 345; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020345 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 376
Abstract
Infection with highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza virus in humans often leads to severe respiratory disease with high mortality. Experimental infection in non-human primates can provide additional insight into disease pathogenesis. However, such a model should recapitulate the disease symptoms observed in humans, [...] Read more.
Infection with highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza virus in humans often leads to severe respiratory disease with high mortality. Experimental infection in non-human primates can provide additional insight into disease pathogenesis. However, such a model should recapitulate the disease symptoms observed in humans, such as pneumonia and inflammatory cytokine response. While previous studies in macaques have demonstrated the occurrence of typical lesions in the lungs early after infection and a high level of immune activation, progression to severe disease and lethality were rarely observed. Here, we evaluated a routinely used combined route of infection via intra-bronchial, oral, and intra-nasal virus inoculation with aerosolized H5N1 exposure, with or without the regular collection of bronchoalveolar lavages early after infection. Both combined route and aerosol exposure resulted in similar levels of virus replication in nose and throat and similar levels of immune activation, cytokine, and chemokine release in the blood. However, while animals exposed to H5N1 by combined-route inoculation developed severe disease with high lethality, aerosolized exposure resulted in less lesions, as measured by consecutive computed tomography and less fever and lethal disease. In conclusion, not virus levels or immune activation, but route of infection determines fatal outcome for highly pathogenic avian H5N1 influenza infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Non-human Primate Models of Viral and Autoimmune Diseases)
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Open AccessReview
Role of the Host Genetic Susceptibility to 2009 Pandemic Influenza A H1N1
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 344; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020344 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Influenza A virus (IAV) is the most common infectious agent in humans, and infects approximately 10–20% of the world’s population, resulting in 3–5 million hospitalizations per year. A scientific literature search was performed using the PubMed database and the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) [...] Read more.
Influenza A virus (IAV) is the most common infectious agent in humans, and infects approximately 10–20% of the world’s population, resulting in 3–5 million hospitalizations per year. A scientific literature search was performed using the PubMed database and the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) “Influenza A H1N1” and “Genetic susceptibility”. Due to the amount of information and evidence about genetic susceptibility generated from the studies carried out in the last influenza A H1N1 pandemic, studies published between January 2009 to May 2020 were considered; 119 papers were found. Several pathways are involved in the host defense against IAV infection (innate immune response, pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines, complement activation, and HLA molecules participating in viral antigen presentation). On the other hand, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are a type of variation involving the change of a single base pair that can mean that encoded proteins do not carry out their functions properly, allowing higher viral replication and abnormal host response to infection, such as a cytokine storm. Some of the most studied SNPs associated with IAV infection genetic susceptibility are located in the FCGR2A, C1QBP, CD55, and RPAIN genes, affecting host immune responses through abnormal complement activation. Also, SNPs in IFITM3 (which participates in endosomes and lysosomes fusion) represent some of the most critical polymorphisms associated with IAV infection, suggesting an ineffective virus clearance. Regarding inflammatory response genes, single nucleotide variants in IL1B, TNF, LTA IL17A, IL8, IL6, IRAK2, PIK3CG, and HLA complex are associated with altered phenotype in pro-inflammatory molecules, participating in IAV infection and the severest form of the disease. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host Factors in Viral Infections)
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Open AccessArticle
Transcriptome Analysis of Responses to Dengue Virus 2 Infection in Aedes albopictus (Skuse) C6/36 Cells
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 343; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020343 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 428
Abstract
Dengue virus (DENV), a member of the Flavivirus genus of the Flaviviridae family, can cause dengue fever (DF) and more serious diseases and thus imposes a heavy burden worldwide. As the main vector of DENV, mosquitoes are a serious hazard. After infection, they [...] Read more.
Dengue virus (DENV), a member of the Flavivirus genus of the Flaviviridae family, can cause dengue fever (DF) and more serious diseases and thus imposes a heavy burden worldwide. As the main vector of DENV, mosquitoes are a serious hazard. After infection, they induce a complex host–pathogen interaction mechanism. Our goal is to further study the interaction mechanism of viruses in homologous, sensitive, and repeatable C6/36 cell vectors. Transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) technology was applied to the host transcript profiles of C6/36 cells infected with DENV2. Then, bioinformatics analysis was used to identify significant differentially expressed genes and the associated biological processes. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed to verify the sequencing data. A total of 1239 DEGs were found by transcriptional analysis of Aedes albopictus C6/36 cells that were infected and uninfected with dengue virus, among which 1133 were upregulated and 106 were downregulated. Further bioinformatics analysis showed that the upregulated DEGs were significantly enriched in signaling pathways such as the MAPK, Hippo, FoxO, Wnt, mTOR, and Notch; metabolic pathways and cellular physiological processes such as autophagy, endocytosis, and apoptosis. Downregulated DEGs were mainly enriched in DNA replication, pyrimidine metabolism, and repair pathways, including BER, NER, and MMR. The qRT-PCR results showed that the concordance between the RNA-Seq and RT-qPCR data was very high (92.3%). The results of this study provide more information about DENV2 infection of C6/36 cells at the transcriptome level, laying a foundation for further research on mosquito vector–virus interactions. These data provide candidate antiviral genes that can be used for further functional verification in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Insect Viruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Antiviral Cytokine Response in Neuroinvasive and Non-Neuroinvasive West Nile Virus Infection
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 342; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020342 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 340
Abstract
Data on the immune response to West Nile virus (WNV) are limited. We analyzed the antiviral cytokine response in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples of patients with WNV fever and WNV neuroinvasive disease using a multiplex bead-based assay for the simultaneous quantification [...] Read more.
Data on the immune response to West Nile virus (WNV) are limited. We analyzed the antiviral cytokine response in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples of patients with WNV fever and WNV neuroinvasive disease using a multiplex bead-based assay for the simultaneous quantification of 13 human cytokines. The panel included cytokines associated with innate and early pro-inflammatory immune responses (TNF-α/IL-6), Th1 (IL-2/IFN-γ), Th2 (IL-4/IL-5/IL-9/IL-13), Th17 immune response (IL-17A/IL-17F/IL-21/IL-22) and the key anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Elevated levels of IFN-γ were detected in 71.7% of CSF and 22.7% of serum samples (p = 0.003). Expression of IL-2/IL-4/TNF-α and Th1 17 cytokines (IL-17A/IL-17F/IL-21) was detected in the serum but not in the CSF (except one positive CSF sample for IL-17F/IL-4). While IL-6 levels were markedly higher in the CSF compared to serum (CSF median 2036.71, IQR 213.82–6190.50; serum median 24.48, IQR 11.93–49.81; p < 0.001), no difference in the IL-13/IL-9/IL-10/IFN-γ/IL-22 levels in serum/CSF was found. In conclusion, increased concentrations of the key cytokines associated with innate and early acute phase responses (IL-6) and Th1 type immune responses (IFN-γ) were found in the CNS of patients with WNV infection. In contrast, expression of the key T-cell growth factor IL-2, Th17 cytokines, a Th2 cytokine IL-4 and the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α appear to be concentrated mainly in the periphery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Viral Immunology, Vaccines, and Antivirals)
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Open AccessArticle
Maternal Infection and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes among Pregnant Travellers: Results of the International Zika Virus in Pregnancy Registry
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 341; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020341 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 467
Abstract
In this multicentre cohort study, we evaluated the risks of maternal ZIKV infections and adverse pregnancy outcomes among exposed travellers compared to women living in areas with ZIKV circulation (residents). The risk of maternal infection was lower among travellers compared to residents: 25.0% [...] Read more.
In this multicentre cohort study, we evaluated the risks of maternal ZIKV infections and adverse pregnancy outcomes among exposed travellers compared to women living in areas with ZIKV circulation (residents). The risk of maternal infection was lower among travellers compared to residents: 25.0% (n = 36/144) versus 42.9% (n = 309/721); aRR 0.6; 95% CI 0.5–0.8. Risk factors associated with maternal infection among travellers were travelling during the epidemic period (i.e., June 2015 to December 2016) (aOR 29.4; 95% CI 3.7–228.1), travelling to the Caribbean Islands (aOR 3.2; 95% CI 1.2–8.7) and stay duration >2 weeks (aOR 8.7; 95% CI 1.1–71.5). Adverse pregnancy outcomes were observed in 8.3% (n = 3/36) of infected travellers and 12.7% (n = 39/309) of infected residents. Overall, the risk of maternal infections is lower among travellers compared to residents and related to the presence of ongoing outbreaks and stay duration, with stays <2 weeks associated with minimal risk in the absence of ongoing outbreaks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Virus Infections in Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes)
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Open AccessEditorial
Next Generation Sequencing for HIV-1 Drug Resistance Testing—A Special Issue Walkthrough
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 340; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020340 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 319
Abstract
Drug resistance remains a global challenge in the fight against the HIV pandemic [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Next Generation Sequencing for HIV Drug Resistance Testing)
Open AccessArticle
On the Prevalence and Potential Functionality of an Intrinsic Disorder in the MERS-CoV Proteome
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 339; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020339 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Middle East respiratory syndrome is a severe respiratory illness caused by an infectious coronavirus. This virus is associated with a high mortality rate, but there is as of yet no effective vaccine or antibody available for human immunity/treatment. Drug design relies on understanding [...] Read more.
Middle East respiratory syndrome is a severe respiratory illness caused by an infectious coronavirus. This virus is associated with a high mortality rate, but there is as of yet no effective vaccine or antibody available for human immunity/treatment. Drug design relies on understanding the 3D structures of viral proteins; however, arriving at such understanding is difficult for intrinsically disordered proteins, whose disorder-dependent functions are key to the virus’s biology. Disorder is suggested to provide viral proteins with highly flexible structures and diverse functions that are utilized when invading host organisms and adjusting to new habitats. To date, the functional roles of intrinsically disordered proteins in the mechanisms of MERS-CoV pathogenesis, transmission, and treatment remain unclear. In this study, we performed structural analysis to evaluate the abundance of intrinsic disorder in the MERS-CoV proteome and in individual proteins derived from the MERS-CoV genome. Moreover, we detected disordered protein binding regions, namely, molecular recognition features and short linear motifs. Studying disordered proteins/regions in MERS-CoV could contribute to unlocking the complex riddles of viral infection, exploitation strategies, and drug development approaches in the near future by making it possible to target these important (yet challenging) unstructured regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Animal Viruses)
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Open AccessReview
Development of Genome Editing Approaches against Herpes Simplex Virus Infections
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 338; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020338 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 622
Abstract
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a herpesvirus that may cause cold sores or keratitis in healthy or immunocompetent individuals, but can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications in immune-immature individuals, such as neonates or immune-compromised patients. Like all other herpesviruses, HSV-1 [...] Read more.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is a herpesvirus that may cause cold sores or keratitis in healthy or immunocompetent individuals, but can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening complications in immune-immature individuals, such as neonates or immune-compromised patients. Like all other herpesviruses, HSV-1 can engage in lytic infection as well as establish latent infection. Current anti-HSV-1 therapies effectively block viral replication and infection. However, they have little effect on viral latency and cannot completely eliminate viral infection. These issues, along with the emergence of drug-resistant viral strains, pose a need to develop new compounds and novel strategies for the treatment of HSV-1 infection. Genome editing methods represent a promising approach against viral infection by modifying or destroying the genetic material of human viruses. These editing methods include homing endonucleases (HE) and the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/CRISPR associated protein (Cas) RNA-guided nuclease system. Recent studies have showed that both HE and CRISPR/Cas systems are effective in inhibiting HSV-1 infection in cultured cells in vitro and in mice in vivo. This review, which focuses on recently published progress, suggests that genome editing approaches could be used for eliminating HSV-1 latent and lytic infection and for treating HSV-1 associated diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogenesis and Novel Antiviral Targets of Alphaherpesviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Examination of Staphylococcus aureus Prophages Circulating in Egypt
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 337; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020337 - 22 Feb 2021
Viewed by 315
Abstract
Staphylococcus aureus infections are of growing concern given the increased incidence of antibiotic resistant strains. Egypt, like several other countries, has seen alarming increases in methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections. This species can rapidly acquire genes associated with resistance, as well as virulence [...] Read more.
Staphylococcus aureus infections are of growing concern given the increased incidence of antibiotic resistant strains. Egypt, like several other countries, has seen alarming increases in methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) infections. This species can rapidly acquire genes associated with resistance, as well as virulence factors, through mobile genetic elements, including phages. Recently, we sequenced 56 S. aureus genomes from Alexandria Main University Hospital in Alexandria, Egypt, complementing 17 S. aureus genomes publicly available from other sites in Egypt. In the current study, we found that the majority (73.6%) of these strains contain intact prophages, including Biseptimaviruses, Phietaviruses, and Triaviruses. Further investigation of these prophages revealed evidence of horizontal exchange of the integrase for two of the prophages. These Egyptian S. aureus prophages are predicted to encode numerous virulence factors, including genes associated with immune evasion and toxins, including the Panton–Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-associated genes lukF-PV/lukS-PV. Thus, prophages are likely to be a major contributor to the virulence of S. aureus strains in circulation in Egypt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prophage Biology)
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Open AccessArticle
An Efficient, Counter-Selection-Based Method for Prophage Curing in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Strains
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 336; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020336 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 792
Abstract
Prophages are bacteriophages in the lysogenic state, where the viral genome is inserted within the bacterial chromosome. They contribute to strain genetic variability and can influence bacterial phenotypes. Prophages are highly abundant among the strains of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and were [...] Read more.
Prophages are bacteriophages in the lysogenic state, where the viral genome is inserted within the bacterial chromosome. They contribute to strain genetic variability and can influence bacterial phenotypes. Prophages are highly abundant among the strains of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa and were shown to confer specific traits that can promote strain pathogenicity. The main difficulty of studying those regions is the lack of a simple prophage-curing method for P. aeruginosa strains. In this study, we developed a novel, targeted-curing approach for prophages in P. aeruginosa. In the first step, we tagged the prophage for curing with an ampicillin resistance cassette (ampR) and further used this strain for the sacB counter-selection marker’s temporal insertion into the prophage region. The sucrose counter-selection resulted in different variants when the prophage-cured mutant is the sole variant that lost the ampR cassette. Next, we validated the targeted-curing with local PCR amplification and Whole Genome Sequencing. The application of the strategy resulted in high efficiency both for curing the Pf4 prophage of the laboratory wild-type (WT) strain PAO1 and for PR2 prophage from the clinical, hard to genetically manipulate, 39016 strain. We believe this method can support the research and growing interest in prophage biology in P. aeruginosa as well as additional Gram-negative bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Prophage Biology)
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Open AccessReview
Residual Proviral Reservoirs: A High Risk for HIV Persistence and Driving Forces for Viral Rebound after Analytical Treatment Interruption
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 335; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020335 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 401
Abstract
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically suppressed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication and become undetectable viremia. However, a small number of residual replication-competent HIV proviruses can still persist in a latent state even with lifelong ART, fueling viral rebound in HIV-infected patient subjects after [...] Read more.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has dramatically suppressed human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication and become undetectable viremia. However, a small number of residual replication-competent HIV proviruses can still persist in a latent state even with lifelong ART, fueling viral rebound in HIV-infected patient subjects after treatment interruption. Therefore, the proviral reservoirs distributed in tissues in the body represent a major obstacle to a cure for HIV infection. Given unavailable HIV vaccine and a failure to eradicate HIV proviral reservoirs by current treatment, it is crucial to develop new therapeutic strategies to eliminate proviral reservoirs for ART-free HIV remission (functional cure), including a sterilizing cure (eradication of HIV reservoirs). This review highlights recent advances in the establishment and persistence of HIV proviral reservoirs, their detection, and potential eradication strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mechanisms of Viral Persistence)
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Open AccessArticle
Improving the Inhibitory Effect of Phages against Pseudomonas aeruginosa Isolated from a Burn Patient Using a Combination of Phages and Antibiotics
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 334; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020334 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
Antibiotic resistance causes around 700,000 deaths a year worldwide. Without immediate action, we are fast approaching a post-antibiotic era in which common infections can result in death. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading cause of nosocomial infection and is also one of the three [...] Read more.
Antibiotic resistance causes around 700,000 deaths a year worldwide. Without immediate action, we are fast approaching a post-antibiotic era in which common infections can result in death. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading cause of nosocomial infection and is also one of the three bacterial pathogens in the WHO list of priority bacteria for developing new antibiotics against. A viable alternative to antibiotics is to use phages, which are bacterial viruses. Yet, the isolation of phages that efficiently kill their target bacteria has proven difficult. Using a combination of phages and antibiotics might increase treatment efficacy and prevent the development of resistance against phages and/or antibiotics, as evidenced by previous studies. Here, in vitro populations of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain isolated from a burn patient were treated with a single phage, a mixture of two phages (used simultaneously and sequentially), and the combination of phages and antibiotics (at sub-minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and MIC levels). In addition, we tested the stability of these phages at different temperatures, pH values, and in two burn ointments. Our results show that the two-phages-one-antibiotic combination had the highest killing efficiency against the P. aeruginosa strain. The phages tested showed low stability at high temperatures, acidic pH values, and in the two ointments. This work provides additional support for the potential of using combinations of phage–antibiotic cocktails at sub-MIC levels for the treatment of multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Viruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Rational Design of a Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine Based on Conserved CTL Epitopes
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 333; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020333 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 486
Abstract
With the rapid global spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a safe and effective vaccine against human coronaviruses (HCoVs) is believed to be a top priority in the field of public health. Due to the frequent outbreaks of different HCoVs, the [...] Read more.
With the rapid global spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a safe and effective vaccine against human coronaviruses (HCoVs) is believed to be a top priority in the field of public health. Due to the frequent outbreaks of different HCoVs, the development of a pan-HCoVs vaccine is of great value to biomedical science. The antigen design is a key prerequisite for vaccine efficacy, and we therefore developed a novel antigen with broad coverage based on the genetic algorithm of mosaic strategy. The designed antigen has a potentially broad coverage of conserved cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes to the greatest extent, including the existing epitopes from all reported HCoV sequences (HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-OC43, HCoV-HKU1, SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2). This novel antigen is expected to induce strong CTL responses with broad coverage by targeting conserved epitopes against multiple coronaviruses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19)
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Open AccessReview
Single-Molecule FRET Imaging of Virus Spike–Host Interactions
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 332; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020332 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 605
Abstract
As a major surface glycoprotein of enveloped viruses, the virus spike protein is a primary target for vaccines and anti-viral treatments. Current vaccines aiming at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic are mostly directed against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. To promote virus entry and facilitate [...] Read more.
As a major surface glycoprotein of enveloped viruses, the virus spike protein is a primary target for vaccines and anti-viral treatments. Current vaccines aiming at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic are mostly directed against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. To promote virus entry and facilitate immune evasion, spikes must be dynamic. Interactions with host receptors and coreceptors trigger a cascade of conformational changes/structural rearrangements in spikes, which bring virus and host membranes in proximity for membrane fusion required for virus entry. Spike-mediated viral membrane fusion is a dynamic, multi-step process, and understanding the structure–function-dynamics paradigm of virus spikes is essential to elucidate viral membrane fusion, with the ultimate goal of interventions. However, our understanding of this process primarily relies on individual structural snapshots of endpoints. How these endpoints are connected in a time-resolved manner, and the order and frequency of conformational events underlying virus entry, remain largely elusive. Single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) has provided a powerful platform to connect structure–function in motion, revealing dynamic aspects of spikes for several viruses: SARS-CoV-2, HIV-1, influenza, and Ebola. This review focuses on how smFRET imaging has advanced our understanding of virus spikes’ dynamic nature, receptor-binding events, and mechanism of antibody neutralization, thereby informing therapeutic interventions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Factors for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Lower Respiratory Tract Infections: Evidence from an Indonesian Cohort
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 331; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020331 - 21 Feb 2021
Viewed by 426
Abstract
Although risk factors for hospitalization from a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are well known, RSV lower respiratory tract infections (LRIs) in the community are much less studied or understood, especially in developing countries. In a prospective, cohort study we studied factors predisposing Indonesian [...] Read more.
Although risk factors for hospitalization from a respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are well known, RSV lower respiratory tract infections (LRIs) in the community are much less studied or understood, especially in developing countries. In a prospective, cohort study we studied factors predisposing Indonesian infants and children under 5 years of age to developing RSV LRIs. Subjects were enrolled in two cohorts: a birth cohort and a cross-sectional cohort of children <48 months of age. Subjects were visited weekly at home to identify any LRI, using the World Health Organization’s criteria. RSV etiology was determined through analysis of nasal washings by enzyme immunoassay and polymerase chain reaction. Risk factors for the development of the first documented RSV LRI were identified by multivariate analysis using logistic regression and Cox proportional hazard modeling. Of the 2014 children studied, 999 were enrolled within 30 days of birth. There were 149 first episodes of an RSV. Risk factors for an RSV LRI were poverty (p < 0.01), use of kerosene as a cooking fuel (p < 0.05), and household ownership of rabbits and chickens (p < 0.01). Our findings suggested that in a middle-income country such as Indonesia, with a substantial burden of RSV morbidity and mortality, lower socioeconomic status, environmental air quality, and animal exposure are predisposing factors for developing an RSV LRI. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Characterization of the GBoV1 Capsid and Its Antibody Interactions
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 330; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020330 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 545
Abstract
Human bocavirus 1 (HBoV1) has gained attention as a gene delivery vector with its ability to infect polarized human airway epithelia and 5.5 kb genome packaging capacity. Gorilla bocavirus 1 (GBoV1) VP3 shares 86% amino acid sequence identity with HBoV1 but has better [...] Read more.
Human bocavirus 1 (HBoV1) has gained attention as a gene delivery vector with its ability to infect polarized human airway epithelia and 5.5 kb genome packaging capacity. Gorilla bocavirus 1 (GBoV1) VP3 shares 86% amino acid sequence identity with HBoV1 but has better transduction efficiency in several human cell types. Here, we report the capsid structure of GBoV1 determined to 2.76 Å resolution using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and its interaction with mouse monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and human sera. GBoV1 shares capsid surface morphologies with other parvoviruses, with a channel at the 5-fold symmetry axis, protrusions surrounding the 3-fold axis and a depression at the 2-fold axis. A 2/5-fold wall separates the 2-fold and 5-fold axes. Compared to HBoV1, differences are localized to the 3-fold protrusions. Consistently, native dot immunoblots and cryo-EM showed cross-reactivity and binding, respectively, by a 5-fold targeted HBoV1 mAb, 15C6. Surprisingly, recognition was observed for one out of three 3-fold targeted mAbs, 12C1, indicating some structural similarity at this region. In addition, GBoV1, tested against 40 human sera, showed the similar rates of seropositivity as HBoV1. Immunogenic reactivity against parvoviral vectors is a significant barrier to efficient gene delivery. This study is a step towards optimizing bocaparvovirus vectors with antibody escape properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Parvovirus Research 2020)
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Open AccessArticle
Recent Hydroxychloroquine Use Is Not Significantly Associated with Positive PCR Results for SARS-CoV-2: A Nationwide Observational Study in South Korea
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 329; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020329 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 885
Abstract
Background: To evaluate the role of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as pre-exposure prophylaxis against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we investigated the prevalence of positive test results for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing according to recent HCQ use in patients who had been [...] Read more.
Background: To evaluate the role of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) as pre-exposure prophylaxis against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we investigated the prevalence of positive test results for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing according to recent HCQ use in patients who had been tested using nationwide health-insurance data of South Korea. Methods: All adults tested for SARS-CoV-2 from 20 January 2020 to 15 May 2020 were identified. HCQ users were defined as patients who had been pretreated with HCQ for at least 30 days until the date of SARS-CoV-2 testing. The prevalence of positive PCR results for SARS-CoV-2 was compared between HCQ users and nonusers. Results: Of a total of 216,686 individuals who had been tested for SARS-CoV-2, 743 (0.3%) were pretreated with HCQ. The prevalence of positive results was not significantly different between HCQ users (2.2%) and nonusers (2.7%; P = 0.35), with an odds ratio of 0.79 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.48–1.30). Propensity score-matched-cohort analysis showed similar results in terms of the prevalence of positive results (2.2% in HCQ users vs. 3.1% in nonusers; P = 0.18), with an odds ratio of 0.69 (95% CI, 0.40–1.19). The rate of positive PCR was not significantly different in long-term HCQ users (more than 3 or 6 months) compared with nonusers. Conclusions: In this population-based study, recent exposure to HCQ was not significantly associated with a lower risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our data do not support the use of HCQ as pre-exposure prophylaxis against COVID-19. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccines and Therapeutics against Coronaviruses)
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Open AccessArticle
Standard Bacteriophage Purification Procedures Cause Loss in Numbers and Activity
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 328; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020328 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 508
Abstract
For decades, bacteriophage purification has followed structured protocols focused on generating high concentrations of phage in manageable volumes. As research moves toward understanding complex phage populations, purification needs have shifted to maximize the amount of phage while maintaining diversity and activity. The effects [...] Read more.
For decades, bacteriophage purification has followed structured protocols focused on generating high concentrations of phage in manageable volumes. As research moves toward understanding complex phage populations, purification needs have shifted to maximize the amount of phage while maintaining diversity and activity. The effects of standard phage purification procedures such as polyethylene glycol (PEG) precipitation and cesium chloride (CsCl) density gradients on both diversity and activity of a phage population are not known. We have examined the effects of PEG precipitation and CsCl density gradients on a number of known phage (M13, T4, and ΦX 174) of varying structure and size, individually and as mixed sample. Measurement of phage numbers and activity throughout the purification process was performed. We demonstrate that these methods, used routinely to generate “pure” phage samples, are in fact detrimental to retention of phage number and activity; even more so in mixed phage samples. As such, minimal amounts of processing are recommended to introduce less bias and maintain more of a phage population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Viruses)
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Open AccessArticle
First Description of a Temperate Bacteriophage (vB_FhiM_KIRK) of Francisella hispaniensis Strain 3523
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 327; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020327 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 414
Abstract
Here we present the characterization of a Francisella bacteriophage (vB_FhiM_KIRK) including the morphology, the genome sequence and the induction of the prophage. The prophage sequence (FhaGI-1) has previously been identified in F. hispaniensis strain 3523. UV radiation induced the prophage to [...] Read more.
Here we present the characterization of a Francisella bacteriophage (vB_FhiM_KIRK) including the morphology, the genome sequence and the induction of the prophage. The prophage sequence (FhaGI-1) has previously been identified in F. hispaniensis strain 3523. UV radiation induced the prophage to assemble phage particles consisting of an icosahedral head (~52 nm in diameter), a tail of up to 97 nm in length and a mean width of 9 nm. The double stranded genome of vB_FhiM_KIRK contains 51 open reading frames and is 34,259 bp in length. The genotypic and phylogenetic analysis indicated that this phage seems to belong to the Myoviridae family of bacteriophages. Under the conditions tested here, host cell (Francisella hispaniensis 3523) lysis activity of KIRK was very low, and the phage particles seem to be defective for infecting new bacterial cells. Nevertheless, recombinant KIRK DNA was able to integrate site-specifically into the genome of different Francisella species after DNA transformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Microbes 2020: The Latest Conquests on Viruses of Microbes)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Synthesis of HCV-E2 Glycoprotein Epitope Mimics in Molecular Construction of Potential Synthetic Vaccines
Viruses 2021, 13(2), 326; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/v13020326 - 20 Feb 2021
Viewed by 326
Abstract
Hepatitis C virus remains a global threat, despite the availability of highly effective direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs. With thousands of new infections annually, the need for a prophylactic vaccine is evident. However, traditional vaccine design has been unable to provide effective vaccines so [...] Read more.
Hepatitis C virus remains a global threat, despite the availability of highly effective direct-acting antiviral (DAA) drugs. With thousands of new infections annually, the need for a prophylactic vaccine is evident. However, traditional vaccine design has been unable to provide effective vaccines so far. Therefore, alternative strategies need to be investigated. In this work, a chemistry-based approach is explored towards fully synthetic peptide-based vaccines using epitope mimicry, by focusing on highly effective and conserved amino acid sequences in HCV, which, upon antibody binding, inhibit its bio-activity. Continuous and discontinuous epitope mimics were both chemically synthesized based on the HCV-E2 glycoprotein while using designed fully synthetic cyclic peptides. These cyclic epitope mimics were assembled on an orthogonally protected scaffold. The scaffolded epitope mimics have been assessed in immunization experiments to investigate the elicitation of anti-HCV-E2 glycoprotein antibodies. The neutralizing potential of the elicited antibodies was investigated, representing a first step in employing chemically synthesized epitope mimics as a novel strategy towards vaccine design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Advances in Vaccines against HCV)
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