Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection Modeled in Aging Cotton Rats (Sigmodon hispidus) and Mice (Mus musculus)Read the full article
Advances in Virology publishes articles in all aspect of viruses and viral diseases. Topics covered include viral structure, function, and genetics, as well as virus-host interactions, viral disease outbreaks, and antiviral therapeutics.
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The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) Pandemic: Are Africa’s Prevalence and Mortality Rates Relatively Low?
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), has been rapidly spreading since December 2019, and within a few months, it turned out to be a global pandemic. The disease affects primarily the lungs, but its pathogenesis spreads to other organs as well. However, its mortality rates vary, and in the majority of infected people, there are no serious consequences. Many factors including advanced age, preexisting health conditions, and genetic predispositions are believed to exacerbate outcomes of COVID-19. The virus contains several structural proteins including the spike (S) protein with subunits for binding, fusion, and internalization into host cells following interaction with host cell receptors and proteases (ACE2 and TMPRSS2, respectively) to cause the subsequent pathology. Although the pandemic has spread into all countries, most of Africa is thought of as having relatively less prevalence and mortality. Several hypotheses have been forwarded as reasons for this and include warmer weather conditions, vaccination with BCG (i.e., trained immunity), and previous malaria infection. From genetics or metabolic points of view, it has been proposed that most African populations could be protected to some degree because they lack some genetic susceptibility risk factors or have low-level expression of allelic variants, such as ACE2 and TMPRSS2 that are thought to be involved in increased infection risk or disease severity. The frequency of occurrence of α-1 antitrypsin (an inhibitor of a tissue-degrading protease, thereby protecting target host tissues including the lung) deficiency is also reported to be low in most African populations. More recently, infections in Africa appear to be on the rise. In general, there are few studies on the epidemiology and pathogenesis of the disease in African contexts, and the overall costs and human life losses due to the pandemic in Africa will be determined by all factors and conditions interacting in complex ways.
Investigating Viral Inoculation and Recovery from Medical Masks
The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic from 2019 onwards has significantly increased the usage of surgical style medical masks, both in healthcare and public settings. It is important to study the contamination of and viral transfer from such masks. However, accepted standard test methods such as ISO 18184 have prescribed inoculation methods which may not be fully representative of the type of viral insult experienced in the clinic or community. In addition to studying a conventional mask, the performance of a mask featuring an antimicrobial photosensitiser was also studied.
Antiretroviral (ARV) Drug Resistance and HIV-1 Subtypes among Injecting Drug Users in the Coastal Region of Kenya
HIV-1 genetic diversity results into the development of widespread drug-resistant mutations (DRMs) for the first-line retroviral therapy. Nevertheless, few studies have investigated the relationship between DRMs and HIV-1 subtypes among HIV-positive injecting drug users (IDUs). This study therefore determined the association between HIV-1 genotypes and DRMs among the 200 IDUs. Stanford HIV Drug Resistance Database was used to interpret DRMs. The five HIV-1 genotypes circulating among the IDUs were A1 (25 (53.2%)), A2 (2 (4.3%)), B (2 (4.3%)), C (9 (19.1%)), and D (9 (19.1%)). The proportions of DRMs were A1 (12 (52.2%)), A2 (1 (4.3%)), B (0 (0.0%)), C (5 (21.7%)), and D (5 (21.7%)). Due to the large proportion of drug resistance across all HIV-1 subtypes, surveillance and behavioral studies need to be explored as IDUs may be spreading the drug resistance to the general population. In addition, further characterization of DRMs including all the relevant clinical parameters among the larger population of IDUs is critical for effective drug resistance surveillance.
A Narrative Review of Existing Options for COVID-19-Specific Treatments
The new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was declared a global pandemic in early 2020. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected morbidity and mortality tremendously. Even though multiple drugs are being used throughout the world since the advent of COVID-19, only limited treatment options are available for COVID-19. Therefore, drugs targeting various pathologic aspects of the disease are being explored. Multiple studies have been published to demonstrate their clinical efficacy until now. Based on the current evidence to date, we summarized the mechanism, roles, and side effects of all existing treatment options to target this potentially fatal virus.
In Vitro Comparison of the Internal Ribosomal Entry Site Activity from Rodent Hepacivirus and Pegivirus and Construction of Pseudoparticles
The 5′ untranslated region (5′ UTR) of rodent hepacivirus (RHV) and pegivirus (RPgV) contains sequence homology to the HCV type III internal ribosome entry sites (IRES). Utilizing a monocistronic expression vector with an RNA polymerase I promoter to drive transcription, we show cell-specific IRES translation and regions within the IRES required for full functionality. Focusing on RHV, we further pseudotyped lentivirus with RHV and showed cell surface expression of the envelope proteins and transduction of murine hepatocytes and we then constructed full-length RHV and RPgV replicons with reporter genes. Using the replicon system, we show that the RHV NS3-4A protease cleaves a mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein reporter. However, liver-derived cells did not readily support the complete viral life cycle.
Evaluation of the Risk of Clinical Deterioration among Inpatients with COVID-19
This study aims to assess the risk of severe forms of COVID-19, based on clinical, laboratory, and imaging markers in patients initially admitted to the ward. This is a retrospective observational study, with data from electronic medical records of inpatients, with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19, between March and September 2020, in a hospital from Juiz de Fora-MG, Brazil. Participants (n = 74) were separated into two groups by clinical evolution: those who remained in the ward and those who progressed to the ICU. Mann–Whitney U test was taken for continuous variables and the chi-square test or Fisher’s exact test for categorical variables. Comparing the proposed groups, lower values of lymphocytes ( = <0.001) and increases in serum creatinine ( = 0.009), LDH ( = 0.057), troponin ( = 0.018), IL-6 ( = 0.053), complement C4 ( = 0.040), and CRP ( = 0.053) showed significant differences or statistical tendency for clinical deterioration. The average age of the groups was 47.9 ± 16.5 and 66.5 ± 7.3 years ( = 0.001). Hypertension ( = 0.064), heart disease ( = 0.048), and COPD ( = 0.039) were more linked to ICU admission, as well as the presence of tachypnea on admission ( = 0.051). Ground-glass involvement >25% of the lung parenchyma or pleural effusion on chest CT showed association with evolution to ICU ( = 0.027), as well as bilateral opacifications ( = 0.030) when compared to unilateral ones. Laboratory, clinical, and imaging markers may have significant relation with worse outcomes and the need for intensive treatment, being helpful as predictive factors.