Latest articles in this journal
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040914
The current study was initiated when our specific-pathogen-free laboratory toms developed unexpectedly high levels of cross-reactive antibodies to human SARS-CoV-2 (SCoV2) receptor binding domain (RBD) upon mating with feline coronavirus (FCoV)-positive queens. Multi-sequence alignment analyses of SCoV2 Wuhan RBD and four strains each from FCoV serotypes 1 and 2 (FCoV1 and FCoV2) demonstrated an amino acid sequence identity of 11.5% and a similarity of 31.8% with FCoV1 RBD (12.2% identity and 36.5% similarity for FCoV2 RBD). The sera from toms and queens cross-reacted with SCoV2 RBD and reacted with FCoV1 RBD and FCoV2 spike-2, nucleocapsid, and membrane proteins, but not with FCoV2 RBD. Thus, the queens and toms were infected with FCoV1. Additionally, the plasma from six FCoV2-inoculated cats reacted with FCoV2 and SCoV2 RBDs, but not with FCoV1 RBD. Hence, the sera from both FCoV1-infected cats and FCoV2-infected cats developed cross-reactive antibodies to SCoV2 RBD. Furthermore, eight group-housed laboratory cats had a range of serum cross-reactivity to SCoV2 RBD even 15 months later. Such cross-reactivity was also observed in FCoV1-positive group-housed pet cats. The SCoV2 RBD at a high non-toxic dose and FCoV2 RBD at a 60–400-fold lower dose blocked the in vitro FCoV2 infection, demonstrating their close structural conformations essential as vaccine immunogens. Remarkably, such cross-reactivity was also detected by the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of FCoV1-infected cats. The broad cross-reactivity between human and feline RBDs provides essential insights into developing a pan-CoV vaccine.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040913
Hospital admissions are a missed opportunity to engage people living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) into care. This study aimed to describe the proportion of hospital inpatients and emergency department (ED) patients identified with hepatitis C who were subsequently linked to care and treatment at a metropolitan health service in Melbourne, Australia. Data were collected retrospectively from hospital databases (admissions, notifiable diseases, and pharmacy) for all adults admitted or attending the ED with separation coding indicating hepatitis C infection from March 2016 to March 2019. There were 2149 patients with at least one separation with hepatitis C coding. 15.4% (331/2149) had a documented antibody test, 4.6% (99/2149) had a documented RNA test, and 8.3% (179/2149) had a DAA prescription dispensed by hospital pharmacy. Antibody positivity was 95.2% (315/331) and RNA (when completed) was detected in 37.4% (37/99). Hepatitis specialist units had the highest rate of hepatitis C coded separations and RNA testing (39/88; 44.3%), mental health had the highest rate of antibody testing (70/276; 25.4%). Emergency had the lowest rate of antibody testing (101/1075; 13.7%) and the third highest rate of RNA testing (32/94; 34.1%), but the highest rate of RNA detected (15/32; 46.9%). This study highlights key steps to improve the care cascade. Simplified diagnostic pathways, expansion of hepatitis C care services, and clear in-hospital pathways to link patients to care would be beneficial in this setting. To scale up hepatitis C testing and treatment as part of national elimination strategies, hospital systems need to target interventions to their local data.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040912
Salmonella, the causative agent of several diseases in humans and animals, including salmonellosis, septicemia, typhoid fever, and fowl typhoid, poses a serious threat to global public health and food safety. Globally, reports of therapeutic failures are increasing because of the increase in bacterial antibiotic resistance. Thus, this work highlights the combined phage–antibiotic therapy as a promising approach to combating bacterial resistance. In this manner, the phage ZCSE9 was isolated, and the morphology, host infectivity, killing curve, combination with kanamycin, and genome analysis of this phage were all examined. Morphologically, phage ZCSE9 is a siphovirus with a relatively broad host range. In addition, the phage can tolerate high temperatures until 80 °C with one log reduction and a basic environment (pH 11) without a significant decline. Furthermore, the phage prevents bacterial growth in the planktonic state, according to the results of the time-killing curve. Moreover, using the phage at MOI 0.1 with kanamycin against five different Salmonella serotypes reduces the required antibiotics to inhibit the growth of the bacteria. Comparative genomics and phylogenetic analysis suggested that phage ZCSE9, along with its close relatives Salmonella phages vB_SenS_AG11 and wksl3, belongs to the genus Jerseyvirus. In conclusion, phage ZCSE9 and kanamycin form a robust heterologous antibacterial combination that enhances the effectiveness of a phage-only approach for combating Salmonella.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040911
Viruses face many challenges on their road to successful replication, and they meet those challenges by reprogramming the intracellular environment. Two major issues challenging Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 (PBCV-1, genus Chlorovirus, family Phycodnaviridae) at the level of DNA replication are (i) the host cell has a DNA G+C content of 66%, while the virus is 40%; and (ii) the initial quantity of DNA in the haploid host cell is approximately 50 fg, yet the virus will make approximately 350 fg of DNA within hours of infection to produce approximately 1000 virions per cell. Thus, the quality and quantity of DNA (and RNA) would seem to restrict replication efficiency, with the looming problem of viral DNA synthesis beginning in only 60–90 min. Our analysis includes (i) genomics and functional annotation to determine gene augmentation and complementation of the nucleotide biosynthesis pathway by the virus, (ii) transcriptional profiling of these genes, and (iii) metabolomics of nucleotide intermediates. The studies indicate that PBCV-1 reprograms the pyrimidine biosynthesis pathway to rebalance the intracellular nucleotide pools both qualitatively and quantitatively, prior to viral DNA amplification, and reflects the genomes of the progeny virus, providing a successful road to virus infection.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040910
Spatial and temporal distribution of lytic viruses in deep groundwater remains unexplored so far. Here, we tackle this gap of knowledge by studying viral infections of Altivir_1_MSI in biofilms dominated by the uncultivated host Candidatus Altiarchaeum hamiconexum sampled from deep anoxic groundwater over a period of four years. Using virus-targeted direct-geneFISH (virusFISH) whose detection efficiency for individual viral particles was 15%, we show a significant and steady increase of virus infections from 2019 to 2022. Based on fluorescence micrographs of individual biofilm flocks, we determined different stages of viral infections in biofilms for single sampling events, demonstrating the progression of infection of biofilms in deep groundwater. Biofilms associated with many host cells undergoing lysis showed a substantial accumulation of filamentous microbes around infected cells probably feeding off host cell debris. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing across ten individual biofilm flocks from one sampling event, we determined that the associated bacterial community remains relatively constant and was dominated by sulfate-reducing members affiliated with Desulfobacterota. Given the stability of the virus-host interaction in these deep groundwater samples, we postulate that the uncultivated virus-host system described herein represents a suitable model system for studying deep biosphere virus-host interactions in future research endeavors.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040909
Amphioxus species are considered living fossils and are important in the evolutionary study of chordates and vertebrates. To explore viral homologous sequences, a high-quality annotated genome of the Beihai amphioxus (Branchiostomabelcheri beihai) was examined using virus sequence queries. In this study, 347 homologous fragments (HFs) of viruses were identified in the genome of B. belcheri beihai, of which most were observed on 21 genome assembly scaffolds. HFs were preferentially located within protein-coding genes, particularly in their CDS regions and promoters. A range of amphioxus genes with a high frequency of HFs is proposed, including histone-related genes that are homologous to the Histone H4 or Histone H2B domains of viruses. Together, this comprehensive analysis of viral HFs provides insights into the neglected role of viral integration in the evolution of amphioxus.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040908
Background: There is an urgent need to better understand the mechanisms underlying acute and long-term neurological symptoms after COVID-19. Neuropathological studies can contribute to a better understanding of some of these mechanisms. Methods: We conducted a detailed postmortem neuropathological analysis of 32 patients who died due to COVID-19 during 2020 and 2021 in Austria. Results: All cases showed diffuse white matter damage with a diffuse microglial activation of a variable severity, including one case of hemorrhagic leukoencephalopathy. Some cases revealed mild inflammatory changes, including olfactory neuritis (25%), nodular brainstem encephalitis (31%), and cranial nerve neuritis (6%), which were similar to those observed in non-COVID-19 severely ill patients. One previously immunosuppressed patient developed acute herpes simplex encephalitis. Acute vascular pathologies (acute infarcts 22%, vascular thrombosis 12%, diffuse hypoxic–ischemic brain damage 40%) and pre-existing small vessel diseases (34%) were frequent findings. Moreover, silent neurodegenerative pathologies in elderly persons were common (AD neuropathologic changes 32%, age-related neuronal and glial tau pathologies 22%, Lewy bodies 9%, argyrophilic grain disease 12.5%, TDP43 pathology 6%). Conclusions: Our results support some previous neuropathological findings of apparently multifactorial and most likely indirect brain damage in the context of SARS-CoV-2 infection rather than virus-specific damage, and they are in line with the recent experimental data on SARS-CoV-2-related diffuse white matter damage, microglial activation, and cytokine release.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040904
In Senegal, the burden of dengue is increasing and expanding. As case management and traditional diagnostic techniques can be difficult to implement, rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) deployed at point of care are ideal for investigating active outbreaks. The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic performance of the Dengue NS1 and Dengue IgM/IgG RDTs on the serum/plasma samples in a laboratory setting and in the field. During laboratory evaluation, performance of the NS1 RDT was assessed using NS1 ELISA as the gold standard. Sensitivity and specificity were 88% [75–95%] and 100% [97–100%], respectively. Performance of the IgM/IG RDT was assessed using the IgM Antibody Capture (MAC) ELISA, indirect IgG, and PRNT as gold standards. The IgM and IgG test lines respectively displayed sensitivities of 94% [83–99%] and 70% [59–79%] and specificities of 91% [84–95%] and 91% [79–98%]. In the field, the Dengue NS1 RDT sensitivity and specificity was 82% [60–95%] and 75% [53–90%], respectively. The IgM and IgG test lines displayed sensitivities of 86% [42–100%] and 78% [64–88%], specificities of 85% [76–92%] and 55% [36–73%], respectively. These results demonstrate that RDTs are ideal for use in a context of high prevalence or outbreak setting and can be implemented in the absence of a confirmatory test for acute and convalescent patients.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040907
In poultry, several respiratory viral infections lead to a drop in egg production associated with high economic losses. While the virus–host interactions at the respiratory epithelium are well studied, less is known about these interactions in the oviduct. To investigate possible differences between virus infections at these epithelial structures, we compared the interactions of two important poultry viruses on turkey organ cultures. Two members of the order Mononegavirales, the Avian Metapneumovirus (AMPV) and the Newcastle disease virus (NDV), were selected to conduct the in vitro experiments since these viruses can infect both the trachea and oviduct. In addition, we used different strains of these viruses, a subtype A and a subtype B strain for AMPV and the NDV strains Komarow and Herts’33, to detect possible differences not only between the tissues but also between different viral strains. Turkey tracheal and oviduct organ cultures (TOC and OOC) were prepared to investigate viral replication, antigen localisation, lesion development, and the expression pattern of interferon-λ and importin-α isoforms. All viruses replicated more efficiently in the oviduct than in the tracheal epithelium (p < 0.05). In addition, we observed higher expression levels of both, IFN-λ and importin-α in OOCs compared to TOCs. Our results indicated strain-dependent differences, with the AMPV-B- and Herts’33 strains being more virulent in organ cultures than the AMPV-A- and Komarow strains, based on the higher viral genome loads, more severe histological lesions, and higher upregulation of IFN-λ. Overall, our findings reveal tissue- and virus strain-dependent differences, which may have consequences for disease development in the host tissue and, subsequently, possible treatment strategies.
Viruses, Volume 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/v15040905
Mpox, formerly called monkeypox, is now the most serious orthopoxvirus (OPXV) infection in humans. This zoonotic disease has been gradually re-emerging in humans with an increasing frequency of cases found in endemic areas, as well as an escalating frequency and size of epidemics outside of endemic areas in Africa. Currently, the largest known mpox epidemic is spreading throughout the world, with over 85,650 cases to date, mostly in Europe and North America. These increased endemic cases and epidemics are likely driven primarily by decreasing global immunity to OPXVs, along with other possible causes. The current unprecedented global outbreak of mpox has demonstrated higher numbers of human cases and greater human-to-human transmission than previously documented, necessitating an urgent need to better understand this disease in humans and animals. Monkeypox virus (MPXV) infections in animals, both naturally occurring and experimental, have provided critical information about the routes of transmission; the viral pathogenicity factors; the methods of control, such as vaccination and antivirals; the disease ecology in reservoir host species; and the conservation impacts on wildlife species. This review briefly described the epidemiology and transmission of MPXV between animals and humans and summarizes past studies on the ecology of MPXV in wild animals and experimental studies in captive animal models, with a focus on how animal infections have informed knowledge concerning various aspects of this pathogen. Knowledge gaps were highlighted in areas where future research, both in captive and free-ranging animals, could inform efforts to understand and control this disease in both humans and animals.