• A Case-Control Study of the 2019 Influenza Vaccine and Incidence of COVID-19 Among Healthcare Workers.

      Massoudi, Nilofar; Mohit, Babak (2020-11-26)
      Purpose: The influenza vaccine is essential in reducing the influenza burden, especially among healthcare workers (HCW). Experimental studies suggest both coronaviruses and influenza viruses engage with the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE 2) and tetraspanin antibodies, and that ACE 2 tetraspanin antibodies in turn may inhibit both coronavirus and low-pathogenicity influenza A viruses (LP IAV) infections. This study aims to investigate the potential clinical association between receiving the 2019 influenza vaccine and the incidence of COVID-19 among HCW. Methods: We designed a case–control study within a hospital setting in Iran when it became a center for treating COVID-19 patients. We collected data and calculated relevant incidence and associative measures among HCW who had received the 2019 influenza vaccine as compared to HCW who had not received the vaccine. Results: Our total sample size was 261 HCW. Of 80 COVID-19 incident cases, three cases had received the influenza vaccine, while 87 of 181 controls had received the vaccine. The odds ratio (OR) and confidence interval (CI) of being vaccinated were 0.04 (95% CI: 0.01 to 0.14) among COVID-19 cases as compared to controls. Conclusions: Significant findings suggest that the 2019 influenza vaccine may have a protective association against COVID-19 among HCW.
    • Detection and Differentiation of SARS-CoV-2, Influenza, and Respiratory Syncytial Viruses by CRISPR

      Zhou, Huifen; Tsou, Jen-Hui; Chinthalapally, Molangur; Liu, Hongjie; Jiang, Feng (MDPI AG, 2021-05-01)
      SARS-CoV-2, influenza, and respiratory syncytial viruses (RSVs) cause acute respiratory infections with similar symptoms. Since the treatments and outcomes of these infections are different, the early detection and accurate differentiation of the viruses are clinically important for the prevention and treatment of the diseases. We previously demonstrated that clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) could rapidly and precisely detect SARS-CoV-2. The objective of this study was to develop CRISPR as a test for simultaneously detecting and accurately distinguishing the viruses. The CRISPR assay with an RNA guide against each virus was performed in the reference standards of SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and B, and RSV. The CRISPR assay had a limit of detection of 1–100 copies/µL for specifically detecting SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and B, and RSV without cross-reaction with other respiratory viruses. The validation of the test in nasopharyngeal specimens showed that it had a 90–100% sensitivity and 100% specificity for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, influenza A and B, and RSV. The CRISPR assay could potentially be used for sensitive detection and specific differentiation of the respiratory viruses. © 2021 by the authors.
    • The effect of COVID-19 stay-at-home order and campus closure on the prevalence of acute respiratory infection symptoms in college campus cohorts

      Adenaiye, Oluwasanmi; Bueno de Mesquita, Paul Jacob; Wu, Qiong; Hong, Filbert; Lai, Jianyu; Chen, Shuo; Milton, Donald K (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021-03-04)
      Evaluation of population-based COVID-19 control measures informs strategies to quell the current pandemic and reduce the impact of those yet to come. Effective COVID-19 control measures may simultaneously reduce the incidence of other acute respiratory infections (ARIs) due to shared transmission modalities. To assess the impact of stay-at-home orders and other physical distancing measures on the prevalence of ARI-related symptoms, we compared symptoms reported by prospective college cohorts enrolled during two consecutive academic years. ARI-related symptoms declined following campus closure and implementation of stay-at-home orders, demonstrating the impact of population-based physical distancing measures on control of a broad range of respiratory infections. © 2021 The Authors.
    • Personal protective equipment in the siege of respiratory viral pandemics: strides made and next steps

      Eke, U.A.; Eke, A.C. (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2020-12-24)
      Introduction: In December 2019, SARS-CoV-2 originated from China, and spread rapidly to several countries, bringing a frightening scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE). The CDC recommends N95 or higher-level particulate filtering respirators as part of the PPE while caring for patients with COVID-19, with facemasks as an alternative; and cloth face-coverings in public where social distancing of at least 6 ft. is not feasible. With new evidence about the efficacy of facemasks, knowledge gaps remain. Areas covered: This reviews the history of respiratory viral pandemics and PPE use, exploring the influenza pandemics of the 20th and 21st century, and prior coronavirus pandemics. A literature search of PubMed and google was done between March 22nd to May 2nd, and on September 28, 2020. The evidence for PPE is described, to delineate their efficacy and 'best safe' practices. Solutions to ameliorate pandemic preparedness to meet surge-capacity to efficiently combat future pandemics, should they arise, are discussed. Expert opinion: PPE, when used appropriately in addition to other infection control measures, is effective protection during respiratory viral pandemics. The current evidence suggests that wearing facemasks in the community is protective, especially if used consistently and correctly with other infection control measures such as hand hygiene. Copyright 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
    • The SKI complex is a broad-spectrum, host-directed antiviral drug target for coronaviruses, influenza, and filoviruses.

      Weston, Stuart; Baracco, Lauren; Keller, Chloe; Matthews, Krystal; McGrath, Marisa E; Logue, James; Liang, Janie; Dyall, Julie; Holbrook, Michael R; Hensley, Lisa E; et al. (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-11-12)
      The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has made it clear that we have a desperate need for antivirals. We present work that the mammalian SKI complex is a broad-spectrum, host-directed, antiviral drug target. Yeast suppressor screening was utilized to find a functional genetic interaction between proteins from influenza A virus (IAV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) with eukaryotic proteins that may be potential host factors involved in replication. This screening identified the SKI complex as a potential host factor for both viruses. In mammalian systems siRNA-mediated knockdown of SKI genes inhibited replication of IAV and MERS-CoV. In silico modeling and database screening identified a binding pocket on the SKI complex and compounds predicted to bind. Experimental assays of those compounds identified three chemical structures that were antiviral against IAV and MERS-CoV along with the filoviruses Ebola and Marburg and two further coronaviruses, SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. The mechanism of antiviral activity is through inhibition of viral RNA production. This work defines the mammalian SKI complex as a broad-spectrum antiviral drug target and identifies lead compounds for further development.