The advent of metagenomics has revealed remarkable complexity of the human virome, and more and more evidence suggest that these viromes involve in human health and immune status. As an important but understudied component of the human microbes, the role of vaginal virome in local microenvironment and cervical disease is unclear. In this issue, Li et al. investigated the vaginal virome and linked specific viral compositions in local vaginal tract with women’s genital health and disease status. Besides, as the ‘commensal’ but neglected part of our virome, the strong association of anelloviruses with specific disease status and their correlations with other viruses indicate that these viruses could be attractive targets to predict the risk of HPV persistent infection and/or cervical disease progression. The cover image describes that diverse viromes (“characters”) are present in vaginal tract (“stage”), and more viruses will come into the spotlight and be noticed in the future (kindly designed and provided by Yanpeng Li, Shujun Gao and Chiyu Zhang).
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), caused by Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), is endemic in Africa, Asia, and Europe, but CCHF epidemiology and epizootiology is only rudimentarily defined for most regions. Here we summarize what is known about CCHF in Central, Eastern, and South-eastern Asia. Searching multiple international and country-specific databases using a One Health approach, we defined disease risk and burden through identification of CCHF cases, anti-CCHFV antibody prevalence, and CCHFV isolation from vector ticks. We identified 2313 CCHF cases that occurred in 1944–2021 in the three examined regions. Central Asian countries reported the majority of cases (2,026). In Eastern Asia, China was the only country that reported CCHF cases (287). In South-eastern Asia, no cases were reported. Next, we leveraged our previously established classification scheme to assign countries to five CCHF evidence levels. Six countries (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) were assigned to level 1 or level 2 based on CCHF case reports and the maturity of the countries’ surveillance systems. Two countries (Mongolia and Myanmar) were assigned to level 3 due to evidence of CCHFV circulation in the absence of reported CCHF cases. Thirteen countries in Eastern and South-eastern Asia were categorized in levels 4 and 5 based on prevalence of CCHFV vector ticks. Collectively, this paper describes the past and present status of CCHF reporting to inform international and local public-health agencies to strengthen or establish CCHFV surveillance systems and address shortcomings.
Viruses are important components of the human body. Growing evidence suggests that they are engaged in the physiology and disease status of the host. Even though the vaginal microbiome is involved in human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and cervical cancer (CC) progression, little is known about the role of the vaginal virome. In this pilot exploratory study, using unbiased viral metagenomics, we aim to investigate the vaginal eukaryotic virome in women with different levels of cervical lesions, and examine their associations with different cervical disease status. An altered eukaryotic virome was observed in women with different levels of lesions and Lactobacillus profiles. Anelloviruses and papillomaviruses are the most commonly detected eukaryotic viruses of the vaginal virome. Higher abundance and richness of anelloviruses and papillomaviruses were associated with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL) and CC. Besides, higher anellovirus abundance was also associated with lactobacillus-depleted microbiome profiles and bacterial community state (CST) type IV. Furthermore, increased correlations between Anelloviridae and Papillomaviridae occurred in the women with increased cervical disease severity level from LSIL to CC. These data suggest underlying interactions between different microbes as well as the host physiology. Higher abundance and diversity of both anelloviruses and papillomaviruses shared by LSIL and CC suggest that anellovirus may be used as a potential adjunct biomarker to predict the risk of HPV persistent infection and/or CC. Future studies need to focus on the clinical relevance of anellovirus abundance with cervical disease status, and the evaluation of their potential as a new adjunct biomarker for the prediction and prognoses of CC.
Many paramyxoviruses are responsible for a variety of mild to severe human and animal diseases. Based on the novel discoveries over the past several decades, the family Paramyxoviridae infecting various hosts across the world includes 4 subfamilies, 17 classified genera and 78 species now. However, no systematic surveys of bat paramyxoviruses are available from the Chinese mainland. In this study, 13,064 samples from 54 bat species were collected and a comprehensive paramyxovirus survey was conducted. We obtained 94 new genome sequences distributed across paramyxoviruses from 22 bat species in seven provinces. Bayesian phylodynamic and phylogenetic analyses showed that there were four different lineages in the Jeilongvirus genus. Based on available data, results of host and region switches showed that the bat colony was partial to interior, whereas the rodent colony was exported, and the felines and hedgehogs were most likely the intermediate hosts from Scotophilus spp. rather than rodents. Based on the evolutionary trend, genus Jeilongvirus may have originated from Mus spp. in Australia, then transmitted to bats and rodents in Africa, Asia and Europe, and finally to bats and rodents in America.
Ticks are considered the second most common pathogen vectors transmitting a broad range of vital human and veterinary viruses. From 2017 to 2018, 640 ticks were collected in eight different provinces in central and western China. Six species were detected, including H.longicornis, De.everestianus, Rh.microplus, Rh.turanicus, Rh.sanguineous, and Hy.asiaticum. Sixty-four viral metagenomic libraries were constructed on the MiSeq Illumina platform, resulting in 13.44 G (5.88×107) of 250-bp-end reads, in which 2,437,941 are viral reads. We found 27 nearly complete genome sequences, including 16 genome sequences encoding entire protein-coding regions (lack of 3' or 5' end non-coding regions) and complete viral genomes, distributed in the arboviral family (Chuviridae, Rhabdoviridae, Nairoviridae, Phenuiviridae, Flaviviridae, Iflaviridae) as well as Parvoviridae and Polyomaviridae that cause disease in mammals and even humans. In addition, 13 virus sequences found in Chuviridae, Nairoviridae, Flaviviridae, Iflaviridae, Hepeviridae, Parvoviridae, and Polyomaviridae were identified as belonging to a new virus species in the identified viral genera. Besides, an epidemiological survey shows a high prevalence (9.38% and 15.63%) of two viruses (Ovine Copiparvovirus and Bovine parvovirus 2) in the tick cohort.
Zika virus (ZIKV), a positive-sense single-stranded RNA virus, causes congenital ZIKV syndrome in children and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) in adults. ZIKV expresses nonstructural protein 5 (NS5), a large protein that is essential for viral replication. ZIKV NS5 confers the ability to evade interferon (IFN) signalling; however, the exact mechanism remains unclear. In this study, we employed affinity pull-down and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) analyses and found that splicing factor 3b subunit 3 (SF3B3) is associated with the NS5-Flag pull-down complex through interaction with NS5. Functional assays showed that SF3B3 overexpression inhibited ZIKV replication by promoting IFN-stimulated gene (ISG) expression whereas silencing of SF3B3 inhibited expression of ISGs to promote ZIKV replication. GTP cyclohydrolase I (GCH1) is the first and rate-limiting enzyme in tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) biosynthesis. NS5 upregulates the expression of GCH1 during ZIKV infection. And GCH1 marginally promoted ZIKV replication via the IFN pathway. Additionally, GCH1 expression is related to the regulation of SF3B3. Overexpression of the SF3B3 protein effectively reduced GCH1 protein levels, whereas SF3B3 knockdown increased its levels. These findings indicated that ZIKV NS5 binding protein SF3B3 contributed to the host immune response against ZIKV replication by modulating the expression of GCH1.
Homologous booster, heterologous booster, and Omicron variants breakthrough infection (OBI) could improve the humoral immunity against Omicron variants. Questions concerning about memory B cells (MBCs) and T cells immunity against Omicron variants, features of long-term immunity, after booster and OBI, needs to be explored. Here, comparative analysis demonstrate antibody and T cell immunity against ancestral strain, Delta and Omicron variants in Omicron breakthrough infected patients (OBIPs) are comparable to that in Ad5-nCoV boosted healthy volunteers (HVs), higher than that in inactivated vaccine (InV) boosted HVs. However, memory B cells (MBCs) immunity against Omicron variants was highest in OBIPs, followed by Ad5-nCoV boosted and InV boosted HVs. OBIPs and Ad5-nCoV boosted HVs have higher classical MBCs and activated MBCs, and lower naïve MBCs and atypical MBCs relative to both vaccine boosted HVs. Collectively, these data indicate Omicron breakthrough infection elicit higher MBCs and T cells against SARS-CoV-2 especially Omicron variants relative to homologous InV booster and heterologous Ad5-nCoV booster.
Many studies suggest that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can infect various animals and transmit among animals, and even to humans, posing a threat to humans and animals. There is an urgent need to develop inexpensive and efficient animal vaccines to prevent and control coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in animals. Rabies virus (RABV) is another important zoonotic pathogen that infects almost all warm-blooded animals and poses a great public health threat. The present study constructed two recombinant chimeric viruses expressing the S1 and RBD proteins of the SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan01 strain based on a reverse genetic system of the RABV SRV9 strain and evaluated their immunogenicity in mice, cats and dogs. The results showed that both inactivated recombinant viruses induced durable neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and RABV and a strong cellular immune response in mice. Notably, inactivated SRV-nCoV-RBD induced earlier antibody production than SRV-nCoV-S1, which was maintained at high levels for longer periods. Inactivated SRV-nCoV-RBD induced neutralizing antibodies against both SARS-CoV-2 and RABV in cats and dogs, with a relatively broad-spectrum cross-neutralization capability against the SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses including Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, and Omicron, showing potential to be used as a safe bivalent vaccine candidate against COVID-19 and rabies in animals.
Neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (mAb) are a major therapeutic strategy for the treatment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. The continuous emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants worldwide has increased the urgency for the development of new mAbs. In this study, we immunized mice with the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the SARS-CoV-2 prototypic strain (WIV04) and screened 35 RBD-specific mAbs using hybridoma technology. Results of the plaque reduction neutralization test showed that 25 of the mAbs neutralized authentic WIV04 strain infection. The 25 mAbs were divided into three categories based on the competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay results. A representative mAb was selected from each category (RD4, RD10, and RD14) to determine the binding kinetics and median inhibitory concentration (IC50) of WIV04 and two variants of concern (VOC): B.1.351 (Beta) and B.1.617.2 (Delta). RD4 neutralized the B.1.617.2 variant with an IC50 of 2.67 ng/mL; however, it completely lost neutralizing activity against the B.1.351 variant. RD10 neutralized both variants with an IC50 exceeding 100 ng/mL; whereas RD14 neutralized two variants with a higher IC50 (>1 mg/mL). Animal experiments were performed to evaluate the protective effects of RD4 and RD10 against various VOC infections. RD4 could protect Adv-hACE2 transduced mice from B.1.617.2 infection at an antibody concentration of 25 mg/kg, while RD10 could protect mice from B.1.351 infection at an antibody concentration of 75 mg/kg. These results highlight the potential for future modifications of the mAbs for practical use.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a major public health problem among children in the Asia-Pacific region. The optimal specimen for HFMD virological diagnosis remains unclear. Enterovirus A71 (EV-A71) neutralizing antibody titres detected in paired sera were considered the reference standard for calculating the sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive value of throat swabs, rectal swabs, stool, blood samples and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) by RT-PCR or ELISA assay. In this study, clinical samples from 276 HFMD patients were collected for analysing the sensitivity of different kind of specimens. Our results showed that stool had the highest sensitivity (88%, 95% CI: 74%–96%) and agreement with the reference standard (91%). The order of diagnostic yield for EV-A71 infection was stool sample ≥ rectal swab > throat swab > blood sample > CSF sample, and using a combination of clinical samples improved sensitivity for enterovirus detection. The sensitivity of ELISA for IgM antibody detection in sterile-site specimens was significantly higher than that of RT-PCR (serum/plasma: 62% vs. 2%, CSF: 47% vs. 0%) (P < 0.002). In conclusion, our results suggest that stool has the highest diagnostic yield for EV-A71-infected HFMD. If stool is unavailable, rectal swabs can be collected to achieve a similar diagnostic yield. Otherwise, throat swabs may be useful in detecting positive samples. Although IgM in blood or CSF is diagnostically accurate, it lacks sensitivity, missing 40%–50% of cases. The higher proportion of severe cases and shorter interval between onset and sampling contributed to the increase in congruency between clinical testing and the serological reference standard.
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) poses a serious threat to human health, with scattered outbreaks worldwide. There are several vaccines against a few EV71 strains but no efficient drug for the treatment of EV71 infection. Therefore, it is urgent and of significance to develop anti-EV71 drugs. Here, we found that PLX8394, a RAF inhibitor, possesses high antiviral activity against EV71 in vitro, being superior to the traditional clinical drug ribavirin. Moreover, PLX8394 exhibits broad-spectrum antiviral activity against enteroviruses. Notably, in a suckling mouse model, PLX8394 provided a 70% protection rate for EV71-infected mice, reduced the viral load in liver and heart tissues, and relieved the inflammatory response. A mechanistic study showed that PLX8394 inhibited EV71 by suppressing the RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway. Thus, PLX8394 lays a foundation for the development of new drugs against EV71.
HIV-specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells have been developed to target HIV-1 infected CD4+ T-cells that express HIV Env proteins. However, T cell exhaustion and the patient-specific autologous paradigm of CAR-T cell hurdled clinical applications. Here, we created HIV-specific CAR-T cells using human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and a 3BNC117-E27 (3BE) CAR construct that enabled the expression of programmed cell death protein (PD-1) -blocking scFv E27 and the single-chain variable fragment of the HIV-1-specific broadly neutralizing antibody 3BNC117 to target native HIV Env. Compared with T cells expressing 3BNC117-CAR alone, 3BE CAR-T cells showed greater cytotoxic activity against HIV Env+ cells with stronger proliferation capability, higher killing efficiency, and enhanced cytokine secretion in the presence of HIV Env-expressing cells. Furthermore, we manufactured TCR-deficient 3BE CAR-T cells through gene editing and demonstrated that these CAR-T cells could effectively kill HIV Env + cells in vivo without the occurrence of severe graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in NSG mice. These data suggest that we have provided a feasible approach to the generation of “off-the-shelf” anti-HIV CAR-T cells in combination with PD-1 checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, which can be a powerful therapeutic candidate for the functional cure of HIV.
Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV), an enteropathogenic coronavirus, has catastrophic impacts on the global pig industry. However, there remain no effective drugs against PEDV infection. In this study, we utilized a recombinant PEDV expressing renilla luciferase (PEDV-Rluc) to screen potential anti-PEDV agents from an FDA-approved drug library in Vero cells. Four compounds were identified that significantly decreased luciferase activity of PEDV-Rluc. Among them, niclosamide was further characterized because it exhibited the most potent antiviral activity with the highest selectivity index. It can efficiently inhibit viral RNA synthesis, protein expression and viral progeny production of classical and variant PEDV strains in a dose-dependent manner. Time of addition assay showed that niclosamide exhibited potent anti-PEDV activity when added simultaneously with or after virus infection. Furthermore, niclosamide significantly inhibited the entry stage of PEDV infection by affecting viral internalization rather than viral attachment to cells. In addition, a combination with other small molecule inhibitors of endosomal acidification enhanced the anti-PEDV effect of niclosamide in vitro. Taken together, these findings suggested that niclosamide is a novel antiviral agent that might provide a basis for the development of novel drug therapies against PEDV and other related pathogenic coronavirus infections.
Highlights 1. The first global exploration of alternative splicing changes in COVID-19 and relevant respiratory diseases 2. The specificities and similarities between alternative splicing events in different respiratory diseases 3. Identification of regulatory network of RBP and alternative splicing in respiratory diseases 4. Defining the interactions of alternative splicing and cell abundance in respiratory diseases
Highlights 1. SARS-CoV-2 variants, particularly BF.7 and BQ.1, escaped most neutralizing antibodies isolated from the recovered COVID-19 individuals and vaccine recipients. 2. Five potent neutralizing antibodies were identified that showed a broad neutralizing profile to Omicron subvariants and other VOCs. 3. These broad neutralizing antibodies targeted the receptor binding domain of the spike protein, competing with ACE2 for binding.
Highlights 1. Co-infection of fowl adenovirus (FAdV) and avian hepatitis E virus (aHEV) was observed in layer breeders. 2. All three main genes of FAdV isolate share high homology with the E-8b type. 3. ORF2 from aHEV showed homology with VaHEV strain from Hy-line LCFs in China.
Highlights 1. BCoV DTA28 was identified in a Daurian ground squirrel (Spermophilus dauricus) in China. 2. BCoV DTA28 might have emerged through a spillover event from cattle to the rodent. 3. This is the first report of BCoV in rodents, highlighting the complexity of animal reservoirs for betacoronaviruses.
Highlights 1. The efficacy of inactivated vaccines in preventing severe COVID-19 has been demonstrated in real-world observations. 2. Inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines induce a wider breadth of T-cell responses. 3. SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy should be evaluated from not only antibody response but also T cell immunity.
Highlights 1. Whole genome sequencing of MPXV is crucial for monitoring emerging variants and assessing their potential pathogenicity. 2. The critical steps of mNGS, encompassing nucleic acid extraction, library preparation, sequencing, and data analysis, are concisely explained. 3. Optimization strategies for sample pre-processing, virus enrichment, and sequencing platform selection are deliberated. 4. Conducting next-generation sequencing and third-generation sequencing concurrently is highly recommended.