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Pathogens, Volume 10, Issue 6 (June 2021) – 149 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): This review article summarizes the gradual development of various treatments and vaccines as they emerged a year after the outbreak of the pandemic—from fundamental therapies, repurposed drugs previously used to treat other diseases with presumed antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial effects (remdesivir, antimalarial drugs, glucocorticoids, ivermectin etc.), through passive immunization/antibody therapy to innovative strategies, such as peptides, and ACE inhibitors. We also address cell therapy with mesenchymal stromal cells as a potential treatment strategy. Because it is generally accepted that vaccines are the critical tools to intervene in the COVID-19 pandemic, we also characterize recently approved vaccines, their types, and reported side effects so far. View this paper
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Article
Prevalence of Hepatitis E Virus Infection among Laboratory Rabbits in China
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 780; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060780 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 877
Abstract
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is zoonotic and the leading cause of acute viral hepatitis worldwide. Rabbit HEV can infect humans and is prevalent globally. It is reported that laboratory rabbits are also naturally infected with HEV. Therefore, it is important to investigate in [...] Read more.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is zoonotic and the leading cause of acute viral hepatitis worldwide. Rabbit HEV can infect humans and is prevalent globally. It is reported that laboratory rabbits are also naturally infected with HEV. Therefore, it is important to investigate in a large scale the prevalence of HEV in laboratory rabbits. Serum samples were collected from 649 laboratory rabbits of 13 different commercial vendors in Beijing, China, from 2017 to 2019, and anti-HEV and HEV antigen (Ag) were tested. Fecal samples were collected from 50 laboratory rabbits from one of the vendors for HEV RNA detection. Six laboratory rabbits with natural HEV infection were euthanized and their liver, kidney, bile and urine samples were collected for HEV RNA quantification. Liver tissues were subjected to histopathology analysis. The overall positive rates of anti-HEV antibodies and HEV-Ag are 2.6% (15/588) and 7.9% (51/649), respectively. HEV RNA was detected in 12.0% (6/50) of the rabbits. High viral load of HEV RNA was detected in liver and bile samples. Liver inflammation was observed. HEV is circulating in laboratory rabbit population in China. Strict screening is crucial to ensure experimental accuracy and prevent zoonotic transmission to research personnel. Full article
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Article
Molecular Detection and Genotyping of Coxiella-Like Endosymbionts in Ticks Collected from Animals and Vegetation in Zambia
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 779; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060779 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1195
Abstract
Ticks are obligate ectoparasites as they require to feed on their host blood during some or all stages of their life cycle. In addition to the pathogens that ticks harbor and transmit to vertebrate hosts, they also harbor other seemingly nonpathogenic microorganisms including [...] Read more.
Ticks are obligate ectoparasites as they require to feed on their host blood during some or all stages of their life cycle. In addition to the pathogens that ticks harbor and transmit to vertebrate hosts, they also harbor other seemingly nonpathogenic microorganisms including nutritional mutualistic symbionts. Tick nutritional mutualistic symbionts play important roles in the physiology of the host ticks as they are involved in tick reproduction and growth through the supply of B vitamins as well as in pathogen maintenance and propagation. Coxiella-like endosymbionts (CLEs) are the most widespread endosymbionts exclusively reported in ticks. Although CLEs have been investigated in ticks in other parts of the world, there is no report of their investigation in ticks in Zambia. To investigate the occurrence of CLEs, their maintenance, and association with host ticks in Zambia, 175 ticks belonging to six genera, namely Amblyomma, Argas, Haemaphysalis, Hyalomma, Ornithodoros, and Rhipicephalus, were screened for CLEs, followed by characterization of CLEs by multi-locus sequence typing of the five Coxiella housekeeping genes (dnaK, groEL, rpoB, 16S rRNA, and 23S rRNA). The results showed that 45.7% (n = 80) were positive for CLEs. The comparison of the tick 16S rDNA phylogenetic tree with that of the CLEs concatenated sequences showed that there was a strong correlation between the topology of the trees. The results suggest that most of the CLEs have evolved within tick species, supporting the vertical transmission phenomenon. However, the negative results for CLE in some ticks warrants further investigations of other endosymbionts that the ticks in Zambia may also harbor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Updates on Rickettsia and Coxiella)
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Article
The Population Diversity of Candidate Genes for Resistance/Susceptibility to Coronavirus Infection in Domestic Cats: An Inter-Breed Comparison
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 778; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060778 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 824
Abstract
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a complex pathogen causing feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Host genetics represents a factor contributing to the pathogenesis of the disease. Differential susceptibility of various breeds to FIP was reported with controversial results. The objective of this study was to [...] Read more.
Feline coronavirus (FCoV) is a complex pathogen causing feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Host genetics represents a factor contributing to the pathogenesis of the disease. Differential susceptibility of various breeds to FIP was reported with controversial results. The objective of this study was to compare the genetic diversity of different breeds on a panel of candidate genes potentially affecting FCoV infection. One hundred thirteen cats of six breeds were genotyped on a panel of sixteen candidate genes. SNP allelic/haplotype frequencies were calculated; pairwise FST and molecular variance analyses were performed. Principal coordinate (PCoA) and STRUCTURE analyses were used to infer population structure. Interbreed differences in allele frequencies were observed. PCoA analysis performed for all genes of the panel indicated no population substructure. In contrast to the full marker set, PCoA of SNP markers associated with FCoV shedding (NCR1 and SLX4IP) showed three clusters containing only alleles associated with susceptibility to FCoV shedding, homozygotes and heterozygotes for the susceptibility alleles, and all three genotypes, respectively. Each cluster contained cats of multiple breeds. Three clusters of haplotypes were identified by PCoA, two clusters by STRUCTURE. Haplotypes of a single gene (SNX5) differed significantly between the PCoA clusters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Immunological Responses and Immune Defense Mechanisms)
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Article
Wild Small Mammals and Ticks in Zoos—Reservoir of Agents with Zoonotic Potential?
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 777; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060777 - 21 Jun 2021
Viewed by 962
Abstract
Wild small mammals and ticks play an important role in maintaining and spreading zoonoses in nature, as well as in captive animals. The aim of this study was to monitor selected agents with zoonotic potential in their reservoirs and vectors in a zoo, [...] Read more.
Wild small mammals and ticks play an important role in maintaining and spreading zoonoses in nature, as well as in captive animals. The aim of this study was to monitor selected agents with zoonotic potential in their reservoirs and vectors in a zoo, and to draw attention to the risk of possible contact with these pathogens. In total, 117 wild small mammals (rodents) and 166 ticks were collected in the area of Brno Zoo. Antibodies to the bacteria Coxiella burnetii, Francisella tularensis, and Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. were detected by a modified enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 19% (19/99), 4% (4/99), and 15% (15/99) of rodents, respectively. Antibodies to Leptospira spp. bacteria were detected by the microscopic agglutination test in 6% (4/63) of rodents. Coinfection (antibodies to more than two agents) were proved in 14.5% (15/97) of animals. The prevalence of C. burnetii statistically differed according to the years of trapping (p = 0.0241). The DNAs of B. burgdorferi s.l., Rickettsia sp., and Anaplasma phagocytophilum were detected by PCR in 16%, 6%, and 1% of ticks, respectively, without coinfection and without effect of life stage and sex of ticks on positivity. Sequencing showed homology with R. helvetica and A. phagocytophilum in four and one positive samples, respectively. The results of our study show that wild small mammals and ticks in a zoo could serve as reservoirs and vectors of infectious agents with zoonotic potential and thus present a risk of infection to zoo animals and also to keepers and visitors to a zoo. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Updates on Rickettsia and Coxiella)
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Review
Streptococcus pyogenes (“Group A Streptococcus”), a Highly Adapted Human Pathogen—Potential Implications of Its Virulence Regulation for Epidemiology and Disease Management
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 776; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060776 - 21 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1255
Abstract
Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococci; GAS) is an exclusively human pathogen. It causes a variety of suppurative and non-suppurative diseases in people of all ages worldwide. Not all can be successfully treated with antibiotics. A licensed vaccine, in spite of its global importance, [...] Read more.
Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococci; GAS) is an exclusively human pathogen. It causes a variety of suppurative and non-suppurative diseases in people of all ages worldwide. Not all can be successfully treated with antibiotics. A licensed vaccine, in spite of its global importance, is not yet available. GAS express an arsenal of virulence factors responsible for pathological immune reactions. The transcription of all these virulence factors is under the control of three types of virulence-related regulators: (i) two-component systems (TCS), (ii) stand-alone regulators, and (iii) non-coding RNAs. This review summarizes major TCS and stand-alone transcriptional regulatory systems, which are directly associated with virulence control. It is suggested that this treasure of knowledge on the genetics of virulence regulation should be better harnessed for new therapies and prevention methods for GAS infections, thereby changing its global epidemiology for the better. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Beta-Hemolytic Streptococci as Human Pathogens)
Article
Genetic Characterization of Cryptosporidium cuniculus from Rabbits in Egypt
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060775 - 20 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1516
Abstract
Rabbits are increasingly farmed in Egypt for meat. They are, however, known reservoirs of infectious pathogens. Currently, no information is available on the genetic characteristics of Cryptosporidium spp. in rabbits in Egypt. To understand the prevalence and genetic identity of Cryptosporidium spp. in [...] Read more.
Rabbits are increasingly farmed in Egypt for meat. They are, however, known reservoirs of infectious pathogens. Currently, no information is available on the genetic characteristics of Cryptosporidium spp. in rabbits in Egypt. To understand the prevalence and genetic identity of Cryptosporidium spp. in these animals, 235 fecal samples were collected from rabbits of different ages on nine farms in El-Dakahlia, El-Gharbia, and Damietta Provinces, Egypt during the period from July 2015 to April 2016. PCR-RFLP analysis of the small subunit rRNA gene was used to detect and genotype Cryptosporidium spp. The overall detection rate was 11.9% (28/235). All 28 samples were identified as Cryptosporidium cuniculus. The 16 samples successfully subtyped by the sequence analysis of the partial 60 kDa glycoprotein gene belonged to two subtypes, VbA19 (n = 1) and VbA33 (n = 15). As C. cuniculus is increasingly recognized as a cause of human cryptosporidiosis, Cryptosporidium spp. in rabbits from Egypt have zoonotic potential. Full article
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Article
SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence and Neutralizing Antibody Response after the First and Second COVID-19 Pandemic Wave in Croatia
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 774; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060774 - 20 Jun 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1650
Abstract
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus with a pandemic spread. So far, a total of 349,910 SARS-CoV-2 cases and 7687 deaths were reported in Croatia. We analyzed the seroprevalence and neutralizing (NT) antibody response in the Croatian general [...] Read more.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus with a pandemic spread. So far, a total of 349,910 SARS-CoV-2 cases and 7687 deaths were reported in Croatia. We analyzed the seroprevalence and neutralizing (NT) antibody response in the Croatian general population after the first (May–July 2020) and second (December 2020–February 2021) pandemic wave. Initial serological testing was performed using a commercial ELISA, with confirmation of reactive samples by a virus neutralization test (VNT). A significant difference in the overall seroprevalence rate was found after the first (ELISA 2.2%, VNT 0.2%) and second waves (ELISA 25.1%, VNT 18.7%). Seropositive individuals were detected in all age groups, with significant differences according to age. The lowest prevalence of NT antibodies was documented in the youngest (<10 years; 16.1%) and the oldest (60–69/70+ years; 16.0% and 12.8%, respectively) age groups. However, these age groups showed the highest median NT titers (32–64). In other groups, seropositivity varied from 19.3% to 21.5%. A significant weak positive correlation between binding antibody level as detected by ELISA and VNT titer (rho = 0.439, p < 0.001) was observed. SARS-CoV-2 NT antibody titers seem to be age-related, with the highest NT activity in children under 10 years and individuals above 50 years. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV-2 Infection and COVID-19 Disease)
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Article
E6/E7 Variants of Human Papillomavirus 16 Associated with Cervical Carcinoma in Women in Southern Mexico
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 773; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060773 - 20 Jun 2021
Viewed by 910
Abstract
Persistent infection with the human papillomavirus 16 (HPV 16) is the cause of half of all cervical carcinomas (CC) cases. Moreover, mutations in the oncoproteins E6 and E7 are associated with CC development. In this study, E6/E7 variants circulating in southern Mexico and [...] Read more.
Persistent infection with the human papillomavirus 16 (HPV 16) is the cause of half of all cervical carcinomas (CC) cases. Moreover, mutations in the oncoproteins E6 and E7 are associated with CC development. In this study, E6/E7 variants circulating in southern Mexico and their association with CC and its precursor lesions were evaluated. In total, 190 DNA samples were obtained from scrapes and cervical biopsies of women with HPV 16 out of which 61 are from patients with CC, 6 from patients with high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL), 68 from patients with low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (LSIL), and 55 from patients without intraepithelial lesions. For all E7 variants found, the E7-C732/C789/G795 variant (with three silent mutations) was associated with the highest risk of CC (odd ratio (OR) = 3.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.46–9.85). The analysis of E6/E7 bicistron conferred to AA-a*E7-C732/C789/G795 variants revealed the greatest increased risk of CC (OR = 110, 95% CI = 6.04–2001.3), followed by AA-c*E7-C732/C789/G795 and A176/G350*E7-p. These results highlight the importance of analyzing the combinations of E6/E7 variants in HPV 16 infection and suggest that AA-a*E7-C732/C789/G795, AA-c*E7-C732/C789/G795, and A176/G350*E7-p can be useful markers for predicting CC development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HPV Molecular Diagnostics: Laboratory, Research, and Clinical Aspects)
Article
Nucleosome Positioning on Episomal Human Papillomavirus DNA in Cultured Cells
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 772; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060772 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 794
Abstract
Several human papillomaviruses (HPV) are associated with the development of cervical carcinoma. HPV DNA synthesis is increased during the differentiation of infected host keratinocytes as they migrate from the basal layer of the epithelium to the spinous layer, but the molecular mechanism is [...] Read more.
Several human papillomaviruses (HPV) are associated with the development of cervical carcinoma. HPV DNA synthesis is increased during the differentiation of infected host keratinocytes as they migrate from the basal layer of the epithelium to the spinous layer, but the molecular mechanism is unclear. Nucleosome positioning affects various cellular processes such as DNA replication and repair by permitting the access of transcription factors to promoters to initiate transcription. In this study, nucleosome positioning on virus chromatin was investigated in normal immortalized keratinocytes (NIKS) stably transfected with HPV16 or HPV18 genomes to determine if there is an association with the viral life cycle. Micrococcal nuclease-treated DNA analyzed by Southern blotting using probes against HPV16 and HPV18 and quantified by nucleosome scanning analysis using real-time PCR revealed mononucleosomal-sized fragments of 140–200 base pairs that varied in their location within the viral genome according to whether the cells were undergoing proliferation or differentiation. Notably, changes in the regions around nucleotide 110 in proliferating and differentiating host cells were common to HPV16 and HPV18. Our findings suggest that changes in nucleosome positions on viral DNA during host cell differentiation is an important regulatory event in the viral life cycle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Viral Pathogens)
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Review
De-Coding the Contributions of the Viral RNAs to Alphaviral Pathogenesis
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060771 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 870
Abstract
Alphaviruses are positive-sense RNA arboviruses that are capable of causing severe disease in otherwise healthy individuals. There are many aspects of viral infection that determine pathogenesis and major efforts regarding the identification and characterization of virulence determinants have largely focused on the roles [...] Read more.
Alphaviruses are positive-sense RNA arboviruses that are capable of causing severe disease in otherwise healthy individuals. There are many aspects of viral infection that determine pathogenesis and major efforts regarding the identification and characterization of virulence determinants have largely focused on the roles of the nonstructural and structural proteins. Nonetheless, the viral RNAs of the alphaviruses themselves play important roles in regard to virulence and pathogenesis. In particular, many sequences and secondary structures within the viral RNAs play an important part in the development of disease and may be considered important determinants of virulence. In this review article, we summarize the known RNA-based virulence traits and host:RNA interactions that influence alphaviral pathogenesis for each of the viral RNA species produced during infection. Overall, the viral RNAs produced during infection are important contributors to alphaviral pathogenesis and more research is needed to fully understand how each RNA species impacts the host response to infection as well as the development of disease. Full article
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Article
Establishment of Babesia bovis In Vitro Culture Using Medium Free of Animal Products
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 770; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060770 - 19 Jun 2021
Viewed by 929
Abstract
Babesia bovis, an etiological agent of bovine babesiosis, causes a significant burden to the cattle industry worldwide. The most efficient method to mitigate bovine babesiosis is a live vaccine produced by serial passage in splenectomized cattle. However, there are several concerns regarding [...] Read more.
Babesia bovis, an etiological agent of bovine babesiosis, causes a significant burden to the cattle industry worldwide. The most efficient method to mitigate bovine babesiosis is a live vaccine produced by serial passage in splenectomized cattle. However, there are several concerns regarding live vaccine production, including variation between batches and the use of many animals. In this study, we report a B. bovis-SF strain continuously cultured in a medium free of components of animal origin enriched with a chemically defined lipid mixture (CD lipid mixture) and the use of a perfusion bioreactor to harvest a large amount of B. bovis. Six culture media were compared, including VP-SFM, CD-CHO, CD-Hydrolyzed, CD-CHO, SFM, and ADMEM/F12. We found that the VP-SFM medium performed the best for B. bovis growth, with a maximum percentage of parasitized erythrocytes (PPE) of 8.6%. The effect of six dilutions of a commercial mixture of CD lipids added to VP-SFM showed that the CD lipid mixture at a dilution of 1:100 had the best B. bovis growth curve, with a maximum PPE of 13.9%. Propagation of the in vitro B. bovis culture was scaled up in a perfusion bioreactor using VP-SFM with a CD lipid mixture, and the PPE reached over 32%. The continuous in vitro B. bovis culture in a medium free of animal origin components could potentially reduce and replace the use of animals to produce a reagent for diagnostics and live vaccines to control bovine babesiosis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bovine Babesiosis)
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Article
First Serological Evidence of Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus and Rift Valley Fever Virus in Ruminants in Tunisia
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 769; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060769 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1377
Abstract
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV, Nairoviridae family) and Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV, Phenuiviridae family) are zoonotic vector-borne pathogens with clinical relevance worldwide. Our study aimed to determine seroprevalences of these viruses and potential risk factors among livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) in [...] Read more.
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV, Nairoviridae family) and Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV, Phenuiviridae family) are zoonotic vector-borne pathogens with clinical relevance worldwide. Our study aimed to determine seroprevalences of these viruses and potential risk factors among livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) in Tunisia. Sera were tested for antibodies against CCHFV (n = 879) and RVFV (n = 699) using various enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) and indirect immunofluorescence assays (IIFA). The overall seroprevalence of IgG antibodies was 8.6% (76/879) and 2.3% (16/699) against CCHFV and RVFV, respectively. For CCHF seropositivity bioclimatic zones and breed were potential risk factors for the three tested animal species; while the season was associated with cattle and sheep seropositivity, tick infestation was associated with cattle and goats seropositivity and age as a risk factor was only associated with cattle seropositivity. Age and season were significantly associated with RVFV seropositivity in sheep. Our results confirm the circulation of CCHFV and RVFV in Tunisia and identified the principal risk factors in ruminants. This knowledge could help to mitigate the risk of ruminant infections and subsequently also human infections. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Viral Pathogens)
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Article
Evaluation of Lesions and Viral Antigen Distribution in Domestic Pigs Inoculated Intranasally with African Swine Fever Virus Ken05/Tk1 (Genotype X)
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060768 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1384
Abstract
The understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms and the clinicopathological forms caused by currently circulating African swine fever virus (ASFV) isolates is incomplete. So far, most of the studies have been focused on isolates classified within genotypes I and II, the only genotypes that [...] Read more.
The understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms and the clinicopathological forms caused by currently circulating African swine fever virus (ASFV) isolates is incomplete. So far, most of the studies have been focused on isolates classified within genotypes I and II, the only genotypes that have circulated outside of Africa. However, less is known about the clinical presentations and lesions induced by isolates belonging to the other twenty-two genotypes. Therefore, the early clinicopathological identification of disease outbreaks caused by isolates belonging to, as yet, not well-characterised ASFV genotypes may be compromised, which might cause a delay in the implementation of control measures to halt the virus spread. To improve the pathological characterisation of disease caused by diverse isolates, we have refined the macroscopic and histopathological evaluation protocols to standardise the scoring of lesions. Domestic pigs were inoculated intranasally with different doses (high, medium and low) of ASFV isolate Ken05/Tk1 (genotype X). To complement previous studies, the distribution and severity of macroscopic and histopathological lesions, along with the amount and distribution of viral antigen in tissues, were characterised by applying the new scoring protocols. The intranasal inoculation of domestic pigs with high doses of the Ken05/Tk1 isolate induced acute forms of ASF in most of the animals. Inoculation with medium doses mainly induced acute forms of disease. A less severe but longer clinical course, typical of subacute forms, characterised by the presence of more widespread and severe haemorrhages and oedema, was observed in one pig inoculated with the medium dose. The severity of vascular lesions (haemorrhages and oedema) induced by high and medium doses was not associated with the amount of virus antigen detected in tissues, therefore these might be attributed to indirect mechanisms not evaluated in the present study. The absence of clinical signs, lesions and detectable levels of virus genome or antigen in blood from the animals inoculated with the lowest dose ruled out the existence of possible asymptomatic carriers or persistently infected pigs, at least for the 21 days period of the study. The results corroborate the moderate virulence of the Ken05/Tk1 isolate, as well as its capacity to induce both the acute and, occasionally, subacute forms of ASF when high and medium doses were administered intranasally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African Swine Fever Virus Infection)
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Communication
Borrelia burgdorferi BmpA-BBK32 and BmpA-BBA64: New Recombinant Chimeric Proteins with Potential Diagnostic Value
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 767; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060767 - 18 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1130
Abstract
Currently, the diagnosis of Lyme disease is based mostly on two-tiered serologic testing. In the new generation of immunoenzymatic assays, antigens comprise whole-cell lysates of members of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) species complex, with the addition of selected recombinant proteins. Due [...] Read more.
Currently, the diagnosis of Lyme disease is based mostly on two-tiered serologic testing. In the new generation of immunoenzymatic assays, antigens comprise whole-cell lysates of members of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) species complex, with the addition of selected recombinant proteins. Due to the high diversity of members of the B. burgdorferi s.l. genospecies and the low degree of conservation among the amino acid sequences of their proteins, serodiagnostic methods currently in use are not sufficient for the correct diagnosis of borreliosis. Two divalent chimeric proteins (BmpA-BBK32 and BmpA-BBA64) were expressed in Escherichia coli. Following purification by one-step metal-affinity chromatography, preparations were obtained containing milligram levels of chimeric protein exhibiting electrophoretic purity in excess of 98%. Reactivity of the new chimeric proteins with specific human IgG antibodies was preliminarily determined by Western blot. For this purpose, 20 negative sera and 20 positive sera was used. The new chimeric proteins were highly reactive with IgG antibodies contained in the serum of patients suffering from borreliosis. Moreover, no immunoreactivity of chimeric proteins was observed with antibodies in the sera of healthy people. These promising results suggest that new chimeric proteins have the potential to discriminate between positive and negative sera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases―Pathogens, Parasites and People)
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Article
Interleukin-17A Contributes to Bacterial Clearance in a Mouse Model of Streptococcal Toxic Shock-Like Syndrome
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 766; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060766 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 870
Abstract
Streptococcus suis (S. suis), an emerging zoonotic pathogen, can cause streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome (STSLS) in humans with high mortality. STSLS is characterized by high bacterial burden, an inflammatory cytokine storm, multi-organ dysfunction, and ultimately acute host death. Although it has been [...] Read more.
Streptococcus suis (S. suis), an emerging zoonotic pathogen, can cause streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome (STSLS) in humans with high mortality. STSLS is characterized by high bacterial burden, an inflammatory cytokine storm, multi-organ dysfunction, and ultimately acute host death. Although it has been found that a significantly high level of IL-17A was induced in an NLRP3-dependent manner during STSLS development, the role of IL-17A on S. suis STSLS remains to be elucidated. In this study, we found that the epidemic strain SC 19 caused a significantly higher level of IL-17A than the non-epidemic strain P1/7. In addition, higher bacterial burden was observed from SC 19-infected il17a−/− mice than il17a+/+ mice, although acute death, tissue injury and inflammatory cytokines storm were observed in both types of mice. Furthermore, compared with il17a+/+ mice, the level of neutrophils recruitment was lower in il17a−/− mice, and the levels of induced antimicrobial proteins, such as CRAMP, S100A8 and lipocalin-2, were also decreased in il17a−/− mice. In conclusion, this study demonstrated that IL-17A does not contribute to the severe inflammation, although it may play a minor role for bacterial clearance by inducing antimicrobial proteins and promoting neutrophil recruitment during STSLS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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Article
Human Single-Chain Antibodies That Neutralize Elastolytic Activity of Pseudomonas aeruginosa LasB
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060765 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1030
Abstract
LasB (elastase/pseudolysin) is an injurious zinc-metalloprotease secreted by the infecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa. LasB is recognized as the bacterial key virulence factor for establishment of successful infection, acquisition of nutrients, dissemination, tissue invasion, and immune modulation and evasion. LasB digests a variety of [...] Read more.
LasB (elastase/pseudolysin) is an injurious zinc-metalloprotease secreted by the infecting Pseudomonas aeruginosa. LasB is recognized as the bacterial key virulence factor for establishment of successful infection, acquisition of nutrients, dissemination, tissue invasion, and immune modulation and evasion. LasB digests a variety of the host tissue proteins, extracellular matrices, as well as components of both innate and adaptive immune systems, including immunoglobulins, complement proteins, and cytokines. Thus, this enzyme is an attractive target for disarming the P. aeruginosa. This study generated human single-chain antibodies (HuscFvs) that can neutralize the elastolytic activity of native LasB by using phage display technology. Gene sequences coding HuscFvs (huscfvs) isolated from HuscFv-displaying phage clones that bound to enzymatically active LasB were sub-cloned to expression plasmids for large scale production of the recombinant HuscFvs by the huscfv-plasmid transformed Escherichia coli. HuscFvs of two transformed E. coli clones, i.e., HuscFv-N42 and HuscFv-N45, neutralized the LasB elastolytic activities in vitro. Computer simulation by homology modeling and molecular docking demonstrated that antibodies presumptively formed contact interfaces with the LasB residues critical for the catalytic activity. Although the LasB neutralizing mechanisms await elucidation by laboratory experiments, the HuscFvs should be tested further towards the clinical application as a novel adjunctive therapeutics to mitigate severity of the diseases caused by P. aeruginosa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pseudomonas aeruginosa Pathogenesis)
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Article
Epidemiological Aspects of Maternal and Congenital Toxoplasmosis in Panama
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 764; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060764 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1356
Abstract
In Panama, epidemiological data on congenital toxoplasmosis are limited, making it difficult to understand the scope of clinical manifestations in the population and factors that may increase the risk of infection. This study provides insight into the epidemiological situation of maternal and congenital [...] Read more.
In Panama, epidemiological data on congenital toxoplasmosis are limited, making it difficult to understand the scope of clinical manifestations in the population and factors that may increase the risk of infection. This study provides insight into the epidemiological situation of maternal and congenital toxoplasmosis in Panama and contributing information on the burden of this disease in Central America. Blood samples were collected from 2326 pregnant women and used for the detection of anti-T. gondii antibodies. A high seroprevalence (44.41%) was observed for T. gondii infection in pregnant women from different regions of Panama, with an estimated incidence rate of congenital toxoplasmosis of 3.8 cases per 1000 live births. The main risk factors associated with T. gondii infection using bivariate statistical analysis were an elementary level education and maternal age range of 34-45 years. Multivariate statistical analyses revealed that in some regions (San Miguelito, North and West regions), the number of positive cases correlated with the presence of pets, stray dogs and the consumption of poultry. In other regions (East and Metropolitan regions), the absence of pets was considered a protective factor associated with negative cases, while the presence of stray cats and the age range of 25–34 years did not represent any risk in these regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Congenital and Perinatal Infections)
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Article
Investigation of Long COVID Prevalence and Its Relationship to Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 763; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060763 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 40049
Abstract
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients sometimes experience long-term symptoms following resolution of acute disease, including fatigue, brain fog, and rashes. Collectively these have become known as long COVID. Our aim was to first determine long COVID prevalence in 185 randomly surveyed COVID-19 patients [...] Read more.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients sometimes experience long-term symptoms following resolution of acute disease, including fatigue, brain fog, and rashes. Collectively these have become known as long COVID. Our aim was to first determine long COVID prevalence in 185 randomly surveyed COVID-19 patients and, subsequently, to determine if there was an association between occurrence of long COVID symptoms and reactivation of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) in 68 COVID-19 patients recruited from those surveyed. We found the prevalence of long COVID symptoms to be 30.3% (56/185), which included 4 initially asymptomatic COVID-19 patients who later developed long COVID symptoms. Next, we found that 66.7% (20/30) of long COVID subjects versus 10% (2/20) of control subjects in our primary study group were positive for EBV reactivation based on positive titers for EBV early antigen-diffuse (EA-D) IgG or EBV viral capsid antigen (VCA) IgM. The difference was significant (p < 0.001, Fisher’s exact test). A similar ratio was observed in a secondary group of 18 subjects 21–90 days after testing positive for COVID-19, indicating reactivation may occur soon after or concurrently with COVID-19 infection. These findings suggest that many long COVID symptoms may not be a direct result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus but may be the result of COVID-19 inflammation-induced EBV reactivation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection SARS-CoV Infections)
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Article
Metamorphic Protein Folding Encodes Multiple Anti-Candida Mechanisms in XCL1
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 762; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060762 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 899
Abstract
Candida species cause serious infections requiring prolonged and sometimes toxic therapy. Antimicrobial proteins, such as chemokines, hold great interest as potential additions to the small number of available antifungal drugs. Metamorphic proteins reversibly switch between multiple different folded structures. XCL1 is a metamorphic, [...] Read more.
Candida species cause serious infections requiring prolonged and sometimes toxic therapy. Antimicrobial proteins, such as chemokines, hold great interest as potential additions to the small number of available antifungal drugs. Metamorphic proteins reversibly switch between multiple different folded structures. XCL1 is a metamorphic, antimicrobial chemokine that interconverts between the conserved chemokine fold (an α–β monomer) and an alternate fold (an all-β dimer). Previous work has shown that human XCL1 kills C. albicans but has not assessed whether one or both XCL1 folds perform this activity. Here, we use structurally locked engineered XCL1 variants and Candida killing assays, adenylate kinase release assays, and propidium iodide uptake assays to demonstrate that both XCL1 folds kill Candida, but they do so via different mechanisms. Our results suggest that the alternate fold kills via membrane disruption, consistent with previous work, and the chemokine fold does not. XCL1 fold-switching thus provides a mechanism to regulate the XCL1 mode of antifungal killing, which could protect surrounding tissue from damage associated with fungal membrane disruption and could allow XCL1 to overcome candidal resistance by switching folds. This work provides inspiration for the future design of switchable, multifunctional antifungal therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Candida albicans: A Major Fungal Pathogen of Humans)
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Article
Profiling of Intestinal Microbiota in Patients Infected with Respiratory Influenza A and B Viruses
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 761; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060761 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 943
Abstract
Little is known about the association between respiratory viral infections and their impact on intestinal microbiota. Here, we compared the effect of influenza types, A and B, and influenza shedding in patients’ stools on the gut microbiota diversity and composition. Deep sequencing analysis [...] Read more.
Little is known about the association between respiratory viral infections and their impact on intestinal microbiota. Here, we compared the effect of influenza types, A and B, and influenza shedding in patients’ stools on the gut microbiota diversity and composition. Deep sequencing analysis was performed for the V4 region of the 16S rRNA gene. Fecal samples were collected from 38 adults with active respiratory influenza infection and 11 age-matched healthy controls. Influenza infection resulted in variations in intestinal bacterial community composition rather than in overall diversity. Overall, infected patients experienced an increased abundance of Bacteroidetes and a corresponding decrease in Firmicutes. Differential abundance testing illustrated that differences in gut microbiota composition were influenza type-dependent, identifying ten differentially abundant operational taxonomic units (OTUs) between influenza A- and influenza B-infected patients. Notably, virus shedding in fecal samples of some patients had significantly reduced gut bacterial diversity (p = 0.023). Further taxonomic analysis revealed that the abundance of Bacteroides fragilis was significantly higher among shedders compared to non-shedders (p = 0.037). These results provide fundamental evidence of the direct effect of influenza infection on gut microbiota diversity, as reported in patients shedding the virus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Influenza-Host Interactions)
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Article
Development of a Blocking Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Detection of Antibodies against African Swine Fever Virus
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 760; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060760 - 17 Jun 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1519
Abstract
The incursion of African swine fever virus (ASFV) into Eurasia presents a threat to the world’s swine industry. Highly sensitive and specific diagnostic assays are urgently needed for rapid detection during an outbreak, post-outbreak investigation, and disease surveillance. In this study, a highly [...] Read more.
The incursion of African swine fever virus (ASFV) into Eurasia presents a threat to the world’s swine industry. Highly sensitive and specific diagnostic assays are urgently needed for rapid detection during an outbreak, post-outbreak investigation, and disease surveillance. In this study, a highly specific and repeatable blocking ELISA (bELISA) was developed using a recombinant p30 protein as the antigen combined with biotinylated mAb against p30 as the detection antibody. Initial test validation included sera from 810 uninfected animals and 106 animals experimentally inoculated with ASFV or recombinant alphavirus/adenovirus expressing p30. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis of the data calculated an optimal percentage of inhibition (PI) cutoff value of 45.92%, giving a diagnostic sensitivity of 98.11% and diagnostic specificity of 99.42%. The coefficient of variation of an internal quality control serum was 6.81% for between runs, 6.71% for within run, and 6.14% for within plate. A time course study of infected pigs showed that bELISA was able to detect seroconversion as early as 7 days post-inoculation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that bELISA can be used as an alternative serological test for detecting ASFV infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African Swine Fever Virus Infection)
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Article
Whole-Genome Sequencing for Tracing the Genetic Diversity of Brucella abortus and Brucella melitensis Isolated from Livestock in Egypt
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 759; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060759 - 16 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1546
Abstract
Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis that occurs worldwide. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has become a widely accepted molecular typing method for outbreak tracing and genomic epidemiology of brucellosis. Twenty-nine Brucella spp. (eight B. abortus biovar 1 and 21 B. melitensis biovar 3) were [...] Read more.
Brucellosis is a highly contagious zoonosis that occurs worldwide. Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has become a widely accepted molecular typing method for outbreak tracing and genomic epidemiology of brucellosis. Twenty-nine Brucella spp. (eight B. abortus biovar 1 and 21 B. melitensis biovar 3) were isolated from lymph nodes, milk, and fetal abomasal contents of infected cattle, buffaloes, sheep, and goats originating from nine districts in Egypt. The isolates were identified by microbiological methods and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS). Differentiation and genotyping were confirmed using multiplex PCR. Illumina MiSeq® was used to sequence the 29 Brucella isolates. Using MLST typing, ST11 and ST1 were identified among B. melitensis and B. abortus, respectively. Brucella abortus and B. melitensis isolates were divided into two main clusters (clusters 1 and 2) containing two and nine distinct genotypes by core-genome SNP analysis, respectively. The genotypes were irregularly distributed over time and space in the study area. Both Egyptian B. abortus and B. melitensis isolates proved to be genomically unique upon comparison with publicly available sequencing from strains of neighboring Mediterranean, African, and Asian countries. The antimicrobial resistance mechanism caused by mutations in rpoB, gyrA, and gyrB genes associated with rifampicin and ciprofloxacin resistance were identified. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study investigating the epidemiology of Brucella isolates from livestock belonging to different localities in Egypt based on whole genome analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Bacterial Pathogens)
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Article
Bioactive Polyphenolic Compounds Showing Strong Antiviral Activities against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 758; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060758 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 35 | Viewed by 4530
Abstract
Until now, there has been no direct evidence of the effectiveness of repurposed FDA-approved drugs against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Although curcumin, hesperidin, and quercetin have broad spectra of pharmacological properties, their antiviral activities against SARS-CoV-2 remain unclear. Our [...] Read more.
Until now, there has been no direct evidence of the effectiveness of repurposed FDA-approved drugs against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections. Although curcumin, hesperidin, and quercetin have broad spectra of pharmacological properties, their antiviral activities against SARS-CoV-2 remain unclear. Our study aimed to assess the in vitro antiviral activities of curcumin, hesperidin, and quercetin against SARS-CoV-2 compared to hydroxychloroquine and determine their mode of action. In Vero E6 cells, these compounds significantly inhibited virus replication, mainly as virucidal agents primarily indicating their potential activity at the early stage of viral infection. To investigate the mechanism of action of the tested compounds, molecular docking studies were carried out against both SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and main protease (Mpro) receptors. Collectively, the obtained in silico and in vitro findings suggest that the compounds could be promising SARS-CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors. We recommend further preclinical and clinical studies on the studied compounds to find a potential therapeutic targeting COVID-19 in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Emerging Pathogens)
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Article
The Role of Interleukine-10 and Interferon-γ as Potential Markers of the Evolution of African Swine Fever Virus Infection in Wild Boar
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 757; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060757 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1157
Abstract
African swine fever virus (ASFv) is one of the most challenging pathogens to affect both domestic and wild pigs. The disease has now spread to Europe and Asia, causing great damage to the pig industry. Although no commercial vaccine with which to control [...] Read more.
African swine fever virus (ASFv) is one of the most challenging pathogens to affect both domestic and wild pigs. The disease has now spread to Europe and Asia, causing great damage to the pig industry. Although no commercial vaccine with which to control the disease is, as yet, available, some potential vaccine candidates have shown good results in terms of protection. However, little is known about the host immune mechanisms underlying that protection, especially in wild boar, which is the main reservoir of the disease in Europe. Here, we study the role played by two cytokines (IL-10 and IFN-γ) in wild boar orally inoculated with the attenuated vaccine candidate Lv17/WB/Rie1 and challenged with a virulent ASFv genotype II isolate. A group of naïve wild boar challenged with the latter isolate was also established as a control group. Our results showed that both cytokines play a key role in protecting the host against the challenge virus. While high levels of IL-10 in serum may trigger an immune system malfunctioning in challenged animals, the provision of stable levels of this cytokine over time may help to control the disease. This, together with high and timely induction of IFN-γ by the vaccine candidate, could help protect animals from fatal outcomes. Further studies should be conducted in order to support these preliminary results and confirm the role of these two cytokines as potential markers of the evolution of ASFV infection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue African Swine Fever Virus Infection)
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Case Report
Deaths Due to Mixed Infections with Passalurus ambiguus, Eimeria spp. and Cyniclomyces guttulatus in an Industrial Rabbit Farm in Greece
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 756; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060756 - 15 Jun 2021
Viewed by 1878
Abstract
Domestic rabbits are commercially farmed for their meat whilst gastrointestinal diseases can hinder their production. Passalurusambiguus and Eimeria spp. are two common rabbit intestinal parasites that can cause diarrhoea, among other symptoms, and in severe cases, death. C. guttulatus is a commensal [...] Read more.
Domestic rabbits are commercially farmed for their meat whilst gastrointestinal diseases can hinder their production. Passalurusambiguus and Eimeria spp. are two common rabbit intestinal parasites that can cause diarrhoea, among other symptoms, and in severe cases, death. C. guttulatus is a commensal yeast of the rabbits’ stomach that is considered apathogenic but can worsen symptoms in rabbits suffering from coccidiosis. In the present case report, we describe an outbreak of deaths in three different age groups (A: lactating does, B: 58 days old and C: 80 days old) in an industrial rabbit farm in Greece. Symptoms included depression, diarrhoea, inappetence, weight loss, dehydration and ruffled furs. Using a faecal flotation technique, sick rabbits were found to be moderately to heavily infected with P. ambiguus, Eimeria spp. and C. guttulatus. Treatment with fenbendazole and oregano oil combined with hygiene control measures successfully controlled the infections and resolved clinical symptoms. A faecal flotation method or other reliable diagnostic technique should be used regularly in industrial rabbit farms to screen for gastrointestinal parasitic infections. Early diagnosis and control will help to maintain production levels and, therefore, limit financial losses for the farmer while ensuring animal welfare. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Update of Animal Parasitic Diseases)
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Article
Co-Infection of Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis and Chlamydia psittaci Contributes to Salpingitis of Laying Layers and Breeder Ducks
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 755; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060755 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Salpingitis is manifested as hemorrhagic follicular inflammation exudations and peritonitis, leading to reduced egg production and high culling of breeder flocks. From 2018 to 2021, increasing salpingitis during egg peak is threatening the poultry industry post-artificial insemination, both in breeder layers and breeder [...] Read more.
Salpingitis is manifested as hemorrhagic follicular inflammation exudations and peritonitis, leading to reduced egg production and high culling of breeder flocks. From 2018 to 2021, increasing salpingitis during egg peak is threatening the poultry industry post-artificial insemination, both in breeder layers and breeder ducks across China. In our study, Escherichia coli (E. coli), Enterococcus faecalis(E. faecalis) and Chlamydia psittaci (C. psittaci) were isolated and identified from the diseased oviducts using biochemical tests and PCR. To identify and isolate pathogenicity, we inoculated the isolates into laying hens via an intravaginal route. Later, laying hens developed typical salpingitis after receiving the combination of the aforementioned three isolates (1 × 105 IFU/mL of C. psittaci and 1 × 106 CFU/mL of E. faecalis and E. coli, respectively), while less oviduct inflammation was observed in the layers inoculated with the above isolate alone. Furthermore, 56 breeder ducks were divided into seven groups, eight ducks per group. The birds received the combination of three isolates, synergic infection of E. coli and E. faecalis, and C. psittaci alone via vaginal tract, while the remaining ducks were inoculated with physiological saline as the control group. Egg production was monitored daily and lesions of oviducts and follicles were determined post-infection on day 6. Interestingly, typical salpingitis, degenerated follicles and yolk peritonitis were obviously found in the synergic infection of three isolates and the birds inoculated with C. psittaci alone developed hemorrhagic follicles and white exudates in oviducts, while birds with E. faecalis or E. coli alone did not develop typical salpingitis. Finally, higher E. coli loads were determined in the oviducts as compared to E. faecalis and C. psittaci infection. Taken together, the combination of E. coli and E. faecalis, and C. psittaci could induce typical salpingitis and yolk peritonitis both in laying hens and breeder ducks. Secondary infection of E. coli and E. faecalis via artificial insemination is urgently needed for investigation against salpingitis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Animal Chlamydiae: A Concern for Human and Veterinary Medicine)
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Communication
Rapid Inactivation of SARS-CoV-2 Variants by Continuous and Intermittent Irradiation with a Deep-Ultraviolet Light-Emitting Diode (DUV-LED) Device
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 754; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060754 - 15 Jun 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2473
Abstract
More than 1 year has passed since social activities have been restricted due to the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). More recently, novel SARS-CoV-2 variants have been spreading around the world, and there is growing concern that they may [...] Read more.
More than 1 year has passed since social activities have been restricted due to the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). More recently, novel SARS-CoV-2 variants have been spreading around the world, and there is growing concern that they may have higher transmissibility and that the protective efficacy of vaccines may be weaker against them. Immediate measures are needed to reduce human exposure to the virus. In this study, the antiviral efficacy of deep-ultraviolet light-emitting diode (DUV-LED) irradiation (280 ± 5 nm, 3.75 mW/cm2) against three SARS-CoV-2 variants was evaluated. For the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variant strains, irradiation of the virus stocks for 1 s resulted in infectious titer reduction rates of 96.3%, 94.6%, and 91.9%, respectively, and with irradiation for 5 s, the rates increased to 99.9%, 99.9%, and 99.8%, respectively. We also tested the effect of pulsed DUV-LED irradiation (7.5 mW/cm2, duty rate: 50%, frequency: 1 kHz) under the same output conditions as for continuous irradiation and found that the antiviral efficacy of pulsed and continuous irradiation was the same. These findings suggest that by further developing and optimizing the DUV-LED device to increase its output, it may be possible to instantly inactivate SARS-CoV-2 with DUV-LED irradiation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers in Viral Pathogens)
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Article
Chromatic and Morphological Differentiation of Triatoma dimidiata (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) with Land Use Diversity in El Salvador
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 753; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060753 - 14 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1081
Abstract
Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted by insect-vectors in the taxonomic subfamily Triatominae and affects approximately 8,000,000 people world-wide. Current mitigation strategies for Chagas focus on insecticides, infrastructure improvements, and management of symptoms, which are largely [...] Read more.
Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted by insect-vectors in the taxonomic subfamily Triatominae and affects approximately 8,000,000 people world-wide. Current mitigation strategies for Chagas focus on insecticides, infrastructure improvements, and management of symptoms, which are largely unsustainable in underserved communities where the disease is widespread. Transmission patterns of vector-borne diseases are known to adaptively respond to habitat change; as such, the objective of our study was to evaluate how the physical characteristics of Triatoma dimidiata would vary in relation to land use in El Salvador. We hypothesized that the color and morphology of T. dimidiata would change with municipal levels of urban and natural green space, natural green space, and agricultural space, as well as municipal diversity, richness, and evenness of land use types. Our results characterize how T. dimidiata color and morphology vary directly with anthropogenic changes to natural and agricultural environments, which are reflective of a highly adaptable population primed to respond to environmental change. Mitigation studies of Chagas disease should exploit the relationships between anthropogenic land use and T. dimidiata morphology to evaluate how the transmission pattern of T. cruzi and Chagas disease symptomology are impacted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Host-Pathogen Interaction Involved in Trypanosoma cruzi Infection)
Article
Relative COVID-19 Viral Persistence and Antibody Kinetics
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 752; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060752 - 13 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1257
Abstract
A total of 15 RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to our hospital during the in-itial outbreak in Taiwan. The average time of virus clearance was delayed in seven patients, 24.14 ± 4.33 days compared to 10.25 ± 0.56 days post-symptom onset (PSO) [...] Read more.
A total of 15 RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 patients were admitted to our hospital during the in-itial outbreak in Taiwan. The average time of virus clearance was delayed in seven patients, 24.14 ± 4.33 days compared to 10.25 ± 0.56 days post-symptom onset (PSO) in the other eight pa-tients. There was strong antibody response in patients with viral persistence at the pharynx, with peak values of serum antibody 677.2 ± 217.8 vs. 76.70 ± 32.11 in patients with delayed versus rapid virus clearance. The patients with delayed viral clearance had excessive antibodies of compromised quality in an early stage with the delay in peak virus neutralization efficacy, 34.14 ± 7.15 versus 12.50 ± 2.35 days PSO in patients with rapid virus clearance. Weak antibody re-sponse of patients with rapid viral clearance was also effective, with substantial and comparable neutralization efficacy, 35.70 ± 8.78 versus 41.37 ± 11.49 of patients with delayed virus clearance. Human Cytokine 48-Plex Screening of the serial sera samples revealed elevated concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines in a deceased patient with delayed virus clear-ance and severe disease. The levels were comparatively less in the other two patients who suf-fered from severe disease but eventually survived. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Characterization of Antibody Responses to Virus Infections in Humans)
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Hypothesis
Is SARS-CoV-2 Neutralized More Effectively by IgM and IgA than IgG Having the Same Fab Region?
Pathogens 2021, 10(6), 751; https://doi.org/10.3390/pathogens10060751 - 13 Jun 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1211
Abstract
Recently, recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) of three Ig isotypes (IgG, IgA, and IgM) sharing the same anti-spike protein Fab region were developed; we evaluated their neutralizing abilities using a pseudo-typed lentivirus coated with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and ACE2-transfected Crandell–Rees feline kidney cells [...] Read more.
Recently, recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) of three Ig isotypes (IgG, IgA, and IgM) sharing the same anti-spike protein Fab region were developed; we evaluated their neutralizing abilities using a pseudo-typed lentivirus coated with the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and ACE2-transfected Crandell–Rees feline kidney cells as the host cell line. Although each of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 mAbs was able to neutralize the spike-coated lentiviruses, IgM and IgA neutralized the viral particles at 225-fold and 125-fold lower concentrations, respectively, than that of IgG. Our finding that the neutralization ability of Igs with the same Fab domain was dramatically higher for IgM and IgA than IgG mAbs suggests a strategy for developing effective and affordable antibody therapies for COVID-19. The efficient neutralization conferred by IgM and IgA mAbs can be explained by their capacity to bind multiple virions. While several IgG mAbs have been approved as therapeutics by the FDA, there are currently no IgM or IgA mAbs available. We suggest that mAbs with multiple antigen-binding sites such as IgM and IgA could be developed as the new generation of therapy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers of Vaccines and Therapeutic Developments)
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