Special Issue "Ecology, Evolution and Epidemiology of Coronaviruses"

A special issue of Life (ISSN 2075-1729). This special issue belongs to the section "Epidemiology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Theodoros Rampias
Website
Guest Editor
Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens (BRFAA), 11741 Athens, Greece
Interests: mechanisms promoting genome integrity; epigenetic regulation; gene expression; translation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Apostolos Beloukas
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of West Attica, 12243 Egaleo, Greece
Interests: viruses; molecular epidemiology; viral infections; viruses’ evolution
Dr. Pavlos Pavlidis
Website
Guest Editor
Computational BioMedicine Laboratory (CBML) at the Institute of Computer Science (ICS), FORTH, 70013 Crete, Greece
Interests: genome evolution; evolution of gene regulatory networks; population genetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Coronaviruses (CoVs) are a class of genetic diverse viruses found in a wide range of host species. CoVs have gained a lot of attention worldwide as in the last two decades, the world has experienced three major outbreaks due to them. Many CoVs infect humans (human Coronoviruses, hCoVs), birds and other mammals, affecting the liver, intestines, as well as the neural and respiratory system. In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak by a new human coronavirus (named SARS-CoV-2) as a public health emergency of international concern.

The main goal of this special issue is to provide an integrative view of the current state of knowledge about the evolution, the ecology and the epidemiology for this group of RNA viruses. In particular, contributions that provide novel findings in the areas of genomic and transcriptome characterization, sequence variation and evolutionary events, phylogenetic and/or phylogeographic analysis, viral dispersal, cross-species transmission, recombination events, molecular interactions with host cell, immune response, population genetics, outbreaks and ecological adaptations are of great interest. Reviews that highlight the new findings in the above areas will also be welcome.

Dr. Theodoros Rampias
Dr. Apostolos Beloukas
Dr. Pavlos Pavlidis
Guest Editors


Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Life is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Genomic and transcriptome analysis
  • Sequence variation
  • Phylogenetic and/or phylogeographic analysis
  • Cross species transmission
  • Molecular interactions with host cell
  • Immune response
  • Population genetics
  • Outbreaks
  • Ecological adaptations

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication
Seroprevalence of Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among the Personnel and Students of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece: A Preliminary Report
Life 2020, 10(9), 214; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10090214 - 21 Sep 2020
Abstract
Due to early implementation of public health measures, Greece had low number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 severe incidents in hospitalized patients. The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (ΝΚUA), especially its health-care/medical personnel, has been actively involved in the first line of [...] Read more.
Due to early implementation of public health measures, Greece had low number of SARS-CoV-2 infections and COVID-19 severe incidents in hospitalized patients. The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (ΝΚUA), especially its health-care/medical personnel, has been actively involved in the first line of state responses to COVID-19. To estimate the prevalence of antibodies (Igs) against SARS-CoV-2 among NKUA members, we designed a five consecutive monthly serosurvey among randomly selected NKUA consenting volunteers. Here, we present the results from the first 2500 plasma samples collected during June–July 2020. Twenty-five donors were tested positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 Igs; thus, the overall seroprevalence was 1.00%. The weighted overall seroprevalence was 0.93% (95% CI: 0.27, 2.09) and varied between males [1.05% (95% CI: 0.18, 2.92)] and females [0.84% (95% CI: 0.13, 2.49)], age-groups and different categories (higher in participants from the School of Health Sciences and in scientific affiliates/faculty members/laboratory assistants), but no statistical differences were detected. Although focused on the specific population of NKUA members, our study shows that the prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 Igs for the period June–July 2020 remained low and provides knowledge of public health importance for the NKUA members. Given that approximately one in three infections was asymptomatic, continuous monitoring of the progression of the pandemic by assessing Ig seroprevalence is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Evolution and Epidemiology of Coronaviruses)
Open AccessArticle
Molecular Epidemiology Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 Strains Circulating in Romania during the First Months of the Pandemic
Life 2020, 10(8), 152; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080152 - 14 Aug 2020
Abstract
BACKGROUND: The spread of SARS-CoV-2 generated an unprecedented global public health crisis. Soon after Asia, Europe was seriously affected. Many countries, including Romania, adopted lockdown measures to limit the outbreak. AIM: We performed a molecular epidemiology analysis of SARS-CoV-2 viral strains circulating in [...] Read more.
BACKGROUND: The spread of SARS-CoV-2 generated an unprecedented global public health crisis. Soon after Asia, Europe was seriously affected. Many countries, including Romania, adopted lockdown measures to limit the outbreak. AIM: We performed a molecular epidemiology analysis of SARS-CoV-2 viral strains circulating in Romania during the first two months of the epidemic in order to detect mutation profiles and phylogenetic relatedness. METHODS: Respiratory samples were directly used for shotgun sequencing. RESULTS: All Romanian sequences belonged to lineage B, with a different subtype distribution between northern and southern regions (subtype B.1.5 and B.1.1). Phylogenetic analysis suggested that the Romanian epidemic started with multiple introduction events from other European countries followed by local transmission. Phylogenetic links between northern Romania and Spain, Austria, Scotland and Russia were observed, as well as between southern Romania and Switzerland, Italy, France and Turkey. One viral strain presented a previously unreported mutation in the Nsp2 gene, namely K489E. Epidemiologically-defined clusters displayed specific mutations, suggesting molecular signatures for strains coming from areas that were isolated during the lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: Romanian epidemic was initiated by multiple introductions from European countries followed by local transmissions. Different subtype distribution between northern and southern Romania was observed after two months of the pandemic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Evolution and Epidemiology of Coronaviruses)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Focus on the Nowadays Potential Antiviral Strategies in Early Phase of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19): A Narrative Review
Life 2020, 10(8), 146; https://doi.org/10.3390/life10080146 - 09 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Background: The outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the related disease (COVID-19) has rapidly spread to a pandemic proportion, increasing the demands on health systems for the containment and management of COVID-19. Nowadays, one of the [...] Read more.
Background: The outbreak of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the related disease (COVID-19) has rapidly spread to a pandemic proportion, increasing the demands on health systems for the containment and management of COVID-19. Nowadays, one of the critical issues still to be pointed out regards COVID-19 treatment regimens and timing: which drug, in which phase, for how long? Methods: Our narrative review, developed using MEDLINE and EMBASE, summarizes the main evidences in favor or against the current proposed treatment regimens for COVID-19, with a particular focus on antiviral agents. Results: Although many agents have been proposed as possible treatment, to date, any of the potential drugs against SARS-CoV-2 has shown to be safe and effective for treating COVID-19. Despite the lack of definitive evidence, remdesivir remains the only antiviral with encouraging effects in hospitalized patients with COVID-19. Conclusions: In such a complex moment of global health emergency, it is hard to demand scientific evidence. Nevertheless, randomized clinical trials aiming to identify effective and safe drugs against SARS-CoV-2 infection are urgently needed in order to confirm or reject the currently available evidence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecology, Evolution and Epidemiology of Coronaviruses)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: To be decided 
Correspondence Author: Theodoros Rampias (Biomedical Research Foundation of the Academy of Athens, Greece)

Title: To be decided
Correspondence Author:Pavlos Pavlidis (FORTH, Greece)

Title: To be decided
Correspondence Author:Paola Stefanelli (Italian Ministry of Health, Italy)

Title: To be decided
Correspondence Author: Jose Quinteros (University of Melbourne, Australia)

Title: To be decided
Correspondence Author: Anwar Hossain (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)

Title: To be decided
Correspondence Author: Timokratis Karamitros (Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Greece)

Title: Low seroprevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 among members of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens: a preliminary report
Authors: Dimitrios Paraskevis
Affiliation: National and Kapodistrian University of Athens

Title: Strategies for maximizing cost-effectiveness of COVID-19 diagnosis and screening
Authors: Mariana Ulinici; Serghei Covantev; Alexander Mathioudakis; Apostolos Beloukas*; Alexandru Corlateanu*
Affiliation: Department of Biomedical Sciences,University of West Attica, 12243 Athens, Greece

Title: Animal Coronavirus and SARS-COV-2 in animals, what we actually know?
Authors: BONILAURI PAOLO
Affiliation: Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell'Emilia Romagna
Abstract: Coronaviruses (Cov) are a well-known group of viruses in veterinary medicine. We currently know four genera of Coronavirus, alfa, beta, gamma and delta. Wild, farmed and pet animals are infected with Covs belonging to all four genera. Seven Human respiratory coronaviruses have still been identified, four of which cause upper respiratory tract diseases, specifically, the common cold, and the last three that have emerged cause ‎severe acute respiratory syndromes, SARS-CoV-1, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2. In this review we briefly describe animal coronaviruses and what we actually know about SARS-CoV-2 infection in farm and domestic animals.

Title: Domain Analysis of the Spike Proteins of Coronaviruses
Authors: Pantelis Bagos
Affiliation: Laboratory of Molecular and Computational Biology and Genetics, University of Thessaly, Lamia, Greece.

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