SARS-CoV-2, like other coronaviruses, builds a membrane-bound replication organelle (RO) to enable RNA replication1. The SARS-CoV-2 RO is composed of double membrane vesicles (DMVs) tethered to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) by thin membrane connectors2, but the viral proteins and the host factors involved are currently unknown. Here we identify the viral non-structural proteins (NSPs) that generate the SARS-CoV-2 RO. NSP3 and NSP4 generate the DMVs while NSP6, through oligomerization and an amphipathic helix, zippers ER membranes and establishes the connectors. The NSP6ΔSGF mutant, which arose independently in the α, β, γ, η, ι, and λ variants of SARS-CoV-2, behaves as a gain-of-function mutant with a higher ER-zippering activity. We identified three main roles for NSP6: to act as a filter in RO-ER communication allowing lipid flow but restricting access of ER luminal proteins to the DMVs, to position and organize DMV clusters, and to mediate contact with lipid droplets (LDs) via the LD-tethering complex DFCP1-Rab18. NSP6 thus acts as an organizer of DMV clusters and can provide a selective track to refurbish them with LD-derived lipids. Importantly, both properly formed NSP6 connectors and LDs are required for SARS-CoV-2 replication. Our findings, uncovering the biological activity of NSP6 of SARS-CoV-2 and of other coronaviruses, have the potential to fuel the search for broad antiviral agents.

10th June 2022 • comment

By the first week of June, Brazil had reached almost 17 million cases and a little more than 472,000 deaths. A notable demographic change has been observed within this period, in which young and middle-aged adults representing an increasing share of patients in wards and intensive care units (ICU).

22nd July 2021 • comment

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic triggered substantial economic and social disruptions. Mitigation policies varied across countries based on resources, political conditions, and human behavior. In the absence of widespread vaccination able to induce herd immunity, strategies to coexist with the virus while minimizing risks of surges are paramount, which should work in parallel with reopening societies. 

7th July 2021 • comment

SARS-CoV-2 has undergone progressive change with variants conferring advantage rapidly becoming dominant lineages e.g. B.1.617. With apparent increased transmissibility variant B.1.617.2 has contributed to the current wave of infection ravaging the Indian subcontinent and has been designated a variant of concern in the UK. 

29th June 2021 • comment

In this study, we analyze the perception of Brazilians about COVID-19 in 12 cities in the country. Issues about the severity and dangers of the disease, sources of information and reliability, checking information, attitudes, precautions and priorities for coping and trusting relationships in science were addressed. 

18th June 2021 • comment

The northern state of Amazonas is among the regions in Brazil most heavily affected by the COVID-19 epidemic and has experienced two exponentially growing waves, in early and late 2020. Through a genomic epidemiology study based on 250 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes from different Amazonas municipalities sampled between March 2020 and January 2021, we reveal that the first exponential growth phase was driven mostly by the dissemination of lineage B.1.195, which was gradually replaced by lineage B.1.1.28 between May and June 2020. 

25th May 2021 • comment

Critically ill 2019 coronavirus disease patients (COVID-19) under invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV) are 10- to 40-times more likely to die than the general population. Although progression from mild to severe COVID-19 has been associated with hypoxia, uncontrolled inflammation and coagulopathy, the mechanisms involved in progression to severity are poorly understood. By analyzing the virome from tracheal aspirates (TA) of 25 COVID-19 patients under IMV, we found higher levels and differential expression of human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) genes compared to nasopharyngeal swabs from mild cases and TA from non-COVID patients. Proteomic analysis and RT-PCR confirmed the presence of HERV-K in these patients.   

21st May 2021 • comment

Abstract SARS-CoV-2 VOCs immune evasion is mainly due to lower cross-reactivity from previously elicited class I/II neutralizing antibodies, while increased affinity to hACE2 plays a minor role. The affinity between antibodies and VOC is impacted by remodeling of the electrostatic surface potential of the Spike RBDs. P.3 variant is a putative VOC.

14th May 2021 • comment

Current approaches of drug repurposing against COVID-19 have not proven overwhelmingly successful and the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to cause major global mortality. SARS-CoV-2 nsp12, its RNA polymerase, shares homology in the nucleotide uptake channel with the HCV orthologue enzyme NS5B. Besides, HCV enzyme NS5A has pleiotropic activities, such as RNA binding, that are shared with various SARS-CoV-2 proteins. 

21st April 2021 • comment

Coronaviruses can cause a diverse array of clinical manifestations, from fever with symptoms of the common cold to highly lethal Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus discovered in Hubei province, China, at the end of 2019, became known worldwide for causing COVID-19.

1st April 2021 • comment

The dynamics underlying severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reinfection remain poorly understood. We identified a small cluster of patients in Brazil who experienced 2 episodes of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in March and late May 2020. In the first episode, patients manifested an enhanced innate response compared with healthy persons, but neutralizing humoral immunity was not fully achieved. The second episode was associated with different SARS-CoV-2 strains, higher viral loads, and clinical symptoms. Our finding that persons with mild COVID-19 may have controlled SARS-CoV-2 replication without developing detectable humoral immunity suggests that reinfection is more frequent than supposed, but this hypothesis is not well documented.

1st April 2021 • comment

The global spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern underscore an urgent need of simple deployed molecular tools that can differentiate these lineages. Several tools and protocols have been shared since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they need to be timely adapted to cope with SARS-CoV-2 evolution. 

25th March 2021 • comment

The dynamics underlying severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reinfection remains poorly understood. We added to the registered case reports of reinfection in USA, Belgium/Netherlands, Ecuador and Hong Kong, a small cluster of individuals with two episodes of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Virus genomic analysis and the host immune response were used to characterize this group.

8th February 2021 • comment

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was initially described as a viral infection of the respiratory tract. It is now known, however, that many other biological systems are affected, including the central nervous system (CNS). Neurological manifestations such as stroke, encephalitis, and psychiatric conditions have been reported in COVID-19 patients, but its neurotropic potential is still debated. Here, we investigate the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the brain from an infant patient deceased from COVID-19.  FULL TEXT

2nd October 2020 • comment

Psycho-Neuroendocrine-Immune Interactions in COVID-19: Potential Impacts on Mental Health

by Ícaro Raony, Camila Saggioro de Figueiredo, Pablo Pandolfo, Elizabeth Giestal-de-Araujo, Priscilla Oliveira-Silva Bomfim, Wilson Savino

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The impacts of the disease may be beyond the respiratory system, also affecting mental health. Several factors may be involved in the association between COVID-19 and psychiatric outcomes, such as fear inherent in the pandemic, adverse effects of treatments, as well as financial stress, and social isolation. 

4th July 2020 • comment