Biochemistry


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0 Q&A 4778 Views Feb 5, 2022

Coronaviruses are important human pathogens, among which the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent for the COVID-19 pandemic. To combat the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, there is a pressing need for antivirals, especially broad-spectrum antivirals that are active against all seven human coronaviruses (HCoVs). For this reason, we are interested in developing antiviral assays to expedite the drug discovery process. Here, we provide the detailed protocol for the cytopathic effect (CPE) assay and the plaque assay for human coronaviruses 229E (HCoV-229E), HCoV-OC43, and HCoV-NL63, to identify novel antivirals against HCoVs. Neutral red was used in the CPE assay, as it is relatively inexpensive and more sensitive than other reagents. Multiple parameters including multiplicity of infection, incubation time and temperature, and staining conditions have been optimized for CPE and plaque assays for HCoV-229E in MRC-5, Huh-7, and RD cell lines; HCoV-OC43 in RD, MRC-5, and BSC-1 cell lines, and HCoV-NL63 in Vero E6, Huh-7, MRC-5, and RD cell lines. Both CPE and plaque assays have been calibrated with the positive control compounds remdesivir and GC-376. Both CPE and plaque assays have high sensitivity, excellent reproducibility, and are cost-effective. The protocols described herein can be used as surrogate assays in the biosafety level 2 facility to identify entry inhibitors and protease inhibitors for SARS-CoV-2, as HCoV-NL63 also uses ACE2 as the receptor for cell entry, and the main proteases of HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2 are highly conserved. In addition, these assays can also be used as secondary assays to profile the broad-spectrum antiviral activity of existing SARS-CoV-2 drug candidates.


1 Q&A 7385 Views May 5, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic requires mass screening to identify those infected for isolation and quarantine. Individually screening large populations for the novel pathogen, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is costly and requires a lot of resources. Sample pooling methods improve the efficiency of mass screening and consume less reagents by increasing the capacity of testing and reducing the number of experiments performed, and are therefore especially suitable for under-developed countries with limited resources. Here, we propose a simple, reliable pooling strategy for COVID-19 testing using clinical nasopharyngeal (NP) and/or oropharyngeal (OP) swabs. The strategy includes the pooling of 10 NP/OP swabs for extraction and subsequent testing via quantitative real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), and may also be applied to the screening of other pathogens.

0 Q&A 2450 Views Nov 20, 2020
While different giant viruses’ purification protocols are available, they are not fully described and they use sucrose gradient that does not reach an equilibrium. Here, we report a protocol for the purification of members of the Mimiviridae family virions resulting from Acanthamoeaba castellanii infections. Viruses are harvested after cell lysis and purified through a high density CsCl gradient to optimize the isolation of the virus from the cell debris or other potential contaminants. Due to the large size of the virion capsids, reaching half a micrometer diameter, the quality of the process can be monitored by light microscopy. The resulting purified particles can then be used to perform new infections, DNA extraction, structural studies, sugar composition analyses, sub-compartment characterization or proteomic experiments.



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