To support urgent research to combat the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the editorial teams at Nature Research have curated a collection of relevant articles. Our collection includes research into the basic biology of coronavirus infection, its detection, treatment and evolution, research into the epidemiology of emerging viral diseases, and our coverage of current events. The articles will remain free to access for as long as the outbreak remains a public health emergency of international concern.
Latest SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 research
Safety and immunogenicity of the SARS-CoV-2 BNT162b1 mRNA vaccine in younger and older Chinese adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind phase 1 study
Phase 1 trial results of the messenger RNA vaccine candidate BNT162b1, which encodes the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, show safety and elicitation of antibody and T cell responses in both younger and older Chinese adults.
Leveraging community mortality indicators to infer COVID-19 mortality and transmission dynamics in Damascus, Syria
Reported COVID-19 mortality rates have been relatively low in Syria, but there has been concern about overwhelmed health systems. Here, the authors use community mortality indicators and estimate that <3% of COVID-19 deaths in Damascus were reported as of 2 September 2020.
Transcriptomic and proteomic profiling of blood samples from individuals with COVID-19 reveals immune cell and hematopoietic progenitor cell alterations that are differentially associated with disease severity.
A retrospective analysis of data from the Israeli Ministry of Health collected between 28 August 2020 and 24 February 2021 documents the real-life effect of a national vaccination campaign on the pandemic dynamics.
Modeling vaccination rollouts, SARS-CoV-2 variants and the requirement for non-pharmaceutical interventions in Italy
Integration of variables to account for different speeds of vaccination rollouts and transmission dynamics of new SARS-CoV-2 strains into the SIDARTHE-V model suggests that maintaining non-pharmaceutical interventions during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in Italy is essential for minimizing mortality in Italy into 2022.
While vaccines protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection are approved, currently, there are no drugs suitable for high-risk exposure use against SARS-CoV-2. Here, Rosenke et al. provide evidence that orally delivered MK-4482, a nucleoside analog, inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication in the Syrian hamster model.
Multi-omics profiling of effects of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV on A549, a lung-derived human cell line, produces a dataset enabling identification of common and virus-specific mechanisms of infection.
Genetic evidence for the association between COVID-19 epidemic severity and timing of non-pharmaceutical interventions
Estimating the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions for COVID-19 is challenging, partly due to variations in testing. Here, the authors use viral sequence data as an alternative means of inferring intervention effects, and show that delays in implementation resulted in more severe epidemics.
Actionable druggable genome-wide Mendelian randomization identifies repurposing opportunities for COVID-19
Large-scale Mendelian randomization and colocalization analyses using gene expression and soluble protein data for 1,263 actionable druggable genes, which encode protein targets for approved drugs or drugs in clinical development, identify IFNAR2 and ACE2 as the most promising therapeutic targets for early management of COVID-19.
GCG inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication by disrupting the liquid phase condensation of its nucleocapsid protein
Coronavirus nucleocapsid (N) protein is important for viral genome packaging and virion assembly. Here the authors show that natural chemical (-)-gallocatechin gallate (GCG) disrupts the liquid–liquid phase separation of N and inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication.
Seroprevalence and correlates of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies from a population-based study in Bonn, Germany
Population-based studies of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence are needed to understand levels of immunity and antibody dynamics. Here, the authors show that the seroprevalence in Bonn, Germany was low (<1%) following the first epidemic wave, and that neutralising antibodies waned within a few months.
IL-33 expression in response to SARS-CoV-2 correlates with seropositivity in COVID-19 convalescent individuals
Our understanding of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection is still incomplete. Here, the authors find that IL-33, produced during immune recall potentially by CD14+ monocytes, correlates with CD4+ T cell activation, anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titer, and disease severity in a cohort of convalescent individuals professionally exposed to the virus.
Lungs from patients who died from COVID-19 show atypical fused cells, the formation of which is mediated by the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and drugs that inhibit TMEM16F can prevent spike-induced syncytia formation.
T cell assays differentiate clinical and subclinical SARS-CoV-2 infections from cross-reactive antiviral responses
Understanding the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is dependent on being able to distinguish COVID-19 immune responses from cross-reactive immune responses to other coronaviruses. Here the authors show that choice of antigens and whether an ICS, ELISPOT or T cell proliferation assay is used has a major effect on this discriminatory ability.
Virus-specific antibody levels after a single dose of the BNT162b2 vaccine in individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 are similar to levels after two doses of the vaccine in infection-naive individuals.
Systems serology detects functionally distinct coronavirus antibody features in children and elderly
Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 are critical in the immune response to infection, but the potential cross-reactivity to other human corona viruses is poorly appreciated. Here the authors apply a systems based approach to characterise the antibody response in pre-pandemic cohorts and assess heterotypic reactivity to SARS-CoV-2.
The essential SARS-CoV-2 3CL protease is of interest as a drug target. Here, the authors identify three 3CL inhibitors and characterize them both in vitro and with a cell-based assay, and they also present the inhibitor-bound 3CL crystal structures, which may allow for the design of improved compounds.
Cross-neutralization assays of early variants and the 501Y.V2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 show that plasma from individuals infected with 501Y.V2 effectively neutralizes all variants, indicating that a vaccine that targets 501Y.V2 may also be effective against other SARS-CoV-2 variants.
Imaging mass cytometry of the human lung reveals the cellular composition and spatial architecture during COVID-19 and other acute injuries, enabling the characterization of lung pathophysiology from structural, immunological and clinical perspectives.
Breakthrough infections of SARS-CoV-2 occurring 12 or more days after the first dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine were associated with lower viral loads than those found in unvaccinated individuals, suggesting that the vaccine might reduce infectiousness.
Serological detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 can help establish rates of seroconversion. Here the authors develop a red cell agglutination test to detect antibodies against the receptor binding domain for distribution free of charge to qualified research groups.
Implications of the school-household network structure on SARS-CoV-2 transmission under school reopening strategies in England
Many countries have closed schools as part of their COVID-19 response. Here, the authors model SARS-CoV-2 transmission on a network of schools and households in England, and find that risk of transmission between schools is lower if primary schools are open than if secondary schools are open.
Sera from convalescent individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 and from individuals vaccinated with BNT162b2 have reduced ability to neutralize SARS-CoV-2 variants B1.1.7 and B.1.351, but antibody potency against the variants increases after two vaccine doses.
COVID-19 has caused many healthcare systems to become overwhelmed, potentially impacting patient care. Here, the authors show that COVID-19-related in-hospital mortality rates in Israel increased in periods of moderate or high hospital load, independent of patient characteristics.
N-protein presents early in blood, dried blood and saliva during asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection
Here the authors develop a single molecule array (Simoa) immunoassay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein in venous and dried capillary blood as well as saliva. The assay shows good performance in symptomatic, asymptomatic, and pre-symptomatic PCR+ individuals.
News and Comment
Letter to the Editor
Letter to the Editor
Analysis reveals three ways to boost green investment and achieve a resilient recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Climate change can both facilitate zoonotic spillovers and have an effect on transmission chains. These effects, alongside human behavior and awareness, need to be integrated in pandemic forecasting models.
Taiwan has leveraged its experience in containing the 2003 SARS outbreak by responding to the COVID-19 crisis with rapid measures, early deployment, prudent actions and transparency. Collectively, these actions have created the ‘Taiwan model’ for combating COVID-19.
Policymakers need insight from humanities and social sciences to tackle the pandemic.
Reviews and Perspectives
Examination of the vaccine strategies and technical platforms used for the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of those used for previous emerging and reemerging infectious diseases and pandemics can offer critical lessons to prepare for future public health emergencies.
A comprehensive review of the current literature on post-acute COVID-19, also referred to as long COVID, its pathophysiology and its organ-specific sequelae highlights the need for multidisciplinary follow-up and care of COVID-19 survivors.
In this Review, Leung provides an overview of the transmissibility and modes of transmission of respiratory viruses, the viral, host and environmental determinants of transmission, and common non-pharmaceutical interventions for mitigating respiratory virus transmission. She also discusses the recent controversies over aerosol transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19.
Global coordination of public health efforts will be needed to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for future public health emergencies.
All countries worldwide have signed up to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and committed to the objective of achieving universal health coverage. Getting there will require understanding how packages of essential health services can be developed in resource-constrained settings and how experts and the public can make decisions about which health services should be provided free of charge.
Recent advances in computational and laboratory sciences are helping researchers to address large-scale sustained emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and constantly adapt to the emergence of new questions, data and findings in order to synthesize real-time evidence that will inform policy decisions.
A timeline of the major scientific discoveries during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic showcases the collaborative efforts that enabled the key aspects of the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 to be reported at unprecedented speed.
This Review provides mechanistic and clinical insights into COVID-19 in the context of liver disease, discussing the potential underlying biology and clinical features of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with pre-existing liver conditions. The management of these patients is also discussed, including SARS-CoV-2 vaccination strategies.
This Review highlights how obesity and impaired metabolic health increase complications and mortality in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and summarizes the consequences of infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 for organ function. In addition, there is a discussion on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the obesity pandemic.
Although COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and its causative agent, SARS-CoV-2, principally infects the respiratory tract, extrapulmonary manifestations are observed. This Perspective explores the gastrointestinal symptoms associated with COVID-19 and the putative underlying mechanisms, discussing experimental evidence on SARS-COV-2 gastrointestinal infection and the potential for faecal–oral transmission.