Skip to main content

Genomics & transcriptomics data

Published Data

Data available on the European COVID-19 Data Portal

Published raw and assembled sequences related to the COVID-19 outbreak, including outbreak isolates and records relating to coronavirus biology:

Data available from research groups in Sweden

The list below is curated manually and as such may not be exhaustive. If you would like to see your dataset here or correct information about your dataset, please get in touch with us. Projects sharing data where at least one author has an affiliation with a Swedish research institute are included. Only projects which openly share data or analysis code that has re-use potential are included.

Last updated: 2022-05-08

Project Last updated Available data
Huffman JE, Butler-Laporte G, Khan A, Pairo-Castineira E, Drivas TG, [...], Zeberg H
Nat Genet
The OAS1/2/3 cluster has been identified as a risk locus for severe COVID-19 among individuals of European ancestry, with a protective haplotype of approximately 75 kilobases (kb) derived from Neanderthals in the chromosomal region 12q24.13. This haplotype contains a splice variant of OAS1, which occurs in people of African ancestry independently of gene flow from Neanderthals. Using trans-ancestry fine-mapping approaches in 20,779 hospitalized cases, we demonstrate that this splice variant is likely to be the SNP responsible for the association at this locus, thus strongly implicating OAS1 as an effector gene influencing COVID-19 severity.
Nakanishi T, Pigazzini S, Degenhardt F, Cordioli M, Butler-Laporte G, [...], Ganna A
J Clin Invest 131 (23)
Abstract Background There is considerable variability in COVID-19 outcomes amongst younger adults—and some of this variation may be due to genetic predisposition. We characterized the clinical implications of the major genetic risk factor for COVID-19 severity, and its age-dependent effect, using individual-level data in a large international multi-centre consortium. Method The major common COVID-19 genetic risk factor is a chromosome 3 locus, tagged by the marker rs10490770. We combined individual level data for 13,424 COVID-19 positive patients (N=6,689 hospitalized) from 17 cohorts in nine countries to assess the association of this genetic marker with mortality, COVID-19-related complications and laboratory values. We next examined if the magnitude of these associations varied by age and were independent from known clinical COVID-19 risk factors. Findings We found that rs10490770 risk allele carriers experienced an increased risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1·4, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1·2–1·6) and COVID-19 related mortality (HR 1·5, 95%CI 1·3–1·8). Risk allele carriers had increased odds of several COVID-19 complications: severe respiratory failure (odds ratio [OR] 2·0, 95%CI 1·6-2·6), venous thromboembolism (OR 1·7, 95%CI 1·2-2·4), and hepatic injury (OR 1·6, 95%CI 1·2-2·0). Risk allele carriers ≤ 60 years had higher odds of death or severe respiratory failure (OR 2·6, 95%CI 1·8-3·9) compared to those > 60 years OR 1·5 (95%CI 1·3-1·9, interaction p-value=0·04). Amongst individuals ≤ 60 years who died or experienced severe respiratory COVID-19 outcome, we found that 31·8% (95%CI 27·6-36·2) were risk variant carriers, compared to 13·9% (95%CI 12·6-15·2%) of those not experiencing these outcomes. Prediction of death or severe respiratory failure among those ≤ 60 years improved when including the risk allele (AUC 0·82 vs 0·84, p=0·016) and the prediction ability of rs10490770 risk allele was similar to, or better than, most established clinical risk factors. Interpretation The major common COVID-19 risk locus on chromosome 3 is associated with increased risks of morbidity and mortality—and these are more pronounced amongst individuals ≤ 60 years. The effect on COVID-19 severity was similar to, or larger than most established risk factors, suggesting potential implications for clinical risk management.
2021-12-01 Procedures for accessing data can be found here (data cannot be publicly shared)
Perez-Valera M, Martinez-Canton M, Gallego-Selles A, Galván-Alvarez V, Gelabert-Rebato M, [...], Calbet JAL
Scand J Med Sci Sports 31 (12) 2249-2258
The study aimed to determine the levels of skeletal muscle angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2, the SARS-CoV-2 receptor) protein expression in men and women and assess whether ACE2 expression in skeletal muscle is associated with cardiorespiratory fitness and adiposity. The level of ACE2 in vastus lateralis muscle biopsies collected in previous studies from 170 men (age: 19-65 years, weight: 56-137 kg, BMI: 23-44) and 69 women (age: 18-55 years, weight: 41-126 kg, BMI: 22-39) was analyzed in duplicate by western blot. VO2 max was determined by ergospirometry and body composition by DXA. ACE2 protein expression was 1.8-fold higher in women than men (p = 0.001, n = 239). This sex difference disappeared after accounting for the percentage of body fat (fat %), VO2 max per kg of legs lean mass (VO2 max-LLM) and age (p = 0.47). Multiple regression analysis showed that the fat % (β = 0.47) is the main predictor of the variability in ACE2 protein expression in skeletal muscle, explaining 5.2% of the variance. VO2 max-LLM had also predictive value (β = 0.09). There was a significant fat % by VO2 max-LLM interaction, such that for subjects with low fat %, VO2 max-LLM was positively associated with ACE2 expression while as fat % increased the slope of the positive association between VO2 max-LLM and ACE2 was reduced. In conclusion, women express higher amounts of ACE2 in their skeletal muscles than men. This sexual dimorphism is mainly explained by sex differences in fat % and cardiorespiratory fitness. The percentage of body fat is the main predictor of the variability in ACE2 protein expression in human skeletal muscle.
2021-12-00 De-identified participant data can be requested from the senior author, but data cannot be publicly shared
Sheward DJ, Mandolesi M, Urgard E, Kim C, Hanke L, [...], Murrell B
Cell Rep Med 2 (11) 100450
Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) with resistance to neutralizing antibodies are threatening to undermine vaccine efficacy. Vaccination and infection have led to widespread humoral immunity against the pandemic founder (Wu-Hu-1). Against this background, it is critical to assess the outcomes of subsequent immunization with variant antigens. It is not yet clear whether heterotypic boosts would be compromised by original antigenic sin, where pre-existing responses to a prior variant dampen responses to a new one, or whether the memory B cell repertoire would bridge the gap between Wu-Hu-1 and VOCs. We show, in macaques immunized with Wu-Hu-1 spike, that a single dose of adjuvanted beta variant receptor binding domain (RBD) protein broadens neutralizing antibody responses to heterologous VOCs. Passive transfer of plasma sampled after Wu-Hu-1 spike immunization only partially protects K18-hACE2 mice from lethal challenge with a beta variant isolate, whereas plasma sampled following heterotypic RBD boost protects completely against disease.
2021-11-16 Code used for analyses
Carapito R, Li R, Helms J, Carapito C, Gujja S, [...], Bahram S
Sci. Transl. Med. eabj7521
[Figure: see text].
Martin DP, Weaver S, Tegally H, San JE, Shank SD, [...], Kosakovsky Pond SL
The independent emergence late in 2020 of the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 lineages of SARS-CoV-2 prompted renewed concerns about the evolutionary capacity of this virus to overcome public health interventions and rising population immunity. Here, by examining patterns of synonymous and non-synonymous mutations that have accumulated in SARS-CoV-2 genomes since the pandemic began, we find that the emergence of these three "501Y lineages" coincided with a major global shift in the selective forces acting on various SARS-CoV-2 genes. Following their emergence, the adaptive evolution of 501Y lineage viruses has involved repeated selectively favored convergent mutations at 35 genome sites, mutations we refer to as the 501Y meta-signature. The ongoing convergence of viruses in many other lineages on this meta-signature suggests that it includes multiple mutation combinations capable of promoting the persistence of diverse SARS-CoV-2 lineages in the face of mounting host immune recognition.
O'Toole A, Hill V
Wellcome Open Res 6 121
Late in 2020, two genetically-distinct clusters of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with mutations of biological concern were reported, one in the United Kingdom and one in South Africa. Using a combination of data from routine surveillance, genomic sequencing and international travel we track the international dispersal of lineages B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 (variant 501Y-V2). We account for potential biases in genomic surveillance efforts by including passenger volumes from location of where the lineage was first reported, London and South Africa respectively. Using the software tool grinch (global report investigating novel coronavirus haplotypes), we track the international spread of lineages of concern with automated daily reports, Further, we have built a custom tracking website ( which hosts this daily report and will continue to include novel SARS-CoV-2 lineages of concern as they are detected.
Yelagandula R, Bykov A, Vogt A, Heinen R, Özkan E, [...], Elling U
Nat Commun 12 (1) 3132
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for massively-parallel, cost-effective tests monitoring viral spread. Here we present SARSeq, saliva analysis by RNA sequencing, a method to detect SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses on tens of thousands of samples in parallel. SARSeq relies on next generation sequencing of multiple amplicons generated in a multiplexed RT-PCR reaction. Two-dimensional, unique dual indexing, using four indices per sample, enables unambiguous and scalable assignment of reads to individual samples. We calibrate SARSeq on SARS-CoV-2 synthetic RNA, virions, and hundreds of human samples of various types. Robustness and sensitivity were virtually identical to quantitative RT-PCR. Double-blinded benchmarking to gold standard quantitative-RT-PCR performed by human diagnostics laboratories confirms this high sensitivity. SARSeq can be used to detect Influenza A and B viruses and human rhinovirus in parallel, and can be expanded for detection of other pathogens. Thus, SARSeq is ideally suited for differential diagnostic of infections during a pandemic.
Klaric L, Gisby JS, Papadaki A, Muckian MD, Macdonald-Dunlop E, [...], Peters JE
2021-04-07 All data are available in the paper and supplementary material
Sheward DJ, Mandolesi M, Kim C, Hanke L, Vidakovics LP, [...], Murrell B
2021-04-05 code to complete analyses and instructions to acquire data
Kubik S, Marques AC, Xing X, Silvery J, Bertelli C, [...], Xu Z
Clin Microbiol Infect
SARS-CoV-2 genotyping has been instrumental to monitor viral evolution and transmission during the pandemic. The quality of the sequence data obtained from these genotyping efforts depends on several factors, including the quantity/integrity of the input material, the technology as well as laboratory-specific implementation. The current lack of guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 genotyping leads to inclusion of error-containing genome sequences in genomic epidemiology studies. We aimed at establishing clear and broadly applicable recommendations for reliable virus genotyping. We established and used a sequencing data analysis workflow that reliably identifies and removes technical artifacts, which can result in miscalls when using alternative pipelines, to process clinical samples and synthetic viral genomes with an amplicon-based genotyping approach. We evaluated the impact of experimental factors, including viral load and sequencing depth, on correct sequence determination. We found that at least 1000 viral genomes are necessary to confidently detect variants in the SARS-CoV-2 genome at frequencies of 10% or higher. The broad applicability of our recommendations was validated in over 200 clinical samples from six independent laboratories. The genotypes we determined for clinical isolates with sufficient quality cluster by sampling location and period. Our analysis also supports the rise in frequency of 20A.EU1 and 20A.EU2, two recently reported European strains whose dissemination was facilitated by travelling during the summer of 2020. We present much-needed recommendations for reliable determination of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence and demonstrate their broad applicability in a large cohort of clinical samples.
Funk T, Pharris A, Spiteri G, Bundle N, Melidou A, [...], COVID study groups
Euro Surveill 26 (16)
We compared 19,207 cases of SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7/S gene target failure (SGTF), 436 B.1.351 and 352 P.1 to non-variant cases reported by seven European countries. COVID-19 cases with these variants had significantly higher adjusted odds ratios for hospitalisation (B.1.1.7/SGTF: 1.7, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0-2.9; B.1.351: 3.6, 95% CI: 2.1-6.2; P.1: 2.6, 95% CI: 1.4-4.8) and B.1.1.7/SGTF and P.1 cases also for intensive care admission (B.1.1.7/SGTF: 2.3, 95% CI: 1.4-3.5; P.1: 2.2, 95% CI: 1.7-2.8).
2021-04-00 All data is included in the supplementary material
Manisty C, Treibel TA, Jensen M, Semper A, Joy G, [...], Moon JC
EBioMedicine 65 103259
SARS-CoV-2 serology is used to identify prior infection at individual and at population level. Extended longitudinal studies with multi-timepoint sampling to evaluate dynamic changes in antibody levels are required to identify the time horizon in which these applications of serology are valid, and to explore the longevity of protective humoral immunity. Healthcare workers were recruited to a prospective cohort study from the first SARS-CoV-2 epidemic peak in London, undergoing weekly symptom screen, viral PCR and blood sampling over 16-21 weeks. Serological analysis (n =12,990) was performed using semi-quantitative Euroimmun IgG to viral spike S1 domain and Roche total antibody to viral nucleocapsid protein (NP) assays. Comparisons were made to pseudovirus neutralizing antibody measurements. A total of 157/729 (21.5%) participants developed positive SARS-CoV-2 serology by one or other assay, of whom 31.0% were asymptomatic and there were no deaths. Peak Euroimmun anti-S1 and Roche anti-NP measurements correlated (r = 0.57, p<0.0001) but only anti-S1 measurements correlated with near-contemporary pseudovirus neutralising antibody titres (measured at 16-18 weeks, r = 0.57, p<0.0001). By 21 weeks' follow-up, 31/143 (21.7%) anti-S1 and 6/150 (4.0%) anti-NP measurements reverted to negative. Mathematical modelling revealed faster clearance of anti-S1 compared to anti-NP (median half-life of 2.5 weeks versus 4.0 weeks), earlier transition to lower levels of antibody production (median of 8 versus 13 weeks), and greater reductions in relative antibody production rate after the transition (median of 35% versus 50%). Mild SARS-CoV-2 infection is associated with heterogeneous serological responses in Euroimmun anti-S1 and Roche anti-NP assays. Anti-S1 responses showed faster rates of clearance, more rapid transition from high to low level production rate and greater reduction in production rate after this transition. In mild infection, anti-S1 serology alone may underestimate incident infections. The mechanisms that underpin faster clearance and lower rates of sustained anti-S1 production may impact on the longevity of humoral immunity. Charitable donations via Barts Charity, Wellcome Trust, NIHR.
2021-03-01 Applications for access to the individual participant de-identified data (including data dictionaries) and samples can be made to the access committee
Maricic T, Nickel O, Aximu-Petri A, Essel E, Gansauge M, [...], Pääbo S
PLoS One 15 (12) e0244824
SARS-CoV-2 causes substantial morbidity and mortality in elderly and immunocompromised individuals, particularly in retirement homes, where transmission from asymptomatic staff and visitors may introduce the infection. Here we present a cheap and fast screening method based on direct RT-qPCR to detect SARS-CoV-2 in single or pooled gargle lavages ("mouthwashes"). This method detects individuals with large viral loads (Ct≤29) and we use it to test all staff at a nursing home daily over a period of three weeks in order to reduce the risk that the infection penetrates the facility. This or similar approaches can be implemented to protect hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions in this and future viral epidemics.
2020-12-31 All data are available in the supplementary information
Fadista J, Kraven LM, Karjalainen J, Andrews SJ, Geller F, [...], None
EBioMedicine 65 103277
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a complex lung disease, characterized by progressive lung scarring. Severe COVID-19 is associated with substantial pneumonitis and has a number of shared major risk factors with IPF. This study aimed to determine the genetic correlation between IPF and severe COVID-19 and assess a potential causal role of genetically increased risk of IPF on COVID-19 severity. The genetic correlation between IPF and COVID-19 severity was estimated with linkage disequilibrium (LD) score regression. We performed a Mendelian randomization (MR) study for IPF causality in COVID-19. Genetic variants associated with IPF susceptibility (P<5 × 10 -8) in previous genome-wide association studies (GWAS) were used as instrumental variables (IVs). Effect estimates of those IVs on COVID-19 severity were gathered from the GWAS meta-analysis by the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative (4,336 cases & 623,902 controls). We detected a positive genetic correlation of IPF with COVID-19 severity (rg=0·31 [95% CI 0·04-0·57], P = 0·023). The MR estimates for severe COVID-19 did not reveal any genetic association (OR 1·05, [95% CI 0·92-1·20], P = 0·43). However, outlier analysis revealed that the IPF risk allele rs35705950 at MUC5B had a different effect compared with the other variants. When rs35705950 was excluded, MR results provided evidence that genetically increased risk of IPF has a causal effect on COVID-19 severity (OR 1·21, [95% CI 1·06-1·38], P = 4·24 × 10 -3). Furthermore, the IPF risk-allele at MUC5B showed an apparent protective effect against COVID-19 hospitalization only in older adults (OR 0·86, [95% CI 0·73-1·00], P = 2·99 × 10-2) . The strongest genetic determinant of IPF, rs35705950 at MUC5B, seems to confer protection against COVID-19, whereas the combined effect of all other IPF risk loci seem to confer risk of COVID-19 severity. The observed effect of rs35705950 could either be due to protective effects of mucin over-production on the airways or a consequence of selection bias due to (1) a patient group that is heavily enriched for the rs35705950 T undertaking strict self-isolation and/or (2) due to survival bias of the rs35705950 non-IPF risk allele carriers. Due to the diverse impact of IPF causal variants on SARS-CoV-2 infection, with a possible selection bias as an explanation, further investigation is needed to address this apparent paradox between variance at MUC5B and other IPF genetic risk factors. Novo Nordisk Foundation and Oak Foundation.
Hemati M, Soosanabadi M, Ghorashi T, Ghaffari H, Vahedi A, [...], Kokhaei P
J Cell Physiol
The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, poses a huge demand for immediate diagnosis. Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) of nasopharyngeal (NP) and oropharyngeal (OP) swabs have been used to confirm the clinical diagnosis. To avoid the risk of viral-exposure of laboratory workers, thermal inactivation is currently recommended but has unknown effects on the accuracy of the rRT-PCR results. Thirty-six NP/OP specimens were collected from COVID-19 patients and subjected to thermal inactivation (60°C for 30 min) or the RNA extraction processes to activate the form. Here, our data showed that the concentration of extracted-RNA increases upon thermal inactivation compared to the active form (p = .028). Significantly higher levels of RNA copy number were obtained in inactivated compared to the active samples for both N and ORF1ab genes (p = .009, p = .032, respectively). Thermal inactivation elevated concentration and copy number of extracted-RNA, possibly through viral-capsid degradation and/or nucleoprotein denaturation.
2020-12-11 All data is included in the paper
Tampere M, Pettke A, Salata C, Wallner O, Koolmeister T, [...], Puumalainen MR
Viruses 12 (12) 1423
Petrazzuolo A, Le Naour J, Vacchelli E, Gaussem P, Ellouze S, [...], Kroemer G
Oncoimmunology 9 (1) 1857112
Formyl peptide receptor 1 (FPR1) is a pattern-recognition receptor that detects bacterial as well as endogenous danger-associated molecular patterns to trigger innate immune responses by myeloid cells. A single nucleotide polymorphism, rs867228 (allelic frequency 19-20%), in the gene coding for FPR1 accelerates the manifestation of multiple carcinomas, likely due to reduced anticancer immunosurveillance secondary to a defect in antigen presentation by dendritic cells. Another polymorphism in FPR1, rs5030880 (allelic frequency 12-13%), has been involved in the resistance to plague, correlating with the fact that FPR1 is the receptor for Yersinia pestis. Driven by the reported preclinical effects of FPR1 on lung inflammation and fibrosis, we investigated whether rs867228 or rs5030880 would affect the severity of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19). Data obtained on patients from two different hospitals in Paris refute the hypothesis that rs867228 or rs5030880 would affect the severity of COVID-19.
2020-12-08 Allelic frequencies of FPR1 SNPs and characteristics of patient population from Hôpital Cochin and Hôpital Européen George Pompidou
Duchene S, Featherstone L, de Blasio BF, Holmes EC, Bohlin J, [...], Pettersson JHO
Many countries have attempted to control COVID-19 through the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions. However, it remains unclear how different control strategies have impacted SARS-CoV-2 virus transmission dynamics at the local level. Using complete SARS-CoV-2 genomes, we inferred the relative frequencies of virus importation and exportation, as well as virus transmission chain dynamics in Nordic countries - Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden - during the first months of the pandemic. Our analyses revealed that Sweden experienced more numerous transmission chains, which tended to have more cases, and were of longer duration, a set of features that increased with time. Together with Denmark, Sweden was also a net exporter of SARS-CoV-2. Hence, Sweden effectively constituted an epidemiological and evolutionary ‘refugia’ that enabled the virus to maintain active transmission and spread to other geographic localities. This analysis highlights the utility of genomic surveillance where active transmission chain monitoring is a key metric.
2020-11-18 Data available on GISAID, accession numbers found here (in the Supplementary Material)
Elofsson A, Bryant P
Background When modelling the dispersion of an epidemic using R0, one only considers the average number of individuals each infected individual will infect. However, we know from extensive studies of social networks that there is significant variation in the number of connections and thus social contacts each individual has. Individuals with more social contacts are more likely to attract and spread infection. These individuals are likely the drivers of the epidemic, so-called superspreaders. When many superspreaders are immune, it becomes more difficult for the disease to spread, as the connectedness of the social network dramatically decreases. If one assumes all individuals being equally connected and thus as likely to spread disease as in a SIR model, this is not true. Methods To account for the impact of social network structure on epidemic development, we model the dispersion of SARS-CoV-2 on a dynamic preferential attachment graph which changes appearance proportional to observed mobility changes. We sample a serial interval distribution that determines the probability of dispersion for all infected nodes each day. We model the dispersion in different age groups using age-specific infection fatality rates. We vary the infection probabilities in different age groups and analyse the outcome. Results The impact of movement on network dynamics plays a crucial role in the spread of infections. We find that higher movement results in higher spread due to an increased probability of new connections being made within a social network. We show that saturation in the dispersion can be reached much earlier on a preferential attachment graph compared to spread on a random graph, which is more similar to estimations using R0. Conclusions We provide a novel method for modelling epidemics by using a dynamic network structure related to observed mobility changes. The social network structure plays a crucial role in epidemic development, something that is often overlooked.
2020-11-17 Code, data, and results related to modelling the spread of COVID-19 on a dynamic social network with spread reduction according to Google mobility changes
Zeng HL, Dichio V, Rodríguez Horta E, Thorell K, Aurell E
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 202012331
2020-11-17 Data is included in the article and supplementary information
Zhang Q, Bastard P, Liu Z, Le Pen J, Moncada-Velez M, [...], Casanova J
Science 370 (6515) eabd4570
Clinical outcome upon infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) ranges from silent infection to lethal coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We have found an enrichment in rare variants predicted to be loss-of-function (LOF) at the 13 human loci known to govern Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3)- and interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7)-dependent type I interferon (IFN) immunity to influenza virus in 659 patients with life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia relative to 534 subjects with asymptomatic or benign infection. By testing these and other rare variants at these 13 loci, we experimentally defined LOF variants underlying autosomal-recessive or autosomal-dominant deficiencies in 23 patients (3.5%) 17 to 77 years of age. We show that human fibroblasts with mutations affecting this circuit are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2. Inborn errors of TLR3- and IRF7-dependent type I IFN immunity can underlie life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia in patients with no prior severe infection.
Bastard P, Rosen LB, Zhang Q, Michailidis E, Hoffmann H, [...], Casanova J
Science 370 (6515)
Interindividual clinical variability in the course of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is vast. We report that at least 101 of 987 patients with life-threatening coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pneumonia had neutralizing immunoglobulin G (IgG) autoantibodies (auto-Abs) against interferon-ω (IFN-ω) (13 patients), against the 13 types of IFN-α (36), or against both (52) at the onset of critical disease; a few also had auto-Abs against the other three type I IFNs. The auto-Abs neutralize the ability of the corresponding type I IFNs to block SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. These auto-Abs were not found in 663 individuals with asymptomatic or mild SARS-CoV-2 infection and were present in only 4 of 1227 healthy individuals. Patients with auto-Abs were aged 25 to 87 years and 95 of the 101 were men. A B cell autoimmune phenocopy of inborn errors of type I IFN immunity accounts for life-threatening COVID-19 pneumonia in at least 2.6% of women and 12.5% of men.
Sekine T, Perez-Potti A, Rivera-Ballesteros O, Strålin K, Gorin J, [...], Buggert M
Cell 183 (1) 158-168.e14
SARS-CoV-2-specific memory T cells will likely prove critical for long-term immune protection against COVID-19. Here, we systematically mapped the functional and phenotypic landscape of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses in unexposed individuals, exposed family members, and individuals with acute or convalescent COVID-19. Acute-phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells displayed a highly activated cytotoxic phenotype that correlated with various clinical markers of disease severity, whereas convalescent-phase SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were polyfunctional and displayed a stem-like memory phenotype. Importantly, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detectable in antibody-seronegative exposed family members and convalescent individuals with a history of asymptomatic and mild COVID-19. Our collective dataset shows that SARS-CoV-2 elicits broadly directed and functionally replete memory T cell responses, suggesting that natural exposure or infection may prevent recurrent episodes of severe COVID-19.
Edén A, Kanberg N, Gostner J, Fuchs D, Hagberg L, [...], Gisslén M
Neurology 96 (2) e294-e300
To explore whether hospitalized patients with SARS-CoV-2 and neurologic symptoms have evidence of CNS infection, inflammation and injury using CSF biomarker measurements. We assessed CSF SARS-CoV-2 RNA along with CSF biomarkers of intrathecal inflammation (CSF white blood cell count, neopterin, β 2-microglobulin (β2M) and immunoglobulin G-index), blood-brain-barrier (BBB) integrity (albumin ratio), and axonal injury (CSF neurofilament light chain protein [NfL]) in 6 patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 and neurologic symptoms who had undergone a diagnostic lumbar puncture. Neurologic symptoms and signs included features of encephalopathies (4/6), suspected meningitis (1/6) and dysgeusia (1/6). SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed by rtPCR analysis of nasopharyngeal swabs. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in the plasma of 2 patients (Cycle threshold [Ct] value 35.0-37.0) and in CSF at low levels (Ct 37.2, 38.0, 39.0) in 3 patients in one but not in a second rtPCR assay. CSF neopterin (median, 43.0 nmol/L) and β 2-microglobulin (median, 3.1 mg/L) were increased in all. Median IgG-index (0.39), albumin ratio (5.35) and CSF white blood cell count (<3 cells/µL) were normal in all, while CSF NfL was elevated in 2 patients. Our results on patients with COVID-19 and neurologic symptoms suggest an unusual pattern of marked CSF inflammation in which soluble markers were increased but white cell response and other immunologic features typical of CNS viral infections were absent. While our initial hypothesis centered on CNS SARS-CoV-2 invasion, we could not convincingly detect SARS-CoV-2 as the underlying driver of CNS inflammation. These features distinguish COVID-19 CSF from other viral CNS infections, and raise fundamental questions about the CNS pathobiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection.
2020-10-01 Researchers can apply for access to anonymized data
Zeberg H, Pääbo S
Nature 587 (7835) 610-612
A recent genetic association study 1 identified a gene cluster on chromosome 3 as a risk locus for respiratory failure after infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A separate study (COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative)2 comprising 3,199 hospitalized patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and control individuals showed that this cluster is the major genetic risk factor for severe symptoms after SARS-CoV-2 infection and hospitalization. Here we show that the risk is conferred by a genomic segment of around 50 kilobases in size that is inherited from Neanderthals and is carried by around 50% of people in south Asia and around 16% of people in Europe.
Parrot T, Gorin J, Ponzetta A, Maleki KT, Kammann T, [...], Sandberg JK
Sci Immunol 5 (51)
Severe COVID-19 is characterized by excessive inflammation of the lower airways. The balance of protective versus pathological immune responses in COVID-19 is incompletely understood. Mucosa-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are antimicrobial T cells that recognize bacterial metabolites, and can also function as innate-like sensors and mediators of antiviral responses. Here, we investigated the MAIT cell compartment in COVID-19 patients with moderate and severe disease, as well as in convalescence. We show profound and preferential decline in MAIT cells in the circulation of patients with active disease paired with strong activation. Furthermore, transcriptomic analyses indicated significant MAIT cell enrichment and pro-inflammatory IL-17A bias in the airways. Unsupervised analysis identified MAIT cell CD69 high and CXCR3low immunotypes associated with poor clinical outcome. MAIT cell levels normalized in the convalescent phase, consistent with dynamic recruitment to the tissues and later release back into the circulation when disease is resolved. These findings indicate that MAIT cells are engaged in the immune response against SARS-CoV-2 and suggest their possible involvement in COVID-19 immunopathogenesis.
Hellman U, Karlsson MG, Engström-Laurent A, Cajander S, Dorofte L, [...], Blomberg A
J Biol Chem 295 (45) 15418-15422
Severe corona virus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is characterized by inflammation of the lungs with increasing respiratory impairment. In fatal Covid-19, lungs at autopsy have been filled with a clear liquid jelly. However, the nature of this finding has not yet been determined.The aim of the study was to demonstrate if the lungs of fatal Covid-19 contain hyaluronan as it is associated with inflammation and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and may have the appearance of liquid jelly.Lung tissue obtained at autopsy from three deceased Covid-19 patients was processed for hyaluronan histochemistry using a direct staining method and compared with staining in normal lung tissue.Stainings confirmed that hyaluronan is obstructing alveoli with presence in exudate and plugs, as well as in thickened perialveolar interstitium. In contrast, normal lungs only showed hyaluronan in intact alveolar walls and perivascular tissue. This is the first study to confirm prominent hyaluronan exudates in the alveolar spaces of Covid-19 lungs, supporting the notion that the macromolecule is involved in ARDS caused by SARS-CoV-2. The present finding may open up for new treatment options in severe Covid-19, aiming at reducing the presence and production of hyaluronan in the lungs.
2020-09-25 Provided in the article: color light micrographs of autopsy lung tissue from the three Covid-19 cases
Consiglio CR, Cotugno N, Sardh F, Pou C, Amodio D, [...], Brodin P
Cell 183 (4) 968-981.e7
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is typically very mild and often asymptomatic in children. A complication is the rare multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) associated with COVID-19, presenting 4-6 weeks after infection as high fever, organ dysfunction, and strongly elevated markers of inflammation. The pathogenesis is unclear but has overlapping features with Kawasaki disease suggestive of vasculitis and a likely autoimmune etiology. We apply systems-level analyses of blood immune cells, cytokines, and autoantibodies in healthy children, children with Kawasaki disease enrolled prior to COVID-19, children infected with SARS-CoV-2, and children presenting with MIS-C. We find that the inflammatory response in MIS-C differs from the cytokine storm of severe acute COVID-19, shares several features with Kawasaki disease, but also differs from this condition with respect to T cell subsets, interleukin (IL)-17A, and biomarkers associated with arterial damage. Finally, autoantibody profiling suggests multiple autoantibodies that could be involved in the pathogenesis of MIS-C.
Maucourant C, Filipovic I, Ponzetta A, Aleman S, Cornillet M, [...], Karolinska COVID-19 Study Group
Sci Immunol 5 (50)
Understanding innate immune responses in COVID-19 is important to decipher mechanisms of host responses and interpret disease pathogenesis. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate effector lymphocytes that respond to acute viral infections but might also contribute to immunopathology. Using 28-color flow cytometry, we here reveal strong NK cell activation across distinct subsets in peripheral blood of COVID-19 patients. This pattern was mirrored in scRNA-seq signatures of NK cells in bronchoalveolar lavage from COVID-19 patients. Unsupervised high-dimensional analysis of peripheral blood NK cells furthermore identified distinct NK cell immunotypes that were linked to disease severity. Hallmarks of these immunotypes were high expression of perforin, NKG2C, and Ksp37, reflecting increased presence of adaptive NK cells in circulation of patients with severe disease. Finally, arming of CD56 bright NK cells was observed across COVID-19 disease states, driven by a defined protein-protein interaction network of inflammatory soluble factors. This study provides a detailed map of the NK cell activation landscape in COVID-19 disease.
Ying K, Zhai R, Pyrkov TV, Mariotti M, Fedichev PO, [...], Gladyshev VN
2020-08-07 Supplementary information contains information on publicly available data sources used, instruments used, data on loci associated with risk factors, and genetic correlations between lifespan-related traits and COVID-19
Su Y, Chen D, Lausted C, Yuan D, Choi J, [...], None
2020-07-28 pseudonymized RNA sequencing data available upon request from corresponding author (Due to potential risk of de-identification)