From orphan virus to pathogen: the path to the clinical lab

Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Current opinion in virology 10/2011; 1(4):282-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.coviro.2011.07.006
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Viral metagenomics has recently yielded numerous previously uncharacterized viral genomes from human and animal samples. We review some of the metagenomics tools and strategies to determine which orphan viruses are likely pathogens. Disease association studies compare viral prevalence in patients with unexplained symptoms versus healthy individuals but require these case and control groups to be closely matched epidemiologically. The development of an antibody response in convalescent serum can temporarily link symptoms with a recent infection. Neutralizing antibody detection require often difficult cell culture virus amplification. Antibody binding assays require proper antigen synthesis and positive control sera to set assay thresholds. High levels of viral genetic diversity within orphan viral groups, frequent co-infections, low or rare pathogenicity, and chronic virus shedding, can all complicate disease association studies. The limited availability of matched cases and controls sample sets from different age groups and geographic origins is a major block for estimating the pathogenic potential of recently characterized orphan viruses. Current limitations on the practical use of deep sequencing for viral diagnostics are listed.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Nowadays, the metagenomic approach has been a very important tool in the discovery of new viruses in environmental and biological samples. Here we discuss how these discoveries may help to elucidate the etiology of diseases and the criteria necessary to establish a causal association between a virus and a disease.
    Revista de Saúde Pública 01/2015; 49:1-5. DOI:10.1590/S0034-8910.2015049005475 · 1.22 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Comprehensive inventories of plant viral diversity are essential for effective quarantine and sanitation efforts. The safety of regulated plant material exchanges presently relies heavily on techniques such as PCR or nucleic acid hybridisation, which are only suited to the detection and characterisation of specific, well characterised pathogens. Here, we demonstrate the utility of sequence-independent next generation sequencing (NGS) of both virus-derived small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and virion-associated nucleic acids (VANA) for the detailed identification and characterisation of viruses infecting two quarantined sugarcane plants. Both plants originated from Egypt and were known to be infected with Sugarcane streak Egypt Virus (SSEV; Genus Mastrevirus, Family Geminiviridae), but were revealed by the NGS approaches to also be infected by a second highly divergent mastrevirus, here named Sugarcane white streak Virus (SWSV). This novel virus had escaped detection by all routine quarantine detection assays and was found to also be present in sugarcane plants originating from Sudan. Complete SWSV genomes were cloned and sequenced from six plants and all were found to share >91% genome-wide identity. With the exception of two SWSV variants, which potentially express unusually large RepA proteins, the SWSV isolates display genome characteristics very typical to those of all other previously described mastreviruses. An analysis of virus-derived siRNAs for SWSV and SSEV showed them to be strongly influenced by secondary structures within both genomic single stranded DNA and mRNA transcripts. In addition, the distribution of siRNA size frequencies indicates that these mastreviruses are likely subject to both transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene silencing. Our study stresses the potential advantages of NGS-based virus metagenomic screening in a plant quarantine setting and indicates that such techniques could dramatically reduce the numbers of non-intercepted virus pathogens passing through plant quarantine stations.
    PLoS ONE 07/2014; 9(7):e102945. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0102945 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Human parechoviruses are known to cause asymptomatic to severe clinical illness predominantly respiratory and gastroenetric infections. Despite their global prevalence, epidemiological studies have not been performed in Pakistan. In this study, we retrospectively analyzed 110 fecal specimen and found 26 (24%) positive for viral RNA with HPeV-10 (n = 3, 23%), HPeV-13 (n = 4, 31%) and HPeV-15 (n = 6, 46%) genotypes. Clinical features of patients with different HPeV genotypes were compared. All HPeV positive children were aged ≤4 years (mean 13.92 months). The male-to-female ratio was 1: 1.17 (46.2 vs 53.8%) with significant association (p = .031) to HPeV infectivity. HPeV-10 and -13 were found during summer while HPeV-15 was only detected during late winter season. Disease symptoms were more severe in children infected with HPeV-10 and -13 as compared to HPeV-15. Fever and vomiting were observed in 100% cases of HPeV-10 and -13 while only 17% patients of HPeV-15 had these complaints. Phylogenetic analyses showed that HPeV-10, -13 and -15 strains found in this study have 9-13%, 16.8% and 21.8% nucleotide divergence respectively from the prototype strains and were clustered to distinct genetic lineages. This is the first report of HPeV-15 infection in humans although first identified in rhesus macaques. The arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) motif present at the C-terminal of VP1 responsible for the viral attachment to cellular integrins was not found in all of these strains. In conclusion, these findings enhance our knowledge related to the epidemiology and genetic diversity of the HPeV in Pakistan and support the need for continued laboratory based surveillance programs especially in infants and neonatal clinical settings. Further, the parechovirus pathogenesis, cross-species transmission and disease reservoirs must be ascertained to adopt better prevention measures.
    PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(11):e78377. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0078377 · 3.53 Impact Factor