Simon Vieth

Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

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Publications (5)64.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This study describes an RT-PCR assay targeting the L RNA segment of arenaviruses. Conserved regions were identified in the polymerase domain of the L gene on the basis of published sequences for Lassa virus, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), Pichinde virus and Tacaribe virus, as well as 15 novel sequences for Lassa virus, LCMV, Ippy virus, Mobala virus and Mopeia virus determined in this study. Using these regions as target sites, a PCR assay for detection of all known Old World arenaviruses was developed and optimized. The concentration that yields 95% positive results in a set of replicate tests (95% detection limit) was determined to be 4290 copies of Lassa virus L RNA per ml of serum, corresponding to 30 copies per reaction. The ability of the assay to detect various Old World arenaviruses was demonstrated with in vitro transcribed RNA, material from infected cell cultures and samples from patients with Lassa fever and monkeys with LCMV-associated callitrichid hepatitis. The L gene PCR assay may be applicable: (i) as a complementary diagnostic test for Lassa virus and LCMV; (ii) to identify unknown Old World arenaviruses suspected as aetiological agents of disease; and (iii) for screening of potential reservoir hosts for unknown Old World arenaviruses.
    Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 01/2008; 101(12):1253-64. · 1.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Five of the known arenaviruses cause viral hemorrhagic fever in humans and are classified as biosafety level 4 pathogens. Four of the viruses, namely Junin, Guanarito, Machupo, and Sabia, belong to clade B of New World arenaviruses that also comprises the nonpathogenic viruses Tacaribe, Cupixi, and Amapari. To establish real-time reverse transcription (RT)-PCR assays for Junin and Guanarito virus based on fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) probes, and a universal RT-PCR assay for all known clade B viruses with conventional read-out. Conserved sequences in the nucleoprotein gene were chosen as target sites for primers and FRET probes. A common set of primers was designed for all three assays. The assays were based on one-step RT-PCR reagents and were optimised with respect to analytical sensitivity using synthetic RNA templates. The real-time PCR assays detected about 0.5 and 5TCID(50) of cell culture-derived Junin and Guanarito virus, respectively. The universal clade B PCR amplified cell culture-derived RNA of Junin, Guanarito, Machupo, and Sabia virus (5-500TCID(50) per reaction), as well as RNA of Tacaribe, Cupixi, and Amapari virus. The PCR assays may be used as complementary diagnostic tests for pathogenic New World arenaviruses. The universal PCR assay could also be suitable for the detection of novel clade B arenaviruses in patients as well as in animal reservoirs.
    Journal of Clinical Virology 04/2005; 32(3):229-35. · 3.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The L RNA of three Lassa virus strains originating from Nigeria, Ghana/Ivory Coast, and Sierra Leone was sequenced and the data subjected to structure predictions and phylogenetic analyses. The L gene products had 2218-2221 residues, diverged by 18% at the amino acid level, and contained several conserved regions. Only one region of 504 residues (positions 1043-1546) could be assigned a function, namely that of an RNA polymerase. Secondary structure predictions suggest that this domain is very similar to RNA-dependent RNA polymerases of known structure encoded by plus-strand RNA viruses, permitting a model to be built. Outside the polymerase region, there is little structural data, except for regions of strong alpha-helical content and probably a coiled-coil domain at the N terminus. No evidence for reassortment or recombination during Lassa virus evolution was found. The secondary structure-assisted alignment of the RNA polymerase region permitted a reliable reconstruction of the phylogeny of all negative-strand RNA viruses, indicating that Arenaviridae are most closely related to Nairoviruses. In conclusion, the data provide a basis for structural and functional characterization of the Lassa virus L protein and reveal new insights into the phylogeny of negative-strand RNA viruses.
    Virology 02/2004; 318(1):153-68. · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has recently been identified as a new clinical entity. SARS is thought to be caused by an unknown infectious agent. Clinical specimens from patients with SARS were searched for unknown viruses with the use of cell cultures and molecular techniques. A novel coronavirus was identified in patients with SARS. The virus was isolated in cell culture, and a sequence 300 nucleotides in length was obtained by a polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)-based random-amplification procedure. Genetic characterization indicated that the virus is only distantly related to known coronaviruses (identical in 50 to 60 percent of the nucleotide sequence). On the basis of the obtained sequence, conventional and real-time PCR assays for specific and sensitive detection of the novel virus were established. Virus was detected in a variety of clinical specimens from patients with SARS but not in controls. High concentrations of viral RNA of up to 100 million molecules per milliliter were found in sputum. Viral RNA was also detected at extremely low concentrations in plasma during the acute phase and in feces during the late convalescent phase. Infected patients showed seroconversion on the Vero cells in which the virus was isolated. The novel coronavirus might have a role in causing SARS.
    New England Journal of Medicine 06/2003; 348(20):1967-76. · 54.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genotype G of hepatitis B virus (HBV) has only recently been discovered. This report describes the full-length sequence of genotype G HBV (designated 235/01) isolated in Germany from a chronic HBV carrier. The patient was hepatitis B e antigen-positive, had high HBV DNA levels of about 10(10) copies/ml serum, lacked a measurable anti-HBc response, and was coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1. Genome 235/01 showed characteristic genotype G-specific features: stop codons at codon 2 and 28 of the pre-C region and insertion of 36 nucleotides at the 5' end of the C gene. It was nearly identical (< or = 99.7% identity) to both genotype G genomes (B1-89 and FR1 from France) described so far, suggesting either close epidemiological link among European genotype G isolates or high genetic stability of genotype G.
    Virus Genes 03/2002; 24(2):153-6. · 1.84 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
64.93 Total Impact Points

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  • 2002–2008
    • Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany