David L Robertson

David L Robertson
University of Glasgow | UofG · MRC - University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research

PhD

About

401
Publications
62,529
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19,398
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 1999 - July 2002
University of Oxford
Position
  • Wellcome Trust Fellow

Publications

Publications (401)
Article
Full-text available
Background: Viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings. Methods: We conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-c...
Article
Background: Viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings. Methods: We conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-co...
Article
The first SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC) to be designated was lineage B.1.1.7, later labelled by the World Health Organization as Alpha. Originating in early autumn but discovered in December 2020, it spread rapidly and caused large waves of infections worldwide. The Alpha variant is notable for being defined by a long ancestral phylogenetic b...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the changes to virus taxonomy approved and ratified by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) in March 2022. The entire ICTV was invited to vote on 174 taxonomic proposals approved by the ICTV Executive Committee at its annual meeting in July 2021. All proposals were ratified by an absolute majority of the IC...
Article
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Understanding how severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in 2019 is critical to preventing zoonotic outbreaks before they become the next pandemic. The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China, was identified as a likely source of cases in early reports but later this conclusion became controversial. We show the...
Preprint
paragraph An outbreak of acute hepatitis of unknown aetiology in children was first reported in Scotland in April 2022. ¹ Cases aged <16 years have since been identified in 35 countries. ² Here we report a detailed investigation of 9 early cases and 58 control subjects. Using next-generation sequencing and real-time PCR, adeno-associated virus 2 (A...
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Background: Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, evolutionary pressure has driven large increases in the transmissibility of the virus. However, with increasing levels of immunity through vaccination and natural infection the evolutionary pressure will switch towards immune escape. Genomic surveillance in regions of high immunity is crucial in detec...
Article
Full-text available
Recombination contributes to the genetic diversity found in coronaviruses and is known to be a prominent mechanism whereby they evolve. It is apparent, both from controlled experiments and in genome sequences sampled from nature, that patterns of recombination in coronaviruses are non-random and that this is likely attributable to a combination of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Microbiome dysbiosis across the respiratory tract has been implicated in the development and exacerbations of asthma. Little is known regarding the short-term temporal variability of the respiratory microbiome in health and asthma. In this study, we evaluate six scenarios of dysbiosis by investigating the inter- and intra-individual variability of...
Article
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Admission procalcitonin measurements and microbiology results were available for 1040 hospitalized adults with coronavirus disease 2019 (from 48 902 included in the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium World Health Organization Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK study). Although procalcitonin was higher in ba...
Article
Admission procalcitonin measurements and microbiology results were available for 1040 hospitalized adults with coronavirus disease 2019 (from 48 902 included in the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium World Health Organization Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK study). Although procalcitonin was higher in ba...
Article
Full-text available
COVID-19 is clinically characterised by fever, cough, and dyspnoea. Symptoms affecting other organ systems have been reported. However, it is the clinical associations of different patterns of symptoms which influence diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making. In this study, we applied clustering techniques to a large prospective cohort of hospita...
Article
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Following the results of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Ratification Vote held in March 2021, a standard two-part "binomial nomenclature" is now the norm for naming virus species. Adoption of the new nomenclature is still in its infancy; thus, it is timely to reiterate the distinction between "virus" and "virus species" a...
Article
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Background Dexamethasone was the first intervention proven to reduce mortality in patients with COVID-19 being treated in hospital. We aimed to evaluate the adoption of corticosteroids in the treatment of COVID-19 in the UK after the RECOVERY trial publication on June 16, 2020, and to identify discrepancies in care. Methods We did an audit of clin...
Preprint
Objective To determine how the severity of successively dominant SARS-CoV-2 variants has changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design Prospective cohort analysis. Setting Community- and hospital- sequenced COVID-19 cases in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GG&C) Health Board (1.2 million people). Participants All sequenced non-...
Article
Full-text available
Among the 30 non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions in the Omicron S-gene are 13 that have only rarely been seen in other SARS-CoV-2 sequences. These mutations cluster within three functionally important regions of the S-gene at sites that will likely impact (i) interactions between subunits of the Spike trimer and the predisposition of subunits t...
Article
COG-UK Mutation Explorer (COG-UK-ME, https://sars2.cvr.gla.ac.uk/cog-uk/ - Last Accessed date 16/03/22) is a web resource that displays knowledge and analyses on SARS-CoV-2 virus genome mutations and variants circulating in the UK, with a focus on the observed amino acid replacements that have an antigenic role in the context of the human humoral a...
Article
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Advances in genome sequencing technologies and lower costs have enabled the exploration of a multitude of known and novel environments and microbiomes. This has led to an exponential growth in the raw sequence data that are deposited in online repositories. Metagenomic and metatranscriptomic data sets are typically analysed with regard to a specifi...
Preprint
The first SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC) to be designated was lineage B.1.1.7, later labelled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Alpha. Originating in early Autumn but discovered in December 2020, it spread rapidly and caused large waves of infections worldwide. The Alpha variant is notable for being defined by a long ancestral phylogen...
Preprint
Introduction Viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings. Methods We conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-c...
Article
Full-text available
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) continues to be a major cause of disease and premature death. As with all viruses, HIV-1 exploits a host cell to replicate. Improving our understanding of these molecular interactions between virus and human host proteins is crucial for a mechanistic understanding of virus biology, infection and host anti...
Article
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The lack of an identifiable intermediate host species for the proximal animal ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, and the large geographical distance between Wuhan and where the closest evolutionary related coronaviruses circulating in horseshoe bats (members of the Sarbecovirus subgenus) have been identified, is fuelling speculation on the natural origins of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Among the 30 non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions in the Omicron S-gene are 13 that have only rarely been seen in other SARS-CoV-2 sequences. These mutations cluster within three functionally important regions of the S-gene at sites that will likely impact (i) interactions between subunits of the Spike trimer and the predisposition of subunits t...
Preprint
Full-text available
Vaccination-based exposure to spike protein derived from early SARS-CoV-2 sequences is the key public health strategy against COVID-19. Successive waves of SARS-CoV-2 infections have been characterised by the evolution of highly mutated variants that are more transmissible and that partially evade the adaptive immune response. Omicron is the fifth...
Preprint
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HIV-1 transmission via sexual exposure is a relatively inefficient process. When successful transmission does occur, newly infected individuals are colonized by either a single or a very small number of establishing virion(s). These transmitted founder (TF) viruses are more interferon (IFN) resistant than chronic control (CC) viruses present 6 mont...
Article
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Background Predicting bed occupancy for hospitalised patients with COVID-19 requires understanding of length of stay (LoS) in particular bed types. LoS can vary depending on the patient’s “bed pathway” - the sequence of transfers of individual patients between bed types during a hospital stay. In this study, we characterise these pathways, and thei...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recombination contributes to the genetic diversity found in coronaviruses and is known to be a prominent mechanism whereby they evolve. It is apparent, both from controlled experiments and in genome sequences sampled from nature, that patterns of recombination in coronaviruses are non-random and that this is likely attributable to a combination of...
Article
Vaccination and disease The United Kingdom has high rates of vaccination for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), exceeding 80% of adults. As immunity wanes and social distancing is relaxed, how are rates of illness and severe disease affected by more infectious variants? Elliott et al . used reverse transcription PCR data...
Article
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Background Acute kidney injury (AKI) is common in COVID-19. This study investigated adults hospitalised with COVID-19 and hypothesised that risk factors for AKI would include co-morbidities and non-white race. Methods A prospective multicentre cohort study was performed using patients admitted to 254 UK hospitals with COVID-19 between January 17th...
Article
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The bat connection The heterogeneity of COVID-19 makes it challenging to predict the course of infection in an individual. Upon virus infection, interferons (IFNs) generate the initial signals for cellular defenses. Knowing that defects in IFN signaling are associated with more severe COVID-19, Wickenhagen et al . used IFN-stimulated gene expressio...
Article
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Defining the unique properties of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) protein sequences has potential to explain the range of Coronavirus Disease 2019 severity. To achieve this we compared proteins encoded by all Sarbecoviruses using profile Hidden Markov Model similarities to identify protein features unique to SARS-CoV-2....
Article
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Antiviral defenses can sense viral RNAs and mediate their destruction. This presents a challenge for host cells since they must destroy viral RNAs while sparing the host mRNAs that encode antiviral effectors. Here, we show that highly upregulated interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs), which encode antiviral proteins, have distinctive nucleotide compos...
Article
Full-text available
This article reports the changes to virus taxonomy approved and ratified by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) in March 2021. The entire ICTV was invited to vote on 290 taxonomic proposals approved by the ICTV Executive Committee at its meeting in October 2020, as well as on the proposed revision of the International Code of...
Article
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 genom...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background The Alpha (B.1.1.7) SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern has been associated with increased transmission and increased 28-day mortality. We aimed to investigate the impact of infection on clinical severity of illness, including the need for oxygen or ventilation in a national cohort study. Methods In this prospective clinical cohort study, 1475...
Article
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Trading of animals susceptible to bat coronaviruses is the likely cause of the COVID-19 pandemic
Article
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We present evidence for multiple independent origins of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 viruses sampled from late 2020 and early 2021 in the United Kingdom. Their genomes carry single nucleotide polymorphisms and deletions that are characteristic of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern, but lack the full complement of lineage-defining mutations. Instead, the rema...
Article
Full-text available
Since the first reports of a novel SARS-like coronavirus in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, there has been intense interest in understanding how SARS-CoV-2 emerged in the human population. Recent debate has coalesced around two competing ideas: a “laboratory escape” scenario and zoonotic emergence. Here, we critically review the current scientific e...
Article
Background Early in the pandemic it was suggested that pre-existing use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could lead to increased disease severity in patients with COVID-19. NSAIDs are an important analgesic, particularly in those with rheumatological disease, and are widely available to the general public without prescription. Evid...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mortality rates in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in the UK appeared to decline during the first wave of the pandemic. We aimed to quantify potential drivers of this change and identify groups of patients who remain at high risk of dying in hospital. Methods In this multicentre prospective observational cohort study, the Internation...
Article
Full-text available
Bacteriophages that lyse Salmonella enterica are potential tools to target and control Salmonella infections. Investigating the host range of Salmonella phages is a key to understand their impact on bacterial ecology, coevolution and inform their use in intervention strategies. Virus–host infection networks have been used to characterize the “preda...
Preprint
Full-text available
Vaccines are proving to be highly effective in controlling hospitalisation and deaths associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection but the emergence of viral variants with novel antigenic profiles threatens to diminish their efficacy. Assessment of the ability of sera from vaccine recipients to neutralise SARS-CoV-2 variants will inform the success of stra...
Preprint
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SARS-CoV-2 evolution threatens vaccine- and natural infection-derived immunity, and the efficacy of therapeutic antibodies. Herein we sought to predict Spike amino acid changes that could contribute to future variants of concern. We tested the importance of features comprising epidemiology, evolution, immunology, and neural network-based protein se...
Preprint
Full-text available
We present evidence for multiple independent origins of recombinant SARS-CoV-2 viruses sampled from late 2020 and early 2021 in the United Kingdom. Their genomes carry single nucleotide polymorphisms and deletions that are characteristic of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern, but lack the full complement of lineage-defining mutations. Instead, the rema...
Article
Full-text available
Although most mutations in the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genome are expected to be either deleterious and swiftly purged or relatively neutral, a small proportion will affect functional properties and may alter infectivity, disease severity or interactions with host immunity. The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in late 20...
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Background Microbiological characterisation of co-infections and secondary infections in patients with COVID-19 is lacking, and antimicrobial use is high. We aimed to describe microbiologically confirmed co-infections and secondary infections, and antimicrobial use, in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19. Methods The International Severe A...
Article
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We report SARS-CoV-2 spike ΔH69/V70 in multiple independent lineages, often occurring after acquisition of the receptor binding motif replacements such as N439K and Y453F known to increase binding affinity to the ACE2 receptor and confer antibody escape. In vitro, we show that whilst ΔH69/V70 itself is not an antibody evasion mechanism, it increase...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cell autonomous antiviral defenses can inhibit the replication of viruses and reduce transmission and disease severity. To better understand the antiviral response to SARS-CoV-2, we used interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression screening to reveal that OAS1, through RNase L, potently inhibits SARS-CoV-2. We show that while some people can expres...
Article
Full-text available
Background Early in the pandemic it was suggested that pre-existing use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) could lead to increased disease severity in patients with COVID-19. NSAIDs are an important analgesic, particularly in those with rheumatological disease, and are widely available to the general public without prescription. Evid...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mortality rates in hospitalised patients with COVID-19 in the UK appeared to decline during the first wave of the pandemic. We aimed to quantify potential drivers of this change and identify groups of patients who remain at high risk of dying in hospital. Methods In this multicentre prospective observational cohort study, the Internatio...
Article
Full-text available
Many recent studies highlight the fundamental importance of viruses. Besides their important role as human and animal pathogens, their beneficial, commensal or harmful functions are poorly understood. By developing and applying tailored bioinformatical tools in important virological models, the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Initiative International Traini...
Article
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Objectives: Patients requiring haemodialysis are at increased risk of serious illness with SARS-CoV-2 infection. To improve the understanding of transmission risks in six Scottish renal dialysis units, we utilised the rapid whole-genome sequencing data generated by the COG-UK consortium. Methods: We combined geographical, temporal and genomic se...
Preprint
Full-text available
Defining the unique protein features of SARS-CoV-2, the viral agent causing Coronavirus Disease 2019, may guide efforts to control this pathogen. We examined proteins encoded by the Sarbecoviruses closest to SARS-CoV-2 using profile Hidden Markov Model similarities to identify features unique to SARS-CoV-2. Consistent with previous reports, a small...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: The aim of the study was to find evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in UK cats. Design: Tissue samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 antigen using immunofluorescence and for viral RNA by in situ hybridisation. A set of 387 oropharyngeal swabs that had been submitted for routine respiratory pathogen testing was tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA us...
Preprint
Full-text available
Objectives: Patients requiring haemodialysis are at increased risk of serious illness with SARS-CoV-2 infection. To improve the understanding of transmission risks in six Scottish renal dialysis units, we utilised the rapid whole-genome sequencing data generated by the COG-UK consortium. Methods: We combined geographical, temporal and genomic seque...
Article
Full-text available
Virus host shifts are generally associated with novel adaptations to exploit the cells of the new host species optimally. Surprisingly, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has apparently required little to no significant adaptation to humans since the start of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and to October...
Preprint
Full-text available
The emergence and rapid rise in prevalence of three independent SARS-CoV-2 '501Y lineages', B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1, in the last three months of 2020 has prompted renewed concerns about the evolutionarily capacity of SARS-CoV-2 to adapt to both rising population immunity and public health interventions such as vaccines and social distancing. Virus...
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A Correction to this paper has been published: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-021-00869-0.
Article
Background Studies of patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have found varying mortality outcomes associated with underlying respiratory conditions and inhaled corticosteroid use. Using data from a national, multicentre, prospective cohort, we aimed to characterise people with COVID-19 admitted to hospital with underlying respiratory disease,...
Article
Full-text available
The recent emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the underlying cause of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has led to a worldwide pandemic causing substantial morbidity, mortality, and economic devastation. In response, many laboratories have redirected attention to SARS-CoV-2, meaning there is an urgent need...