Molecular Virology Unit

Pavia, Italy

Molecular Virology Unit

Pavia, Italy
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Zavattoni M.,Molecular Virology Unit
Euro surveillance : bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin | Year: 2016

We report miscarriage following dengue virus (DENV)-3 infection in a pregnant woman returning from Bali to Italy in April 2016. On her arrival, the woman had fever, rash, asthenia and headache. DENV RNA was detected in plasma and urine samples collected the following day. Six days after symptom onset, she had a miscarriage. DENV RNA was detected in fetal material, but in utero fetal infection cannot be demonstrated due to possible contamination by maternal blood. This article is copyright of The Authors, 2016.


Civardi E.,Neonatal Intensive Care Unit | Tzialla C.,Neonatal Intensive Care Unit | Baldanti F.,Molecular Virology Unit | Strocchio L.,Neonatal Intensive Care Unit | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Infection Control | Year: 2013

Background: Nosocomial infection is among the most important causes of morbidity, prolonged hospital stay, increased hospital costs, and mortality in neonates, particularly those born preterm. The vast majority of scientific articles dealing with nosocomial infections address bacterial or fungal infections, and viral agents are often disregarded. This analysis reviews the medical literature in an effort to establish the incidence, types of pathogens, and clinical features of noncongenital neonatal viral infections. Methods: This analysis was performed using the worldwide database of health care-associated outbreaks (http://www.outbreak-database.com). Items analyzed included causative pathogens, types of infection, source of outbreaks, and measures taken to stop outbreaks. Results: The outbreak database contained a total of 590 neonatal outbreaks, of which 64 were originated by viruses, 44 of which (68.75%) were reported from neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The 5 most frequent viral agents were rotavirus (23.44%), respiratory syncytial virus (17.19%), enterovirus (15.63%), hepatitis A virus (10.94%), and adenovirus (9.38%). Conclusion: Our analysis of the viral origins of nosocomial infections in NICUs can be a valuable tool in the investigation of neonatal infections. The mortality rates reported in this analysis demonstrate the significance of noncongenital viral infections in NICUs and the need for more effective outbreak prevention strategies. Copyright © 2013 by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.


Bavagnoli L.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Cucuzza S.,CNR Institute of Neuroscience | Campanini G.,Molecular Virology Unit | Rovida F.,Molecular Virology Unit | And 3 more authors.
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2015

The PA protein of Influenza A virus (IAV) encoded by segment 3 acts as a specialized RNA endonuclease in the transcription of the viral genome. The same genomic segment encodes for a second shorter protein, termed PA-X, with the first 191 N-terminal aminoacids (aa) identical to PA, but with a completely different C-ter domain of 61 aa, due to a ribosomal frameshifting. In addition, it has been shown that several IAV isolates encode for a naturally truncated PA-X variant, PAXΔC20, missing the last 20 aa. The biochemical properties of PA-X and PAXΔC20 have been poorly investigated so far. Here, we have carried out an enzymatic characterization of PA-X and its naturally deleted form, in comparison with PA from the human IAV strain A/WSN/33 (H1N1). Our results showed, to the best of our knowledge for the first time, that PA-X possesses an endonucleolytic activity. Both PA and PA-X preferentially cut single stranded RNA regions, but with some differences. In addition, we showed that PAXΔC20 has severely reduced nuclease activity. These results point to a previously undetected role of the last C-ter 20 aa for the catalytic activity of PA-X and support distinct roles for these proteins in the viral life cycle. © The Author(s) 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


Piralla A.,Molecular Virology Unit | Girello A.,Molecular Virology Unit | Premoli M.,Molecular Virology Unit | Baldanti F.,Molecular Virology Unit | Baldanti F.,University of Pavia
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2015

A global reemergence of human enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) associated with severe respiratory illness occurred in 2014. We developed and validated an EV-D68-specific real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) for the detection of EV-D68 in respiratory samples. The rapid diagnosis of EV-D68 may contribute to better management of EV-D68 infections. Copyright © 2015, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Calarota S.A.,Molecular Virology Unit | Aberle J.H.,Medical University of Vienna | Puchhammer-Stockl E.,Medical University of Vienna | Baldanti F.,Molecular Virology Unit | Baldanti F.,University of Pavia
Journal of Clinical Virology | Year: 2015

Opportunistic viral infections are still a major complication following solid organ transplantation. Immune monitoring may allow the identification of patients at risk of infection and, eventually, the modulation of immunosuppressive strategies. Immune monitoring can be performed using virus-specific and non virus-specific assays. This article describes and summarizes the pros and cons of the different technical approaches. Among the assays based on non virus-specific antigens, the enumeration of T-cell subsets, the quantification of cytokines and chemokines and the quantification of intracellular adenosine triphosphate following mitogen stimulation are described and their clinical applications to determine the risk for viral infection are discussed. In addition, current specific methods available for monitoring viral-specific T-cell responses are summarized, such as peptide-MHC multimer staining, intracellular cytokine staining, enzyme-linked immunospot and virus-specific IFN-γ ELISA assays, and their clinical applications to determine the individual risk for opportunistic viral infections with human cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus and polyoma BK virus are discussed. The standardization of the procedure, the choice of the antigen(s) and the criteria to define cut-off values for positive responses are needed for some of these approaches before their implementation in the clinic. Nevertheless, immune monitoring combined with virological monitoring in transplant recipients is increasingly regarded as a helpful tool to identify patients at risk of infection as well as to assess treatment efficacy. © 2015.


Piralla A.,Molecular Virology Unit | Furione M.,Molecular Virology Unit | Rovida F.,Molecular Virology Unit | Marchi A.,University of Pavia | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Medical Virology | Year: 2012

Human parechoviruses (HPeVs) infection is associated with a wide range of clinical syndromes such as respiratory, gastrointestinal, neurologic diseases, and neonatal sepsis-like illness. The main objective of this study was to investigate the epidemiology of HPeVs infection in hospitalized patients in a period of 2 years. Respiratory samples from 3,525 patients with respiratory syndrome, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from 340 patients with neurologic syndrome as well as CSF and plasma samples from five neonatal patients with sepsis-like illness collected from October 2008 to 2010 were tested retrospectively using HPeV-specific real-time RT-PCR. Phylogenetic analysis of VP3/VP1 region was performed on the positive samples. Fourteen out of 3,525 (0.4%) patients with respiratory syndrome and five out of five patients with sepsis-like illness were positive for HPeV. In 3/5 patients with sepsis-like illness multiple samples (e.g., stool, plasma, CSF, or respiratory samples) were available, and HPeV was found in all specimens. In contrast, no positive CSF was detected among the 340 patients with neurologic syndromes. Eleven patients (57.9%) were infected with HPeV1 strain, 7 (36.8%) with HPeV3, and 1 (5.3%) with HPeV6 strains. Ten of the 14 HPeV patients with respiratory syndrome were co-infected with other respiratory viruses (eight with rhinovirus and two with coronavirus OC43). All five patients with sepsis-like illness were less than 1 month of age and were infected with HPeV3. Although not circulating at high frequency and unlikely to cause respiratory syndrome, HPeV was associated with severe clinical syndromes in a minority of newborns. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Piralla A.,Molecular Virology Unit | Daleno C.,University of Milan | Pariani E.,University of Milan | Conaldi P.,University of Palermo | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Virology | Year: 2013

Background: The pan-influenza A real-time RT-PCR detection assay developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during the 2009 pandemic is widely utilized. A quantitative version of the assay may be useful to monitor influenza A infection and response to treatment. Objectives: To prove in principle the possibility that a virtual quantification tool (VQT) would allow conversion of CDC real-time RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values in virus RNA copy number. Study design: A plasmid carrying the CDC real-time RT-PCR target region of the influenza A Matrix (M) gene was generated. In a multicenter study, a set of 5 ten-fold dilutions (equivalent to 1×102 to 1×106copies/reaction) were prepared and distributed to the 4 participating virology laboratories and then amplified to generate a virtual quantification standard curve. Clinical samples (n=120) were quantified in parallel by interpolation with locally generated standard curves and using the VQT. Results: A total of 40 standard curves were obtained by the participating centers (ten from each center). The intra- and inter-laboratory variability showed a coefficient of variation (CV) ≤5%. Influenza A virus quantification in 120 respiratory samples showed a significant correlation between interpolation with locally generated standard curves and the VQT (R2=0.9655). Bland Altman analysis showed that the majority (no. 111, 92.5%) of clinical samples had <0.5log10 variation. Conclusions: VQT proofs the concept that qualitative results from real-time RT-PCR assays can be converted into quantitative determination of virus load in clinical samples without running standard curves in parallel. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Pedrazzoli P.,IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Foundation | Baldanti F.,Molecular Virology Unit | Donatelli I.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | Castrucci M.R.,Instituto Superiore Of Sanita | And 3 more authors.
Annals of Oncology | Year: 2014

Background: Influenza virus causes annual epidemics in the winter-spring season with significant morbidity in the general population and important mortality in high-risk groups, including cancer patients. Opinions on the suitability of patients with malignancies not undergoing active treatment and in different phases of antineoplastic therapy, to receive influenza vaccination, vary considerably among oncologists, sometimes even within one center. Methods: We reviewed available data, including recommendations by national health authorities, on impact of influenza in patients with cancer and their capacity to mount protective immunological responses to vaccination, thus allowing, on behalf of Italian Association of Medical Oncology, to make suitable recommendations for the prevention and treatment of seasonal influenza. Results and discussion: Patients with cancer often have disease- or treatment-related immunosuppression, and as a consequence, they may have a suboptimal serologic response to influenza vaccination. The protective effect of the different preparations of influenza vaccines in patients with cancer has not been widely investigated, especially in adult patients harboring solid tumors. The optimal timing for administration of influenza vaccines in patients receiving chemotherapy is also not clearly defined. However, since vaccination is the most effective method, along with antiviral drugs in selected patients, for preventing influenza infection, it has to be recommended for cancer patients. Implementing vaccination of close contacts of oncology patients would be an additional tool for enhancing protection in fragile patient populations. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society for Medical Oncology. All rights reserved.


Piralla A.,Molecular Virology Unit | Girello A.,Molecular Virology Unit | Grignani M.,University of Pavia | Gozalo-Marguello M.,Santander University | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Medical Virology | Year: 2014

Enterovirus 68 (EV-D68) was associated with mild to severe respiratory infections. In the last 4 years, circulation of different EV-D68 strains has been documented worldwide. In this study, the phylogenetic characterization of nine EV-D68 strains identified in patients in the 2010-2012 period and 12 additional EV-D68 Italian strains previously identified in 2008 in Italy was described. From January 2010 to December 2012, a total of 889 respiratory specimens from 588 patients stayed or visited at the Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo were positive for HRV or HEV. Extracted nucleic acids were amplified by one-step RT-PCR with primer specific for VP1 region of EV-D68 and purified positive PCR products were directly sequenced. Overall, 9/3736 (0.24%) patients were EV-D68 positive. Of these, 7/9 (77.8%) were pediatric and two (22.2%) were adults. Five out of seven (71.4%) pediatric patients had lower respiratory tract infection with oxygen saturation <94%. Four cases were detected from August through October 2010, while five other cases from September through December 2012. The Italian EV-D68 strains in 2008 belonged to clade A (n=5) and clade C (n=7). In 2010 all the Italian strains belonged to clade A (n=4) and in 2012, four Italian strains belonged to clade B and one to clade A. In conclusion, we provide additional evidence supporting a role of EV-D68 in severe respiratory infection in pediatric patients. In addition, all the three EV-D68 clades circulating worldwide were identified in Italy in a 5-year period of time. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Pollard C.,Institute of Tropical Medicine | Pollard C.,Ghent University | De Koker S.,Ghent University | Saelens X.,Molecular Virology Unit | And 4 more authors.
Trends in Molecular Medicine | Year: 2013

In recent years, mRNA vaccines have emerged as a safe and potent approach for the induction of cellular immune responses. Whereas initial studies were limited to the ex vivo loading of dendritic cells (DCs) with antigen-encoding mRNA, recent progress has led to the development of improved mRNA vaccines that enable direct in vivo targeting of DCs. Although preclinical studies demonstrated their potency in inducing antitumor immunity, several bottlenecks hinder the broader application of mRNA vaccines. In this review, we discuss the challenges associated with mRNA-based vaccination strategies, the technological advances that have been made to overcome these limitations, and the hurdles that remain to be tackled for the development of an optimal mRNA vaccine. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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