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mSphere . Stability of SARS-CoV-2 Spike G614 Variant Surpasses That of the D614 Variant after Cold Storage

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  • mSphere . Stability of SARS-CoV-2 Spike G614 Variant Surpasses That of the D614 Variant after Cold Storage


    mSphere


    . 2021 Mar 31;6(2):e00104-21.
    doi: 10.1128/mSphere.00104-21.
    Stability of SARS-CoV-2 Spike G614 Variant Surpasses That of the D614 Variant after Cold Storage


    Sheng-Yu Huang # 1 2 , Yu-An Kung # 1 2 , Peng-Nien Huang # 1 2 3 , Sheng-Yun Chang 1 4 , Yu-Nong Gong 1 5 , Yi-Ju Han 1 6 , Huan-Jung Chiang 1 2 , Kuan-Ting Liu 1 6 , Kuo-Ming Lee 1 , Chia-Yu Chang 7 8 , Chia-Ching Chang 7 8 9 10 , Chung-Guei Huang 2 5 , Shin-Ru Shih 11 2 5 12 13 14



    Affiliations

    Abstract

    Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) carrying the D614G mutation on the spike protein is the predominant circulating variant and is associated with enhanced infectivity. However, whether this dominant variant can potentially spread through the cold chain and whether the spike protein affects virus stability after cold storage remain unclear. To compare the infectivity of two SARS-CoV-2 variants, namely, SARS-CoV-2 variants with spike protein with the D614 mutation (S-D614) and G614 mutation (S-G614), after different periods of refrigeration (4°C) and freezing (-20°C). We also determined the integrity of the viral RNA and the ability of the spike protein to bind angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) after storage at these conditions. The results showed that SARS-CoV-2 was more stable and infectious after storage at -20°C than at 4°C. Particularly, the S-G614 variant was found to be more stable than the S-D614 variant. The spike protein of the S-G614 variant had better binding ability with the ACE2 receptor than that of the S-D614 variant after storage at -20°C for up to 30 days. Our findings revealed that SARS-CoV-2 remains stable and infectious after refrigeration or freezing, and their stability and infectivity up to 30 days depends on the spike variant. Stability and infectivity are related to each other, and the higher stability of S-G614 compared to that of S-D614 may contribute to rapid viral spread of the S-G614 variant.IMPORTANCE It has been observed that variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are more stable and infectious after storage at -20°C than at 4°C. A SARS-CoV-2 S-D614G variant is currently the most dominant variant in circulation and is associated with enhanced infectivity. We compared the stability of two SARS-CoV-2 variants: the early S-D614 variant carrying the D614 spike protein and the new S-G614 variant carrying the G614 spike protein, stored at both 4°C and -20°C for different periods. We observed that SARS-CoV-2 remains stable and infectious after refrigeration or freezing, which further depends on the spike variant, that is, the ability of the spike protein to bind with the ACE2 receptor with higher efficiency. The high stability of the S-G614 variant also explains its rapid spread and infectivity. Therefore, precautions should be taken during and after handling food preserved under cold conditions.

    Keywords: ACE2; D614 variant; D614G mutation; RNA integrity; SARS-CoV-2; cold storage; spike protein; stability; temperature.

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