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1.
Cell Rep Med ; 3(4): 100583, 2022 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735052

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant rose to dominance in mid-2021, likely propelled by an estimated 40%-80% increased transmissibility over Alpha. To investigate if this ostensible difference in transmissibility is uniform across populations, we partner with public health programs from all six states in New England in the United States. We compare logistic growth rates during each variant's respective emergence period, finding that Delta emerged 1.37-2.63 times faster than Alpha (range across states). We compute variant-specific effective reproductive numbers, estimating that Delta is 63%-167% more transmissible than Alpha (range across states). Finally, we estimate that Delta infections generate on average 6.2 (95% CI 3.1-10.9) times more viral RNA copies per milliliter than Alpha infections during their respective emergence. Overall, our evidence suggests that Delta's enhanced transmissibility can be attributed to its innate ability to increase infectiousness, but its epidemiological dynamics may vary depending on underlying population attributes and sequencing data availability.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , New England/epidemiology , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
Cell ; 185(3): 485-492.e10, 2022 02 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588148

ABSTRACT

An outbreak of over 1,000 COVID-19 cases in Provincetown, Massachusetts (MA), in July 2021-the first large outbreak mostly in vaccinated individuals in the US-prompted a comprehensive public health response, motivating changes to national masking recommendations and raising questions about infection and transmission among vaccinated individuals. To address these questions, we combined viral genomic and epidemiological data from 467 individuals, including 40% of outbreak-associated cases. The Delta variant accounted for 99% of cases in this dataset; it was introduced from at least 40 sources, but 83% of cases derived from a single source, likely through transmission across multiple settings over a short time rather than a single event. Genomic and epidemiological data supported multiple transmissions of Delta from and between fully vaccinated individuals. However, despite its magnitude, the outbreak had limited onward impact in MA and the US overall, likely due to high vaccination rates and a robust public health response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Contact Tracing/methods , Disease Outbreaks , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Massachusetts/epidemiology , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Vaccination , Whole Genome Sequencing , Young Adult
3.
Nat Microbiol ; 7(1): 108-119, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574813

ABSTRACT

The global spread and continued evolution of SARS-CoV-2 has driven an unprecedented surge in viral genomic surveillance. Amplicon-based sequencing methods provide a sensitive, low-cost and rapid approach but suffer a high potential for contamination, which can undermine laboratory processes and results. This challenge will increase with the expanding global production of sequences across a variety of laboratories for epidemiological and clinical interpretation, as well as for genomic surveillance of emerging diseases in future outbreaks. We present SDSI + AmpSeq, an approach that uses 96 synthetic DNA spike-ins (SDSIs) to track samples and detect inter-sample contamination throughout the sequencing workflow. We apply SDSIs to the ARTIC Consortium's amplicon design, demonstrate their utility and efficiency in a real-time investigation of a suspected hospital cluster of SARS-CoV-2 cases and validate them across 6,676 diagnostic samples at multiple laboratories. We establish that SDSI + AmpSeq provides increased confidence in genomic data by detecting and correcting for relatively common, yet previously unobserved modes of error, including spillover and sample swaps, without impacting genome recovery.


Subject(s)
DNA Primers/standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis/standards , COVID-19/diagnosis , DNA Primers/chemical synthesis , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Quality Control , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reproducibility of Results , Sequence Analysis/methods , Whole Genome Sequencing , Workflow
4.
Science ; 371(6529)2021 02 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388436

ABSTRACT

Analysis of 772 complete severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes from early in the Boston-area epidemic revealed numerous introductions of the virus, a small number of which led to most cases. The data revealed two superspreading events. One, in a skilled nursing facility, led to rapid transmission and significant mortality in this vulnerable population but little broader spread, whereas other introductions into the facility had little effect. The second, at an international business conference, produced sustained community transmission and was exported, resulting in extensive regional, national, and international spread. The two events also differed substantially in the genetic variation they generated, suggesting varying transmission dynamics in superspreading events. Our results show how genomic epidemiology can help to understand the link between individual clusters and wider community spread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans
5.
J Clin Pathol ; 74(8): 496-503, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247388

ABSTRACT

Developing and deploying new diagnostic tests are difficult, but the need to do so in response to a rapidly emerging pandemic such as COVID-19 is crucially important. During a pandemic, laboratories play a key role in helping healthcare providers and public health authorities detect active infection, a task most commonly achieved using nucleic acid-based assays. While the landscape of diagnostics is rapidly evolving, PCR remains the gold-standard of nucleic acid-based diagnostic assays, in part due to its reliability, flexibility and wide deployment. To address a critical local shortage of testing capacity persisting during the COVID-19 outbreak, our hospital set up a molecular-based laboratory developed test (LDT) to accurately and safely diagnose SARS-CoV-2. We describe here the process of developing an emergency-use LDT, in the hope that our experience will be useful to other laboratories in future outbreaks and will help to lower barriers to establishing fast and accurate diagnostic testing in crisis conditions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Emergency Service, Hospital , Laboratories, Hospital , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests , Reproducibility of Results
7.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5921, 2020 11 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939436

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that new diagnostic technologies are essential for controlling disease transmission. Here, we develop SHINE (Streamlined Highlighting of Infections to Navigate Epidemics), a sensitive and specific diagnostic tool that can detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA from unextracted samples. We identify the optimal conditions to allow RPA-based amplification and Cas13-based detection to occur in a single step, simplifying assay preparation and reducing run-time. We improve HUDSON to rapidly inactivate viruses in nasopharyngeal swabs and saliva in 10 min. SHINE's results can be visualized with an in-tube fluorescent readout - reducing contamination risk as amplification reaction tubes remain sealed - and interpreted by a companion smartphone application. We validate SHINE on 50 nasopharyngeal patient samples, demonstrating 90% sensitivity and 100% specificity compared to RT-qPCR with a sample-to-answer time of 50 min. SHINE has the potential to be used outside of hospitals and clinical laboratories, greatly enhancing diagnostic capabilities.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , CRISPR-Associated Proteins/metabolism , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Biological Assay , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Fluorescence , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
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