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Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 704719, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1348513


We present a case of SARS-CoV-2 B.1. 525 infection in a healthcare worker despite the presence of highly neutralizing, multivariant-specific antibodies 7 weeks after full vaccination with the mRNA vaccine BNT162b2. We show that the virus replicated to high levels in the upper respiratory tract over the course of several days in the presence of strong antibody responses. The virus was readily propagatable in vitro, demonstrating the potential to transmit to others, bolstered by the fact that several household members were equally infected. This highlights the importance of protective measures even in vaccinated individuals.

Transfus Med Hemother ; 48(3): 154-160, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247451


BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has challenged many of our current routine practices in the treatment and care of patients. Given the critical importance of blood donation and transfusion we analyzed 92 blood samples of individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 stratified by symptoms. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: We therefore tested blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 via RT-PCR targeting the E gene. In addition, we tested each blood sample for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies via ELISA and performed plaque reduction neutralization tests. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was absent in the blood of mild to asymptomatic patients (57 individuals) and only detectable in individuals with severe COVID-19 who were admitted to the intensive care unit (35 individuals) (n = 6/92 [6.5%]; p = 0.023 Fisher's exact test). Interestingly, anti-spike IgG antibodies were not significantly higher in intensive care unit patients compared to mild patients, but we found that their neutralizing capacity was disproportionately increased (p < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Our observations support the hypothesis that there are no potential hazards from blood or plasma transfusion of SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals with mild flu-like symptoms and more importantly of asymptomatic individuals.

J Clin Virol ; 127: 104381, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-102384


BACKGROUND: A novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in China in late 2019 and subsequently caused a pandemic. Surveillance is important to better appreciate this evolving pandemic and to longitudinally monitor the effectiveness of public health measures. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to provide a rapid, easy to establish and costeffective laboratory-based surveillance tool for SARS-CoV-2. STUDY DESIGN: We used minipools of RNA prepared from nucleic acid extractions of routine respiratory samples. We technically validated the assay and distributed the protocol within an informal network of five German university laboratories. RESULTS: We tested a total of 70 minipools resembling 700 samples shortly before the upsurge of cases in Germany from 17.02.2020 to 10.03.2020. One minipool reacted positive and after resolution one individual sample tested SARS-CoV-2 positive. This sample was from a hospitalized patient not suspected of having contracted SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS: Our approach of a laboratory-based surveillance for SARSCoV-2 using minipools proved its concept is easily adaptable and resource-saving. It might assist not only public health laboratories in SARS-CoV-2 surveillance.

Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Epidemiological Monitoring , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19 , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Pharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Sputum/virology