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medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.08.20.21262158


BackgroundSARS-CoV-2 vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality. As no vaccine is 100% effective, breakthrough infections are expected to occur. MethodsWe analyzed the virological characteristics of 161 vaccine breakthrough infections in a population of 24,706 vaccinated healthcare workers (HCWs), using RT-PCR and virus culture. ResultsThe delta variant (B.1.617.2) was identified in the majority of cases. Despite similar Ct-values, we demonstrate lower probability of infectious virus detection in respiratory samples of vaccinated HCWs with breakthrough infections compared to unvaccinated HCWs with primary SARS-CoV-2 infections. Nevertheless, infectious virus was found in 68.6% of breakthrough infections and Ct-values decreased throughout the first 3 days of illness. ConclusionsWe conclude that rare vaccine breakthrough infections occur, but infectious virus shedding is reduced in these cases.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Breakthrough Pain , COVID-19
biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.10.29.360578


Current transmission rates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are still increasing and many countries are facing second waves of infections. Rapid SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequencing (WGS) is often unavailable but could support public health organizations and hospitals in monitoring and determining transmission links. Here we report a novel reverse complement polymerase chain reaction (RC-PCR) technology for WGS of SARS-CoV-2. This technique is unique as it enables library preparation in a single PCR saving time, resources and enables high throughput screening. A total of 173 samples tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 between March and September 2020 were included. RC-PCR WGS applicability for outbreak analysis in public health service and hospital settings was tested on six predefined clusters containing samples of healthcare workers and patients. RC-PCR resulted in WGS data for 146 samples. It showed a genome coverage of up to 98,2% for samples with a maximum Ct value of 32. Three out of six suspected clusters were fully confirmed, while in other clusters four healthcare workers were not associated. Importantly, a previously unknown chain of transmission was confirmed in the public health service samples. These findings confirm the reliability and applicability of the RC-PCR technology for SARS-CoV-2 sequencing in outbreak analysis and surveillance.

Genomic Instability