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1.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 2022 Apr 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1822050

ABSTRACT

Based on our national outpatient sentinel surveillance, we have developed a novel approach to determine respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) epidemic seasons in Germany by using RSV positivity rate and its lower limit of 95% confidence interval. This method was evaluated retrospectively on nine RSV seasons, and it is also well-suited to describe off-season circulation of RSV in near real time as observed for seasons 2020/21 and 2021/22 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospective application is of crucial importance to enable timely actions for health service delivery and prevention.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312513

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the ACE2 transmembrane peptidase as essential cellular entry receptor. Several studies have suggested abundant ACE2 expression in the human lung, inferring strong permissiveness to SARS-CoV-2 infection with resultant alveolar damage and lung injury. Against this expectation, we provide evidence that ACE2 expression must be considered scarce, thereby limiting SARS-CoV-2 propagation in the human alveolus. Instead, spectral imaging of ex vivo infected human lungs and COVID-19 autopsy samples depicted that alveolar macrophages were frequently positive for SARS-CoV-2, indicating viral phagocytosis. Single-cell transcriptomics of SARS-CoV-2 infected human lung tissue further revealed strong inflammatory and anti-viral activation responses in macrophages and monocytes, comparable to those induced by MERS-CoV, but with virus-specific gene expression profiles. Collectively, our findings indicate that severe lung injury in COVID-19 likely results from an overwhelming immune activation rather than direct viral damage of the alveolar compartment.Funding: ACH, LES, SH were supported by Berlin University Alliance GC2 Global Health (Corona Virus Pre-Exploration Project). ACH, SH, TW and CD were supported by BMBF (RAPID) and ACH, SH by BMBF (alvBarriereCOVID-19). KH, LB, SL, SH, CD, TW, ACH were funded by BMBF (NFN-COVID 19, Organo-Strat). KH, NS, LES, MW, SH, ADG, CD, TW and ACH were supported by DFG (SFB-TR 84). ACH was supported by BIH, Charite 3R, and Charité-Zeiss MultiDim. KH was supported by BMBF (Camo-COVID-19). MW, NS and SH was supported by BMBF (PROVID). MW and NS was supported by BIH and BMBF (SYMPATH, CAPSyS, NAPKON). BO and DB were funded through the BIH Clinical Single Cell Bioinformatics Pipeline. LB was supported by the BMBF (CoIMMUNE), the DFG (KFO 342) and the IZKF of the Medical Faculty of the WWU. Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.Ethical Approval: The study was approved by the ethics committee at the Charité clinic (projects EA2/079/13) and Ärztekammer Westfalen-Lippe and of the Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität (AZ: 2016-265-f-S). Written informed consent was obtained from all patients.

4.
Epidemiol Infect ; 149: e226, 2021 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1537267

ABSTRACT

The corona virus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic began in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread around the world. The pandemic overlapped with two consecutive influenza seasons (2019/2020 and 2020/2021). This provided the opportunity to study community circulation of influenza viruses and severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in outpatients with acute respiratory infections during these two seasons within the Bavarian Influenza Sentinel (BIS) in Bavaria, Germany. From September to March, oropharyngeal swabs collected at BIS were analysed for influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2 by real-time polymerase chain reaction. In BIS 2019/2020, 1376 swabs were tested for influenza viruses. The average positive rate was 37.6%, with a maximum of over 60% (in January). The predominant influenza viruses were Influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 (n = 202), Influenza A(H3N2) (n = 144) and Influenza B Victoria lineage (n = 129). In all, 610 of these BIS swabs contained sufficient material to retrospectively test for SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detectable in any of these swabs. In BIS 2020/2021, 470 swabs were tested for influenza viruses and 457 for SARS-CoV-2. Only three swabs (0.6%) were positive for Influenza, while SARS-CoV-2 was found in 30 swabs (6.6%). We showed that no circulation of SARS-CoV-2 was detectable in BIS during the 2019/2020 influenza season, while virtually no influenza viruses were found in BIS 2020/2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Sentinel Surveillance , COVID-19/diagnosis , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , Influenza, Human/diagnosis , Oropharynx/virology , Orthomyxoviridae/classification , Orthomyxoviridae/genetics , Orthomyxoviridae/isolation & purification , RNA, Viral/genetics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Seasons
5.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 11: 100262, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1499011
6.
Microorganisms ; 9(7)2021 Jul 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1323308

ABSTRACT

Human parainfluenza viruses (HPIVs) are important causes of respiratory illness, especially in young children. However, surveillance for HPIV is rarely performed continuously, and national-level epidemiologic and genetic data are scarce. Within the German sentinel system, to monitor acute respiratory infections (ARI), 4463 respiratory specimens collected from outpatients < 5 years of age between October 2015 and September 2019 were retrospectively screened for HPIV 1-4 using real-time PCR. HPIV was identified in 459 (10%) samples. HPIV-3 was the most common HPIV-type, with 234 detections, followed by HPIV-1 (113), HPIV-4 (61), and HPIV-2 (49). HPIV-3 was more frequently associated with age < 2 years, and HPIV-4 was more frequently associated with pneumonia compared to other HPIV types. HPIV circulation displayed distinct seasonal patterns, which appeared to vary by type. Phylogenetic characterization clustered HPIV-1 in Clades 2 and 3. Reclassification was performed for HPIV-2, provisionally assigning two distinct HPIV-2 groups and six clades, with German HPIV-2s clustering in Clade 2.4. HPIV-3 clustered in C1, C3, C5, and, interestingly, in A. HPIV-4 clustered in Clades 2.1 and 2.2. The results of this study may serve to inform future approaches to diagnose and prevent HPIV infections, which contribute substantially to ARI in young children in Germany.

7.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 6: 100112, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1260816

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: During the initial COVID-19 response, Germany's Federal Government implemented several nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) that were instrumental in suppressing early exponential spread of SARS-CoV-2. NPI effect on the transmission of other respiratory viruses has not been examined at the national level thus far. METHODS: Upper respiratory tract specimens from 3580 patients with acute respiratory infection (ARI), collected within the nationwide German ARI Sentinel, underwent RT-PCR diagnostics for multiple respiratory viruses. The observation period (weeks 1-38 of 2020) included the time before, during and after a far-reaching contact ban. Detection rates for different viruses were compared to 2017-2019 sentinel data (15350 samples; week 1-38, 11823 samples). FINDINGS: The March 2020 contact ban, which was followed by a mask mandate, was associated with an unprecedented and sustained decline of multiple respiratory viruses. Among these, rhinovirus was the single agent that resurged to levels equalling those of previous years. Rhinovirus rebound was first observed in children, after schools and daycares had reopened. By contrast, other nonenveloped viruses (i.e. gastroenteritis viruses reported at the national level) suppressed after the shutdown did not rebound. INTERPRETATION: Contact restrictions with a subsequent mask mandate in spring may substantially reduce respiratory virus circulation. This reduction appears sustained for most viruses, indicating that the activity of influenza and other respiratory viruses during the subsequent winter season might be low,whereas rhinovirus resurgence, potentially driven by transmission in educational institutions in a setting of waning population immunity, might signal predominance of rhinovirus-related ARIs. FUNDING: Robert Koch-Institute and German Ministry of Health.

8.
Virol J ; 18(1): 110, 2021 06 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255943

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The reliable detection of SARS-CoV-2 has become one of the most important contributions to COVID-19 crisis management. With the publication of the first sequences of SARS-CoV-2, several diagnostic PCR assays have been developed and published. In addition to in-house assays the market was flooded with numerous commercially available ready-to-use PCR kits, with both approaches showing alarming shortages in reagent supply. AIM: Here we present a resource-efficient in-house protocol for the PCR detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in patient specimens (RKI/ZBS1 SARS-CoV-2 protocol). METHODS: Two duplex one-step real-time RT-PCR assays are run simultaneously and provide information on two different SARS-CoV-2 genomic regions. Each one is duplexed with a control that either indicates potential PCR inhibition or proves the successful extraction of nucleic acid from the clinical specimen. RESULTS: Limit of RNA detection for both SARS-CoV-2 assays is below 10 genomes per reaction. The protocol enables testing specimens in duplicate across the two different SARS-CoV-2 PCR assays, saving reagents by increasing testing capacity. The protocol can be run on various PCR cyclers with several PCR master mix kits. CONCLUSION: The presented RKI/ZBS1 SARS-CoV-2 protocol represents a cost-effective alternative in times of shortages when commercially available ready-to-use kits may not be available or affordable.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Humans , Limit of Detection , Polyproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Proteins/genetics
9.
Mol Cell Probes ; 58: 101742, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220955

ABSTRACT

Point of care detection of SARS-CoV-2 is one pillar in a containment strategy and important to break infection chains. Here we report the sensitive, specific and robust detection of SARS-CoV-2 and respective variants of concern by the ID NOW COVID-19 device.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Humans , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sensitivity and Specificity
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