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1.
Ghana Med J ; 54(4 Suppl): 71-76, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1436197

ABSTRACT

Across the globe, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic is causing distress with governments doing everything in their power to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) to prevent morbidity and mortality. Actions are being implemented to keep health care systems from being overstretched and to curb the outbreak. Any policy responses aimed at slowing down the spread of the virus and mitigating its immediate effects on health care systems require a firm basis of information about the absolute number of currently infected people, growth rates, and locations/hotspots of infections. The only way to obtain this base of information is by conducting numerous tests in a targeted way. Currently, in Ghana, there is a centralized testing approach, that takes 4-5 days for samples to be shipped and tested at central reference laboratories with results communicated to the district, regional and national stakeholders. This delay in diagnosis increases the risk of ongoing transmission in communities and vulnerable institutions. We have validated, evaluated and deployed an innovative diagnostic tool on a mobile laboratory platform to accelerate the COVID-19 testing. A preliminary result of 74 samples from COVID-19 suspected cases has a positivity rate of 12% with a turn-around time of fewer than 3 hours from sample taking to reporting of results, significantly reducing the waiting time from days to hours, enabling expedient response by the health system for contact tracing to reduce transmission and additionally improving case management. FUNDING: Test kits were provided by AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mine (AngloGold Ashanti Health Foundation). The American Leprosy Mission donated the PCR machine, and the mobile laboratory van was funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (EKN). AAS, YAA was supported by (PANDORA-ID-NET RIA2016E-1609) and ROP supported by EDCTP Senior Fellowship (TMA2016SF), both funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP2) programme which is supported under Horizon 2020, the European Union.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Mobile Health Units , Population Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Contact Tracing , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Early Diagnosis , Female , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Time Factors , Young Adult
2.
Arch Virol ; 166(5): 1385-1393, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1135167

ABSTRACT

Following the detection of the first imported case of COVID-19 in the northern sector of Ghana, we molecularly characterized and phylogenetically analysed sequences, including three complete genome sequences, of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 obtained from nine patients in Ghana. We performed high-throughput sequencing on nine samples that were found to have a high concentration of viral RNA. We also assessed the potential impact that long-distance transport of samples to testing centres may have on sequencing results. Here, two samples that were similar in terms of viral RNA concentration but were transported from sites that are over 400 km apart were analyzed. All sequences were compared to previous sequences from Ghana and representative sequences from regions where our patients had previously travelled. Three complete genome sequences and another nearly complete genome sequence with 95.6% coverage were obtained. Sequences with coverage in excess of 80% were found to belong to three lineages, namely A, B.1 and B.2. Our sequences clustered in two different clades, with the majority falling within a clade composed of sequences from sub-Saharan Africa. Less RNA fragmentation was seen in sample KATH23, which was collected 9 km from the testing site, than in sample TTH6, which was collected and transported over a distance of 400 km to the testing site. The clustering of several sequences from sub-Saharan Africa suggests regional circulation of the viruses in the subregion. Importantly, there may be a need to decentralize testing sites and build more capacity across Africa to boost the sequencing output of the subregion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods , Female , Genome, Viral , Ghana , Humans , Male , Nasopharynx/virology , Oropharynx/virology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, RNA
3.
mBio ; 12(1)2021 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066819

ABSTRACT

Bats host many viruses pathogenic to humans, and increasing evidence suggests that rotavirus A (RVA) also belongs to this list. Rotaviruses cause diarrheal disease in many mammals and birds, and their segmented genomes allow them to reassort and increase their genetic diversity. Eighteen out of 2,142 bat fecal samples (0.8%) collected from Europe, Central America, and Africa were PCR-positive for RVA, and 11 of those were fully characterized using viral metagenomics. Upon contrasting their genomes with publicly available data, at least 7 distinct bat RVA genotype constellations (GCs) were identified, which included evidence of reassortments and 6 novel genotypes. Some of these constellations are spread across the world, whereas others appear to be geographically restricted. Our analyses also suggest that several unusual human and equine RVA strains might be of bat RVA origin, based on their phylogenetic clustering, despite various levels of nucleotide sequence identities between them. Although SA11 is one of the most widely used reference strains for RVA research and forms the backbone of a reverse genetics system, its origin remained enigmatic. Remarkably, the majority of the genotypes of SA11-like strains were shared with Gabonese bat RVAs, suggesting a potential common origin. Overall, our findings suggest an underexplored genetic diversity of RVAs in bats, which is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Increasing contact between humans and bat wildlife will further increase the zoonosis risk, which warrants closer attention to these viruses.IMPORTANCE The increased research on bat coronaviruses after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) allowed the very rapid identification of SARS-CoV-2. This is an excellent example of the importance of knowing viruses harbored by wildlife in general, and bats in particular, for global preparedness against emerging viral pathogens. The current effort to characterize bat rotavirus strains from 3 continents sheds light on the vast genetic diversity of rotaviruses and also hints at a bat origin for several atypical rotaviruses in humans and animals, implying that zoonoses of bat rotaviruses might occur more frequently than currently realized.


Subject(s)
Chiroptera/virology , Rotavirus Infections/transmission , Rotavirus Infections/virology , Rotavirus/genetics , Zoonoses/transmission , Zoonoses/virology , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Diarrhea/virology , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral , Genotype , Horses , Humans , Metagenomics , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
4.
PLoS One ; 15(12): e0243711, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-968555

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Global cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, causing havoc to several economies. So far, Ghana has recorded 48,643 confirmed cases with 320 associated deaths. Although summaries of data are usually provided by the Ministry of Health, detailed epidemiological profile of cases are limited. This study sought to describe the socio-demographic features, pattern of COVID-19 spread and the viral load dynamics among subjects residing in northern, middle and part of the southern belt of Ghana. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional retrospective study that reviewed records of samples collected from February to July, 2020. Respiratory specimens such as sputum, deep-cough saliva and nasopharyngeal swabs were collected from suspected COVID-19 subjects in 12 regions of Ghana for laboratory analysis and confirmation by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). RESULTS: A total of 72,434 samples were collected during the review period, with majority of the sampled individuals being females (37,464; 51.9%). The prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 identified in the study population was 13.2% [95%CI: 12.9, 13.4). Males were mostly infected (4,897; 51.5%) compared to females. Individuals between the ages 21-30 years recorded the highest number of infections (3,144, 33.4%). Symptomatic subjects had higher viral loads (1479.7 copies/µl; IQR = 40.6-178919) than asymptomatic subjects (49.9; IQR = 5.5-3641.6). There was significant association between gender or age and infection with SARS-CoV-2 (p<0.05). Among all the suspected clinical presentations, anosmia was the strongest predictor of SARS-CoV-2 infection (Adj. OR (95%CI): 24.39 (20.18, 29.49). We observed an average reproductive number of 1.36 with a minimum of 1.28 and maximum of 1.43. The virus trajectory shows a gradual reduction of the virus reproductive number. CONCLUSION: This study has described the epidemiological profile of COVID-19 cases in northern, middle and part of the southern belt of Ghana, with males and younger individuals at greater risk of contracting the disease. Health professionals should be conscious of individuals presenting with anosmia since this was seen as the strongest predictor of virus infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult
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