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1.
Int J Infect Dis ; 118: 169-172, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1838852

ABSTRACT

This is the case report of an 84-year-old man affected by COVID-19 between the 2 doses of vaccination, with negative exitus. We analyzed nasopharyngeal samples of viral RNA collected during the disease and nasopharyngeal and lung samples collected postmortem by reverse transcription LAMP (RT-LAMP) PCR and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). NGS results were analyzed with different bioinformatic tools to define virus lineages and the related single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). Both lung and nasopharyngeal samples tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 on RT-LAMP. Through bioinformatic analysis, 2 viral RNAs from the nasal swabs, which belonged to the B.1.1.7 lineage, and 1 viral RNA from the lung sample, which belonged to the B.1.533 lineage, were identified. This genetic observation suggested that SARS-CoV-2 tends to change under selective pressure. The high mutation rate of ORFa1b, containing a replicase gene, was a biological image of a complex viral survival system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Male , Mutation , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(12)2021 Dec 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1554810

ABSTRACT

Starting in 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic is a global threat that is difficult to monitor. SARS-CoV-2 is known to undergo frequent mutations, including SNPs and deletions, which seem to be transmitted together, forming clusters that define specific lineages. Reverse-Transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) has been used for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis and is still considered the gold standard method. Our Eukaryotic Host Pathogens Interaction (EHPI) laboratory received six SARS-CoV-2-positive samples from a Sicilian private analysis laboratory, four of which showed a dropout of the E gene. Our sequencing data revealed the presence of a synonymous mutation (c.26415 C > T, TAC > TAT) in the E gene of all four samples showing the dropout in RT-qPCR. Interestingly, these samples also harbored three other mutations (S137L-Orf1ab; N439K-S gene; A156S-N gene), which had a very low diffusion rate worldwide. This combination suggested that these mutations may be linked to each other and more common in a specific area than in the rest of the world. Thus, we decided to analyze the 103 sequences in our internal database in order to confirm or disprove our "mutation cluster hypothesis". Within our database, one sample showed the synonymous mutation (c.26415 C > T, TAC > TAT) in the E gene. This work underlines the importance of territorial epidemiological surveillance by means of NGS and the sequencing of samples with clinical and or technical particularities, e.g., post-vaccine infections or RT-qPCR amplification failures, to allow for the early identification of these SNPs. This approach may be an effective method to detect new mutational clusters and thus to predict new emerging SARS-CoV-2 lineages before they spread globally.

3.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(7)2021 Jun 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1288828

ABSTRACT

The Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused an unexpected death toll worldwide. Even though several guidelines for the management of infectious corpses have been proposed, the limited number of post-mortem analyses during the pandemic has led to inaccuracies in the counting of COVID-19 deaths and contributed to a lack of important information about the pathophysiology of the SARS-CoV-2 infection. Due to the impossibility of carrying out autopsies on all corpses, the scientific community has raised the question of whether confirmatory analyses could be performed on exhumed bodies after a long period of burial to assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Post-mortem lung samples were collected from 16 patients who died from COVID-19 infection and were buried for a long period of time. A custom RNA extraction protocol was developed to enhance extraction of viral RNA from degraded samples and highly sensitive molecular methods, including RT-qPCR and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), were used to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. The custom extraction protocol developed allowed us to extract total RNA effectively from all lung samples collected. SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was effectively detected in all samples by both RT-qPCR and ddPCR, regardless of the length of burial. ddPCR results confirmed the persistence of the virus in this anatomical niche and revealed high viral loads in some lung samples, suggesting active infection at the time of death. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in the lung even after a long post-mortem interval (up to 78 days). The extraction protocol herein described, and the highly sensitive molecular analyses performed, could represent the standard procedures for SARS-CoV-2 detection in degraded lung specimens. Finally, the innovative results obtained encourage post-mortem confirmatory analyses even after a long post-mortem interval.

4.
Int J Mol Med ; 46(3): 957-964, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-676117

ABSTRACT

Reverse transcription­quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT­qPCR) is the gold standard method for the diagnosis of COVID­19 infection. Due to pre­analytical and technical limitations, samples with low viral load are often misdiagnosed as false­negative samples. Therefore, it is important to evaluate other strategies able to overcome the limits of RT­qPCR. Blinded swab samples from two individuals diagnosed positive and negative for COVID­19 were analyzed by droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and RT­qPCR in order to assess the sensitivity of both methods. Intercalation chemistries and a World Health Organization (WHO)/Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)­approved probe for the SARS­CoV­2 N gene were used. SYBR­Green RT­qPCR is not able to diagnose as positive samples with low viral load, while, TaqMan Probe RT­qPCR gave positive signals at very late Ct values. On the contrary, ddPCR showed higher sensitivity rate compared to RT­qPCR and both EvaGreen and probe ddPCR were able to recognize the sample with low viral load as positive even at 10­fold diluted concentration. In conclusion, ddPCR shows higher sensitivity and specificity compared to RT­qPCR for the diagnosis of COVID­19 infection in false­negative samples with low viral load. Therefore, ddPCR is strongly recommended in clinical practice for the diagnosis of COVID­19 and the follow­up of positive patients until complete remission.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins , Humans , Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Pandemics , Phosphoproteins , Polyproteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
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