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1.
Vaccines ; 10(5):674, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-1810364

ABSTRACT

Since its initial detection, the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineage BA.2 has been spreading rapidly worldwide. The aims of this study were to describe the first 284 patients infected with the Omicron BA.2 variant of concern (VOC) in the Apulia region of southern Italy and to assess the differences in the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 BA.1 and BA.2 variants. The demographic characteristics of patients, as well as information about symptoms, vaccinations and hospitalizations for COVID-19, were collected. A subset of samples from patients infected with the BA.2 variant was subjected to whole-genome sequencing. The characteristics of the first 284 patients infected with Omicron BA.2 and the first 175 patients infected with Omicron BA.1 were compared. The proportion of patients infected with the BA.2 variant rapidly increased, from 0.5% during the third week of 2022 to 29.6% during the tenth week of 2022. Ten isolates (out of 34 BA.2 isolates) contain the substitutional mutation, H78K in ORF3a, and four isolates include two mutations, A2909V in ORF1a and L140F in ORDF3a. Compared with patients infected with BA.1, those infected with BA.2 were more likely to be symptomatic and booster-vaccinated, and showed a shorter time from the last dose of vaccine to infection. The high transmissibility and immune-evasive properties of Omicron BA.2, which will become the leading SARS-CoV-2 VOC, suggest that short-term public health measures should not be discontinued in Italy.

2.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(6)2022 Mar 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742488

ABSTRACT

In 2019, the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19), related to the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), started spreading around the word, giving rise to the world pandemic we are still facing. Since then, many strategies for the prevention and control of COVID-19 have been studied and implemented. In addition to pharmacological treatments and vaccines, it is mandatory to ensure the cleaning and disinfection of the skin and inanimate surfaces, especially in those contexts where the contagion could spread quickly, such as hospitals and clinical laboratories, schools, transport, and public places in general. Here, we report the efficacy of ZnO nanoparticles (ZnONPs) against SARS-CoV-2. NPs were produced using an ecofriendly method and fully characterized; their antiviral activity was tested in vitro against SARS-CoV-2, showing a decrease in viral load between 70% and 90%, as a function of the material's composition. Application of these nano-antimicrobials as coatings for commonly touched surfaces is envisaged.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Nanostructures/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Zinc Oxide/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , COVID-19/chemically induced , COVID-19/epidemiology , Colorimetry , Humans , Microbial Sensitivity Tests/methods , Microscopy, Electron, Transmission , Nanostructures/ultrastructure , Pandemics/prevention & control , Photoelectron Spectroscopy , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared , Treatment Outcome , Viral Load/drug effects , X-Ray Diffraction , Zinc Oxide/chemistry
3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-306349

ABSTRACT

Background: The novel SARS-CoV-2 causing the pandemic acute respiratory disease COVID-19 is considered a worldwide emergency since no vaccines or effective antiviral are still available. As virus are dependent on the host transcriptional factors (TFs) to express the viral genes, efforts are required to understand the molecular interplay between virus and host response. Methods: By bioinformatic analysis, we investigated human TFs involved in viral transcription. In particular, we analyzed the key role of the TF induced by Interferon regulatory factors (IRFs) exploiting the way of antiviral response related to interferon antiviral cytokines released during an infection. We compared SARS-CoV-2 consensus sequence from Italian patients with sequences in Coronaviridae ViPR database, to identify elements and TF binding sites that were present uniquely in the Italian viral sequence. Results: Several TFs were induced by IRFs, others were induced by IFN-stimulated gene factor 3 (ISGF3) and by un-phosphorylated ISGF3 that was found to promote the transcription of several viral open reading frame. These data shed light on SARS-CoV2 dependence from the host transcription machinery associated to interferon-related antiviral response. We found binding sites for 11 TF present only in sequence of virus infecting humans and among these IRF8, IRF4, GLIS2, POU4F2 that were expressed in response to the viral infection and induced by interferon. POU4F2 binds in ORF1ab promoter;IRF8, and IRF4 both bind within the ORF1ab gene. Conclusions: Our data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 can exploit the interferon-related host response, inducing the expression of genes by host TF involved in the regulation of transcription by RNA polymerase II, thus facilitating its own replication cycle.These data strengthen our knowledge about the transcription and replicative activity of the virus and could pave the way for new targets drug design.

4.
O'Toole, Áine, Hill, Verity, Pybus, Oliver, Watts, Alexander, Bogoch, Issac, Khan, Kamran, Messina, Jane, Tegally, Houriiyah, Lessells, Richard, Giandhari, Jennifer, Pillay, Sureshnee, Tumedi, Kefentse Arnold, Nyepetsi, Gape, Kebabonye, Malebogo, Matsheka, Maitshwarelo, Mine, Madisa, Tokajian, Sima, Hassan, Hamad, Salloum, Tamara, Merhi, Georgi, Koweyes, Jad, Geoghegan, Jemma, de Ligt, Joep, Ren, Xiaoyun, Storey, Matthew, Freed, Nikki, Pattabiraman, Chitra, Prasad, Pramada, Desai, Anita, Vasanthapuram, Ravi, Schulz, Thomas, Steinbrück, Lars, Stadler, Tanja, Parisi, Antonio, Bianco, Angelica, García de Viedma, Darío, Buenestado-Serrano, Sergio, Borges, Vítor, Isidro, Joana, Duarte, Sílvia, Gomes, João Paulo, Zuckerman, Neta, Mandelboim, Michal, Mor, Orna, Seemann, Torsten, Arnott, Alicia, Draper, Jenny, Gall, Mailie, Rawlinson, William, Deveson, Ira, Schlebusch, Sanmarié, McMahon, Jamie, Leong, Lex, Lim, Chuan Kok, Chironna, Maria, Loconsole, Daniela, Bal, Antonin, Josset, Laurence, Holmes, Edward, St. George, Kirsten, Lasek-Nesselquist, Erica, Sikkema, Reina, Oude Munnink, Bas, Koopmans, Marion, Brytting, Mia, Sudha rani, V.; Pavani, S.; Smura, Teemu, Heim, Albert, Kurkela, Satu, Umair, Massab, Salman, Muhammad, Bartolini, Barbara, Rueca, Martina, Drosten, Christian, Wolff, Thorsten, Silander, Olin, Eggink, Dirk, Reusken, Chantal, Vennema, Harry, Park, Aekyung, Carrington, Christine, Sahadeo, Nikita, Carr, Michael, Gonzalez, Gabo, de Oliveira, Tulio, Faria, Nuno, Rambaut, Andrew, Kraemer, Moritz, The, Covid-Genomics U. K. consortium, Network for Genomic Surveillance in South, Africa, Brazil, U. K. Cadde Genomic Network, Swiss Viollier Sequencing, Consortium, Diego, Search Alliance San, National Virus Reference, Laboratory, Seq, Covid Spain, Danish Covid-19 Genome, Consortium, Communicable Diseases Genomic, Network, Dutch National, Sars-CoV-surveillance program, Division of Emerging Infectious, Diseases.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-318194

ABSTRACT

Late in 2020, two genetically-distinct clusters of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with mutations of biological concern were reported, one in the United Kingdom and one in South Africa. Using a combination of data from routine surveillance, genomic sequencing and international travel we track the international dispersal of lineages B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 (variant 501Y-V2). We account for potential biases in genomic surveillance efforts by including passenger volumes from location of where the lineage was first reported, London and South Africa respectively. Using the software tool grinch (global report investigating novel coronavirus haplotypes), we track the international spread of lineages of concern with automated daily reports, Further, we have built a custom tracking website (cov-lineages.org/global_report.html) which hosts this daily report and will continue to include novel SARS-CoV-2 lineages of concern as they are detected.

5.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(2)2022 Feb 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687067

ABSTRACT

The Omicron variant of concern (VOC), first detected in Italy at the end of November 2021, has since spread rapidly, despite high vaccine coverage in the Italian population, especially in healthcare workers (HCWs). This study describes an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron infection in 15 booster-vaccinated HCWs. On 16 December 2021, two HCWs working in the same ward were infected with SARS-CoV-2. The Omicron VOC was suspected due to S gene target failure on molecular testing. Further investigation revealed that 15 (65%) of 23 HCWs attending a social gathering on 13 December were infected with Omicron, as shown by whole-genome sequencing, with a phylogenetic tree suggesting a common source of exposure. Five of these HCWs experienced mild symptoms. A patient with multiple chronic conditions hospitalized in the same ward was also infected by one of the HCWs involved in the outbreak. Despite being booster vaccinated, this patient required ICU treatment. Ten subjects achieved negativity in 10-19 days. The outbreak in booster-vaccinated subjects confirms the high transmissibility and immune evasion of the Omicron VOC. More stringent non-pharmaceutical interventions, administration of booster doses, and genomic surveillance are crucial long-term strategies to mitigate the consequences of the spread of the Omicron VOC.

7.
Children (Basel) ; 9(1)2022 Jan 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580981

ABSTRACT

The strategy for the selection of patients with a suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection is relevant for the organization of a children's hospital to provide optimal separation into COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 areas and pathways. We analyzed the proportion of children with COVID-19 presenting with gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms in 137 consecutive patients admitted between January 2020 and August 2021. GI symptoms were present as follows: diarrhea in 35 patients (26%), vomiting in 16 (12%), and both of them in five (3%); the combination of fever, respiratory symptoms, and diarrhea was observed in 16 patients (12%). Of the 676 adult patients with COVID-19 admitted to our hospital in the same time interval, 62 (9.2%) had diarrhea, 30 (4.4%) had vomiting, and 11 (1.6%) had nausea; only one patient, a 38-year-old male, presented with isolated GI symptoms at the diagnosis. Although diarrhea was observed in one quarter of cases, one-half of them had the complete triad of fever, respiratory syndrome, and diarrhea, and only five had isolated diarrhea, of which two were diagnosed with a Campylobacter infection. The occurrence of either respiratory symptoms or gastrointestinal symptoms in our patients was not related to the patient age, while younger children were more likely to have a fever. Of the 137 patients, 73 (53%) could be tested for their serum level of SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG antibodies. The observed titer ranged between 0 (n = 3) and 1729 BAU/mL (median, 425 BAU/mL). Of 137 consecutive patients with COVID-19 admitted to our referral children's hospital, only three presented with an isolated GI manifestation. It is interesting to note that this finding turned out to be fully in keeping with what was observed on adult patients with COVID-19 in our hospital. The additive diagnostic impact of gastrointestinal involvement for the triage of children with suspected COVID-19 appears limited.

8.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260947, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556896

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 9th January 2020, China CDC reported a novel coronavirus (later named SARS-CoV-2) as the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Identifying the first appearance of virus is of epidemiological importance to tracking and mapping the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in a country. We therefore conducted a retrospective observational study to detect SARS-CoV-2 in oropharyngeal samples collected from hospitalized patients with a Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) enrolled in the DRIVE (Development of Robust and Innovative Vaccine Effectiveness) study in five Italian hospitals (CIRI-IT BIVE hospitals network) (1st November 2019 - 29th February 2020). OBJECTIVES: To acquire new information on the real trend in SARS-CoV-2 infection during pandemic phase I and to determine the possible early appearance of the virus in Italy. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Samples were tested for influenza [RT-PCR assay (A/H1N1, A/H3N2, B/Yam, B/Vic)] in accordance with the DRIVE study protocol. Subsequently, swabs underwent molecular testing for SARS-COV-2. [one-step real-time multiplex retro-transcription (RT) PCR]. RESULTS: In the 1683 samples collected, no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 was found. Moreover, 28.3% (477/1683) of swabs were positive for influenza viruses, the majority being type A (358 vs 119 type B). A/H3N2 was predominant among influenza A viruses (55%); among influenza B viruses, B/Victoria was prevalent. The highest influenza incidence rate was reported in patients aged 0-17 years (40.3%) followed by those aged 18-64 years (24.4%) and ≥65 years (14.8%). CONCLUSIONS: In Italy, some studies have shown the early circulation of SARS-CoV-2 in northern regions, those most severely affected during phase I of the pandemic. In central and southern regions, by contrast no early circulation of the virus was registered. These results are in line with ours. These findings highlight the need to continue to carry out retrospective studies, in order to understand the epidemiology of the novel coronavirus, to better identify the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 in comparison with other acute respiratory illnesses (ARI), and to evaluate the real burden of COVID-19 on the healthcare system.


Subject(s)
Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Female , Hospitals , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/genetics , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype/isolation & purification , Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype/genetics , Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype/isolation & purification , Influenza B virus/genetics , Influenza B virus/isolation & purification , Influenza, Human/pathology , Influenza, Human/virology , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/pathology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/virology , Young Adult
9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(11)2021 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524228

ABSTRACT

Differences in the demographic and clinical characteristics of patients infected with the Alpha and Delta SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in a large region of Southern Italy were assessed. Two cohorts of positive patients were compared. The Alpha group consisted of 11,135 subjects diagnosed between 21 March and 21 April 2021, and the Delta group consisted of 499 positive subjects diagnosed between 21 July and 21 August 2021. A descriptive and statistical analysis of the demographic and clinical characteristics of the two groups was performed. The proportion of patients with mild and moderate infections was significantly higher in the Delta than in the Alpha group (p < 0.001). In fully vaccinated patients, the proportion of symptomatic individuals was significantly higher in the Delta than in the Alpha group. The Delta group showed odds ratios of 3.08 (95% CI, 2.55-3.72) for symptomatic infection and 2.66 (95% CI, 1.76-3.94) for hospitalization. Improving COVID-19 vaccination rates is a priority, since infection with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant has a significant impact on patient outcomes. Additional targeted prevention strategies such as social distancing, the use of masks in indoor settings irrespective of vaccination status, and the use of a sanitary passport could be crucial to contain further spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

10.
Biomed Res Int ; 2021: 3893733, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1412962

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In emergency hospital settings, rapid diagnosis and isolation of SARS-CoV-2 patients are required. The aim of the study was to evaluate the performance of an antigen chemiluminescence enzymatic immunoassay (CLEIA) and compare it with that of Real-time Reverse transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-qPCR), the gold standard assay, to assess its suitability as a rapid diagnostic method for managing patients in the emergency department (ED). METHODS: Consecutive patients with no previous history of SARS-CoV-2 infection attending the ED of the Policlinico Hospital of Bari between 23rd October and 4th November 2020 were enrolled. Clinical and demographic data were collected for all patients. Nasopharyngeal swabs collected on admission were subjected both to molecular (RT-qPCR) and antigen (CLEIA) tests for SARS-CoV-2. The performance of the CLEIA antigen test was analyzed using R Studio software and Microsoft Excel. Receiver operating characteristics were also performed. RESULTS: A total of 911 patients were enrolled, of whom 469 (51.5%) were male. Of the whole cohort, 23.7% tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR and 24.5% by CLEIA. The overall concordance rate was 96.8%. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the antigen test were 94.9% (95% CI, 91.9-97.0), 97.4% (95% CI, 96.5-98.1), 91.9% (95% CI, 89.0-94.0), and 98.4% (95% CI, 97.4-99.1), respectively. The area under the curve (AUC) was 0.99. The kappa coefficient was 0.91. The overall positive and negative likelihood ratios were 37 (95% CI 23-58) and 0.05 (95% CI, 0.03-0.09), respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Data analysis demonstrated that the antigen test showed very good accuracy for discriminating SARS-CoV-2-infected patients from negative participants. The CLEIA is suitable for rapid clinical diagnosis of patients in hospital settings, particularly in EDs with a high prevalence of symptomatic patients and where a rapid turnaround time is critical. Timely and accurate testing for SARS-CoV-2 plays a crucial role in limiting the spread of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Nasopharynx/virology , Adult , Aged , Antigens, Viral/analysis , Area Under Curve , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Emergency Service, Hospital , Female , Humans , Immunoassay , Italy , Luminescent Measurements , Male , Middle Aged , Sensitivity and Specificity , Tertiary Care Centers
11.
Trop Med Infect Dis ; 6(3)2021 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411038

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 P.1 variant of concern (VOC) was first identified in Brazil and is now spreading in European countries. It is characterized by the E484K mutation in the receptor-binding domain, which could contribute to the evasion from neutralizing antibodies. In Italy, this variant was first identified in January 2021. Here, we report an autochthonous outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 P.1 variant infections in southern Italy in subjects who had not travelled to endemic areas or outside the Apulia region. The outbreak involved seven subjects, three of whom had received a COVID-19 vaccine (one had received two doses and two had received one dose). Four patients had a mild clinical presentation. Laboratory investigations of nasopharyngeal swabs revealed that all strains were S-gene target failure-negative and molecular tests revealed they were the P.1 variant. Whole-genome sequencing confirmed that five subjects were infected with closely related strains classified as the P.1 lineage. The circulation of VOCs highlights the importance of strictly monitoring the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants through genomic surveillance and of investigating local outbreaks. Furthermore, public health measures including social distancing, screening, and quarantine for travelers are key tools to slow down the viral transmission and to contain and mitigate the impact of VOC diffusion, and rapid scaling-up of vaccination is crucial to avoid a possible new epidemic wave.

12.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(8)2021 Jul 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1325805

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Solid-organ transplant (SOT) recipients are at a high risk of severe COVID-19, and are priority for vaccination. Here, we describe three cases of severe COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 lineage in vaccinated SOT recipients. METHODS: Three SOT patients were hospitalized in the Policlinico Hospital of Bari (southern Italy) and underwent nasopharyngeal swabs for molecular detection of SARS-CoV-2 genes and spike protein mutations by real-time PCR. One sample was subjected to whole-genome sequencing. RESULTS: One patient was a heart transplant recipient and two were kidney transplant recipients. All were hospitalized with severe COVID-19 between March and May 2021. Two patients were fully vaccinated and one had received only one dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. All the patients showed a high viral load at diagnosis, and molecular typing revealed the presence of B.1.1.7 lineage SARS-CoV-2. In all three cases, prolonged viral shedding was reported. CONCLUSIONS: The three cases pose concern about the role of the B.1.1.7 lineage in severe COVID-19 and about the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccination in immunocompromised patients. Protecting immunocompromised patients from COVID-19 is a challenge. SOT recipients show a suboptimal response to standard vaccination, and thus, an additive booster or a combined vaccination strategy with mRNA, protein/subunit, and vector-based vaccines may be necessary. This population should continue to practice strict COVID-19 precautions post-vaccination, until new strategies for protection are available.

13.
Front Pediatr ; 9: 620598, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247886

ABSTRACT

Background: In December 2019, a novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 started circulating in China and this led to a major epidemic in Northern Italy between February and May 2020. Young children (aged <5 years) seem to be less affected by this coronavirus disease (COVID-19) compared to adults, although there is very little information on the circulation of this new virus among children in Italy. We retrospectively tested nasopharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 in samples collected in young children between November, 2019 and March, 2020 in the context of the RSV ComNet study. Methods: Two networks of primary care pediatricians in Lazio (Central Italy) and Puglia (Southern Italy) collected nasopharyngeal swabs from children, aged <5 years, presenting with symptoms for an acute respiratory infection (ARI). The RSV ComNet study is a multicenter study implemented to estimate the burden of RSV in young children (aged <5 years) in the community. Swabs were sent to a central reference laboratory and tested for 14 respiratory viruses through RT-PCR. All collected samples were retrospectively tested for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-PCR (Istituto Superiore di Sanità protocol). Results: A total of 293 children with ARI were identified in the two participating networks. The highest number of cases were recruited in weeks 51/2019 and 3/2020. The majority of patients (57%) came from the Lazio region. All of the 293 samples tested negative for SARS-Cov2. Rhinovirus was the most frequently detected virus (44%), followed by RSV (41%) and influenza viruses (14%). Conclusions: Our study shows that in Lazio (a region of intermediate SARS-COV-2 incidence) and Puglia (a region of low incidence), the SARS-Cov2 virus did not circulate in a sample of ARI pediatric cases consulting primary care pediatricians between November 2019 and March 2020.

14.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(11)2021 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1244013

ABSTRACT

In 2013, in a bid to combat Vaccine Hesitancy (VH) and provide information on vaccines by communicating with the general public and the health community (e.g., healthcare workers and public health operators), the Italian Society of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine (S.It.I.) published the national website "VaccinarSì". The project was subsequently extended to ten Italian Regions. This led to the creation of the VaccinarSì Network, whose websites are publicly owned. The aim of this work was to present the framework of the websites of the VaccinarSì Network and to analyse user behaviour in the pre-COVID-19-era (dating from each website's publication until 31 January 2020) and in the COVID-19-era (from 1 February 2020 to 31 January 2021). Some metrics such as the number of visits to the site (sessions, number of users and average session duration), user behaviour (pages viewed, bounce rate and organic search) and the session acquisition path (direct traffic, referrals and social traffic) were searched, extrapolated and processed with Google Analytics. Qualitative and normally distributed quantitative variables were summarised with their absolute (relative) frequencies and means. Statistical differences between the means of the two periods were evaluated through paired t-test. A two-tailed p-value less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. When the total values recorded over the period were compared, an overall increase in metrics was observed-the number of individual users, visits and individual pageviews rose in a statistically significant way. Our study aimed to highlight how combining disciplines such as health education and digital communication via Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) represents the best strategy to support citizens. This approach gives them the tools to become independent and responsible players that are capable of voluntarily and consciously choosing to adhere to vaccination programs. The VaccinarSì Network's goal for the future is to reach an even wider audience. By building each user's critical knowledge, this network enables users to be active components of a wider, more empowered community.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Communication , Vaccines , Communication , Humans , Italy , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Viruses ; 13(5)2021 05 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1227072

ABSTRACT

This study describes a case of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection confirmed by whole-genome sequencing in a healthy physician who had been working in a COVID-19 hospital in Italy since the beginning of the pandemic. Nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained from the patient at each presentation as part of routine surveillance. Nucleic acid amplification testing was performed on the two samples to confirm SARS-CoV-2 infection, and serological tests were used to detect SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies. Comparative genome analysis with whole-genome sequencing was performed on nasopharyngeal swabs collected during the two episodes of COVID-19. The first COVID-19 episode was in March 2020, and the second was in January 2021. Both SARS-CoV-2 infections presented with mild symptoms, and seroconversion for SARS-CoV-2 IgG was documented. Genomic analysis showed that the viral genome from the first infection belonged to the lineage B.1.1.74, while that from the second infection to the lineage B.1.177. Epidemiological, clinical, serological, and genomic analyses confirmed that the second episode of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the healthcare worker met the qualifications for "best evidence" for reinfection. Further studies are urgently needed to assess the frequency of such a worrisome occurrence, particularly in the light of the recent diffusion of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Reinfection/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/genetics , COVID-19/genetics , Female , Genome, Viral/genetics , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Italy/epidemiology , Reinfection/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Serologic Tests , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods
16.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 27(8): 1174.e1-1174.e4, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1226280

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: In December 2020, Italy began a national immunization campaign using the BNT162b2 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mRNA vaccine, prioritizing healthcare workers (HCWs). Immune serum from vaccinated subjects seems (largely) to retain titres of neutralizing antibodies, even against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) VOC 202012/01-lineage B.1.1.7. Here, we describe an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 infection in three HCWs in a hospital setting; two of the HCWs were fully vaccinated (i.e. had received two doses). METHODS: Two physicians and one nurse working on the same shift on 20th February 2021 were involved in the outbreak. Real-time PCR, antigen tests, and serological tests for the IgG anti-spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 were performed, along with whole-genome sequencing (WGS). RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 infection was confirmed in all three HCWs; all presented with mild symptoms of COVID-19. The two physicians were fully vaccinated with BNT162b2 vaccine, with the second dose administered 1 month before symptom onset. Both had high titres of IgG anti-spike antibodies at the time of diagnosis. WGS confirmed that all virus strains were VOC 202012/01-lineage B.1.1.7, suggesting a common source of exposure. Epidemiological investigation revealed that the suspected source was a SARS-CoV-2-positive patient who required endotracheal intubation due to severe COVID-19. All procedures were carried out using a full suite of personal protective equipment (PPE). CONCLUSIONS: This mini-outbreak highlights some important issues about the efficacy of vaccines against transmission of SARS-CoV-2 variants, the high risk of exposure among HCWs, and the need for optimized implementation of PPE in hospitals. The wide circulation of VOC 202012/01 in Europe and Italy highlights the need to improve surveillance and genetic sequencing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination , Adult , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Intubation, Intratracheal , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Personal Protective Equipment , Phylogeny , Whole Genome Sequencing
17.
Forensic Sci Med Pathol ; 17(3): 403-410, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1219916

ABSTRACT

Since the beginning of March 2020, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has been the cause of millions of deaths worldwide. The need to better define the pathogenesis of coronavirus disease 19 (Covid-19) as well as to provide the correct statistical records concerning deaths related to this virus, inevitably involves the role of forensic pathology and routine autopsy practice. Currently, some data on macroscopic and microscopic features in autopsies performed in suspected Covid-19 cases are reported in the literature. The persistence of SARS-CoV-2 in cadavers has not yet been elucidated and only a few reports have emphasized the importance of evaluating the Virus RNA in post-mortem tissues. In this preliminary study, we observed that SARS-CoV-2 survives in multiple cadaver tissues many days after death despite some extreme conditions of post-mortem body preservation. The results of this on-going analysis could help improve the safety of working practices for pathologists as well as understanding the possible interaction between microbiological agents and the cadaver tissue's supravital reactions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Autopsy , Cadaver , Humans , Pandemics
18.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(9)2021 Apr 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217077

ABSTRACT

Epidemiological and virological studies have revealed that SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) are emerging globally, including in Europe. The aim of this study was to evaluate the spread of B.1.1.7-lineage SARS-CoV-2 in southern Italy from December 2020-March 2021 through the detection of the S gene target failure (SGTF), which could be considered a robust proxy of VOC B.1.1.7. SGTF was assessed on 3075 samples from week 52/2020 to week 10/2021. A subset of positive samples identified in the Apulia region during the study period was subjected to whole-genome sequencing (WGS). A descriptive and statistical analysis of the demographic and clinical characteristics of cases according to SGTF status was performed. Overall, 20.2% of samples showed SGTF; 155 strains were confirmed as VOC 202012/01 by WGS. The proportion of SGTF-positive samples rapidly increased over time, reaching 69.2% in week 10/2021. SGTF-positive cases were more likely to be symptomatic and to result in hospitalization (p < 0.0001). Despite the implementation of large-scale non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), such as the closure of schools and local lockdowns, a rapid spread of VOC 202012/01 was observed in southern Italy. Strengthened NPIs and rapid vaccine deployment, first among priority groups and then among the general population, are crucial both to contain the spread of VOC 202012/01 and to flatten the curve of the third wave.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Communicable Disease Control , Europe , Humans , Italy/epidemiology
19.
Pediatr Rep ; 13(1): 118-124, 2021 Mar 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167684

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic now represents a major threat to public health. Health care workers (HCW) are exposed to biological risk. Little is currently known about the risk of HCW operating in pediatric wards for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The aim is to assess the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCW in a third-level children's hospital in Southern Italy. An observational cohort study of all asymptomatic HCW (physician, technicians, nurses, and logistic and support operators) was conducted. HCW were screened, on a voluntary basis, for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal swab performed during the first wave of COVID-19. The study was then repeated, with the same modalities, at a 7-month interval, during the "second wave" of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the initial screening between 7 and 24 April 2020, 525 HCW were tested. None of them tested positive. At the repeated screening, conducted between 9 and 20 November 2020, 627 HCW were tested, including 61 additional ones resulting from COVID-emergency recruitment. At this second screening, eight subjects (1.3%) tested positive, thus being diagnosed as asymptomatic carriers of SARS-CoV-2. They were one physician, five nurses, and two HCW from the logistic/support services. They were employed in eight different wards/services. In all cases, the epidemiological investigation showed convincing evidence that the infection was acquired through social contacts. The study revealed a very low circulation of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCW tested with RT-PCR. All the infections documented in the second wave of epidemic of SARS-CoV-2 were acquired outside of the workplace, confirming that in a pediatric hospital setting, HCW education, correct use of personal protective equipment, and separation of the COVID-patient pathway and staff flow may minimize the risk derived from occupational exposure.

20.
Viruses ; 13(2)2021 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1079723

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and presents a global health emergency that needs urgent intervention. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. In the United Kingdom (UK), a new variant called B.1.1.7 has emerged with an unusually large number of mutations. The aim of this study is to evaluate the level of protection of sera from 12 patients infected and later healed in Apulia Region (Italy) with Covid-19 between March and November 2020, when the English variant was not circulating in this territory yet, against the new VOC 202012/01 variant by seroneutralization assay. The sera of patients had already been tested before, using a virus belonging to the lineage B.1 and showed an antibody neutralizing titer ranging between 1:160 and 1:320. All the 12 sera donors confirmed the same titers of neutralizing antibodies obtained with a strain belonging to the lineage B.1.1.7 (VOC 202012/01). These data indicate that antibodies produced in subjects infected with variants of Sars-CoV-2 strain before the appearance of the English one, seem to have a neutralizing power also against this variant.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Italy , Neutralization Tests , Pandemics , United Kingdom , Vero Cells
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