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Microbiol Spectr ; 11(1): e0359122, 2023 Feb 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2193575


Multiple mutations in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) increase transmission, disease severity, and immune evasion and facilitate zoonotic or anthropozoonotic infections. Four such mutations, ΔH69/V70, L452R, E484K, and N501Y, occurred in the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein in combinations that allow the simultaneous detection of VOCs. Here, we present two flexible reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) platforms for small- and large-scale screening (also known as variant PCR) to detect these mutations and schemes for adapting the platforms to future mutations. The large-scale RT-qPCR platform was validated by pairwise matching of RT-qPCR results with whole-genome sequencing (WGS) consensus genomes, showing high specificity and sensitivity. Both platforms are valuable examples of complementing WGS to support the rapid detection of VOCs. Our mutational signature approach served as an important intervention measure for the Danish public health system to detect and delay the emergence of new VOCs. IMPORTANCE Denmark weathered the SARS-CoV-2 crisis with relatively low rates of infection and death. Intensive testing strategies with the aim of detecting SARS-CoV-2 in symptomatic and nonsymptomatic individuals were available by establishing a national test system called TestCenter Denmark. This testing regime included the detection of SARS-CoV-2 signature mutations, with referral to the national health system, thereby delaying outbreaks of variants of concern. Our study describes the design of the large-scale RT-qPCR platform established at TestCenter Denmark in conjunction with whole-genome sequencing to report mutations of concern to the national health system. Validation of the large-scale RT-qPCR platform using paired WGS consensus genomes showed high sensitivity and specificity. For smaller laboratories with limited infrastructure, we developed a flexible small-scale RT-qPCR platform to detect three signature mutations in a single run. The RT-qPCR platforms are important tools to support the control of the SARS-CoV-2 endemic in Denmark.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Reverse Transcription , COVID-19/diagnosis , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Mutation
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 19823, 2022 Nov 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119366


We explored the association between COVID-19 severity and vitamin D status using information from Danish nation-wide health registers, the COVID-19 surveillance database and stored blood samples from the national biobank. 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) was measured using tandem mass spectroscopy. The association between 25(OH)D levels and COVID-19 severity, classified hierarchical as non-hospitalized, hospitalized but not admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU), admitted to ICU, and death, was evaluated by proportional odds ratios (POR) assuming proportionality between the four degrees of severity. Among 447 adults tested SARS-CoV-2 positive in the spring of 2020, low levels of 25(OH)D were associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19. Thus, odds of experiencing more severe COVID-19 among individuals with insufficient (25 to < 50 nmol/L) and sufficient (≥ 50 nmol/L) 25(OH)D levels were approximately 50% of that among individuals with deficient levels (< 25 nmol/L) (POR = 0.49 (95% CI 0.25-0.94), POR = 0.51 (95% CI 0.27-0.96), respectively). Dividing sufficient vitamin D levels into 50 to < 75 nmol/L and ≥ 75 nmol/L revealed no additional beneficial effect of higher 25(OH)D levels. In this observational study, low levels of 25(OH)D were associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19. A possible therapeutic role of vitamin D should be evaluated in well-designed interventional studies.

COVID-19 , Vitamin D Deficiency , Adult , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Vitamin D , Vitamins/therapeutic use , Vitamin D Deficiency/complications , Vitamin D Deficiency/epidemiology