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1.
Acta Biomed ; 92(S6): e2021457, 2021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504412

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIM OF THE WORK: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), is a global public health emergency. The aim of this study was to investigate cases characteristics and Real Time RT PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values distribution of COVID-19 in an Italian Northern area during three periods: first period, February-May 2020; second period, June-August 2020; third period, September 2020-February 2021. METHODS: Real Time RT PCR was used to detect SARS-CoV-2 in respiratory samples (oro/nasopharyngeal swabs). RESULTS: A total of 254,744 samples were tested during the study period. Out of 20,188 positive samples (7.92%), 10,303 were females (51.04%) and 9,885 were males (48.96%). The percentage of positivity varied during the three different periods: 14.1% in the first period, 1.4% in the second and 9.2% in the third. The lowest Ct values were observed in the first phase of pandemic, with an overall average of 25.64. Overall average of the Ct values was lower in males than in females, 26.29 ± 6.04 and 26.84 ± 5.99 respectively. The oldest patients recorded lower Ct values. CONCLUSIONS: The findings of our study represent further evidence in support of the fact that male sex and older age showed lower Ct values, which means higher viral loads and higher infectious potential. These knowledges are useful to better understand the epidemiological aspects of COVID-19 and to perform effective Public Health Policies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Pandemics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
2.
Front Public Health ; 9: 628098, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305697

ABSTRACT

Background: Although the diagnosis of new coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is made through the identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in respiratory secretions by means of molecular methods, a more accurate estimation of SARS-CoV-2 circulation can be obtained by seroprevalence studies. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the true epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 infection among workers in the metal-mechanical sector who never stopped working during the pandemic period in an area with a high incidence of COVID-19 and to define whether and how they could continue the work without appreciable risks during a second wave. Methods: A total of 815 metal-mechanical workers who had never stopped working even during the pandemic period in three different factories in the Emilia-Romagna Region, Italy, and who had always used face masks during working hours, underwent a capillary blood rapid test for the determination of IgM and IgG against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid test, PrimaLab, Modena, Italy). In the event of a positive test, a nasopharyngeal was performed and tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Results: The detection of serum IgG/IgM against SARS-CoV-2 was significantly more common among workers employed in Parma (21/345, 6.1%) than among those employed in Calerno (7/242, 2.9%) or in Spilamberto (3/228, 1.3%) (p <0.001). The analysis of the role of the different variables as predictors of seropositivity for IgG/IgM against SARS-CoV-2 revealed that the presence of specific antibodies was strictly associated with a previous history of COVID-19-like symptoms (odds ratio [OR] 3.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.9-8.2) and household members with COVID-19-like symptoms (OR 2.20, 95% CI 1.04-4.82). Conclusion: This study shows that seropositivity to SARS-CoV-2 is low even among employees who did not interrupt their work during the lockdown phase in a region with a high incidence of COVID-19. The use of face masks appears effective in the avoidance of the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in factories even in the presence of asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic workers, suggesting that work activities can continue if adequate infection control measures are used during a second wave.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Incidence , Italy/epidemiology , Seroepidemiologic Studies
3.
mSphere ; 6(1)2021 01 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1061527

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) environmental contamination occurs through droplets and biological fluids released in the surroundings from patients or asymptomatic carriers. Surfaces and objects contaminated by saliva or nose secretions represent a risk for indirect transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We assayed surfaces from hospital and living spaces to identify the presence of viral RNA and the spread of fomites in the environment. Anthropic contamination by droplets and biological fluids was monitored by detecting the microbiota signature using multiplex quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) on selected species and massive sequencing on 16S amplicons. A total of 92 samples (flocked swabs) were collected from critical areas during the pandemic, including indoor (three hospitals and three public buildings) and outdoor surfaces exposed to anthropic contamination (handles and handrails, playgrounds). Traces of biological fluids were frequently detected in spaces open to the public and on objects that are touched with the hands (>80%). However, viral RNA was not detected in hospital wards or other indoor and outdoor surfaces either in the air system of a COVID hospital but only in the surroundings of an infected patient, in consistent association with droplet traces and fomites. Handled objects accumulated the highest level of multiple contaminations by saliva, nose secretions, and fecal traces, further supporting the priority role of handwashing in prevention. In conclusion, anthropic contamination by droplets and biological fluids is widespread in spaces open to the public and can be traced by qPCR. Monitoring fomites can support evaluation of indirect transmission risks for coronavirus or other flu-like viruses in the environment.IMPORTANCE Several studies have evaluated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the environment. Saliva and nasopharyngeal droplets can land on objects and surfaces, creating fomites. A suitable indicator would allow the detection of droplets or biofluids carrying the virus. Therefore, we searched for viral RNA and droplets and fomites on at risk surfaces. We monitored by qPCR or next generation sequencing (NGS) droplets through their microbiota. Although the study was performed during the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 was not significantly found on surfaces, with the only exception of environmental areas near infectious patients. Conversely, anthropic contamination was frequent, suggesting a role for biofluids as putative markers of indirect transmission and risk assessment. Moreover, all SARS-CoV-2-contaminated surfaces showed droplets' microbiota. Fomite monitoring by qPCR may have an impact on public health strategies, supporting prevention of indirect transmission similarly to what is done for other communicable diseases (e.g., influenza and influenza-like infections).


Subject(s)
Environmental Exposure/analysis , Fomites/virology , Hospitals , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral , Saliva/virology , Surface Properties
4.
mSphere ; 6(1)2021 01 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1013023

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) environmental contamination occurs through droplets and biological fluids released in the surroundings from patients or asymptomatic carriers. Surfaces and objects contaminated by saliva or nose secretions represent a risk for indirect transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We assayed surfaces from hospital and living spaces to identify the presence of viral RNA and the spread of fomites in the environment. Anthropic contamination by droplets and biological fluids was monitored by detecting the microbiota signature using multiplex quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) on selected species and massive sequencing on 16S amplicons. A total of 92 samples (flocked swabs) were collected from critical areas during the pandemic, including indoor (three hospitals and three public buildings) and outdoor surfaces exposed to anthropic contamination (handles and handrails, playgrounds). Traces of biological fluids were frequently detected in spaces open to the public and on objects that are touched with the hands (>80%). However, viral RNA was not detected in hospital wards or other indoor and outdoor surfaces either in the air system of a COVID hospital but only in the surroundings of an infected patient, in consistent association with droplet traces and fomites. Handled objects accumulated the highest level of multiple contaminations by saliva, nose secretions, and fecal traces, further supporting the priority role of handwashing in prevention. In conclusion, anthropic contamination by droplets and biological fluids is widespread in spaces open to the public and can be traced by qPCR. Monitoring fomites can support evaluation of indirect transmission risks for coronavirus or other flu-like viruses in the environment.IMPORTANCE Several studies have evaluated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in the environment. Saliva and nasopharyngeal droplets can land on objects and surfaces, creating fomites. A suitable indicator would allow the detection of droplets or biofluids carrying the virus. Therefore, we searched for viral RNA and droplets and fomites on at risk surfaces. We monitored by qPCR or next generation sequencing (NGS) droplets through their microbiota. Although the study was performed during the pandemic, SARS-CoV-2 was not significantly found on surfaces, with the only exception of environmental areas near infectious patients. Conversely, anthropic contamination was frequent, suggesting a role for biofluids as putative markers of indirect transmission and risk assessment. Moreover, all SARS-CoV-2-contaminated surfaces showed droplets' microbiota. Fomite monitoring by qPCR may have an impact on public health strategies, supporting prevention of indirect transmission similarly to what is done for other communicable diseases (e.g., influenza and influenza-like infections).


Subject(s)
Environmental Exposure/analysis , Fomites/virology , Hospitals , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral , Saliva/virology , Surface Properties
5.
Acta Biomed ; 91(3): e2020038, 2020 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-761268

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a novel coronavirus that mainly affects the upper and lower respiratory tract and is responsible for extremely different degrees of disease, ranging from flu-like symptoms to atypical pneumonia that may evolve to acute respiratory distress syndrome and, ultimately, death. No specific therapy for SARS-CoV-2 has yet been identified, but since the beginning of the outbreak, several pre-existing therapeutics have been reconsidered for the treatment of infected patients. The aim of this article is to discuss current therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2. A literature review was performed using PubMed, collecting data from English-language articles published until June 20th, 2020. Literature analysis showed that with the acquisition of more in-depth knowledge on the characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 and the pathogenesis of the different clinical manifestations, a more rationale use of available drugs has become possible. However, the road to defining which drugs are effective and which schedules of administration must be used to maximize efficacy and minimize adverse events is still very long. To date, it is only clear that no drug can alone cope with all the problems posed by SARS-CoV-2 infection and effective antivirals and inflammatory drugs must be given together to reduce COVID-19 clinical manifestations. Moreover, choice of therapy must always be tailored on clinical manifestations and, when they occur, drugs able to fight coagulopathy and venous thromboembolism that may contribute to respiratory deterioration must be prescribed.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Immunologic Factors/therapeutic use , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Acta Biomed ; 91(9-S): 19-21, 2020 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-671818

ABSTRACT

Aim of the study was to investigate the differences in Ct values in nasopharingeal swabs collected in three SARS-CoV-2 epidemic periods: first one from February 23 to March 25 (14 days from lockdown started on March 11); the second one from  March  26 to May 18 (14 days  from the end of strict lockdown on May 4) and the third one from May 19 until June 15. Viral RNA was detected in nasopharyngeal swabs obtained both from inpatients and outpatients. COVID-19 infection was confirmed according to the Ct values for N1 and N2 genes ascertained by Real-Time RT-PCR assay as described by the CDC. We calculated the prevalence of nasopharyngeal swabs tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the mean and median of the Cts and the percentage of samples equal or below the Ct value of 25 in the 3 periods considered. The average value of Ct increased, going from 24.80 in the first epidemic period to 26.64 in the second period to 28.50 in the third period (p <0.001). The percentage of samples with Ct lower than or equal to 25 also decreased sharply from 54.7% to 20.0%. These findings need to be integrated with epidemiological and clinical data.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , COVID-19 , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Acta Biomed ; 91(9-S): 76-78, 2020 07 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-671296

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic, affecting 213 countries, with more than 10 million cases and over 500,000 deaths is still causing serious health, social and economic emergency worldwide. Italian Northern regions are among the most badly affected areas. Surfaces represent matrices to which particular attention should be paid for prevention and control of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. A few studies have highlighted virus presence on surfaces. We report the evidence of its presence on hospital surfaces, in a single room hosting a patient whose nose-pharyngeal swab resulted positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA at the admission. The surfaces sampling was carried out using pre-wetted swabs followed by extraction and amplification of viral RNA by reverse Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (rRT-PCR). A total of 4/15 (26.66%) surfaces were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA: the right bed rail, the call button, the bed trapeze bar, the stethoscope; moreover, the patient's inner surgical mask was positive, showing the emission of the virus from the patient. This study is a further confirmation that the surfaces represent a potential vehicle of transmission. This supports the need for strict adherence to hand and environmental hygiene.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Environmental Microbiology , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2
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