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Open Forum Infect Dis ; 9(11), 2022.
Article in English | PubMed Central | ID: covidwho-2152129


Background: Identifying characteristics associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA shedding may be useful to understand viral compartmentalization, disease pathogenesis, and risks for viral transmission. Methods: Participants were enrolled August 2020 to February 2021 in ACTIV-2/A5401, a placebo-controlled platform trial evaluating investigational therapies for mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and underwent quantitative SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing on nasopharyngeal and anterior nasal swabs, oral wash/saliva, and plasma at entry (day 0, pretreatment) and days 3, 7, 14, and 28. Concordance of RNA levels (copies/mL) across compartments and predictors of nasopharyngeal RNA levels were assessed at entry (n = 537). Predictors of changes over time were evaluated among placebo recipients (n = 265) with censored linear regression models. Results: Nasopharyngeal and anterior nasal RNA levels at study entry were highly correlated (r = 0.84);higher levels of both were associated with greater detection of RNA in plasma and oral wash/saliva. Older age, White non-Hispanic race/ethnicity, lower body mass index (BMI), SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G seronegativity, and shorter prior symptom duration were associated with higher nasopharyngeal RNA at entry. In adjusted models, body mass index and race/ethnicity associations were attenuated, but the association with age remained (for every 10 years older, mean nasopharyngeal RNA was 0.27 log10 copies/mL higher;P < .001). Examining longitudinal viral RNA levels among placebo recipients, women had faster declines in nasopharyngeal RNA than men (mean change, −2.0 vs −1.3 log10 copies/mL, entry to day 3;P < .001). Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 RNA shedding was concordant across compartments. Age was strongly associated with viral shedding, and men had slower viral clearance than women, which could explain sex differences in acute COVID-19 outcomes.

Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 29(1):304-305, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1250563


Background: The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 viral variants threatens current anti-viral and preventative strategies, including monoclonal antibodies and vaccines. Critically, the limited supply of vaccines and the complex logistics surrounding the delivery of infusion-based therapies herald the need for an easily produced, distributed, and specific direct-acting antiviral for COVID-19 that limits progression of illness and ideally prevents transmission. Methods: The efficacy of molnupiravir was evaluated in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, Phase 2 dose-range finding study using realtime polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and virus isolation was conducted at 11 study sites in the U.S. Participants were randomized if they had signs or symptoms of COVID-19 within 7 days, and a positive SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR within 4 days of enrollment. Initially, participants were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to receive 200 mg molnupiravir or placebo twice daily for 5 days. Subsequently, in the dose-range finding portion of the study, participants were randomized in a 3:1 ratio to receive 200, 400, or 800 mg molnupiravir or placebo twice daily for 5 days. Nasopharyngeal swabs were analyzed from 175 subjects at enrollment, Day 3, and Day 5 for SARS-CoV-2 infectivity. Samples were stored at 4°C for up to 72 hours, shipped refrigerated, aliquoted, and stored at -80°C until testing. Vero E6 cell monolayers were infected with the sample for 1 hour. Culture medium was analyzed for viral load at 2 and 5 days post-infection by RT-PCR. Results: Seventy-eight (45%) participants, median 4.62 days (min. 1.40, max. 7.54) from symptom onset, had a positive SARS-CoV-2 culture at enrollment (52 on active and 26 on placebo). The percentage of participants with a positive viral culture at enrollment who were positive on Day 3 was 20.4% on active and 28% on placebo (p = 0.56). At day 5, 24% of placebo participants were culturethe positive compared to none treated with molnupiravir (p = 0.001). Between treatment, comparisons were performed using Fisher's exact test. Conclusion: This is the first demonstration of reduced infectiousness by antiviral therapy in people with SARS-2 infection. This simple, short-course oral therapy may benefit individuals and public health and is unlikely to be impacted by spike-protein variants.

Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 29(1):210-211, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1250023


Background: The relationship between nasopharyngeal (NP) SARS-CoV-2 RNA, demographics and symptom characteristics in non-hospitalized persons with COVID-19 is not well described. Methods: ACTIV-2 is a phase 2/3 adaptive platform trial testing antivirals for SARS-CoV-2 in symptomatic non-hospitalized adults. We analyzed associations between NP quantitative SARS-CoV-2 RNA (Abbott m2000sp/rt) and COVID-19 symptomatology in 284 participants with both a NP swab and symptom diary prior to study intervention. The diary included 13 targeted symptoms and questions about overall severity of COVID-19 symptoms, each scored as none, mild, moderate, or severe (and very severe for overall severity) and general physical health (scored as poor, fair, good, very good, excellent). Wilcoxon tests were used to compare NP RNA levels between pre-defined groups. Spearman correlations, Jonchkeere-Terpstra trend tests, and linear regressions evaluated associations between symptom measures and NP RNA. Results: Participants were 49% female, 82% white, 9% black, and 27% Latinx. Median age was 46 years and 50% met the protocol definition of higher risk for COVID-19 progression (age ≥55 years and/or protocol-defined comorbidities);32% reported moderate and 5% severe symptoms. Median (Q1, Q3) time from onset of symptoms to NP swab/symptom assessment was 6 (4, 8) days. NP RNA was above the lower limit of quantification in 85%;median (Q1, Q3) was 5.4 (3.5, 6.8) log10 copies/mL. Higher RNA levels were associated with shorter symptom duration (median 6.5 vs 4.7 log10 copies/mL for ≤5 vs >5 days) but not total symptom score (Figure). Controlling for symptom duration, higher NP RNA levels were associated with better general physical health (p=0.02) and more severe body/muscle pain (p=0.04). No associations were observed with symptom severity (sum of scores or overall severity) or any other symptoms. There was no association between NP RNA and age or risk category for COVID-19 progression. Conclusion: In symptomatic outpatients, NP SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels were higher in persons with more recent symptom onset, but were not associated with symptom severity or risk for disease progression. The range of viral RNA shedding was remarkably similar across the range of symptom severity, suggesting symptom severity may not correlate with transmission risk or the potential to respond to antiviral therapy. Outpatient trials aimed at evaluating antiviral activity of new agents should focus enrollment on participants with recent onset of symptoms. (Figure Presented).