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1.
Epidemics ; 40: 100589, 2022 Jun 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1930857

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To better understand the conditions which have led to one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in Belgian nursing homes in 2020. SETTING: A nursing home in Flanders, Belgium, which experienced a massive outbreak of COVID-19 after a cultural event. An external volunteer who dressed as a legendary figure visited consecutively the 4 living units on December, 4th and tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 the next day. Within days, residents started to display symptoms and the outbreak spread rapidly within the nursing home. METHODS: We interviewed key informants and collected standardized data from all residents retrospectively. A batch of 115 positive samples with a Ct value of < 37 by qRT-PCR were analyzed using whole-genome sequencing. Six months after the outbreak, ventilation assessment of gathering rooms in the nursing home was done using a tracer gas test with calibrated CO2 sensors. RESULTS: Timeline of diagnoses and symptom onsets clearly pointed to the cultural event as the start of the outbreak, with the volunteer as index case. The genotyping of positive samples depicted the presence of one large cluster, suggesting a single source outbreak. By the end of December, a total of 127 residents and 40 staff were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 since the beginning of the outbreak. The attack rate among residents was 77 % and significantly associated with presence at the event but not with close contact or mask wearing. The ventilation assessment showed a high background average CO2 level in four main rooms varying from 657 ppm to 846 ppm. CONCLUSIONS: Our investigation shows a rapid and widespread single source outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in a nursing home, in which airborne transmission was the most plausible explanation for the massive intra-facility spread. Our results underscore the importance of ventilation and air quality for the prevention of future outbreaks in closed facilities.

2.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 06 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911633

ABSTRACT

This retrospective multi-center matched cohort study assessed the risk for severe COVID-19 (combination of severity indicators), intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and in-hospital mortality in hospitalized patients when infected with the Omicron variant compared to when infected with the Delta variant. The study is based on a causal framework using individually-linked data from national COVID-19 registries. The study population consisted of 954 COVID-19 patients (of which, 445 were infected with Omicron) above 18 years old admitted to a Belgian hospital during the autumn and winter season 2021-2022, and with available viral genomic data. Patients were matched based on the hospital, whereas other possible confounders (demographics, comorbidities, vaccination status, socio-economic status, and ICU occupancy) were adjusted for by using a multivariable logistic regression analysis. The estimated standardized risk for severe COVID-19 and ICU admission in hospitalized patients was significantly lower (RR = 0.63; 95% CI (0.30; 0.97) and RR = 0.56; 95% CI (0.14; 0.99), respectively) when infected with the Omicron variant, whereas in-hospital mortality was not significantly different according to the SARS-CoV-2 variant (RR = 0.78, 95% CI (0.28-1.29)). This study demonstrates the added value of integrated genomic and clinical surveillance to recognize the multifactorial nature of COVID-19 pathogenesis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Seasons
3.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 06 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911630

ABSTRACT

From early 2020, a high demand for SARS-CoV-2 tests was driven by several testing indications, including asymptomatic cases, resulting in the massive roll-out of PCR assays to combat the pandemic. Considering the dynamic of viral shedding during the course of infection, the demand to report cycle threshold (Ct) values rapidly emerged. As Ct values can be affected by a number of factors, we considered that harmonization of semi-quantitative PCR results across laboratories would avoid potential divergent interpretations, particularly in the absence of clinical or serological information. A proposal to harmonize reporting of test results was drafted by the National Reference Centre (NRC) UZ/KU Leuven, distinguishing four categories of positivity based on RNA copies/mL. Pre-quantified control material was shipped to 124 laboratories with instructions to setup a standard curve to define thresholds per assay. For each assay, the mean Ct value and corresponding standard deviation was calculated per target gene, for the three concentrations (107, 105 and 103 copies/mL) that determine the classification. The results of 17 assays are summarized. This harmonization effort allowed to ensure that all Belgian laboratories would report positive PCR results in the same semi-quantitative manner to clinicians and to the national database which feeds contact tracing interventions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 28(8): 1729-1731, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1902890

ABSTRACT

Illustrated by a clinical case supplemented by epidemiologic data, early reinfections with SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 after infection with Delta variant, and reinfection with Omicron BA.2 after Omicron BA.1 infection, can occur within 60 days, especially in young, unvaccinated persons. The case definition of reinfection, which influences retesting policies, should be reconsidered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Reinfection , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Policy , SARS-CoV-2
5.
PLoS One ; 17(6): e0269138, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1879315

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The pathogenesis of COVID-19 depends on the interplay between host characteristics, viral characteristics and contextual factors. Here, we compare COVID-19 disease severity between hospitalized patients in Belgium infected with the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 and those infected with previously circulating strains. METHODS: The study is conducted within a causal framework to study the severity of SARS-CoV-2 variants by merging surveillance registries in Belgium. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 ('exposed') was compared to infection with previously circulating strains ('unexposed') in terms of the manifestation of severe COVID-19, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, or in-hospital mortality. The exposed and unexposed group were matched based on the hospital and the mean ICU occupancy rate during the patient's hospital stay. Other variables identified as confounders in a Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) were adjusted for using regression analysis. Sensitivity analyses were performed to assess the influence of selection bias, vaccination rollout, and unmeasured confounding. RESULTS: We observed no difference between the exposed and unexposed group in severe COVID-19 disease or in-hospital mortality (RR = 1.15, 95% CI [0.93-1.38] and RR = 0.92, 95% CI [0.62-1.23], respectively). The estimated standardized risk to be admitted in ICU was significantly higher (RR = 1.36, 95% CI [1.03-1.68]) when infected with the B.1.1.7 variant. An age-stratified analysis showed that among the younger age group (≤65 years), the SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 was significantly associated with both severe COVID-19 progression and ICU admission. CONCLUSION: This matched observational cohort study did not find an overall increased risk of severe COVID-19 or death associated with B.1.1.7 infection among patients already hospitalized. There was a significant increased risk to be transferred to ICU when infected with the B.1.1.7 variant, especially among the younger age group. However, potential selection biases advocate for more systematic sequencing of samples from hospitalized COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans
6.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-338375

ABSTRACT

The recent surge of hepatitis of unknown origin in children is hypothesized to be caused by adenovirus 41 and/or SARS-CoV-2 infections. A relatively high proportion of patients testing positive for these viruses concomitantly with the development of acute hepatitis supports this hypothesis. To formally incriminate these viral infections as causative agents of hepatitis, both a plausible physiopathological pathway and supporting epidemiological dynamics in the community need demonstration. In this study, we measured the level of circulation of adenovirus 40/41 and SARS-CoV-2 in the general population of the city of Leuven in Belgium using wastewater monitoring between December 2020 and May 2022 and indoor air sampling in day care centers between November 2021 and May 2022. We also retrospectively analyzed medical records of 12.672 children attending a tertiary hospital draining the same region between January 2019 and April 2022. Our results demonstrate a recent but modest increase in hepatitis of unknown origin concomitant with a surge of circulating adenovirus 41 and SARS-CoV-2 in the general population, including in children under 5.

7.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 05 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869829

ABSTRACT

We report two clusters of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta variant) infections in a group of 41 Indian nursing students who travelled from New Delhi, India, to Belgium via Paris, France. All students tested negative before departure and had a second negative antigen test upon arrival in Paris. Upon arrival in Belgium, the students were quarantined in eight different houses. Four houses remained COVID-free during the 24 days of follow-up, while all 27 residents of the other four houses developed an infection during quarantine, including the four residents who were fully vaccinated and the two residents who were partially vaccinated. Genome sequencing revealed two distinct clusters affecting one and three houses, respectively. In this group of students, vaccination status did not seem to prevent infection nor decrease the viral load. No severe symptoms were reported. Extensive contact tracing and 3 months of nationwide genomic surveillance confirmed that these outbreaks were successfully contained and did not contribute to secondary community transmission in Belgium. These clusters highlight the importance of repeated testing and quarantine measures among travelers coming from countries experiencing a surge of infections, as all infections were detected 6 days or more after arrival.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Students
8.
Int J Infect Dis ; 122: 212-214, 2022 May 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1851266

ABSTRACT

On November 24, 2021, a new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant assigned to the lineage B.1.1.529 (Omicron) was first reported to the World Health Organization from South Africa. Despite the co-circulation of several SARS-CoV-2 variants, co-infection by different variants is not commonly identified. Here, we report two cases of SARS-CoV-2 co-identifications with the Omicron and Delta variants.

9.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333002

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, characterized by a significant antigenic diversity compared to the previous Delta variant, had led to a decrease in antibody efficacy in both convalescent and vaccinees’ sera resulting in high number of reinfections and breakthrough cases worldwide. However, to date, reinfections are defined by the ECDC as two positive tests ≥60 days apart, influencing retesting policies after an initial positive test in several European countries. We illustrate by a clinical case supplemental by epidemiological data that early reinfections do occur within 60 days especially in young, unvaccinated individuals. In older patient groups, unvaccinated and patients with a basic vaccination scheme are more vulnerable to reinfections compared to patients who received a first booster vaccine. For this reason, we consider that the duration of protection offered by a previous infection should be reconsidered, in particular when a shift between consecutive SARS-CoV-2 variants occurs.

10.
Arch Public Health ; 80(1): 98, 2022 Mar 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1770578

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Testing for SARS-CoV-2, together with vaccination, is one of the most vital strategies in curbing the current COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has led to an unprecedented need for diagnostic testing and the rapid emergence of an abundance of commercial assays on the market. Due to the nature of the pandemic and in the interest of health protection, many of these assays received provisional authorisation for emergency use without thorough validation. To limit false negative and false positive results, it is key to define common criteria that SARS-CoV-2 assays need to fulfil. VALCOR or "VALidation of SARS-CORona Virus-2 assays" is a protocol designed to set up a framework for test validation of SARS-CoV-2 virus assays. OBJECTIVES: VALCOR is a study protocol for the validation of assays used for confirmation of the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with COVID-19 disease or the screening of carriers of SARS-CoV-2 virus by the identification of viral RNA in oropharyngeal and/or nasopharyngeal specimens or other specimens from the human respiratory tract. METHODS: The VALCOR panel of samples will contain clinical human specimens and standardised artificial specimens. The collection of clinical specimens will include nasopharyngeal or oropharyngeal specimens or other specimens from the respiratory tract obtained from COVID-19 patients and healthy carriers of SARS-CoV-2 as well as specimens from subjects not carrying SARS-CoV-2. Artificial specimens include calibrated amounts of viral RNA of SARS-CoV-2 sequences provided by established competent agencies that produce reference materials for the assessment of the limit of detection of each assay. The panel of samples are sent from a central reference laboratory (having access to biobanks of clinical specimens tested already for SARS-CoV-2 with a reference comparator assay) to participating laboratories for testing with a SARS-CoV-2 index assay that requires evaluation. DISCUSSION: VALCOR provides a harmonised and standard framework to benchmark the testing performance of SARS-CoV-2 assays that are rapidly evolving. As the pandemic incited an urgent need for testing capacity, there is a gap in the comprehensive validation of SARS-CoV-2 assays. This study will generate comprehensive validation data for assays used for the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 and may serve as a basis for other validation protocols.

11.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-331342

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccination has resulted in excellent protection against fatal disease, including in the elderly. However, risk factors for post-vaccination fatal COVID-19 are largely unknown. We comprehensively studied three large nursing home outbreaks (20-35% fatal cases) by combining SARS-CoV-2 aerosol monitoring, whole-genome phylogenetic analysis, and immunovirological profiling by digital nCounter transcriptomics. Phylogenetic investigations indicated each outbreak stemmed from a single introduction event, though with different variants (Delta, Gamma, and Mu). SARS-CoV-2 was detected in aerosol samples up to 52 days after the initial infection. Combining demographic, immune and viral parameters, the best predictive models for mortality comprised IFNB1 or age, viral ORF7a and ACE2 receptor transcripts. Comparison with published pre-vaccine fatal COVID-19 signatures and reanalysis of single-cell RNAseq data highlights the unique immune signature in post-vaccine fatal COVID-19 outbreaks. A multi-layered strategy including environmental sampling, immunomonitoring, and early antiviral therapy should be considered to prevent post-vaccination COVID-19 mortality in nursing homes.

12.
Nat Med ; 28(6): 1297-1302, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1758268

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 Omicron BA.1 sublineage has been supplanted in many countries by the BA.2 sublineage. BA.2 differs from BA.1 by about 21 mutations in its spike. In this study, we first compared the sensitivity of BA.1 and BA.2 to neutralization by nine therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs). In contrast to BA.1, BA.2 was sensitive to cilgavimab, partly inhibited by imdevimab and resistant to adintrevimab and sotrovimab. We then analyzed sera from 29 immunocompromised individuals up to 1 month after administration of Ronapreve (casirivimab and imdevimab) and/or Evusheld (cilgavimab and tixagevimab) antibody cocktails. All treated individuals displayed elevated antibody levels in their sera, which efficiently neutralized the Delta variant. Sera from Ronapreve recipients did not neutralize BA.1 and weakly inhibited BA.2. Neutralization of BA.1 and BA.2 was detected in 19 and 29 out of 29 Evusheld recipients, respectively. As compared to the Delta variant, neutralizing titers were more markedly decreased against BA.1 (344-fold) than BA.2 (nine-fold). We further report four breakthrough Omicron infections among the 29 individuals, indicating that antibody treatment did not fully prevent infection. Collectively, BA.1 and BA.2 exhibit noticeable differences in their sensitivity to therapeutic mAbs. Anti-Omicron neutralizing activity of Ronapreve and, to a lesser extent, that of Evusheld is reduced in patients' sera.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Monoclonal/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , Neutralization Tests , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Viral Envelope Proteins
13.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330085

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 variant has been supplanted in many countries by the BA.2 sub-lineage. BA.2 differs from BA.1 by about 21 mutations in its spike. Human anti-spike monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) are used for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. However, the capacity of therapeutic mAbs to neutralize BA.1 and BA.2 remains poorly characterized. Here, we first compared the sensitivity of BA.1 and BA.2 to neutralization by 9 therapeutic mAbs. In contrast to BA.1, BA.2 was sensitive to Cilgavimab, partly inhibited by Imdevimab and resistant to Adintrevimab and Sotrovimab. Two combinations of mAbs, Ronapreve (Casirivimab + Imdevimab) and Evusheld (Cilgavimab + Tixagevimab), are indicated as a pre-exposure prophylaxis in immunocompromised persons at risk of severe disease. We analyzed sera from 29 such individuals, up to one month after administration of Ronapreve and/or Evusheld. After treatment, all individuals displayed elevated antibody levels in their sera and neutralized Delta with high titers. Ronapreve recipients did not neutralize BA.1 and weakly impaired BA.2. With Evusheld, neutralization of BA.1 and BA.2 was detected in 19 and 29 out of 29 patients, respectively. As compared to Delta, titers were more severely decreased against BA.1 (344-fold) than BA.2 (9-fold). We further report 4 breakthrough Omicron infections among the 29 participants. Therefore, BA.1 and BA.2 exhibit noticeable differences in their sensitivity to therapeutic mAbs. Anti-Omicron activity of Ronapreve, and to a lesser extent that of Evusheld, is reduced in patients’ sera, a phenomenon associated with decreased clinical efficacy.

14.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259908, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1705817

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the Belgian community is mainly estimated based on test results of patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-like symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) positivity ratio and distribution of viral loads within a cohort of asymptomatic patients screened prior hospitalization or surgery, stratified by age category. MATERIALS/METHODS: We retrospectively studied data on SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR detection in respiratory tract samples of asymptomatic patients screened pre-hospitalization or pre-surgery in nine Belgian hospitals located in Flanders over a 12-month period (1 April 2020-31 March 2021). RESULTS: In total, 255925 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results and 2421 positive results for which a viral load was reported, were included in this study. An unweighted overall SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR positivity ratio of 1.27% was observed with strong spatiotemporal differences. SARS-CoV-2 circulated predominantly in 80+ year old individuals across all time periods except between the first and second COVID-19 wave and in 20-30 year old individuals before the second COVID-19 wave. In contrast to the first wave, a significantly higher positivity ratio was observed for the 20-40 age group in addition to the 80+ age group compared to the other age groups during the second wave. The median viral load follows a similar temporal evolution as the positivity rate with an increase ahead of the second wave and highest viral loads observed for 80+ year old individuals. CONCLUSION: There was a high SARS-CoV-2 circulation among asymptomatic patients with a predominance and highest viral loads observed in the elderly. Moreover, ahead of the second COVID-19 wave an increase in median viral load was noted with the highest overall positivity ratio observed in 20-30 year old individuals, indicating they could have been the hidden drivers of this wave.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Diseases/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Tract Infections/pathology , Respiratory Tract Infections/surgery , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Young Adult
15.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 11: 825427, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690458

ABSTRACT

Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important and frequently carried respiratory pathogen that has the potential to cause serious invasive diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. Young children and older adults are among the most vulnerable to developing serious disease. With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and the concomitant restrictive measures, invasive disease cases caused by respiratory bacterial species, including pneumococci, decreased substantially. Notably, the stringency of the containment measures as well as the visible reduction in the movement of people appeared to coincide with the drop in invasive disease cases. One could argue that wearing protective masks and adhering to social distancing guidelines to halt the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, also led to a reduction in the person-to-person transmission of respiratory bacterial species. Although plausible, this conjecture is challenged by novel data obtained from our nasopharyngeal carriage study which is performed yearly in healthy daycare center attending children. A sustained and high pneumococcal carriage rate was observed amid periods of stringent restrictive measures. This finding prompts us to revisit the connection between nasopharyngeal colonization and invasion and invites us to look closer at the nasopharyngeal microbiome as a whole.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pneumococcal Infections , Aged , Belgium , Carrier State/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Infant , Nasopharynx , Pandemics , Pneumococcal Infections/epidemiology , Pneumococcal Infections/prevention & control , Pneumococcal Vaccines , SARS-CoV-2 , Streptococcus pneumoniae
16.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-316976

ABSTRACT

Background: With the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), an existing national laboratory based surveillance system was adapted to daily monitor the epidemiological situation of SARS-CoV-2 in the Belgium by following the number of confirmed COVID-19 infections, the number of performed tests and the positivity ratio. We present these main indicators of the surveillance over a one-year period as well as the impact of the performance of the laboratories, regarding speed of processing the samples and reporting results, for surveillance. Methods: : We describe the evolution of test capacity, testing strategy and the data collection methods during the first year of the epidemic in Belgium. Results: : Between the 1th of March 2020 and the 28th of February 2021, 9,487,470 tests and 773,078 COVID-19 laboratory confirmed cases were reported. Two epidemic waves occurred, with a peak in April and October 2020. The capacity and performance of the laboratories improved continuously during 2020 resulting in a high level performance. Since the end of November 2020 90 to 95% of test results are reported at the latest the day after sampling was performed. Conclusions: : Thanks to the effort of all laboratories a performant exhaustive national laboratory based surveillance system to monitor the epidemiological situation of SARS-CoV-2 was set up in Belgium in 2020. On top of expanding the number of laboratories performing diagnostics and significantly increasing the test capacity in Belgium, turnaround times between sampling and testing as well as reporting were optimized over the first year of this pandemic.

17.
Microbiol Resour Announc ; 11(2): e0116121, 2022 Feb 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673354

ABSTRACT

We report the complete genome sequence of a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron variant (lineage B.1.1.529) from a Belgian patient with a history of recent travel to Egypt. At the time of writing, this genome constituted the first confirmed case of an infection with the Omicron variant in Europe.

18.
Nature ; 602(7898): 671-675, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616994

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant was first identified in November 2021 in Botswana and South Africa1-3. It has since spread to many countries and is expected to rapidly become dominant worldwide. The lineage is characterized by the presence of around 32 mutations in spike-located mostly in the N-terminal domain and the receptor-binding domain-that may enhance viral fitness and enable antibody evasion. Here we isolated an infectious Omicron virus in Belgium from a traveller returning from Egypt. We examined its sensitivity to nine monoclonal antibodies that have been clinically approved or are in development4, and to antibodies present in 115 serum samples from COVID-19 vaccine recipients or individuals who have recovered from COVID-19. Omicron was completely or partially resistant to neutralization by all monoclonal antibodies tested. Sera from recipients of the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, sampled five months after complete vaccination, barely inhibited Omicron. Sera from COVID-19-convalescent patients collected 6 or 12 months after symptoms displayed low or no neutralizing activity against Omicron. Administration of a booster Pfizer dose as well as vaccination of previously infected individuals generated an anti-Omicron neutralizing response, with titres 6-fold to 23-fold lower against Omicron compared with those against Delta. Thus, Omicron escapes most therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and, to a large extent, vaccine-elicited antibodies. However, Omicron is neutralized by antibodies generated by a booster vaccine dose.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Immune Evasion/immunology , Immunization, Secondary , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , /immunology , Belgium , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , /immunology , Convalescence , Female , Humans , Male , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Travel
19.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296907

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant was first identified in November 2021 in Botswana and South Africa. It has in the meantime spread to many countries and is expected to rapidly become dominant worldwide. The lineage is characterized by the presence of about 32 mutations in the Spike, located mostly in the N-terminal domain (NTD) and the receptor binding domain (RBD), which may enhance viral fitness and allow antibody evasion. Here, we isolated an infectious Omicron virus in Belgium, from a traveller returning from Egypt. We examined its sensitivity to 9 monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) clinically approved or in development, and to antibodies present in 90 sera from COVID-19 vaccine recipients or convalescent individuals. Omicron was totally or partially resistant to neutralization by all mAbs tested. Sera from Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine recipients, sampled 5 months after complete vaccination, barely inhibited Omicron. Sera from COVID-19 convalescent patients collected 6 or 12 months post symptoms displayed low or no neutralizing activity against Omicron. Administration of a booster Pfizer dose as well as vaccination of previously infected individuals generated an anti-Omicron neutralizing response, with titers 5 to 31 fold lower against Omicron than against Delta. Thus, Omicron escapes most therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and to a large extent vaccine-elicited antibodies.

20.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0259908, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511834

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The incidence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the Belgian community is mainly estimated based on test results of patients with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-like symptoms. The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) positivity ratio and distribution of viral loads within a cohort of asymptomatic patients screened prior hospitalization or surgery, stratified by age category. MATERIALS/METHODS: We retrospectively studied data on SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR detection in respiratory tract samples of asymptomatic patients screened pre-hospitalization or pre-surgery in nine Belgian hospitals located in Flanders over a 12-month period (1 April 2020-31 March 2021). RESULTS: In total, 255925 SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results and 2421 positive results for which a viral load was reported, were included in this study. An unweighted overall SARS-CoV-2 real-time RT-PCR positivity ratio of 1.27% was observed with strong spatiotemporal differences. SARS-CoV-2 circulated predominantly in 80+ year old individuals across all time periods except between the first and second COVID-19 wave and in 20-30 year old individuals before the second COVID-19 wave. In contrast to the first wave, a significantly higher positivity ratio was observed for the 20-40 age group in addition to the 80+ age group compared to the other age groups during the second wave. The median viral load follows a similar temporal evolution as the positivity rate with an increase ahead of the second wave and highest viral loads observed for 80+ year old individuals. CONCLUSION: There was a high SARS-CoV-2 circulation among asymptomatic patients with a predominance and highest viral loads observed in the elderly. Moreover, ahead of the second COVID-19 wave an increase in median viral load was noted with the highest overall positivity ratio observed in 20-30 year old individuals, indicating they could have been the hidden drivers of this wave.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Diseases/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Belgium/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Respiratory Tract Infections/pathology , Respiratory Tract Infections/surgery , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Young Adult
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