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Pathogens ; 11(11)2022 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2116076


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has rapidly become a significant threat to public health. However, among the Coronaviridae family members, there are other viruses that can also cause infections in humans. Among these, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) have posed significant threats to human health in the past. Other human pathogenic coronaviruses have been identified, and they are known to cause respiratory diseases with manifestations ranging from mild to severe. In this study, we evaluated the performance of a multiplex RT-rPCR specific to seven human pathogenic coronaviruses in mainly detecting SARS-CoV-2 directly from nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from suspected COVID-19 infected patients, while simultaneously detecting different human pathogenic coronaviruses in case these were also present. We tested 1195 clinical samples suspected of COVID-19 infection. The assay identified that 69% of the samples tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (1195), which was confirmed using another SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR kit available in our laboratory. None of these clinical samples were positive for SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV or HCoV. This means that during the endemic phase of COVID-19, infection with other human pathogenic coronaviruses, even the common cold coronavirus (HCoV), is very uncommon. Our study also confirmed that the multiplex RT-rPCR is a sensitive assay for detecting SARS-CoV-2 regardless of differences among the variants. This multiplex RT-rPCR is also time- and cost-saving and very easy to apply in the diagnostic laboratory due to its simple procedure and its stability in storage after preparation. These features make the assay a valuable approach in screening procedures for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 and other human pathogenic coronaviruses that could affect public health.

Life (Basel) ; 11(11)2021 Nov 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1524066


SARS-CoV-2 isolates from long-term COVID-19 patients play a significant role in understanding the mechanisms of infection and virus persistence. This study describes a SARS-CoV-2 isolate from a 53-year-old woman from Apulia (Italy), who was COVID-19 positive for approximately four months. In this paper we aimed to investigate any potential correlation between genetic mutations and clinical features of this case of infection. The viral isolate was assigned to lineage B.1.177.51 through whole-genome sequencing (WGS) and harbored a novel set of mutations on the Spike protein (V143D, del144/145 and E484K); furthermore, seroneutralization assays showed impaired response of the surveyed strain to BNT162b2 (Comirnaty) Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine-induced (average reduction of 70%) and convalescent sera (average reduction of 19.04%), when compared to VOC P.1. This study highlights the importance of genomic surveillance for the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, the relevance of monitoring of emerging SARS-CoV-2 mutations in all lineages, and the necessity of testing the response of emerging variants to available therapies and vaccines.

Viruses ; 13(5)2021 04 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201600


In order to provide insights into the evolutionary and epidemiological viral dynamics during the current COVID-19 pandemic in South Eastern Italy, a total of 298 genomes of SARS-CoV-2 strains collected in the Apulia and Basilicata regions, between March 2020 and January 2021, were sequenced. The genomic analysis performed on the draft genomes allowed us to assign the genetic clades and lineages of belonging to each sample and provide an overview of the main circulating viral variants. Our data showed the spread in Apulia and Basilicata of SARS-CoV-2 variants which have emerged during the second wave of infections and are being currently monitored worldwide for their increased transmission rate and their possible impact on vaccines and therapies. These results emphasize the importance of genome sequencing for the epidemiological surveillance of the new SARS-CoV-2 variants' spread.

COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Base Sequence , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Whole Genome Sequencing
Microbiol Resour Announc ; 10(4)2021 Jan 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054616


The coding-complete sequence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was obtained from a sample from a 25-year-old female returning to the Apulia region of Italy from England. The characterized strain showed all of the spike protein mutations defining SARS-CoV-2 VUI 202012/01, as well as other mutations in the spike protein and in other genomic regions.