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Sci Rep ; 12(1): 9896, 2022 06 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890264


Co-infections with bacterial or fungal pathogens could be associated with severity and outcome of disease in COVID-19 patients. We, therefore, used a 16S and ITS-based sequencing approach to assess the biomass and composition of the bacterial and fungal communities in endotracheal aspirates of intubated COVID-19 patients. Our method combines information on bacterial and fungal biomass with community profiling, anticipating the likelihood of a co-infection is higher with (1) a high bacterial and/or fungal biomass combined with (2) predominance of potentially pathogenic microorganisms. We tested our methods on 42 samples from 30 patients. We observed a clear association between microbial outgrowth (high biomass) and predominance of individual microbial species. Outgrowth of pathogens was in line with the selective pressure of antibiotics received by the patient. We conclude that our approach may help to monitor the presence and predominance of pathogens and therefore the likelihood of co-infections in ventilated patients, which ultimately, may help to guide treatment.

COVID-19 , Coinfection , Mycobiome , Bacteria/genetics , Humans , Pilot Projects
J Virol Methods ; 303: 114497, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1693166


Tracking severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants through whole genome sequencing (WGS) is vital for effective infection control and prevention (IPC) measures, but can be time-consuming and resource-heavy. We describe an in-house validation of an allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (ASP) variant assay to detect variants of concern (VOC). ASP sensitivity for detecting Delta, Alpha and Beta was 99.45 %, 100 %, and 66.67 %, respectively, compared with WGS. Specificity was 100 % in detecting all three VOC. ASP generated results 1.3 days faster compared with WGS. These findings suggest using variant assays such as ASP may enhance epidemiological surveillance and IPC measures.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Alleles , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Mutation , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296887


The scale of data produced during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been unprecedented, with more than 5 million sequences shared publicly at the time of writing. This wealth of sequence data provides important context for interpreting local outbreaks. However, placing sequences of interest into national and international context is difficult given the size of the global dataset. Often outbreak investigations and genomic surveillance efforts require running similar analyses again and again on the latest dataset and producing reports. We developed civet (cluster investigation and virus epidemiology tool) to aid these routine analyses and facilitate virus outbreak investigation and surveillance. Civet can place sequences of interest in the local context of background diversity, resolving the query into different ’catchments’ and presenting the phylogenetic results alongside metadata in an interactive, distributable report. Civet can be used on a fine scale for clinical outbreak investigation, for local surveillance and cluster discovery, and to routinely summarise the virus diversity circulating on a national level. Civet reports have helped researchers and public health bodies feedback genomic information in the appropriate context within a timeframe that is useful for public health.

Nat Microbiol ; 6(1): 112-122, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-989837


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first diagnosed in Scotland on 1 March 2020. During the first month of the outbreak, 2,641 cases of COVID-19 led to 1,832 hospital admissions, 207 intensive care admissions and 126 deaths. We aimed to identify the source and number of introductions of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into Scotland using a combined phylogenetic and epidemiological approach. Sequencing of 1,314 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from available patient samples enabled us to estimate that SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to Scotland on at least 283 occasions during February and March 2020. Epidemiological analysis confirmed that early introductions of SARS-CoV-2 originated from mainland Europe (the majority from Italy and Spain). We identified subsequent early outbreaks in the community, within healthcare facilities and at an international conference. Community transmission occurred after 2 March, 3 weeks before control measures were introduced. Earlier travel restrictions or quarantine measures, both locally and internationally, would have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases in Scotland. The risk of multiple reintroduction events in future waves of infection remains high in the absence of population immunity.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , Europe/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spain/epidemiology , Travel/statistics & numerical data