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1.
J Clin Microbiol ; 59(9): e0055921, 2021 08 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501527

ABSTRACT

External quality assessment (EQA) is a key instrument for achieving harmonization, and thus a high quality, of diagnostic procedures. As reliable test results are crucial for accurate assessment of SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence, vaccine response, and immunity, and thus for successful management of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Reference Institute for Bioanalytics (RfB) was the first EQA provider to offer an open scheme for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection. The main objectives of this EQA were (i) to gain insights into the current diagnostic landscape and the performance of serological tests in Europe and (ii) to provide recommendations for diagnostic improvements. Within the EQA, a blinded panel of precharacterized human serum samples with variable anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers was provided for detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, IgA, and IgM antibodies. Across the three distribution rounds in 2020, 284 laboratories from 22 countries reported a total of 3,744 results for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection using more than 24 different assays for IgG. Overall, 97/3,004 results were false for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, 88/248 for IgA, and 34/124 for IgM. Regarding diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, substantial differences were found between the different assays used, as well as between certified and noncertified tests. For cutoff samples, a drop in the diagnostic sensitivity to 46.3% and high interlaboratory variability were observed. In general, this EQA highlights the current variability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection, technical limitations with respect to cutoff samples, and the lack of harmonization of testing procedures. Recommendations are provided to help laboratories and manufacturers further improve the quality of anti-SARS-CoV-2 serological diagnostics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Immunoglobulin M , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Serologic Tests
2.
J Clin Virol ; 142: 104912, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313212

ABSTRACT

Spike-specific antibodies contribute significantly to the neutralising activity against SARS-CoV-2 and are important for the therapeutic effect of convalescent plasma. B.1.1.7 is a recently emerged variant of SARS-CoV-2 that has several mutations in the gene encoding for the spike-protein. To assess the potential effect these mutations could have on the neutralising efficacy of antibodies, we evaluated 96 serum samples from convalescent plasma donors collected before the first occurrence of B.1.1.7 and tested their neutralising effect on wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and B.1.1.7. We found that B.1.1.7 is more resistant to neutralisation by convalescent plasma from patients infected with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 with an overall decrease in neutralising activity of 47.7%. Thus, the neutralising effect of convalescent plasma should be determined against the major circulating virus clades whenever possible to ensure the best possible therapeutic effect.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/therapy , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(8)2021 04 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1178245

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is associated with a potentially severe clinical manifestation, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and currently poses a worldwide challenge. Health care workers (HCWs) are at the forefront of any health care system and thus especially at risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection due to their potentially frequent and close contact with patients suffering from COVID-19. Serum samples from 198 HCWs with direct patient contact of a regional medical center and several outpatient facilities were collected during the early phase of the pandemic (April 2020) and tested for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. Commercially available IgA- and IgG-specific ELISAs were used as screening technique, followed by an in-house neutralization assay for confirmation. Neutralizing SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies were detected in seven of 198 (3.5%) tested HCWs. There was no significant difference in seroprevalence between the regional medical center (3.4%) and the outpatient institution (5%). The overall seroprevalence of neutralizing SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies in HCWs in both a large regional medical center and a small outpatient institution was low (3.5%) at the beginning of April 2020. The findings may indicate that the timely implemented preventive measures (strict hygiene protocols, personal protective equipment) were effective to protect from transmission of an airborne virus when only limited information on the pathogen was available.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Germany/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies
4.
J Virol Methods ; 292: 114122, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1120398

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Reliable methods for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies (NAbs) are essential for the evaluation of vaccine candidates and for the selection of convalescent plasma donors. Virus neutralisation tests (NTs) are the gold standard for the detection and quantification of NAbs, but they are complex and require BSL3 facilities. In contrast, surrogate enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (sELISA) offer the possibility of high-throughput testing under standard laboratory safety conditions. In this study, we investigated two commercial sELISA kits (GenScript, AdipoGen) designed for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 NAbs. METHODS: 276 plasma samples were screened using commercial IgG-ELISA and NAbs titres were determined by micro-neutralisation test (micro-NT). In addition, all samples were tested in both sELISA. Sensitivity and specificity for both sELISA were determined in comparison to the micro-NT results. RESULTS: 57 % of the samples were SARS-CoV-2 NAb positive in micro-NT, while 43 % tested negative. Comparison with micro-NT results showed a sensitivity of 98.2 % and a specificity of 69.5 % for the GenScript ELISA. The AdipoGen ELISA had a sensitivity of 83.5 % and a specificity of 97.8 %. False negative results were obtained mainly on samples with low NAbs titres. CONCLUSION: Both sELISA were able to qualitatively detect NAbs in plasma samples. Sensitivity and specificity differed between sELISA with GenScript superior in sensitivity and AdipoGen superior in specificity. Both sELISA were unable to quantify NAbs, thus neither of them can completely replace conventional NTs. However, in a two-step diagnostic algorithm, AdipoGen could potentially replace NT as a subsequent confirmatory test due to its high specificity but only in settings where no exact NAbs quantification is needed.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Neutralization Tests
5.
Viruses ; 12(12)2020 12 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-966929

ABSTRACT

The ongoing pandemic spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus type 2 (SARS-CoV-2) demands skillful strategies for novel drug development, drug repurposing and cotreatments, in particular focusing on existing candidates of host-directed antivirals (HDAs). The developmental drug IMU-838, currently being investigated in a phase 2b trial in patients suffering from autoimmune diseases, represents an inhibitor of human dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) with a recently proven antiviral activity in vitro and in vivo. Here, we established an analysis system for assessing the antiviral potency of IMU-838 and DHODH-directed back-up drugs in cultured cell-based infection models. By the use of SARS-CoV-2-specific immunofluorescence, Western blot, in-cell ELISA, viral yield reduction and RT-qPCR methods, we demonstrated the following: (i) IMU-838 and back-ups show anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity at several levels of viral replication, i.e., protein production, double-strand RNA synthesis, and release of infectious virus; (ii) antiviral efficacy in Vero cells was demonstrated in a micromolar range (IMU-838 half-maximal effective concentration, EC50, of 7.6 ± 5.8 µM); (iii) anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity was distinct from cytotoxic effects (half-cytotoxic concentration, CC50, >100 µM); (iv) the drug in vitro potency was confirmed using several Vero lineages and human cells; (v) combination with remdesivir showed enhanced anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity; (vi) vidofludimus, the active determinant of IMU-838, exerted a broad-spectrum activity against a selection of major human pathogenic viruses. These findings strongly suggest that developmental DHODH inhibitors represent promising candidates for use as anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapeutics.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Drug Repositioning , Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors/antagonists & inhibitors , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Adenosine Monophosphate/analogs & derivatives , Adenosine Monophosphate/pharmacology , Alanine/analogs & derivatives , Alanine/pharmacology , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Chlorocebus aethiops , Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic , Dihydroorotate Dehydrogenase , Drug Discovery , Drug Synergism , Humans , Vero Cells , Virus Replication/drug effects
6.
Clin Chem Lab Med ; 58(12): 2121-2130, 2020 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-732982

ABSTRACT

Objectives Assessment of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection prevalence and immunity is cornerstones in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. For pandemic control, reliable assays for the detection of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are required. This pilot external quality assessment (EQA) scheme aimed to independently assess the participants' clinical performance of anti-SARS-CoV-2 testing, to identify shortcomings in clinical practice and to evaluate the suitability of the scheme format. Methods The EQA scheme consisted of eight serum samples with variable reactivity against SARS-CoV-2 intended for the analysis of anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin (Ig)G, IgA, and IgM antibodies. Laboratories reported: (1) results for each sample and the respective method, (2) raw data from replicate testing of each sample. Results The 16 selected pilot EQA participants reported 294 interpreted results and 796 raw data results from replicate testing. The overall error rate for the anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG, IgA, and IgM tests was 2.7, 6.9, and 16.7%, respectively. While the overall diagnostic specificity was rated as very high, sensitivity rates between 67 and 98% indicate considerable quality differences between the manufacturers, especially for IgA and IgM. Conclusions Even the results reported by the small number of participants indicate a very heterogeneous landscape of anti-SARS-CoV-2 serological testing. Differences of available tests and the individual performance of laboratories result in a success rate of 57.1% with one laboratory succeeding for all three antibody-classes. These results are an incentive for laboratories to participate in upcoming open EQA schemes that are needed to achieve a harmonization of test results and to improve serological testing.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Serologic Tests , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Humans , Pilot Projects , Quality Control , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Clin Chem ; 66(8): 1047-1054, 2020 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-209847

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The current outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has spread to almost every country with more than 5 million confirmed cases and over 300,000 deaths as of May 26, 2020. Rapid first-line testing protocols are needed for outbreak control and surveillance. METHODS: We used computational and manual designs to generate a suitable set of reverse transcription recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) primer and exonuclease probe, internally quenched (exo-IQ), sequences targeting the SARS-CoV-2 N gene. RT-RPA sensitivity was determined by amplification of in vitro transcribed RNA standards. Assay selectivity was demonstrated with a selectivity panel of 32 nucleic acid samples derived from common respiratory viruses. To validate the assay against full-length SARS-CoV-2 RNA, total viral RNA derived from cell culture supernatant and 19 nasopharyngeal swab samples (8 positive and 11 negative for SARS-CoV-2) were screened. All results were compared to established RT-qPCR assays. RESULTS: The 95% detection probability of the RT-RPA assay was determined to be 7.74 (95% CI: 2.87-27.39) RNA copies per reaction. The assay showed no cross-reactivity to any other screened coronaviruses or respiratory viruses of clinical significance. The developed RT-RPA assay produced 100% diagnostic sensitivity and specificity when compared to RT-qPCR (n = 20). CONCLUSIONS: With a run time of 15 to 20 minutes and first results being available in under 7 minutes for high RNA concentrations, the reported assay constitutes one of the fastest nucleic acid based detection methods for SARS-CoV-2 to date and may provide a simple-to-use alternative to RT-qPCR for first-line screening at the point of need.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , DNA Probes/chemistry , DNA Probes/metabolism , Exonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Point-of-Care Testing , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
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