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1.
mBio ; 13(5): e0210122, 2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001781

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began by viral spillover from animals to humans; today multiple animal species are known to be susceptible to infection. White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are infected in North America at substantial levels, and genomic data suggests that a variant in deer may have spilled back to humans. Here, we characterize SARS-CoV-2 in deer from Pennsylvania (PA) sampled during fall and winter 2021. Of 123 nasal swab samples analyzed by RT-qPCR, 20 (16.3%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Seven whole genome sequences were obtained, together with six more partial spike gene sequences. These annotated as alpha and delta variants, the first reported observations of these lineages in deer, documenting multiple new jumps from humans to deer. The alpha lineage persisted in deer after its displacement by delta in humans, and deer-derived alpha variants diverged significantly from those in humans, consistent with a distinctive evolutionary trajectory in deer. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses have been documented to replicate in numerous species of vertebrates, and multiple spillovers of coronaviruses from animals into humans have founded human epidemics. The COVID-19 epidemic likely derived from a spillover of SARS-CoV-2 from bats into humans, possibly via an intermediate host. There are now several examples of SARS-CoV-2 jumping from humans into other mammals, including mink and deer, creating the potential for new animal reservoirs from which spillback into humans could occur. For this reason, data on formation of new animal reservoirs is of great importance for understanding possible sources of future infection. Here, we identify extensive infection in white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania, including what appear to be multiple independent transmissions. Data further suggests possible transmission among deer. These data thus help identify a potential new animal reservoir and provide background information relevant to its management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deer , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Pennsylvania/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary
2.
mBio ; : e0378821, 2022 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673352

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the global outbreak of COVID-19. Evidence suggests that the virus is evolving to allow efficient spread through the human population, including vaccinated individuals. Here, we report a study of viral variants from surveillance of the Delaware Valley, including the city of Philadelphia, and variants infecting vaccinated subjects. We sequenced and analyzed complete viral genomes from 2621 surveillance samples from March 2020 to September 2021 and compared them to genome sequences from 159 vaccine breakthroughs. In the early spring of 2020, all detected variants were of the B.1 and closely related lineages. A mixture of lineages followed, notably including B.1.243 followed by B.1.1.7 (alpha), with other lineages present at lower levels. Later isolations were dominated by B.1.617.2 (delta) and other delta lineages; delta was the exclusive variant present by the last time sampled. To investigate whether any variants appeared preferentially in vaccine breakthroughs, we devised a model based on Bayesian autoregressive moving average logistic multinomial regression to allow rigorous comparison. This revealed that B.1.617.2 (delta) showed 3-fold enrichment in vaccine breakthrough cases (odds ratio of 3; 95% credible interval 0.89-11). Viral point substitutions could also be associated with vaccine breakthroughs, notably the N501Y substitution found in the alpha, beta and gamma variants (odds ratio 2.04; 95% credible interval of1.25-3.18). This study thus overviews viral evolution and vaccine breakthroughs in the Delaware Valley and introduces a rigorous statistical approach to interrogating enrichment of breakthrough variants against a changing background. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is highly effective at reducing viral infection, hospitalization and death. However, vaccine breakthrough infections have been widely observed, raising the question of whether particular viral variants or viral mutations are associated with breakthrough. Here, we report analysis of 2621 surveillance isolates from people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Delaware Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania, allowing rigorous comparison to 159 vaccine breakthrough case specimens. Our best estimate is a 3-fold enrichment for some lineages of delta among breakthroughs, and enrichment of a notable spike substitution, N501Y. We introduce statistical methods that should be widely useful for evaluating vaccine breakthroughs and other viral phenotypes.

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