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1.
Infection ; 2022 May 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1850466

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Omicron is rapidly spreading as a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC). The question whether this new variant has an impact on SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen test (RAT) performance is of utmost importance. To obtain an initial estimate regarding differences of RATs in detecting omicron and delta, seven commonly used SARS-CoV-2 RATs from different manufacturers were analysed using cell culture supernatants and clinical specimens. METHODS: For this purpose, cell culture-expanded omicron and delta preparations were serially diluted in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM) and the Limit of Detection (LoD) for both VOCs was determined. Additionally, clinical specimens stored in viral transport media or saline (n = 51) were investigated to complement in vitro results with cell culture supernatants. Ct values and RNA concentrations were determined via quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). RESULTS: The in vitro determination of the LoD showed no obvious differences in detection of omicron and delta for the RATs examined. The LoD in this study was at a dilution level of 1:1,000 (corresponding to 3.0-5.6 × 106 RNA copies/mL) for tests I-V and at a dilution level of 1:100 (corresponding to 3.7-4.9 × 107 RNA copies/mL) for tests VI and VII. Based on clinical specimens, no obvious differences were observed between RAT positivity rates when comparing omicron to delta in this study setting. Overall positivity rates varied between manufacturers with 30-81% for omicron and 42-71% for delta. Test VII was only conducted in vitro with cell culture supernatants for feasibility reasons. In the range of Ct < 23, positivity rates were 50-100% for omicron and 67-93% for delta. CONCLUSION: In this study, RATs from various manufacturers were investigated, which displayed no obvious differences in terms of analytical LoD in vitro and RAT positivity rates based on clinical samples comparing the VOCs omicron and delta. However, differences between tests produced by various manufacturers were detected. In terms of clinical samples, a focus of this study was on specimens with high virus concentrations. Further systematic, clinical and laboratory studies utilizing large datasets are urgently needed to confirm reliable performance in terms of sensitivity and specificity for all individual RATs and SARS-CoV-2 variants.

2.
Nat Med ; 28(3): 496-503, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655606

ABSTRACT

Infection-neutralizing antibody responses after severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination are an essential component of antiviral immunity. Antibody-mediated protection is challenged by the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VoCs) with immune escape properties, such as omicron (B.1.1.529), which is rapidly spreading worldwide. Here we report neutralizing antibody dynamics in a longitudinal cohort of coronavirus disease 2019 convalescent and infection-naive individuals vaccinated with mRNA BNT162b2 by quantifying SARS-CoV-2 spike protein antibodies and determining their avidity and neutralization capacity in serum. Using live-virus neutralization assays, we show that a superior infection-neutralizing capacity against all VoCs, including omicron, developed after either two vaccinations in convalescents or a third vaccination or breakthrough infection of twice-vaccinated, naive individuals. These three consecutive spike antigen exposures resulted in an increasing neutralization capacity per anti-spike antibody unit and were paralleled by stepwise increases in antibody avidity. We conclude that an infection-plus-vaccination-induced hybrid immunity or a triple immunization can induce high-quality antibodies with superior neutralization capacity against VoCs, including omicron.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination
3.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294941

ABSTRACT

Children have been disproportionately affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed to assess a saliva-based algorithm for SARS-CoV-2 testing to be used in schools and childcare institutions under pandemic conditions. A weekly SARS-CoV-2 sentinel study in primary schools, kindergartens and childcare facilities was conducted over a 12-week-period. In a sub-study covering 7 weeks, 1895 paired oropharyngeal and saliva samples were processed for SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR testing in both asymptomatic children (n=1243) and staff (n=652). Forty-nine additional concurrent swab and saliva samples were collected from SARS-CoV-2 infected patients (patient cohort). The Salivette® system was used for saliva collection and assessed for feasibility and diagnostic performance. For children a mean of 1.18 ml saliva could be obtained. Based on results from both cohorts, the Salivette® testing algorithm demonstrated specificity of 100% (95% CI 99.7 - 100) and sensitivity of 94.9% (95% CI 81.4 - 99.1) with oropharyngeal swabs as reference. Agreement between sampling systems was 100% for moderate to high viral load situations (defined as Ct-values < 33 from oropharyngeal swabs). Comparative analysis of Ct-values derived from saliva vs. oropharyngeal swabs demonstrated a significant difference (mean 4.23;95% CI 2.48–6.00). In conclusion, the Salivette® system proved to be an easy-to-use, safe and feasible saliva collection method and a more pleasant alternative to oropharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 testing in children aged 3 years and above.

4.
J Gen Virol ; 102(10)2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488154

ABSTRACT

A number of seroassays are available for SARS-CoV-2 testing; yet, head-to-head evaluations of different testing principles are limited, especially using raw values rather than categorical data. In addition, identifying correlates of protection is of utmost importance, and comparisons of available testing systems with functional assays, such as direct viral neutralisation, are needed.We analysed 6658 samples consisting of true-positives (n=193), true-negatives (n=1091), and specimens of unknown status (n=5374). For primary testing, we used Euroimmun-Anti-SARS-CoV-2-ELISA-IgA/IgG and Roche-Elecsys-Anti-SARS-CoV-2. Subsequently virus-neutralisation, GeneScriptcPass, VIRAMED-SARS-CoV-2-ViraChip, and Mikrogen-recomLine-SARS-CoV-2-IgG were applied for confirmatory testing. Statistical modelling generated optimised assay cut-off thresholds. Sensitivity of Euroimmun-anti-S1-IgA was 64.8%, specificity 93.3% (manufacturer's cut-off); for Euroimmun-anti-S1-IgG, sensitivity was 77.2/79.8% (manufacturer's/optimised cut-offs), specificity 98.0/97.8%; Roche-anti-N sensitivity was 85.5/88.6%, specificity 99.8/99.7%. In true-positives, mean and median Euroimmun-anti-S1-IgA and -IgG titres decreased 30/90 days after RT-PCR-positivity, Roche-anti-N titres decreased significantly later. Virus-neutralisation was 80.6% sensitive, 100.0% specific (≥1:5 dilution). Neutralisation surrogate tests (GeneScriptcPass, Mikrogen-recomLine-RBD) were >94.9% sensitive and >98.1% specific. Optimised cut-offs improved test performances of several tests. Confirmatory testing with virus-neutralisation might be complemented with GeneScriptcPassTM or recomLine-RBD for certain applications. Head-to-head comparisons given here aim to contribute to the refinement of testing strategies for individual and public health use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Neutralization Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Cohort Studies , Humans
5.
Diagnostics (Basel) ; 11(10)2021 Sep 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444128

ABSTRACT

Children have been disproportionately affected during the COVID-19 pandemic. We aimed to assess a saliva-based algorithm for SARS-CoV-2 testing to be used in schools and childcare institutions under pandemic conditions. A weekly SARS-CoV-2 sentinel study in primary schools, kindergartens, and childcare facilities was conducted over a 12-week-period. In a sub-study covering 7 weeks, 1895 paired oropharyngeal and saliva samples were processed for SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR testing in both asymptomatic children (n = 1243) and staff (n = 652). Forty-nine additional concurrent swab and saliva samples were collected from SARS-CoV-2 infected patients (patient cohort). The Salivette® system was used for saliva collection and assessed for feasibility and diagnostic performance. For children, a mean of 1.18 mL saliva could be obtained. Based on results from both cohorts, the Salivette® testing algorithm demonstrated the specificity of 100% (95% CI 99.7-100) and sensitivity of 94.9% (95% CI 81.4-99.1) with oropharyngeal swabs as reference. Agreement between sampling systems was 100% for moderate to high viral load situations (defined as Ct-values <33 from oropharyngeal swabs). Comparative analysis of Ct-values derived from saliva vs. oropharyngeal swabs demonstrated a significant difference (mean 4.23; 95% CI 2.48-6.00). In conclusion, the Salivette® system proved to be an easy-to-use, safe and feasible saliva collection method and a more pleasant alternative to oropharyngeal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 testing in children aged 3 years and above.

6.
Microorganisms ; 9(9)2021 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410330

ABSTRACT

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are an integral part of SARS-CoV-2 containment strategies. As emerging variants of concern (VOCs) displace the initially circulating strains, it is crucial that RATs do not fail to detect these new variants. In this study, four RATs for nasal swab testing were investigated using cultured strains of B.1.1 (non-VOC), B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta). Based on dilution series in cell culture medium and pooled saliva, the limit of detection of these RATs was determined in a laboratory setting. Further investigations on cross-reactivity were conducted using recombinant N-protein from seasonal human coronaviruses (hCoVs). RATs evaluated showed an overall comparable performance with cultured strains of the non-VOC B.1.1 and the VOCs Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. No cross-reactivity was detected with recombinant N-protein of the hCoV strains HKU1, OC43, NL63, and 229E. A continuous evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 RAT performance is required, especially with regard to evolving mutations. Moreover, cross-reactivity and interference with pathogens and other substances on the test performance of RATs should be consistently investigated to ensure suitability in the context of SARS-CoV-2 containment.

7.
Infect Dis Ther ; 10(3): 1505-1518, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1274999

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Quantitative serological assays detecting response to SARS-CoV-2 are needed to quantify immunity. This study analyzed the performance and correlation of two quantitative anti-S1 assays in oligo-/asymptomatic individuals from a population-based cohort. METHODS: In total, 362 plasma samples (108 with reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction [RT-PCR]-positive pharyngeal swabs, 111 negative controls, and 143 with positive serology without confirmation by RT-PCR) were tested with quantitative assays (Euroimmun Anti-SARS-CoV-2 QuantiVac enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay [EI-S1-IgG-quant]) and Roche Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S [Ro-RBD-Ig-quant]), which were compared with each other and confirmatory tests, including wild-type virus micro-neutralization (NT) and GenScript®cPass™. Square roots R of coefficients of determination were calculated for continuous variables and non-parametric tests were used for paired comparisons. RESULTS: Quantitative anti-S1 serology correlated well with each other (true positives, 96%; true negatives, 97%). Antibody titers decreased over time (< 30 to > 240 days after initial positive RT-PCR). Agreement with GenScript-cPass was 96%/99% for true positives and true negatives, respectively, for Ro-RBD-Ig-quant and 93%/97% for EI-S1-IgG-quant. Ro-RBD-Ig-quant allowed distinct separation between positives and negatives, and less non-specific reactivity versus EI-S1-IgG-quant. Raw values (95% CI) ≥ 28.7 U/mL (22.6-36.4) for Ro-RBD-Ig-quant and ≥ 49.8 U/mL (43.4-57.1) for EI-S1-IgG-quant predicted NT > 1:5 in 95% of cases. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest both quantitative anti-S1 assays (EI-S1-IgG-quant and Ro-RBD-Ig-quant) may replace direct neutralization assays in quantitative measurement of immune protection against SARS-CoV-2 in certain circumstances. However, although the mean antibody titers for both assays tended to decrease over time, a higher proportion of Ro-RBD-Ig-quant values remained positive after 240 days.

8.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(8): 2192-2196, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1259327

ABSTRACT

We investigated severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections in primary schools, kindergartens, and nurseries in Germany. Of 3,169 oropharyngeal swab specimens, only 2 were positive by real-time reverse transcription PCR. Asymptomatic children attending these institutions do not appear to be driving the pandemic when appropriate infection control measures are used.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nurseries, Infant , Child , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Infant , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools , Sentinel Surveillance
9.
Euro Surveill ; 26(16)2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1200054

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) should not escape molecular surveillance. We investigated if SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen tests (RATs) could detect B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 VOCs in certain laboratory conditions. Infectious cell culture supernatants containing B.1.1.7, B.1.351 or non-VOC SARS-CoV-2 were respectively diluted both in DMEM and saliva. Dilutions were analysed with Roche, Siemens, Abbott, nal von minden and RapiGEN RATs. While further studies with appropriate real-life clinical samples are warranted, all RATs detected B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, generally comparable to non-VOC strain.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Germany , Humans
11.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 20(8): 920-928, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-276988

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In December, 2019, the newly identified severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, China, causing COVID-19, a respiratory disease presenting with fever, cough, and often pneumonia. WHO has set the strategic objective to interrupt spread of SARS-CoV-2 worldwide. An outbreak in Bavaria, Germany, starting at the end of January, 2020, provided the opportunity to study transmission events, incubation period, and secondary attack rates. METHODS: A case was defined as a person with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by RT-PCR. Case interviews were done to describe timing of onset and nature of symptoms and to identify and classify contacts as high risk (had cumulative face-to-face contact with a confirmed case for ≥15 min, direct contact with secretions or body fluids of a patient with confirmed COVID-19, or, in the case of health-care workers, had worked within 2 m of a patient with confirmed COVID-19 without personal protective equipment) or low risk (all other contacts). High-risk contacts were ordered to stay at home in quarantine for 14 days and were actively followed up and monitored for symptoms, and low-risk contacts were tested upon self-reporting of symptoms. We defined fever and cough as specific symptoms, and defined a prodromal phase as the presence of non-specific symptoms for at least 1 day before the onset of specific symptoms. Whole genome sequencing was used to confirm epidemiological links and clarify transmission events where contact histories were ambiguous; integration with epidemiological data enabled precise reconstruction of exposure events and incubation periods. Secondary attack rates were calculated as the number of cases divided by the number of contacts, using Fisher's exact test for the 95% CIs. FINDINGS: Patient 0 was a Chinese resident who visited Germany for professional reasons. 16 subsequent cases, often with mild and non-specific symptoms, emerged in four transmission generations. Signature mutations in the viral genome occurred upon foundation of generation 2, as well as in one case pertaining to generation 4. The median incubation period was 4·0 days (IQR 2·3-4·3) and the median serial interval was 4·0 days (3·0-5·0). Transmission events were likely to have occurred presymptomatically for one case (possibly five more), at the day of symptom onset for four cases (possibly five more), and the remainder after the day of symptom onset or unknown. One or two cases resulted from contact with a case during the prodromal phase. Secondary attack rates were 75·0% (95% CI 19·0-99·0; three of four people) among members of a household cluster in common isolation, 10·0% (1·2-32·0; two of 20) among household contacts only together until isolation of the patient, and 5·1% (2·6-8·9; 11 of 217) among non-household, high-risk contacts. INTERPRETATION: Although patients in our study presented with predominately mild, non-specific symptoms, infectiousness before or on the day of symptom onset was substantial. Additionally, the incubation period was often very short and false-negative tests occurred. These results suggest that although the outbreak was controlled, successful long-term and global containment of COVID-19 could be difficult to achieve. FUNDING: All authors are employed and all expenses covered by governmental, federal state, or other publicly funded institutions.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Communicable Diseases, Imported/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Disease Transmission, Infectious , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Travel-Related Illness , Adolescent , Adult , Betacoronavirus/classification , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , China , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/pathology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/virology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Middle Aged , Mutation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel , Young Adult
12.
Euro Surveill ; 25(9)2020 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-4532

ABSTRACT

The need for timely establishment of diagnostic assays arose when Germany was confronted with the first travel-associated outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Europe. We describe our laboratory experiences during a large contact tracing investigation, comparing previously published real-time RT-PCR assays in different PCR systems and a commercial kit. We found that assay performance using the same primers and probes with different PCR systems varied and the commercial kit performed well.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections , Pneumonia, Viral , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Germany , Humans , Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Time Factors , Viral Envelope Proteins/analysis , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Workflow
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