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Clin Biochem ; 2020 Jun 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-612445


OBJECTIVES: A novel coronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) emerged in late 2019, causing an outbreak of pneumonia [coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)] globally. Although the use of ready-made reaction mixes can enable more rapid PCR-based diagnosis of COVID-19, the need to transport and store these mixes at low temperatures presents challenges to already overburdened logistics networks. METHODS: Here, we present an optimized freeze-drying procedure that allows SARS-CoV-2 PCR mixes to be transported and stored at ambient temperatures, without loss of activity. Additive-supplemented PCR mixes were freeze-dried. The residual moisture of the freeze-dried PCR mixes was measured by Karl-Fischer titration. RESULTS: We found that the freeze-dried PCR mixes with ~1.2% residual moisture are optimal for storage, transport, and reconstitution. The sensitivity, specificity, and repeatability of the freeze-dried reagents were similar to those of freshly prepared, wet reagents. The freeze-dried mixes retained activity at room temperature (18 ~ 25 °C) for 28 days, and for 14 and 10 days when stored at 37 °C and 56 °C, respectively. CONCLUSION: The uptake of this approach will ease logistical challenges faced by transport networks and make more cold storage space available at diagnosis and hospital laboratories.

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis ; 98(1): 115109, 2020 Jun 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-593503


SARS-CoV-2 has caused COVID-19 pandemic globally in the beginning of 2020, and qualitative real-time RT-PCR has become the gold standard in diagnosis. As SARSCoV-2 with strong transmissibility and pathogenicity, it has become a professional consensus that clinical samples from suspected patients should be heat inactivated at 56°C for 30 min before further processing. However, previous studies on the effect of inactivation on qualitative real-time RT-PCR were conducted with diluted samples rather than clinical samples. The aim of this study was to investigate whether heat inactivation on clinical samples before detection will affect the accuracy of qualitative real-time RT-PCR detection. All 46 throat swab samples from 46 confirmed inpatients were detected by qualitative real-time RT-PCR directly, as well as after heat inactivation. Heat-Inactivation has significantly influenced the qualitative detection results on clinical samples, especially weakly positive samples. The results indicate the urgency to establish a more suitable protocol for COVID-19 clinical sample's inactivation.

Clin Infect Dis ; 2020 Mar 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-17886


BACKGROUND: The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerging virus. The antibody response in infected patient remains largely unknown, and the clinical values of antibody testing have not been fully demonstrated. METHODS: A total of 173 patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection were enrolled. Their serial plasma samples (n=535) collected during the hospitalization were tested for total antibodies (Ab), IgM and IgG against SARS-CoV-2. The dynamics of antibodies with the disease progress was analyzed. RESULTS: Among 173 patients, the seroconversion rate for Ab, IgM and IgG was 93.1%, 82.7% and 64.7%, respectively. The reason for the negative antibody findings in 12 patients might due to the lack of blood samples at the later stage of illness. The median seroconversion time for Ab, IgM and then IgG were day-11, day-12 and day-14, separately. The presence of antibodies was <40% among patients within 1-week since onset, and rapidly increased to 100.0% (Ab), 94.3% (IgM) and 79.8% (IgG) since day-15 after onset. In contrast, RNA detectability decreased from 66.7% (58/87) in samples collected before day-7 to 45.5% (25/55) during day 15-39. Combining RNA and antibody detections significantly improved the sensitivity of pathogenic diagnosis for COVID-19 (p<0.001), even in early phase of 1-week since onset (p=0.007). Moreover, a higher titer of Ab was independently associated with a worse clinical classification (p=0.006). CONCLUSIONS: The antibody detection offers vital clinical information during the course of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The findings provide strong empirical support for the routine application of serological testing in the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 patients.