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1.
J Clin Microbiol ; : e0228321, 2022 Mar 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759279

ABSTRACT

Tools to detect SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and track the ongoing evolution of the virus are necessary to support public health efforts and the design and evaluation of novel COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines. Although next-generation sequencing (NGS) has been adopted as the gold standard method for discriminating SARS-CoV-2 lineages, alternative methods may be required when processing samples with low viral loads or low RNA quality. To this aim, an allele-specific probe PCR (ASP-PCR) targeting lineage-specific single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) was developed and used to screen 1,082 samples from two clinical trials in the United Kingdom and Brazil. Probit regression models were developed to compare ASP-PCR performance against 1,771 NGS results for the same cohorts. Individual SNPs were shown to readily identify specific variants of concern. ASP-PCR was shown to discriminate SARS-CoV-2 lineages with a higher likelihood than NGS over a wide range of viral loads. The comparative advantage for ASP-PCR over NGS was most pronounced in samples with cycle threshold (CT) values between 26 and 30 and in samples that showed evidence of degradation. Results for samples screened by ASP-PCR and NGS showed 99% concordant results. ASP-PCR is well suited to augment but not replace NGS. The method can differentiate SARS-CoV-2 lineages with high accuracy and would be best deployed to screen samples with lower viral loads or that may suffer from degradation. Future work should investigate further destabilization from primer-target base mismatch through altered oligonucleotide chemistry or chemical additives.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308614

ABSTRACT

Background: Emerging evidence shows the substantial real-world impact of authorised vaccines against COVID-19 and provides insight into the potential role of vaccines in curbing the pandemic. However, there remains uncertainty about the efficacy of vaccines against different variants of the virus. Here we assessed efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) against lineages of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in Brazil from June 2020 until early 2021. Methods: Participants aged 18 and above were enrolled into a randomised phase 3 trial of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Participants received two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or control (1st dose: Men ACWY vaccine, 2nd dose: normal saline). Nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabbing was performed if participants developed symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, shortness of breath, fever >37.8°C, ageusia, anosmia). Swabs were tested by nucleic acid amplification (NAAT) for SARS-CoV-2, sequenced, and viral load determined. For those samples where a genotype could not be ascertained from sequencing, allele specific PCR was performed. The efficacy analysis included symptomatic COVID-19 in seronegative participants with a NAAT positive swab more than 14 days after a second dose of vaccine. Participants were unblinded after the vaccine was authorised for use, and the control participants offered vaccination. Infections occurring after unblinding were excluded from analysis. Vaccine efficacy was calculated as 100% x (1 – relative risk (RR)), where RR was estimated from a robust Poisson model. The trial is registered at ISRCTN89951424. Findings: 9433 participants were eligible for inclusion in the pre-specified primary efficacy population, having reached more than 14 days after a second dose of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, of whom 307 were NAAT+, in this post-hoc analysis. From June 2020 to February 2021, the two most frequently identified lineages were P.2 (N=153) and B.1.1.28 (N=49). P.1 emerged during the study (N=18) but became dominant only after study unblinding. Viral loads were highest amongst those with P.1 infection. Vaccine efficacy (VE) for B.1.1.33 (88.2%, 95%CI 5, 99), B.1.1.28 (73%, 95% CI, 46, 86), P.2 (69% 95% CI, 55, 78) and P.1 (64%, 95% CI, -2, 87) was estimated. In participants who had received two doses of vaccine, one COVID-19 hospitalisation occurred in the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 group and 18 in the control group, with VE against hospitalisation 95% (95% CI 61, 99). There were 2 COVID-19 deaths in the control group and none in the vaccine group. Interpretation ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 provides high efficacy against hospitalisation, severe disease and death from COVID-19 in Brazil and there is strong evidence of protection being maintained against P.2, despite the presence of the spike protein mutation E484K. Real world effectiveness studies are ongoing in Brazil to further establish protection against P.1 and other emerging variants.

3.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295804

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT Background Treatment of COVID-19 patients with convalescent plasma containing neutralising antibody to SARS-CoV-2 is under investigation as a means of reducing viral loads, ameliorating disease outcomes, and reducing mortality. However, its efficacy might be reduced in those infected with the emerging B.1.1.7 SARS-CoV-2 variant. Here, we report the diverse virological characteristics of UK patients enrolled in the Immunoglobulin Domain of the REMAP-CAP randomised controlled trial. Methods SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was detected and quantified by real-time PCR in nasopharyngeal swabs obtained from study subjects within 48 hours of admission to intensive care unit. Antibody status was determined by spike-protein ELISA. B.1.1.7 strain was differentiated from other SARS-CoV-2 strains by two novel typing methods detecting the B.1.1.7-associated D1118H mutation with allele-specific probes and by restriction site polymorphism (SfcI). Findings Of 1260 subjects, 90% were PCR-positive with viral loads in nasopharyngeal swabs ranging from 72 international units [IUs]/ml to 1.7×10 11 IU/ml. Median viral loads were 45-fold higher in those who were seronegative for IgG antibodies (n=314;28%) compared to seropositives (n=804;72%), reflecting in part the latter group’s possible later disease stage on enrolment. Frequencies of B.1.1.7 infection increased from early November (<1%) to December 2020 (>60%). Anti-SARS-CoV-2 seronegative individuals infected with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 had significantly higher viral loads than seropositives (medians of 1.2×10 6 and 3.4 ×10 4 IU/ml respectively;p=2×10 −9 ). However, viral load distributions were elevated in both seropositive and seronegative subjects infected with B.1.1.7 (13.4×10 6 and 7.6×10 6 IU/ml;p=0.18). Interpretation High viral loads in seropositive B.1.1.7-infected subjects are consistent with increased replication capacity and/or less effective clearance by innate or adaptive immune response of B.1.1.7 strain than wild-type. As viral genotype was associated with diverse virological and immunological phenotypes, metrics of viral load, antibody status and infecting strain should be used to define subgroups for analysis of treatment efficacy.

4.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5861, 2021 10 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454761

ABSTRACT

Several COVID-19 vaccines have shown good efficacy in clinical trials, but there remains uncertainty about the efficacy of vaccines against different variants. Here, we investigate the efficacy of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222) against symptomatic COVID-19 in a post-hoc exploratory analysis of a Phase 3 randomised trial in Brazil (trial registration ISRCTN89951424). Nose and throat swabs were tested by PCR in symptomatic participants. Sequencing and genotyping of swabs were performed to determine the lineages of SARS-CoV-2 circulating during the study. Protection against any symptomatic COVID-19 caused by the Zeta (P.2) variant was assessed in 153 cases with vaccine efficacy (VE) of 69% (95% CI 55, 78). 49 cases of B.1.1.28 occurred and VE was 73% (46, 86). The Gamma (P.1) variant arose later in the trial and fewer cases (N = 18) were available for analysis. VE was 64% (-2, 87). ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 provided 95% protection (95% CI 61%, 99%) against hospitalisation due to COVID-19. In summary, we report that ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 protects against emerging variants in Brazil despite the presence of the spike protein mutation E484K.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Brazil , Cohort Studies , Dose-Response Relationship, Immunologic , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Treatment Outcome , Vaccination , Viral Load/immunology , Young Adult
5.
J Infect Dis ; 224(4): 595-605, 2021 08 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1367024

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Convalescent plasma containing neutralizing antibody to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is under investigation for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) treatment. We report diverse virological characteristics of UK intensive care patients enrolled in the Immunoglobulin Domain of the REMAP-CAP randomized controlled trial that potentially influence treatment outcomes. METHODS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA in nasopharyngeal swabs collected pretreatment was quantified by PCR. Antibody status was determined by spike-protein ELISA. B.1.1.7 was differentiated from other SARS-CoV-2 strains using allele-specific probes or restriction site polymorphism (SfcI) targeting D1118H. RESULTS: Of 1274 subjects, 90% were PCR positive with viral loads 118-1.7 × 1011IU/mL. Median viral loads were 40-fold higher in those IgG seronegative (n = 354; 28%) compared to seropositives (n = 939; 72%). Frequencies of B.1.1.7 increased from <1% in November 2020 to 82% of subjects in January 2021. Seronegative individuals with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 had significantly higher viral loads than seropositives (medians 5.8 × 106 and 2.0 × 105 IU/mL, respectively; P = 2 × 10-15). CONCLUSIONS: High viral loads in seropositive B.1.1.7-infected subjects and resistance to seroconversion indicate less effective clearance by innate and adaptive immune responses. SARS-CoV-2 strain, viral loads, and antibody status define subgroups for analysis of treatment efficacy.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Viral Load/immunology , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/immunology , Serologic Tests/methods , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , United Kingdom
6.
Lancet ; 397(10282): 1351-1362, 2021 04 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157794

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A new variant of SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.7, emerged as the dominant cause of COVID-19 disease in the UK from November, 2020. We report a post-hoc analysis of the efficacy of the adenoviral vector vaccine, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AZD1222), against this variant. METHODS: Volunteers (aged ≥18 years) who were enrolled in phase 2/3 vaccine efficacy studies in the UK, and who were randomly assigned (1:1) to receive ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or a meningococcal conjugate control (MenACWY) vaccine, provided upper airway swabs on a weekly basis and also if they developed symptoms of COVID-19 disease (a cough, a fever of 37·8°C or higher, shortness of breath, anosmia, or ageusia). Swabs were tested by nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) for SARS-CoV-2 and positive samples were sequenced through the COVID-19 Genomics UK consortium. Neutralising antibody responses were measured using a live-virus microneutralisation assay against the B.1.1.7 lineage and a canonical non-B.1.1.7 lineage (Victoria). The efficacy analysis included symptomatic COVID-19 in seronegative participants with a NAAT positive swab more than 14 days after a second dose of vaccine. Participants were analysed according to vaccine received. Vaccine efficacy was calculated as 1 - relative risk (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vs MenACWY groups) derived from a robust Poisson regression model. This study is continuing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04400838, and ISRCTN, 15281137. FINDINGS: Participants in efficacy cohorts were recruited between May 31 and Nov 13, 2020, and received booster doses between Aug 3 and Dec 30, 2020. Of 8534 participants in the primary efficacy cohort, 6636 (78%) were aged 18-55 years and 5065 (59%) were female. Between Oct 1, 2020, and Jan 14, 2021, 520 participants developed SARS-CoV-2 infection. 1466 NAAT positive nose and throat swabs were collected from these participants during the trial. Of these, 401 swabs from 311 participants were successfully sequenced. Laboratory virus neutralisation activity by vaccine-induced antibodies was lower against the B.1.1.7 variant than against the Victoria lineage (geometric mean ratio 8·9, 95% CI 7·2-11·0). Clinical vaccine efficacy against symptomatic NAAT positive infection was 70·4% (95% CI 43·6-84·5) for B.1.1.7 and 81·5% (67·9-89·4) for non-B.1.1.7 lineages. INTERPRETATION: ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 showed reduced neutralisation activity against the B.1.1.7 variant compared with a non-B.1.1.7 variant in vitro, but the vaccine showed efficacy against the B.1.1.7 variant of SARS-CoV-2. FUNDING: UK Research and Innovation, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, Thames Valley and South Midlands NIHR Clinical Research Network, and AstraZeneca.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques , Pandemics/prevention & control , Single-Blind Method , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Viral Load , Young Adult
7.
Science ; 372(6539)2021 04 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1125076

ABSTRACT

Extensive global sampling and sequencing of the pandemic virus severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have enabled researchers to monitor its spread and to identify concerning new variants. Two important determinants of variant spread are how frequently they arise within individuals and how likely they are to be transmitted. To characterize within-host diversity and transmission, we deep-sequenced 1313 clinical samples from the United Kingdom. SARS-CoV-2 infections are characterized by low levels of within-host diversity when viral loads are high and by a narrow bottleneck at transmission. Most variants are either lost or occasionally fixed at the point of transmission, with minimal persistence of shared diversity, patterns that are readily observable on the phylogenetic tree. Our results suggest that transmission-enhancing and/or immune-escape SARS-CoV-2 variants are likely to arise infrequently but could spread rapidly if successfully transmitted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Genetic Variation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/immunology , Coinfection/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus OC43, Human , Family Characteristics , Genome, Viral , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Seq , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Selection, Genetic , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , United Kingdom , Viral Load
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