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Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326897


The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic in southern Africa has been characterised by three distinct waves. The first was associated with a mix of SARS-CoV-2 lineages, whilst the second and third waves were driven by the Beta and Delta variants respectively1–3. In November 2021, genomic surveillance teams in South Africa and Botswana detected a new SARS-CoV-2 variant associated with a rapid resurgence of infections in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Within three days of the first genome being uploaded, it was designated a variant of concern (Omicron) by the World Health Organization and, within three weeks, had been identified in 87 countries. The Omicron variant is exceptional for carrying over 30 mutations in the spike glycoprotein, predicted to influence antibody neutralization and spike function4. Here, we describe the genomic profile and early transmission dynamics of Omicron, highlighting the rapid spread in regions with high levels of population immunity.

S Afr Med J ; 110(9): 842-845, 2020 07 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-743542


Antibody tests for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, have been developed both as rapid diagnostic assays and for high-throughput formal serology platforms. Although these tests may be a useful adjunct to a diagnostic strategy, they have a number of limitations. Because of the antibody and viral dynamics of the coronavirus, their sensitivity can be variable, especially at early time points after symptom onset. Additional data are required on the performance of the tests in the South African population, especially with regard to development and persistence of antibody responses and whether antibodies are protective against reinfection. These tests may, however, be useful in guiding the public health response, providing data for research (including seroprevalence surveys and vaccine initiatives) and development of therapeutic strategies.

Betacoronavirus , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections , Immunologic Tests/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Serologic Tests/methods , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/standards , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies , South Africa/epidemiology