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1.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(Supplement_1): S110-S120, 2022 Aug 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1992148

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Comprehensive pathogen genomic surveillance represents a powerful tool to complement and advance precision vaccinology. The emergence of the Alpha variant in December 2020 and the resulting efforts to track the spread of this and other severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern led to an expansion of genomic sequencing activities in Germany. METHODS: At Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the German National Institute of Public Health, we established the Integrated Molecular Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 (IMS-SC2) network to perform SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance at the national scale, SARS-CoV-2-positive samples from laboratories distributed across Germany regularly undergo whole-genome sequencing at RKI. RESULTS: We report analyses of 3623 SARS-CoV-2 genomes collected between December 2020 and December 2021, of which 3282 were randomly sampled. All variants of concern were identified in the sequenced sample set, at ratios equivalent to those in the 100-fold larger German GISAID sequence dataset from the same time period. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed variant assignments. Multiple mutations of concern emerged during the observation period. To model vaccine effectiveness in vitro, we employed authentic-virus neutralization assays, confirming that both the Beta and Zeta variants are capable of immune evasion. The IMS-SC2 sequence dataset facilitated an estimate of the SARS-CoV-2 incidence based on genetic evolution rates. Together with modeled vaccine efficacies, Delta-specific incidence estimation indicated that the German vaccination campaign contributed substantially to a deceleration of the nascent German Delta wave. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 molecular and genomic surveillance may inform public health policies including vaccination strategies and enable a proactive approach to controlling coronavirus disease 2019 spread as the virus evolves.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccinology
2.
Viruses ; 14(1)2022 01 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1614004

ABSTRACT

The role of schools as a source of infection and driver in the coronavirus-pandemic has been controversial and is still not completely clarified. To prevent harm and disadvantages for children and adolescents, but also adults, detailed data on school outbreaks is needed, especially when talking about open schools employing evidence-based safety concepts. Here, we investigated the first significant COVID-19 school outbreak in Hamburg, Germany, after the re-opening of schools in 2020. Using clinical, laboratory, and contact data and spatial measures for epidemiological and environmental studies combined with whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis, we examined the causes and the course of the secondary school outbreak. The potential index case was identified by epidemiological tracking and the lessons in classrooms with presumably high virus spreading rates and further infection chains in the setting. Sequence analysis of samples detected one sample of a different virus lineage and 25 virus genomes with almost identical sequences, of which 21 showed 100% similarity. Most infections occurred in connection with two lesson units of the primary case. Likely, 31 students (12-14 years old), two staff members, and three family members were infected in the school or the typical household. Sequence analysis revealed an outbreak cluster with a single source that was epidemiologically identified as a member of the educational staff. In lesson units, two superspreading events of varying degrees with airborne transmission took place. These were influenced by several parameters including the exposure times, the use of respiratory masks while speaking and spatial or structural conditions at that time.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Schools , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Contact Tracing , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Educational Personnel , Family , Female , Genome, Viral/genetics , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Phylogeny , Quarantine , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Students
3.
SSRN; 2021.
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-291895

ABSTRACT

The role of schools as a source of infection and driver in the coronavirus-pandemic has been controversial and is still not completely clarified. To prevent harm and disadvantages for children and adolescents, but also adults, detailed data on school outbreaks is needed, especially when talking about open schools employing evidence-based safety concepts. Here, we investigated the first significant COVID-19 school outbreak in Hamburg, Germany, after the re-opening of schools in 2020. Methods Using clinical, laboratory, and contact data and spatial measures for epidemiological and environmental studies combined with whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis, we examined the causes and the course of the secondary school outbreak. Findings The potential index case was identified by epidemiological tracking and the lessons in classrooms with presumably high virus spreading rates and further infection chains in the setting. Sequence analysis of samples detected one sample of a different virus lineage and 25 virus genomes with almost identical sequences, of which 21 showed 100% similarity. Most infections occurred in connection with two lesson units of the primary case. Likely, 31 students (12-14 years old), two staff members, and three family members were infected in the school or the typical household. Interpretations Sequence analysis revealed an outbreak cluster with a single source that was epidemiologically identified as a member of the educational staff. In lesson units, two superspreading events of varying degrees with airborne transmission took place. These were influenced by several parameters including the exposure times, the use of respiratory masks while speaking and spatial or structural conditions at that time.

4.
J Proteome Res ; 19(11): 4380-4388, 2020 11 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-889125

ABSTRACT

One of the most widely used methods to detect an acute viral infection in clinical specimens is diagnostic real-time polymerase chain reaction. However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, mass-spectrometry-based proteomics is currently being discussed as a potential diagnostic method for viral infections. Because proteomics is not yet applied in routine virus diagnostics, here we discuss its potential to detect viral infections. Apart from theoretical considerations, the current status and technical limitations are considered. Finally, the challenges that have to be overcome to establish proteomics in routine virus diagnostics are highlighted.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Mass Spectrometry/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Proteomics/methods , Virology/methods , Betacoronavirus/chemistry , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Diseases/diagnosis , Virus Diseases/virology
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