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Euro Surveill ; 26(43)2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1547185


BackgroundIn the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, viral genomes are available at unprecedented speed, but spatio-temporal bias in genome sequence sampling precludes phylogeographical inference without additional contextual data.AimWe applied genomic epidemiology to trace SARS-CoV-2 spread on an international, national and local level, to illustrate how transmission chains can be resolved to the level of a single event and single person using integrated sequence data and spatio-temporal metadata.MethodsWe investigated 289 COVID-19 cases at a university hospital in Munich, Germany, between 29 February and 27 May 2020. Using the ARTIC protocol, we obtained near full-length viral genomes from 174 SARS-CoV-2-positive respiratory samples. Phylogenetic analyses using the Auspice software were employed in combination with anamnestic reporting of travel history, interpersonal interactions and perceived high-risk exposures among patients and healthcare workers to characterise cluster outbreaks and establish likely scenarios and timelines of transmission.ResultsWe identified multiple independent introductions in the Munich Metropolitan Region during the first weeks of the first pandemic wave, mainly by travellers returning from popular skiing areas in the Alps. In these early weeks, the rate of presumable hospital-acquired infections among patients and in particular healthcare workers was high (9.6% and 54%, respectively) and we illustrated how transmission chains can be dissected at high resolution combining virus sequences and spatio-temporal networks of human interactions.ConclusionsEarly spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe was catalysed by superspreading events and regional hotspots during the winter holiday season. Genomic epidemiology can be employed to trace viral spread and inform effective containment strategies.

COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Germany/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2
Clin Kidney J ; 14(10): 2234-2238, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450381


Background: Some studies have shown an attenuated immune response in haemodialysis patients after vaccination. The present study examines the humoral response after mRNA vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in a large population of haemodialysis patients from different outpatient dialysis centres. Methods: We retrospectively assessed antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and nucleocapsid protein (chemiluminescence immunoassays, Roche diagnostics) 3-6 weeks after the second mRNA vaccine dose in 179 maintenance haemodialysis and 70 non-dialysis patients (control cohort). Differences in anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike protein titers were statistically analysed with respect to patient-relevant factors, including age, gender, previous coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection, systemic immunosuppressive therapy and time on dialysis. Results: We found a favourable, but profoundly lower SARS-CoV-2 spike protein antibody response in comparison with a non-dialysis cohort (median 253.5 versus 1756 U/mL, P < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, previous COVID-19 infection (P < 0.001) and female gender were associated with a significantly higher vaccine response (P = 0.006) in haemodialysis patients, while there was a significant inverse correlation with increasing patient age and systemic immunosuppression (P < 0.001). There was no statistically significant correlation between the antibody titer and time on dialysis. Immune response in haemodialysis patients with a previous COVID-19 infection led to substantially higher antibody titers that were equal to those of vaccinated non-dialysis individuals with previous infection. Conclusion: We strongly argue in favour of regular antibody testing after COVID-19 vaccination in haemodialysis patients. Further studies should elucidate the utility of booster vaccinations to foster a stronger and persistent antibody response.