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J Pediatric Infect Dis Soc ; 2022 Aug 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973207


BACKGROUND: Recent COVID-19 surges are attributed to emergence of more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). The relative severity of VOCs in children is unknown. METHODS: We performed a single-center retrospective cohort study of children ≤18 years old diagnosed with COVID-19 from October 2020-February 2022 and whose SARS-CoV-2 isolate underwent Illumina sequencing. We measured the frequency of five markers of COVID-19 severity. Logistic regression models were fitted to estimate the odds of each severity marker with each VOC. RESULTS: Among 714 children, 471 (66.0%) were infected with a VOC: 96 (13.4%) alpha, 38 (5.3%) gamma, 119 (16.7%) delta, and 215 (30.1%) omicron. High-risk medical conditions and increasing age were independently associated with COVID-19 severity. After adjusting for age, race, ethnicity, high-risk medical conditions, and COVID-19 community incidence, neither alpha, delta, nor omicron was associated with severe COVID-19. Gamma was independently associated with hospitalization (OR 6.7, 95% CI 2.0-22.1); pharmacologic treatment (OR 5.7, 95% CI 1.2-26.8); respiratory support (OR 11.9, 95% CI 2.7-62.4); and severe disease per the WHO Clinical Progression Scale (OR 11.7, 95% CI 2.1-90.5). Upon subgroup analyses, omicron was independently associated with ICU admission and severe disease per the WHO Clinical Progression Scale in children without SARS-CoV-2 immunization or prior COVID-19 infection. CONCLUSIONS: Compared to non-VOC COVID-19, the gamma VOC was independently associated with increased COVID-19 severity, as was omicron in children without SARS-CoV-2 immunization or prior COVID-19 infection. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination and prior COVID-19 prevented severe outcomes during the omicron surge.

Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol ; 66(2): 206-222, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501858


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has infected more than 180 million people since the onset of the pandemic. Despite similar viral load and infectivity rates between children and adults, children rarely develop severe illness. Differences in the host response to the virus at the primary infection site are among the mechanisms proposed to account for this disparity. Our objective was to investigate the host response to SARS-CoV-2 in the nasal mucosa in children and adults and compare it with the host response to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza virus. We analyzed clinical outcomes and gene expression in the nasal mucosa of 36 children with SARS-CoV-2, 24 children with RSV, 9 children with influenza virus, 16 adults with SARS-CoV-2, and 7 healthy pediatric and 13 healthy adult controls. In both children and adults, infection with SARS-CoV-2 led to an IFN response in the nasal mucosa. The magnitude of the IFN response correlated with the abundance of viral reads, not the severity of illness, and was comparable between children and adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 and children with severe RSV infection. Expression of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 did not correlate with age or presence of viral infection. SARS-CoV-2-infected adults had increased expression of genes involved in neutrophil activation and T-cell receptor signaling pathways compared with SARS-CoV-2-infected children, despite similar severity of illness and viral reads. Age-related differences in the immune response to SARS-CoV-2 may place adults at increased risk of developing severe illness.

Aging/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Immunity, Mucosal , Nasal Mucosa/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Age Factors , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/immunology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Nasal Mucosa/virology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/immunology , Respiratory Syncytial Viruses/immunology , Serine Endopeptidases/immunology
Lancet Microbe ; 2(6): e259-e266, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1164728


BACKGROUND: Faecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 has raised concerns about transmission through faecal microbiota transplantation procedures. Validation parameters of authorised tests for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection in respiratory samples are described in product labelling, whereas the published methods for SARS-CoV-2 detection from faecal samples have not permitted a robust description of the assay parameters. We aimed to develop and validate a test specifically for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human stool. METHODS: In this validation study, we evaluated performance characteristics of a reverse transcriptase real-time PCR (RT-rtPCR) test for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in human stool specimens by spiking stool with inactivated SARS-CoV-2 material. A modified version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention RT-rtPCR SARS-CoV-2 test was used for detection of viral RNA. Analytical sensitivity was evaluated in freshly spiked stool by testing two-fold dilutions in replicates of 20. Masked samples were tested by a second laboratory to evaluate interlaboratory reproducibility. Short-term (7-day) stability of viral RNA in stool samples was assessed with four different stool storage buffers (phosphate-buffered saline, Cary-Blair medium, Stool Transport and Recovery [STAR] buffer, and DNA/RNA Shield) kept at -80°C, 4°C, and ambient temperature (approximately 21°C). We also tested clinical stool and anal swab specimens from patients who were SARS-CoV-2 positive by nasopharyngeal testing. FINDINGS: The lower limit of detection of the assay was found to be 3000 viral RNA copies per g of original stool sample, with 100% detection across 20 replicates assessed at this concentration. Analytical sensitivity was diminished by approximately two times after a single freeze-thaw cycle at -80°C. At 100 times the limit of detection, spiked samples were generally stable in all four stool storage buffers tested for up to 7 days, with maximum changes in mean threshold cycle values observed at -80°C storage in Cary-Blair medium (from 29·4 [SD 0·27] at baseline to 30·8 [0·17] at day 7; p<0·0001), at 4°C storage in DNA/RNA Shield (from 28·5 [0·15] to 29·8 [0·09]; p=0·0019), and at ambient temperature in STAR buffer (from 30·4 [0·24] to 32·4 [0·62]; p=0·0083). 30 contrived SARS-CoV-2 samples were tested by a second laboratory and were correctly identified as positive or negative in at least one of two rounds of testing. Additionally, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected using this assay in the stool and anal swab specimens of 11 of 23 individuals known to be positive for SARS-CoV-2. INTERPRETATION: This is a sensitive and reproducible assay for detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in human stool, with potential uses in faecal microbiota transplantation donor screening, sewage monitoring, and further research into the effects of faecal shedding on the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic. FUNDING: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, US National Institutes of Health; Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, US Food and Drug Administration.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
JAMA Pediatr ; 175(5): 530-531, 2021 05 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1055877