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mSystems ; 7(3): e0141121, 2022 Jun 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846330


Monitoring severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on surfaces is emerging as an important tool for identifying past exposure to individuals shedding viral RNA. Our past work demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) signals from surfaces can identify when infected individuals have touched surfaces and when they have been present in hospital rooms or schools. However, the sensitivity and specificity of surface sampling as a method for detecting the presence of a SARS-CoV-2 positive individual, as well as guidance about where to sample, has not been established. To address these questions and to test whether our past observations linking SARS-CoV-2 abundance to Rothia sp. in hospitals also hold in a residential setting, we performed a detailed spatial sampling of three isolation housing units, assessing each sample for SARS-CoV-2 abundance by RT-qPCR, linking the results to 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequences (to assess the bacterial community at each location), and to the Cq value of the contemporaneous clinical test. Our results showed that the highest SARS-CoV-2 load in this setting is on touched surfaces, such as light switches and faucets, but a detectable signal was present in many untouched surfaces (e.g., floors) that may be more relevant in settings, such as schools where mask-wearing is enforced. As in past studies, the bacterial community predicts which samples are positive for SARS-CoV-2, with Rothia sp. showing a positive association. IMPORTANCE Surface sampling for detecting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is increasingly being used to locate infected individuals. We tested which indoor surfaces had high versus low viral loads by collecting 381 samples from three residential units where infected individuals resided, and interpreted the results in terms of whether SARS-CoV-2 was likely transmitted directly (e.g., touching a light switch) or indirectly (e.g., by droplets or aerosols settling). We found the highest loads where the subject touched the surface directly, although enough virus was detected on indirectly contacted surfaces to make such locations useful for sampling (e.g., in schools, where students did not touch the light switches and also wore masks such that they had no opportunity to touch their face and then the object). We also documented links between the bacteria present in a sample and the SARS-CoV-2 virus, consistent with earlier studies.

Chin Med J (Engl) ; 134(20): 2438-2446, 2021 Oct 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462529


BACKGROUND: Since the outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), human mobility restriction measures have raised controversies, partly because of the inconsistent findings. An empirical study is promptly needed to reliably assess the causal effects of the mobility restriction. The purpose of this study was to quantify the causal effects of human mobility restriction on the spread of COVID-19. METHODS: Our study applied the difference-in-difference (DID) model to assess the declines of population mobility at the city level, and used the log-log regression model to examine the effects of population mobility declines on the disease spread measured by cumulative or new cases of COVID-19 over time after adjusting for confounders. RESULTS: The DID model showed that a continual expansion of the relative declines over time in 2020. After 4 weeks, population mobility declined by -54.81% (interquartile range, -65.50% to -43.56%). The accrued population mobility declines were associated with the significant reduction of cumulative COVID-19 cases throughout 6 weeks (ie, 1% decline of population mobility was associated with 0.72% [95% CI: 0.50%-0.93%] reduction of cumulative cases for 1 week, 1.42% 2 weeks, 1.69% 3 weeks, 1.72% 4 weeks, 1.64% 5 weeks, and 1.52% 6 weeks). The impact on the weekly new cases seemed greater in the first 4 weeks but faded thereafter. The effects on cumulative cases differed by cities of different population sizes, with greater effects seen in larger cities. CONCLUSIONS: Persistent population mobility restrictions are well deserved. Implementation of mobility restrictions in major cities with large population sizes may be even more important.

COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Cities , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
Microbiome ; 9(1): 132, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262519


BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Viruses exist in complex microbial environments, and recent studies have revealed both synergistic and antagonistic effects of specific bacterial taxa on viral prevalence and infectivity. We set out to test whether specific bacterial communities predict SARS-CoV-2 occurrence in a hospital setting. METHODS: We collected 972 samples from hospitalized patients with COVID-19, their health care providers, and hospital surfaces before, during, and after admission. We screened for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-qPCR, characterized microbial communities using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, and used these bacterial profiles to classify SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection with a random forest model. RESULTS: Sixteen percent of surfaces from COVID-19 patient rooms had detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA, although infectivity was not assessed. The highest prevalence was in floor samples next to patient beds (39%) and directly outside their rooms (29%). Although bed rail samples more closely resembled the patient microbiome compared to floor samples, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected less often in bed rail samples (11%). SARS-CoV-2 positive samples had higher bacterial phylogenetic diversity in both human and surface samples and higher biomass in floor samples. 16S microbial community profiles enabled high classifier accuracy for SARS-CoV-2 status in not only nares, but also forehead, stool, and floor samples. Across these distinct microbial profiles, a single amplicon sequence variant from the genus Rothia strongly predicted SARS-CoV-2 presence across sample types, with greater prevalence in positive surface and human samples, even when compared to samples from patients in other intensive care units prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: These results contextualize the vast diversity of microbial niches where SARS-CoV-2 RNA is detected and identify specific bacterial taxa that associate with the viral RNA prevalence both in the host and hospital environment. Video Abstract.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics