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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(20)2021 10 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1477949

ABSTRACT

Healthcare workers (HCW) play a vital role in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic control. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and the risk of COVID-19 infections in a cohort of HCW from four different risk groups (from intensive care unit to administration) of a hospital of a primary care level in rural Germany. The outcomes were monthly measures of antibody seroprevalence over a period of 6 months. Overall, a seroprevalence of 13.41% was determined, with significantly higher prevalence rates among HCW working in areas with more frequent contact to confirmed or suspected cases (30.30%, p = 0.003). The group specific differences in the risk of infection from COVID-19 were detected, as HCW groups with frequent exposure seemed to have an increased risk (RR = 3.18, p = 0.02; CI95 1.09-9.24). The findings contribute to the epidemiological understanding of the virus spread in an unvaccinated population group, which is highly relevant for the pandemic management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Cohort Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Humans , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(17)2021 09 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390646

ABSTRACT

Acceptance of new medical technology may be influenced by social conditions and an individual's background and particular situation. We studied this acceptance by hypothesizing that current and former COVID-19 patients would be more likely to accept an electrocardiogram (ECG) "patch" (attached to the chest) that allows continuous monitoring of the heart than individuals who did not have the disease and thus the respective experience. Currently infected COVID-19 patients, individuals who had recovered from COVID-19, and a control group were recruited online through Facebook (and Instagram) and through general practitioners (GPs). Demographic information and questions tailored to the problem were collected via an online questionnaire. An online survey was chosen in part because of the pandemic conditions, and Facebook was chosen because of the widespread discussions of health topics on that platform. The results confirmed the central hypothesis that people who had experienced a disease are more willing to accept new medical technologies and showed that curiosity about new technologies and willingness to use them were significantly higher in the two groups currently or previously affected by COVID-19, whereas fears of being "monitored" (in the sense of surveillance) were significantly higher among people who had not experienced the disease and threat. Experiencing a serious disease ("patient experience") promotes acceptance of new medical technologies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Technology
3.
Biospektrum (Heidelb) ; 26(6): 624-627, 2020.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1384643

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need for fast and simple assays for nucleic acid detection. As an isothermal alternative to RT-qPCR, we outline the development of a detection scheme for SARS-CoV-2 RNA based on reverse transcription recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) technology. RPA uses recombination proteins in combination with a DNA polymerase for rapid amplification of target DNA at a constant temperature (39-42 °C) within 10 to 20 minutes and can be monitored in real-time with fluorescent probes.

4.
Dtsch Arztebl Int ; 118(Forthcoming)2021 Feb 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1159700

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the beginning of 2020 the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread to nearly every country in the world. The mainly airborne pathogen has led to large numbers of deaths, principally in elderly and vulnerable segments of the population. Protective vaccines have recently become available, but it is not yet clear whether and when population-wide immunity will be achieved. The existence of evidence for the protective effect of masks covering the mouth and nose is a topic of public debate. METHODS: A selective literature search was carried out in PubMed. Data from the German Robert Koch Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were also taken into account. RESULTS: When talking, as many as 20 000 droplets ranging in size from 20 to 500 µM are released every second. According to PCR tests, the amount of virus exhaled is highest immediately before the onset of symptoms. No randomized trials have been conducted on the effect of masks covering the mouth and nose. A meta-analysis of 29 studies on infection with SARS-CoV-2, SARS, or MERS revealed that type N-95 masks (corresponding approximately to FFP-2), surgical masks, or similar multilayer cotton masks can greatly reduce the infection risk for the wearers (RR 0.34 [0.26; 0.45], with moderate heterogeneity [I2 = 48%]). Model experiments and case reports suggest that masks covering the mouth and nose afford considerable protection against transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other airborne diseases by reducing release of and exposure to potentially infectious droplets; in addition, infections that do occur take a milder course. A limitation of the studies analyzed is that in most cases, this effect cannot be viewed in isolation from the protective impact of other measures (distancing, hygiene precautions). CONCLUSION: It can plausibly be assumed that consistent use of masks covering the mouth and nose can play an important role in containing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

5.
Dtsch Arztebl Int ; 118(Forthcoming)2021 Feb 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1106011

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since the beginning of 2020 the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread to nearly every country in the world. The mainly airborne pathogen has led to large numbers of deaths, principally in elderly and vulnerable segments of the population. Protective vaccines have recently become available, but it is not yet clear whether and when population-wide immunity will be achieved. The existence of evidence for the protective effect of masks covering the mouth and nose is a topic of public debate. METHODS: A selective literature search was carried out in PubMed. Data from the German Robert Koch Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were also taken into account. RESULTS: When talking, as many as 20 000 droplets ranging in size from 20 to 500 µM are released every second. According to PCR tests, the amount of virus exhaled is highest immediately before the onset of symptoms. No randomized trials have been conducted on the effect of masks covering the mouth and nose. A meta-analysis of 29 studies on infection with SARS-CoV-2, SARS, or MERS revealed that type N-95 masks (corresponding approximately to FFP-2), surgical masks, or similar multilayer cotton masks can greatly reduce the infection risk for the wearers (RR 0.34 [0.26; 0.45], with moderate heterogeneity [I2 = 48%]). Model experiments and case reports suggest that masks covering the mouth and nose afford considerable protection against transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other airborne diseases by reducing release of and exposure to potentially infectious droplets; in addition, infections that do occur take a milder course. A limitation of the studies analyzed is that in most cases, this effect cannot be viewed in isolation from the protective impact of other measures (distancing, hygiene precautions). CONCLUSION: It can plausibly be assumed that consistent use of masks covering the mouth and nose can play an important role in containing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

6.
Anal Chem ; 93(4): 2627-2634, 2021 02 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065766

ABSTRACT

In March 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 virus outbreak was declared as a world pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The only measures for controlling the outbreak are testing and isolation of infected cases. Molecular real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays are very sensitive but require highly equipped laboratories and well-trained personnel. In this study, a rapid point-of-need detection method was developed to detect the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP), envelope protein (E), and nucleocapsid protein (N) genes of SARS-CoV-2 based on the reverse transcription recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) assay. RdRP, E, and N RT-RPA assays required approximately 15 min to amplify 2, 15, and 15 RNA molecules of molecular standard/reaction, respectively. RdRP and E RT-RPA assays detected SARS-CoV-1 and 2 genomic RNA, whereas the N RT-RPA assay identified only SARS-CoV-2 RNA. All established assays did not cross-react with nucleic acids of other respiratory pathogens. The RT-RPA assay's clinical sensitivity and specificity in comparison to real-time RT-PCR (n = 36) were 94 and 100% for RdRP; 65 and 77% for E; and 83 and 94% for the N RT-RPA assay. The assays were deployed to the field, where the RdRP RT-RPA assays confirmed to produce the most accurate results in three different laboratories in Africa (n = 89). The RPA assays were run in a mobile suitcase laboratory to facilitate the deployment at point of need. The assays can contribute to speed up the control measures as well as assist in the detection of COVID-19 cases in low-resource settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Recombinases/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity
7.
PLoS One ; 16(2): e0244748, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1061038

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Acute disease outbreaks such as the COVID-19 pandemic cause a high burden of psychological distress in people worldwide. Interventions to enable people to better cope with such distress should be based on the best available evidence. We therefore performed a scoping review to systematically identify and summarize the available literature of interventions that target the distress of people in the face of highly contagious disease outbreaks. METHODS: MEDLINE, Cochrane CENTRAL, Web of Science (January 2000 to May 7, 2020), and reference lists were systematically searched and screened by two independent reviewers. Quantitative and qualitative studies investigating the effects of psychological interventions before, during, and after outbreaks of highly contagious emerging infectious diseases, such as SARS, MERS, Ebola, or COVID-19 were included. Study effects were grouped (e.g. for healthcare professionals, community members, people at risk) and intervention contents at the individual and organizational level summarized. We assessed the level of evidence using a modified scheme from the Oxford Centre for Evidence-based Medicine and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. RESULTS: Of 4030 records found, 19 studies were included (two RCTs). Most interventions were delivered during-exposure and face-to-face, focused on healthcare workers and crisis personnel, and combined psychoeducation with training of coping strategies. Based on two high-quality studies, beneficial effects were reported for resilience factors (e.g. positive cognitive appraisal) and professional attitudes of healthcare workers, with mixed findings for mental health (e.g. depression). Across all studies, there was positive qualitative feedback from participants and facilitators. We identified seven ongoing studies mostly using online- and mobile-based deliveries. CONCLUSIONS: There is preliminary evidence for beneficial effects of interventions to enable people to better cope with the distress of highly contagious emerging disease outbreaks. Besides the need for more high-quality studies, the summarized evidence may inform decision makers to plan interventions during the current pandemic and to develop pandemic preparedness plans.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Mental Health , Psychosocial Support Systems , Adaptation, Psychological , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Disease Outbreaks , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Resilience, Psychological , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
8.
Clin Chem ; 66(8): 1047-1054, 2020 08 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-209847

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The current outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has spread to almost every country with more than 5 million confirmed cases and over 300,000 deaths as of May 26, 2020. Rapid first-line testing protocols are needed for outbreak control and surveillance. METHODS: We used computational and manual designs to generate a suitable set of reverse transcription recombinase polymerase amplification (RT-RPA) primer and exonuclease probe, internally quenched (exo-IQ), sequences targeting the SARS-CoV-2 N gene. RT-RPA sensitivity was determined by amplification of in vitro transcribed RNA standards. Assay selectivity was demonstrated with a selectivity panel of 32 nucleic acid samples derived from common respiratory viruses. To validate the assay against full-length SARS-CoV-2 RNA, total viral RNA derived from cell culture supernatant and 19 nasopharyngeal swab samples (8 positive and 11 negative for SARS-CoV-2) were screened. All results were compared to established RT-qPCR assays. RESULTS: The 95% detection probability of the RT-RPA assay was determined to be 7.74 (95% CI: 2.87-27.39) RNA copies per reaction. The assay showed no cross-reactivity to any other screened coronaviruses or respiratory viruses of clinical significance. The developed RT-RPA assay produced 100% diagnostic sensitivity and specificity when compared to RT-qPCR (n = 20). CONCLUSIONS: With a run time of 15 to 20 minutes and first results being available in under 7 minutes for high RNA concentrations, the reported assay constitutes one of the fastest nucleic acid based detection methods for SARS-CoV-2 to date and may provide a simple-to-use alternative to RT-qPCR for first-line screening at the point of need.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , DNA Probes/chemistry , DNA Probes/metabolism , Exonucleases/metabolism , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Point-of-Care Testing , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
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