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1.
Nature ; 609(7925): 101-108, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1921636

ABSTRACT

As SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread and evolve, detecting emerging variants early is critical for public health interventions. Inferring lineage prevalence by clinical testing is infeasible at scale, especially in areas with limited resources, participation, or testing and/or sequencing capacity, which can also introduce biases1-3. SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration in wastewater successfully tracks regional infection dynamics and provides less biased abundance estimates than clinical testing4,5. Tracking virus genomic sequences in wastewater would improve community prevalence estimates and detect emerging variants. However, two factors limit wastewater-based genomic surveillance: low-quality sequence data and inability to estimate relative lineage abundance in mixed samples. Here we resolve these critical issues to perform a high-resolution, 295-day wastewater and clinical sequencing effort, in the controlled environment of a large university campus and the broader context of the surrounding county. We developed and deployed improved virus concentration protocols and deconvolution software that fully resolve multiple virus strains from wastewater. We detected emerging variants of concern up to 14 days earlier in wastewater samples, and identified multiple instances of virus spread not captured by clinical genomic surveillance. Our study provides a scalable solution for wastewater genomic surveillance that allows early detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants and identification of cryptic transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water , Wastewater-Based Epidemiological Monitoring , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sequence Analysis, RNA , Waste Water/virology
2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329062

ABSTRACT

Monitoring wastewater samples at building-level resolution screens large populations for SARS-CoV-2, prioritizing testing and isolation efforts. Here we perform untargeted metatranscriptomics on virally-enriched wastewater samples from 10 locations on the UC San Diego campus, demonstrating that resulting bacterial taxonomic and functional profiles discriminate SARS-CoV-2 status even without direct detection of viral transcripts. Our proof-of-principle reveals emergent threats through changes in the human microbiome, suggesting new approaches for untargeted wastewater-based epidemiology.

3.
mSystems ; 6(4): e0079321, 2021 Aug 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1350006

ABSTRACT

Wastewater-based surveillance has gained prominence and come to the forefront as a leading indicator of forecasting COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) infection dynamics owing to its cost-effectiveness and its ability to inform early public health interventions. A university campus could especially benefit from wastewater surveillance, as universities are characterized by largely asymptomatic populations and are potential hot spots for transmission that necessitate frequent diagnostic testing. In this study, we employed a large-scale GIS (geographic information systems)-enabled building-level wastewater monitoring system associated with the on-campus residences of 7,614 individuals. Sixty-eight automated wastewater samplers were deployed to monitor 239 campus buildings with a focus on residential buildings. Time-weighted composite samples were collected on a daily basis and analyzed on the same day. Sample processing was streamlined significantly through automation, reducing the turnaround time by 20-fold and exceeding the scale of similar surveillance programs by 10- to 100-fold, thereby overcoming one of the biggest bottlenecks in wastewater surveillance. An automated wastewater notification system was developed to alert residents to a positive wastewater sample associated with their residence and to encourage uptake of campus-provided asymptomatic testing at no charge. This system, integrated with the rest of the "Return to Learn" program at the University of California (UC) San Diego-led to the early diagnosis of nearly 85% of all COVID-19 cases on campus. COVID-19 testing rates increased by 1.9 to 13× following wastewater notifications. Our study shows the potential for a robust, efficient wastewater surveillance system to greatly reduce infection risk as college campuses and other high-risk environments reopen. IMPORTANCE Wastewater-based epidemiology can be particularly valuable at university campuses where high-resolution spatial sampling in a well-controlled context could not only provide insight into what affects campus community as well as how those inferences can be extended to a broader city/county context. In the present study, a large-scale wastewater surveillance was successfully implemented on a large university campus enabling early detection of 85% of COVID-19 cases thereby averting potential outbreaks. The highly automated sample processing to reporting system enabled dramatic reduction in the turnaround time to 5 h (sample to result time) for 96 samples. Furthermore, miniaturization of the sample processing pipeline brought down the processing cost significantly ($13/sample). Taken together, these results show that such a system could greatly ameliorate long-term surveillance on such communities as they look to reopen.

4.
Microbiome ; 9(1): 132, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262519

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics
5.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 43(5): 657-660, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253833

ABSTRACT

Transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is possible among symptom-free individuals. Patients are avoiding medically necessary healthcare visits for fear of becoming infected in the healthcare setting. We screened 489 symptom-free healthcare workers for SARS-CoV-2 and found no positive results, strongly suggesting that the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 was <1%.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Delivery of Health Care , Health Personnel , Humans , Mass Screening
6.
medRxiv ; 2020 Nov 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-721060

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is possible among symptom-free individuals and some patients are avoiding medically necessary healthcare visits for fear of becoming infected in the healthcare setting. Limited data are available on the point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in symptom-free U.S. healthcare workers (HCW). METHODS: A cross-sectional convenience sample of symptom-free HCWs from the metropolitan area surrounding Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota was enrolled between April 20 th and June 24 th , 2020. A participant self-collected nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) was obtained. SARS-CoV-2 infection was assessed via polymerase chain reaction. Participants were queried about their willingness to repeat a self-collection NPS for diagnostic purposes. We had >95% power to detect at least one positive test if the true underlying prevalence of SARS-CoV2 was ≥1%. RESULTS: Among n=489 participants 80% were female and mean age±SD was 41±11. Participants reported being physicians (14%), nurse practitioners (8%), physician's assistants (4%), nurses (51%), medics (3%), or other which predominantly included laboratory technicians and administrative roles (22%). Exposure to a known/suspected COVID-19 case in the 14 days prior to enrollment was reported in 40% of participants. SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in any participant. Over 95% of participants reported a willingness to repeat a self-collected NP swab in the future. CONCLUSIONS: The point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection was likely <1% in a convenience sample of symptom-free Minnesota healthcare workers from April 20 th and June 24 th , 2020. Self-collected NP swabs are well-tolerated and a viable alternative to provider-collected swabs to preserve PPE.

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