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1.
medrxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.01.30.23285174

ABSTRACT

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa and the sixth most affected by COVID-19 on the continent. Despite having experienced five infection waves, >499 000 cases, and ~7 500 COVID-19-related deaths as of January 2023, there is still no detailed genomic epidemiological report on the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Ethiopia. In this study, we reconstructed and elucidated the COVID-19 epidemic dynamics. Specifically, we investigated the introduction, local transmission, ongoing evolution, and spread of SARS-CoV-2 during the first four infection waves using 353 high-quality near-whole genomes sampled in Ethiopia. Our results show that whereas viral introductions seeded the first wave, subsequent waves were seeded by local transmission. The B.1.480 lineage emerged in the first wave and notably remained in circulation even after the emergence of the Alpha variant. The B.1.480 was out-competed by the Delta variant. Notably, Ethiopia lack of local sequencing capacity was further limited by sporadic, uneven, and insufficient sampling that limited the incorporation of genomic epidemiology in the epidemic public health response in Ethiopia. These results highlight Ethiopia role in SARS-CoV-2 dissemination and the urgent need for balanced, near-real-time genomic sequencing.


Subject(s)
Addison Disease , COVID-19 , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
2.
researchsquare; 2022.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-2310293.v1

ABSTRACT

Background: Genomic surveillance, with the aid of next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies, revolutionized the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Coupled with high-performance analysis software, methodologies such as the Ion Torrent S5 and Illumina MiSeq dramatically improved the genomic surveillance capacity within South Africa during the height of the pandemic. Using de-identified remnant samples collected from Eastern Cape and analysis software, Genome Detective and NextClade, we compared the sequencing process, genomic coverage, quantification of mutations, and clade classification from sequence data generated by these two common “benchtop” NGS platforms. Results: Sequence data analysis revealed success rates of 175/183 (96%) and 172/183 (94%) on the Ion Torrent S5 and Illumina MiSeq, respectively. Internal quality metrics were assessed in terms of genomic coverage (>80%) and the number of mutations identified (<100). A greater number of higher-genomic coverage sequences were generated on the Ion Torrent S5 (99%) than on the Illumina MiSeq (80%) and <100 mutations was obtained by both platforms. Ion Torrent S5 generated high coverage sequences from samples having a broader range of viral loads (VL) compared to the Illumina MiSeq, which was less successful in sequencing samples with lower viral loads. Clade assignments were comparable across platforms which accurately differentiated between Beta (<45%) and Delta (≤30%) VOCs. A disparity in clade assignment was observed in <10% of sequences due to poor coverage obtained on the Illumina MiSeq, followed by a failure rate of ≤6% across the two platforms. Manual library preparation found both methods similar in terms of sample processing, handling of larger sample quantities, and clade assignment for SARS-CoV-2. Variability between the Ion Torrent S5 and Illumina MiSeq was observed in sequencing run duration (3,5 hrs vs 36 hrs), sequencing process (semi-automation vs manual), genomic coverage (99% vs 80%), and viral load requirements (broad range vs high VL). Conclusion: The Illumina MiSeq and Ion Torrent S5 are both reliable platforms capable of performing WGS with the use of amplicons and providing specific, accurate, and high throughput analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 whole viral genomes. Both sequencing platforms are feasible platforms for the genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2, each with its specific advantages and trade-offs.

3.
authorea preprints; 2022.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-AUTHOREA PREPRINTS | ID: ppzbmed-10.22541.au.166305249.90395426.v1

ABSTRACT

Background: Intra-host diversity studies are used to characterise mutational heterogeneity of SARS-CoV-2 infections to understand the impact of virus-host adaptations. This study investigated the frequency and diversity of the spike (S) protein mutations within SARS-CoV-2 infected South African individuals. Methods Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) assays and whole genome sequencing were performed on SARS-CoV-2 positive samples. Allele frequency (AF) was determined using TaqMan Genotyper software for SNP analysis and galaxy.eu for analysis of FASTQ reads. Results The SNP assays identified 5.3% (50/948) Delta cases with heterogeneity at delY144 (4%; 2/50), E484Q (6%; 3/50), N501Y (2%; 1/50) and P681H (88%; 44/50). Sequencing identified 9% (210/2381) cases with Beta, Delta, Omicron BA.1, BA.2.15, and BA.4 lineages with heterogeneity in the S protein. Heterogeneity was primarily identified at positions 19 (1.4%) with T19IR (AF 0.2-0.7), 371 (92.3%) with S371FP (AF 0.1-1.0), and 484 (1.9%) with E484AK (0.2-0.7), E484AQ (AF 0.4-0.5) and E484KQ (AF 0.1-0.4). Conclusion Mutations at heterozygous amino acid positions 19, 371 and 484 reduce recognition of neutralising antibodies, however the impact of the multiple substitutions at the same position is unknown. Therefore, we hypothesise that intra-host SARS-CoV-2 quasispecies with heterogeneity in the S protein facilitate competitive advantage of variants that can completely/partially evade host’s natural and vaccine-induced immune responses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
4.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.05.01.22274406

ABSTRACT

South Africa's fourth COVID-19 wave was driven predominantly by three lineages (BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3) of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant of concern. We have now identified two new lineages, BA.4 and BA.5. The spike proteins of BA.4 and BA.5 are identical, and comparable to BA.2 except for the addition of 69-70del, L452R, F486V and the wild type amino acid at Q493. The 69-70 deletion in spike allows these lineages to be identified by the proxy marker of S-gene target failure with the TaqPath COVID-19 qPCR assay. BA.4 and BA.5 have rapidly replaced BA.2, reaching more than 50% of sequenced cases in South Africa from the first week of April 2022 onwards. Using a multinomial logistic regression model, we estimate growth advantages for BA.4 and BA.5 of 0.08 (95% CI: 0.07 - 0.09) and 0.12 (95% CI: 0.09 - 0.15) per day respectively over BA.2 in South Africa.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
5.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.04.29.22274477

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant first emerged as the BA.1 sub-lineage, with extensive escape from neutralizing immunity elicited by previous infection with other variants, vaccines, or combinations of both. Two new sub-lineages, BA.4 and BA.5, are now emerging in South Africa with changes relative to BA.1, including L452R and F486V mutations in the spike receptor binding domain. We isolated live BA.4 and BA.5 viruses and tested them against neutralizing immunity elicited to BA.1 infection in participants who were Omicron/BA.1 infected but unvaccinated (n=24) and participants vaccinated with Pfizer BNT162b2 or Johnson and Johnson Ad26.CoV.2S with breakthrough Omicron/BA.1 infection (n=15). In unvaccinated individuals, FRNT50, the inverse of the dilution for 50% neutralization, declined from 275 for BA.1 to 36 for BA.4 and 37 for BA.5, a 7.6 and 7.5-fold drop, respectively. In vaccinated BA.1 breakthroughs, FRNT50 declined from 507 for BA.1 to 158 for BA.4 (3.2-fold) and 198 for BA.5 (2.6-fold). Absolute BA.4 and BA.5 neutralization levels were about 5-fold higher in this group versus unvaccinated BA.1 infected participants. The observed escape of BA.4 and BA.5 from BA.1 elicited immunity is more moderate than of BA.1 against previous immunity. However, the low absolute neutralization levels for BA.4 and BA.5, particularly in the unvaccinated group, are unlikely to protect well against symptomatic infection. This may indicate that, based on neutralization escape, BA.4 and BA.5 have potential to result in a new infection wave.

6.
Houriiyah Tegally; James E. San; Matthew Cotten; Bryan Tegomoh; Gerald Mboowa; Darren P. Martin; Cheryl Baxter; Monika Moir; Arnold Lambisia; Amadou Diallo; Daniel G. Amoako; Moussa M. Diagne; Abay Sisay; Abdel-Rahman N. Zekri; Abdelhamid Barakat; Abdou Salam Gueye; Abdoul K. Sangare; Abdoul-Salam Ouedraogo; Abdourahmane SOW; Abdualmoniem O. Musa; Abdul K. Sesay; Adamou LAGARE; Adedotun-Sulaiman Kemi; Aden Elmi Abar; Adeniji A. Johnson; Adeola Fowotade; Adewumi M. Olubusuyi; Adeyemi O. Oluwapelumi; Adrienne A. Amuri; Agnes Juru; Ahmad Mabrouk Ramadan; Ahmed Kandeil; Ahmed Mostafa; Ahmed Rebai; Ahmed Sayed; Akano Kazeem; Aladje Balde; Alan Christoffels; Alexander J. Trotter; Allan Campbell; Alpha Kabinet KEITA; Amadou Kone; Amal Bouzid; Amal Souissi; Ambrose Agweyu; Ana V. Gutierrez; Andrew J. Page; Anges Yadouleton; Anika Vinze; Anise N. Happi; Anissa Chouikha; Arash Iranzadeh; Arisha Maharaj; Armel Landry Batchi-Bouyou; Arshad Ismail; Augustina Sylverken; Augustine Goba; Ayoade Femi; Ayotunde Elijah Sijuwola; Azeddine Ibrahimi; Baba Marycelin; Babatunde Lawal Salako; Bamidele S. Oderinde; Bankole Bolajoko; Beatrice Dhaala; Belinda L. Herring; Benjamin Tsofa; Bernard Mvula; Berthe-Marie Njanpop-Lafourcade; Blessing T. Marondera; Bouh Abdi KHAIREH; Bourema Kouriba; Bright Adu; Brigitte Pool; Bronwyn McInnis; Cara Brook; Carolyn Williamson; Catherine Anscombe; Catherine B. Pratt; Cathrine Scheepers; Chantal G. Akoua-Koffi; Charles N. Agoti; Cheikh Loucoubar; Chika Kingsley Onwuamah; Chikwe Ihekweazu; Christian Noel MALAKA; Christophe Peyrefitte; Chukwuma Ewean Omoruyi; Clotaire Donatien Rafai; Collins M. Morang'a; D. James Nokes; Daniel Bugembe Lule; Daniel J. Bridges; Daniel Mukadi-Bamuleka; Danny Park; David Baker; Deelan Doolabh; Deogratius Ssemwanga; Derek Tshiabuila; Diarra Bassirou; Dominic S.Y. Amuzu; Dominique Goedhals; Donald S. Grant; Donwilliams O. Omuoyo; Dorcas Maruapula; Dorcas Waruguru Wanjohi; Ebenezer Foster-Nyarko; Eddy K. Lusamaki; Edgar Simulundu; Edidah M. Ong'era; Edith N. Ngabana; Edward O. Abworo; Edward Otieno; Edwin Shumba; Edwine Barasa; EL BARA AHMED; Elmostafa EL FAHIME; Emmanuel Lokilo; Enatha Mukantwari; Erameh Cyril; Eromon Philomena; Essia Belarbi; Etienne Simon-Loriere; Etile A. Anoh; Fabian Leendertz; Fahn M. Taweh; Fares Wasfi; Fatma Abdelmoula; Faustinos T. Takawira; Fawzi Derrar; Fehintola V Ajogbasile; Florette Treurnicht; Folarin Onikepe; Francine Ntoumi; Francisca M. Muyembe; FRANCISCO NGIAMBUDULU; Frank Edgard ZONGO Ragomzingba; Fred Athanasius DRATIBI; Fred-Akintunwa Iyanu; Gabriel K. Mbunsu; Gaetan Thilliez; Gemma L. Kay; George O. Akpede; George E Uwem; Gert van Zyl; Gordon A. Awandare; Grit Schubert; Gugu P. Maphalala; Hafaliana C. Ranaivoson; Hajar Lemriss; Hannah E Omunakwe; Harris Onywera; Haruka Abe; HELA KARRAY; Hellen Nansumba; Henda Triki; Herve Alberic ADJE KADJO; Hesham Elgahzaly; Hlanai Gumbo; HOTA mathieu; Hugo Kavunga-Membo; Ibtihel Smeti; Idowu B. Olawoye; Ifedayo Adetifa; Ikponmwosa Odia; Ilhem Boutiba-Ben Boubaker; Isaac Ssewanyana; Isatta Wurie; Iyaloo S Konstantinus; Jacqueline Wemboo Afiwa Halatoko; James Ayei; Janaki Sonoo; Jean Bernard LEKANA-DOUKI; Jean-Claude C. Makangara; Jean-Jacques M. Tamfum; Jean-Michel Heraud; Jeffrey G. Shaffer; Jennifer Giandhari; Jennifer Musyoki; Jessica N. Uwanibe; Jinal N. Bhiman; Jiro Yasuda; Joana Morais; Joana Q. Mends; Jocelyn Kiconco; John Demby Sandi; John Huddleston; John Kofi Odoom; John M. Morobe; John O. Gyapong; John T. Kayiwa; Johnson C. Okolie; Joicymara Santos Xavier; Jones Gyamfi; Joseph Humphrey Kofi Bonney; Joseph Nyandwi; Josie Everatt; Jouali Farah; Joweria Nakaseegu; Joyce M. Ngoi; Joyce Namulondo; Judith U. Oguzie; Julia C. Andeko; Julius J. Lutwama; Justin O'Grady; Katherine J Siddle; Kathleen Victoir; Kayode T. Adeyemi; Kefentse A. Tumedi; Kevin Sanders Carvalho; Khadija Said Mohammed; Kunda G. Musonda; Kwabena O. Duedu; Lahcen Belyamani; Lamia Fki-Berrajah; Lavanya Singh; Leon Biscornet; Leonardo de Oliveira Martins; Lucious Chabuka; Luicer Olubayo; Lul Lojok Deng; Lynette Isabella Ochola-Oyier; Madisa Mine; Magalutcheemee Ramuth; Maha Mastouri; Mahmoud ElHefnawi; Maimouna Mbanne; Maitshwarelo I. Matsheka; Malebogo Kebabonye; Mamadou Diop; Mambu Momoh; Maria da Luz Lima Mendonca; Marietjie Venter; Marietou F Paye; Martin Faye; Martin M. Nyaga; Mathabo Mareka; Matoke-Muhia Damaris; Maureen W. Mburu; Maximillian Mpina; Claujens Chastel MFOUTOU MAPANGUY; Michael Owusu; Michael R. Wiley; Mirabeau Youtchou Tatfeng; Mitoha Ondo'o Ayekaba; Mohamed Abouelhoda; Mohamed Amine Beloufa; Mohamed G Seadawy; Mohamed K. Khalifa; Mohammed Koussai DELLAGI; Mooko Marethabile Matobo; Mouhamed Kane; Mouna Ouadghiri; Mounerou Salou; Mphaphi B. Mbulawa; Mudashiru Femi Saibu; Mulenga Mwenda; My V.T. Phan; Nabil Abid; Nadia Touil; Nadine Rujeni; Nalia Ismael; Ndeye Marieme Top; Ndongo Dia; Nedio Mabunda; Nei-yuan Hsiao; Nelson Borico Silochi; Ngonda Saasa; Nicholas Bbosa; Nickson Murunga; Nicksy Gumede; Nicole Wolter; Nikita Sitharam; Nnaemeka Ndodo; Nnennaya A. Ajayi; Noel Tordo; Nokuzola Mbhele; Norosoa H Razanajatovo; Nosamiefan Iguosadolo; Nwando Mba; Ojide C. Kingsley; Okogbenin Sylvanus; Okokhere Peter; Oladiji Femi; Olumade Testimony; Olusola Akinola Ogunsanya; Oluwatosin Fakayode; Onwe E. Ogah; Ousmane Faye; Pamela Smith-Lawrence; Pascale Ondoa; Patrice Combe; Patricia Nabisubi; Patrick Semanda; Paul E. Oluniyi; Paulo Arnaldo; Peter Kojo Quashie; Philip Bejon; Philippe Dussart; Phillip A. Bester; Placide K. Mbala; Pontiano Kaleebu; Priscilla Abechi; Rabeh El-Shesheny; Rageema Joseph; Ramy Karam Aziz; Rene Ghislain Essomba; Reuben Ayivor-Djanie; Richard Njouom; Richard O. Phillips; Richmond Gorman; Robert A. Kingsley; Rosemary Audu; Rosina A.A. Carr; Saad El Kabbaj; Saba Gargouri; Saber Masmoudi; Safietou Sankhe; Sahra Isse Mohamed; Salma MHALLA; Salome Hosch; Samar Kamal Kassim; Samar Metha; Sameh Trabelsi; Sanaa Lemriss; Sara Hassan Agwa; Sarah Wambui Mwangi; Seydou Doumbia; Sheila Makiala-Mandanda; Sherihane Aryeetey; Shymaa S. Ahmed; SIDI MOHAMED AHMED; Siham Elhamoumi; Sikhulile Moyo; Silvia Lutucuta; Simani Gaseitsiwe; Simbirie Jalloh; Soafy Andriamandimby; Sobajo Oguntope; Solene Grayo; Sonia Lekana-Douki; Sophie Prosolek; Soumeya Ouangraoua; Stephanie van Wyk; Stephen F. Schaffner; Stephen Kanyerezi; Steve AHUKA-MUNDEKE; Steven Rudder; Sureshnee Pillay; Susan Nabadda; Sylvie Behillil; Sylvie L. Budiaki; Sylvie van der Werf; Tapfumanei Mashe; Tarik Aanniz; Thabo Mohale; Thanh Le-Viet; Thirumalaisamy P. Velavan; Tobias Schindler; Tongai Maponga; Trevor Bedford; Ugochukwu J. Anyaneji; Ugwu Chinedu; Upasana Ramphal; Vincent Enouf; Vishvanath Nene; Vivianne Gorova; Wael H. Roshdy; Wasim Abdul Karim; William K. Ampofo; Wolfgang Preiser; Wonderful T. Choga; Yahaya ALI ALI AHMED; Yajna Ramphal; Yaw Bediako; Yeshnee Naidoo; Yvan Butera; Zaydah R. de Laurent; Ahmed E.O. Ouma; Anne von Gottberg; George Githinji; Matshidiso Moeti; Oyewale Tomori; Pardis C. Sabeti; Amadou A. Sall; Samuel O. Oyola; Yenew K. Tebeje; Sofonias K. Tessema; Tulio de Oliveira; Christian Happi; Richard Lessells; John Nkengasong; Eduan Wilkinson.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.04.17.22273906

ABSTRACT

Investment in Africa over the past year with regards to SARS-CoV-2 genotyping has led to a massive increase in the number of sequences, exceeding 100,000 genomes generated to track the pandemic on the continent. Our results show an increase in the number of African countries able to sequence within their own borders, coupled with a decrease in sequencing turnaround time. Findings from this genomic surveillance underscores the heterogeneous nature of the pandemic but we observe repeated dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 variants within the continent. Sustained investment for genomic surveillance in Africa is needed as the virus continues to evolve, particularly in the low vaccination landscape. These investments are very crucial for preparedness and response for future pathogen outbreaks.

7.
biorxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.01.14.476382

ABSTRACT

Among the 30 non-synonymous nucleotide substitutions in the Omicron S-gene are 13 that have only rarely been seen in other SARS-CoV-2 sequences. These mutations cluster within three functionally important regions of the S-gene at sites that will likely impact (i) interactions between subunits of the Spike trimer and the predisposition of subunits to shift from down to up configurations, (ii) interactions of Spike with ACE2 receptors, and (iii) the priming of Spike for membrane fusion. We show here that, based on both the rarity of these 13 mutations in intrapatient sequencing reads and patterns of selection at the codon sites where the mutations occur in SARS-CoV-2 and related sarbecoviruses, prior to the emergence of Omicron the mutations would have been predicted to decrease the fitness of any virus within which they occurred. We further propose that the mutations in each of the three clusters therefore cooperatively interact to both mitigate their individual fitness costs, and, in combination with other mutations, adaptively alter the function of Spike. Given the evident epidemic growth advantages of Omicron over all previously known SARS-CoV-2 lineages, it is crucial to determine both how such complex and highly adaptive mutation constellations were assembled within the Omicron S-gene, and why, despite unprecedented global genomic surveillance efforts, the early stages of this assembly process went completely undetected.


Subject(s)
Seizures
8.
researchsquare; 2022.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-1249711.v1

ABSTRACT

Background: Over 4 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes have been sequenced globally in the past 2 years. This has been crucial in elucidating transmission chains within communities, the development of new diagnostic methods, vaccines, and antivirals. Although several sequencing technologies have been employed, Illumina and Oxford Nanopore remain the two most commonly used platforms. The sequence quality between these two platforms warrants a comparison of the genomes produced by the two technologies. Here, we compared the sequence quality produced by the Oxford Nanopore Technology GridION and the Illumina MiSeq for 28 sequencing runs. Results: Our results show that the MiSeq had a significantly higher number of sequences classified by Nextclade as good and mediocre compared to the GridION. The MiSeq also had a significantly higher sequence coverage and mutation counts than the GridION. Conclusion: Due to the low sequence coverage, high number of indels, and sensitivity to viral load noted with the GridION when compared to MiSeq, we can conclude that the MiSeq is more favourable for genomic surveillance, as successful genomic surveillance is dependent on high quality, near-whole genome sequences.

9.
Raquel Viana; Sikhulile Moyo; Daniel Gyamfi Amoako; Houriiyah Tegally; Cathrine Scheepers; Richard J Lessells; Jennifer Giandhari; Nicole Wolter; Josie Everatt; Andrew Rambaut; Christian Althaus; Eduan Wilkinson; Adriano Mendes; Amy Strydom; Michaela Davids; Simnikiwe Mayaphi; Simani Gaseitsiwe; Wonderful T Choga; Dorcas Maruapula; Boitumelo Zuze; Botshelo Radibe; Legodile Koopile; Roger Shapiro; Shahin Lockman; Mpaphi B. Mbulawa; Thongbotho Mphoyakgosi; Pamela Smith-Lawrence; Mosepele Mosepele; Mogomotsi Matshaba; Kereng Masupu; Mohammed Chand; Charity Joseph; Lesego Kuate-Lere; Onalethatha Lesetedi-Mafoko; Kgomotso Moruisi; Lesley Scott; Wendy Stevens; Constantinos Kurt Wibmer; Anele Mnguni; Arshad Ismail; Boitshoko Mahlangu; Darren P. Martin; Verity Hill; Rachel Colquhoun; Modisa S. Motswaledi; James Emmanuel San; Noxolo Ntuli; Gerald Motsatsi; Sureshnee Pillay; Thabo Mohale; Upasana Ramphal; Yeshnee Naidoo; Naume Tebeila; Marta Giovanetti; Koleka Mlisana; Carolyn Williamson; Nei-yuan Hsiao; Nokukhanya Msomi; Kamela Mahlakwane; Susan Engelbrecht; Tongai Maponga; Wolfgang Preiser; Zinhle Makatini; Oluwakemi Laguda-Akingba; Lavanya Singh; Ugochukwu J. Anyaneji; Monika Moir; Stephanie van Wyk; Derek Tshiabuila; Yajna Ramphal; Arisha Maharaj; Sergei Pond; Alexander G Lucaci; Steven Weaver; Maciej F Boni; Koen Deforche; Kathleen Subramoney; Diana Hardie; Gert Marais; Deelan Doolabh; Rageema Joseph; Nokuzola Mbhele; Luicer Olubayo; Arash Iranzadeh; Alexander E Zarebski; Joseph Tsui; Moritz UG Kraemer; Oliver G Pybus; Dominique Goedhals; Phillip Armand Bester; Martin M Nyaga; Peter N Mwangi; Allison Glass; Florette Treurnicht; Marietjie Venter; Jinal N. Bhiman; Anne von Gottberg; Tulio de Oliveira.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.12.19.21268028

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) epidemic in southern Africa has been characterised by three distinct waves. The first was associated with a mix of SARS-CoV-2 lineages, whilst the second and third waves were driven by the Beta and Delta variants respectively. In November 2021, genomic surveillance teams in South Africa and Botswana detected a new SARS-CoV-2 variant associated with a rapid resurgence of infections in Gauteng Province, South Africa. Within three days of the first genome being uploaded, it was designated a variant of concern (Omicron) by the World Health Organization and, within three weeks, had been identified in 87 countries. The Omicron variant is exceptional for carrying over 30 mutations in the spike glycoprotein, predicted to influence antibody neutralization and spike function4. Here, we describe the genomic profile and early transmission dynamics of Omicron, highlighting the rapid spread in regions with high levels of population immunity.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
10.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.12.08.21267417

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, may compromise the ability of vaccine and previous infection (1) elicited immunity to protect against new infection. Here we investigated whether Omicron escapes antibody neutralization elicited by the Pfizer BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine in people who were vaccinated only or vaccinated and previously infected. We also investigated whether the virus still requires binding to the ACE2 receptor to infect cells. We isolated and sequence confirmed live Omicron virus from an infected person in South Africa. We then compared neutralization of this virus relative to an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain with the D614G mutation. Neutralization was by blood plasma from South African BNT162b2 vaccinated individuals. We observed that Omicron still required the ACE2 receptor to infect but had extensive escape of Pfizer elicited neutralization. However, 5 out of 6 of the previously infected, Pfizer vaccinated individuals, all of them with high neutralization of D614G virus, showed residual neutralization at levels expected to confer protection from infection and severe disease (2). While vaccine effectiveness against Omicron is still to be determined, these data support the notion that high neutralization capacity elicited by a combination of infection and vaccination, and possibly by boosting, could maintain reasonable effectiveness against Omicron. If neutralization capacity is lower or wanes with time, protection against infection is likely to be low. However, protection against severe disease, requiring lower neutralization levels and involving T cell immunity, would likely be maintained.

11.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.11.25.21266298

ABSTRACT

Outbreaks of COVID at university campuses can spread rapidly and threaten the broader community. We describe the management of an outbreak at a Malawian university in April 2021 during Malawi's second wave. Classes were suspended following detection of infections by routine testing and campus-wide PCR mass testing was conducted. Fifty seven cases were recorded, 55 among students, two among staff. Classes resumed 28 days after suspension following two weeks without cases. Just 6.3% of full-time staff and 87.4% of outsourced staff tested while 65% of students at the main campus and 74% at the extension campus were tested. Final year students had significantly higher positivity and lower testing coverage compared to freshmen. All viruses sequenced were beta variant and at least four separate virus introductions onto campus were observed. These findings are useful for development of campus outbreak responses and indicate the need to emphasize staff, males and senior students in testing.

13.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.09.23.21264018

ABSTRACT

The Beta variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in South Africa in late 2020 and rapidly became the dominant variant, causing over 95% of infections in the country during and after the second epidemic wave. Here we show rapid replacement of the Beta variant by the Delta variant, a highly transmissible variant of concern (VOC) that emerged in India and subsequently spread around the world. The Delta variant was imported to South Africa primarily from India, spread rapidly in large monophyletic clusters to all provinces, and became dominant within three months of introduction. This was associated with a resurgence in community transmission, leading to a third wave which was associated with a high number of deaths. We estimated a growth advantage for the Delta variant in South Africa of 0.089 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.084-0.093) per day which corresponds to a transmission advantage of 46% (95% CI 44-48) compared to the Beta variant. These data provide additional support for the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant relative to other VOC and highlight how dynamic shifts in the distribution of variants contribute to the ongoing public health threat.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections
14.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.09.14.21263564

ABSTRACT

Characterizing SARS-CoV-2 evolution in specific geographies may help predict the properties of variants coming from these regions. We mapped neutralization of a SARS-CoV-2 strain that evolved over 6 months from the ancestral virus in a person with advanced HIV disease. Infection was before the emergence of the Beta variant first identified in South Africa, and the Delta variant. We compared early and late evolved virus to the ancestral, Beta, Alpha, and Delta viruses and tested against convalescent plasma from ancestral, Beta, and Delta infections. Early virus was similar to ancestral, whereas late virus was similar to Beta, exhibiting vaccine escape and, despite pre-dating Delta, strong escape of Delta-elicited neutralization. This example is consistent with the notion that variants arising in immune-compromised hosts, including those with advanced HIV disease, may evolve immune escape of vaccines and enhanced escape of Delta immunity, with implications for vaccine breakthrough and reinfections. HighlightsO_LIA prolonged ancestral SARS-CoV-2 infection pre-dating the emergence of Beta and Delta resulted in evolution of a Beta-like serological phenotype C_LIO_LISerological phenotype includes strong escape from Delta infection elicited immunity, intermediate escape from ancestral virus immunity, and weak escape from Beta immunity C_LIO_LIEvolved virus showed substantial but incomplete escape from antibodies elicited by BNT162b2 vaccination C_LI Graphical abstract O_FIG O_LINKSMALLFIG WIDTH=200 HEIGHT=110 SRC="FIGDIR/small/21263564v2_ufig1.gif" ALT="Figure 1"> View larger version (18K): org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@1194bfdorg.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@1cbe318org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@aa74f8org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@e57969_HPS_FORMAT_FIGEXP M_FIG C_FIG


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , Hepatitis D , COVID-19
15.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.08.20.21262342

ABSTRACT

Global genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has identified variants associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Here we report the emergence of the PANGO lineage C.1.2, detected at low prevalence in South Africa and eleven other countries. The emergence of C.1.2, associated with a high substitution rate, includes changes within the spike protein that have been associated with increased transmissibility or reduced neutralization sensitivity in SARS-CoV-2 VOC/VOIs. Like Beta and Delta, C.1.2 shows significantly reduced neutralization sensitivity to plasma from vaccinees and individuals infected with the ancestral D614G virus. In contrast, convalescent donors infected with either Beta or Delta showed high plasma neutralization against C.1.2. These functional data suggest that vaccine efficacy against C.1.2 will be equivalent to Beta and Delta, and that prior infection with either Beta or Delta will likely offer protection against C.1.2.

16.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.06.16.21259017

ABSTRACT

Mauritius, a small island in the Indian Ocean, has had a unique experience of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. In March 2020, Mauritius endured a small first wave and quickly implemented control measures which allowed elimination of local transmission of SARS-CoV-2. When borders to the island reopened, it was accompanied by mandatory quarantine and testing of incoming passengers to avoid reintroduction of the virus into the community. As variants of concern (VOCs) emerged elsewhere in the world, Mauritius began using genomic surveillance to keep track of quarantined cases of these variants. In March 2021, another local outbreak occurred, and sequencing was used to investigate this new wave of local infections. Here, we analyze 154 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from Mauritius, which represent 12% of all the infections seem in Mauritius, these were both from specimens of incoming passengers before March 2021 and those of cases during the second wave. Our findings indicate that despite the presence of known VOCs Beta (B.1.351) and Alpha (B.1.1.7) among quarantined passengers, the second wave of local SARS-CoV-2 infections in Mauritius was caused by a single introduction and dominant circulation of the B.1.1.318 virus. The B.1.1.318 variant is characterized by fourteen non-synonymous mutations in the S-gene, with five encoded amino acid substitutions (T95I, E484K, D614G, P681H, D796H) and one deletion (Y144del) in the Spike glycoprotein. This variant seems to be increasing in prevalence and it is now present in 34 countries. This study highlights that despite having stopped the introduction of more transmissible VOCs by travel quarantines, a single undetected introduction of a B.1.1.318 lineage virus was enough to initiate a large local outbreak in Mauritius and demonstrated the need for continuous genomic surveillance to fully inform public health decisions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
17.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.06.03.21258228

ABSTRACT

While most people effectively clear SARS-CoV-2, there are several reports of prolonged infection in immunosuppressed individuals. Here we present a case of prolonged infection of greater than 6 months with the shedding of high titter SARS-CoV-2 in an individual with advanced HIV and antiretroviral treatment failure. Through whole-genome sequencing at multiple time points, we demonstrate the early emergence of the E484K substitution associated with escape from neutralizing antibodies, followed by other escape mutations and the N501Y substitution found in most variants of concern. This provides support to the hypothesis of intra-host evolution as one mechanism for the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants with immune evasion properties.


Subject(s)
HIV Infections , COVID-19
18.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.06.01.446516

ABSTRACT

Viruses increase the efficiency of close-range transmission between cells by manipulating cellular physiology and behavior, and SARS-CoV-2 uses cell fusion as one mechanism for cell-to-cell spread. Here we visualized infection using time-lapse microscopy of a human lung cell line and used live virus neutralization to determine the sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 cell-to-cell spread to neutralizing antibodies. SARS-CoV-2 infection rapidly led to cell fusion, forming multinucleated cells with clustered nuclei which started to be detected at 6h post-infection. To compare sensitivity of cell-to-cell spread to neutralization, we infected either with cell-free virus or with single infected cells expressing on their surface the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. We tested two variants of SARS-CoV-2: B.1.117 containing only the D614G substitution, and the escape variant B.1.351. We used the much smaller area of single infected cells relative to infection foci to exclude any input infected cells which did not lead to transmission. The monoclonal antibody and convalescent plasma we tested neutralized cell-free SARS-CoV-2, with the exception of B.1.351 virus, which was poorly neutralized with plasma from non-B.1.351 infections. In contrast, cell-to-cell spread of SARS-CoV-2 showed no sensitivity to monoclonal antibody or convalescent plasma neutralization. These observations suggest that, once cells are infected, SARS-CoV-2 may be more difficult to neutralize in cell types and anatomical compartments permissive for cell-to-cell spread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19
19.
Eduan Wilkinson; Marta Giovanetti; Houriiyah Tegally; James E San; Richard Lessels; Diego Cuadros; Darren P Martin; Abdel-Rahman N Zekri; Abdoul Sangare; Abdoul Salam Ouedraogo; Abdul K Sesay; Adnene Hammami; Adrienne A Amuri; Ahmad Sayed; Ahmed Rebai; Aida Elargoubi; Alpha K Keita; Amadou A Sall; Amadou Kone; Amal Souissi; Ana V Gutierrez; Andrew Page; Arnold Lambisia; Arash Iranzadeh; Augustina Sylverken; Azeddine Ibrahimi; Bourema Kouriba; Bronwyn Kleinhans; Beatrice Dhaala; Cara Brook; Carolyn Williamson; Catherine B Pratt; Chantal G Akoua-Koffi; Charles Agoti; Collins M Moranga; James D Nokes; Daniel J Bridges; Daniel L Bugembe; Deelan Doolabh; Deogratius Ssemwanga; Derek Tshabuila; Diarra Bassirou; Dominic S.Y. Amuzu; Dominique Goedhals; Dorcas Maruapula; Edith N Ngabana; Eddy Lusamaki; Edidah Moraa; Elmostafa El Fahime; Emerald Jacob; Emmanuel Lokilo; Enatha Mukantwari; Essia Belarbi; Etienne Simon-Loriere; Etile A Anoh; Fabian Leendertz; Faida Ajili; Fares Wasfi; Faustinos T Takawira; Fawzi Derrar; Feriel Bouzid; Francisca M Muyembe; Frank Tanser; Gabriel Mbunsu; Gaetan Thilliez; Gert van Zyl; Grit Schubert; George Githinji; Gordon A Awandare; Haruka Abe; Hela H Karray; Hellen Nansumba; Hesham A Elgahzaly; Hlanai Gumbo; Ibtihel Smeti; Ikhlass B Ayed; Imed Gaaloul; Ilhem B.B. Boubaker; Inbal Gazy; Isaac Ssewanyana; Jean B Lekana-Douk; Jean-Claude C Makangara; Jean-Jacques M Tamfum; Jean M Heraud; Jeffrey G Shaffer; Jennifer Giandhari; Jingjing Li; Jiro Yasuda; Joana Q Mends; Jocelyn Kiconco; Jonathan A Edwards; John Morobe; John N Nkengasong; John Gyapong; John T Kayiwa; Jones Gyamfi; Jouali Farah; Joyce M Ngoi; Joyce Namulondo; Julia C Andeko; Julius J Lutwama; Justin O Grady; Kefenstse A Tumedi; Khadija Said; Kim Hae-Young; Kwabena O Duedu; Lahcen Belyamani; Lavanya Singh; Leonardo de O. Martins; Madisa Mine; Mahmoud el Hefnawi; Mahjoub Aouni; Maha Mastouri; Maitshwarelo I Matsheka; Malebogo Kebabonye; Manel Turki; Martin Nyaga; Matoke Damaris; Matthew Cotten; Maureen W Mburu; Maximillian Mpina; Michael R Wiley; Mohamed A Ali; Mohamed K Khalifa; Mohamed G Seadawy; Mouna Ouadghiri; Mulenga Mwenda; Mushal Allam; My V.T. Phan; Nabil Abid; Nadia Touil; Najla Kharrat; Nalia Ismael; Nedio Mabunda; Nei-yuan Hsiao; Nelson Silochi; Ngonda Saasa; Nicola Mulder; Patrice Combe; Patrick Semanda; Paul E Oluniyi; Paulo Arnaldo; Peter K Quashie; Reuben Ayivor-Djanie; Philip A Bester; Philippe Dussart; Placide K Mbala; Pontiano Kaleebu; Richard Njouom; Richmond Gorman; Robert A Kingsley; Rosina A.A. Carr; Saba Gargouri; Saber Masmoudi; Samar Kassim; Sameh Trabelsi; Sami Kammoun; Sanaa Lemriss; Sara H Agwa; Sebastien Calvignac-Spencer; Seydou Doumbia; Sheila M Madinda; Sherihane Aryeetey; Shymaa S Ahmed; Sikhulile Moyo; Simani Gaseitsiwe; Edgar Simulundu; Sonia Lekana-Douki; Soumeya Ouangraoua; Steve A Mundeke; Sumir Panji; Sureshnee Pillay; Susan Engelbrecht; Susan Nabadda; Sylvie Behillil; Sylvie van der Werf; Tarik Aanniz; Tapfumanei Mashe; Thabo Mohale; Thanh Le-Viet; Tobias Schindler; Upasana Ramphal; Magalutcheemee Ramuth; Vagner Fonseca; Vincent Enouf; Wael H Roshdy; William Ampofo; Wolfgang Preiser; Wonderful T Choga; Yaw Bediako; Yenew K. Tebeje; Yeshnee Naidoo; Zaydah de Laurent; Sofonias K Tessema; Tulio de Oliveira.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.05.12.21257080

ABSTRACT

The progression of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in Africa has so far been heterogeneous and the full impact is not yet well understood. Here, we describe the genomic epidemiology using a dataset of 8746 genomes from 33 African countries and two overseas territories. We show that the epidemics in most countries were initiated by importations, predominantly from Europe, which diminished following the early introduction of international travel restrictions. As the pandemic progressed, ongoing transmission in many countries and increasing mobility led to the emergence and spread within the continent of many variants of concern and interest, such as B.1.351, B.1.525, A.23.1 and C.1.1. Although distorted by low sampling numbers and blind-spots, the findings highlight that Africa must not be left behind in the global pandemic response, otherwise it could become a breeding ground for new variants.

20.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.30.21254323

ABSTRACT

At the end of 2020, the Network for Genomic Surveillance in South Africa (NGS-SA) detected a SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC) in South Africa (501Y.V2 or PANGO lineage B.1.351)1. 501Y.V2 is associated with increased transmissibility and resistance to neutralizing antibodies elicited by natural infection and vaccination2,3. 501Y.V2 has since spread to over 50 countries around the world and has contributed to a significant resurgence of the epidemic in southern Africa. In order to rapidly characterize the spread of this and other emerging VOCs and variants of interest (VOIs), NGS-SA partnered with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the African Society of Laboratory Medicine through the Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative to strengthen SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance across the region. Here, we report the first genomic surveillance results from Angola, which has had 21 500 reported cases and around 500 deaths from COVID-19 up to March 2021 (Supplemental Fig S1). On 15 January 2021, in response to the international spread of VOCs, the government instituted compulsory rapid antigen testing of all passengers arriving at the main international airport, in addition to the existing requirement to present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel. All individuals with a positive antigen test are isolated in a government facility for a minimum of 14 days and require two negative RT-PCR tests at least 48 hours apart for de-isolation, whilst all travelers with a negative test on arrival proceed to mandatory self-quarantine for 10 days followed by a repeat test. In March 2021, we received 118 nasopharyngeal swab samples collected between June 2020 and February 2021, a number of which were from incoming air travelers (Supplemental Fig S1). From these, we produced 73 high quality genomes (>80% coverage), 14 of which were known VOCs/VOIs (seven 501Y.V2/B.1.351, six B.1.1.7, one B.1.525), 44 of which were C.16 (a common lineage circulating in Portugal), and twelve of which were other lineages (Supplemental Fig S2). In addition, we detected a new VOI in three incoming travelers from Tanzania who were tested together at the airport in mid-February. The three genomes from these passengers were almost identical and presented highly divergent sequences within the A lineage (Figure 1A & 1B). The GISAID database contains nine other sequences reported to be sampled from cases involving travel from Tanzania, two of which are basal to the three sampled in Angola (Figure 1A, Supplemental Table S1). This new VOI, temporarily designated A.VOI.V2, has 31 amino acid substitutions (11 in spike) and three deletions (all in spike) (Figure 1C & 1D). The spike mutations include three substitutions in the receptor-binding domain (R346K, T478R and E484K); five substitutions and three deletions in the N-terminal domain, some of which are within the antigenic supersite (Y144{Delta}, R246M, SYL247-249{Delta} and W258L)4; and two substitutions adjacent to the S1/S2 cleavage site (H655Y and P681H). Several of these mutations are present in other VOCs/VOIs and are evolving under positive selection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergencies
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