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2.
SSRN; 2022.
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-332348

ABSTRACT

Background: Access to RT-PCR testing, the gold standard for SARS-CoV-2 detection, is limited throughout the world, due to restricted resources, available infrastructure, and high costs. Antigen-detecting, rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs) overcome some of these barriers, but independent clinical validations in settings of intended use are scarce. To inform the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) emergency use listing (EUL) procedure and ensure affordable, high-quality Ag-RDTs, we assessed the performance and ease-of-use of the SureStatus for SARS-CoV-2. Methods: This prospective, multi-center diagnostic accuracy study recruited unvaccinated participants with presumed SARS-CoV-2 infection in India and Germany from Dec 2019 to Mar 2021 when predominantly alpha (B.1.1.7) variant was circulating. Paired swabs were performed for (i) routine clinical RT-PCR testing (sampling was either nasopharyngeal (NP), or NP/OP combined) and (ii) for Ag-RDT (sampling was nasopharyngeal (NP)). Performance of the Ag-RDT was compared to RT-PCR overall, and according to predefined subgroups e.g., cycle threshold (Ct)-value, symptoms, and days from symptom onset. To understand usability, a System Usability Scale (SUS) questionnaire and ease-of-use (EoU) assessment were performed. Findings: A total of 1119 participants were included in the analysis of whom 205 (18·3%) were RT-PCR positive. SureStatus detected 169 out of 205 RT-PCR positive participants, reporting a sensitivity of 82·4% (95% CI: 76·6%-87·1%) and a specificity of 98·5% (95% CI: 97·4%-99·1%). In the first 7 days post symptom onset sensitivity was 90·7% (95% CI: 83·5%-94·9%). The test was characterized as easy to use (SUS: 85/100) and considered suitable for point-of-care settings although quality concerns were raised due to visibly contaminated packaging of swabs included in the test kits. Interpretation: The SureStatus diagnostic test can be considered a reliable test in the first week of SARS-CoV-2 infection with high sensitivity in combination with excellent usability.

3.
Nature ; 2022 Mar 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1773987

ABSTRACT

The global emergence of many severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants jeopardizes the protective antiviral immunity induced following infection or vaccination. To address the public health threat caused by the increasing SARS-CoV-2 genomic diversity, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) within the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established the SARS-CoV-2 Assessment of Viral Evolution (SAVE) program. This effort was designed to provide a real-time risk assessment of SARS-CoV-2 variants potentially impacting transmission, virulence, and resistance to convalescent and vaccine-induced immunity. The SAVE program serves as a critical data-generating component of the United States Government SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group to assess implications of SARS-CoV-2 variants on diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics and for communicating public health risk. Here we describe the coordinated approach used to identify and curate data about emerging variants, their impact on immunity, and effects on vaccine protection using animal models. We report the development of reagents, methodologies, models, and pivotal findings facilitated by this collaborative approach and identify future challenges. This program serves as a template for the response against rapidly evolving pandemic pathogens by monitoring viral evolution in the human population to identify variants that could erode the effectiveness of countermeasures.

4.
Nature ; 600(7888): 295-301, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1626235

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes COVID-19. Given its acute and often self-limiting course, it is likely that components of the innate immune system play a central part in controlling virus replication and determining clinical outcome. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with notable activity against a broad range of viruses, including RNA viruses1,2. NK cell function may be altered during COVID-19 despite increased representation of NK cells with an activated and adaptive phenotype3,4. Here we show that a decline in viral load in COVID-19 correlates with NK cell status and that NK cells can control SARS-CoV-2 replication by recognizing infected target cells. In severe COVID-19, NK cells show defects in virus control, cytokine production and cell-mediated cytotoxicity despite high expression of cytotoxic effector molecules. Single-cell RNA sequencing of NK cells over the time course of the COVID-19 disease spectrum reveals a distinct gene expression signature. Transcriptional networks of interferon-driven NK cell activation are superimposed by a dominant transforming growth factor-ß (TGFß) response signature, with reduced expression of genes related to cell-cell adhesion, granule exocytosis and cell-mediated cytotoxicity. In severe COVID-19, serum levels of TGFß peak during the first two weeks of infection, and serum obtained from these patients severely inhibits NK cell function in a TGFß-dependent manner. Our data reveal that an untimely production of TGFß is a hallmark of severe COVID-19 and may inhibit NK cell function and early control of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transforming Growth Factor beta/immunology , Atlases as Topic , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Influenza, Human/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , RNA-Seq , Single-Cell Analysis , Time Factors , Transforming Growth Factor beta/blood , Viral Load/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology
6.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 69(2): 221-226, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546411

ABSTRACT

West Nile Virus (WNV) infections are increasingly detected in birds and horses in central Europe, with the first mosquito-borne autochthonous human infection detected in Germany in 2019. Human infections are typically asymptomatic, with occasional severe neurological disease. Because of a low number of cases in central Europe, awareness regarding potential cases is low and WNV diagnostic testing is not routine. We tested cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from unsolved encephalitis and meningitis cases from Berlin from 2019 to 2020, and describe a WNV-encephalitis case in a 33-year-old kidney transplant recipient. The infectious course was resolved by serology, RT-PCR and sequencing of stored samples. Phylogenetic sequence analysis revealed a close relationship of the patient's WNV strain to German sequences from 2019 and 2020. A lack of travel history and patient self-isolation during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic suggest the infection was acquired in the patient's home or garden. Serological tests of four people sharing the living space were negative. Retrospective RT-PCR and WNV-IgM testing of 671 CSF samples from unsolved encephalitis and meningitis cases from Berlin detected no additional infections. The recent increase of WNV cases illustrates the importance of considering WNV in cases of meningoencephalitis, especially in immunocompromised patients, as described here. Proper education and communication and a revised diagnostic strategy will help to raise awareness and to detect future WNV infections.


Subject(s)
Kidney Transplantation , West Nile Fever , West Nile virus , Adult , Humans , West Nile Fever/diagnosis
7.
Nature ; 600(7888): 295-301, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1483137

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is a single-stranded RNA virus that causes COVID-19. Given its acute and often self-limiting course, it is likely that components of the innate immune system play a central part in controlling virus replication and determining clinical outcome. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes with notable activity against a broad range of viruses, including RNA viruses1,2. NK cell function may be altered during COVID-19 despite increased representation of NK cells with an activated and adaptive phenotype3,4. Here we show that a decline in viral load in COVID-19 correlates with NK cell status and that NK cells can control SARS-CoV-2 replication by recognizing infected target cells. In severe COVID-19, NK cells show defects in virus control, cytokine production and cell-mediated cytotoxicity despite high expression of cytotoxic effector molecules. Single-cell RNA sequencing of NK cells over the time course of the COVID-19 disease spectrum reveals a distinct gene expression signature. Transcriptional networks of interferon-driven NK cell activation are superimposed by a dominant transforming growth factor-ß (TGFß) response signature, with reduced expression of genes related to cell-cell adhesion, granule exocytosis and cell-mediated cytotoxicity. In severe COVID-19, serum levels of TGFß peak during the first two weeks of infection, and serum obtained from these patients severely inhibits NK cell function in a TGFß-dependent manner. Our data reveal that an untimely production of TGFß is a hallmark of severe COVID-19 and may inhibit NK cell function and early control of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Transforming Growth Factor beta/immunology , Atlases as Topic , Gene Expression Regulation/immunology , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Influenza, Human/immunology , Killer Cells, Natural/pathology , RNA-Seq , Single-Cell Analysis , Time Factors , Transforming Growth Factor beta/blood , Viral Load/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology
8.
Infect Dis (Lond) ; 53(12): 947-952, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373618

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Most SARS-CoV-2 antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests require nasopharyngeal sampling, which is frequently perceived as uncomfortable and requires healthcare professionals, thus limiting scale-up. Nasal sampling could enable self-sampling and increase acceptability. The term nasal sampling is often not used uniformly and sampling protocols differ. METHODS: This manufacturer-independent, prospective diagnostic accuracy study, compared professional anterior nasal and nasal mid-turbinate sampling for a WHO-listed SARS-CoV-2 antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test. The second group of participants collected a nasal mid-turbinate sample themselves and underwent a professional nasopharyngeal swab for comparison. The reference standard was real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using combined oro-/nasopharyngeal sampling. Individuals with high suspicion of SARS-CoV-2 infection were tested. Sensitivity, specificity, and percent agreement were calculated. Self-sampling was observed without intervention. Feasibility was evaluated by observer and participant questionnaires. RESULTS: Among 132 symptomatic adults, both professional anterior nasal and nasal mid-turbinate sampling yielded a sensitivity of 86.1% (31/36 RT-PCR positives detected; 95%CI: 71.3-93.9) and a specificity of 100.0% (95%CI: 95.7-100). The positive percent agreement was 100% (95%CI: 89.0-100). Among 96 additional adults, self nasal mid-turbinate and professional nasopharyngeal sampling yielded an identical sensitivity of 91.2% (31/34; 95%CI 77.0-97.0). Specificity was 98.4% (95%CI: 91.4-99.9) with nasal mid-turbinate and 100.0% (95%CI: 94.2-100) with nasopharyngeal sampling. The positive percent agreement was 96.8% (95%CI: 83.8-99.8). Most participants (85.3%) considered self-sampling as easy to perform. CONCLUSION: Professional anterior nasal and nasal mid-turbinate sampling are of equivalent accuracy for an antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic test in ambulatory symptomatic adults. Participants were able to reliably perform nasal mid-turbinate sampling themselves, following written and illustrated instructions. Nasal self-sampling will facilitate scaling of SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Humans , Prospective Studies , Sensitivity and Specificity , Turbinates
9.
Infection ; 50(2): 395-406, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1353740

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Rapid antigen-detecting tests (Ag-RDTs) for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can transform pandemic control. Thus far, sensitivity (≤ 85%) of lateral-flow assays has limited scale-up. Conceivably, microfluidic immunofluorescence Ag-RDTs could increase sensitivity for SARS-CoV-2 detection. METHODS: This multi-centre diagnostic accuracy study investigated performance of the microfluidic immunofluorescence LumiraDx™ assay, enrolling symptomatic and asymptomatic participants with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection. Participants collected a supervised nasal mid-turbinate (NMT) self-swab for Ag-RDT testing, in addition to a professionally collected nasopharyngeal (NP) swab for routine testing with reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results were compared to calculate sensitivity and specificity. Sub-analyses investigated the results by viral load, symptom presence and duration. An analytical study assessed exclusivity and limit-of-detection (LOD). In addition, we evaluated ease-of-use. RESULTS: The study was conducted between November 2nd 2020 and 4th of December 2020. 761 participants were enrolled, with 486 participants reporting symptoms on testing day. 120 out of 146 RT-PCR positive cases were detected positive by LumiraDx™, resulting in a sensitivity of 82.2% (95% CI 75.2-87.5%). Specificity was 99.3% (CI 98.3-99.7%). Sensitivity was increased in individuals with viral load ≥ 7 log10 SARS-CoV2 RNA copies/ml (93.8%; CI 86.2-97.3%). Testing against common respiratory commensals and pathogens showed no cross-reactivity and LOD was estimated to be 2-56 PFU/mL. The ease-of-use-assessment was favourable for lower throughput settings. CONCLUSION: The LumiraDx™ assay showed excellent analytical sensitivity, exclusivity and clinical specificity with good clinical sensitivity using supervised NMT self-sampling. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER AND REGISTRATION DATE: DRKS00021220 and 01.04.2020.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , Point-of-Care Systems , RNA, Viral , Sensitivity and Specificity
10.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 27(10): 1520.e7-1520.e10, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1297038

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Dexamethasone has become the standard of care for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but its virological impact is poorly understood. The objectives of this work were to characterize the kinetics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) concentration in the upper respiratory tract (URT) and the antibody response in patients with (D+) and without (D-) dexamethasone treatment. METHODS: Data and biosamples from hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, enrolled between 4th March and 11th December 2020 in a prospective observational study, were analysed. SARS-CoV-2 virus concentration in serial URT samples was measured using RT-PCR. SARS-CoV-2-specific immunoglobulins A and G (IgA and IgG) were measured in serum samples using S1-ELISA. RESULTS: We compared 101 immunocompetent patients who received dexamethasone (according to the inclusion criteria and dosage determined in the RECOVERY trial) to 93 immunocompetent patients with comparable disease severity from the first months of the pandemic, who had not been treated with dexamethasone or other glucocorticoids. We found no inter-group differences in virus concentration kinetics, duration of presence of viral loads >106 viral copies/mL (D+ median 17 days (IQR 13-24), D- 19 days (IQR 13-29)), or time from symptom onset until seroconversion (IgA: D+ median 11.5 days (IQR 11-12), D- 14 days (IQR 11.5-15.75); IgG: D+ 13 days (IQR 12-14.5), D- 12 days (IQR 11-15)). CONCLUSION: Dexamethasone does not appear to lead to a change in virus clearance or a delay in antibody response in immunocompetent patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/drug therapy , Dexamethasone/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Anti-Inflammatory Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Hospitalization , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Kinetics , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/analysis , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Seroconversion , Viral Load
11.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(8): 2174-2178, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261342

ABSTRACT

We detected delayed and reduced antibody and T-cell responses after BNT162b2 vaccination in 71 elderly persons (median age 81 years) compared with 123 healthcare workers (median age 34 years) in Germany. These data emphasize that nonpharmaceutical interventions for coronavirus disease remain crucial and that additional immunizations for the elderly might become necessary.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 Vaccines , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
12.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(8): 2169-2173, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261341

ABSTRACT

One week after second vaccinations were administered, an outbreak of B.1.1.7 lineage severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infections occurred in a long-term care facility in Berlin, Germany, affecting 16/20 vaccinated and 4/4 unvaccinated residents. Despite considerable viral loads, vaccinated residents experienced mild symptoms and faster time to negative test results.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Berlin , Disease Outbreaks , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Long-Term Care , Vaccination
13.
J Clin Virol ; 141: 104874, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253159

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Considering the possibility of nasal self-sampling and the ease of use in performing SARS-CoV-2 antigen-detecting rapid diagnostic tests (Ag-RDTs), self-testing is a feasible option. OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was a head-to-head comparison of diagnostic accuracy of patient self-testing with professional testing using a SARS-CoV-2 Ag-RDT. STUDY DESIGN: We performed a manufacturer-independent, prospective diagnostic accuracy study of nasal mid-turbinate self-sampling and self-testing with symptomatic adults using a WHO-listed SARS-CoV-2 Ag-RDT. Procedures were observed without intervention. For comparison, Ag-RDTs with nasopharyngeal sampling were professionally performed. Estimates of agreement, sensitivity, and specificity relative to RT-PCR on a combined oro-/nasopharyngeal sample were calculated. Feasibility was evaluated by observer and participant questionnaires. RESULTS: Among 146 symptomatic adults, 40 (27.4%) were RT-PCR-positive for SARS-CoV-2. Sensitivity with self-testing was 82.5% (33/40; 95% CI 68.1-91.3), and 85.0% (34/40; 95% CI 70.9-92.9) with professional testing. At high viral load (≥7.0 log10 SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies/ml), sensitivity was 96.6% (28/29; 95% CI 82.8-99.8) for both self- and professional testing. Deviations in sampling and testing were observed in 25 out of the 40 PCR-positives. Most participants (80.9%) considered the Ag-RDT as easy to perform. CONCLUSION: Laypersons suspected for SARS-CoV-2 infection were able to reliably perform the Ag-RDT and test themselves. Procedural errors might be reduced by refinement of the instructions for use or the product design/procedures. Self-testing allows more wide-spread and frequent testing. Paired with the appropriate information of the public about the benefits and risks, self-testing may have significant impact on the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Antigens, Viral , Feasibility Studies , Humans , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral , Self-Testing , Sensitivity and Specificity
14.
Science ; 373(6551)2021 07 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1243685

ABSTRACT

Two elementary parameters for quantifying viral infection and shedding are viral load and whether samples yield a replicating virus isolate in cell culture. We examined 25,381 cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Germany, including 6110 from test centers attended by presymptomatic, asymptomatic, and mildly symptomatic (PAMS) subjects, 9519 who were hospitalized, and 1533 B.1.1.7 lineage infections. The viral load of the youngest subjects was lower than that of the older subjects by 0.5 (or fewer) log10 units, and they displayed an estimated ~78% of the peak cell culture replication probability; in part this was due to smaller swab sizes and unlikely to be clinically relevant. Viral loads above 109 copies per swab were found in 8% of subjects, one-third of whom were PAMS, with a mean age of 37.6 years. We estimate 4.3 days from onset of shedding to peak viral load (108.1 RNA copies per swab) and peak cell culture isolation probability (0.75). B.1.1.7 subjects had mean log10 viral load 1.05 higher than that of non-B.1.1.7 subjects, and the estimated cell culture replication probability of B.1.1.7 subjects was higher by a factor of 2.6.


Subject(s)
Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Caco-2 Cells , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Germany , Hospitalization , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Probability , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Viral Load , Virus Replication , Virus Shedding , Young Adult
15.
Infection ; 49(4): 703-714, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198523

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Adequate patient allocation is pivotal for optimal resource management in strained healthcare systems, and requires detailed knowledge of clinical and virological disease trajectories. The purpose of this work was to identify risk factors associated with need for invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV), to analyse viral kinetics in patients with and without IMV and to provide a comprehensive description of clinical course. METHODS: A cohort of 168 hospitalised adult COVID-19 patients enrolled in a prospective observational study at a large European tertiary care centre was analysed. RESULTS: Forty-four per cent (71/161) of patients required invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV). Shorter duration of symptoms before admission (aOR 1.22 per day less, 95% CI 1.10-1.37, p < 0.01) and history of hypertension (aOR 5.55, 95% CI 2.00-16.82, p < 0.01) were associated with need for IMV. Patients on IMV had higher maximal concentrations, slower decline rates, and longer shedding of SARS-CoV-2 than non-IMV patients (33 days, IQR 26-46.75, vs 18 days, IQR 16-46.75, respectively, p < 0.01). Median duration of hospitalisation was 9 days (IQR 6-15.5) for non-IMV and 49.5 days (IQR 36.8-82.5) for IMV patients. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate a short duration of symptoms before admission as a risk factor for severe disease that merits further investigation and different viral load kinetics in severely affected patients. Median duration of hospitalisation of IMV patients was longer than described for acute respiratory distress syndrome unrelated to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/therapy , Cohort Studies , Germany/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Hypertension/complications , Kinetics , Prospective Studies , Respiration, Artificial , Risk Factors , Tertiary Care Centers , Time Factors , Viral Load , Virus Shedding
16.
Microorganisms ; 9(4)2021 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167666

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: International travel is a major driver of the introduction and spread of SARS-CoV-2. AIM: To investigate SARS-CoV-2 genetic diversity in the region of a major transport hub in Germany, we characterized the viral sequence diversity of the SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in Frankfurt am Main, the city with the largest airport in Germany, from the end of October to the end of December 2020. METHODS: In total, we recovered 136 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from nasopharyngeal swab samples. We isolated 104 isolates that were grown in cell culture and RNA from the recovered viruses and subjected them to full-genome sequence analysis. In addition, 32 nasopharyngeal swab samples were directly sequenced. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: We found 28 different lineages of SARS-CoV-2 circulating during the study period, including the variant of concern B.1.1.7 (Δ69/70, N501Y). Six of the lineages had not previously been observed in Germany. We detected the spike protein (S) deletion Δ69/Δ70 in 15% of all sequences, a four base pair (bp) deletion (in 2.9% of sequences) and a single bp deletion (in 0.7% of sequences) in ORF3a, leading to ORF3a truncations. In four sequences (2.9%), an amino acid deletion at position 210 in S was identified. In a single sample (0.7%), both a 9 bp deletion in ORF1ab and a 7 bp deletion in ORF7a were identified. One sequence in lineage B.1.1.70 had an N501Y substitution while lacking the Δ69/70 in S. The high diversity of sequences observed over two months in Frankfurt am Main highlights the persisting need for continuous SARS-CoV-2 surveillance using full-genome sequencing, particularly in cities with international airport connections.

19.
Biomarkers ; 26(3): 213-220, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1030957

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the emergency department (ED) setting, rapid testing for SARS-CoV-2 is likely associated with advantages to patients and healthcare workers, for example, enabling early but rationale use of limited isolation resources. Most recently, several SARS-CoV-2 rapid point-of-care antigen tests (AGTEST) became available. There is a growing need for data regarding their clinical utility and performance in the diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the real life setting EDs. METHODS: We implemented AGTEST (here: Roche/SD Biosensor) in all four adult and the one paediatric EDs at Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin in our diagnostic testing strategy. Test indication was limited to symptomatic suspected COVID-19 patients. Detailed written instructions on who to test were distributed and testing personnel were trained in proper specimen collection and handling. In each suspected COVID-19 patient, two sequential deep oro-nasopharyngeal swabs were obtained for viral tests. The first swab was collected for nucleic acid testing through SARS-CoV-2 real-time reverse transcriptase (rt)-PCR diagnostic panel (PCRTEST) in the central laboratory. The second swab was collected to perform the AGTEST. Analysis of routine data was prospectively planned and data were retrieved from the medical records after the inclusion period in the adult or paediatric ED. Diagnostic performance was calculated using the PCRTEST as reference standard. False negative and false positive AGTEST results were analysed individually and compared with viral concentrations derived from the calibrated PCRTEST. RESULTS: We included n = 483 patients including n = 202 from the paediatric ED. N = 10 patients had to be excluded due to missing data and finally n = 473 patients were analysed. In the adult cohort, the sensitivity of the AGTEST was 75.3 (95%CI: 65.8/83.4)% and the specificity was 100 (95%CI: 98.4/100)% with a SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of 32.8%; the positive predictive value was 100 (95%CI: 95.7/100)% and the negative predictive value 89.2 (95%CI: 84.5/93.9)%. In the paediatric cohort, the sensitivity was 72.0 (95%CI: 53.3/86.7)%, the specificity was 99.4 (95%CI:97.3/99.9)% with a prevalence of 12.4%; the positive predictive value was 94.7 (95%CI: 78.3/99.7)% and the negative predictive value was 96.2 (95%CI:92.7/98.3)%. Thus, n = 22 adult and n = 7 paediatric patients showed false negative AGTEST results and only one false positive AGTEST occurred, in the paediatric cohort. Calculated viral concentrations from the rt-PCR lay between 3.16 and 9.51 log10 RNA copies/mL buffer. All false negative patients in the adult ED cohort, who had confirmed symptom onset at least seven days earlier had less than 5 × 105 RNA copies/mL buffer. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that the use of AGTEST among symptomatic patients in the emergency setting is useful for the early identification of COVID-19, but patients who test negative require confirmation by PCRTEST and must stay isolated until this result becomes available. Adult patients with a false negative AGTEST and symptom onset at least one week earlier have typically a low SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration and are likely no longer infectious.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Emergency Service, Hospital , Immunoassay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
20.
Nature ; 581(7809): 465-469, 2020 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-23868

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute infection of the respiratory tract that emerged in late 20191,2. Initial outbreaks in China involved 13.8% of cases with severe courses, and 6.1% of cases with critical courses3. This severe presentation may result from the virus using a virus receptor that is expressed predominantly in the lung2,4; the same receptor tropism is thought to have determined the pathogenicity-but also aided in the control-of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 20035. However, there are reports of cases of COVID-19 in which the patient shows mild upper respiratory tract symptoms, which suggests the potential for pre- or oligosymptomatic transmission6-8. There is an urgent need for information on virus replication, immunity and infectivity in specific sites of the body. Here we report a detailed virological analysis of nine cases of COVID-19 that provides proof of active virus replication in tissues of the upper respiratory tract. Pharyngeal virus shedding was very high during the first week of symptoms, with a peak at 7.11 × 108 RNA copies per throat swab on day 4. Infectious virus was readily isolated from samples derived from the throat or lung, but not from stool samples-in spite of high concentrations of virus RNA. Blood and urine samples never yielded virus. Active replication in the throat was confirmed by the presence of viral replicative RNA intermediates in the throat samples. We consistently detected sequence-distinct virus populations in throat and lung samples from one patient, proving independent replication. The shedding of viral RNA from sputum outlasted the end of symptoms. Seroconversion occurred after 7 days in 50% of patients (and by day 14 in all patients), but was not followed by a rapid decline in viral load. COVID-19 can present as a mild illness of the upper respiratory tract. The confirmation of active virus replication in the upper respiratory tract has implications for the containment of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/immunology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Hospitalization , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Seroconversion , Virus Replication , Antibodies, Viral/analysis , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Base Sequence , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Blood/virology , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Feces/chemistry , Feces/virology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/analysis , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/analysis , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , Lung/virology , Pandemics , Pharynx/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Sputum/virology , Urine/virology , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Viral Load/immunology , Virus Shedding
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