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1.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 29(5)2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2304974

ABSTRACT

Since late 2020, SARS-CoV-2 variants have regularly emerged with competitive and phenotypic differences from previously circulating strains, sometimes with the potential to escape from immunity produced by prior exposure and infection. The Early Detection group is one of the constituent groups of the US National Institutes of Health National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases SARS-CoV-2 Assessment of Viral Evolution program. The group uses bioinformatic methods to monitor the emergence, spread, and potential phenotypic properties of emerging and circulating strains to identify the most relevant variants for experimental groups within the program to phenotypically characterize. Since April 2021, the group has prioritized variants monthly. Prioritization successes include rapidly identifying most major variants of SARS-CoV-2 and providing experimental groups within the National Institutes of Health program easy access to regularly updated information on the recent evolution and epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 that can be used to guide phenotypic investigations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
2.
PLoS Biol ; 20(11): e3001871, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119367

ABSTRACT

Epidemiological data demonstrate that Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) Alpha and Delta are more transmissible, infectious, and pathogenic than previous variants. Phenotypic properties of VOC remain understudied. Here, we provide an extensive functional study of VOC Alpha replication and cell entry phenotypes assisted by reverse genetics, mutational mapping of spike in lentiviral pseudotypes, viral and cellular gene expression studies, and infectivity stability assays in an enhanced range of cell and epithelial culture models. In almost all models, VOC Alpha spread less or equally efficiently as ancestral (B.1) SARS-CoV-2. B.1. and VOC Alpha shared similar susceptibility to serum neutralization. Despite increased relative abundance of specific sgRNAs in the context of VOC Alpha infection, immune gene expression in infected cells did not differ between VOC Alpha and B.1. However, inferior spreading and entry efficiencies of VOC Alpha corresponded to lower abundance of proteolytically cleaved spike products presumably linked to the T716I mutation. In addition, we identified a bronchial cell line, NCI-H1299, which supported 24-fold increased growth of VOC Alpha and is to our knowledge the only cell line to recapitulate the fitness advantage of VOC Alpha compared to B.1. Interestingly, also VOC Delta showed a strong (595-fold) fitness advantage over B.1 in these cells. Comparative analysis of chimeric viruses expressing VOC Alpha spike in the backbone of B.1, and vice versa, showed that the specific replication phenotype of VOC Alpha in NCI-H1299 cells is largely determined by its spike protein. Despite undetectable ACE2 protein expression in NCI-H1299 cells, CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out and antibody-mediated blocking experiments revealed that multicycle spread of B.1 and VOC Alpha required ACE2 expression. Interestingly, entry of VOC Alpha, as opposed to B.1 virions, was largely unaffected by treatment with exogenous trypsin or saliva prior to infection, suggesting enhanced resistance of VOC Alpha spike to premature proteolytic cleavage in the extracellular environment of the human respiratory tract. This property may result in delayed degradation of VOC Alpha particle infectivity in conditions typical of mucosal fluids of the upper respiratory tract that may be recapitulated in NCI-H1299 cells closer than in highly ACE2-expressing cell lines and models. Our study highlights the importance of cell model evaluation and comparison for in-depth characterization of virus variant-specific phenotypes and uncovers a fine-tuned interrelationship between VOC Alpha- and host cell-specific determinants that may underlie the increased and prolonged virus shedding detected in patients infected with VOC Alpha.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/genetics , Virus Shedding , Antibodies, Blocking
3.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(5): e0122922, 2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2019781

ABSTRACT

Access to reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) testing, the gold standard for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (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 Organization'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. For this prospective, multicenter diagnostic accuracy study, we recruited unvaccinated participants with presumed SARS-CoV-2 infection in India and Germany from December 2020 to March 2021, when the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant was predominantly circulating. Paired swabs were performed for (i) routine clinical RT-PCR testing (sampling was either nasopharyngeal [NP] or combined NP and oropharyngeal [NP/OP]) and (ii) Ag-RDT (sampling was NP). Performance of the Ag-RDT was compared to RT-PCR overall and by predefined subgroups, e.g., cycle threshold (CT) value, symptoms, and days from symptom onset. To understand the usability, a system usability scale (SUS) questionnaire and ease-of-use (EoU) assessment were performed. A total of 1,119 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% confidence interval [CI]: 76.6% to 87.1%) and a specificity of 98.5% (95% CI: 97.4% to 99.1%). In the first 7 days post-symptom onset, the sensitivity was 90.7% (95% CI: 83.5% to 94.9%), when CT values were low and viral loads were high. 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. The SureStatus diagnostic test can be considered a reliable test during the first week of SARS-CoV-2 infection, with high sensitivity in combination with excellent usability. IMPORTANCE Our manufacturer-independent, prospective diagnostic accuracy study assessed clinical performance in participants presumed to have a SARS-CoV-2 infection at three study sites in two countries. We assessed the accuracy overall and in predefined subgroups (CT values and symptom duration). SureStatus performed with high sensitivity. Its sensitivity was particularly high in the first 3 days after symptom onset and when CT values were low (i.e., the viral load was high). The system usability and ease-of-use assessment complements the accuracy assessment of the test and highlights critical factors to facilitate the widespread use of SureStatus in point-of-care settings. The high sensitivity demonstrated by the evaluated Ag-RDT within the first days of symptoms, when most transmission occurs, supports the role of Ag-RDTs for public health-relevant screening. Evidence from this study was used to inform the World Health Organization Emergency Use Listing procedure.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Point-of-Care Systems , Prospective Studies , Sensitivity and Specificity , World Health Organization
4.
J Clin Immunol ; 42(6): 1111-1129, 2022 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1942304

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Six to 19% of critically ill COVID-19 patients display circulating auto-antibodies against type I interferons (IFN-AABs). Here, we establish a clinically applicable strategy for early identification of IFN-AAB-positive patients for potential subsequent clinical interventions. METHODS: We analyzed sera of 430 COVID-19 patients from four hospitals for presence of IFN-AABs by ELISA. Binding specificity and neutralizing activity were evaluated via competition assay and virus-infection-based neutralization assay. We defined clinical parameters associated with IFN-AAB positivity. In a subgroup of critically ill patients, we analyzed effects of therapeutic plasma exchange (TPE) on the levels of IFN-AABs, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and clinical outcome. RESULTS: The prevalence of neutralizing AABs to IFN-α and IFN-ω in COVID-19 patients from all cohorts was 4.2% (18/430), while being undetectable in an uninfected control cohort. Neutralizing IFN-AABs were detectable exclusively in critically affected (max. WHO score 6-8), predominantly male (83%) patients (7.6%, 18/237 for IFN-α-AABs and 4.6%, 11/237 for IFN-ω-AABs in 237 patients with critical COVID-19). IFN-AABs were present early post-symptom onset and at the peak of disease. Fever and oxygen requirement at hospital admission co-presented with neutralizing IFN-AAB positivity. IFN-AABs were associated with lower probability of survival (7.7% versus 80.9% in patients without IFN-AABs). TPE reduced levels of IFN-AABs in three of five patients and may increase survival of IFN-AAB-positive patients compared to those not undergoing TPE. CONCLUSION: IFN-AABs may serve as early biomarker for the development of severe COVID-19. We propose to implement routine screening of hospitalized COVID-19 patients for rapid identification of patients with IFN-AABs who most likely benefit from specific therapies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Autoantibodies , COVID-19/diagnosis , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Interferon-alpha/therapeutic use , Male , Oxygen , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Mult Scler ; 28(7): 1041-1050, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1846718

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Optimal management of anti-CD20-treated patients with multiple sclerosis (pwMS) is an important clinical task during the current severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. OBJECTIVES: To characterize humoral and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations/infections in a longitudinal cohort of anti-CD20 treated (n = 175) and anti-CD20 therapy-naïve (n = 41) pwMS. METHODS: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike protein immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgA, virus neutralizing capacity, IgG avidity and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were determined. RESULTS: Following two SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations, not only SARS-CoV-2 spike protein IgG and IgA, but also neutralizing capacity and avidity of SARS-CoV-2 IgG were lower in anti-CD20-treated (n = 51) than in anti-CD20 therapy-naïve pwMS (n = 14) and in healthy controls (HC, n = 19). However, in all anti-CD20-treated pwMS vaccinated twice (n = 26) or infected with SARS-CoV-2 (n = 2), in whom SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were measured, SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were detectable, at levels similar to those of twice-vaccinated anti-CD20 therapy-naïve pwMS (n = 7) and HC (n = 19). SARS-CoV-2-S1 IgG levels (r = 0.42, p = 0.002), antibody avidity (r = 0.7, p < 0.001), and neutralizing capacity (r = 0.44, p = 0.03) increased with time between anti-CD20 infusion and second vaccination. Based on detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred in 4 out of 175 (2.3%) anti-CD20-treated pwMS, all of whom recovered fully. CONCLUSIONS: These findings should inform treatment decisions and SARS-CoV-2 vaccination management in pwMS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Multiple Sclerosis , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunoglobulin A , Immunoglobulin G/therapeutic use , Multiple Sclerosis/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
6.
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
8.
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
9.
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
10.
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
11.
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 Treatment , 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
12.
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 , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19 Vaccines , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
13.
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
14.
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
15.
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
16.
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
17.
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.

20.
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
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