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Front Microbiol ; 13: 888195, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911066


Background: During the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, outbreaks of Zika were reported from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra, India in 2021. The Dengue and Chikungunya negative samples were retrospectively screened to determine the presence of the Zika virus from different geographical regions of India. Methods: During May to October 2021, the clinical samples of 1475 patients, across 13 states and a union territory of India were screened and re-tested for Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika by CDC Trioplex Real time RT-PCR. The Zika rRTPCR positive samples were further screened with anti-Zika IgM and Plaque Reduction Neutralization Test. Next generation sequencing was used for further molecular characterization. Results: The positivity was observed for Zika (67), Dengue (121), and Chikungunya (10) amongst screened cases. The co-infections of Dengue/Chikungunya, Dengue/Zika, and Dengue/Chikungunya/Zika were also observed. All Zika cases were symptomatic with fever (84%) and rash (78%) as major presenting symptoms. Of them, four patients had respiratory distress, one presented with seizures, and one with suspected microcephaly at birth. The Asian Lineage of Zika and all four serotypes of Dengue were found in circulation. Conclusion: Our study indicates the spread of the Zika virus to several states of India and an urgent need to strengthen its surveillance.

Indian J Med Res ; 152(1 & 2): 88-94, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-745660


BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVES: Public health and diagnostic laboratories are facing huge sample loads for COVID-19 diagnosis by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). High sensitivity of optimized real-time RT-PCR assays makes pooled testing a potentially efficient strategy for resource utilization when positivity rates for particular regions or groups of individuals are low. We report here a comparative analysis of pooled testing for 5- and 10-sample pools by real-time RT-PCR across 10 COVID-19 testing laboratories in India. METHODS: Ten virus research and diagnostic laboratories (VRDLs) testing for COVID-19 by real-time RT-PCR participated in this evaluation. At each laboratory, 100 nasopharyngeal swab samples including 10 positive samples were used to create 5- and 10-sample pools with one positive sample in each pool. RNA extraction and real-time RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2-specific E gene target were performed for individual positive samples as well as pooled samples. Concordance between individual sample testing and testing in the 5- or 10-sample pools was calculated, and the variation across sites and by sample cycle threshold (Ct) values was analyzed. RESULTS: A total of 110 each of 5- and 10-sample pools were evaluated. Concordance between the 5-sample pool and individual sample testing was 100 per cent in the Ct value ≤30 cycles and 95.5 per cent for Ctvalues ≤33 cycles. Overall concordance between the 5-sample pooled and individual sample testing was 88 per cent while that between 10-sample pool and individual sample testing was 66 per cent. Although the concordance rates for both the 5- and 10-sample pooled testing varied across laboratories, yet for samples with Ct values ≤33 cycles, the concordance was ≥90 per cent across all laboratories for the 5-sample pools. INTERPRETATION & CONCLUSIONS: Results from this multi-site assessment suggest that pooling five samples for SARS-CoV-2 detection by real-time RT-PCR may be an acceptable strategy without much loss of sensitivity even for low viral loads, while with 10-sample pools, there may be considerably higher numbers of false negatives. However, testing laboratories should perform validations with the specific RNA extraction and RT-PCR kits in use at their centres before initiating pooled testing.

Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Female , Humans , India/epidemiology , Male , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Serologic Tests , Specimen Handling , Viral Load/genetics
Indian J Med Res ; 151(2 & 3): 216-225, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-32576


Background & objectives: An outbreak of respiratory illness of unknown aetiology was reported from Hubei province of Wuhan, People's Republic of China, in December 2019. The outbreak was attributed to a novel coronavirus (CoV), named as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV-2 and the disease as COVID-19. Within one month, cases were reported from 25 countries. In view of the novel viral strain with reported high morbidity, establishing early countrywide diagnosis to detect imported cases became critical. Here we describe the role of a countrywide network of VRDLs in early diagnosis of COVID-19. Methods: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, established screening as well as confirmatory assays for SARS-CoV-2. A total of 13 VRDLs were provided with the E gene screening real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) assay. VRDLs were selected on the basis of their presence near an international airport/seaport and their past performance. The case definition for testing included all individuals with travel history to Wuhan and symptomatic individuals with travel history to other parts of China. This was later expanded to include symptomatic individuals returning from Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Thailand and South Korea. Results: Within a week of standardization of the test at NIV, all VRDLs could initiate testing for SARS-CoV-2. Till February 29, 2020, a total of 2,913 samples were tested. This included both 654 individuals quarantined in the two camps and others fitting within the case definition. The quarantined individuals were tested twice - at days 0 and 14. All tested negative on both occasions. Only three individuals belonging to different districts in Kerala were found to be positive. Interpretation & conclusions: Sudden emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and its potential to cause a pandemic posed an unsurmountable challenge to the public health system of India. However, concerted efforts of various arms of the Government of India resulted in a well-coordinated action at each level. India has successfully demonstrated its ability to establish quick diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 at NIV, Pune, and the testing VRDLs.

Clinical Laboratory Techniques/standards , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Mass Screening/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , India , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Quality Control , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , SARS-CoV-2 , Specimen Handling , Young Adult