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1.
mBio ; 13(5): e0210122, 2022 Oct 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001781

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began by viral spillover from animals to humans; today multiple animal species are known to be susceptible to infection. White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are infected in North America at substantial levels, and genomic data suggests that a variant in deer may have spilled back to humans. Here, we characterize SARS-CoV-2 in deer from Pennsylvania (PA) sampled during fall and winter 2021. Of 123 nasal swab samples analyzed by RT-qPCR, 20 (16.3%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Seven whole genome sequences were obtained, together with six more partial spike gene sequences. These annotated as alpha and delta variants, the first reported observations of these lineages in deer, documenting multiple new jumps from humans to deer. The alpha lineage persisted in deer after its displacement by delta in humans, and deer-derived alpha variants diverged significantly from those in humans, consistent with a distinctive evolutionary trajectory in deer. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses have been documented to replicate in numerous species of vertebrates, and multiple spillovers of coronaviruses from animals into humans have founded human epidemics. The COVID-19 epidemic likely derived from a spillover of SARS-CoV-2 from bats into humans, possibly via an intermediate host. There are now several examples of SARS-CoV-2 jumping from humans into other mammals, including mink and deer, creating the potential for new animal reservoirs from which spillback into humans could occur. For this reason, data on formation of new animal reservoirs is of great importance for understanding possible sources of future infection. Here, we identify extensive infection in white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania, including what appear to be multiple independent transmissions. Data further suggests possible transmission among deer. These data thus help identify a potential new animal reservoir and provide background information relevant to its management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deer , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Pennsylvania/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary
2.
J Clin Microbiol ; 60(6): e0060022, 2022 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854230

ABSTRACT

Mutations in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 can affect the performance of molecular diagnostic assays. In some cases, such as S-gene target failure, the impact can serve as a unique indicator of a particular SARS-CoV-2 variant and provide a method for rapid detection. Here, we describe partial ORF1ab gene target failure (pOGTF) on the cobas SARS-CoV-2 assays, defined by a ≥2-thermocycle delay in detection of the ORF1ab gene compared to that of the E-gene. We demonstrate that pOGTF is 98.6% sensitive and 99.9% specific for SARS-CoV-2 lineage BA.2.12.1, an emerging variant in the United States with spike L452Q and S704L mutations that may affect transmission, infectivity, and/or immune evasion. Increasing rates of pOGTF closely mirrored rates of BA.2.12.1 sequences uploaded to public databases, and, importantly, increasing local rates of pOGTF also mirrored increasing overall test positivity. Use of pOGTF as a proxy for BA.2.12.1 provides faster tracking of the variant than whole-genome sequencing and can benefit laboratories without sequencing capabilities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Base Sequence , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
3.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704412

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections have spilled over from humans to companion and wild animals since the inception of the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, whole genome sequencing data of the viral genomes that infect non-human animal species have been scant. Here, we detected and sequenced a SARS-CoV-2 delta variant (AY.3) in fecal samples from an 11-year-old domestic house cat previously exposed to an owner who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Molecular testing of two fecal samples collected 7 days apart yielded relatively high levels of viral RNA. Sequencing of the feline-derived viral genomes showed the two to be identical, and differing by between 4 and 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms in pairwise comparisons to human-derived lineage AY.3 sequences collected in the same geographic area and time period. However, several mutations unique to the feline samples reveal their divergence from this cohort on phylogenetic analysis. These results demonstrate continued spillover infections of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants that threaten human and animal health, as well as highlight the importance of collecting fecal samples when testing for SARS-CoV-2 in animals. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first published case of a SARS-CoV-2 delta variant in a domestic cat in the United States.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Feces/virology , Pets/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cats , Female , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , United States , Whole Genome Sequencing
4.
mBio ; : e0378821, 2022 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673352

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the global outbreak of COVID-19. Evidence suggests that the virus is evolving to allow efficient spread through the human population, including vaccinated individuals. Here, we report a study of viral variants from surveillance of the Delaware Valley, including the city of Philadelphia, and variants infecting vaccinated subjects. We sequenced and analyzed complete viral genomes from 2621 surveillance samples from March 2020 to September 2021 and compared them to genome sequences from 159 vaccine breakthroughs. In the early spring of 2020, all detected variants were of the B.1 and closely related lineages. A mixture of lineages followed, notably including B.1.243 followed by B.1.1.7 (alpha), with other lineages present at lower levels. Later isolations were dominated by B.1.617.2 (delta) and other delta lineages; delta was the exclusive variant present by the last time sampled. To investigate whether any variants appeared preferentially in vaccine breakthroughs, we devised a model based on Bayesian autoregressive moving average logistic multinomial regression to allow rigorous comparison. This revealed that B.1.617.2 (delta) showed 3-fold enrichment in vaccine breakthrough cases (odds ratio of 3; 95% credible interval 0.89-11). Viral point substitutions could also be associated with vaccine breakthroughs, notably the N501Y substitution found in the alpha, beta and gamma variants (odds ratio 2.04; 95% credible interval of1.25-3.18). This study thus overviews viral evolution and vaccine breakthroughs in the Delaware Valley and introduces a rigorous statistical approach to interrogating enrichment of breakthrough variants against a changing background. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is highly effective at reducing viral infection, hospitalization and death. However, vaccine breakthrough infections have been widely observed, raising the question of whether particular viral variants or viral mutations are associated with breakthrough. Here, we report analysis of 2621 surveillance isolates from people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Delaware Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania, allowing rigorous comparison to 159 vaccine breakthrough case specimens. Our best estimate is a 3-fold enrichment for some lineages of delta among breakthroughs, and enrichment of a notable spike substitution, N501Y. We introduce statistical methods that should be widely useful for evaluating vaccine breakthroughs and other viral phenotypes.

5.
Am J Infect Control ; 50(4): 462-464, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1653967

ABSTRACT

We evaluated the effect of terminal cleaning on SARS-CoV-2 RNA contamination of COVID-19 isolation rooms in an acute care hospital. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected on 32.1% of room surfaces after cleaning; the odds of contamination increased with month. The prevalence of elevated high-touch surface contamination was lower in terminally cleaned rooms than patient-occupied rooms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disinfection , COVID-19/prevention & control , Hospitals , Humans , Patients' Rooms , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-6, 2021 Dec 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1627722

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The spatial and temporal extent of severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) environmental contamination has not been precisely defined. We sought to elucidate contamination of different surface types and how contamination changes over time. METHODS: We sampled surfaces longitudinally within COVID-19 patient rooms, performed quantitative RT-PCR for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, and modeled distance, time, and severity of illness on the probability of detecting SARS-CoV-2 using a mixed-effects binomial model. RESULTS: The probability of detecting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in a patient room did not vary with distance. However, we found that surface type predicted probability of detection, with floors and high-touch surfaces having the highest probability of detection: floors (odds ratio [OR], 67.8; 95% credible interval [CrI], 36.3-131) and high-touch elevated surfaces (OR, 7.39; 95% CrI, 4.31-13.1). Increased surface contamination was observed in room where patients required high-flow oxygen, positive airway pressure, or mechanical ventilation (OR, 1.6; 95% CrI, 1.03-2.53). The probability of elevated surface contamination decayed with prolonged hospitalization, but the probability of floor detection increased with the duration of the local pandemic wave. CONCLUSIONS: Distance from a patient's bed did not predict SARS-CoV-2 RNA deposition in patient rooms, but surface type, severity of illness, and time from local pandemic wave predicted surface deposition.

7.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-4, 2021 Nov 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545552

ABSTRACT

We prospectively surveyed SARS-CoV-2 RNA contamination in staff common areas within an acute-care hospital. An increasing prevalence of surface contamination was detected over time. Adjusting for patient census or community incidence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the proportion of contaminated surfaces did not predict healthcare worker COVID-19 infection on study units.

8.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(6): ofab235, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1258790

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) cycle threshold (Ct) has been used to estimate quantitative viral load, with the goal of targeting isolation precautions for individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and guiding public health interventions. However, variability in specimen quality can alter the Ct values obtained from SARS-CoV-2 clinical assays. We sought to define how variable nasopharyngeal (NP) swab quality impacts clinical SARS-CoV-2 test sensitivity. METHODS: We performed amplification of a human gene target (ß-actin) in parallel with a clinical RT-PCR targeting the SARS-CoV-2 ORF1ab gene for 1282 NP specimens collected from patients with clinical concern for COVID-19. We evaluated the relationship between NP specimen quality, characterized by late Ct values for the human gene target ß-actin Ct, and the probability of SARS-CoV-2 detection via logistic regression, as well as the linear relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and ß-actin Ct. RESULTS: Low-quality NP swabs are less likely to detect SARS-CoV-2 (odds ratio, 0.607 [95% credible interval {CrI}, .487-.753]). We observed a positive linear relationship between SARS-CoV-2 and ß-actin Ct values (slope, 0.181 [95% CrI, .097-.264]), consistent with a reduction in detection of 0.181 cycles for each additional cycle of the ß-actin target. COVID-19 disease severity was not associated with ß-actin Ct values. CONCLUSIONS: Variability in NP specimen quality significantly impacts the performance of clinical SARS-CoV-2 assays, and caution should be taken when interpreting quantitative SARS-CoV-2 Ct results. If unrecognized, low-quality NP specimens, which are characterized by a low level of amplifiable human DNA target, may limit the successful application of SARS-CoV-2 Ct values to direct infection control and public health interventions.

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