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1.
Front Cell Infect Microbiol ; 12: 894613, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1952263

ABSTRACT

Background: Genomic surveillance efforts for SARS-CoV-2 are needed to understand the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic. Viral variants may impact routine diagnostic testing, increase viral transmissibility, cause differences in disease severity, have decreased susceptibility to therapeutics, and/or confer the ability to evade host immunity. While viral whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has played a leading role in surveillance programs, many laboratories lack the expertise and resources for performing WGS. This study describes the performance of multiplexed real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assays for identification of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Methods: SARS-CoV-2 specimens were tested for spike-gene variants using a combination of allele-specific primer and allele-specific detection technology (PlexPrime® and PlexZyme®). Targeted detection of spike gene mutations by RT-PCR was compared to variant detection in positive specimens by WGS, including the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. Results: A total of 398 SAR-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive and 39 negative specimens previously tested by WGS were re-tested by RT-PCR genotyping. PCR detection of spike gene mutations N501Y, E484K, and S982A correlated 100% with WGS for the 29 lineages represented, including Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Gamma (P.1). Incorporating the P681R spike gene mutation also allowed screening for the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant (B.1.617.2 and AY sublineages). Further sampling of 664 specimens that were screened by WGS between June and August 2021 and then re-tested by RT-PCR showed strong agreement for Delta variant positivity: 34.5% for WGS vs 32.9% for RT-PCR in June; 100% vs 97.8% in August. In a blinded panel of 16 Omicron and 16 Delta specimens, results of RT-PCR were 100% concordant with WGS results. Conclusions: These data demonstrate that multiplexed real-time RT-PCR genotyping has strong agreement with WGS and may provide additional SARS-CoV-2 variant screening capabilities when WGS is unavailable or cost-prohibitive. RT-PCR genotyping assays may also supplement existing sequencing efforts while providing rapid results at or near the time of diagnosis to help guide patient management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
2.
Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology ; 12, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1863847

ABSTRACT

Background Genomic surveillance efforts for SARS-CoV-2 are needed to understand the epidemiology of the COVID-19 pandemic. Viral variants may impact routine diagnostic testing, increase viral transmissibility, cause differences in disease severity, have decreased susceptibility to therapeutics, and/or confer the ability to evade host immunity. While viral whole-genome sequencing (WGS) has played a leading role in surveillance programs, many laboratories lack the expertise and resources for performing WGS. This study describes the performance of multiplexed real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assays for identification of SARS-CoV-2 variants. Methods SARS-CoV-2 specimens were tested for spike-gene variants using a combination of allele-specific primer and allele-specific detection technology (PlexPrime® and PlexZyme®). Targeted detection of spike gene mutations by RT-PCR was compared to variant detection in positive specimens by WGS, including the recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant. Results A total of 398 SAR-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive and 39 negative specimens previously tested by WGS were re-tested by RT-PCR genotyping. PCR detection of spike gene mutations N501Y, E484K, and S982A correlated 100% with WGS for the 29 lineages represented, including Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Gamma (P.1). Incorporating the P681R spike gene mutation also allowed screening for the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant (B.1.617.2 and AY sublineages). Further sampling of 664 specimens that were screened by WGS between June and August 2021 and then re-tested by RT-PCR showed strong agreement for Delta variant positivity: 34.5% for WGS vs 32.9% for RT-PCR in June;100% vs 97.8% in August. In a blinded panel of 16 Omicron and 16 Delta specimens, results of RT-PCR were 100% concordant with WGS results. Conclusions These data demonstrate that multiplexed real-time RT-PCR genotyping has strong agreement with WGS and may provide additional SARS-CoV-2 variant screening capabilities when WGS is unavailable or cost-prohibitive. RT-PCR genotyping assays may also supplement existing sequencing efforts while providing rapid results at or near the time of diagnosis to help guide patient management.

3.
Popul Health Manag ; 24(S1): S26-S34, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1236198

ABSTRACT

Laboratory testing is an important component in the diagnosis of respiratory tract infections such as with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). However, specimen collection not only risks exposure of health care workers and other patients to infection, but also necessitates use of personal protective equipment that may be in short supply during periods of heightened disease activity. Self-collection of nasal or oropharyngeal swabs offers an alternative to address these drawbacks. Although studies in the past decade have demonstrated the utility of this approach for respiratory infections, it has not been widely adopted in routine clinical practice. The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, has focused attention on the need for safe, convenient, timely, and scalable methods for collecting upper respiratory specimens for testing. The goals of this article are to highlight the literature regarding self-collected nasal or oropharyngeal specimens for respiratory pathogen testing; discuss the role of self-collection in helping prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease from infected patients and facilitating a shift toward "virtual" medicine or telemedicine; and describe the current and future state of self-collection for infectious agents, and the impacts these approaches can have on population health management and disease diagnosis and prevention.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Population Health Management , Specimen Handling/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Infant , Middle Aged , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/prevention & control , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Self Care , Telemedicine , Young Adult
4.
Am J Prev Med ; 61(3): 386-393, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1233352

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: This study evaluates the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on testing for common sexually transmitted infections. Specifically, changes are measured in chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and case detection among patients aged 14-49 years during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: U.S. chlamydia and gonorrhea testing and positivity were analyzed on the basis of >18.6 million tests (13.6 million tests for female patients and 4.7 million tests for male patients) performed by a national reference clinical laboratory from January 2019 through June 2020. RESULTS: Chlamydia and gonorrhea testing reached a nadir in early April 2020, with decreases (relative to the baseline level) of 59% for female patients and 63% for male patients. Declines in testing were strongly associated with increases in weekly positivity rates for chlamydia (R2=0.96) and gonorrhea (R2=0.85). From March 2020 through June 2020, an expected 27,659 (26.4%) chlamydia and 5,577 (16.5%) gonorrhea cases were potentially missed. CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic impacted routine sexually transmitted infection services, suggesting an increase in syndromic sexually transmitted infection testing and missed asymptomatic cases. Follow-up analyses will be needed to assess the long-term implications of missed screening opportunities. These findings should serve as a warning for the potential sexual and reproductive health implications that can be expected from the overall decline in testing and potential missed cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Chlamydia Infections , Chlamydia , Gonorrhea , Sexually Transmitted Diseases , Chlamydia Infections/diagnosis , Chlamydia Infections/epidemiology , Female , Gonorrhea/diagnosis , Gonorrhea/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Mass Screening , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/epidemiology
5.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(4): ofab039, 2021 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1057870

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The use of a remote specimen collection strategy employing a kit designed for unobserved self-collection for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) can decrease the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and exposure risk. To assess the impact of unobserved specimen self-collection on test performance, we examined results from a SARS-CoV-2 qualitative RT-PCR test for self-collected specimens from participants in a return-to-work screening program and assessed the impact of a pooled testing strategy in this cohort. METHODS: Self-collected anterior nasal swabs from employee return-to-work programs were tested using the Quest Diagnostics Emergency Use Authorization SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR. The cycle threshold (Ct) values for the N1 and N3 N-gene targets and a human RNase P (RP) gene control target were tabulated. For comparison, we utilized Ct values from a cohort of health care provider-collected specimens from patients with and without coronavirus disease 2019 symptoms. RESULTS: Among 47 923 participants, 1.8% were positive. RP failed to amplify for 13/115 435 (0.011%) specimens. The median (interquartile range) Cts were 32.7 (25.0-35.7) for N1 and 31.3 (23.8-34.2) for N3. Median Ct values in the self-collected cohort were significantly higher than those of symptomatic but not asymptomatic patients. Based on Ct values, pooled testing with 4 specimens would have yielded inconclusive results in 67/1268 (5.2%) specimens but only a single false-negative result. CONCLUSIONS: Unobserved self-collection of nasal swabs provides adequate sampling for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing. These findings alleviate concerns of increased false negatives in this context. Specimen pooling could be used for this population, as the likelihood of false-negative results is very low when using a sensitive, dual-target methodology.

6.
J Clin Microbiol ; 58(8)2020 Jul 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-999193

ABSTRACT

The global coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a worldwide shortage of viral transport media and raised questions about specimen stability. The objective of this study was to determine the stability of severe acute respiratory syndrome CoV 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA in specimen transport media under various storage conditions. Transport media tested included UTM, UTM-RT, ESwab, M4, and saline (0.9% NaCl). Specimen types tested included nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal swabs in the above-named transport media, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid, and sputum. A high-titer SARS-CoV-2 remnant patient specimen was spiked into pooled SARS-CoV-2 RNA-negative specimen remnants for the various medium types. Aliquots of samples were stored at 18°C to 26°C, 2°C to 8°C, and -10°C to -30°C and then tested at time points up to 14 days. Specimens consistently yielded amplifiable RNA with mean cycle threshold differences of <3 over the various conditions assayed, thus supporting the use and transport of alternative collection media and specimen types under a variety of temperature storage conditions.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Laboratory Chemicals/chemistry , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Specimen Handling/methods , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Pandemics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Temperature
7.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 7(11): ofaa466, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-804233

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Nucleic acid amplification testing is a critical tool for addressing the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. Specimen pooling can increase throughput and conserve testing resources but requires validation to ensure that reduced sensitivity does not increase the false-negative rate. We evaluated the performance of a real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use for pooled testing of upper respiratory specimens. METHODS: Positive specimens were selected from 3 prevalence groups, 1%-3%, >3%-6%, and >6%-10%. Positive percent agreement (PPA) was assessed by pooling single-positive specimens with 3 negative specimens; performance was assessed using Passing-Bablok regression. Additionally, we assessed the distributions of RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values for 3091 positive specimens. RESULTS: PPA was 100% for the 101 pooled specimens. There was a linear relationship between Ct values for pooled and single-tested specimens (r = 0.96-0.99; slope ≈ 1). The mean pooled Ct shifts at 40 cycles were 2.38 and 1.90, respectively, for the N1 and N3 targets. The median Cts for 3091 positive specimens were 25.9 (N1) and 24.7 (N3). The percentage of positive specimens with Cts between 40 and the shifted Ct was 1.42% (N1) and 0.0% (N3). CONCLUSIONS: Pooled and individual testing of specimens positive for SARS-CoV-2 demonstrated 100% agreement, which demonstrates the viability of pooled specimens for SARS-COV-2 testing using a dual-target RT-PCR system. Pooled specimen testing can help increase testing capacity for SARS-CoV-2 with a low risk of false-negative results.

8.
J Clin Microbiol ; 58(11)2020 10 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-721186

ABSTRACT

A total of 1,200 serum samples that were tested for SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody using the Abbott Architect immunoassay targeting the nucleocapsid protein were run in 3 SARS-CoV-2 IgG immunoassays targeting spike proteins (DiaSorin Liaison, Ortho Vitros, and Euroimmun). Consensus-positive and consensus-negative interpretations were defined as qualitative agreement in at least 3 of the 4 assays. Agreement of the 4 individual assays with a consensus-negative interpretation (n = 610) ranged from 96.7% to 100%, and agreement with a consensus-positive interpretation (n = 584) ranged from 94.3% to 100%. Laboratory-developed inhibition assays were utilized to evaluate 49 consensus-negative samples that were positive in only one assay; true-positive reactivity was confirmed in only 2 of these 49 (4%) samples. These findings demonstrate very high levels of agreement among 4 SARS-CoV-2 IgG assays authorized for emergency use, regardless of antigen target or assay format. Although false-positive reactivity was identified, its occurrence was rare (no more than 1.7% of samples for a given assay).


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Nucleocapsid , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , SARS Virus , Antibodies, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Humans , Immunoassay , Immunoglobulin G , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
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