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1.
Virus Evol ; 8(1): veac033, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1937684

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease pandemic has highlighted the utility of pathogen genomics as a key part of comprehensive public health response to emerging infectious diseases threats, however, the ability to generate, analyse, and respond to pathogen genomic data varies around the world. Papua New Guinea (PNG), which has limited in-country capacity for genomics, has experienced significant outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with initial genomics data indicating a large proportion of cases were from lineages that are not well defined within the current nomenclature. Through a partnership between in-country public health agencies and academic organisations, industry, and a public health genomics reference laboratory in Australia a system for routine SARS-CoV-2 genomics from PNG was established. Here we aim to characterise and describe the genomics of PNG's second wave and examine the sudden expansion of a lineage that is not well defined but very prevalent in the Western Pacific region. We generated 1797 sequences from cases in PNG and performed phylogenetic and phylodynamic analyses to examine the outbreak and characterise the circulating lineages and clusters present. Our results reveal the rapid expansion of the B.1.466.2 and related lineages within PNG, from multiple introductions into the country. We also highlight the difficulties that unstable lineage assignment causes when using genomics to assist with rapid cluster definitions.

2.
O'Toole, Áine, Hill, Verity, Pybus, Oliver, Watts, Alexander, Bogoch, Issac, Khan, Kamran, Messina, Jane, Tegally, Houriiyah, Lessells, Richard, Giandhari, Jennifer, Pillay, Sureshnee, Tumedi, Kefentse Arnold, Nyepetsi, Gape, Kebabonye, Malebogo, Matsheka, Maitshwarelo, Mine, Madisa, Tokajian, Sima, Hassan, Hamad, Salloum, Tamara, Merhi, Georgi, Koweyes, Jad, Geoghegan, Jemma, de Ligt, Joep, Ren, Xiaoyun, Storey, Matthew, Freed, Nikki, Pattabiraman, Chitra, Prasad, Pramada, Desai, Anita, Vasanthapuram, Ravi, Schulz, Thomas, Steinbrück, Lars, Stadler, Tanja, Parisi, Antonio, Bianco, Angelica, García de Viedma, Darío, Buenestado-Serrano, Sergio, Borges, Vítor, Isidro, Joana, Duarte, Sílvia, Gomes, João Paulo, Zuckerman, Neta, Mandelboim, Michal, Mor, Orna, Seemann, Torsten, Arnott, Alicia, Draper, Jenny, Gall, Mailie, Rawlinson, William, Deveson, Ira, Schlebusch, Sanmarié, McMahon, Jamie, Leong, Lex, Lim, Chuan Kok, Chironna, Maria, Loconsole, Daniela, Bal, Antonin, Josset, Laurence, Holmes, Edward, St. George, Kirsten, Lasek-Nesselquist, Erica, Sikkema, Reina, Oude Munnink, Bas, Koopmans, Marion, Brytting, Mia, Sudha rani, V.; Pavani, S.; Smura, Teemu, Heim, Albert, Kurkela, Satu, Umair, Massab, Salman, Muhammad, Bartolini, Barbara, Rueca, Martina, Drosten, Christian, Wolff, Thorsten, Silander, Olin, Eggink, Dirk, Reusken, Chantal, Vennema, Harry, Park, Aekyung, Carrington, Christine, Sahadeo, Nikita, Carr, Michael, Gonzalez, Gabo, de Oliveira, Tulio, Faria, Nuno, Rambaut, Andrew, Kraemer, Moritz, The, Covid-Genomics U. K. consortium, Network for Genomic Surveillance in South, Africa, Brazil, U. K. Cadde Genomic Network, Swiss Viollier Sequencing, Consortium, Diego, Search Alliance San, National Virus Reference, Laboratory, Seq, Covid Spain, Danish Covid-19 Genome, Consortium, Communicable Diseases Genomic, Network, Dutch National, Sars-CoV-surveillance program, Division of Emerging Infectious, Diseases.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-318194

ABSTRACT

Late in 2020, two genetically-distinct clusters of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with mutations of biological concern were reported, one in the United Kingdom and one in South Africa. Using a combination of data from routine surveillance, genomic sequencing and international travel we track the international dispersal of lineages B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 (variant 501Y-V2). We account for potential biases in genomic surveillance efforts by including passenger volumes from location of where the lineage was first reported, London and South Africa respectively. Using the software tool grinch (global report investigating novel coronavirus haplotypes), we track the international spread of lineages of concern with automated daily reports, Further, we have built a custom tracking website (cov-lineages.org/global_report.html) which hosts this daily report and will continue to include novel SARS-CoV-2 lineages of concern as they are detected.

3.
Sci Total Environ ; 820: 153171, 2022 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1629486

ABSTRACT

On the 26th of November 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) designated the newly detected B.1.1.529 lineage of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) the Omicron Variant of Concern (VOC). The genome of the Omicron VOC contains more than 50 mutations, many of which have been associated with increased transmissibility, differing disease severity, and potential to evade immune responses developed for previous VOCs such as Alpha and Delta. In the days since the designation of B.1.1.529 as a VOC, infections with the lineage have been reported in countries around the globe and many countries have implemented travel restrictions and increased border controls in response. We putatively detected the Omicron variant in an aircraft wastewater sample from a flight arriving to Darwin, Australia from Johannesburg, South Africa on the 25th of November 2021 via positive results on the CDC N1, CDC N2, and del(69-70) RT-qPCR assays per guidance from the WHO. The Australian Northern Territory Health Department detected one passenger onboard the flight who was infected with SARS-CoV-2, which was determined to be the Omicron VOC by sequencing of a nasopharyngeal swab sample. Subsequent sequencing of the aircraft wastewater sample using the ARTIC V3 protocol with Nanopore and ATOPlex confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant with a consensus genome that clustered with the B.1.1.529 BA.1 sub-lineage. Our detection and confirmation of a single onboard Omicron infection via aircraft wastewater further bolsters the important role that aircraft wastewater can play as an independent and unintrusive surveillance point for infectious diseases, particularly coronavirus disease 2019.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aircraft , Australia , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , South Africa/epidemiology , Waste Water
4.
Lancet Public Health ; 6(8): e547-e556, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433979

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A cornerstone of Australia's ability to control COVID-19 has been effective border control with an extensive supervised quarantine programme. However, a rapid recrudescence of COVID-19 was observed in the state of Victoria in June, 2020. We aim to describe the genomic findings that located the source of this second wave and show the role of genomic epidemiology in the successful elimination of COVID-19 for a second time in Australia. METHODS: In this observational, genomic epidemiological study, we did genomic sequencing of all laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Victoria, Australia between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021. We did phylogenetic analyses, genomic cluster discovery, and integrated results with epidemiological data (detailed information on demographics, risk factors, and exposure) collected via interview by the Victorian Government Department of Health. Genomic transmission networks were used to group multiple genomic clusters when epidemiological and genomic data suggested they arose from a single importation event and diversified within Victoria. To identify transmission of emergent lineages between Victoria and other states or territories in Australia, all publicly available SARS-CoV-2 sequences uploaded before Feb 11, 2021, were obtained from the national sequence sharing programme AusTrakka, and epidemiological data were obtained from the submitting laboratories. We did phylodynamic analyses to estimate the growth rate, doubling time, and number of days from the first local infection to the collection of the first sequenced genome for the dominant local cluster, and compared our growth estimates to previously published estimates from a similar growth phase of lineage B.1.1.7 (also known as the Alpha variant) in the UK. FINDINGS: Between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021, there were 20 451 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia, of which 15 431 were submitted for sequencing, and 11 711 met all quality control metrics and were included in our analysis. We identified 595 genomic clusters, with a median of five cases per cluster (IQR 2-11). Overall, samples from 11 503 (98·2%) of 11 711 cases clustered with another sample in Victoria, either within a genomic cluster or transmission network. Genomic analysis revealed that 10 426 cases, including 10 416 (98·4%) of 10 584 locally acquired cases, diagnosed during the second wave (between June and October, 2020) were derived from a single incursion from hotel quarantine, with the outbreak lineage (transmission network G, lineage D.2) rapidly detected in other Australian states and territories. Phylodynamic analyses indicated that the epidemic growth rate of the outbreak lineage in Victoria during the initial growth phase (samples collected between June 4 and July 9, 2020; 47·4 putative transmission events, per branch, per year [1/years; 95% credible interval 26·0-85·0]), was similar to that of other reported variants, such as B.1.1.7 in the UK (mean approximately 71·5 1/years). Strict interventions were implemented, and the outbreak lineage has not been detected in Australia since Oct 29, 2020. Subsequent cases represented independent international or interstate introductions, with limited local spread. INTERPRETATION: Our study highlights how rapid escalation of clonal outbreaks can occur from a single incursion. However, strict quarantine measures and decisive public health responses to emergent cases are effective, even with high epidemic growth rates. Real-time genomic surveillance can alter the way in which public health agencies view and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks. FUNDING: The Victorian Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, and the Medical Research Future Fund.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Epidemiologic Studies , Genomics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Victoria/epidemiology
5.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 06 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1259627

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of COVID-19, is a readily transmissible and potentially deadly pathogen which is currently re-defining human susceptibility to pandemic viruses in the modern world. The recent emergence of several genetically distinct descendants known as variants of concern (VOCs) is further challenging public health disease management, due to increased rates of virus transmission and potential constraints on vaccine effectiveness. We report the isolation of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs imported into Australia belonging to the B.1.351 lineage, first described in the Republic of South Africa (RSA), and the B.1.1.7 lineage originally reported in the United Kingdom, and directly compare the replication kinetics of these two VOCs in Vero E6 cells. In this analysis, we also investigated a B.1.1.7 VOC (QLD1516/2021) carrying a 7-nucleotide deletion in the open reading frame 7a (ORF7a) gene, likely truncating and rendering the ORF7a protein of this virus defective. We demonstrate that the replication of the B.1.351 VOC (QLD1520/2020) in Vero E6 cells can be detected earlier than the B.1.1.7 VOCs (QLD1516/2021 and QLD1517/2021), before peaking at 48 h post infection (p.i.), with significantly higher levels of virus progeny. Whilst replication of the ORF7a defective isolate QLD1516/2021 was delayed longer than the other viruses, slightly more viral progeny was produced by the mutant compared to the unmutated isolate QLD1517/2021 at 72 h p.i. Collectively, these findings contribute to our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 replication and evolutionary dynamics, which have important implications in the development of future vaccination, antiviral therapies, and epidemiological control strategies for COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Open Reading Frames/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Proteins/genetics , Virus Replication , Adult , Animals , Australia , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Kinetics , Middle Aged , Mutation , Nasopharynx/virology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/classification , South Africa , United Kingdom , Vero Cells
7.
Intern Med J ; 51(1): 42-51, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-944728

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization recognised clusters of pneumonia-like cases due to a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 became a pandemic 71 days later. AIM: To report the clinical and epidemiological features, laboratory data and outcomes of the first group of 11 returned travellers with COVID-19 in Australia. METHODS: This is a retrospective, multi-centre case series. All patients with confirmed COVID-19 infection were admitted to tertiary referral hospitals in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. RESULTS: The median age of the patient cohort was 42 years (interquartile range (IQR), 24-53 years) with six men and five women. Eight (72.7%) patients had returned from Wuhan, one from Shenzhen, one from Japan and one from Europe. Possible human-to-human transmission from close family contacts in gatherings overseas occurred in two cases. Symptoms on admission were fever, cough and sore throat (n = 9, 81.8%). Co-morbidities included hypertension (n = 3, 27.3%) and hypercholesterolaemia (n = 2, 18.2%). No patients developed severe acute respiratory distress nor required intensive care unit admission or mechanical ventilation. After a median hospital stay of 14.5 days (IQR, 6.75-21), all patients were discharged. CONCLUSIONS: This is a historical record of the first COVID-19 cases in Australia during the early biocontainment phase of the national response. These findings were invaluable for establishing early inpatient and outpatient COVID-19 models of care and informing the management of COVID-19 over time as the outbreak evolved. Future research should extend this Australian case series to examine global epidemiological variation of this novel infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Discharge , Retrospective Studies , Tertiary Care Centers , Young Adult
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