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1.
Front Public Health ; 9: 773850, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1607729

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Until today, the role of children in the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 and the development of the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be dynamic and is not finally resolved. The primary aim of this study is to investigate the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in child day care centers and connected households as well as transmission-related indicators and clinical symptoms among children and adults. Methods and Analysis: COALA ("Corona outbreak-related examinations in day care centers") is a day care center- and household-based study with a case-ascertained study design. Based on day care centers with at least one reported case of SARS-CoV-2, we include one- to six-year-old children and staff of the affected group in the day care center as well as their respective households. We visit each child's and adult's household. During the home visit we take from each household member a combined mouth and nose swab as well as a saliva sample for analysis of SARS-CoV-2-RNA by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (real-time RT-PCR) and a capillary blood sample for a retrospective assessment of an earlier SARS-CoV-2 infection. Furthermore, information on health status, socio-demographics and COVID-19 protective measures are collected via a short telephone interview in the subsequent days. In the following 12 days, household members (or parents for their children) self-collect the same respiratory samples as described above every 3 days and a stool sample for children once. COVID-19 symptoms are documented daily in a symptom diary. Approximately 35 days after testing the index case, every participant who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 during the study is re-visited at home for another capillary blood sample and a standardized interview. The analysis includes secondary attack rates, by age of primary case, both in the day care center and in households, as well as viral shedding dynamics, including the beginning of shedding relative to symptom onset and viral clearance. Discussion: The results contribute to a better understanding of the epidemiological and virological transmission-related indicators of SARS-CoV-2 among young children, as compared to adults and the interplay between day care and households.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Child , Child, Preschool , Day Care, Medical , Disease Outbreaks , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Infant , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies
2.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 749588, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556183

ABSTRACT

Background: Testing of possibly infected individuals remains cornerstone of containing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Detection dogs could contribute to mass screening. Previous research demonstrated canines' ability to detect SARS-CoV-2-infections but has not investigated if dogs can differentiate between COVID-19 and other virus infections. Methods: Twelve dogs were trained to detect SARS-CoV-2 positive samples. Three test scenarios were performed to evaluate their ability to discriminate SARS-CoV-2-infections from viral infections of a different aetiology. Naso- and oropharyngeal swab samples from individuals and samples from cell culture both infected with one of 15 viruses that may cause COVID-19-like symptoms were presented as distractors in a randomised, double-blind study. Dogs were either trained with SARS-CoV-2 positive saliva samples (test scenario I and II) or with supernatant from cell cultures (test scenario III). Results: When using swab samples from individuals infected with viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 as distractors (test scenario I), dogs detected swab samples from SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals with a mean diagnostic sensitivity of 73.8% (95% CI: 66.0-81.7%) and a specificity of 95.1% (95% CI: 92.6-97.7%). In test scenario II and III cell culture supernatant from cells infected with SARS-CoV-2, cells infected with other coronaviruses and non-infected cells were presented. Dogs achieved mean diagnostic sensitivities of 61.2% (95% CI: 50.7-71.6%, test scenario II) and 75.8% (95% CI: 53.0-98.5%, test scenario III), respectively. The diagnostic specificities were 90.9% (95% CI: 87.3-94.6%, test scenario II) and 90.2% (95% CI: 81.1-99.4%, test scenario III), respectively. Conclusion: In all three test scenarios the mean specificities were above 90% which indicates that dogs can distinguish SARS-CoV-2-infections from other viral infections. However, compared to earlier studies our scent dogs achieved lower diagnostic sensitivities. To deploy COVID-19 detection dogs as a reliable screening method it is therefore mandatory to include a variety of samples from different viral respiratory tract infections in dog training to ensure a successful discrimination process.

3.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-293050

ABSTRACT

Pre-vaccine SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence data from Germany are scarce outside hotspots, and socioeconomic disparities remained largely unexplored. The nationwide RKI-SOEP study with 15,122 adult participants investigated seroprevalence and testing in a supplementary wave of the Socio-Economic-Panel conducted predominantly in October-November 2020. Self-collected oral-nasal swabs were PCR-positive in 0.4% and Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2-S1-IgG ELISA from dry capillary blood in 1.3% (95% CI 0.9-1.7%, population-weighted, corrected for sensitivity=0.811, specificity=0.997). Seroprevalence was 1.7% (95% CI 1.2-2.3%) when additionally adjusting for antibody decay. Overall infection prevalence including self-reports was 2.1%. We estimate 45% (95% CI 21-60%) undetected cases and analyses suggest lower detection in socioeconomically deprived districts. Prior SARS-CoV-2 testing was reported by 18% from the lower educational group compared to 25% and 26% from the medium and high educational group (p<0.0001). Symptom-triggered test frequency was similar across educational groups. However, routine testing was more common in low-educated adults, whereas travel-related testing and testing after contact with an infected person was more common in highly educated groups. In conclusion, pre-vaccine SARS-CoV-2-seroprevalence in Germany was very low. Notified cases appear to capture more than half of infections but may underestimate infections in lower socioeconomic groups. These data confirm the successful containment strategy of Germany until winter 2020.

4.
Euro Surveill ; 26(44)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504591

ABSTRACT

IntroductionThe detection of SARS-CoV-2 with rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) has become an important tool to identify infected people and break infection chains. These RDT are usually based on antigen detection in a lateral flow approach.AimWe aimed to establish a comprehensive specimen panel for the decentralised technical evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid diagnostic tests.MethodsWhile for PCR diagnostics the validation of a PCR assay is well established, there is no common validation strategy for antigen tests, including RDT. In this proof-of-principle study we present the establishment of a panel of 50 pooled clinical specimens that cover a SARS-CoV-2 concentration range from 1.1 × 109 to 420 genome copies per mL of specimen. The panel was used to evaluate 31 RDT in up to six laboratories.ResultsOur results show that there is considerable variation in the detection limits and the clinical sensitivity of different RDT. We show that the best RDT can be applied to reliably identify infectious individuals who present with SARS-CoV-2 loads down to 106 genome copies per mL of specimen. For the identification of infected individuals with SARS-CoV-2 loads corresponding to less than 106 genome copies per mL, only three RDT showed a clinical sensitivity of more than 60%.ConclusionsSensitive RDT can be applied to identify infectious individuals with high viral loads but not to identify all infected individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antigens, Viral , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity , Serologic Tests
5.
Int J Infect Dis ; 110: 261-266, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373061

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Containing COVID-19 requires broad-scale testing. However, sample collection requires qualified personnel and protective equipment and may cause transmission. We assessed the sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2-rtPCR applying three self-sampling techniques as compared to professionally collected oro-nasopharyngeal samples (cOP/NP). METHODS: From 62 COVID-19 outpatients, we obtained: (i) multi-swab, MS; (ii) saliva sponge combined with nasal vestibula, SN; (iii) gargled water, GW; (iv) professionally collected cOP/NP (standard). We compared ct-values for E-gene and ORF1ab and analysed variables reducing sensitivity of self-collecting procedures. RESULTS: The median ct-values for E-gene and ORF1ab obtained in cOP/NP samples were 20.7 and 20.2, in MS samples 22.6 and 21.8, in SN samples 23.3 and 22.3, and in GW samples 30.3 and 29.8, respectively. MS and SN samples showed sensitivities of 95.2% (95%CI, 86.5-99.0) and GW samples of 88.7% (78.1-95.3). Sensitivity was inversely correlated with ct-values, and became <90% for samples obtained more than 8 days after symptom onset. For MS and SN samples, false negativity was associated with language problems, sampling errors, and symptom duration. CONCLUSION: Conclusions from this study are limited to the sensitivity of self-sampling in mildly to moderately symptomatic patients. Still, self-collected oral/nasal/saliva samples can facilitate up-scaling of testing in early symptomatic COVID-19 patients if operational errors are minimized.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Nasopharynx , Outpatients , Saliva , Specimen Handling
6.
Front Microbiol ; 12: 651151, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317232

ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in December 2019, the scientific community has been sharing data on epidemiology, diagnostic methods, and whole-genomic sequences almost in real time. The latter have already facilitated phylogenetic analyses, transmission chain tracking, protein modeling, the identification of possible therapeutic targets, timely risk assessment, and identification of novel variants. We have established and evaluated an amplification-based approach for whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2. It can be used on the miniature-sized and field-deployable sequencing device Oxford Nanopore MinION, with sequencing library preparation time of 10 min. We show that the generation of 50,000 total reads per sample is sufficient for a near complete coverage (>90%) of the SARS-CoV-2 genome directly from patient samples even if virus concentration is low (Ct 35, corresponding to approximately 5 genome copies per reaction). For patient samples with high viral load (Ct 18-24), generation of 50,000 reads in 1-2 h was shown to be sufficient for a genome coverage of >90%. Comparison to Illumina data reveals an accuracy that suffices to identify virus mutants. AmpliCoV can be applied whenever sequence information on SARS-CoV-2 is required rapidly, for instance for the identification of circulating virus mutants.

7.
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 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , T-Lymphocytes , Vaccination
8.
Virol J ; 18(1): 110, 2021 06 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1255943

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The reliable detection of SARS-CoV-2 has become one of the most important contributions to COVID-19 crisis management. With the publication of the first sequences of SARS-CoV-2, several diagnostic PCR assays have been developed and published. In addition to in-house assays the market was flooded with numerous commercially available ready-to-use PCR kits, with both approaches showing alarming shortages in reagent supply. AIM: Here we present a resource-efficient in-house protocol for the PCR detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in patient specimens (RKI/ZBS1 SARS-CoV-2 protocol). METHODS: Two duplex one-step real-time RT-PCR assays are run simultaneously and provide information on two different SARS-CoV-2 genomic regions. Each one is duplexed with a control that either indicates potential PCR inhibition or proves the successful extraction of nucleic acid from the clinical specimen. RESULTS: Limit of RNA detection for both SARS-CoV-2 assays is below 10 genomes per reaction. The protocol enables testing specimens in duplicate across the two different SARS-CoV-2 PCR assays, saving reagents by increasing testing capacity. The protocol can be run on various PCR cyclers with several PCR master mix kits. CONCLUSION: The presented RKI/ZBS1 SARS-CoV-2 protocol represents a cost-effective alternative in times of shortages when commercially available ready-to-use kits may not be available or affordable.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Humans , Limit of Detection , Polyproteins/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Proteins/genetics
9.
Patterns (N Y) ; 2(6): 100262, 2021 Jun 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1237843

ABSTRACT

Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) remain decisive tools to contain SARS-CoV-2. Strategies that combine NPIs with testing may improve efficacy and shorten quarantine durations. We developed a stochastic within-host model of SARS-CoV-2 that captures temporal changes in test sensitivities, incubation periods, and infectious periods. We used the model to simulate relative transmission risk for (1) isolation of symptomatic individuals, (2) contact person management, and (3) quarantine of incoming travelers. We estimated that testing travelers at entry reduces transmission risks to 21.3% ([20.7, 23.9], by PCR) and 27.9% ([27.1, 31.1], by rapid diagnostic test [RDT]), compared with unrestricted entry. We calculated that 4 (PCR) or 5 (RDT) days of pre-test quarantine are non-inferior to 10 days of quarantine for incoming travelers and that 8 (PCR) or 10 (RDT) days of pre-test quarantine are non-inferior to 14 days of post-exposure quarantine. De-isolation of infected individuals 13 days after symptom onset may reduce the transmission risk to <0.2% (<0.01, 6.0).

10.
Mol Cell Probes ; 58: 101742, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220955

ABSTRACT

Point of care detection of SARS-CoV-2 is one pillar in a containment strategy and important to break infection chains. Here we report the sensitive, specific and robust detection of SARS-CoV-2 and respective variants of concern by the ID NOW COVID-19 device.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Humans , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sensitivity and Specificity
11.
Bundesgesundheitsblatt Gesundheitsforschung Gesundheitsschutz ; 64(4): 395-402, 2021 Apr.
Article in German | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1196564

ABSTRACT

As part of the national influenza pandemic preparedness, surveillance systems have been established in Germany in addition to the mandatory notifications according to the Protection Against Infection Act. The aim of these systems is the description, analysis, and evaluation of the epidemiology of acute respiratory infections (ARIs), the identification of the circulating viruses, and the trend. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the systems have been expanded to enable monitoring of infections with SARS-CoV­2.Three systems are presented: GrippeWeb, the primary care sentinel Arbeitsgemeinschaft Influenza with its electronic reporting module SEEDARE, and the ICD-10-based hospital sentinel ICOSARI. With these systems, ARIs can be monitored at the population, outpatient, and inpatient levels. In combination with the monitoring of mortality, these systems provide important information on the frequency of different stages of disease severity in the population. In order to expand the systems to SARS-CoV­2, only a few adjustments were needed.As the case definitions for ARIs were preserved, historical baselines of the systems can still be used for comparison. All systems are structured in such a way that stable and established reference values are available for calculating weekly proportions and rates.This is an important addition to the mandatory reporting system of infectious diseases in Germany, which depends on the particular testing strategy, the number of tests performed, and on specific case definitions, which are adapted as required.The surveillance systems have proven to be feasible and efficient in the COVID-19 pandemic, even when compared internationally.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Tract Infections , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
12.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 3515, 2021 02 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1078602

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is the causative of the COVID-19 disease, which has spread pandemically around the globe within a few months. It is therefore necessary to collect fundamental information about the disease, its epidemiology and treatment, as well as about the virus itself. While the virus has been identified rapidly, detailed ultrastructural analysis of virus cell biology and architecture is still in its infancy. We therefore studied the virus morphology and morphometry of SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to SARS-CoV as it appears in Vero cell cultures by using conventional thin section electron microscopy and electron tomography. Both virus isolates, SARS-CoV Frankfurt 1 and SARS-CoV-2 Italy-INMI1, were virtually identical at the ultrastructural level and revealed a very similar particle size distribution with a median of about 100 nm without spikes. Maximal spike length of both viruses was 23 nm. The number of spikes per virus particle was about 30% higher in the SARS-CoV than in the SARS-CoV-2 isolate. This result complements a previous qualitative finding, which was related to a lower productivity of SARS-CoV-2 in cell culture in comparison to SARS-CoV.


Subject(s)
SARS-CoV-2/ultrastructure , Virion/ultrastructure , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Electron Microscope Tomography , Plastics , RNA, Viral , Vero Cells , Virus Replication
13.
Euro Surveill ; 25(47)2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-976160

ABSTRACT

Three months after a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Kupferzell, Germany, a population-based study (n = 2,203) found no RT-PCR-positives. IgG-ELISA seropositivity with positive virus neutralisation tests was 7.7% (95% confidence interval (CI): 6.5-9.1) and 4.3% with negative neutralisation tests. We estimate 12.0% (95% CI: 10.4-14.0%) infected adults (24.5% asymptomatic), six times more than notified. Full hotspot containment confirms the effectiveness of prompt protection measures. However, 88% naïve adults are still at high COVID-19 risk.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Incidence , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Population Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Serologic Tests
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