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Euro Surveill ; 26(43)2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1547185


BackgroundIn the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, viral genomes are available at unprecedented speed, but spatio-temporal bias in genome sequence sampling precludes phylogeographical inference without additional contextual data.AimWe applied genomic epidemiology to trace SARS-CoV-2 spread on an international, national and local level, to illustrate how transmission chains can be resolved to the level of a single event and single person using integrated sequence data and spatio-temporal metadata.MethodsWe investigated 289 COVID-19 cases at a university hospital in Munich, Germany, between 29 February and 27 May 2020. Using the ARTIC protocol, we obtained near full-length viral genomes from 174 SARS-CoV-2-positive respiratory samples. Phylogenetic analyses using the Auspice software were employed in combination with anamnestic reporting of travel history, interpersonal interactions and perceived high-risk exposures among patients and healthcare workers to characterise cluster outbreaks and establish likely scenarios and timelines of transmission.ResultsWe identified multiple independent introductions in the Munich Metropolitan Region during the first weeks of the first pandemic wave, mainly by travellers returning from popular skiing areas in the Alps. In these early weeks, the rate of presumable hospital-acquired infections among patients and in particular healthcare workers was high (9.6% and 54%, respectively) and we illustrated how transmission chains can be dissected at high resolution combining virus sequences and spatio-temporal networks of human interactions.ConclusionsEarly spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Europe was catalysed by superspreading events and regional hotspots during the winter holiday season. Genomic epidemiology can be employed to trace viral spread and inform effective containment strategies.

COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Germany/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2
Infection ; 2021 Jul 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330430


OBJECTIVE: Evaluation of pulmonary function impairment after COVID-19 in persistently symptomatic and asymptomatic patients of all disease severities and characterisation of risk factors. METHODS: Patients with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection underwent prospective follow-up with pulmonary function testing and blood gas analysis during steady-state cycle exercise 4 months after acute illness. Pulmonary function impairment (PFI) was defined as reduction below 80% predicted of DLCOcSB, TLC, FVC, or FEV1. Clinical data were analyzed to identify risk factors for impaired pulmonary function. RESULTS: 76 patients were included, hereof 35 outpatients with mild disease and 41 patients hospitalized due to COVID-19. Sixteen patients had critical disease requiring mechanical ventilation, 25 patients had moderate-severe disease. After 4 months, 44 patients reported persisting respiratory symptoms. Significant PFI was prevalent in 40 patients (52.6%) occurring among all disease severities. The most common cause for PFI was reduced DLCOcSB (n = 39, 51.3%), followed by reduced TLC and FVC. The severity of PFI was significantly associated with mechanical ventilation (p < 0.001). Further risk factors for DLCO impairment were COPD (p < 0.001), SARS-CoV-2 antibody-Titer (p = 0.014) and in hospitalized patients CT score. A decrease of paO2 > 3 mmHg during cycle exercise occurred in 1/5 of patients after mild disease course. CONCLUSION: We characterized pulmonary function impairment in asymptomatic and persistently symptomatic patients of different severity groups of COVID-19 and identified further risk factors associated with persistently decreased pulmonary function. Remarkably, gas exchange abnormalities were revealed upon cycle exercise in some patients with mild disease courses and no preexisting pulmonary condition.

Eur Respir J ; 58(1)2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1105685


A fraction of COVID-19 patients progress to a severe disease manifestation with respiratory failure and the necessity of mechanical ventilation. Identifying patients at risk is critical for optimised care and early therapeutic interventions. We investigated the dynamics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) shedding relative to disease severity.We analysed nasopharyngeal and tracheal shedding of SARS-CoV-2 in 92 patients with diagnosed COVID-19. Upon admission, standardised nasopharyngeal swab or sputum samples were collected. If patients were mechanically ventilated, endotracheal aspirate samples were additionally obtained. Viral shedding was quantified by real-time PCR detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA.45% (41 out of 92) of COVID-19 patients had a severe disease course with the need for mechanical ventilation (severe group). At week 1, the initial viral shedding determined from nasopharyngeal swabs showed no significant difference between nonsevere and severe cases. At week 2, a difference could be observed as the viral shedding remained elevated in severely ill patients. A time-course of C-reactive protein, interleukin-6 and procalcitonin revealed an even more protracted inflammatory response following the delayed drop of virus shedding load in severely ill patients. A significant proportion (47.8%) of patients showed evidence of prolonged viral shedding (>17 days), which was associated with severe disease courses (73.2%).We report that viral shedding does not differ significantly between severe and nonsevere COVID-19 cases upon admission to the hospital. Elevated SARS-CoV-2 shedding in the second week of hospitalisation, a systemic inflammatory reaction peaking between the second and third week, and prolonged viral shedding are associated with a more severe disease course.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , RNA, Viral , Respiratory System , Severity of Illness Index , Virus Shedding