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1.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-330706

ABSTRACT

With the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that may increase transmissibility and/or cause escape from immune responses 1-3 , there is an urgent need for the targeted surveillance of circulating lineages. It was found that the B.1.1.7 (also 501Y.V1) variant first detected in the UK 4,5 could be serendipitously detected by the ThermoFisher TaqPath COVID-19 PCR assay because a key deletion in these viruses, spike DELTA69-70, would cause a "spike gene target failure" (SGTF) result. However, a SGTF result is not definitive for B.1.1.7, and this assay cannot detect other variants of concern that lack spike DELTA69-70, such as B.1.351 (also 501Y.V2) detected in South Africa 6 and P.1 (also 501Y.V3) recently detected in Brazil 7 . We identified a deletion in the ORF1a gene (ORF1a DELTA3675-3677) in all three variants, which has not yet been widely detected in other SARS-CoV-2 lineages. Using ORF1a DELTA3675-3677 as the primary target and spike DELTA69-70 to differentiate, we designed and validated an open source PCR assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern 8 . Our assay can be rapidly deployed in laboratories around the world to enhance surveillance for the local emergence spread of B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1.

2.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-327021

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is raising concerns because of its increased transmissibility and by its numerous spike mutations with potential to evade neutralizing antibodies elicited by COVID-19 vaccines. The Dominican Republic was among the first countries in recommending the administration of a third dose COVID-19 vaccine to address potential waning immunity and reduced effectiveness against variants. Here, we evaluated the effects of a heterologous BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine booster on the humoral immunity of participants that had received a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine used globally. We found that heterologous CoronaVac prime followed by BNT162b2 booster regimen induces elevated virus-specific antibody levels and potent neutralization activity against the ancestral virus and Delta variant, resembling the titers obtained after two doses of mRNA vaccines. While neutralization of Omicron was undetectable in participants that had received a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac vaccine, BNT162b2 booster resulted in a 1.4-fold increase in neutralization activity against Omicron, compared to two-dose mRNA vaccine. Despite this increase, neutralizing antibody titers were reduced by 6.3-fold and 2.7-fold for Omicron compared to ancestral and Delta variant, respectively. Surprisingly, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection did not affect the neutralizing titers for Omicron in participants that received the heterologous regimen. Our findings have immediate implications for multiples countries that previously used a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac and reinforce the notion that the Omicron variant is associated with immune escape from vaccines or infection-induced immunity, highlighting the global need for vaccine boosters to combat the impact of emerging variants.

3.
MEDLINE;
Preprint in English | MEDLINE | ID: ppcovidwho-326567

ABSTRACT

Since its emergence and detection in Wuhan, China in late 2019, the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has spread to nearly every country around the world, resulting in hundreds of thousands of infections to date. The virus was first detected in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States in January, 2020, with subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks detected in all 50 states by early March. To uncover the sources of SARS-CoV-2 introductions and patterns of spread within the U.S., we sequenced nine viral genomes from early reported COVID-19 patients in Connecticut. Our phylogenetic analysis places the majority of these genomes with viruses sequenced from Washington state. By coupling our genomic data with domestic and international travel patterns, we show that early SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Connecticut was likely driven by domestic introductions. Moreover, the risk of domestic importation to Connecticut exceeded that of international importation by mid-March regardless of our estimated impacts of federal travel restrictions. This study provides evidence for widespread, sustained transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the U.S. and highlights the critical need for local surveillance.

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