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1.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 439, 2022 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1839575

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants shaped the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the discourse around effective control measures. Evaluating the threat posed by a new variant is essential for adapting response efforts when community transmission is detected. In this study, we compare the dynamics of two variants, Alpha and Iota, by integrating genomic surveillance data to estimate the effective reproduction number (Rt) of the variants. We use Connecticut, United States, in which Alpha and Iota co-circulated in 2021. We find that the Rt of these variants were up to 50% larger than that of other variants. We then use phylogeography to show that while both variants were introduced into Connecticut at comparable frequencies, clades that resulted from introductions of Alpha were larger than those resulting from Iota introductions. By monitoring the dynamics of individual variants throughout our study period, we demonstrate the importance of routine surveillance in the response to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genomics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States/epidemiology
2.
Nat Med ; 28(3): 481-485, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1636460

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is raising concerns because of its increased transmissibility and its numerous spike mutations, which have the potential to evade neutralizing antibodies elicited by COVID-19 vaccines. Here we evaluated the effects of a heterologous BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine booster on the humoral immunity of participants who had received a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac, an inactivated vaccine used globally. We found that a heterologous CoronaVac prime vaccination of two doses followed by a BNT162b2 booster induces elevated virus-specific antibody levels and potent neutralization activity against the ancestral virus and the Delta variant, resembling the titers obtained after two doses of mRNA vaccines. Although neutralization of Omicron was undetectable in participants who had received a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac, the BNT162b2 booster resulted in a 1.4-fold increase in neutralization activity against Omicron compared with the two-dose mRNA vaccine. Despite this increase, neutralizing antibody titers were reduced by 7.1-fold and 3.6-fold for Omicron compared with the ancestral strain and the Delta variant, respectively. These findings have immediate implications for multiple countries that previously used a CoronaVac regimen and reinforce the idea 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.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic
3.
PLoS Biol ; 19(5): e3001236, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220158

ABSTRACT

With the emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants that may increase transmissibility and/or cause escape from immune responses, 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 United Kingdom, could be serendipitously detected by the Thermo Fisher TaqPath COVID-19 PCR assay because a key deletion in these viruses, spike Δ69-70, 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 (VOC) that lack spike Δ69-70, such as B.1.351 (also 501Y.V2), detected in South Africa, and P.1 (also 501Y.V3), recently detected in Brazil. We identified a deletion in the ORF1a gene (ORF1a Δ3675-3677) in all 3 variants, which has not yet been widely detected in other SARS-CoV-2 lineages. Using ORF1a Δ3675-3677 as the primary target and spike Δ69-70 to differentiate, we designed and validated an open-source PCR assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 VOC. Our assay can be rapidly deployed in laboratories around the world to enhance surveillance for the local emergence and spread of B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/genetics , DNA Primers , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Mutation , Polyproteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
4.
Cell ; 184(10): 2595-2604.e13, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1163482

ABSTRACT

The emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7, first detected in the United Kingdom, has become a global public health concern because of its increased transmissibility. Over 2,500 COVID-19 cases associated with this variant have been detected in the United States (US) since December 2020, but the extent of establishment is relatively unknown. Using travel, genomic, and diagnostic data, we highlight that the primary ports of entry for B.1.1.7 in the US were in New York, California, and Florida. Furthermore, we found evidence for many independent B.1.1.7 establishments starting in early December 2020, followed by interstate spread by the end of the month. Finally, we project that B.1.1.7 will be the dominant lineage in many states by mid- to late March. Thus, genomic surveillance for B.1.1.7 and other variants urgently needs to be enhanced to better inform the public health response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , United States/epidemiology
5.
Cell ; 181(5): 990-996.e5, 2020 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-60444

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 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 United States, 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 effects of federal travel restrictions. This study provides evidence of widespread sustained transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the United States and highlights the critical need for local surveillance.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Travel , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Connecticut/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans , Likelihood Functions , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , United States/epidemiology , Washington/epidemiology
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