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2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 5240, 2022 09 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2008277

ABSTRACT

Novel variants continue to emerge in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. University testing programs may provide timely epidemiologic and genomic surveillance data to inform public health responses. We conducted testing from September 2021 to February 2022 in a university population under vaccination and indoor mask mandates. A total of 3,048 of 24,393 individuals tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-PCR; whole genome sequencing identified 209 Delta and 1,730 Omicron genomes of the 1,939 total sequenced. Compared to Delta, Omicron had a shorter median serial interval between genetically identical, symptomatic infections within households (2 versus 6 days, P = 0.021). Omicron also demonstrated a greater peak reproductive number (2.4 versus 1.8), and a 1.07 (95% confidence interval: 0.58, 1.57; P < 0.0001) higher mean cycle threshold value. Despite near universal vaccination and stringent mitigation measures, Omicron rapidly displaced the Delta variant to become the predominant viral strain and led to a surge in cases in a university population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genomics , Humans , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Universities
3.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(1): e536-e544, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1886386

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is dominated by variant viruses; the resulting impact on disease severity remains unclear. Using a retrospective cohort study, we assessed the hospitalization risk following infection with 7 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants. METHODS: Our study includes individuals with positive SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in the Washington Disease Reporting System with available viral genome data, from 1 December 2020 to 14 January 2022. The analysis was restricted to cases with specimens collected through sentinel surveillance. Using a Cox proportional hazards model with mixed effects, we estimated hazard ratios (HR) for hospitalization risk following infection with a variant, adjusting for age, sex, calendar week, and vaccination. RESULTS: In total, 58 848 cases were sequenced through sentinel surveillance, of which 1705 (2.9%) were hospitalized due to COVID-19. Higher hospitalization risk was found for infections with Gamma (HR 3.20, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.40-4.26), Beta (HR 2.85, 95% CI 1.56-5.23), Delta (HR 2.28 95% CI 1.56-3.34), or Alpha (HR 1.64, 95% CI 1.29-2.07) compared to infections with ancestral lineages; Omicron (HR 0.92, 95% CI .56-1.52) showed no significant difference in risk. Following Alpha, Gamma, or Delta infection, unvaccinated patients show higher hospitalization risk, while vaccinated patients show no significant difference in risk, both compared to unvaccinated, ancestral lineage cases. Hospitalization risk following Omicron infection is lower with vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: Infection with Alpha, Gamma, or Delta results in a higher hospitalization risk, with vaccination attenuating that risk. Our findings support hospital preparedness, vaccination, and genomic surveillance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Washington/epidemiology
5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(11): e4411-e4418, 2021 12 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561635

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Noninfluenza respiratory viruses are responsible for a substantial burden of disease in the United States. Household transmission is thought to contribute significantly to subsequent transmission through the broader community. In the context of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, contactless surveillance methods are of particular importance. METHODS: From November 2019 to April 2020, 303 households in the Seattle area were remotely monitored in a prospective longitudinal study for symptoms of respiratory viral illness. Enrolled participants reported weekly symptoms and submitted respiratory samples by mail in the event of an acute respiratory illness (ARI). Specimens were tested for 14 viruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), using reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Participants completed all study procedures at home without physical contact with research staff. RESULTS: In total, 1171 unique participants in 303 households were monitored for ARI. Of participating households, 128 (42%) included a child aged <5 years and 202 (67%) included a child aged 5-12 years. Of the 678 swabs collected during the surveillance period, 237 (35%) tested positive for 1 or more noninfluenza respiratory viruses. Rhinovirus, common human coronaviruses, and respiratory syncytial virus were the most common. Four cases of SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 3 households. CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights the circulation of respiratory viruses within households during the winter months during the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Contactless methods of recruitment, enrollment, and sample collection were utilized throughout this study and demonstrate the feasibility of home-based, remote monitoring for respiratory infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human , Respiratory Tract Infections , Viruses , Child , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Prospective Studies , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(11): ofab464, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528169

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We aimed to evaluate a testing program to facilitate control of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission at a large university and measure spread in the university community using viral genome sequencing. METHODS: Our prospective longitudinal study used remote contactless enrollment, daily mobile symptom and exposure tracking, and self-swab sample collection. Individuals were tested if the participant was exposed to a known SARS-CoV-2-infected person, developed new symptoms, or reported high-risk behavior (such as attending an indoor gathering without masking or social distancing), if a member of a group experiencing an outbreak, or at enrollment. Study participants included students, staff, and faculty at an urban public university during the Autumn quarter of 2020. RESULTS: We enrolled 16 476 individuals, performed 29 783 SARS-CoV-2 tests, and detected 236 infections. Seventy-five percent of positive cases reported at least 1 of the following: symptoms (60.8%), exposure (34.7%), or high-risk behaviors (21.5%). Greek community affiliation was the strongest risk factor for testing positive, and molecular epidemiology results suggest that specific large gatherings were responsible for several outbreaks. CONCLUSIONS: A testing program focused on individuals with symptoms and unvaccinated persons who participate in large campus gatherings may be effective as part of a comprehensive university-wide mitigation strategy to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

7.
medRxiv ; 2020 Dec 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1383294

ABSTRACT

Unsupervised upper respiratory specimen collection is a key factor in the ability to massively scale SARS-CoV-2 testing. But there is concern that unsupervised specimen collection may produce inferior samples. Across two studies that included unsupervised at-home mid-turbinate specimen collection, ∼1% of participants used the wrong end of the swab. We found that molecular detection of respiratory pathogens and a human biomarker were comparable between specimens collected from the handle of the swab and those collected correctly. Older participants were more likely to use the swab backwards. Our results suggest that errors made during home-collection of nasal specimens do not preclude molecular detection of pathogens and specialized swabs may be an unnecessary luxury during a pandemic.

8.
Clin Chem ; 68(1): 143-152, 2021 12 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319159

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The urgent need for massively scaled clinical testing for SARS-CoV-2, along with global shortages of critical reagents and supplies, has necessitated development of streamlined laboratory testing protocols. Conventional nucleic acid testing for SARS-CoV-2 involves collection of a clinical specimen with a nasopharyngeal swab in transport medium, nucleic acid extraction, and quantitative reverse-transcription PCR (RT-qPCR). As testing has scaled across the world, the global supply chain has buckled, rendering testing reagents and materials scarce. To address shortages, we developed SwabExpress, an end-to-end protocol developed to employ mass produced anterior nares swabs and bypass the requirement for transport media and nucleic acid extraction. METHODS: We evaluated anterior nares swabs, transported dry and eluted in low-TE buffer as a direct-to-RT-qPCR alternative to extraction-dependent viral transport media. We validated our protocol of using heat treatment for viral inactivation and added a proteinase K digestion step to reduce amplification interference. We tested this protocol across archived and prospectively collected swab specimens to fine-tune test performance. RESULTS: After optimization, SwabExpress has a low limit of detection at 2-4 molecules/µL, 100% sensitivity, and 99.4% specificity when compared side by side with a traditional RT-qPCR protocol employing extraction. On real-world specimens, SwabExpress outperforms an automated extraction system while simultaneously reducing cost and hands-on time. CONCLUSION: SwabExpress is a simplified workflow that facilitates scaled testing for COVID-19 without sacrificing test performance. It may serve as a template for the simplification of PCR-based clinical laboratory tests, particularly in times of critical shortages during pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Humans , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity , Specimen Handling
9.
JAMA Pediatr ; 175(10): e212025, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1265361

ABSTRACT

Importance: The association between COVID-19 symptoms and SARS-CoV-2 viral levels in children living in the community is not well understood. Objective: To characterize symptoms of pediatric COVID-19 in the community and analyze the association between symptoms and SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels, as approximated by cycle threshold (Ct) values, in children and adults. Design, Setting, and Participants: This cross-sectional study used a respiratory virus surveillance platform in persons of all ages to detect community COVID-19 cases from March 23 to November 9, 2020. A population-based convenience sample of children younger than 18 years and adults in King County, Washington, who enrolled online for home self-collection of upper respiratory samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing were included. Exposures: Detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from participant-collected samples. Main Outcomes and Measures: RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, with Ct values stratified by age and symptoms. Results: Among 555 SARS-CoV-2-positive participants (mean [SD] age, 33.7 [20.1] years; 320 were female [57.7%]), 47 of 123 children (38.2%) were asymptomatic compared with 31 of 432 adults (7.2%). When symptomatic, fewer symptoms were reported in children compared with adults (mean [SD], 1.6 [2.0] vs 4.5 [3.1]). Symptomatic individuals had lower Ct values (which corresponded to higher viral RNA levels) than asymptomatic individuals (adjusted estimate for children, -3.0; 95% CI, -5.5 to -0.6; P = .02; adjusted estimate for adults, -2.9; 95% CI, -5.2 to -0.6; P = .01). The difference in mean Ct values was neither statistically significant between symptomatic children and symptomatic adults (adjusted estimate, -0.7; 95% CI, -2.2 to 0.9; P = .41) nor between asymptomatic children and asymptomatic adults (adjusted estimate, -0.6; 95% CI, -4.0 to 2.8; P = .74). Conclusions and Relevance: In this community-based cross-sectional study, SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels, as determined by Ct values, were significantly higher in symptomatic individuals than in asymptomatic individuals and no significant age-related differences were found. Further research is needed to understand the role of SARS-CoV-2 RNA levels and viral transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Symptom Assessment , Washington , Young Adult
11.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 335, 2021 Apr 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175296

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Unusually high snowfall in western Washington State in February 2019 led to widespread school and workplace closures. We assessed the impact of social distancing caused by this extreme weather event on the transmission of respiratory viruses. METHODS: Residual specimens from patients evaluated for acute respiratory illness at hospitals in the Seattle metropolitan area were screened for a panel of respiratory viruses. Transmission models were fit to each virus to estimate the magnitude reduction in transmission due to weather-related disruptions. Changes in contact rates and care-seeking were informed by data on local traffic volumes and hospital visits. RESULTS: Disruption in contact patterns reduced effective contact rates during the intervention period by 16 to 95%, and cumulative disease incidence through the remainder of the season by 3 to 9%. Incidence reductions were greatest for viruses that were peaking when the disruption occurred and least for viruses in an early epidemic phase. CONCLUSION: High-intensity, short-duration social distancing measures may substantially reduce total incidence in a respiratory virus epidemic if implemented near the epidemic peak. For SARS-CoV-2, this suggests that, even when SARS-CoV-2 spread is out of control, implementing short-term disruptions can prevent COVID-19 deaths.


Subject(s)
Epidemics/prevention & control , Physical Distancing , Respiratory Tract Infections/transmission , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , Weather , COVID-19 , Cities , Humans , Incidence , Models, Theoretical , Retrospective Studies , Washington
12.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(5): 802-807, 2021 09 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1085351

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although multiple respiratory viruses circulate in humans, few studies have compared the incidence of different viruses across the life course. We estimated the incidence of outpatient illness due to 12 different viruses during November 2018 through April 2019 in a fully enumerated population. METHODS: We conducted active surveillance for ambulatory care visits for acute respiratory illness (ARI) among members of Kaiser Permanente Washington (KPWA). Enrolled patients provided respiratory swab specimens which were tested for 12 respiratory viruses using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We estimated the cumulative incidence of infection due to each virus overall and by age group. RESULTS: The KPWA population under surveillance included 202 562 individuals, of whom 2767 (1.4%) were enrolled in the study. Influenza A(H3N2) was the most commonly detected virus, with an overall incidence of 21 medically attended illnesses per 1000 population; the next most common viruses were influenza A(H1N1) (18 per 1000), coronaviruses (13 per 1000), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV, 13 per 1000), and rhinovirus (9 per 1000). RSV was the most common cause of medically attended ARI among children aged 1-4 years; coronaviruses were the most common among adults aged ≥65 years. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with other studies focused on single viruses, we found that influenza and RSV were major causes of acute respiratory illness in persons of all ages. In comparison, coronaviruses and rhinovirus were also important pathogens. Prior to the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), coronaviruses were the second-most common cause of medically attended ARI during the 2018/19 influenza season.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza, Human , Respiratory Syncytial Virus, Human , Respiratory Tract Infections , Adult , Child , Humans , Incidence , Infant , Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Seasons
13.
Ann Intern Med ; 174(1): 42-49, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067965

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Homeless shelters are a high-risk setting for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission because of crowding and shared hygiene facilities. OBJECTIVE: To investigate SARS-CoV-2 case counts across several adult and family homeless shelters in a major metropolitan area. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, community-based surveillance study. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT04141917). SETTING: 14 homeless shelters in King County, Washington. PARTICIPANTS: A total of 1434 study encounters were done in shelter residents and staff, regardless of symptoms. INTERVENTION: 2 strategies were used for SARS-CoV-2 testing: routine surveillance and contact tracing ("surge testing") events. MEASUREMENTS: The primary outcome measure was test positivity rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection at shelters, determined by dividing the number of positive cases by the total number of participant encounters, regardless of symptoms. Sociodemographic, clinical, and virologic variables were assessed as correlates of viral positivity. RESULTS: Among 1434 encounters, 29 (2% [95% CI, 1.4% to 2.9%]) cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection were detected across 5 shelters. Most (n = 21 [72.4%]) were detected during surge testing events rather than routine surveillance, and most (n = 21 [72.4% {CI, 52.8% to 87.3%}]) were asymptomatic at the time of sample collection. Persons who were positive for SARS-CoV-2 were more frequently aged 60 years or older than those without SARS-CoV-2 (44.8% vs. 15.9%). Eighty-six percent of persons with positive test results slept in a communal space rather than in a private or shared room. LIMITATION: Selection bias due to voluntary participation and a relatively small case count. CONCLUSION: Active surveillance and surge testing were used to detect multiple cases of asymptomatic and symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in homeless shelters. The findings suggest an unmet need for routine viral testing outside of clinical settings for homeless populations. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: Gates Ventures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Homeless Persons , Adolescent , Adult , Child , Contact Tracing , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Population Surveillance , SARS-CoV-2 , Washington/epidemiology
14.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5139, 2020 10 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-851270

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by SARS-CoV-2, an emerging virus that utilizes host proteins ACE2 and TMPRSS2 as entry factors. Understanding the factors affecting the pattern and levels of expression of these genes is important for deeper understanding of SARS-CoV-2 tropism and pathogenesis. Here we explore the role of genetics and co-expression networks in regulating these genes in the airway, through the analysis of nasal airway transcriptome data from 695 children. We identify expression quantitative trait loci for both ACE2 and TMPRSS2, that vary in frequency across world populations. We find TMPRSS2 is part of a mucus secretory network, highly upregulated by type 2 (T2) inflammation through the action of interleukin-13, and that the interferon response to respiratory viruses highly upregulates ACE2 expression. IL-13 and virus infection mediated effects on ACE2 expression were also observed at the protein level in the airway epithelium. Finally, we define airway responses to common coronavirus infections in children, finding that these infections generate host responses similar to other viral species, including upregulation of IL6 and ACE2. Our results reveal possible mechanisms influencing SARS-CoV-2 infectivity and COVID-19 clinical outcomes.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/physiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Interferons/metabolism , Interleukin-13/metabolism , Nasal Mucosa/pathology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Serine Endopeptidases/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Child , Coronavirus Infections/metabolism , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Epithelial Cells/metabolism , Gene Expression Profiling , Gene Expression Regulation , Genetic Variation , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Inflammation , Middle Aged , Nasal Mucosa/metabolism , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/metabolism , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , SARS-CoV-2 , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Virus Internalization
15.
medRxiv ; 2020 Sep 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-835251

ABSTRACT

The rapid spread of SARS-CoV-2 has gravely impacted societies around the world. Outbreaks in different parts of the globe are shaped by repeated introductions of new lineages and subsequent local transmission of those lineages. Here, we sequenced 3940 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from Washington State to characterize how the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Washington State (USA) was shaped by differences in timing of mitigation strategies across counties, as well as by repeated introductions of viral lineages into the state. Additionally, we show that the increase in frequency of a potentially more transmissible viral variant (614G) over time can potentially be explained by regional mobility differences and multiple introductions of 614G, but not the other variant (614D) into the state. At an individual level, we see evidence of higher viral loads in patients infected with the 614G variant. However, using clinical records data, we do not find any evidence that the 614G variant impacts clinical severity or patient outcomes. Overall, this suggests that at least to date, the behavior of individuals has been more important in shaping the course of the pandemic than changes in the virus.

17.
Science ; 370(6516): 571-575, 2020 10 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760213

ABSTRACT

After its emergence in Wuhan, China, in late November or early December 2019, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus rapidly spread globally. Genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 allows the reconstruction of its transmission history, although this is contingent on sampling. We analyzed 453 SARS-CoV-2 genomes collected between 20 February and 15 March 2020 from infected patients in Washington state in the United States. We find that most SARS-CoV-2 infections sampled during this time derive from a single introduction in late January or early February 2020, which subsequently spread locally before active community surveillance was implemented.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Genome, Viral , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Bayes Theorem , COVID-19 , Humans , Likelihood Functions , Pandemics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2 , Washington/epidemiology
18.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 69(22): 680-684, 2020 Jun 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-437696

ABSTRACT

From January 21 through February 23, 2020, public health agencies detected 14 U.S. cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), all related to travel from China (1,2). The first nontravel-related U.S. case was confirmed on February 26 in a California resident who had become ill on February 13 (3). Two days later, on February 28, a second nontravel-related case was confirmed in the state of Washington (4,5). Examination of four lines of evidence provides insight into the timing of introduction and early transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, into the United States before the detection of these two cases. First, syndromic surveillance based on emergency department records from counties affected early by the pandemic did not show an increase in visits for COVID-19-like illness before February 28. Second, retrospective SARS-CoV-2 testing of approximately 11,000 respiratory specimens from several U.S. locations beginning January 1 identified no positive results before February 20. Third, analysis of viral RNA sequences from early cases suggested that a single lineage of virus imported directly or indirectly from China began circulating in the United States between January 18 and February 9, followed by several SARS-CoV-2 importations from Europe. Finally, the occurrence of three cases, one in a California resident who died on February 6, a second in another resident of the same county who died February 17, and a third in an unidentified passenger or crew member aboard a Pacific cruise ship that left San Francisco on February 11, confirms cryptic circulation of the virus by early February. These data indicate that sustained, community transmission had begun before detection of the first two nontravel-related U.S. cases, likely resulting from the importation of a single lineage of virus from China in late January or early February, followed by several importations from Europe. The widespread emergence of COVID-19 throughout the United States after February highlights the importance of robust public health systems to respond rapidly to emerging infectious threats.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Sentinel Surveillance , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel , United States/epidemiology
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