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1.
Vaccine ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2132607

ABSTRACT

We included 852 patients in a prospectively recruiting multicenter matched case-control study in Germany to assess vaccine effectiveness (VE) in preventing COVID-19-associated hospitalization during the Delta-variant dominance. The two-dose VE was 89% (95% CI 84-93%) overall, 79% in patients with more than two comorbidities and 77% in adults aged 60-75 years. A third dose increased the VE to more than 93% in all patient-subgroups.

2.
BMJ Glob Health ; 7(11)2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119458

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Previous research demonstrated that medical scent detection dogs have the ability to distinguish SARS-CoV-2 positive from negative samples with high diagnostic accuracy. To deploy these dogs as a reliable screening method, it is mandatory to examine if canines maintain their high diagnostic accuracy in real-life screening settings. We conducted a study to evaluate the performance of medical scent detection dogs under real-life circumstances. METHODS: Eight dogs were trained to detect SARS-CoV-2 RT-qPCR-positive samples. Four concerts with a total of 2802 participants were held to evaluate canines' performance in screening individuals for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Sweat samples were taken from all participants and presented in a line-up setting. In addition, every participant had been tested with a SARS-CoV-2 specific rapid antigen test and a RT-qPCR and they provided information regarding age, sex, vaccination status and medical disease history. The participants' infection status was unknown at the time of canine testing. Safety measures such as mask wearing and distance keeping were ensured. RESULTS: The SARS-CoV-2 detection dogs achieved a diagnostic specificity of 99.93% (95% CI 99.74% to 99.99%) and a sensitivity of 81.58% (95% CI 66.58% to 90.78%), respectively. The overall rate of concordant results was 99.68%. The majority of the study population was vaccinated with varying vaccines and vaccination schemes, while several participants had chronic diseases and were under chronic medication. This did not influence dogs' decisions. CONCLUSION: Our results demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 scent detection dogs achieved high diagnostic accuracy in a real-life scenario. The vaccination status, previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, chronic disease and medication of the participants did not influence the performance of the dogs in detecting the acute infection. This indicates that dogs provide a fast and reliable screening option for public events in which high-throughput screening is required.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Dogs , Animals , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Mass Screening
3.
PLoS One ; 17(11): e0277699, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119398

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Superspreading events are important drivers of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and long-range (LR) transmission is believed to play a major role. We investigated two choir outbreaks with different attack rates (AR) to analyze the contribution of LR transmission and highlight important measures for prevention. METHODS: We conducted two retrospective cohort studies and obtained demographic, clinical, laboratory and contact data, performed SARS-CoV-2 serology, whole genome sequencing (WGS), calculated LR transmission probabilities, measured particle emissions of selected choir members, and calculated particle air concentrations and inhalation doses. RESULTS: We included 65 (84%) and 42 (100%) members of choirs 1 and 2, respectively, of whom 58 (89%) and 10 (24%) became cases. WGS confirmed strain identity in both choirs. Both primary cases transmitted presymptomatically. Particle emission rate when singing was 7 times higher compared to talking. In choir 1, the median concentration of primary cases' emitted particles in the room was estimated to be 8 times higher, exposure at least 30 minutes longer and room volume smaller than in choir 2, resulting in markedly different estimated probabilities for LR transmission (mode: 90% vs. 16%, 95% CI: 80-95% vs. 6-36%). According to a risk model, the first transmission in choir 1 occurred likely after 8 minutes of singing. CONCLUSIONS: The attack rate of the two choirs differed significantly reflecting the differences in LR transmission risks. The pooled proportion of cases due to LR transmission was substantial (81%; 55/68 cases) and was facilitated by likely highly infectious primary cases, high particle emission rates, and indoor rehearsing for an extended time. Even in large rooms, singing of an infectious person may lead to secondary infections through LR exposure within minutes. In the context of indoor gatherings without mask-wearing and waning or insufficient immunity, these results highlight the ongoing importance of non-pharmaceutical interventions wherever aerosols can accumulate.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Berlin , Retrospective Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Germany/epidemiology
4.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 19492, 2022 Nov 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2119364

ABSTRACT

Pre-vaccine SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence data from Germany are scarce outside hotspots, and socioeconomic disparities remained largely unexplored. The nationwide representative RKI-SOEP study (15,122 participants, 18-99 years, 54% women) 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 antibody-positive 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 correcting for antibody decay. Overall infection prevalence including self-reports was 2.1%. We estimate 45% (95% CI 21-60%) undetected cases and lower detection in socioeconomically deprived districts. Prior SARS-CoV-2 testing was reported by 18% from the lower educational group vs. 25% and 26% from the medium and high educational group (p < 0.001, global test over three categories). Symptom-triggered test frequency was similar across educational groups. Routine testing was more common in low-educated adults, whereas travel-related testing and testing after contact with infected persons was more common in highly educated groups. This countrywide very low pre-vaccine seroprevalence in Germany at the end of 2020 can serve to evaluate the containment strategy. Our findings on social disparities indicate improvement potential in pandemic planning for people in socially disadvantaged circumstances.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Adult , Female , Male , Seroepidemiologic Studies , COVID-19 Testing , Travel , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Travel-Related Illness , Antibodies, Viral , Immunoglobulin G
5.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 1138, 2022 Oct 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2087323

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 and its emerging variants of concern remain a major threat for global health. Here we introduce an infection model based upon polarized human Alveolar Epithelial Lentivirus immortalized (hAELVi) cells grown at the air-liquid interface to estimate replication and epidemic potential of respiratory viruses in the human lower respiratory tract. hAELVI cultures are highly permissive for different human coronaviruses and seasonal influenza A virus and upregulate various mediators following virus infection. Our analysis revealed a significantly reduced capacity of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants to propagate in this human model compared to earlier D614G and Delta variants, which extends early risk assessments from epidemiological and animal studies suggesting a reduced pathogenicity of Omicron.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Lung , Epithelial Cells
6.
Life (Basel) ; 12(9)2022 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2006125

ABSTRACT

Over the past years, NGS has become a crucial workhorse for open-view pathogen diagnostics. Yet, long turnaround times result from using massively parallel high-throughput technologies as the analysis can only be performed after sequencing has finished. The interpretation of results can further be challenged by contaminations, clinically irrelevant sequences, and the sheer amount and complexity of the data. We implemented PathoLive, a real-time diagnostics pipeline for the detection of pathogens from clinical samples hours before sequencing has finished. Based on real-time alignment with HiLive2, mappings are scored with respect to common contaminations, low-entropy areas, and sequences of widespread, non-pathogenic organisms. The results are visualized using an interactive taxonomic tree that provides an easily interpretable overview of the relevance of hits. For a human plasma sample that was spiked in vitro with six pathogenic viruses, all agents were clearly detected after only 40 of 200 sequencing cycles. For a real-world sample from Sudan, the results correctly indicated the presence of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus. In a second real-world dataset from the 2019 SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Wuhan, we found the presence of a SARS coronavirus as the most relevant hit without the novel virus reference genome being included in the database. For all samples, clinically irrelevant hits were correctly de-emphasized. Our approach is valuable to obtain fast and accurate NGS-based pathogen identifications and correctly prioritize and visualize them based on their clinical significance: PathoLive is open source and available on GitLab and BioConda.

7.
Epidemiol Infect ; 150: e141, 2022 07 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1956390

ABSTRACT

In daycare centres, the close contact of children with other children and employees favours the transmission of infections. The majority of children <6 years attend daycare programmes in Germany, but the role of daycare centres in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is unclear. We investigated the transmission risk in daycare centres and the spread of SARS-CoV-2 to associated households. 30 daycare groups with at least one recent laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 case were enrolled in the study (10/2020-06/2021). Close contact persons within daycare and households were examined over a 12-day period (repeated SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests, genetic sequencing of viruses, symptom diary). Households were interviewed to gain comprehensive information on each outbreak. We determined primary cases for all daycare groups. The number of secondary cases varied considerably between daycare groups. The pooled secondary attack rate (SAR) across all 30 daycare centres was 9.6%. The SAR tended to be higher when the Alpha variant was detected (15.9% vs. 5.1% with evidence of wild type). The household SAR was 53.3%. Exposed daycare children were less likely to get infected with SARS-CoV-2 than employees (7.7% vs. 15.5%). Containment measures in daycare programmes are critical to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission, especially to avoid spread to associated households.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Disease Outbreaks , Humans , Pandemics
8.
J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry ; 93(9): 960-971, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1932786

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccination of healthy individuals is highly immunogenic and protective against severe COVID-19. However, there are limited data on how disease-modifying therapies (DMTs) alter SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine immunogenicity in patients with autoimmune diseases. METHODS: As part of a prospective cohort study, we investigated the induction, stability and boosting of vaccine-specific antibodies, B cells and T cells in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) on different DMTs after homologous primary, secondary and booster SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccinations. Of 126 patients with MS analysed, 105 received either anti-CD20-based B cell depletion (aCD20-BCD), fingolimod, interferon-ß, dimethyl fumarate, glatiramer acetate, teriflunomide or natalizumab, and 21 were untreated MS patients for comparison. RESULTS: In contrast to all other MS patients, and even after booster, most aCD20-BCD- and fingolimod-treated patients showed no to markedly reduced anti-S1 IgG, serum neutralising activity and a lack of receptor binding domain-specific and S2-specific B cells. Patients receiving fingolimod additionally lacked spike-reactive CD4+ T cell responses. The duration of fingolimod treatment, rather than peripheral blood B and T cell counts prior to vaccination, determined whether a humoral immune response was elicited. CONCLUSIONS: The lack of immunogenicity under long-term fingolimod treatment demonstrates that functional immune responses require not only immune cells themselves, but also access of these cells to the site of inoculation and their unimpeded movement. The absence of humoral and T cell responses suggests that fingolimod-treated patients with MS are at risk for severe SARS-CoV-2 infections despite booster vaccinations, which is highly relevant for clinical decision-making and adapted protective measures, particularly considering additional recently approved sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor antagonists for MS treatment.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Multiple Sclerosis , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Fingolimod Hydrochloride/therapeutic use , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Multiple Sclerosis/drug therapy , Prospective Studies , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
9.
PLoS One ; 17(3): e0264855, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1896450

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019 the world has been facing the outbreak of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Identification of infected patients and discrimination from other respiratory infections have so far been accomplished by using highly specific real-time PCRs. Here we present a rapid multiplex approach (RespiCoV), combining highly multiplexed PCRs and MinION sequencing suitable for the simultaneous screening for 41 viral and five bacterial agents related to respiratory tract infections, including the human coronaviruses NL63, HKU1, OC43, 229E, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. RespiCoV was applied to 150 patient samples with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection and compared with specific real-time PCR. Additionally, several respiratory tract pathogens were identified in samples tested positive or negative for SARS-CoV-2. Finally, RespiCoV was experimentally compared to the commercial RespiFinder 2SMART multiplex screening assay (PathoFinder, The Netherlands).


Subject(s)
Bacteria/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , RNA Viruses/genetics , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Bacteria/isolation & purification , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus/isolation & purification , DNA, Bacterial/chemistry , DNA, Bacterial/metabolism , Herpesvirus 1, Human/genetics , Herpesvirus 1, Human/isolation & purification , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Nanopores , Orthomyxoviridae/genetics , Orthomyxoviridae/isolation & purification , RNA Viruses/isolation & purification , RNA, Viral/chemistry , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Respiratory Tract Infections/microbiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
10.
J Health Monit ; 6(Suppl 1): 2-16, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1856609

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus has spread rapidly across Germany. Infections are likely to be under-recorded in the notification data from local health authorities on laboratory-confirmed cases since SARS-CoV-2 infections can proceed with few symptoms and then often remain undetected. Seroepidemiological studies allow the estimation of the proportion in the population that has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (seroprevalence) as well as the extent of undetected infections. The 'CORONA-MONITORING bundesweit' study (RKI-SOEP study) collects biospecimens and interview data in a nationwide population sample drawn from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). Participants are sent materials to self-collect a dry blood sample of capillary blood from their finger and a swab sample from their mouth and nose, as well as a questionnaire. The samples returned are tested for SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies and SARS-CoV-2 RNA to identify past or present infections. The methods applied enable the identification of SARS-CoV-2 infections, including those that previously went undetected. In addition, by linking the data collected with available SOEP data, the study has the potential to investigate social and health-related differences in infection status. Thus, the study contributes to an improved understanding of the extent of the epidemic in Germany, as well as identification of target groups for infection protection.

11.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 3549, 2022 03 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730319

ABSTRACT

High-throughput detection of neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 presents a valuable tool for vaccine trials or investigations of population immunity. We evaluate the performance of the first commercial surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT, GenScript Biotech) against SARS-CoV-2 plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) in convalescent and vaccinated individuals. We compare it to five other ELISAs, two of which are designed to detect neutralizing antibodies. In 491 pre-vaccination serum samples, sVNT missed 23.6% of PRNT-positive samples when using the manufacturer-recommended cutoff of 30% binding inhibition. Introducing an equivocal area between 15 and 35% maximized sensitivity and specificity against PRNT to 72.8-93.1% and 73.5-97.6%, respectively. The overall diagnostic performance of the other ELISAs for neutralizing antibodies was below that of sVNT. Vaccinated individuals exhibited higher antibody titers by PRNT (median 119.8, IQR 56.7-160) and binding inhibition by sVNT (median 95.7, IQR 88.1-96.8) than convalescent patients (median 49.1, IQR 20-62; median 52.9, IQR 31.2-76.2). GenScript sVNT is suitable to screen for SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing antibodies; however, to obtain accurate results, confirmatory testing by PRNT in a equivocal area is required. This equivocal area may require adaptation for use in vaccinated individuals, due to higher antibody titers.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/analysis , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity
12.
J Health Monit ; 5(Suppl 5): 2-16, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687796

ABSTRACT

At a regional and local level, the COVID-19 pandemic has not spread out uniformly and some German municipalities have been particularly affected. The seroepidemiological data from these areas helps estimate the proportion of the population that has been infected with SARS-CoV-2 (seroprevalence), as well as the number of undetected infections and asymptomatic cases. In four municipalities which were especially affected, 2,000 participants will be tested for an active SARS-CoV-2 infection (oropharyngeal swab) or a past infection (blood specimen IgG antibody test). Participants will also be asked to fill out a short written questionnaire at study centres and complete a follow-up questionnaire either online or by telephone, including information on issues such as possible exposure, susceptability, symptoms and medical history. The CORONA-MONITORING lokal study will allow to determine the proportion of the population with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in four particularly affected locations. This study will increase the accuracy of estimates regarding the scope of the epidemic, help determine risk and protective factors for an infection and therefore also identify especially exposed groups and, as such, it will be crucial towards planning of prevention measures.

13.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674829

ABSTRACT

Coronaviruses (CoV) are divided into the genera α-CoVs, ß-CoVs, γ-CoVs and δ-CoVs. Of these, α-CoVs and ß-CoVs are solely capable of causing infections in humans, resulting in mild to severe respiratory symptoms. Bats have been identified as natural reservoir hosts for CoVs belonging to these two genera. Consequently, research on bat populations, CoV prevalence in bats and genetic characterization of bat CoVs is of special interest to investigate the potential transmission risks. We present the genome sequence of a novel α-CoV strain detected in rectal swab samples of Miniopterus fuliginosus bats from a colony in the Wavul Galge cave (Koslanda, Sri Lanka). The novel strain is highly similar to Miniopterus bat coronavirus 1, an α-CoV located in the subgenus of Minunacoviruses. Phylogenetic reconstruction revealed a high identity of the novel strain to other α-CoVs derived from Miniopterus bats, while human-pathogenic α-CoV strains like HCoV-229E and HCoV-NL63 were more distantly related. Comparison with selected bat-related and human-pathogenic strains of the ß-CoV genus showed low identities of ~40%. Analyses of the different genes on nucleotide and amino acid level revealed that the non-structural ORF1a/1b are more conserved among α-CoVs and ß-CoVs, while there are higher variations in the structural proteins known to be important for host specificity. The novel strain was named batCoV/MinFul/2018/SriLanka and had a prevalence of 50% (66/130) in rectal swab samples and 58% (61/104) in feces samples that were collected from Miniopterus bats in Wavul Galge cave. Based on the differences between strain batCoV/MinFul/2018/SriLanka and human-pathogenic α-CoVs and ß-CoVs, we conclude that there is a rather low transmission risk to humans. Further studies in the Wavul Galge cave and at other locations in Sri Lanka will give more detailed information about the prevalence of this virus.


Subject(s)
Alphacoronavirus/genetics , Alphacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Chiroptera/virology , Coronavirus Infections/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/veterinary , Disease Reservoirs/virology , Genome, Viral , Alphacoronavirus/classification , Animals , Caves/virology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Evolution, Molecular , Female , Male , Phylogeny , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Sri Lanka
14.
BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 80, 2022 Jan 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1649812

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 cases in Germany increased in early March 2020. By April 2020, cases among health care workers (HCW) were detected across departments at a tertiary care hospital in Berlin, prompting a longitudinal investigation to assess HCW SARS-CoV-2 serostatus with an improved testing strategy and associated risk factors. METHODS: In May/June and December 2020, HCWs voluntarily provided blood for serology and nasopharyngeal/oropharyngeal (NP/OP) samples for real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and completed a questionnaire. A four-tiered SARS-CoV-2 serological testing strategy including two different enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and biological neutralization test (NT) was used. ELISA-NT correlation was assessed using Pearson's correlation coefficient. Sociodemographic and occupational factors associated with seropositivity were assessed with multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: In May/June, 18/1477 (1.2%) HCWs were SARS-CoV-2 seropositive, followed by 56/1223 (4.6%) in December. Among those tested in both, all seropositive in May/June remained seropositive by ELISA and positive by NT after 6 months. ELISA ratios correlated well with NT titres in May/June (R = 0.79) but less so in December (R = 0.41). Those seropositive reporting a past SARS-CoV-2 positive PCR result increased from 44.4% in May/June to 85.7% in December. HCWs with higher occupational risk (based on profession and working site), nurses, males, and those self-reporting COVID-19-like symptoms had significantly higher odds of seropositivity. CONCLUSIONS: This investigation provides insight into the burden of HCW infection in this local outbreak context and the antibody dynamics over time with an improved robust testing strategy. It also highlights the continued need for effective infection control measures particularly among HCWs with higher occupational risk.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Germany/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Tertiary Care Centers
15.
Anal Bioanal Chem ; 414(10): 3177-3186, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1629437

ABSTRACT

The degree of detrimental effects inflicted on mankind by the COVID-19 pandemic increased the need to develop ASSURED (Affordable, Sensitive, Specific, User-friendly, Rapid and Robust, Equipment-free, and Deliverable) POCT (point of care testing) to overcome the current and any future pandemics. Much effort in research and development is currently advancing the progress to overcome the diagnostic pressure built up by emerging new pathogens. LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) is a well-researched isothermal technique for specific nucleic acid amplification which can be combined with a highly sensitive immunochromatographic readout via lateral flow assays (LFA). Here we discuss LAMP-LFA robustness, sensitivity, and specificity for SARS-CoV-2 N-gene detection in cDNA and clinical swab-extracted RNA samples. The LFA readout is designed to produce highly specific results by incorporation of biotin and FITC labels to 11-dUTP and LF (loop forming forward) primer, respectively. The LAMP-LFA assay was established using cDNA for N-gene with an accuracy of 95.65%. To validate the study, 82 SARS-CoV-2-positive RNA samples were tested. Reverse transcriptase (RT)-LAMP-LFA was positive for the RNA samples with an accuracy of 81.66%; SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was detected by RT-LAMP-LFA for as low as CT-33. Our method reduced the detection time to 15 min and indicates therefore that RT-LAMP in combination with LFA represents a promising nucleic acid biosensing POCT platform that combines with smartphone based semi-quantitative data analysis.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Nucleic Acids , Biotin , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
16.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262656, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638777

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, requires reliable diagnostic methods to track the circulation of this virus. Following the development of RT-qPCR methods to meet this diagnostic need in January 2020, it became clear from interlaboratory studies that the reported Ct values obtained for the different laboratories showed high variability. Despite this the Ct values were explored as a quantitative cut off to aid clinical decisions based on viral load. Consequently, there was a need to introduce standards to support estimation of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in diagnostic specimens. In a collaborative study, INSTAND established two reference materials (RMs) containing heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV-2 RNA loads of ~107 copies/mL (RM 1) and ~106 copies/mL (RM 2), respectively. Quantification was performed by RT-qPCR using synthetic SARS-CoV-2 RNA standards and digital PCR. Between November 2020 and February 2021, German laboratories were invited to use the two RMs to anchor their Ct values measured in routine diagnostic specimens, with the Ct values of the two RMs. A total of 305 laboratories in Germany were supplied with RM 1 and RM 2. The laboratories were requested to report their measured Ct values together with details on the PCR method they used to INSTAND. This resultant 1,109 data sets were differentiated by test system and targeted gene region. Our findings demonstrate that an indispensable prerequisite for linking Ct values to SARS-CoV-2 viral loads is that they are treated as being unique to an individual laboratory. For this reason, clinical guidance based on viral loads should not cite Ct values. The RMs described were a suitable tool to determine the specific laboratory Ct for a given viral load. Furthermore, as Ct values can also vary between runs when using the same instrument, such RMs could be used as run controls to ensure reproducibility of the quantitative measurements.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genes, Viral , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Reproducibility of Results
17.
J Proteome Res ; 21(2): 459-469, 2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605127

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 infections are characterized by remarkable differences, including infectivity and case fatality rate. The underlying mechanisms are not well understood, illustrating major knowledge gaps of coronavirus biology. In this study, protein expression of the SARS-CoV- and SARS-CoV-2-infected human lung epithelial cell line Calu-3 was analyzed using data-independent acquisition-mass spectrometry. This resulted in a comprehensive map of infection-related proteome-wide expression changes in human cells covering the quantification of 7478 proteins across four time points. Most notably, the activation of interferon type-I response was observed, which is surprisingly absent in several proteome studies. The data reveal that SARS-CoV-2 triggers interferon-stimulated gene expression much stronger than SARS-CoV, which reflects the already described differences in interferon sensitivity. Potentially, this may be caused by the enhanced abundance of the viral M protein of SARS-CoV in comparison to SARS-CoV-2, which is a known inhibitor of type I interferon expression. This study expands the knowledge on the host response to SARS-CoV-2 infections on a global scale using an infection model, which seems to be well suited to analyze the innate immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Interferon Type I , Epithelial Cells , Gene Expression , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Lung , Proteomics , SARS-CoV-2
18.
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.

19.
Euro Surveill ; 26(44)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1504717

ABSTRACT

IntroductionNumerous CE-marked SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid diagnostic tests (Ag RDT) are offered in Europe, several of them with unconfirmed quality claims.AimWe performed an independent head-to-head evaluation of the sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDT offered in Germany.MethodsWe addressed the sensitivity of 122 Ag RDT in direct comparison using a common evaluation panel comprised of 50 specimens. Minimum sensitivity of 75% for panel specimens with a PCR quantification cycle (Cq) ≤ 25 was used to identify Ag RDT eligible for reimbursement in the German healthcare system.ResultsThe sensitivity of different SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDT varied over a wide range. The sensitivity limit of 75% for panel members with Cq ≤ 25 was met by 96 of the 122 tests evaluated; 26 tests exhibited lower sensitivity, few of which failed completely. Some RDT exhibited high sensitivity, e.g. 97.5 % for Cq < 30.ConclusionsThis comparative evaluation succeeded in distinguishing less sensitive from better performing Ag RDT. Most of the evaluated Ag RDT appeared to be suitable for fast identification of acute infections associated with high viral loads. Market access of SARS-CoV-2 Ag RDT should be based on minimal requirements for sensitivity and specificity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antigens, Viral , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Germany , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity
20.
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
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