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1.
J Clin Virol ; 165: 105496, 2023 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2328174

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND/PURPOSE: While current guidelines recommend the use of respiratory tract specimens for the direct detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, saliva has recently been suggested as preferred sample type for the sensitive detection of SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 (Omicron). By comparing saliva collected using buccal swabs and oro-/nasopharyngeal swabs from patients hospitalized due to COVID-19, we aimed at identifying potential differences in virus detection sensitivity between these sample types. METHODS: We compare the clinical diagnostic sensitivity of paired buccal swabs and combined oro-/nasopharyngeal swabs from hospitalized, symptomatic COVID-19 patients collected at median six days after symptom onset by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen test. RESULTS: Of the tested SARS-CoV-2 positive sample pairs, 55.8% were identified as SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 and 44.2% as Omicron BA.2. Real-time PCR from buccal swabs generated significantly higher quantification cycle (Cq) values compared to those from matched combined oro-/nasopharyngeal swabs and resulted in an increased number of false-negative PCR results. Reduced diagnostic sensitivity of buccal swabs by real-time PCR was observed already at day one after symptom onset. Similarly, antigen test detection rates were reduced in buccal swabs compared to combined oro-/nasopharyngeal swabs. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest reduced clinical diagnostic sensitivity of saliva collected using buccal swabs when compared to combined oro-/nasopharyngeal swabs in the detection of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron in symptomatic individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Saliva , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Nasopharynx , Specimen Handling , COVID-19 Testing
2.
Pathogens ; 12(4)2023 Apr 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2301133

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 serosurveillance is important to adapt infection control measures and estimate the degree of underreporting. Blood donor samples can be used as a proxy for the healthy adult population. In a repeated cross-sectional study from April 2020 to April 2021, September 2021, and April/May 2022, 13 blood establishments collected 134,510 anonymised specimens from blood donors in 28 study regions across Germany. These were tested for antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and nucleocapsid, including neutralising capacity. Seroprevalence was adjusted for test performance and sampling and weighted for demographic differences between the sample and the general population. Seroprevalence estimates were compared to notified COVID-19 cases. The overall adjusted SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence remained below 2% until December 2020 and increased to 18.1% in April 2021, 89.4% in September 2021, and to 100% in April/May 2022. Neutralising capacity was found in 74% of all positive specimens until April 2021 and in 98% in April/May 2022. Our serosurveillance allowed for repeated estimations of underreporting from the early stage of the pandemic onwards. Underreporting ranged between factors 5.1 and 1.1 in the first two waves of the pandemic and remained well below 2 afterwards, indicating an adequate test strategy and notification system in Germany.

3.
PLoS One ; 18(4): e0285203, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2305284

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In May 2022, the monkeypox virus (MPXV) spread into non-endemic countries and the global community was quick to test the lessons learned from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Due to its symptomatic resemblance to other diseases, like the non-pox virus varicella zoster (chickenpox), polymerase chain reaction methods play an important role in correctly diagnosing the rash-causing pathogen. INSTAND quickly established a new external quality assessment (EQA) scheme for MPXV and orthopoxvirus (OPXV) DNA detection to assess the current performance quality of the laboratory tests. METHODS: We analyzed quantitative and qualitative data of the first German EQA for MPXV and OPXV DNA detection. The survey included one negative and three MPXV-positive samples with different MPX viral loads. The threshold cycle (Ct) or other measures defining the quantification cycle (Cq) were analyzed in an assay-specific manner. A Passing Bablok fit was used to investigate the performance at laboratory level. RESULTS: 141 qualitative datasets were reported by 131 laboratories for MPXV detection and 68 qualitative datasets by 65 laboratories for OPXV detection. More than 96% of the results were correctly identified as negative and more than 97% correctly identified as positive. An analysis of the reported Ct/Cq values showed a large spread of these values of up to 12 Ct/Cq. Nevertheless, there is a good correlation of results for the different MPXV concentrations at laboratory level. Only a few quantitative results in copies/mL were reported (MPXV: N = 5; OPXV: N = 2), but the results correlated well with the concentration differences between the EQA samples, which were to a power of ten each. CONCLUSION: The EQA results show that laboratories performed well in detecting both MPXV and OPXV. However, Ct/Cq values should be interpreted with caution when conclusions are drawn about the viral load as long as metrological traceability is not granted.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Monkeypox , Orthopoxvirus , Humans , Monkeypox virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
Euro Surveill ; 28(16)2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2302104

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThere are conflicting reports on the performance of rapid antigen detection tests (RDT) in the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant; however, these tests continue to be used frequently to detect potentially contagious individuals with high viral loads.AimThe aim of this study was to investigate comparative detection of the Delta (B.1.617.2) and Omicron variants by using a selection of 20 RDT and a limited panel of pooled combined oro- and nasopharyngeal clinical Delta and Omicron specimens.MethodsWe tested 20 CE-marked RDT for their performance to detect SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron by using a panel of pooled clinical specimens collected in January 2022 in Berlin, Germany.ResultsWe observed equivalent detection performance for Delta and Omicron for most RDT, and sensitivity was widely in line with our previous pre-Delta/Omicron evaluation. Some variation for individual RDT was observed either for Delta vs Omicron detection, or when compared with the previous evaluation, which may be explained both by different panel sizes resulting in different data robustness and potential limitation of batch-to-batch consistency. Additional experiments with three RDT using non-pooled routine clinical samples confirmed comparable performance to detect Delta vs Omicron. Overall, RDT that were previously positively evaluated retained good performance also for Delta and Omicron variants.ConclusionOur findings suggest that currently available RDT are sufficient for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 Delta and Omicron variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Berlin , COVID-19/diagnosis , Germany , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods
5.
Infection ; 2023 Mar 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2282651

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: COViK, a prospective hospital-based multicenter case-control study in Germany, aims to assess the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against severe disease. Here, we report vaccine effectiveness (VE) against COVID-19-caused hospitalization and intensive care treatment during the Omicron wave. METHODS: We analyzed data from 276 cases with COVID-19 and 494 control patients recruited in 13 hospitals from 1 December 2021 to 5 September 2022. We calculated crude and confounder-adjusted VE estimates. RESULTS: 21% of cases (57/276) were not vaccinated, compared to 5% of controls (26/494; p < 0.001). Confounder-adjusted VE against COVID-19-caused hospitalization was 55.4% (95% CI: 12-78%), 81.5% (95% CI: 68-90%) and 95.6% (95%CI: 88-99%) after two, three and four vaccine doses, respectively. VE against hospitalization due to COVID-19 remained stable up to one year after three vaccine doses. CONCLUSION: Three vaccine doses remained highly effective in preventing severe disease and this protection was sustained; a fourth dose further increased protection.

6.
Front Immunol ; 14: 1056525, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2262698

ABSTRACT

Currently available COVID-19 vaccines include inactivated virus, live attenuated virus, mRNA-based, viral vectored and adjuvanted protein-subunit-based vaccines. All of them contain the spike glycoprotein as the main immunogen and result in reduced disease severity upon SARS-CoV-2 infection. While we and others have shown that mRNA-based vaccination reactivates pre-existing, cross-reactive immunity, the effect of vector vaccines in this regard is unknown. Here, we studied cellular and humoral responses in heterologous adenovirus-vector-based ChAdOx1 nCOV-19 (AZ; Vaxzeria, AstraZeneca) and mRNA-based BNT162b2 (BNT; Comirnaty, BioNTech/Pfizer) vaccination and compared it to a homologous BNT vaccination regimen. AZ primary vaccination did not lead to measurable reactivation of cross-reactive cellular and humoral immunity compared to BNT primary vaccination. Moreover, humoral immunity induced by primary vaccination with AZ displayed differences in linear spike peptide epitope coverage and a lack of anti-S2 IgG antibodies. Contrary to primary AZ vaccination, secondary vaccination with BNT reactivated pre-existing, cross-reactive immunity, comparable to homologous primary and secondary mRNA vaccination. While induced anti-S1 IgG antibody titers were higher after heterologous vaccination, induced CD4+ T cell responses were highest in homologous vaccinated. However, the overall TCR repertoire breadth was comparable between heterologous AZ-BNT-vaccinated and homologous BNT-BNT-vaccinated individuals, matching TCR repertoire breadths after SARS-CoV-2 infection, too. The reasons why AZ and BNT primary vaccination elicits different immune response patterns to essentially the same antigen, and the associated benefits and risks, need further investigation to inform vaccine and vaccination schedule development.


Subject(s)
BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19 , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Cross Reactions , Humans , BNT162 Vaccine/immunology , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
7.
Vaccine ; 41(2): 290-293, 2023 01 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2245460

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.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Adult , Humans , Case-Control Studies , COVID-19/prevention & control , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Germany/epidemiology
8.
Virol J ; 20(1): 21, 2023 02 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2232287

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 replicates efficiently in the upper airways of humans and produces high loads of virus RNA and, at least in the initial phase after infection, many infectious virus particles. Studying virus ultrastructure, such as particle integrity or presence of spike proteins, and effects on their host cells in patient samples is important to understand the pathogenicity of SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: Suspensions from swab samples with a high load of virus RNA (Ct < 20) were sedimented by desktop ultracentrifugation and prepared for thin section electron microscopy using a novel method which is described in detail. Embedding was performed in Epon or in LR White resin using standard or rapid protocols. Thin sections were examined using transmission electron microscopy. RESULTS: Virus particles could be regularly detected in the extracellular space, embedded in a background of heterogenous material (e.g. vesicles and needle-like crystals), and within ciliated cells. Morphology (i.e. shape, size, spike density) of virus particles in the swab samples was very similar to particle morphology in cell culture. However, in some of the samples the virus particles hardly revealed spikes. Infected ciliated cells occasionally showed replication organelles, such as double-membrane vesicles. The most common cells in all samples were keratinocytes from the mucosa and bacteria. CONCLUSIONS: The new method allows the ultrastructural visualization and analysis of coronavirus particles and of infected host cells from easy to collect naso/oropharyngeal patient swab samples.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Specimen Handling/methods , Microscopy, Electron, Transmission , RNA
9.
Front Pediatr ; 10: 989456, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2142167

ABSTRACT

Objective: To investigate SARS-COV-2 viral clearance and viral load kinetics in the course of infection in children aged 1-6 years in comparison with adults. Methods: Prospective cohort study of infected daycare children and staff and their close contacts in households from 11/2020 to 06/2021. Adult participants took upper respiratory tract specimen from themselves and/or their children, for PCR tests on SARS-CoV-2. Data on symptoms and exposure were used to determine the date of probable infection for each participant. We determined (a) viral clearance, and (b) viral load dynamics over time. Samples were taken from day 4-6 to day 16-18 after diagnosis of the index case in the respective daycare group (5 samples per participant). Results: We included 40 children (1-6 years) and 67 adults (18-77 years) with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Samples were available at a mean of 4.3 points of time per participant. Among the participants, the 12-day study period fell in different periods within the individual course of infection, ranging from day 5-17 to day 15-26 after assumed infection.Children reached viral clearance at a median of 20 days after assumed infection (95% CI 17-21 days, Kaplan-Meier Analysis), adults at 23 days (95% CI 20-25 days, difference not significant). In both children and adults, viral load decreased over time with trajectories of the mean viral load not being statistically different between groups. Kaplan-Meier calculations show that from day 15 (95% CI 13-15), 50% of all participants had a viral load <1 million copies/ml, i.e. were no longer infectious or negative. Conclusion: Children aged 1-6 and adults infected with SARS-CoV-2 (wild type and Alpha variant) did not differ significantly in terms of viral load kinetics and time needed to clear the virus. Therefore, containment measures are important also in the daycare settings as long as the pandemic continues.

10.
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
11.
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
12.
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
13.
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
14.
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.

15.
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
16.
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
17.
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
18.
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.

19.
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
20.
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.

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