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Front Public Health ; 10: 1035763, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2199508


Background: The spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by asymptomatic individuals has been reported since the early stages of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak in various parts of the world. However, there are limited data regarding SARS-CoV-2 among asymptomatic individuals in Ghana. The aim of the study was to use test data of prospective travelers from Ghana as a proxy to estimate the contribution of asymptomatic cases to the spread of COVID-19. Methods: The study analyzed the SARS-CoV-2 PCR test data of clients whose purpose for testing was classified as "Travel" at the COVID-19 walk-in test center of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) from July 2020 to July 2021. These individuals requesting tests for travel generally had no clinical symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of testing. Data were processed and analyzed using Microsoft Excel office 16 and STATA version 16. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data on test and demographic characteristics. Results: Out of 42,997 samples tested at the center within that period, 28,384 (66.0%) were classified as "Travel" tests. Of these, 1,900 (6.7%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. The majority (64.8%) of the "Travel" tests were requested by men. The men recorded a SARS-CoV-2 positivity of 6.9% compared to the 6.4% observed among women. Test requests for SARS-CoV-2 were received from all regions of Ghana, with a majority (83.3%) received from the Greater Accra Region. Although the Eastern region recorded the highest SARS-CoV-2 positivity rate of 8.35%, the Greater Accra region contributed 81% to the total number of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases detected within the period of study. Conclusion: Our study found substantial SARS-CoV-2 positivity among asymptomatic individuals who, without the requirement for a negative SARS-CoV-2 result for travel, would have no reason to test. These asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals could have traveled to other countries and unintentionally spread the virus. Our findings call for enhanced tracing and testing of asymptomatic contacts of individuals who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19 , Male , Humans , Female , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Ghana/epidemiology , Prospective Studies
Exp Biol Med (Maywood) ; 246(8): 960-970, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978882


The confirmed case fatality rate for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Ghana has dropped from a peak of 2% in March to be consistently below 1% since May 2020. Globally, case fatality rates have been linked to the strains/clades of circulating severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) within a specific country. Here we present 46 whole genomes of SARS-CoV-2 circulating in Ghana, from two separate sequencing batches: 15 isolates from the early epidemic (March 12-April 1 2020) and 31 from later time-points ( 25-27 May 2020). Sequencing was carried out on an Illumina MiSeq system following an amplicon-based enrichment for SARS-CoV-2 cDNA. After genome assembly and quality control processes, phylogenetic analysis showed that the first batch of 15 genomes clustered into five clades: 19A, 19B, 20A, 20B, and 20C, whereas the second batch of 31 genomes clustered to only three clades 19B, 20A, and 20B. The imported cases (6/46) mapped to circulating viruses in their countries of origin, namely, India, Hungary, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. All genomes mapped to the original Wuhan strain with high similarity (99.5-99.8%). All imported strains mapped to the European superclade A, whereas 5/9 locally infected individuals harbored the B4 clade, from the East Asian superclade B. Ghana appears to have 19B and 20B as the two largest circulating clades based on our sequence analyses. In line with global reports, the D614G linked viruses seem to be predominating. Comparison of Ghanaian SARS-CoV-2 genomes with global genomes indicates that Ghanaian strains have not diverged significantly from circulating strains commonly imported into Africa. The low level of diversity in our genomes may indicate lower levels of transmission, even for D614G viruses, which is consistent with the relatively low levels of infection reported in Ghana.

Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity