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1.
Virus Evol ; 8(1): veab098, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915850

ABSTRACT

Genomic sequencing is crucial to understanding the epidemiology and evolution of Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Often, genomic studies rely on remnant diagnostic material, typically nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs, as input into whole-genome SARS-CoV-2 next-generation sequencing pipelines. Saliva has proven to be a safe and stable specimen for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA via traditional diagnostic assays; however, saliva is not commonly used for SARS-CoV-2 sequencing. Using the ARTIC Network amplicon-generation approach with sequencing on the Oxford Nanopore MinION, we demonstrate that sequencing SARS-CoV-2 from saliva produces genomes comparable to those from NP swabs, and that RNA extraction is necessary to generate complete genomes from saliva. In this study, we show that saliva is a useful specimen type for genomic studies of SARS-CoV-2.

2.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 439, 2022 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1839575

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genomics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States/epidemiology
3.
BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 284, 2022 Mar 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1759709

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is an urgent need to expand testing for SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory pathogens as the global community struggles to control the COVID-19 pandemic. Current diagnostic methods can be affected by supply chain bottlenecks and require the assistance of medical professionals, impeding the implementation of large-scale testing. Self-collection of saliva may solve these problems, as it can be completed without specialized training and uses generic materials. METHODS: We observed 30 individuals who self-collected saliva using four different collection devices and analyzed their feedback. Two of these devices, a funnel and bulb pipette, were used to evaluate at-home saliva collection by 60 individuals. SARS-CoV-2-spiked saliva samples were subjected to temperature cycles designed to simulate the conditions the samples might be exposed to during the summer and winter seasons and sensitivity of detection was evaluated. RESULTS: All devices enabled the safe, unsupervised self-collection of saliva. The quantity and quality of the samples received were acceptable for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing, as determined by human RNase P detection. There was no significant difference in SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid gene (N1) detection between the freshly spiked samples and those incubated with the summer and winter profiles. CONCLUSION: We demonstrate inexpensive, generic, buffer free collection devices suitable for unsupervised and home saliva self-collection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Nucleocapsid Proteins , Pandemics , Saliva
4.
Cell Rep Med ; 3(4): 100583, 2022 04 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735052

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant rose to dominance in mid-2021, likely propelled by an estimated 40%-80% increased transmissibility over Alpha. To investigate if this ostensible difference in transmissibility is uniform across populations, we partner with public health programs from all six states in New England in the United States. We compare logistic growth rates during each variant's respective emergence period, finding that Delta emerged 1.37-2.63 times faster than Alpha (range across states). We compute variant-specific effective reproductive numbers, estimating that Delta is 63%-167% more transmissible than Alpha (range across states). Finally, we estimate that Delta infections generate on average 6.2 (95% CI 3.1-10.9) times more viral RNA copies per milliliter than Alpha infections during their respective emergence. Overall, our evidence suggests that Delta's enhanced transmissibility can be attributed to its innate ability to increase infectiousness, but its epidemiological dynamics may vary depending on underlying population attributes and sequencing data availability.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , New England/epidemiology , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
5.
J Infect Dis ; 225(3): 374-384, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1672205

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The underlying immunologic deficiencies enabling severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) reinfection are currently unknown. We describe deep longitudinal immune profiling of a transplant recipient hospitalized twice for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: A 66-year-old male renal transplant recipient was hospitalized with COVID-19 March 2020 then readmitted to the hospital with COVID-19 233 days after initial diagnosis. Virologic and immunologic investigations were performed on samples from the primary and secondary infections. RESULTS: Whole viral genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis revealed that viruses causing both infections were caused by distinct genetic lineages without evidence of immune escape mutations. Longitudinal comparison of cellular and humoral responses during primary SARS-CoV-2 infection revealed that this patient responded to the primary infection with low neutralization titer anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that were likely present at the time of reinfection. CONCLUSIONS: The development of neutralizing antibodies and humoral memory responses in this patient failed to confer protection against reinfection, suggesting that they were below a neutralizing titer threshold or that additional factors may be required for efficient prevention of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection. Development of poorly neutralizing antibodies may have been due to profound and relatively specific reduction in naive CD4 T-cell pools. Seropositivity alone may not be a perfect correlate of protection in immunocompromised patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Reinfection , Transplant Recipients , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Male , Organ Transplantation , Phylogeny , Reinfection/immunology , Reinfection/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
7.
Nature ; 595(7866): 283-288, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1233713

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 manifests with a wide spectrum of clinical phenotypes that are characterized by exaggerated and misdirected host immune responses1-6. Although pathological innate immune activation is well-documented in severe disease1, the effect of autoantibodies on disease progression is less well-defined. Here we use a high-throughput autoantibody discovery technique known as rapid extracellular antigen profiling7 to screen a cohort of 194 individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2, comprising 172 patients with COVID-19 and 22 healthcare workers with mild disease or asymptomatic infection, for autoantibodies against 2,770 extracellular and secreted proteins (members of the exoproteome). We found that patients with COVID-19 exhibit marked increases in autoantibody reactivities as compared to uninfected individuals, and show a high prevalence of autoantibodies against immunomodulatory proteins (including cytokines, chemokines, complement components and cell-surface proteins). We established that these autoantibodies perturb immune function and impair virological control by inhibiting immunoreceptor signalling and by altering peripheral immune cell composition, and found that mouse surrogates of these autoantibodies increase disease severity in a mouse model of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our analysis of autoantibodies against tissue-associated antigens revealed associations with specific clinical characteristics. Our findings suggest a pathological role for exoproteome-directed autoantibodies in COVID-19, with diverse effects on immune functionality and associations with clinical outcomes.


Subject(s)
Autoantibodies/analysis , Autoantibodies/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/metabolism , Proteome/immunology , Proteome/metabolism , Animals , Antigens, Surface/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Case-Control Studies , Complement System Proteins/immunology , Cytokines/immunology , Disease Models, Animal , Disease Progression , Female , Humans , Male , Mice , Organ Specificity/immunology
8.
PLoS Biol ; 19(5): e3001236, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1220158

ABSTRACT

With the emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants that may increase transmissibility and/or cause escape from immune responses, there is an urgent need for the targeted surveillance of circulating lineages. It was found that the B.1.1.7 (also 501Y.V1) variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, could be serendipitously detected by the Thermo Fisher TaqPath COVID-19 PCR assay because a key deletion in these viruses, spike Δ69-70, would cause a "spike gene target failure" (SGTF) result. However, a SGTF result is not definitive for B.1.1.7, and this assay cannot detect other variants of concern (VOC) that lack spike Δ69-70, such as B.1.351 (also 501Y.V2), detected in South Africa, and P.1 (also 501Y.V3), recently detected in Brazil. We identified a deletion in the ORF1a gene (ORF1a Δ3675-3677) in all 3 variants, which has not yet been widely detected in other SARS-CoV-2 lineages. Using ORF1a Δ3675-3677 as the primary target and spike Δ69-70 to differentiate, we designed and validated an open-source PCR assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 VOC. Our assay can be rapidly deployed in laboratories around the world to enhance surveillance for the local emergence and spread of B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/genetics , DNA Primers , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Mutation , Polyproteins/genetics , Viral Proteins/genetics
9.
Cell ; 184(10): 2595-2604.e13, 2021 05 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1163482

ABSTRACT

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


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/transmission , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , United States/epidemiology
10.
PLoS Biol ; 18(10): e3000867, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-901993

ABSTRACT

The current quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) assay recommended for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) testing in the United States requires analysis of 3 genomic targets per sample: 2 viral and 1 host. To simplify testing and reduce the volume of required reagents, we devised a multiplex RT-qPCR assay to detect SARS-CoV-2 in a single reaction. We used existing N1, N2, and RP primer and probe sets by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but substituted fluorophores to allow multiplexing of the assay. The cycle threshold (Ct) values of our multiplex RT-qPCR were comparable to those obtained by the single assay adapted for research purposes. Low copy numbers (≥500 copies/reaction) of SARS-CoV-2 RNA were consistently detected by the multiplex RT-qPCR. Our novel multiplex RT-qPCR improves upon current single diagnostics by saving reagents, costs, time, and labor.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic/standards , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Case-Control Studies , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/standards , Coronavirus Infections/virology , DNA Primers/standards , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Limit of Detection , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States
12.
PLoS Biol ; 18(8): e3000869, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-727315

ABSTRACT

Genomic epidemiology can provide a unique, real-time understanding of SARS-CoV-2 transmission patterns. Yet the potential for genomic analyses to guide local policy and community-based behavioral decisions is limited because they are often oriented towards specially trained scientists and conducted on a national or global scale. Here, we propose a new paradigm: Phylogenetic analyses performed on a local level (municipal, county, or state), with results communicated in a clear, timely, and actionable manner to strengthen public health responses. We believe that presenting results rapidly, and tailored to a non-expert audience, can serve as a template for effective public health response to COVID-19 and other emerging viral diseases.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Information Dissemination , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health , COVID-19 , Genomics , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Nat Microbiol ; 5(10): 1299-1305, 2020 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-638387

ABSTRACT

The recent spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) exemplifies the critical need for accurate and rapid diagnostic assays to prompt clinical and public health interventions. Currently, several quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (RT-qPCR) assays are being used by clinical, research and public health laboratories. However, it is currently unclear whether results from different tests are comparable. Our goal was to make independent evaluations of primer-probe sets used in four common SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic assays. From our comparisons of RT-qPCR analytical efficiency and sensitivity, we show that all primer-probe sets can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2 at 500 viral RNA copies per reaction. The exception for this is the RdRp-SARSr (Charité) confirmatory primer-probe set which has low sensitivity, probably due to a mismatch to circulating SARS-CoV-2 in the reverse primer. We did not find evidence for background amplification with pre-COVID-19 samples or recent SARS-CoV-2 evolution decreasing sensitivity. Our recommendation for SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing is to select an assay with high sensitivity and that is regionally used, to ease comparability between outcomes.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/statistics & numerical data , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Genetic Variation , Genome, Viral , Humans , Molecular Probe Techniques/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , RNA/genetics , RNA Probes/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
14.
Cell ; 181(5): 990-996.e5, 2020 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-60444

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States in January 2020, with subsequent COVID-19 outbreaks detected in all 50 states by early March. To uncover the sources of SARS-CoV-2 introductions and patterns of spread within the United States, we sequenced nine viral genomes from early reported COVID-19 patients in Connecticut. Our phylogenetic analysis places the majority of these genomes with viruses sequenced from Washington state. By coupling our genomic data with domestic and international travel patterns, we show that early SARS-CoV-2 transmission in Connecticut was likely driven by domestic introductions. Moreover, the risk of domestic importation to Connecticut exceeded that of international importation by mid-March regardless of our estimated effects of federal travel restrictions. This study provides evidence of widespread sustained transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within the United States and highlights the critical need for local surveillance.


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