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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(10)2022 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1847333

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 can spread directly via saliva, respiratory aerosols and droplets, and indirectly by contact through contaminated objects and/or surfaces and by air. In the context of COVID-19 fomites can be an important vehicle of virus transmission and contribute to infection risk in public environments. The aim of the study was to analyze through surface sampling (sponge method) the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in public and working environments, in order to evaluate the risk for virus transmission. Seventy-seven environmental samples were taken using sterile sponges in 17 animal farms, 4 public transport buses, 1 supermarket and 1 hotel receptive structure. Furthermore, 246 and 93 swab samples were taken in the farms from animals and from workers, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 detection was conducted by real-time RT-PCR and by digital droplet RT-PCR (dd RT-PCR) using RdRp, gene E and gene N as targets. None of the human and animal swab samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2, while detection was achieved in 20 of the 77 sponge samples (26%) using dd RT-PCR. Traces of the RdRp gene, gene E and gene N were found in 17/77 samples (22%, average concentration 31.2 g.c./cm2, range 5.6 to 132 g.c./cm2), 8/77 samples (10%, average concentration 15.1 g.c./cm2, range 6 to 36 g.c./cm2), and in 1/77 (1%, concentration 7.2 g.c./cm2). Higher detection rates were associated with sampling in animal farms and on public transport buses (32% and 30%) compared to the supermarket (21%) and the hotel (no detection). The result of the study suggests that the risk of contamination of surfaces with SARS-CoV-2 increases in environments in which sanitation strategies are not suitable and/or in highly frequented locations, such as public transportation. Considering the analytical methods, the dd RT-PCR was the only approach achieving detection of SARS-CoV-2 traces in environmental samples. Thus, dd RT-PCR emerges as a reliable tool for sensitive SARS-CoV-2 detection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
Genet Med ; 2022 May 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1819495

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Emerging evidence suggest that infection-dependent hyperactivation of complement system (CS) may worsen COVID-19 outcome. We investigated the role of predicted high impact rare variants - referred as qualifying variants (QVs) - of CS genes in predisposing asymptomatic COVID-19 in elderly individuals, known to be more susceptible to severe disease. METHODS: Exploiting exome sequencing data and 56 CS genes, we performed a gene-based collapsing test between 164 asymptomatic subjects (aged ≥60 years) and 56,885 European individuals from the Genome Aggregation Database. We replicated this test comparing the same asymptomatic individuals with 147 hospitalized patients with COVID-19. RESULTS: We found an enrichment of QVs in 3 genes (MASP1, COLEC11, and COLEC10), which belong to the lectin pathway, in the asymptomatic cohort. Analyses of complement activity in serum showed decreased activity of lectin pathway in asymptomatic individuals with QVs. Finally, we found allelic variants associated with asymptomatic COVID-19 phenotype and with a decreased expression of MASP1, COLEC11, and COLEC10 in lung tissue. CONCLUSION: This study suggests that genetic rare variants can protect from severe COVID-19 by mitigating the activity of lectin pathway and prothrombin. The genetic data obtained through ES of 786 asymptomatic and 147 hospitalized individuals are publicly available at http://espocovid.ceinge.unina.it/.

3.
Front Public Health ; 10: 840996, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809617

ABSTRACT

The aim of the present study is to assess saliva as a reliable specimen for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) detection by real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR), especially in community mass screening programs. The performance analysis considered 1,221 total samples [nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs and corresponding saliva], tested by means of a reference diagnostic real-time RT-PCR assay. Conflicting results were further investigated with a second, more sensitive, reference assay. Analysis of agreement showed a good concordance (95.82%), with a k coefficient value of.74 (p < 0.001); moreover, a follow-up analysis revealed the presence of viral gene targets in saliva samples at the time point the corresponding NP swabs turned negative. Data obtained prove the reliability of this alternative biofluid for SARS-CoV-2 detection in real-time RT-PCR. Considering the role of saliva in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission and pathogenesis, and the advantages in the use of salivary diagnostics, the present validation supports the use of saliva as an optimal choice in large-scale population screening and monitoring of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Nasopharynx , Reproducibility of Results , SARS-CoV-2 , Saliva , Specimen Handling/methods
4.
Int J Mol Sci ; 23(4)2022 Feb 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690219

ABSTRACT

The development of prophylactic agents against the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a public health priority in the search for new surrogate markers of active virus replication. Early detection markers are needed to follow disease progression and foresee patient negativization. Subgenomic RNA transcripts (with a focus on sgN) were evaluated in oro/nasopharyngeal swabs from COVID-19-affected patients with an analysis of 315 positive samples using qPCR technology. Cut-off Cq values for sgN (Cq < 33.15) and sgE (Cq < 34.06) showed correlations to high viral loads. The specific loss of sgN in home-isolated and hospitalized COVID-19-positive patients indicated negativization of patient condition, 3-7 days from the first swab, respectively. A new detection kit for sgN, gene E, gene ORF1ab, and gene RNAse P was developed recently. In addition, in vitro studies have shown that 2'-O-methyl antisense RNA (related to the sgN sequence) can impair SARS-CoV-2 N protein synthesis, viral replication, and syncytia formation in human cells (i.e., HEK-293T cells overexpressing ACE2) upon infection with VOC Alpha (B.1.1.7)-SARS-CoV-2 variant, defining the use that this procedure might have for future therapeutic actions against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Virus Replication/physiology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/analysis , Giant Cells/drug effects , Giant Cells/virology , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Limit of Detection , Nasopharynx/virology , Phosphoproteins/analysis , Phosphoproteins/genetics , RNA, Antisense/pharmacology , RNA, Viral , Ribonuclease P/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , Social Isolation , Viral Load , Viroporin Proteins/genetics , Virus Replication/drug effects
5.
J Virol Methods ; 300: 114420, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654871

ABSTRACT

The emergence and spread of SARS-CoV-2 has led to a compelling request for accurate diagnostic tests. The aim of this study was assessing the performance of a real-time RT-qPCR (rt RT-qPCR) assay and of a droplet digital RT-PCR (dd RT-PCR) targeting the nsp14 genome region for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swabs. A total of 258 nasopharyngeal swabs were analyzed with the nsp14 assays and, for comparison, with a reference assay targeting the RdRp and E genes. Conflicting results were further investigated by two additional protocols, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) real-time targeting N1/N2, and a nested RT-PCR for the spike region. Agreement of results was achieved on 226 samples (156 positive and 70 negative), 8 samples were positive in the reference assay and in the nsp14 rt RT-qPCR but negative with the dd RT-PCR, and 24 samples provided different combinations of results with the three assays. Sensitivity, specificity and accuracy (95 %C.I.) of the nsp14 assays were: 100.0 % (97.4-100.0), 98.7 % (92.1-100.0), and 99.6 % (97.5-100.0) for the rt RT-qPCR; 92.4 % (87.4-95.6), 100.0 % (94.2-100.0), and 94.7 % (91.1-97.0) for the dd RT-PCR. The results of the study support the use of the nsp14 real-time RT-qPCR and ddPCR for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in nasopharyngeal swabs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Exonucleases , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sensitivity and Specificity
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(2)2022 Jan 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625480

ABSTRACT

Bivalve shellfish are readily contaminated by human pathogens present in waters impacted by municipal sewage, and the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in feces of infected patients and in wastewater has drawn attention to the possible presence of the virus in bivalves. The aim of this study was to collect data on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in bivalve mollusks from harvesting areas of Campania region. A total of 179 samples were collected between September 2019 and April 2021 and were tested using droplet digital RT-PCR (dd RT-PCR) and real-time RT-PCR. Combining results obtained with different assays, SARS-CoV-2 presence was detected in 27/179 (15.1%) of samples. A median viral concentration of 1.1 × 102 and 1.4 × 102 g.c./g was obtained using either Orf1b nsp14 or RdRp/gene E, respectively. Positive results were unevenly distributed among harvesting areas and over time, positive samples being more frequent after January 2021. Partial sequencing of the spike region was achieved for five samples, one of which displaying mutations characteristic of the Alpha variant (lineage B.1.1.7). This study confirms that bivalve mollusks may bioaccumulate SARS-CoV-2 to detectable levels and that they may represent a valuable approach to track SARS-CoV-2 in water bodies and to monitor outbreak trends and viral diversity.


Subject(s)
Bivalvia , COVID-19 , Animals , Humans , RNA, Viral , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Waste Water
7.
Front Public Health ; 9: 801609, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604379

ABSTRACT

As of November 17, 2021, SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome CoronaVirus 2), the causative agent of COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease 19), has infected ~250 million people worldwide, causing around five million deaths. Titers of anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies were relatively stable for at least 9 months in a population-based study conducted in Wuhan, China, both in symptomatic and in asymptomatic individuals. In the mass screening campaign conducted in the town of Ariano Irpino (Avellino, Italy) in May, 2020, 5.7% (95% CI: 5.3-6-1) of the 13,444 asymptomatic citizens screened were positive for anti-nucleocapsid antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. Among these, 422 citizens were re-tested for anti SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in January, 2021 and/or in April, 2021 and enrolled in this longitudinal observational study. Median (interquartile range) age of the study cohort was 46 years (29-59), with 47 (11.1%) participants of minor age, while 217 (51.4%) participants were females. There was no evidence of re-infection in any of the subjects included. Presence of anti-nuclear antibodies antibodies (Elecysis, Roche) was reported in 95.7 and 93.7% of evaluable participants in January and April, 2021. Multiple logistic regression analysis used to explore associations between age, sex and seroprevalence showed that adults vs. minors had significantly lower odds of having anti-S1 antibodies (Biorad) both in January, 2021 and in April, 2021. Our findings showed that antibodies remained detectable at least 11.5 months after infection in >90% of never symptomatic cases. Further investigation is required to establish duration of immunity against SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Immunity, Humoral , Middle Aged , Seroepidemiologic Studies
8.
Future Sci OA ; 7(7): FSO711, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1302056

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of the COVID-19 pandemic, has rarely been associated with transmission from humans to animals (reverse zoonotic transmission). In this retrospective study, the authors reviewed data obtained from 236 animals, including buffaloes, goats/sheep, horses, carrier pigeons, rabbits, hens, snakes, pigs and cows that were screened for SARS-CoV-2 infection because they had been in contact with their SARS-CoV-2-positive breeder for at least 2 weeks. None of the tested animals were found to be positive. The authors' findings suggest that the risk of reverse zoonotic transmission among bred animals and SARS-CoV-2-positive breeders is very low or nonexistent. Additional studies are warranted.

9.
Future Sci OA ; 7(8): FSO739, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1278250

ABSTRACT

In this retrospective study, a cohort of 67 subjects vaccinated with AZD1222 was retrospectively observed. Consistently with published findings, no serious adverse event was reported, and all adverse events reported (fever, muscle ache and/or pain in the site of injection) had resolved by day 8. Of note, some citizens were prescribed low-dose aspirin and even heparin for thrombosis prevention. We also found variations in laboratory test results (full blood count and chemistry) on day 1 compared with day 8. Physicians should be aware that no prevention therapy for thrombosis is currently recommended, given the very low incidence of this side effect. Additional studies are warranted to interpret our findings.

10.
Genes (Basel) ; 12(6)2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264428

ABSTRACT

To identify host genetic determinants involved in humoral immunity and associated with the risk of developing severe COVID-19, we analyzed 500 SARS-CoV-2 positive subjects from Southern Italy. We examined the coding sequences of 10 common variable immunodeficiency-associated genes obtained by the whole-exome sequencing of 121 hospitalized patients. These 10 genes showed significant enrichment in predicted pathogenic point mutations in severe patients compared with the non-severe ones. Moreover, in the TNFRSF13C gene, the minor allele of the p.His159Tyr variant, which is known to increase NF-kB activation and B-cell production, was significantly more frequent in the 38 severe cases compared to both the 83 non-severe patients and the 375 asymptomatic subjects further genotyped. This finding identified a potential genetic risk factor of severe COVID-19 that not only may serve to unravel the mechanisms underlying the disease severity but, also, may contribute to build the rationale for individualized management based on B-cell therapy.


Subject(s)
B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor/genetics , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/genetics , Female , Gene Frequency , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Retrospective Studies , Severity of Illness Index
11.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(10)2021 May 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1244036

ABSTRACT

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) found locus 3p21.31 associated with severe COVID-19. CCR5 resides at the same locus and, given its known biological role in other infection diseases, we investigated if common noncoding and rare coding variants, affecting CCR5, can predispose to severe COVID-19. We combined single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that met the suggestive significance level (P ≤ 1 × 10-5) at the 3p21.31 locus in public GWAS datasets (6406 COVID-19 hospitalized patients and 902,088 controls) with gene expression data from 208 lung tissues, Hi-C, and Chip-seq data. Through whole exome sequencing (WES), we explored rare coding variants in 147 severe COVID-19 patients. We identified three SNPs (rs9845542, rs12639314, and rs35951367) associated with severe COVID-19 whose risk alleles correlated with low CCR5 expression in lung tissues. The rs35951367 resided in a CTFC binding site that interacts with CCR5 gene in lung tissues and was confirmed to be associated with severe COVID-19 in two independent datasets. We also identified a rare coding variant (rs34418657) associated with the risk of developing severe COVID-19. Our results suggest a biological role of CCR5 in the progression of COVID-19 as common and rare genetic variants can increase the risk of developing severe COVID-19 by affecting the functions of CCR5.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/metabolism , Genetic Predisposition to Disease , Receptors, CCR5/genetics , Receptors, CCR5/metabolism , Alleles , Bronchi/metabolism , Bronchi/pathology , Bronchi/virology , COVID-19/physiopathology , Chromosomes, Human/genetics , Cohort Studies , Computational Biology , Databases, Genetic , Genome-Wide Association Study , Genotype , Humans , Lung/metabolism , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Whole Exome Sequencing
12.
Front Public Health ; 9: 649781, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231426

ABSTRACT

The onset of the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus encouraged the development of new serologic tests that could be additional and complementary to real-time RT-PCR-based assays. In such a context, the study of performances of available tests is urgently needed, as their use has just been initiated for seroprevalence assessment. The aim of this study was to compare four chemiluminescence immunoassays and one immunochromatography test for SARS-Cov-2 antibodies for the evaluation of the degree of diffusion of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Salerno Province (Campania Region, Italy). A total of 3,185 specimens from citizens were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as part of a screening program. Four automated immunoassays (Abbott and Liaison SARS-CoV-2 CLIA IgG and Roche and Siemens SARS-CoV-2 CLIA IgM/IgG/IgA assays) and one lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA Technogenetics IgG-IgM COVID-19) were used. Seroprevalence in the entire cohort was 2.41, 2.10, 1.82, and 1.85% according to the Liaison IgG, Abbott IgG, Siemens, and Roche total Ig tests, respectively. When we explored the agreement among the rapid tests and the serologic assays, we reported good agreement for Abbott, Siemens, and Roche (Cohen's Kappa coefficient 0.69, 0.67, and 0.67, respectively), whereas we found moderate agreement for Liaison (Cohen's kappa coefficient 0.58). Our study showed that Abbott and Liaison SARS-CoV-2 CLIA IgG, Roche and Siemens SARS-CoV-2 CLIA IgM/IgG/IgA assays, and LFIA Technogenetics IgG-IgM COVID-19 have good agreement in seroprevalence assessment. In addition, our findings indicate that the prevalence of IgG and total Ig antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 at the time of the study was as low as around 3%, likely explaining the amplitude of the current second wave.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Immunoassay , Immunoglobulin M , Italy , Luminescence , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies
13.
iScience ; 24(4): 102322, 2021 Apr 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1144743

ABSTRACT

The established risk factors of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are advanced age, male sex, and comorbidities, but they do not fully explain the wide spectrum of disease manifestations. Genetic factors implicated in the host antiviral response provide for novel insights into its pathogenesis. We performed an in-depth genetic analysis of chromosome 21 exploiting the genome-wide association study data, including 6,406 individuals hospitalized for COVID-19 and 902,088 controls with European genetic ancestry from the COVID-19 Host Genetics Initiative. We found that five single nucleotide polymorphisms within TMPRSS2 and near MX1 gene show associations with severe COVID-19. The minor alleles of the five single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) correlated with a reduced risk of developing severe COVID-19 and high level of MX1 expression in blood. Our findings demonstrate that host genetic factors can influence the different clinical presentations of COVID-19 and that MX1 could be a potential therapeutic target.

14.
Future Sci OA ; 7(4): FSO673, 2021 Jan 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1052460

ABSTRACT

The Italian municipality of Ariano Irpino (Avellino, Campania, Italy) was locked down by the regional authorities from March until April 2020 after several citizens tested positive for SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A serological mass screening campaign targeting the Ariano Irpino population using the Roche Cobas Elecsys anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay was organized by the Zoo-Prophylactic Institute of Southern Italy (Portici, Italy) and conducted in cooperation with the Local Health Unit (Azienda Sanitaria Locale - ASL - Avellino, Avellino, Italy), the Department of Public Health of University Federico II (Naples, Italy) and Department of Health Services of Azienda Ospedaliera dei Colli-Cotugno and Monaldi Hospital (Naples, Italy) in May 2020. A total of 13,218 asymptomatic individuals were reviewed in this analysis. A total of 738 citizens tested positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (398 females, 340 males). The overall prevalence in the sample was 5.6% (95% CI: 5.2-6.0). Among seropositive citizens, 101 cases tested positive on RT-PCR (0.76% of the overall population). Among citizens aged 14-18, 18-65 and >65 years, the seroprevalence was equal to 6.1 (95% CI: 4.1-8.7), 5.6 (95% CI: 5.1-6.1) and 4% (95% CI: 3.3-4.8), respectively. In the pediatric cohort (<14 years old), seroprevalence was 13% (95% CI: 10.2-16.2). A serological-based screening strategy could be a cost-effective public health intervention to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

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