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1.
J Clin Microbiol ; : e0240821, 2022 Apr 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1774932

ABSTRACT

Genome sequencing is a powerful tool for identifying SARS-CoV-2 variant lineages; however, there can be limitations due to sequence dropout when used to identify specific key mutations. Recently, ThermoFisher Scientific has developed genotyping assays to help bridge the gap between testing capacity and sequencing capability to generate real-time genotyping results based on specific variants. Over a 6-week period during the months of April and May 2021, we set out to assess the ThermoFisher TaqMan mutation panel genotyping assay, initially for three mutations of concern and then for an additional two mutations of concern, against SARS-CoV-2-positive clinical samples and the corresponding COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium (COG-UK) sequencing data. We demonstrate that genotyping is a powerful in-depth technique for identifying specific mutations, is an excellent complement to genome sequencing, and has real clinical health value potential, allowing laboratories to report and take action on variants of concern much more quickly.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-320038

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 has been associated with both transient and persistent systemic symptoms that do not appear to be a direct consequence of viral infection. The generation of autoantibodies has been proposed as a mechanism to explain these symptoms. To understand this phenomenon in more detail, we investigated the frequency and specificity of clinically relevant autoantibodies in 84 individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, suffering from COVID-19 of varying severity in both the acute and convalescent setting. These were compared with results from 32 individuals who were on ITU for non COVID reasons. We demonstrate a higher frequency of autoantibodies in the COVID-19 ITU group compared with non-COVID-19 ITU disease control patients and that autoantibodies were also found in the serum 3-5 months post COVID-19 infection. Non-COVID patients displayed a diverse pattern of autoantibodies;in contrast, the COVID-19 groups had a more restricted panel of autoantibodies including skin, skeletal muscle and cardiac antibodies. Our results demonstrate that severe COVID-19 induces a pattern of autoantibodies that may correlate with and contribute to the immune pathology associated with the long-term sequelae of infection.

6.
Immunology ; 164(1): 135-147, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1295026

ABSTRACT

Detecting antibody responses during and after SARS-CoV-2 infection is essential in determining the seroepidemiology of the virus and the potential role of antibody in disease. Scalable, sensitive and specific serological assays are essential to this process. The detection of antibody in hospitalized patients with severe disease has proven relatively straightforward; detecting responses in subjects with mild disease and asymptomatic infections has proven less reliable. We hypothesized that the suboptimal sensitivity of antibody assays and the compartmentalization of the antibody response may contribute to this effect. We systematically developed an ELISA, optimizing different antigens and amplification steps, in serum and saliva from non-hospitalized SARS-CoV-2-infected subjects. Using trimeric spike glycoprotein, rather than nucleocapsid, enabled detection of responses in individuals with low antibody responses. IgG1 and IgG3 predominate to both antigens, but more anti-spike IgG1 than IgG3 was detectable. All antigens were effective for detecting responses in hospitalized patients. Anti-spike IgG, IgA and IgM antibody responses were readily detectable in saliva from a minority of RT-PCR confirmed, non-hospitalized symptomatic individuals, and these were mostly subjects who had the highest levels of anti-spike serum antibodies. Therefore, detecting antibody responses in both saliva and serum can contribute to determining virus exposure and understanding immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunoglobulin A/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/immunology , Immunoglobulin M/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Antigens, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Humans , Saliva
7.
PLoS Biol ; 19(4): e3001216, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1207620

ABSTRACT

Lateral flow devices (LFDs) are quickly being implemented for use in large-scale population surveillance programs for SARS-CoV-2 infection in the United Kingdom. These programs have been piloted in city-wide screening in the city of Liverpool and are now being rolled out to support care home visits and the return home of University students for the Christmas break. Here, we present data on the performance of LFDs to test almost 8,000 students at the University of Birmingham between December 2 and December 9, 2020. The performance is validated against almost 800 samples using PCR performed in the University Pillar 2 testing lab and theoretically validated on thousands of Pillar 2 PCR testing results performed on low-prevalence care home testing samples. Our data show that LFDs do not detect infections presenting with PCR Ct values over 29 to 30 as determined using the Thermo Fisher TaqPath asssay. This may be of particular importance in detecting individuals that are either at the early, or late stages of infection, and reinforces the need for frequent, recurrent testing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Carrier State/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Carrier State/epidemiology , Humans , Immunoassay , Mass Screening , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Universities
8.
J Infect Dis ; 223(10): 1666-1670, 2021 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1082328

ABSTRACT

A SARS-CoV-2 variant B1.1.7 containing mutation Δ69/70 has spread rapidly in the United Kingdom and shows an identifiable profile in ThermoFisher TaqPath RT-qPCR, S gene target failure (SGTF). We analyzed recent test data for trends and significance. Linked cycle threshold (Ct) values for respiratory samples showed that a low Ct for ORF1ab and N were clearly associated with SGTF. Significantly more SGTF samples had higher inferred viral loads between 1×107 and 1×108. Our conclusion is that patients whose samples exhibit the SGTF profile are more likely to have high viral loads, which may explain higher infectivity and rapidity of spread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Linear Models , Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Taq Polymerase
10.
J Clin Virol ; 128: 104469, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-343387

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In January 2020 reports of unidentified severe respiratory illness were described in Wuhan, China. A rapid expansion in cases affecting most countries around the globe led to major changes in the way people live their daily lives. In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health and Social Care directed healthcare providers to establish additional resources to manage the anticipated surge in cases that could overwhelm the health services. A priority area was testing for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and its detection by qualitative RT-PCR. DESIGN: A laboratory workflow twinning research environment with clinical laboratory capabilities was implemented and validated in the University of Birmingham within 4 days of the project initiation. The diagnostic capability was centred on an IVD CE-marked RT-PCR kit and designed to provide surge capacity to the nearby Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The service was initially tasked with testing healthcare workers (HCW) using throat swabs, and subsequently the process investigated the utility of using saliva as an alternative sample type. RESULTS: Between the 8th April 2020 and the 30th April 2020, the laboratory tested a total of 1282 HCW for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in throat swabs. RNA was detected in 54 % of those who reported symptoms compatible with COVID-19, but in only 4% who were asymptomatic. CONCLUSION: This capability was established rapidly and utilised a cold-chain free methodology, applicable to a wide range of settings, and which can provide surge capacity and support to clinical laboratories facing increasing pressure during periods of national crisis.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/genetics , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Saliva/virology , Surge Capacity , United Kingdom , Workflow
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