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1.
PLoS One ; 17(10): e0274889, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2054348

ABSTRACT

Fast surveillance strategies are needed to control the spread of new emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and gain time for evaluation of their pathogenic potential. This was essential for the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) that replaced the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and is currently the dominant SARS-CoV-2 variant circulating worldwide. RT-qPCR strategies complement whole genome sequencing, especially in resource lean countries, but mutations in the targeting primer and probe sequences of new emerging variants can lead to a failure of the existing RT-qPCRs. Here, we introduced an RT-qPCR platform for detecting the Delta- and the Omicron variant simultaneously using a degenerate probe targeting the key ΔH69/V70 mutation in the spike protein. By inclusion of the L452R mutation into the RT-qPCR platform, we could detect not only the Delta and the Omicron variants, but also the Omicron sub-lineages BA.1, BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5. The RT-qPCR platform was validated in small- and large-scale. It can easily be incorporated for continued monitoring of Omicron sub-lineages, and offers a fast adaption strategy of existing RT-qPCRs to detect new emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants using degenerate probes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
2.
EBioMedicine ; 84: 104248, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2007664

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Licensed vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 effectively protect against severe disease, but display incomplete protection against virus transmission. Mucosal vaccines providing immune responses in the upper airways are one strategy to protect against transmission. METHODS: We administered Spike HexaPro trimer formulated in a cationic liposomal adjuvant as a parenteral (subcutaneous - s.c.) prime - intranasal boost regimen to elicit airway mucosal immune responses and evaluated this in a Syrian hamster model of virus transmission. FINDINGS: Parenteral prime - intranasal boost elicited high-magnitude serum neutralizing antibody responses and IgA responses in the upper respiratory tract. The vaccine strategy protected against virus in the lower airways and lung pathology, but virus could still be detected in the upper airways. Despite this, the parenteral prime - intranasal booster vaccine effectively protected against onward SARS-CoV-2 transmission. INTERPRETATION: This study suggests that parenteral-prime mucosal boost is an effective strategy for protecting against SARS-CoV-2 infection and highlights that protection against virus transmission may be obtained despite incomplete clearance of virus from the upper respiratory tract. It should be noted that protection against onward transmission was not compared to standard parenteral prime-boost, which should be a focus for future studies. FUNDING: This work was primarily supported by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement no. 101003653.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunoglobulin A
3.
J Clin Virol ; 152: 105191, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867336

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to develop a RT-PCR assay for the specific detection of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant of Concern (VOC) as a rapid alternative to sequencing. METHODS: A RT-PCR was designed in silico and then validated using characterised clinical samples containing Omicron (both BA.1 and BA.2 lineages) and the Omicron synthetic RNA genome. As negative controls, SARS-CoV-2 positive clinical samples collected in May 2020, and synthetic RNA genomes of the isolate Wuhan Hu-1 and of the Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), Kappa (B.1.617.1), Iota (B.1.526), Epsilon (B.1.429) and Delta (B.1.617.2) SARS-CoV-2 VOC were used. RESULTS: Experiments performed using as templates the synthetic RNA genomes demonstrate the high specificity of the PCR-method for the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron. Despite the synthetic RNAs were used at high copy numbers, specific signal was mainly detected with the Omicron synthetic genome. Only a non-specific late signal was detected using the Alpha variant genome, but these results were considered negligible as Alpha VOC has been replaced by the Delta and it is not circulating anymore in the world. Using our method, we confirmed the presence of Omicron on clinical samples containing this variant but not of other SARS-CoV-2 lineages. The method is highly sensitive and can detect up to 1 cp of the Omicron virus per µl. CONCLUSIONS: The method presented here, in combination with other methods in use for detection of SARS-CoV-2, can be used for an early identification of Omicron.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , RNA, Viral/analysis , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
5.
NPJ Vaccines ; 6(1): 156, 2021 Dec 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585846

ABSTRACT

New generation plasmid DNA vaccines may be a safe, fast and simple emergency vaccine platform for preparedness against emerging viral pathogens. Applying platform optimization strategies, we tested the pre-clinical immunogenicity and protective effect of a candidate DNA plasmid vaccine specific for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The DNA vaccine induced spike-specific binding IgG and neutralizing antibodies in mice, rabbits, and rhesus macaques together with robust Th1 dominant cellular responses in small animals. Intradermal and intramuscular needle-free administration of the DNA vaccine yielded comparable immune responses. In a vaccination-challenge study of rhesus macaques, the vaccine demonstrated protection from viral replication in the lungs following intranasal and intratracheal inoculation with SARS-CoV-2. In conclusion, the candidate plasmid DNA vaccine encoding the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is immunogenic in different models and confers protection against lung infection in nonhuman primates. Further evaluation of this DNA vaccine candidate in clinical trials is warranted.

6.
Euro Surveill ; 26(49)2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566615

ABSTRACT

Several factors may account for the recent increased spread of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta sub-lineage AY.4.2 in the United Kingdom, Romania, Poland, and Denmark. We evaluated the sensitivity of AY.4.2 to neutralisation by sera from 30 Comirnaty (BNT162b2 mRNA) vaccine recipients in Denmark in November 2021. AY.4.2 neutralisation was comparable to other circulating Delta lineages or sub-lineages. Conversely, the less prevalent B.1.617.2 with E484K showed a significant more than 4-fold reduction in neutralisation that warrants surveillance of strains with the acquired E484K mutation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , COVID-19 Vaccines , Denmark , Humans , Mutation , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 22214, 2021 11 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1517639

ABSTRACT

Rapid nucleic-acid based tests that can be performed by non-professionals outside laboratory settings could help the containment of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus and may potentially prevent further widespread lockdowns. Here, we present a novel compact portable detection instrument (the Egoo Health System) for extraction-free detection of SARS-CoV-2 using isothermal reverse transcription strand invasion based amplification (RT-SIBA). The SARS-CoV-2 RT-SIBA assay can be performed directly on crude oropharyngeal swabs without nucleic acid extraction with a reaction time of 30 min. The Egoo Health system uses a capsule system, which is automatically sealed tight in the Egoo instrument after applying the sample, resulting in a closed system optimal for molecular isothermal amplification. The performance of the Egoo Health System is comparable to the PCR instrument with an analytical sensitivity of 25 viral RNA copies per SARS-CoV-2 RT-SIBA reaction and a clinical sensitivity and specificity between 87.0-98.4% and 96.6-98.2% respectively.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Equipment Design , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/instrumentation , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/instrumentation , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Cell Phone , Humans , Mobile Applications , Oropharynx/virology , Point-of-Care Testing , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , RNA, Viral/genetics , Retrospective Studies , Sensitivity and Specificity
8.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 69(2): 189-194, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450581

ABSTRACT

During the current COVID-19 pandemic, different methods have been used to evaluate patients with suspected SARS-CoV-2 infection. In this study, we experimentally evaluate the ability of spiked saliva-moist swabs and spiked swabs without any transport medium to retain SARS-CoV-2 for storage and transport at different environmental settings during different incubation time periods. Our results show that at ambient temperature of 20°C, SARS-CoV-2 RNA remains stable for up to 9 days allowing a long-time span for transport and storage without compromising clinical results. Additionally, this study demonstrates that saliva-moist swabs can also be stored at -20°C and +4°C for up to 26 days without affecting RT-qPCR results. Our data are relevant for low-and middle-income countries, which have limited access to rapid refrigerated transport and storage of samples representing an economical alternative. Finally, our study demonstrates the practical and economic advantage of using swabs without transport medium.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , COVID-19/veterinary , Pandemics , RNA Stability , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva/chemistry , Specimen Handling/methods , Specimen Handling/veterinary , Temperature
9.
Front Microbiol ; 12: 698944, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305659

ABSTRACT

In addition to humans, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) can transmit to animals that include hamsters, cats, dogs, mink, ferrets, tigers, lions, cynomolgus macaques, rhesus macaques, and treeshrew. Among these, mink are particularly susceptible. Indeed, 10 countries in Europe and North America reported SARS-CoV-2 infection among mink on fur farms. In Denmark, SARS-CoV-2 spread rapidly among mink farms and spilled-over back into humans, acquiring mutations/deletions with unknown consequences for virulence and antigenicity. Here we describe a mink-associated SARS-CoV-2 variant (Cluster 5) characterized by 11 amino acid substitutions and four amino acid deletions relative to Wuhan-Hu-1. Temporal virus titration, together with genomic and subgenomic viral RNA quantitation, demonstrated a modest in vitro fitness attenuation of the Cluster 5 virus in the Vero-E6 cell line. Potential alterations in antigenicity conferred by amino acid changes in the spike protein that include three substitutions (Y453F, I692V, and M1229I) and a loss of two amino acid residues 69 and 70 (ΔH69/V70), were evaluated in a virus microneutralization assay. Compared to a reference strain, the Cluster 5 variant showed reduced neutralization in a proportion of convalescent human COVID-19 samples. The findings underscore the need for active surveillance SARS-CoV-2 infection and virus evolution in susceptible animal hosts.

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