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Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2494, 2022 05 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1890179


The COVID-19 pandemic is one of the fastest evolving pandemics in recent history. As such, the SARS-CoV-2 viral evolution needs to be continuously tracked. This study sequenced 1123 SARS-CoV-2 genomes from patient isolates (121 from arriving travellers and 1002 from communities) to track the molecular evolution and spatio-temporal dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 variants in Ghana. The data show that initial local transmission was dominated by B.1.1 lineage, but the second wave was overwhelmingly driven by the Alpha variant. Subsequently, an unheralded variant under monitoring, B.1.1.318, dominated transmission from April to June 2021 before being displaced by Delta variants, which were introduced into community transmission in May 2021. Mutational analysis indicated that variants that took hold in Ghana harboured transmission enhancing and immune escape spike substitutions. The observed rapid viral evolution demonstrates the potential for emergence of novel variants with greater mutational fitness as observed in other parts of the world.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Ghana/epidemiology , Humans , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
J Infect ; 84(1): 48-55, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446863


Background Controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2 is problematic because of transmission driven by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals. Community screening can help identify these individuals but is often too expensive for countries with limited health care resources. Low-cost ELISA assays may address this problem, but their use has not yet been widely reported. Methods We developed a SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid ELISA and assessed its diagnostic performance on nose and throat swab samples from UK hospitalised patients and sputum samples from patients in Ghana. Results The ELISA had a limit of detection of 8.4 pg/ml antigen and 16 pfu/ml virus. When tested on UK samples (128 positive and 10 negative patients), sensitivity was 58.6% (49.6-67.2) rising to 78.3% (66.7-87.3) if real-time PCR Ct values > 30 were excluded, while specificity was 100% (69.2-100). In a second trial using the Ghanaian samples (121 positive, 96 negative), sensitivity was 52% (42.8-61.2) rising to 72.6% (61.8-81.2) when a > 30 Ct cut-off was applied, while specificity was 100% (96.2-100). Conclusions: Our data show that nucleocapsid ELISAs can test a variety of patient sample types while achieving levels of sensitivity and specificity required for effective community screening. Further investigations into the opportunities that this provides are warranted.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Ghana , Humans , Nucleocapsid , Sensitivity and Specificity