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1.
mBio ; 13(5): e0210122, 2022 10 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2001781

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic began by viral spillover from animals to humans; today multiple animal species are known to be susceptible to infection. White-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, are infected in North America at substantial levels, and genomic data suggests that a variant in deer may have spilled back to humans. Here, we characterize SARS-CoV-2 in deer from Pennsylvania (PA) sampled during fall and winter 2021. Of 123 nasal swab samples analyzed by RT-qPCR, 20 (16.3%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Seven whole genome sequences were obtained, together with six more partial spike gene sequences. These annotated as alpha and delta variants, the first reported observations of these lineages in deer, documenting multiple new jumps from humans to deer. The alpha lineage persisted in deer after its displacement by delta in humans, and deer-derived alpha variants diverged significantly from those in humans, consistent with a distinctive evolutionary trajectory in deer. IMPORTANCE Coronaviruses have been documented to replicate in numerous species of vertebrates, and multiple spillovers of coronaviruses from animals into humans have founded human epidemics. The COVID-19 epidemic likely derived from a spillover of SARS-CoV-2 from bats into humans, possibly via an intermediate host. There are now several examples of SARS-CoV-2 jumping from humans into other mammals, including mink and deer, creating the potential for new animal reservoirs from which spillback into humans could occur. For this reason, data on formation of new animal reservoirs is of great importance for understanding possible sources of future infection. Here, we identify extensive infection in white-tailed deer in Pennsylvania, including what appear to be multiple independent transmissions. Data further suggests possible transmission among deer. These data thus help identify a potential new animal reservoir and provide background information relevant to its management.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Deer , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Pennsylvania/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/veterinary
2.
Clin Lab Med ; 42(2): 299-307, 2022 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1859411

ABSTRACT

From the onset of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)/COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a major emphasis on molecular laboratory tests for the virus. Shortages in various testing supplies, the desire to increase testing capacity, and a push to make point-of-care or home-based testing available have fostered considerable innovation for SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostics, advancements likely to be applicable to other diagnostic uses. The authors attempt to cover some of the most compelling novel types of molecular assays or novel approaches in adapting established molecular methodologies for SARS-CoV-2 detection or characterization.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics
3.
J Clin Microbiol ; 60(6): e0060022, 2022 06 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1854230

ABSTRACT

Mutations in the genome of SARS-CoV-2 can affect the performance of molecular diagnostic assays. In some cases, such as S-gene target failure, the impact can serve as a unique indicator of a particular SARS-CoV-2 variant and provide a method for rapid detection. Here, we describe partial ORF1ab gene target failure (pOGTF) on the cobas SARS-CoV-2 assays, defined by a ≥2-thermocycle delay in detection of the ORF1ab gene compared to that of the E-gene. We demonstrate that pOGTF is 98.6% sensitive and 99.9% specific for SARS-CoV-2 lineage BA.2.12.1, an emerging variant in the United States with spike L452Q and S704L mutations that may affect transmission, infectivity, and/or immune evasion. Increasing rates of pOGTF closely mirrored rates of BA.2.12.1 sequences uploaded to public databases, and, importantly, increasing local rates of pOGTF also mirrored increasing overall test positivity. Use of pOGTF as a proxy for BA.2.12.1 provides faster tracking of the variant than whole-genome sequencing and can benefit laboratories without sequencing capabilities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Base Sequence , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
4.
J Clin Microbiol ; 60(3): e0128821, 2022 03 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799238

ABSTRACT

Genomic sequencing of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) continues to provide valuable insight into the ever-changing variant makeup of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than three million SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences have been deposited in Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), but contributions from the United States, particularly through 2020, lagged the global effort. The primary goal of clinical microbiology laboratories is seldom rooted in epidemiologic or public health testing, and many laboratories do not contain in-house sequencing technology. However, we recognized the need for clinical microbiologists to lend expertise, share specimen resources, and partner with academic laboratories and sequencing cores to assist in SARS-CoV-2 epidemiologic sequencing efforts. Here, we describe two clinical and academic laboratory collaborations for SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing. We highlight roles of the clinical microbiologists and the academic laboratories, outline best practices, describe two divergent strategies in accomplishing a similar goal, and discuss the challenges with implementing and maintaining such programs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Genome, Viral , Humans , Laboratories , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
6.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704412

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections have spilled over from humans to companion and wild animals since the inception of the global COVID-19 pandemic. However, whole genome sequencing data of the viral genomes that infect non-human animal species have been scant. Here, we detected and sequenced a SARS-CoV-2 delta variant (AY.3) in fecal samples from an 11-year-old domestic house cat previously exposed to an owner who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Molecular testing of two fecal samples collected 7 days apart yielded relatively high levels of viral RNA. Sequencing of the feline-derived viral genomes showed the two to be identical, and differing by between 4 and 14 single nucleotide polymorphisms in pairwise comparisons to human-derived lineage AY.3 sequences collected in the same geographic area and time period. However, several mutations unique to the feline samples reveal their divergence from this cohort on phylogenetic analysis. These results demonstrate continued spillover infections of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants that threaten human and animal health, as well as highlight the importance of collecting fecal samples when testing for SARS-CoV-2 in animals. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first published case of a SARS-CoV-2 delta variant in a domestic cat in the United States.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/veterinary , Feces/virology , Pets/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Animals , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Cats , Female , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Phylogeny , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/classification , United States , Whole Genome Sequencing
7.
mBio ; : e0378821, 2022 Feb 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1673352

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the cause of the global outbreak of COVID-19. Evidence suggests that the virus is evolving to allow efficient spread through the human population, including vaccinated individuals. Here, we report a study of viral variants from surveillance of the Delaware Valley, including the city of Philadelphia, and variants infecting vaccinated subjects. We sequenced and analyzed complete viral genomes from 2621 surveillance samples from March 2020 to September 2021 and compared them to genome sequences from 159 vaccine breakthroughs. In the early spring of 2020, all detected variants were of the B.1 and closely related lineages. A mixture of lineages followed, notably including B.1.243 followed by B.1.1.7 (alpha), with other lineages present at lower levels. Later isolations were dominated by B.1.617.2 (delta) and other delta lineages; delta was the exclusive variant present by the last time sampled. To investigate whether any variants appeared preferentially in vaccine breakthroughs, we devised a model based on Bayesian autoregressive moving average logistic multinomial regression to allow rigorous comparison. This revealed that B.1.617.2 (delta) showed 3-fold enrichment in vaccine breakthrough cases (odds ratio of 3; 95% credible interval 0.89-11). Viral point substitutions could also be associated with vaccine breakthroughs, notably the N501Y substitution found in the alpha, beta and gamma variants (odds ratio 2.04; 95% credible interval of1.25-3.18). This study thus overviews viral evolution and vaccine breakthroughs in the Delaware Valley and introduces a rigorous statistical approach to interrogating enrichment of breakthrough variants against a changing background. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 vaccination is highly effective at reducing viral infection, hospitalization and death. However, vaccine breakthrough infections have been widely observed, raising the question of whether particular viral variants or viral mutations are associated with breakthrough. Here, we report analysis of 2621 surveillance isolates from people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the Delaware Valley in southeastern Pennsylvania, allowing rigorous comparison to 159 vaccine breakthrough case specimens. Our best estimate is a 3-fold enrichment for some lineages of delta among breakthroughs, and enrichment of a notable spike substitution, N501Y. We introduce statistical methods that should be widely useful for evaluating vaccine breakthroughs and other viral phenotypes.

8.
Clin Chem ; 68(1): 230-239, 2021 12 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354284

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: High-sensitivity severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antigen assays are desirable to mitigate false negative results. Limited data are available to quantify and track SARS-CoV-2 antigen burden in respiratory samples from different populations. METHODS: We developed the Microbubbling SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Assay (MSAA) with smartphone readout, with a limit of detection of 0.5 pg/mL (10.6 fmol/L) nucleocapsid antigen or 4000 copies/mL inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus in nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs. We developed a computer vision and machine learning-based automatic microbubble image classifier to accurately identify positives and negatives and quantified and tracked antigen dynamics in intensive care unit coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) inpatients and immunocompromised COVID-19 patients. RESULTS: Compared to qualitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction methods, the MSAA demonstrated a positive percentage agreement of 97% (95% CI 92%-99%) and a negative percentage agreement of 97% (95% CI 94%-100%) in a clinical validation study with 372 residual clinical NP swabs. In immunocompetent individuals, the antigen positivity rate in swabs decreased as days-after-symptom-onset increased, despite persistent nucleic acid positivity. Antigen was detected for longer and variable periods of time in immunocompromised patients with hematologic malignancies. Total microbubble volume, a quantitative marker of antigen burden, correlated inversely with cycle threshold values and days-after-symptom-onset. Viral sequence variations were detected in patients with long duration of high antigen burden. CONCLUSIONS: The MSAA enables sensitive and specific detection of acute infections and quantification and tracking of antigen burden and may serve as a screening method in longitudinal studies to identify patients who are likely experiencing active rounds of ongoing replication and warrant close viral sequence monitoring.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19 , Smartphone , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Machine Learning , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(7): ofab300, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1307554

ABSTRACT

We report the genome of a B.1.1.7+E484K severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 from Southeastern Pennsylvania and compare it with all high-coverage B.1.1.7+E484K genomes (n = 235) available. Analyses showed the existence of at least 4 distinct clades of this variant circulating in the United States and the possibility of at least 59 independent acquisitions of the E484K mutation.

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