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Cell Rep ; 36(7): 109530, 2021 08 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330686


A recent study proposed that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) hijacks the LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposition machinery to integrate into the DNA of infected cells. If confirmed, this finding could have significant clinical implications. Here, we apply deep (>50×) long-read Oxford Nanopore Technologies (ONT) sequencing to HEK293T cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 and do not find the virus integrated into the genome. By examining ONT data from separate HEK293T cultivars, we completely resolve 78 L1 insertions arising in vitro in the absence of L1 overexpression systems. ONT sequencing applied to hepatitis B virus (HBV)-positive liver cancer tissues located a single HBV insertion. These experiments demonstrate reliable resolution of retrotransposon and exogenous virus insertions by ONT sequencing. That we find no evidence of SARS-CoV-2 integration suggests that such events are, at most, extremely rare in vivo and therefore are unlikely to drive oncogenesis or explain post-recovery detection of the virus.

COVID-19/virology , DNA, Viral/genetics , Genome, Human , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis, DNA , Virus Integration , Aged , Animals , COVID-19/diagnosis , Carcinoma, Hepatocellular/virology , Chlorocebus aethiops , HEK293 Cells , Hepatitis B virus/genetics , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Liver Neoplasms/virology , Long Interspersed Nucleotide Elements , Male , Nanopore Sequencing , Vero Cells
PLoS Biol ; 18(12): e3001030, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977700


With the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) pandemic, caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2), there is a need for sensitive, specific, and affordable diagnostic tests to identify infected individuals, not all of whom are symptomatic. The most sensitive test involves the detection of viral RNA using RT-qPCR (quantitative reverse transcription PCR), with many commercial kits now available for this purpose. However, these are expensive, and supply of such kits in sufficient numbers cannot always be guaranteed. We therefore developed a multiplex assay using well-established SARS-CoV-2 targets alongside a human cellular control (RPP30) and a viral spike-in control (Phocine Herpes Virus 1 [PhHV-1]), which monitor sample quality and nucleic acid extraction efficiency, respectively. Here, we establish that this test performs as well as widely used commercial assays, but at substantially reduced cost. Furthermore, we demonstrate >1,000-fold variability in material routinely collected by combined nose and throat swabbing and establish a statistically significant correlation between the detected level of human and SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acids. The inclusion of the human control probe in our assay therefore provides a quantitative measure of sample quality that could help reduce false-negative rates. We demonstrate the feasibility of establishing a robust RT-qPCR assay at approximately 10% of the cost of equivalent commercial assays, which could benefit low-resource environments and make high-volume testing affordable.

COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19 Testing/economics , Humans , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction/economics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/economics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics