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1.
mSystems ; 7(4): e0010922, 2022 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1891744

ABSTRACT

A promising approach to help students safely return to in person learning is through the application of sentinel cards for accurate high resolution environmental monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 traces indoors. Because SARS-CoV-2 RNA can persist for up to a week on several indoor surface materials, there is a need for increased temporal resolution to determine whether consecutive surface positives arise from new infection events or continue to report past events. Cleaning sentinel cards after sampling would provide the needed resolution but might interfere with assay performance. We tested the effect of three cleaning solutions (BZK wipes, Wet Wipes, RNase Away) at three different viral loads: "high" (4 × 104 GE/mL), "medium" (1 × 104 GE/mL), and "low" (2.5 × 103 GE/mL). RNase Away, chosen as a positive control, was the most effective cleaning solution on all three viral loads. Wet Wipes were found to be more effective than BZK wipes in the medium viral load condition. The low viral load condition was easily reset with all three cleaning solutions. These findings will enable temporal SARS-CoV-2 monitoring in indoor environments where transmission risk of the virus is high and the need to avoid individual-level sampling for privacy or compliance reasons exists. IMPORTANCE Because SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, persists on surfaces, testing swabs taken from surfaces is useful as a monitoring tool. This approach is especially valuable in school settings, where there are cost and privacy concerns that are eliminated by taking a single sample from a classroom. However, the virus persists for days to weeks on surface samples, so it is impossible to tell whether positive detection events on consecutive days are a persistent signal or new infectious cases and therefore whether the positive individuals have been successfully removed from the classroom. We compare several methods for cleaning "sentinel cards" to show that this approach can be used to identify new SARS-CoV-2 signals day to day. The results are important for determining how to monitor classrooms and other indoor environments for SARS-CoV-2 virus.

2.
mSystems ; 7(4): e0010322, 2022 Aug 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1891743

ABSTRACT

Surface sampling for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection has shown considerable promise to detect exposure of built environments to infected individuals shedding virus who would not otherwise be detected. Here, we compare two popular sampling media (VTM and SDS) and two popular workflows (Thermo and PerkinElmer) for implementation of a surface sampling program suitable for environmental monitoring in public schools. We find that the SDS/Thermo pipeline shows superior sensitivity and specificity, but that the VTM/PerkinElmer pipeline is still sufficient to support surface surveillance in any indoor setting with stable cohorts of occupants (e.g., schools, prisons, group homes, etc.) and may be used to leverage existing investments in infrastructure. IMPORTANCE The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of over 5 million people worldwide. Due to high density occupancy of indoor spaces for prolonged periods of time, schools are often of concern for transmission, leading to widespread school closings to combat pandemic spread when cases rise. Since pediatric clinical testing is expensive and difficult from a consent perspective, we have deployed surface sampling in SASEA (Safer at School Early Alert), which allows for detection of SARS-CoV-2 from surfaces within a classroom. In this previous work, we developed a high-throughput method which requires robotic automation and specific reagents that are often not available for public health laboratories such as the San Diego County Public Health Laboratory (SDPHL). Therefore, we benchmarked our method (Thermo pipeline) against SDPHL's (PerkinElmer) more widely used method for the detection and prediction of SARS-CoV-2 exposure. While our method shows superior sensitivity (false-negative rate of 9% versus 27% for SDPHL), the SDPHL pipeline is sufficient to support surface surveillance in indoor settings. These findings are important since they show that existing investments in infrastructure can be leveraged to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2 not in just the classroom but also in prisons, nursing homes, and other high-risk, indoor settings.

3.
Microbiome ; 9(1): 132, 2021 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1262519

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 is an RNA virus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Viruses exist in complex microbial environments, and recent studies have revealed both synergistic and antagonistic effects of specific bacterial taxa on viral prevalence and infectivity. We set out to test whether specific bacterial communities predict SARS-CoV-2 occurrence in a hospital setting. METHODS: We collected 972 samples from hospitalized patients with COVID-19, their health care providers, and hospital surfaces before, during, and after admission. We screened for SARS-CoV-2 using RT-qPCR, characterized microbial communities using 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, and used these bacterial profiles to classify SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection with a random forest model. RESULTS: Sixteen percent of surfaces from COVID-19 patient rooms had detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA, although infectivity was not assessed. The highest prevalence was in floor samples next to patient beds (39%) and directly outside their rooms (29%). Although bed rail samples more closely resembled the patient microbiome compared to floor samples, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected less often in bed rail samples (11%). SARS-CoV-2 positive samples had higher bacterial phylogenetic diversity in both human and surface samples and higher biomass in floor samples. 16S microbial community profiles enabled high classifier accuracy for SARS-CoV-2 status in not only nares, but also forehead, stool, and floor samples. Across these distinct microbial profiles, a single amplicon sequence variant from the genus Rothia strongly predicted SARS-CoV-2 presence across sample types, with greater prevalence in positive surface and human samples, even when compared to samples from patients in other intensive care units prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. CONCLUSIONS: These results contextualize the vast diversity of microbial niches where SARS-CoV-2 RNA is detected and identify specific bacterial taxa that associate with the viral RNA prevalence both in the host and hospital environment. Video Abstract.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics , Phylogeny , RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/genetics , RNA, Viral/genetics
4.
Biotechniques ; 70(3): 149-159, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054921

ABSTRACT

One goal of microbial ecology researchers is to capture the maximum amount of information from all organisms in a sample. The recent COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the RNA virus SARS-CoV-2, has highlighted a gap in traditional DNA-based protocols, including the high-throughput methods the authors previously established as field standards. To enable simultaneous SARS-CoV-2 and microbial community profiling, the authors compared the relative performance of two total nucleic acid extraction protocols with the authors' previously benchmarked protocol. The authors included a diverse panel of environmental and host-associated sample types, including body sites commonly swabbed for COVID-19 testing. Here the authors present results comparing the cost, processing time, DNA and RNA yield, microbial community composition, limit of detection and well-to-well contamination between these protocols.


Subject(s)
DNA, Viral/isolation & purification , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Microbiota/genetics , RNA, Ribosomal, 16S/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Animals , Biodiversity , Cats , Chemical Fractionation/methods , Feces/microbiology , Feces/virology , Female , Humans , Limit of Detection , Male , Metagenomics/methods , Mice , Saliva/microbiology , Saliva/virology , Skin/microbiology , Skin/virology
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