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1.
Front Microbiol ; 13: 960932, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2005889

ABSTRACT

Early in the pandemic, in March of 2020, an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71), during deployment in the Western Pacific. Out of the crew of 4,779 personnel, 1,331 service members were suspected or confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. The demographic, epidemiologic, and laboratory findings of service members from subsequent investigations have characterized the outbreak as widespread transmission of virus with relatively mild symptoms and asymptomatic infection among mostly young healthy adults. At the time, there was no available vaccination against COVID-19 and there was very limited knowledge regarding SARS-CoV-2 mutation, dispersal, and transmission patterns among service members in a shipboard environment. Since that time, other shipboard outbreaks from which data can be extracted have occurred, but these later shipboard outbreaks have occurred largely in settings where the majority of the crew were vaccinated, thereby limiting spread of the virus, shortening duration of the outbreaks, and minimizing evolution of the virus within those close quarters settings. On the other hand, since the outbreak on the CVN-71 occurred prior to widespread vaccination, it continued over the course of roughly two months, infecting more than 25% of the crew. In order to better understand genetic variability and potential transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in a shipboard environment of immunologically naïve, healthy individuals, we performed whole-genome sequencing and virus culture from eighteen COVID-19-positive swabs collected over the course of one week. Using the unique variants identified in those genomes, we detected seven discrete groups of individuals within the population aboard CVN-71 infected with viruses of distinct genomic signature. This is in stark contrast to a recent outbreak aboard another U.S. Navy ship with >98% vaccinated crew after a port visit in Reykjavik, Iceland, where the outbreak lasted only approximately 2 weeks and the virus was clonal. Taken together, these results demonstrate the utility of sequencing from complex clinical samples for molecular epidemiology and they also suggest that a high rate of vaccination among a population in close communities may greatly reduce spread, thereby restricting evolution of the virus.

2.
PLoS One ; 17(8): e0272572, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1987158

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Venous phlebotomy performed by trained personnel is critical for patient diagnosis and monitoring of chronic disease, but has limitations in resource-constrained settings, and represents an infection control challenge during outbreaks. Self-collection devices have the potential to shift phlebotomy closer to the point of care, supporting telemedicine strategies and virtual clinical trials. Here we assess a capillary blood micro-sampling device, the Tasso Serum Separator Tube (SST), for measuring blood protein levels in healthy subjects and non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients. METHODS: 57 healthy controls and 56 participants with mild/moderate COVID-19 were recruited at two U.S. military healthcare facilities. Healthy controls donated Tasso SST capillary serum, venous plasma and venous serum samples at multiple time points, while COVID-19 patients donated a single Tasso SST serum sample at enrolment. Concentrations of 17 protein inflammatory biomarkers were measured in all biospecimens by Ella multi-analyte immune-assay. RESULTS: Tasso SST serum protein measurements in healthy control subjects were highly reproducible, but their agreements with matched venous samples varied. Most of the selected proteins, including CRP, Ferritin, IL-6 and PCT, were well-correlated between Tasso SST and venous serum with little sample type bias, but concentrations of D-dimer, IL-1B and IL-1Ra were not. Self-collection at home with delayed sample processing was associated with significant concentrations differences for several analytes compared to supervised, in-clinic collection with rapid processing. Finally, Tasso SST serum protein concentrations were significantly elevated in in non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients compared with healthy controls. CONCLUSIONS: Self-collection of capillary blood with micro-sampling devices provides an attractive alternative to routine phlebotomy. However, concentrations of certain analytes may differ significantly from those in venous samples, and factors including user proficiency, temperature control and time lags between specimen collection and processing need to be considered for their effect on sample quality and reproducibility.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Blood Proteins , Blood Specimen Collection , COVID-19/diagnosis , Healthy Volunteers , Humans , Reproducibility of Results , Specimen Handling
3.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 9(1): ofab575, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1631248

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The relationship between postvaccination symptoms and strength of antibody responses is unclear. The goal of this study was to determine whether adverse effects caused by vaccination with the Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine are associated with the magnitude of vaccine-induced antibody levels. METHODS: We conducted a single-center, observational cohort study consisting of generally healthy adult participants that were not severely immunocompromised, had no history of coronavirus disease 2019, and were seronegative for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike protein before vaccination. Severity of vaccine-associated symptoms was obtained through participant-completed questionnaires. Testing for immunoglobulin G antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein and receptor-binding domain was conducted using microsphere-based multiplex immunoassays performed on serum samples collected at monthly visits. Neutralizing antibody titers were determined by microneutralization assays. RESULTS: Two hundred six participants were evaluated (69.4% female, median age 41.5 years old). We found no correlation between vaccine-associated symptom severity scores and vaccine-induced antibody titers 1 month after vaccination. We also observed that (1) postvaccination symptoms were inversely correlated with age and weight and more common in women, (2) systemic symptoms were more frequent after the second vaccination, (3) high symptom scores after first vaccination were predictive of high symptom scores after second vaccination, and (4) older age was associated with lower titers. CONCLUSIONS: Lack of postvaccination symptoms after receipt of the BNT162b2 vaccine does not equate to lack of vaccine-induced antibodies 1 month after vaccination.

4.
BMJ Open ; 11(9): e050330, 2021 09 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1411988

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: In 2012, US Marines and Sailors began annual deployments to Australia to participate in joint training exercises with the Australian Defence Force and other partners in the region. During their training, US service members are exposed to a variety of infectious disease threats not normally encountered by American citizens. This paper describes a cohort of US Marines and Sailors enrolled during five rotations to Australia between 2016 and 2020. PARTICIPANTS: Study participation is strictly voluntary. Group informational sessions are held prior to deployment to describe the study structure and goals, as well as the infectious disease threats that participants may encounter while in Australia. All participants provided written informed consent. Consented participants complete a pre-deployment questionnaire to collect data including basic demographic information, military occupational specialty, travel history, family history, basic health status and personal habits such as alcohol consumption. Blood is collected for serum, plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) processing. Data and specimen collection is repeated up to three times: before, during and after deployment. FINDINGS TO DATE: From the five rotations that comprised the 2016-2020 Marine Rotational Force-Darwin, we enrolled 1289 volunteers. Enrolments during this period were overwhelmingly white male under the age of 24 years. Most of the enrollees were junior enlisted and non-commissioned officers, with a smaller number of staff non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers, and minimal warrant officers. Over half of the enrollees had occupational specialty designations for infantry. FUTURE PLANS: In the future, we will screen samples for serological evidence of infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei, Coxiella burnetii, Ross River virus, SARS-CoV-2 and other operationally relevant pathogens endemic in Australia. Antigenic stimulation assays will be performed on PBMCs collected from seropositive individuals to characterise the immune response to these infections in this healthy American population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Military Personnel , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Leukocytes, Mononuclear , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology , Young Adult
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