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1.
Nat Med ; 28(5): 1083-1094, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1671607

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has demonstrated a clear need for high-throughput, multiplexed and sensitive assays for detecting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and other respiratory viruses and their emerging variants. Here, we present a cost-effective virus and variant detection platform, called microfluidic Combinatorial Arrayed Reactions for Multiplexed Evaluation of Nucleic acids (mCARMEN), which combines CRISPR-based diagnostics and microfluidics with a streamlined workflow for clinical use. We developed the mCARMEN respiratory virus panel to test for up to 21 viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, other coronaviruses and both influenza strains, and demonstrated its diagnostic-grade performance on 525 patient specimens in an academic setting and 166 specimens in a clinical setting. We further developed an mCARMEN panel to enable the identification of 6 SARS-CoV-2 variant lineages, including Delta and Omicron, and evaluated it on 2,088 patient specimens with near-perfect concordance to sequencing-based variant classification. Lastly, we implemented a combined Cas13 and Cas12 approach that enables quantitative measurement of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza A viral copies in samples. The mCARMEN platform enables high-throughput surveillance of multiple viruses and variants simultaneously, enabling rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Microfluidics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-297069

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated a clear need for high-throughput, multiplexed, and sensitive assays for detecting SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses as well as their emerging variants. Here, we present microfluidic CARMEN (mCARMEN), a cost-effective virus and variant detection platform that combines CRISPR-based diagnostics and microfluidics with a streamlined workflow for clinical use. We developed the mCARMEN respiratory virus panel (RVP) and demonstrated its diagnostic-grade performance on 533 patient specimens in an academic setting and then 166 specimens in a clinical setting. We further developed a panel to distinguish 6 SARS-CoV-2 variant lineages, including Delta and Omicron, and evaluated it on 106 patient specimens, with near-perfect concordance to sequencing-based variant classification. Lastly, we implemented a combined Cas13 and Cas12 approach that enables quantitative measurement of viral copies in samples. mCARMEN enables high-throughput surveillance of multiple viruses and variants simultaneously.

3.
Nat Microbiol ; 7(1): 108-119, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1574813

ABSTRACT

The global spread and continued evolution of SARS-CoV-2 has driven an unprecedented surge in viral genomic surveillance. Amplicon-based sequencing methods provide a sensitive, low-cost and rapid approach but suffer a high potential for contamination, which can undermine laboratory processes and results. This challenge will increase with the expanding global production of sequences across a variety of laboratories for epidemiological and clinical interpretation, as well as for genomic surveillance of emerging diseases in future outbreaks. We present SDSI + AmpSeq, an approach that uses 96 synthetic DNA spike-ins (SDSIs) to track samples and detect inter-sample contamination throughout the sequencing workflow. We apply SDSIs to the ARTIC Consortium's amplicon design, demonstrate their utility and efficiency in a real-time investigation of a suspected hospital cluster of SARS-CoV-2 cases and validate them across 6,676 diagnostic samples at multiple laboratories. We establish that SDSI + AmpSeq provides increased confidence in genomic data by detecting and correcting for relatively common, yet previously unobserved modes of error, including spillover and sample swaps, without impacting genome recovery.


Subject(s)
DNA Primers/standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sequence Analysis/standards , COVID-19/diagnosis , DNA Primers/chemical synthesis , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Quality Control , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reproducibility of Results , Sequence Analysis/methods , Whole Genome Sequencing , Workflow
4.
J Neurol Sci ; 430: 120023, 2021 Nov 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446884

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Little is known about CSF profiles in patients with acute COVID-19 infection and neurological symptoms. Here, CSF was tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and inflammatory cytokines and chemokines and compared to controls and patients with known neurotropic pathogens. METHODS: CSF from twenty-seven consecutive patients with COVID-19 and neurological symptoms was assayed for SARS-CoV-2 RNA using quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) and unbiased metagenomic sequencing. Assays for blood brain barrier (BBB) breakdown (CSF:serum albumin ratio (Q-Alb)), and proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines (IL-6, IL-8, IL-15, IL-16, monocyte chemoattractant protein -1 (MCP-1) and monocyte inhibitory protein - 1ß (MIP-1ß)) were performed in 23 patients and compared to CSF from patients with HIV-1 (16 virally suppressed, 5 unsuppressed), West Nile virus (WNV) (n = 4) and 16 healthy controls (HC). RESULTS: Median CSF cell count for COVID-19 patients was 1 white blood cell/µL; two patients were infected with a second pathogen (Neisseria, Cryptococcus neoformans). No CSF samples had detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA by either detection method. In patients with COVID-19 only, CSF IL-6, IL-8, IL-15, and MIP-1ß levels were higher than HC and suppressed HIV (corrected-p < 0.05). MCP-1 and MIP-1ß levels were higher, while IL-6, IL-8, IL-15 were similar in COVID-19 compared to WNV patients. Q-Alb correlated with all proinflammatory markers, with IL-6, IL-8, and MIP-1ß (r ≥ 0.6, p < 0.01) demonstrating the strongest associations. CONCLUSIONS: Lack of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in CSF is consistent with pre-existing literature. Evidence of intrathecal proinflammatory markers in a subset of COVID-19 patients with BBB breakdown despite minimal CSF pleocytosis is atypical for neurotropic pathogens.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Inflammation/virology , RNA, Viral/cerebrospinal fluid , Blood-Brain Barrier , COVID-19/physiopathology , Case-Control Studies , Chemokines , Cytokines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Science ; 371(6529)2021 02 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388436

ABSTRACT

Analysis of 772 complete severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes from early in the Boston-area epidemic revealed numerous introductions of the virus, a small number of which led to most cases. The data revealed two superspreading events. One, in a skilled nursing facility, led to rapid transmission and significant mortality in this vulnerable population but little broader spread, whereas other introductions into the facility had little effect. The second, at an international business conference, produced sustained community transmission and was exported, resulting in extensive regional, national, and international spread. The two events also differed substantially in the genetic variation they generated, suggesting varying transmission dynamics in superspreading events. Our results show how genomic epidemiology can help to understand the link between individual clusters and wider community spread.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Boston/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans
6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(7): 1275-1278, 2022 Apr 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345718

ABSTRACT

The impact of coronavirus disease 2019 vaccination on viral characteristics of breakthrough infections is unknown. In this prospective cohort study, incidence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection decreased following vaccination. Although asymptomatic positive tests were observed following vaccination, the higher cycle thresholds, repeat negative tests, and inability to culture virus raise questions about their clinical significance.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Health Personnel , Humans , Incidence , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
7.
J Clin Pathol ; 74(8): 496-503, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247388

ABSTRACT

Developing and deploying new diagnostic tests are difficult, but the need to do so in response to a rapidly emerging pandemic such as COVID-19 is crucially important. During a pandemic, laboratories play a key role in helping healthcare providers and public health authorities detect active infection, a task most commonly achieved using nucleic acid-based assays. While the landscape of diagnostics is rapidly evolving, PCR remains the gold-standard of nucleic acid-based diagnostic assays, in part due to its reliability, flexibility and wide deployment. To address a critical local shortage of testing capacity persisting during the COVID-19 outbreak, our hospital set up a molecular-based laboratory developed test (LDT) to accurately and safely diagnose SARS-CoV-2. We describe here the process of developing an emergency-use LDT, in the hope that our experience will be useful to other laboratories in future outbreaks and will help to lower barriers to establishing fast and accurate diagnostic testing in crisis conditions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Emergency Service, Hospital , Laboratories, Hospital , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Predictive Value of Tests , Reproducibility of Results
8.
J Neurol Sci ; 421: 117308, 2021 02 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1033825

ABSTRACT

We evaluated the incidence, distribution, and histopathologic correlates of microvascular brain lesions in patients with severe COVID-19. Sixteen consecutive patients admitted to the intensive care unit with severe COVID-19 undergoing brain MRI for evaluation of coma or neurologic deficits were retrospectively identified. Eleven patients had punctate susceptibility-weighted imaging (SWI) lesions in the subcortical and deep white matter, eight patients had >10 SWI lesions, and four patients had lesions involving the corpus callosum. The distribution of SWI lesions was similar to that seen in patients with hypoxic respiratory failure, sepsis, and disseminated intravascular coagulation. Brain autopsy in one patient revealed that SWI lesions corresponded to widespread microvascular injury, characterized by perivascular and parenchymal petechial hemorrhages and microscopic ischemic lesions. Collectively, these radiologic and histopathologic findings add to growing evidence that patients with severe COVID-19 are at risk for multifocal microvascular hemorrhagic and ischemic lesions in the subcortical and deep white matter.


Subject(s)
Brain Injuries/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods , Microvessels/diagnostic imaging , Severity of Illness Index , Brain/blood supply , Brain/diagnostic imaging , Brain Injuries/etiology , COVID-19/complications , Humans , Intensive Care Units/trends , Male , Microvessels/injuries , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies
9.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 5921, 2020 11 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-939436

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that new diagnostic technologies are essential for controlling disease transmission. Here, we develop SHINE (Streamlined Highlighting of Infections to Navigate Epidemics), a sensitive and specific diagnostic tool that can detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA from unextracted samples. We identify the optimal conditions to allow RPA-based amplification and Cas13-based detection to occur in a single step, simplifying assay preparation and reducing run-time. We improve HUDSON to rapidly inactivate viruses in nasopharyngeal swabs and saliva in 10 min. SHINE's results can be visualized with an in-tube fluorescent readout - reducing contamination risk as amplification reaction tubes remain sealed - and interpreted by a companion smartphone application. We validate SHINE on 50 nasopharyngeal patient samples, demonstrating 90% sensitivity and 100% specificity compared to RT-qPCR with a sample-to-answer time of 50 min. SHINE has the potential to be used outside of hospitals and clinical laboratories, greatly enhancing diagnostic capabilities.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , CRISPR-Associated Proteins/metabolism , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Biological Assay , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Fluorescence , Humans , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2
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