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1.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 25: 100487, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1945950

ABSTRACT

Background: COVID-19 has affected many healthcare workers (HCWs) globally. We performed state-wide SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiological investigations to identify HCW transmission dynamics and provide recommendations to optimise healthcare system preparedness for future outbreaks. Methods: Genome sequencing was attempted on all COVID-19 cases in Victoria, Australia. We combined genomic and epidemiologic data to investigate the source of HCW infections across multiple healthcare facilities (HCFs) in the state. Phylogenetic analysis and fine-scale hierarchical clustering were performed for the entire dataset including community and healthcare cases. Facilities provided standardised epidemiological data and putative transmission links. Findings: Between March-October 2020, approximately 1,240 HCW COVID-19 infection cases were identified; 765 are included here, requested for hospital investigations. Genomic sequencing was successful for 612 (80%) cases. Thirty-six investigations were undertaken across 12 HCFs. Genomic analysis revealed that multiple introductions of COVID-19 into facilities (31/36) were more common than single introductions (5/36). Major contributors to HCW acquisitions included mobility of staff and patients between wards and facilities, and characteristics and behaviours of patients that generated numerous secondary infections. Key limitations at the HCF level were identified. Interpretation: Genomic epidemiological analyses enhanced understanding of HCW infections, revealing unsuspected clusters and transmission networks. Combined analysis of all HCWs and patients in a HCF should be conducted, supported by high rates of sequencing coverage for all cases in the population. Established systems for integrated genomic epidemiological investigations in healthcare settings will improve HCW safety in future pandemics. Funding: The Victorian Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, and the Medical Research Future Fund.

2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 2774, 2022 05 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1900484

ABSTRACT

Respiratory tract infection with SARS-CoV-2 results in varying immunopathology underlying COVID-19. We examine cellular, humoral and cytokine responses covering 382 immune components in longitudinal blood and respiratory samples from hospitalized COVID-19 patients. SARS-CoV-2-specific IgM, IgG, IgA are detected in respiratory tract and blood, however, receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific IgM and IgG seroconversion is enhanced in respiratory specimens. SARS-CoV-2 neutralization activity in respiratory samples correlates with RBD-specific IgM and IgG levels. Cytokines/chemokines vary between respiratory samples and plasma, indicating that inflammation should be assessed in respiratory specimens to understand immunopathology. IFN-α2 and IL-12p70 in endotracheal aspirate and neutralization in sputum negatively correlate with duration of hospital stay. Diverse immune subsets are detected in respiratory samples, dominated by neutrophils. Importantly, dexamethasone treatment does not affect humoral responses in blood of COVID-19 patients. Our study unveils differential immune responses between respiratory samples and blood, and shows how drug therapy affects immune responses during COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Immunity , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Respiratory System , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
3.
The Lancet regional health. Western Pacific ; 25, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1877437

ABSTRACT

Summary Background COVID-19 has affected many healthcare workers (HCWs) globally. We performed state-wide SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiological investigations to identify HCW transmission dynamics and provide recommendations to optimise healthcare system preparedness for future outbreaks. Methods Genome sequencing was attempted on all COVID-19 cases in Victoria, Australia. We combined genomic and epidemiologic data to investigate the source of HCW infections across multiple healthcare facilities (HCFs) in the state. Phylogenetic analysis and fine-scale hierarchical clustering were performed for the entire dataset including community and healthcare cases. Facilities provided standardised epidemiological data and putative transmission links. Findings Between March-October 2020, approximately 1,240 HCW COVID-19 infection cases were identified;765 are included here, requested for hospital investigations. Genomic sequencing was successful for 612 (80%) cases. Thirty-six investigations were undertaken across 12 HCFs. Genomic analysis revealed that multiple introductions of COVID-19 into facilities (31/36) were more common than single introductions (5/36). Major contributors to HCW acquisitions included mobility of staff and patients between wards and facilities, and characteristics and behaviours of patients that generated numerous secondary infections. Key limitations at the HCF level were identified. Interpretation Genomic epidemiological analyses enhanced understanding of HCW infections, revealing unsuspected clusters and transmission networks. Combined analysis of all HCWs and patients in a HCF should be conducted, supported by high rates of sequencing coverage for all cases in the population. Established systems for integrated genomic epidemiological investigations in healthcare settings will improve HCW safety in future pandemics. Funding The Victorian Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, and the Medical Research Future Fund.

4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(7): e1881-e1884, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455263

ABSTRACT

Healthcare workers are at increased risk of occupational transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We report 2 instances of healthcare workers contracting SARS-CoV-2 despite no known breach of personal protective equipment. Additional specific equipment cleaning was initiated. Viral genomic sequencing supported this transmission hypothesis and our subsequent response.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Genomics , Humans , Infection Control , Personal Protective Equipment , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Lancet Public Health ; 6(8): e547-e556, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433979

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A cornerstone of Australia's ability to control COVID-19 has been effective border control with an extensive supervised quarantine programme. However, a rapid recrudescence of COVID-19 was observed in the state of Victoria in June, 2020. We aim to describe the genomic findings that located the source of this second wave and show the role of genomic epidemiology in the successful elimination of COVID-19 for a second time in Australia. METHODS: In this observational, genomic epidemiological study, we did genomic sequencing of all laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Victoria, Australia between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021. We did phylogenetic analyses, genomic cluster discovery, and integrated results with epidemiological data (detailed information on demographics, risk factors, and exposure) collected via interview by the Victorian Government Department of Health. Genomic transmission networks were used to group multiple genomic clusters when epidemiological and genomic data suggested they arose from a single importation event and diversified within Victoria. To identify transmission of emergent lineages between Victoria and other states or territories in Australia, all publicly available SARS-CoV-2 sequences uploaded before Feb 11, 2021, were obtained from the national sequence sharing programme AusTrakka, and epidemiological data were obtained from the submitting laboratories. We did phylodynamic analyses to estimate the growth rate, doubling time, and number of days from the first local infection to the collection of the first sequenced genome for the dominant local cluster, and compared our growth estimates to previously published estimates from a similar growth phase of lineage B.1.1.7 (also known as the Alpha variant) in the UK. FINDINGS: Between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021, there were 20 451 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia, of which 15 431 were submitted for sequencing, and 11 711 met all quality control metrics and were included in our analysis. We identified 595 genomic clusters, with a median of five cases per cluster (IQR 2-11). Overall, samples from 11 503 (98·2%) of 11 711 cases clustered with another sample in Victoria, either within a genomic cluster or transmission network. Genomic analysis revealed that 10 426 cases, including 10 416 (98·4%) of 10 584 locally acquired cases, diagnosed during the second wave (between June and October, 2020) were derived from a single incursion from hotel quarantine, with the outbreak lineage (transmission network G, lineage D.2) rapidly detected in other Australian states and territories. Phylodynamic analyses indicated that the epidemic growth rate of the outbreak lineage in Victoria during the initial growth phase (samples collected between June 4 and July 9, 2020; 47·4 putative transmission events, per branch, per year [1/years; 95% credible interval 26·0-85·0]), was similar to that of other reported variants, such as B.1.1.7 in the UK (mean approximately 71·5 1/years). Strict interventions were implemented, and the outbreak lineage has not been detected in Australia since Oct 29, 2020. Subsequent cases represented independent international or interstate introductions, with limited local spread. INTERPRETATION: Our study highlights how rapid escalation of clonal outbreaks can occur from a single incursion. However, strict quarantine measures and decisive public health responses to emergent cases are effective, even with high epidemic growth rates. Real-time genomic surveillance can alter the way in which public health agencies view and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks. FUNDING: The Victorian Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, and the Medical Research Future Fund.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Epidemiologic Studies , Genomics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Victoria/epidemiology
6.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(9): ofab359, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1405048

ABSTRACT

We describe severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific immune responses in a patient with lymphoma and recent programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitor therapy with late onset of severe coronavirus disease 2019 disease and prolonged SARS-CoV-2 replication, in comparison to age-matched and immunocompromised controls. High levels of HLA-DR+/CD38+ activation, interleukin 6, and interleukin 18 in the absence of B cells and PD-1 expression was observed. SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody responses were absent and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells were minimally detected. This case highlights challenges in managing immunocompromised hosts who may fail to mount effective virus-specific immune responses.

8.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 121, 2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331954

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Pathogen whole genome sequencing (WGS) is being incorporated into public health surveillance and disease control systems worldwide and has the potential to make significant contributions to infectious disease surveillance, outbreak investigation and infection prevention and control. However, to date, there are limited data regarding (i) the optimal models for integration of genomic data into epidemiological investigations and (ii) how to quantify and evaluate public health impacts resulting from genomic epidemiological investigations. METHODS: We developed the Pathogen Genomics in Public HeAlth Surveillance Evaluation (PG-PHASE) Framework to guide examination of the use of WGS in public health surveillance and disease control. We illustrate the use of this framework with three pathogens as case studies: Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: The framework utilises an adaptable whole-of-system approach towards understanding how interconnected elements in the public health application of pathogen genomics contribute to public health processes and outcomes. The three phases of the PG-PHASE Framework are designed to support understanding of WGS laboratory processes, analysis, reporting and data sharing, and how genomic data are utilised in public health practice across all stages, from the decision to send an isolate or sample for sequencing to the use of sequence data in public health surveillance, investigation and decision-making. Importantly, the phases can be used separately or in conjunction, depending on the need of the evaluator. Subsequent to conducting evaluation underpinned by the framework, avenues may be developed for strategic investment or interventions to improve utilisation of whole genome sequencing. CONCLUSIONS: Comprehensive evaluation is critical to support health departments, public health laboratories and other stakeholders to successfully incorporate microbial genomics into public health practice. The PG-PHASE Framework aims to assist public health laboratories, health departments and authorities who are either considering transitioning to whole genome sequencing or intending to assess the integration of WGS in public health practice, including the capacity to detect and respond to outbreaks and associated costs, challenges and facilitators in the utilisation of microbial genomics and public health impacts.


Subject(s)
Implementation Science , Infections/diagnosis , Listeria monocytogenes/isolation & purification , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods , Genome, Bacterial , Genome, Viral , Humans , Infections/epidemiology , Listeria monocytogenes/genetics , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/genetics , Population Surveillance , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
9.
Infect Dis Health ; 26(4): 276-283, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313145

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: High rates of healthcare worker (HCW) infections due to COVID-19 have been attributed to several factors, including inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE), exposure to a high density of patients with COVID-19, and poor building ventilation. We investigated an increase in the number of staff COVID-19 infections at our hospital to determine the factors contributing to infection and to implement the interventions required to prevent subsequent infections. METHODS: We conducted a single-centre retrospective cohort study of staff working at a tertiary referral hospital who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 between 25 January 2020 and 25 November 2020. The primary outcome was the source of COVID-19 infection. RESULTS: Of 45 staff who returned a positive test result for SARS-CoV-2, 19 were determined to be acquired at our hospital. Fifteen (15/19; 79% [95% CI: 54-94%]) of these were identified through contact tracing and testing following exposures to other infected staff and were presumed to be staff-to-staff transmission, including an outbreak in 10 healthcare workers (HCWs) linked to a single ward that cared for COVID-19 patients. The staff tearoom was identified as the likely location for transmission, with subsequent reduction in HCW infections and resolution of the outbreak following implementation of enhanced control measures in tearoom facilities. No HCW contacts (0/204; 0% [95% CI: 0-2%]) developed COVID-19 infection following exposure to unrecognised patients with COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Unrecognised infections among staff may be a significant driver of HCW infections in healthcare settings. Control measures should be implemented to prevent acquisition from other staff as well as patient-staff transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Personnel , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Tertiary Care Centers
13.
Nat Commun ; 11(1): 4376, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-740037

ABSTRACT

Genomic sequencing has significant potential to inform public health management for SARS-CoV-2. Here we report high-throughput genomics for SARS-CoV-2, sequencing 80% of cases in Victoria, Australia (population 6.24 million) between 6 January and 14 April 2020 (total 1,333 COVID-19 cases). We integrate epidemiological, genomic and phylodynamic data to identify clusters and impact of interventions. The global diversity of SARS-CoV-2 is represented, consistent with multiple importations. Seventy-six distinct genomic clusters were identified, including large clusters associated with social venues, healthcare and cruise ships. Sequencing sequential samples from 98 patients reveals minimal intra-patient SARS-CoV-2 genomic diversity. Phylodynamic modelling indicates a significant reduction in the effective viral reproductive number (Re) from 1.63 to 0.48 after implementing travel restrictions and physical distancing. Our data provide a concrete framework for the use of SARS-CoV-2 genomics in public health responses, including its use to rapidly identify SARS-CoV-2 transmission chains, increasingly important as social restrictions ease globally.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Adult , Australia/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Female , Genome, Viral , Genomics/methods , Health Personnel , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Public Health , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Travel
14.
J Med Microbiol ; 69(9): 1169-1178, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-696076

ABSTRACT

Introduction. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic of 2020 has resulted in unparalleled requirements for RNA extraction kits and enzymes required for virus detection, leading to global shortages. This has necessitated the exploration of alternative diagnostic options to alleviate supply chain issues.Aim. To establish and validate a reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT- LAMP) assay for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 from nasopharyngeal swabs.Methodology. We used a commercial RT-LAMP mastermix from OptiGene in combination with a primer set designed to detect the CDC N1 region of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (N) gene. A single-tube, single-step fluorescence assay was implemented whereby 1 µl of universal transport medium (UTM) directly from a nasopharyngeal swab could be used as template, bypassing the requirement for RNA purification. Amplification and detection could be conducted in any thermocycler capable of holding 65 °C for 30 min and measure fluorescence in the FAM channel at 1 min intervals.Results. Assay evaluation by assessment of 157 clinical specimens previously screened by E-gene RT-qPCR revealed assay sensitivity and specificity of 87 and 100%, respectively. Results were fast, with an average time-to-positive (Tp) for 93 clinical samples of 14 min (sd±7 min). Using dilutions of SARS-CoV-2 virus spiked into UTM, we also evaluated assay performance against FDA guidelines for implementation of emergency-use diagnostics and established a limit-of-detection of 54 Tissue Culture Infectious Dose 50 per ml (TCID50 ml-1), with satisfactory assay sensitivity and specificity. A comparison of 20 clinical specimens between four laboratories showed excellent interlaboratory concordance; performing equally well on three different, commonly used thermocyclers, pointing to the robustness of the assay.Conclusion. With a simplified workflow, The N1 gene Single Tube Optigene LAMP assay (N1-STOP-LAMP) is a powerful, scalable option for specific and rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 and an additional resource in the diagnostic armamentarium against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , RNA, Viral , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcription , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity
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