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Aging Dis ; 12(3): 710-717, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315005


In December 2019, the People's Republic of China and the World Health Organization first reported on a cluster of pneumonia with an unknown cause. Nine months later more than 1.4 million people have died from COVID 19. In this work, the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on five nursing homes in Austria, which cared for 889 residents in the first half of 2020, were examined. The research question was whether the measures taken were appropriate to prevent an outbreak within the individual facilities. To detect previously unrecognized infections, the present study evaluated the prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in residents and employees of the nursing homes. Following the analysis of blood samples, the prospectively collected data was connected to data from screening examinations and data from contact tracing. The present study demonstrated an overall prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in nursing homes of 3.7%. Whereas the prevalence in those facilities that have never been hit by an outbreak is 0%, the prevalence in those facilities with an outbreak is up to 4.9%. Neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 35 persons. A retrospective analysis of all 5 included nursing homes demonstrated that upon regular clinical screening in combination with PCRs an infection with SARS-COV-2 was detected in 66 residents and 24 employees from different professional groups. In only 25 of the 35 persons with neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 an infection was proven in advance. This study suggests that specific measures can prevent transmission within a health care facility. Nevertheless, the results also show that a risk reduction to 0% cannot be achieved. In preparation for further pandemic waves there is still the need to reduce the probability of a transmission in nursing homes with specific test strategies.

J Virol Methods ; 295: 114200, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253340


Transmission mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 requires the availability of accurate and sensitive detection methods. There are several commercial ad hoc molecular diagnostic kits currently on the market, many of which have been evaluated by different groups. However, in low resource settings the availability and cost of these commercial kits can be a limiting factor for many diagnostic laboratories. In such cases alternatives need to be identified. With this in mind, eight commercial reverse transcription quantitative real-time PCR (RT-qPCR) master mixes from Applied Biosystems (Thermo Fisher Scientific), Bio-Rad, Biotech Rabbit, Promega, Qiagen, QuantaBio, Invitrogen (Thermo Fisher Scientific) and Takara using the same commercial primer and probe mix [LightMix® Modular SARS and Wuhan CoV E-gene mix (TIB MolBiol, Germany)] were evaluated. Three ad hoc molecular diagnostic kits [GeneFinder™ COVID-19 Plus RealAmp kit (Osang Healthcare); genesig® Real-Time PCR Coronavirus COVID-19 (Primerdesign); and ViroReal® Kit SARS-CoV-2 & SARS-CoV (Ingenetix)] were also included in the study. The limit of detection was calculated for each assay using serial dilutions of a defined clinical sample. The performances of the assays were compared using a panel of 178 clinical samples and their analytical specificity assessed against a panel of human betacoronaviruses. Inter assay agreement was assessed using statistical tests (Bland-Altman, Fleiss-Kappa and Cohen's Kappa) and was shown to be excellent to good in all cases. We conclude that all of the assays evaluated in this study can be used for the routine detection of SARS-CoV-2 and that the RT-qPCR master mixes are a valid alternative to ad hoc molecular diagnostic kits.

COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Diagnostic Tests, Routine , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity