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1.
Crit Care ; 26(1): 63, 2022 03 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753120

ABSTRACT

Infection (either community acquired or nosocomial) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critical care medicine. Sepsis is present in up to 30% of all ICU patients. A large fraction of sepsis cases is driven by severe community acquired pneumonia (sCAP), which incidence has dramatically increased during COVID-19 pandemics. A frequent complication of ICU patients is ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP), which affects 10-25% of all ventilated patients, and bloodstream infections (BSIs), affecting about 10% of patients. Management of these severe infections poses several challenges, including early diagnosis, severity stratification, prognosis assessment or treatment guidance. Digital PCR (dPCR) is a next-generation PCR method that offers a number of technical advantages to face these challenges: it is less affected than real time PCR by the presence of PCR inhibitors leading to higher sensitivity. In addition, dPCR offers high reproducibility, and provides absolute quantification without the need for a standard curve. In this article we reviewed the existing evidence on the applications of dPCR to the management of infection in critical care medicine. We included thirty-two articles involving critically ill patients. Twenty-three articles focused on the amplification of microbial genes: (1) four articles approached bacterial identification in blood or plasma; (2) one article used dPCR for fungal identification in blood; (3) another article focused on bacterial and fungal identification in other clinical samples; (4) three articles used dPCR for viral identification; (5) twelve articles quantified microbial burden by dPCR to assess severity, prognosis and treatment guidance; (6) two articles used dPCR to determine microbial ecology in ICU patients. The remaining nine articles used dPCR to profile host responses to infection, two of them for severity stratification in sepsis, four focused to improve diagnosis of this disease, one for detecting sCAP, one for detecting VAP, and finally one aimed to predict progression of COVID-19. This review evidences the potential of dPCR as a useful tool that could contribute to improve the detection and clinical management of infection in critical care medicine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Critical Care , Humans , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Reproducibility of Results
2.
J Intern Med ; 291(2): 232-240, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455598

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibodies prevent viral replication. Critically ill COVID-19 patients show viral material in plasma, associated with a dysregulated host response. If these antibodies influence survival and viral dissemination in ICU-COVID patients is unknown. PATIENTS/METHODS: We studied the impact of anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibodies levels on survival, viral RNA-load in plasma, and N-antigenaemia in 92 COVID-19 patients over ICU admission. RESULTS: Frequency of N-antigenaemia was >2.5-fold higher in absence of antibodies. Antibodies correlated inversely with viral RNA-load in plasma, representing a protective factor against mortality (adjusted HR [CI 95%], p): (S IgM [AUC ≥ 60]: 0.44 [0.22; 0.88], 0.020); (S IgG [AUC ≥ 237]: 0.31 [0.16; 0.61], <0.001). Viral RNA-load in plasma and N-antigenaemia predicted increased mortality: (N1-viral load [≥2.156 copies/ml]: 2.25 [1.16; 4.36], 0.016); (N-antigenaemia: 2.45 [1.27; 4.69], 0.007). CONCLUSIONS: Low anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibody levels predict mortality in critical COVID-19. Our findings support that these antibodies contribute to prevent systemic dissemination of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antigens, Viral/blood , COVID-19 , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/mortality , Critical Illness , Humans , RNA, Viral/blood , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Microb Genom ; 7(6)2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1349846

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly throughout the world. In the UK, the initial peak was in April 2020; in the county of Norfolk (UK) and surrounding areas, which has a stable, low-density population, over 3200 cases were reported between March and August 2020. As part of the activities of the national COVID-19 Genomics Consortium (COG-UK) we undertook whole genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes present in positive clinical samples from the Norfolk region. These samples were collected by four major hospitals, multiple minor hospitals, care facilities and community organizations within Norfolk and surrounding areas. We combined clinical metadata with the sequencing data from regional SARS-CoV-2 genomes to understand the origins, genetic variation, transmission and expansion (spread) of the virus within the region and provide context nationally. Data were fed back into the national effort for pandemic management, whilst simultaneously being used to assist local outbreak analyses. Overall, 1565 positive samples (172 per 100 000 population) from 1376 cases were evaluated; for 140 cases between two and six samples were available providing longitudinal data. This represented 42.6 % of all positive samples identified by hospital testing in the region and encompassed those with clinical need, and health and care workers and their families. In total, 1035 cases had genome sequences of sufficient quality to provide phylogenetic lineages. These genomes belonged to 26 distinct global lineages, indicating that there were multiple separate introductions into the region. Furthermore, 100 genetically distinct UK lineages were detected demonstrating local evolution, at a rate of ~2 SNPs per month, and multiple co-occurring lineages as the pandemic progressed. Our analysis: identified a discrete sublineage associated with six care facilities; found no evidence of reinfection in longitudinal samples; ruled out a nosocomial outbreak; identified 16 lineages in key workers which were not in patients, indicating infection control measures were effective; and found the D614G spike protein mutation which is linked to increased transmissibility dominates the samples and rapidly confirmed relatedness of cases in an outbreak at a food processing facility. The large-scale genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2-positive samples has provided valuable additional data for public health epidemiology in the Norfolk region, and will continue to help identify and untangle hidden transmission chains as the pandemic evolves.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cluster Analysis , Disease Outbreaks , Genetic Linkage , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Whole Genome Sequencing
6.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 21, 2021 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1076156

ABSTRACT

We present CoronaHiT, a platform and throughput flexible method for sequencing SARS-CoV-2 genomes (≤ 96 on MinION or > 96 on Illumina NextSeq) depending on changing requirements experienced during the pandemic. CoronaHiT uses transposase-based library preparation of ARTIC PCR products. Method performance was demonstrated by sequencing 2 plates containing 95 and 59 SARS-CoV-2 genomes on nanopore and Illumina platforms and comparing to the ARTIC LoCost nanopore method. Of the 154 samples sequenced using all 3 methods, ≥ 90% genome coverage was obtained for 64.3% using ARTIC LoCost, 71.4% using CoronaHiT-ONT and 76.6% using CoronaHiT-Illumina, with almost identical clustering on a maximum likelihood tree. This protocol will aid the rapid expansion of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing globally.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/genetics , Genome, Viral/genetics , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Whole Genome Sequencing
7.
Eur J Clin Invest ; 51(6): e13501, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054522

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma has been linked to disease severity and mortality. We compared RT-qPCR to droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) to detect SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma from COVID-19 patients (mild, moderate, and critical disease). METHODS: The presence/concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in plasma was compared in three groups of COVID-19 patients (30 outpatients, 30 ward patients and 30 ICU patients) using both RT-qPCR and ddPCR. Plasma was obtained in the first 24h following admission, and RNA was extracted using eMAG. ddPCR was performed using Bio-Rad SARS-CoV-2 detection kit, and RT-qPCR was performed using GeneFinder™ COVID-19 Plus RealAmp Kit. Statistical analysis was performed using Statistical Package for the Social Science. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected, using ddPCR and RT-qPCR, in 91% and 87% of ICU patients, 27% and 23% of ward patients and 3% and 3% of outpatients. The concordance of the results obtained by both methods was excellent (Cohen's kappa index = 0.953). RT-qPCR was able to detect 34/36 (94.4%) patients positive for viral RNA in plasma by ddPCR. Viral RNA load was higher in ICU patients compared with the other groups (P < .001), by both ddPCR and RT-qPCR. AUC analysis revealed Ct values (RT-qPCR) and viral RNA load values (ddPCR) can similarly differentiate between patients admitted to wards and to the ICU (AUC of 0.90 and 0.89, respectively). CONCLUSION: Both methods yielded similar prevalence of RNAemia between groups, with ICU patients showing the highest (>85%). RT-qPCR was as useful as ddPCR to detect and quantify SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia in plasma.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/blood , RNA, Viral/blood , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Aged , Ambulatory Care , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Patients' Rooms , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index
8.
Crit Care ; 24(1): 691, 2020 12 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977684

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 can course with respiratory and extrapulmonary disease. SARS-CoV-2 RNA is detected in respiratory samples but also in blood, stool and urine. Severe COVID-19 is characterized by a dysregulated host response to this virus. We studied whether viral RNAemia or viral RNA load in plasma is associated with severe COVID-19 and also to this dysregulated response. METHODS: A total of 250 patients with COVID-19 were recruited (50 outpatients, 100 hospitalized ward patients and 100 critically ill). Viral RNA detection and quantification in plasma was performed using droplet digital PCR, targeting the N1 and N2 regions of the SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein gene. The association between SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia and viral RNA load in plasma with severity was evaluated by multivariate logistic regression. Correlations between viral RNA load and biomarkers evidencing dysregulation of host response were evaluated by calculating the Spearman correlation coefficients. RESULTS: The frequency of viral RNAemia was higher in the critically ill patients (78%) compared to ward patients (27%) and outpatients (2%) (p < 0.001). Critical patients had higher viral RNA loads in plasma than non-critically ill patients, with non-survivors showing the highest values. When outpatients and ward patients were compared, viral RNAemia did not show significant associations in the multivariate analysis. In contrast, when ward patients were compared with ICU patients, both viral RNAemia and viral RNA load in plasma were associated with critical illness (OR [CI 95%], p): RNAemia (3.92 [1.183-12.968], 0.025), viral RNA load (N1) (1.962 [1.244-3.096], 0.004); viral RNA load (N2) (2.229 [1.382-3.595], 0.001). Viral RNA load in plasma correlated with higher levels of chemokines (CXCL10, CCL2), biomarkers indicative of a systemic inflammatory response (IL-6, CRP, ferritin), activation of NK cells (IL-15), endothelial dysfunction (VCAM-1, angiopoietin-2, ICAM-1), coagulation activation (D-Dimer and INR), tissue damage (LDH, GPT), neutrophil response (neutrophils counts, myeloperoxidase, GM-CSF) and immunodepression (PD-L1, IL-10, lymphopenia and monocytopenia). CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 RNAemia and viral RNA load in plasma are associated with critical illness in COVID-19. Viral RNA load in plasma correlates with key signatures of dysregulated host responses, suggesting a major role of uncontrolled viral replication in the pathogenesis of this disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , RNA, Viral/analysis , Viral Load/immunology , Adult , Aged , Biomarkers/analysis , Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/blood , Chi-Square Distribution , Critical Illness , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Multivariate Analysis , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , RNA, Viral/blood , Statistics, Nonparametric
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