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Microbiol Spectr ; 10(1): e0068121, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1691411


The N501Y amino acid mutation caused by a single point substitution A23063T in the spike gene of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is possessed by three variants of concern (VOCs), B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1. A rapid screening tool using this mutation is important for surveillance during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We developed and validated a single nucleotide polymorphism real-time reverse transcription PCR assay using allelic discrimination of the spike gene N501Y mutation to screen for potential variants of concern and differentiate them from SARS-CoV-2 lineages without the N501Y mutation. A total of 160 clinical specimens positive for SARS-CoV-2 were characterized as mutant (N501Y) or N501 wild type by Sanger sequencing and were subsequently tested with the N501Y single nucleotide polymorphism real-time reverse transcriptase PCR assay. Our assay, compared to Sanger sequencing for single nucleotide polymorphism detection, demonstrated positive percent agreement of 100% for all 57 specimens displaying the N501Y mutation, which were confirmed by Sanger sequencing to be typed as A23063T, including one specimen with mixed signal for wild type and mutant. Negative percent agreement was 100% in all 103 specimens typed as N501 wild type, with A23063 identified as wild type by Sanger sequencing. The identification of circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages carrying an N501Y mutation is critical for surveillance purposes. Current identification methods rely primarily on Sanger sequencing or whole-genome sequencing, which are time consuming, labor intensive, and costly. The assay described herein is an efficient tool for high-volume specimen screening for SARS-CoV-2 VOCs and for selecting specimens for confirmatory Sanger or whole-genome sequencing. IMPORTANCE During the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, several variants of concern (VOCs) have been detected, for example, B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, and B.1.617.2. The VOCs pose a threat to public health efforts to control the spread of the virus. As such, surveillance and monitoring of these VOCs is of the utmost importance. Our real-time RT-PCR assay helps with surveillance by providing an easy method to quickly survey SARS-CoV-2 specimens for VOCs carrying the N501Y single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). Samples that test positive for the N501Y mutation in the spike gene with our assay can be sequenced to identify the lineage. Thus, our assay helps to focus surveillance efforts and decrease turnaround times.

COVID-19/diagnosis , Mutation, Missense , Point Mutation , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Alleles , Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genes, Viral , Humans , Mass Screening , Ontario/epidemiology , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , Population Surveillance , Prevalence , Reproducibility of Results , Sensitivity and Specificity
Viruses ; 13(1)2021 Jan 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1059594


BACKGROUND: Co-infections of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) with respiratory viruses, bacteria and fungi have been reported to cause a wide range of illness. OBJECTIVES: We assess the prevalence of co-infection of SARS-CoV-2 with seasonal respiratory viruses, document the respiratory viruses detected among individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2, and describe characteristics of individuals with respiratory virus co-infection detected. METHODS: Specimens included in this study were submitted as part of routine clinical testing to Public Health Ontario Laboratory from individuals requiring testing for SARS-CoV-2 and/or seasonal respiratory viruses. RESULTS: Co-infection was detected in a smaller proportion (2.5%) of individuals with laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 than those with seasonal respiratory viruses (4.3%); this difference was not significant. Individuals with any respiratory virus co-infection were more likely to be younger than 65 years of age and male than those with single infection. Those with SARS-CoV-2 co-infection manifested mostly mild respiratory symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: Findings of this study may not support routine testing for seasonal respiratory viruses among all individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2, as they were rare during the study period nor associated with severe disease. However, testing for seasonal respiratory viruses should be performed in severely ill individuals, in which detection of other viruses may assist with patient management.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Coinfection/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/complications , Canada/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Coinfection/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Ontario/epidemiology , Prevalence , Respiratory Tract Infections/complications , Respiratory Tract Infections/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult
J Infect Dis ; 223(8): 1334-1338, 2021 04 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1007405


We analyzed 21 676 residual specimens from Ontario, Canada collected March-August 2020 to investigate the effect of antibody decline on SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence estimates. Testing specimens orthogonally using Abbott (anti-nucleocapsid) and Ortho (anti-spike) assays, seroprevalence estimates were 0.4%-1.4%, despite ongoing disease activity. The geometric mean concentration (GMC) of antibody-positive specimens decreased over time (P = .015), and GMC of antibody-negative specimens increased over time (P = .0018). Association between the 2 tests decreased each month (P < .001), suggesting anti-nucleocapsid antibody decline. Lowering Abbott antibody index cutoff from 1.4 to 0.7 resulted in a 16% increase in positive specimens.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , Canada , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Phosphoproteins/immunology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology