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Viruses ; 14(11)2022 Nov 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2143711


SARS-CoV-2 is constantly evolving, leading to new variants. We analysed data from 4400 SARS-CoV-2-positive samples in order to pursue epidemiological variant surveillance and to evaluate their impact on public health in Italy in the period of April-December 2021. The main circulating strain (76.2%) was the Delta variant, followed by the Alpha (13.3%), the Omicron (5.3%), and the Gamma variants (2.9%). The B.1.1 lineages, Eta, Beta, Iota, Mu, and Kappa variants, represented around 1% of cases. There were 48.2% of subjects who had not been vaccinated, and they had a lower median age compared to the vaccinated subjects (47 vs. 61 years). An increasing number of infections in the vaccinated subjects were observed over time, with the highest proportion in November (85.2%). The variants correlated with clinical status; the largest proportion of symptomatic patients (59.6%) was observed with the Delta variant, while subjects harbouring the Gamma variant showed the highest proportion of asymptomatic infection (21.6%), albeit also deaths (5.4%). The Omicron variant was only found in the vaccinated subjects, of which 47% had been hospitalised. The diffusivity and pathogenicity associated with the different SARS-CoV-2 variants are likely to have relevant public health implications, both at the national and international levels. Our study provides data on the rapid changes in the epidemiological landscape of the SARS-CoV-2 variants in Italy.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Italy/epidemiology
Microb Pathog ; 165: 105506, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1763898


Since its first appearance, the SARS-CoV-2 has spread rapidly in the human population, reaching the pandemic scale with >280 million confirmed infections and more than 5 million deaths to date ( These data justify the urgent need to enhance our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 effects in the respiratory system, including those linked to co-infections. The principal aim of our study is to investigate existing correlations in the nasopharynx between the bacterial community, potential pathogens, and SARS-CoV-2 infection. The main aim of this study was to provide evidence pointing to possible relationships between components of the bacterial community and SARS-CoV-2 in the nasopharynx. Meta-transcriptomic profiling of the nasopharyngeal microbial community was carried out in 89 SARS-Cov-2 positive subjects from the Campania Region in Italy. To this end, RNA extracted from nasopharyngeal swabs collected at different times during the initial phases of the pandemic was analyzed by Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). Results show a consistently high presence of members of the Proteobacteria (41.85%), Firmicutes (28.54%), and Actinobacteria (16.10%) phyla, and an inverted correlation between the host microbiome, co-infectious bacteria, and super-potential pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In depth characterization of microbiota composition in the nasopharynx can provide clues to understand its potential contribution to the clinical phenotype of Covid-19, clarifying the interaction between SARS-Cov-2 and the bacterial flora of the host, and highlighting its dysbiosis and the presence of pathogens that could affect the patient's disease progression and outcome.

COVID-19 , Coinfection , Microbiota , Bacteria/genetics , Coinfection/epidemiology , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Microbiota/genetics , Nasopharynx/microbiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
BMJ Open ; 11(5): e043112, 2021 05 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223609


BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has infected millions of people and has caused more than 2.30 million deaths worldwide to date. Several doubts arise about the role of asymptomatic carriers in virus transmission. During the first epidemic outbreak in Italy a large screening with nasopharyngeal swab (NS) was performed in those who were considered 'suspect' for infection. AIMS: To report the results of the SARS-CoV-2 screening in a province in Southern Italy and to provide data on the COVID-19 epidemic and the burden of asymptomatic subjects. PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was set up in all healthcare facilities of the province (12 hospitals and 13 sanitary districts: primary, secondary and tertiary centres) with the aim to analyse the results of NS performed on all subjects suspected to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, either because they presented symptoms suggestive of SARS-CoV-2 infection, they were 'contacts' of positive subjects, they came from areas with high prevalence or they were healthcare workers. NS were performed and managed as indicated by international guidelines. The specimens were processed for SARS-CoV-2 detection by real-time PCR. RESULTS: A total of 20 325 NS were performed from 13 March to 9 May 2020. Of these, 638 (3.14%) were positive. 470 were asymptomatic, or 75.3% of persons who were positive. They were mostly among 'contacts' of symptomatic cases (428 of 470, 91%) and were in domiciliary isolation. Expression of three SARS-CoV-2 genes did not differ between asymptomatic and symptomatic subjects. The strict measures with regard to social distancing led to a continuous decrease in cases during phase 1. CONCLUSIONS: In a large area in Southern Italy, 3.14% (638 of 20 325) of the total subjects tested were positive for SARS-CoV-2. Most of them were asymptomatic (470 of 624, 75.3%), and of these 91% (428 of 470) were 'close contacts' of symptomatic subjects. The combination of social distancing together with the systematic screening of close contacts of COVID-19-positive symptomatic subjects seems to be an efficacious approach to limit the spread of the epidemic.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cohort Studies , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies