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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.09.12.22279810


The relationship between N-antigen concentration and viral load within a specimen and across different specimens is essential for interpretation of rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) clinical performance in different use cases. A prospective study was conducted in Porto Velho, Brazil, to investigate RDT performance in different specimen types as a function of the correlation between antigen concentration and viral load. The study included 214 close contacts with recent exposures to confirmed cases, aged 12 years and older and with various levels of vaccination. Antigen concentration was measured in nasopharyngeal swab (NPS), anterior nares swab (ANS), and saliva specimens. Reverse transcriptase (RT)PCR was conducted on the NPS and saliva specimens, and two RDTs were conducted on ANS and one on saliva. Antigen concentration correlated with viral load when measured in the same specimen type but not across specimen types. Antigen levels were higher in symptomatic cases compared to asymptomatic/oligosymptomatic cases and lower in saliva compared to NPS and ANS samples. Discordant results between the RDTs conducted on ANS and the RT-PCR on NPS were resolved by antigen concentration values. The analytical limit-of-detection of RDTs can be used to predict the performance of the tests in populations for which the antigen concentration is known. The antigen dynamics across different sample types observed in SARS-CoV-2 disease progression support use of RDTs in nasal samples. Given lower antigen concentrations in saliva, tests using saliva is expected to require improved analytical sensitivity to achieve clinical sensitivity similar to testing of nasal samples.

medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.01.27.22269904


Background Point-of-care and decentralized testing for SARS-CoV-2 is critical to inform public health responses. Performance evaluations in priority use cases such as contact tracing can highlight trade-offs in test selection and testing strategies. Methods A prospective diagnostic accuracy study was conducted among close contacts of COVID-19 cases in Brazil. Two anterior nares swabs (ANS), a nasopharyngeal swab (NPS), and saliva were collected at all visits. Vaccination history and symptoms were assessed. Household contacts were followed longitudinally. Three rapid antigen tests and one molecular method were evaluated for usability and performance against reference RT-PCR on NPS. Results Fifty index cases and 214 contacts (64 household) were enrolled. Sixty-five contacts were RT-PCR positive during at least one visit. Vaccination did not influence viral load. Gamma variants were most prevalent; Delta emerged increasingly during implementation. Overall sensitivity of evaluated tests ranged from 33%–76%. Performance was higher among symptomatic cases and cases with Ct<34 and lower among oligo/asymptomatic cases. Assuming a 24-hour time-to-result for RT-PCR, the cumulative sensitivity of an ANS rapid antigen test was >70% and almost 90% after four days. Conclusions The near immediate time-to-result for antigen tests significantly offsets lower analytical sensitivity in settings where RT-PCR results are delayed or unavailable.

medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.09.18.21263755


The SARS-CoV-2 has infected almost 200 million people worldwide by July 2021 and the pandemic has been characterized by infection waves of viral lineages showing distinct fitness profiles. The simultaneous infection of a single individual by two distinct SARS-CoV-2 lineages provides a window of opportunity for viral recombination and the emergence of new lineages with differential phenotype. Several hundred SARS-CoV-2 lineages are currently well characterized but two main factors have precluded major coinfection/codetection analysis thus far: i) the low diversity of SARS-CoV-2 lineages during the first year of the pandemic which limited the identification of lineage defining mutations necessary to distinguish coinfecting viral lineages; and the ii) limited availability of raw sequencing data where abundance and distribution of intrasample/intrahost variability can be accessed. Here, we have put together a large sequencing dataset from Brazilian samples covering a period of 18 May 2020 to 30 April 2021 and probed it for unexpected patterns of high intrasample/intrahost variability. It enabled us to detect nine cases of SARS-CoV-2 coinfection with well characterized lineage-defining mutations. In addition, we matched these SARS-CoV-2 coinfections with spatio-temporal epidemiological data confirming their plausibility with the co-circulating lineages at the timeframe investigated. These coinfections represent around 0.61% of all samples investigated. Although our data suggests that coinfection with distinct SARS-CoV-2 lineages is a rare phenomenon, it is likely an underestimation and coinfection rates warrants further investigation. DATA SUMMARYThe raw fastq data of codetection cases are deposited on gisaid.org and correlated to gisaid codes: EPI_ISL_1068258, EPI_ISL_2491769, EPI_ISL_2491781, EPI_ISL_2645599, EPI_ISL_2661789, EPI_ISL_2661931, EPI_ISL_2677092, EPI_ISL_2777552, EPI_ISL_3869215. Supplementary data are available on https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.16570602.v1. The workflow code used in this study is publicly available on: https://github.com/dezordi/IAM_SARSCOV2.

researchsquare; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-580195.v1


One of the most remarkable features of the SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern (VOC) is the unusually large number of mutations they carry. However, the specific factors that drove the emergence of such variants since the second half of 2020 are not fully resolved. In this study, we described a new SARS-CoV-2 lineage provisionally designated as P.1-like-II that, as well as the previously described lineage P.1-like-I, shares several lineage-defining mutations with the VOC P.1 circulating in Brazil. Reconstructions of P.1 ancestor sequences demonstrate that the entire constellation of mutations that define the VOC P.1 did not accumulate within a single long-term infected individual, but was acquired by sequential addition during interhost transmissions. Our evolutionary analyses further estimate that P.1-ancestors strains carrying half of the P.1-lineage-defining mutations, including those at the receptor-binding domain of the Spike protein, circulated cryptically in the Amazonas state since August 2020. This evolutionary pattern is consistent with the hypothesis that partial human population immunity acquired from natural SARS-CoV-2 infections during the first half of 2020 might have been the major driving force behind natural selection that allowed VOCs' emergence and worldwide spread. These findings also support a long lag-time between the emergence of variants with key mutations of concern and expansion of the VOC P.1 in Brazil.