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2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1976, 2022 Apr 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783980

ABSTRACT

Global genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has identified variants associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Here we report the emergence of the PANGO lineage C.1.2, detected at low prevalence in South Africa and eleven other countries. The initial C.1.2 detection is associated with a high substitution rate, and includes changes within the spike protein that have been associated with increased transmissibility or reduced neutralization sensitivity in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern or variants of interest. Like Beta and Delta, C.1.2 shows significantly reduced neutralization sensitivity to plasma from vaccinees and individuals infected with the ancestral D614G virus. In contrast, convalescent donors infected with either Beta or Delta show high plasma neutralization against C.1.2. These functional data suggest that vaccine efficacy against C.1.2 will be equivalent to Beta and Delta, and that prior infection with either Beta or Delta will likely offer protection against C.1.2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
4.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health ; 6(5): 294-302, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692741

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: South Africa reported a notable increase in COVID-19 cases from mid-November, 2021, onwards, starting in Tshwane District, which coincided with the rapid community spread of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron (B.1.1.529) variant. This increased infection rate coincided with a rapid increase in paediatric COVID-19-associated admissions to hospital (hereafter referred to as hospitalisations). METHODS: The Tshwane Maternal-Child COVID-19 study is a multicentre observational study in which we investigated the clinical manifestations and outcomes of paediatric patients (aged ≤19 years) who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were admitted to hospital for any reason in Tshwane District during a 6-week period at the beginning of the fourth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa. We used five data sources, which were: (1) COVID-19 line lists; (2) collated SARS-CoV-2 testing data; (3) SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequencing data; (4) COVID-19 hospitalisation surveillance; and (5) clinical data of public sector COVID-19-associated hospitalisations among children aged 13 years and younger. FINDINGS: Between Oct 31 and Dec 11, 2021, 6287 children and adolescents in Tshwane District were recorded as having COVID-19. During this period, 2550 people with COVID-19 were hospitalised, of whom 462 (18%) were aged 19 years or younger. The number of paediatric cases was higher than in the three previous SARS-CoV-2 waves, uncharacteristically increasing ahead of adult hospitalisations. 75 viral samples from adults and children in the district were sequenced, of which 74 (99%) were of the omicron variant. Detailed clinical notes were available for 138 (75%) of 183 children aged ≤13 years with COVID-19 who were hospitalised. 87 (63%) of 138 children were aged 0-4 years. In 61 (44%) of 138 cases COVID-19 was the primary diagnosis, among whom symptoms included fever (37 [61%] of 61), cough (35 [57%]), shortness of breath (19 [31%]), seizures (19 [31%]), vomiting (16 [26%]), and diarrhoea (15 [25%]). Median length of hospital stay was 2 days [IQR 1-3]). 122 (88%) of 138 children with available data needed standard ward care and 27 (20%) needed oxygen therapy. Seven (5%) of 138 children were ventilated and four (3%) died during the study period, all related to complex underlying copathologies. All children and 77 (92%) of 84 parents or guardians with available data were unvaccinated to COVID-19. INTERPRETATION: Rapid increases in paediatric COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations mirror high community transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant in Tshwane District, South Africa. Continued monitoring is needed to understand the long-term effect of the omicron variant on children and adolescents. FUNDING: South African Medical Research Council, South African Department of Science & Innovation, G7 Global Health Fund.

5.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327610

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant largely escapes neutralizing antibodies elicited by vaccines or infection. However, whether Omicron triggers humoral responses that are cross-reactive to other variants of concern (VOCs) remains largely unknown. We use plasma from 20 unvaccinated and seven vaccinated individuals infected during the Omicron wave in South Africa to test binding, antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC), antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP) and neutralization against VOCs. In unvaccinated individuals, Fc effector function and binding antibodies target Omicron and other VOCs at comparable levels. However, Omicron-triggered neutralization is not extensively cross-reactive to VOCs, with 20 to 43-fold reductions in titer. In contrast, vaccination followed by breakthrough Omicron infection improved cross-neutralization of VOCs, with titers exceeding 1:2,900. This has important implications for the vulnerability of unvaccinated Omicron-infected individuals to reinfection by circulating and emerging VOCs. Further, while Omicron-based immunogens may be adequate boosters, they are unlikely to be superior to existing vaccines for priming in SARS-CoV-2 naive individuals.

6.
Nature ; 603(7901): 488-492, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1661968

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has multiple spike protein mutations1,2 that contribute to viral escape from antibody neutralization3-6 and reduce vaccine protection from infection7,8. The extent to which other components of the adaptive response such as T cells may still target Omicron and contribute to protection from severe outcomes is unknown. Here we assessed the ability of T cells to react to Omicron spike protein in participants who were vaccinated with Ad26.CoV2.S or BNT162b2, or unvaccinated convalescent COVID-19 patients (n = 70). Between 70% and 80% of the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell response to spike was maintained across study groups. Moreover, the magnitude of Omicron cross-reactive T cells was similar for Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants, despite Omicron harbouring considerably more mutations. In patients who were hospitalized with Omicron infections (n = 19), there were comparable T cell responses to ancestral spike, nucleocapsid and membrane proteins to those in patients hospitalized in previous waves dominated by the ancestral, Beta or Delta variants (n = 49). Thus, despite extensive mutations and reduced susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies of Omicron, the majority of T cell responses induced by vaccination or infection cross-recognize the variant. It remains to be determined whether well-preserved T cell immunity to Omicron contributes to protection from severe COVID-19 and is linked to early clinical observations from South Africa and elsewhere9-12.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cross Reactions/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Convalescence , Hospitalization , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/classification
7.
Virology ; 566: 114-121, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1556999

ABSTRACT

This communication summarizes the presentations given at the 1st international conference of the World Society for Virology (WSV) held virtually during 16-18 June 2021, under the theme of tackling global viral epidemics. The purpose of this biennial meeting is to foster international collaborations and address important viral epidemics in different hosts. The first day included two sessions exclusively on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. The other two days included one plenary and three parallel sessions each. Last not least, 16 sessions covered 140 on-demand submitted talks. In total, 270 scientists from 49 countries attended the meeting, including 40 invited keynote speakers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Congresses as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Societies, Scientific , Virology
8.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296139

ABSTRACT

The Beta variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in South Africa in late 2020 and rapidly became the dominant variant, causing over 95% of infections in the country during and after the second epidemic wave. Here we show rapid replacement of the Beta variant by the Delta variant, a highly transmissible variant of concern (VOC) that emerged in India and subsequently spread around the world. The Delta variant was imported to South Africa primarily from India, spread rapidly in large monophyletic clusters to all provinces, and became dominant within three months of introduction. This was associated with a resurgence in community transmission, leading to a third wave which was associated with a high number of deaths. We estimated a growth advantage for the Delta variant in South Africa of 0.089 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.084-0.093) per day which corresponds to a transmission advantage of 46% (95% CI 44-48) compared to the Beta variant. These data provide additional support for the increased transmissibility of the Delta variant relative to other VOC and highlight how dynamic shifts in the distribution of variants contribute to the ongoing public health threat.

9.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295924

ABSTRACT

Global genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has identified variants associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Here we report the emergence of the PANGO lineage C.1.2, detected at low prevalence in South Africa and eleven other countries. The emergence of C.1.2, associated with a high substitution rate, includes changes within the spike protein that have been associated with increased transmissibility or reduced neutralization sensitivity in SARS-CoV-2 VOC/VOIs. Like Beta and Delta, C.1.2 shows significantly reduced neutralization sensitivity to plasma from vaccinees and individuals infected with the ancestral D614G virus. In contrast, convalescent donors infected with either Beta or Delta showed high plasma neutralization against C.1.2. These functional data suggest that vaccine efficacy against C.1.2 will be equivalent to Beta and Delta, and that prior infection with either Beta or Delta will likely offer protection against C.1.2.

10.
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci ; 376(1837): 20200358, 2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1429384

ABSTRACT

In the light of the urgency raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, global investment in wildlife virology is likely to increase, and new surveillance programmes will identify hundreds of novel viruses that might someday pose a threat to humans. To support the extensive task of laboratory characterization, scientists may increasingly rely on data-driven rubrics or machine learning models that learn from known zoonoses to identify which animal pathogens could someday pose a threat to global health. We synthesize the findings of an interdisciplinary workshop on zoonotic risk technologies to answer the following questions. What are the prerequisites, in terms of open data, equity and interdisciplinary collaboration, to the development and application of those tools? What effect could the technology have on global health? Who would control that technology, who would have access to it and who would benefit from it? Would it improve pandemic prevention? Could it create new challenges? This article is part of the theme issue 'Infectious disease macroecology: parasite diversity and dynamics across the globe'.


Subject(s)
Disease Reservoirs/virology , Global Health , Pandemics/prevention & control , Zoonoses/prevention & control , Zoonoses/virology , Animals , Animals, Wild , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/veterinary , Ecology , Humans , Laboratories , Machine Learning , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Viruses , Zoonoses/epidemiology
11.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 539, 2021 Jun 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1261266

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In sub-Saharan Africa, acute respiratory infections (ARI), acute gastrointestinal infections (GI) and acute febrile disease of unknown cause (AFDUC) have a large disease burden, especially among children, while respective aetiologies often remain unresolved. The need for robust infectious disease surveillance to detect emerging pathogens along with common human pathogens has been highlighted by the ongoing novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The African Network for Improved Diagnostics, Epidemiology and Management of Common Infectious Agents (ANDEMIA) is a sentinel surveillance study on the aetiology and clinical characteristics of ARI, GI and AFDUC in sub-Saharan Africa. METHODS: ANDEMIA includes 12 urban and rural health care facilities in four African countries (Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of South Africa). It was piloted in 2018 in Côte d'Ivoire and the initial phase will run from 2019 to 2021. Case definitions for ARI, GI and AFDUC were established, as well as syndrome-specific sampling algorithms including the collection of blood, naso- and oropharyngeal swabs and stool. Samples are tested using comprehensive diagnostic protocols, ranging from classic bacteriology and antimicrobial resistance screening to multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) systems and High Throughput Sequencing. In March 2020, PCR testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and analysis of full genomic information was included in the study. Standardised questionnaires collect relevant clinical, demographic, socio-economic and behavioural data for epidemiologic analyses. Controls are enrolled over a 12-month period for a nested case-control study. Data will be assessed descriptively and aetiologies will be evaluated using a latent class analysis among cases. Among cases and controls, an integrated analytic approach using logistic regression and Bayesian estimation will be employed to improve the assessment of aetiology and associated risk factors. DISCUSSION: ANDEMIA aims to expand our understanding of ARI, GI and AFDUC aetiologies in sub-Saharan Africa using a comprehensive laboratory diagnostics strategy. It will foster early detection of emerging threats and continued monitoring of important common pathogens. The network collaboration will be strengthened and site diagnostic capacities will be reinforced to improve quality management and patient care.


Subject(s)
Communicable Diseases/diagnosis , Communicable Diseases/epidemiology , Mass Screening , Sentinel Surveillance , Bayes Theorem , Burkina Faso , Case-Control Studies , Cote d'Ivoire , Democratic Republic of the Congo , Fever/epidemiology , Fever/microbiology , Gastrointestinal Diseases/epidemiology , Gastrointestinal Diseases/microbiology , Humans , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , South Africa
12.
J Clin Pathol ; 73(7): 370-377, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-260036

ABSTRACT

Countries globally are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly two million cases and 120 000 deaths occurring within 4 months of the discovery of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 in December 2019 in China. Accurate diagnoses of cases is key in managing the pandemic by identification, isolation and treatment of patients and defining the epidemiology of the virus. By mid-January 2020, a scientist from China published the full genome of the virus, which facilitated the development of accurate molecular diagnostic assays. By the end of January 2020, the WHO, in collaboration with laboratories in Asia, Europe and the USA, published several real-time reverse transcriptase PCR (rtRT-PCR) protocols that allowed identification of cases and development of commercial assays. Clinical investigations facilitated development of accurate case definition and guidance for laboratories on the optimum specimens and procedures for diagnoses. Currently, laboratory-based rtRT-PCR is the recommended test for diagnoses of acute cases to ensure patients can be identified and isolated and to facilitate the public health response. However, due to delays in diagnoses, severe shortage of tests and laboratory capacity, point-of-care molecular or antigen tests are becoming more attractive. Although serological tests are not suitable for diagnoses of acute cases, they are important to define epidemiological questions, including attack rate in the population, and to identify immune individuals. This review aimed to summarise the current available information for diagnoses of cases and to aid laboratories and healthcare workers to select the best assays and procedures.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Point-of-Care Systems , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Serologic Tests/methods
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