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1.
Transbound Emerg Dis ; 2022 Mar 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1765049

ABSTRACT

Following findings in Northern America of SARS-CoV-2 infections in white-tailed deer, there is concern of similar infections in European deer and their potential as reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 including opportunities for the emergence of new variants. UK deer sera were collected in 2020-2021 from 6 species and a hybrid with 1748 tested using anti-spike and anti-nucleocapsid serology assays. No samples were positive on both assays nor by surrogate neutralization testing. There is no evidence that spill-over infections of SARS-CoV-2 occurred from the human population to UK deer or that SARS-CoV-2 has been circulating in UK deer (over the study period). Although it cannot be ruled out, study results indicate that spill-over infections followed by circulation of SARS-CoV-2 to the most common European deer species is small.

2.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(1): e0228921, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702730

ABSTRACT

In March 2020, the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) (formerly Public Health England [PHE]) Porton Down, was tasked by the Department of Health and Social Care with setting up a national surveillance laboratory facility to study SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses and population-level sero-surveillance in response to the growing SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. In the following 12 months, the laboratory tested more than 160,000 samples, facilitating a wide range of research and informing UKHSA, DHSC, and UK government policy. Here we describe the implementation and use of the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay and provide an extended evaluation of its performance. We present a markedly improved overall sensitivity of 91.39% (≥14 days 92.74%, ≥21 days 93.59%) compared to our small-scale early study, and a specificity of 98.56%. In addition, we detail extended characteristics of the Euroimmun assay: intra- and interassay precision, correlation to neutralization, and assay linearity. IMPORTANCE Serology assays have been useful in determining those with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in a wide range of research and serosurveillance projects. However, assays vary in their sensitivity at detecting SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Here, we detail an extended evaluation and characterization of the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay, one that has been widely used within the United Kingdom on over 160,000 samples to date.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Public Health , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , United Kingdom/epidemiology
3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-308881

ABSTRACT

The source of the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown, but the natural host of the progenitor sarbecovirus is thought to be Asian horseshoe (rhinolophid) bats. We identified and sequenced a novel sarbecovirus (RhGB01) from a British horseshoe bat, at the western extreme of the rhinolophid range. Our results extend both the geographic and species ranges of sarbecoviruses and suggest their presence throughout the horseshoe bat distribution. Within the receptor binding domain, but excluding the receptor binding motif, RhGB01 has a 77% (SARS-CoV-2) and 81% (SARS-CoV) amino acid homology. While apparently lacking hACE2 binding ability, and hence unlikely to be zoonotic without mutation, RhGB01 presents opportunity for SARS-CoV-2 and other sarbecovirus homologous recombination. Our findings highlight that the natural distribution of sarbecoviruses and opportunities for recombination through intermediate host co-infection are underestimated. Preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to bats is critical with the current global mass vaccination campaign against this virus.

4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(3): 407-415, 2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684538

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: How severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infectivity varies with viral load is incompletely understood. Whether rapid point-of-care antigen lateral flow devices (LFDs) detect most potential transmission sources despite imperfect clinical sensitivity is unknown. METHODS: We combined SARS-CoV-2 testing and contact tracing data from England between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2021. We used multivariable logistic regression to investigate relationships between polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed infection in contacts of community-diagnosed cases and index case viral load, S gene target failure (proxy for B.1.1.7 infection), demographics, SARS-CoV-2 incidence, social deprivation, and contact event type. We used LFD performance to simulate the proportion of cases with a PCR-positive contact expected to be detected using 1 of 4 LFDs. RESULTS: In total, 231 498/2 474 066 (9%) contacts of 1 064 004 index cases tested PCR-positive. PCR-positive results in contacts independently increased with higher case viral loads (lower cycle threshold [Ct] values), for example, 11.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.5-12.0%) at Ct = 15 and 4.5% (95% CI 4.4-4.6%) at Ct = 30. B.1.1.7 infection increased PCR-positive results by ~50%, (eg, 1.55-fold, 95% CI 1.49-1.61, at Ct = 20). PCR-positive results were most common in household contacts (at Ct = 20.1, 8.7% [95% CI 8.6-8.9%]), followed by household visitors (7.1% [95% CI 6.8-7.3%]), contacts at events/activities (5.2% [95% CI 4.9-5.4%]), work/education (4.6% [95% CI 4.4-4.8%]), and least common after outdoor contact (2.9% [95% CI 2.3-3.8%]). Contacts of children were the least likely to test positive, particularly following contact outdoors or at work/education. The most and least sensitive LFDs would detect 89.5% (95% CI 89.4-89.6%) and 83.0% (95% CI 82.8-83.1%) of cases with PCR-positive contacts, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infectivity varies by case viral load, contact event type, and age. Those with high viral loads are the most infectious. B.1.1.7 increased transmission by ~50%. The best performing LFDs detect most infectious cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Family Characteristics , Humans , Viral Load
5.
Euro Surveill ; 26(27)2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1577032

ABSTRACT

BackgroundInfluenza virus presents a considerable challenge to public health by causing seasonal epidemics and occasional pandemics. Nanopore metagenomic sequencing has the potential to be deployed for near-patient testing, providing rapid infection diagnosis, rationalising antimicrobial therapy, and supporting infection-control interventions.AimTo evaluate the applicability of this sequencing approach as a routine laboratory test for influenza in clinical settings.MethodsWe conducted Oxford Nanopore Technologies (Oxford, United Kingdom (UK)) metagenomic sequencing for 180 respiratory samples from a UK hospital during the 2018/19 influenza season, and compared results to routine molecular diagnostic standards (Xpert Xpress Flu/RSV assay; BioFire FilmArray Respiratory Panel 2 assay). We investigated drug resistance, genetic diversity, and nosocomial transmission using influenza sequence data.ResultsCompared to standard testing, Nanopore metagenomic sequencing was 83% (75/90) sensitive and 93% (84/90) specific for detecting influenza A viruses. Of 59 samples with haemagglutinin subtype determined, 40 were H1 and 19 H3. We identified an influenza A(H3N2) genome encoding the oseltamivir resistance S331R mutation in neuraminidase, potentially associated with an emerging distinct intra-subtype reassortant. Whole genome phylogeny refuted suspicions of a transmission cluster in a ward, but identified two other clusters that likely reflected nosocomial transmission, associated with a predominant community-circulating strain. We also detected other potentially pathogenic viruses and bacteria from the metagenome.ConclusionNanopore metagenomic sequencing can detect the emergence of novel variants and drug resistance, providing timely insights into antimicrobial stewardship and vaccine design. Full genome generation can help investigate and manage nosocomial outbreaks.


Subject(s)
Cross Infection , Influenza, Human , Nanopores , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Cross Infection/diagnosis , Cross Infection/drug therapy , Drug Resistance , Drug Resistance, Viral/genetics , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H3N2 Subtype/genetics , Influenza, Human/diagnosis , Influenza, Human/drug therapy , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Metagenome , Neuraminidase/genetics , Seasons , United Kingdom
6.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 14723, 2021 07 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1317811

ABSTRACT

The source of the COVID-19 pandemic is unknown, but the natural host of the progenitor sarbecovirus is thought to be Asian horseshoe (rhinolophid) bats. We identified and sequenced a novel sarbecovirus (RhGB01) from a British horseshoe bat, at the western extreme of the rhinolophid range. Our results extend both the geographic and species ranges of sarbecoviruses and suggest their presence throughout the horseshoe bat distribution. Within the spike protein receptor binding domain, but excluding the receptor binding motif, RhGB01 has a 77% (SARS-CoV-2) and 81% (SARS-CoV) amino acid homology. While apparently lacking hACE2 binding ability, and hence unlikely to be zoonotic without mutation, RhGB01 presents opportunity for SARS-CoV-2 and other sarbecovirus homologous recombination. Our findings highlight that the natural distribution of sarbecoviruses and opportunities for recombination through intermediate host co-infection are underestimated. Preventing transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to bats is critical with the current global mass vaccination campaign against this virus.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/classification , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Chiroptera/virology , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Europe , Genome, Viral , Metagenomics , Phylogeny , SARS Virus , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry
7.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(3): 407-415, 2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1223330

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: How severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infectivity varies with viral load is incompletely understood. Whether rapid point-of-care antigen lateral flow devices (LFDs) detect most potential transmission sources despite imperfect clinical sensitivity is unknown. METHODS: We combined SARS-CoV-2 testing and contact tracing data from England between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2021. We used multivariable logistic regression to investigate relationships between polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed infection in contacts of community-diagnosed cases and index case viral load, S gene target failure (proxy for B.1.1.7 infection), demographics, SARS-CoV-2 incidence, social deprivation, and contact event type. We used LFD performance to simulate the proportion of cases with a PCR-positive contact expected to be detected using 1 of 4 LFDs. RESULTS: In total, 231 498/2 474 066 (9%) contacts of 1 064 004 index cases tested PCR-positive. PCR-positive results in contacts independently increased with higher case viral loads (lower cycle threshold [Ct] values), for example, 11.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.5-12.0%) at Ct = 15 and 4.5% (95% CI 4.4-4.6%) at Ct = 30. B.1.1.7 infection increased PCR-positive results by ~50%, (eg, 1.55-fold, 95% CI 1.49-1.61, at Ct = 20). PCR-positive results were most common in household contacts (at Ct = 20.1, 8.7% [95% CI 8.6-8.9%]), followed by household visitors (7.1% [95% CI 6.8-7.3%]), contacts at events/activities (5.2% [95% CI 4.9-5.4%]), work/education (4.6% [95% CI 4.4-4.8%]), and least common after outdoor contact (2.9% [95% CI 2.3-3.8%]). Contacts of children were the least likely to test positive, particularly following contact outdoors or at work/education. The most and least sensitive LFDs would detect 89.5% (95% CI 89.4-89.6%) and 83.0% (95% CI 82.8-83.1%) of cases with PCR-positive contacts, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infectivity varies by case viral load, contact event type, and age. Those with high viral loads are the most infectious. B.1.1.7 increased transmission by ~50%. The best performing LFDs detect most infectious cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Family Characteristics , Humans , Viral Load
8.
The New Zealand Medical Journal (Online) ; 134(1532):83, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1190896

ABSTRACT

We report the earliest known cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infection so far reported, which occurred in New Zealand in late February 2020. The cluster includes one confirmed and five probable cases. The cluster was identified while investigating a weak positive nasopharyngeal swab (NPS) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that was returned by a male in his 60s in September 2020. The PCR result, combined with a clear clinical and epidemiological history of a COVID-19 like illness in late February 2020, prompted serological testing. SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies were detected and supported historical infection. Serology was also reactive for five close contacts who had also experienced a COVID-19 like illness in February 2020. Combined case histories and investigations suggest that this local cluster was import related, with the index case identified as a family member visiting from Italy in February. Case investigation also suggests this cluster was active in New Zealand prior to any previously documented local cases, indicating that SARS-CoV-2 was present and local transmission was occurring earlier than initially suspected. A weak positive PCR result, six months after acute infection, supports international evidence that SARS-CoV-2 genetic material can be detected for several months after initial COVID-19 infection, and that this is not necessarily indicative of infectivity.

9.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1951, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1157905

ABSTRACT

Serological detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 is essential for establishing rates of seroconversion in populations, and for seeking evidence for a level of antibody that may be protective against COVID-19 disease. Several high-performance commercial tests have been described, but these require centralised laboratory facilities that are comparatively expensive, and therefore not available universally. Red cell agglutination tests do not require special equipment, are read by eye, have short development times, low cost and can be applied at the Point of Care. Here we describe a quantitative Haemagglutination test (HAT) for the detection of antibodies to the receptor binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. The HAT has a sensitivity of 90% and specificity of 99% for detection of antibodies after a PCR diagnosed infection. We will supply aliquots of the test reagent sufficient for ten thousand test wells free of charge to qualified research groups anywhere in the world.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Hemagglutination Tests/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Agglutination Tests/methods , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Humans , Point-of-Care Systems , Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroconversion
10.
Transfus Med ; 31(3): 167-175, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979626

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The lack of approved specific therapeutic agents to treat coronavirus disease (COVID-19) associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection has led to the rapid implementation of convalescent plasma therapy (CPT) trials in many countries, including the United Kingdom. Effective CPT is likely to require high titres of neutralising antibody (nAb) in convalescent donations. Understanding the relationship between functional neutralising antibodies and antibody levels to specific SARS-CoV-2 proteins in scalable assays will be crucial for the success of a large-scale collection. We assessed whether neutralising antibody titres correlated with reactivity in a range of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) targeting the spike (S) protein, the main target for human immune response. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from 52 individuals with a previous laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. These were assayed for SARS-CoV-2 nAbs by microneutralisation and pseudo-type assays and for antibodies by four different ELISAs. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis was used to further identify sensitivity and specificity of selected assays to identify samples containing high nAb levels. RESULTS: All samples contained SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, whereas neutralising antibody titres of greater than 1:20 were detected in 43 samples (83% of those tested) and >1:100 in 22 samples (42%). The best correlations were observed with EUROimmun immunoglobulin G (IgG) reactivity (Spearman Rho correlation coefficient 0.88; p < 0.001). Based on ROC analysis, EUROimmun would detect 60% of samples with titres of >1:100 with 100% specificity using a reactivity index of 9.1 (13/22). DISCUSSION: Robust associations between nAb titres and reactivity in several ELISA-based antibody tests demonstrate their possible utility for scaled-up production of convalescent plasma containing potentially therapeutic levels of anti-SARS-CoV-2 nAbs.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Blood Donors , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay/methods , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Male , ROC Curve , Sensitivity and Specificity
11.
Viruses ; 12(10)2020 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-905965

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sequencing the viral genome as the outbreak progresses is important, particularly in the identification of emerging isolates with different pathogenic potential and to identify whether nucleotide changes in the genome will impair clinical diagnostic tools such as real-time PCR assays. Although single nucleotide polymorphisms and point mutations occur during the replication of coronaviruses, one of the biggest drivers in genetic change is recombination. This can manifest itself in insertions and/or deletions in the viral genome. Therefore, sequencing strategies that underpin molecular epidemiology and inform virus biology in patients should take these factors into account. A long amplicon/read length-based RT-PCR sequencing approach focused on the Oxford Nanopore MinION/GridION platforms was developed to identify and sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome in samples from patients with or suspected of COVID-19. The protocol, termed Rapid Sequencing Long Amplicons (RSLAs) used random primers to generate cDNA from RNA purified from a sample from a patient, followed by single or multiplex PCRs to generate longer amplicons of the viral genome. The base protocol was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 in a variety of clinical samples and proved sensitive in identifying viral RNA in samples from patients that had been declared negative using other nucleic acid-based assays (false negative). Sequencing the amplicons revealed that a number of patients had a proportion of viral genomes with deletions.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , DNA, Complementary/analysis , DNA, Complementary/genetics , DNA, Viral/analysis , DNA, Viral/genetics , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing/methods , Humans , Molecular Epidemiology , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Sequence Analysis
12.
Viruses ; 12(10):1164, 2020.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-855539

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Sequencing the viral genome as the outbreak progresses is important, particularly in the identification of emerging isolates with different pathogenic potential and to identify whether nucleotide changes in the genome will impair clinical diagnostic tools such as real-time PCR assays. Although single nucleotide polymorphisms and point mutations occur during the replication of coronaviruses, one of the biggest drivers in genetic change is recombination. This can manifest itself in insertions and/or deletions in the viral genome. Therefore, sequencing strategies that underpin molecular epidemiology and inform virus biology in patients should take these factors into account. A long amplicon/read length-based RT-PCR sequencing approach focused on the Oxford Nanopore MinION/GridION platforms was developed to identify and sequence the SARS-CoV-2 genome in samples from patients with or suspected of COVID-19. The protocol, termed Rapid Sequencing Long Amplicons (RSLAs) used random primers to generate cDNA from RNA purified from a sample from a patient, followed by single or multiplex PCRs to generate longer amplicons of the viral genome. The base protocol was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 in a variety of clinical samples and proved sensitive in identifying viral RNA in samples from patients that had been declared negative using other nucleic acid-based assays (false negative). Sequencing the amplicons revealed that a number of patients had a proportion of viral genomes with deletions.

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