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1.
The Lancet regional health. Western Pacific ; 25, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1877437

ABSTRACT

Summary Background COVID-19 has affected many healthcare workers (HCWs) globally. We performed state-wide SARS-CoV-2 genomic epidemiological investigations to identify HCW transmission dynamics and provide recommendations to optimise healthcare system preparedness for future outbreaks. Methods Genome sequencing was attempted on all COVID-19 cases in Victoria, Australia. We combined genomic and epidemiologic data to investigate the source of HCW infections across multiple healthcare facilities (HCFs) in the state. Phylogenetic analysis and fine-scale hierarchical clustering were performed for the entire dataset including community and healthcare cases. Facilities provided standardised epidemiological data and putative transmission links. Findings Between March-October 2020, approximately 1,240 HCW COVID-19 infection cases were identified;765 are included here, requested for hospital investigations. Genomic sequencing was successful for 612 (80%) cases. Thirty-six investigations were undertaken across 12 HCFs. Genomic analysis revealed that multiple introductions of COVID-19 into facilities (31/36) were more common than single introductions (5/36). Major contributors to HCW acquisitions included mobility of staff and patients between wards and facilities, and characteristics and behaviours of patients that generated numerous secondary infections. Key limitations at the HCF level were identified. Interpretation Genomic epidemiological analyses enhanced understanding of HCW infections, revealing unsuspected clusters and transmission networks. Combined analysis of all HCWs and patients in a HCF should be conducted, supported by high rates of sequencing coverage for all cases in the population. Established systems for integrated genomic epidemiological investigations in healthcare settings will improve HCW safety in future pandemics. Funding The Victorian Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, and the Medical Research Future Fund.

2.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 25: 100486, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867463

ABSTRACT

Background: Early, rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 is essential in healthcare settings in order to implement appropriate infection control precautions and rapidly assign patients to care pathways. Rapid testing methods, such as SARS-CoV-2 rapid antigen testing (RAT) may improve patient care, despite a lower sensitivity than real-time PCR (RT-PCR) testing. Methods: Patients presenting to an Emergency Department (ED) in Melbourne, Australia, were risk-stratified for their likelihood of active COVID-19 infection, and a non-randomised cohort of patients were tested by both Abbott Panbio™ COVID-19 Ag test (RAT) and SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR. Patients with a positive RAT in the 'At or High Risk' COVID-19 group were moved immediately to a COVID-19 ward rather than waiting for a RT-PCR result. Clinical and laboratory data were assessed to determine test performance characteristics; and length of stay in the ED was compared for the different patient cohorts. Findings: Analysis of 1762 paired RAT/RT-PCR samples demonstrated an overall sensitivity of 75.5% (206/273; 95% CI: 69·9-80·4) for the Abbott Panbio™ COVID-12 Ag test, with specificity of 100% (1489/1489; 95% CI: 99·8-100). Sensitivity improved with increasing risk for COVID-19 infection, from 72·4% (95% CI: 52·8-87·3) in the 'No Risk' cohort to 100% (95% CI: 29·2-100) in the 'High Risk' group. Time in the ED for the 'At/High Risk' group decreased from 421 minutes (IQR: 281, 525) for those with a positive RAT result to 274 minutes (IQR:140, 425) for those with a negative RAT result, p = 0.02. Interpretation: The positive predictive value of a positive RAT in this setting was high, allowing more rapid instigation of COVID-19 care pathways and an improvement in patient flow within the ED. Funding: Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

3.
Immunity ; 2022 May 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1867266

ABSTRACT

Vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 protects from infection and improves clinical outcomes in breakthrough infections, likely reflecting residual vaccine-elicited immunity and recall of immunological memory. Here, we define the early kinetics of spike-specific humoral and cellular immunity after vaccination of seropositive individuals and after Delta or Omicron breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals. Early longitudinal sampling revealed the timing and magnitude of recall, with the phenotypic activation of B cells preceding an increase in neutralizing antibody titers. While vaccination of seropositive individuals resulted in robust recall of humoral and T cell immunity, recall of vaccine-elicited responses was delayed and variable in magnitude during breakthrough infections and depended on the infecting variant of concern. While the delayed kinetics of immune recall provides a potential mechanism for the lack of early control of viral replication, the recall of antibodies coincided with viral clearance and likely underpins the protective effects of vaccination against severe COVID-19.

4.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 178, 2021 11 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1706772

ABSTRACT

Ensuring accordance with principles of healthcare ethics requires improved communication of pathogen genomic data. This could include educating healthcare professionals in communicating pathogen genomic information to individuals, developing ethical frameworks for reporting pathogen genomic results to individuals, responsible media reporting guidelines, and counselling for individuals ('pathogen genetic counselling').


Subject(s)
Genetic Counseling/ethics , Genetic Counseling/methods , Genomics , COVID-19 , Communication , Humans , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Pathology ; 54:S26, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1665348
8.
EBioMedicine ; 74: 103729, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1555409

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: As vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 are now being rolled out, a better understanding of immunity to the virus, whether from infection, or passive or active immunisation, and the durability of this protection is required. This will benefit from the ability to measure antibody-based protection to SARS-CoV-2, ideally with rapid turnaround and without the need for laboratory-based testing. METHODS: We have developed a lateral flow POC test that can measure levels of RBD-ACE2 neutralising antibody (NAb) from whole blood, with a result that can be determined by eye or quantitatively on a small instrument. We compared our lateral flow test with the gold-standard microneutralisation assay, using samples from convalescent and vaccinated donors, as well as immunised macaques. FINDINGS: We show a high correlation between our lateral flow test with conventional neutralisation and that this test is applicable with animal samples. We also show that this assay is readily adaptable to test for protection to newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants, including the beta variant which revealed a marked reduction in NAb activity. Lastly, using a cohort of vaccinated humans, we demonstrate that our whole-blood test correlates closely with microneutralisation assay data (specificity 100% and sensitivity 96% at a microneutralisation cutoff of 1:40) and that fingerprick whole blood samples are sufficient for this test. INTERPRETATION: Taken together, the COVID-19 NAb-testTM device described here provides a rapid readout of NAb based protection to SARS-CoV-2 at the point of care. FUNDING: Support was received from the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program and the Australian Government Department of Health. This work was supported by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services of the Victorian State Government; the ARC (CE140100011, CE140100036), the NHMRC (1113293, 2002317 and 1116530), and Medical Research Future Fund Awards (2005544, 2002073, 2002132). Individual researchers were supported by an NHMRC Emerging Leadership Level 1 Investigator Grants (1194036), NHMRC APPRISE Research Fellowship (1116530), NHMRC Leadership Investigator Grant (1173871), NHMRC Principal Research Fellowship (1137285), NHMRC Investigator Grants (1177174 and 1174555) and NHMRC Senior Principal Research Fellowships (1117766 and 1136322). Grateful support was also received from the A2 Milk Company and the Jack Ma Foundation.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/immunology , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Australia , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Humans , Macaca/immunology , Neutralization Tests , Vaccination
10.
Methods Protoc ; 4(4)2021 Oct 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463776

ABSTRACT

Serology tests are extremely useful for assessing whether a person has been infected with a pathogen. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, measurement of anti-SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies has been considered an essential tool in identifying seropositive individuals and thereby understanding the extent of transmission in communities. The Luminex system is a bead-based technology that has the capacity to assess multiple antigens simultaneously using very low sample volumes and is ideal for high-throughput studies. We have adapted this technology to develop a COVID-19 multi-antigen serological assay. This protocol described here carefully outlines recommended steps to optimize and establish this method for COVID-19-specific antibody measurement in plasma and in saliva. However, the protocol can easily be customized and thus the assay is broadly applicable to measure antibodies to other pathogens.

11.
Lancet Public Health ; 6(8): e547-e556, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433979

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A cornerstone of Australia's ability to control COVID-19 has been effective border control with an extensive supervised quarantine programme. However, a rapid recrudescence of COVID-19 was observed in the state of Victoria in June, 2020. We aim to describe the genomic findings that located the source of this second wave and show the role of genomic epidemiology in the successful elimination of COVID-19 for a second time in Australia. METHODS: In this observational, genomic epidemiological study, we did genomic sequencing of all laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in Victoria, Australia between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021. We did phylogenetic analyses, genomic cluster discovery, and integrated results with epidemiological data (detailed information on demographics, risk factors, and exposure) collected via interview by the Victorian Government Department of Health. Genomic transmission networks were used to group multiple genomic clusters when epidemiological and genomic data suggested they arose from a single importation event and diversified within Victoria. To identify transmission of emergent lineages between Victoria and other states or territories in Australia, all publicly available SARS-CoV-2 sequences uploaded before Feb 11, 2021, were obtained from the national sequence sharing programme AusTrakka, and epidemiological data were obtained from the submitting laboratories. We did phylodynamic analyses to estimate the growth rate, doubling time, and number of days from the first local infection to the collection of the first sequenced genome for the dominant local cluster, and compared our growth estimates to previously published estimates from a similar growth phase of lineage B.1.1.7 (also known as the Alpha variant) in the UK. FINDINGS: Between Jan 25, 2020, and Jan 31, 2021, there were 20 451 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, Australia, of which 15 431 were submitted for sequencing, and 11 711 met all quality control metrics and were included in our analysis. We identified 595 genomic clusters, with a median of five cases per cluster (IQR 2-11). Overall, samples from 11 503 (98·2%) of 11 711 cases clustered with another sample in Victoria, either within a genomic cluster or transmission network. Genomic analysis revealed that 10 426 cases, including 10 416 (98·4%) of 10 584 locally acquired cases, diagnosed during the second wave (between June and October, 2020) were derived from a single incursion from hotel quarantine, with the outbreak lineage (transmission network G, lineage D.2) rapidly detected in other Australian states and territories. Phylodynamic analyses indicated that the epidemic growth rate of the outbreak lineage in Victoria during the initial growth phase (samples collected between June 4 and July 9, 2020; 47·4 putative transmission events, per branch, per year [1/years; 95% credible interval 26·0-85·0]), was similar to that of other reported variants, such as B.1.1.7 in the UK (mean approximately 71·5 1/years). Strict interventions were implemented, and the outbreak lineage has not been detected in Australia since Oct 29, 2020. Subsequent cases represented independent international or interstate introductions, with limited local spread. INTERPRETATION: Our study highlights how rapid escalation of clonal outbreaks can occur from a single incursion. However, strict quarantine measures and decisive public health responses to emergent cases are effective, even with high epidemic growth rates. Real-time genomic surveillance can alter the way in which public health agencies view and respond to COVID-19 outbreaks. FUNDING: The Victorian Government, the National Health and Medical Research Council Australia, and the Medical Research Future Fund.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Epidemiologic Studies , Genomics , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Victoria/epidemiology
13.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 121, 2021 07 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331954

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Pathogen whole genome sequencing (WGS) is being incorporated into public health surveillance and disease control systems worldwide and has the potential to make significant contributions to infectious disease surveillance, outbreak investigation and infection prevention and control. However, to date, there are limited data regarding (i) the optimal models for integration of genomic data into epidemiological investigations and (ii) how to quantify and evaluate public health impacts resulting from genomic epidemiological investigations. METHODS: We developed the Pathogen Genomics in Public HeAlth Surveillance Evaluation (PG-PHASE) Framework to guide examination of the use of WGS in public health surveillance and disease control. We illustrate the use of this framework with three pathogens as case studies: Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacterium tuberculosis and SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: The framework utilises an adaptable whole-of-system approach towards understanding how interconnected elements in the public health application of pathogen genomics contribute to public health processes and outcomes. The three phases of the PG-PHASE Framework are designed to support understanding of WGS laboratory processes, analysis, reporting and data sharing, and how genomic data are utilised in public health practice across all stages, from the decision to send an isolate or sample for sequencing to the use of sequence data in public health surveillance, investigation and decision-making. Importantly, the phases can be used separately or in conjunction, depending on the need of the evaluator. Subsequent to conducting evaluation underpinned by the framework, avenues may be developed for strategic investment or interventions to improve utilisation of whole genome sequencing. CONCLUSIONS: Comprehensive evaluation is critical to support health departments, public health laboratories and other stakeholders to successfully incorporate microbial genomics into public health practice. The PG-PHASE Framework aims to assist public health laboratories, health departments and authorities who are either considering transitioning to whole genome sequencing or intending to assess the integration of WGS in public health practice, including the capacity to detect and respond to outbreaks and associated costs, challenges and facilitators in the utilisation of microbial genomics and public health impacts.


Subject(s)
Implementation Science , Infections/diagnosis , Listeria monocytogenes/isolation & purification , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods , Genome, Bacterial , Genome, Viral , Humans , Infections/epidemiology , Listeria monocytogenes/genetics , Mycobacterium tuberculosis/genetics , Population Surveillance , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
15.
Med J Aust ; 215(6): 273-278, 2021 09 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319820

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To compare the concordance and acceptability of saliva testing with standard-of-care oropharyngeal and bilateral deep nasal swab testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in children and in general practice. DESIGN: Prospective multicentre diagnostic validation study. SETTING: Royal Children's Hospital, and two general practices (cohealth, West Melbourne; Cirqit Health, Altona North) in Melbourne, July-October 2020. PARTICIPANTS: 1050 people who provided paired saliva and oropharyngeal-nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 testing. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Numbers of cases in which SARS-CoV-2 was detected in either specimen type by real-time polymerase chain reaction; concordance of results for paired specimens; positive percent agreement (PPA) for virus detection, by specimen type. RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 54 of 1050 people with assessable specimens (5%), including 19 cases (35%) in which both specimens were positive. The overall PPA was 72% (95% CI, 58-84%) for saliva and 63% (95% CI, 49-76%) for oropharyngeal-nasal swabs. For the 35 positive specimens from people aged 10 years or more, PPA was 86% (95% CI, 70-95%) for saliva and 63% (95% CI, 45-79%) for oropharyngeal-nasal swabs. Adding saliva testing to standard-of-care oropharyngeal-nasal swab testing increased overall case detection by 59% (95% CI, 29-95%). Providing saliva was preferred to an oropharyngeal-nasal swab by most participants (75%), including 141 of 153 children under 10 years of age (92%). CONCLUSION: In children over 10 years of age and adults, saliva testing alone may be suitable for SARS-CoV-2 detection, while for children under 10, saliva testing may be suitable as an adjunct to oropharyngeal-nasal swab testing for increasing case detection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Specimen Handling/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Oropharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva/virology , Young Adult
16.
Angewandte Chemie ; 133(31):17239-17244, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1315247

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‐CoV‐2) has resulted in an unprecedented need for diagnostic testing that is critical in controlling the spread of COVID‐19. We propose a portable infrared spectrometer with purpose‐built transflection accessory for rapid point‐of‐care detection of COVID‐19 markers in saliva. Initially, purified virion particles were characterized with Raman spectroscopy, synchrotron infrared (IR) and AFM‐IR. A data set comprising 171 transflection infrared spectra from 29 subjects testing positive for SARS‐CoV‐2 by RT‐qPCR and 28 testing negative, was modeled using Monte Carlo Double Cross Validation with 50 randomized test and model sets. The testing sensitivity was 93 % (27/29) with a specificity of 82 % (23/28) that included positive samples on the limit of detection for RT‐qPCR. Herein, we demonstrate a proof‐of‐concept high throughput infrared COVID‐19 test that is rapid, inexpensive, portable and utilizes sample self‐collection thus minimizing the risk to healthcare workers and ideally suited to mass screening.

17.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(7): ofab239, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1309620

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Serological testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) complements nucleic acid tests for patient diagnosis and enables monitoring of population susceptibility to inform the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic response. It is important to understand the reliability of assays with different antigen or antibody targets to detect humoral immunity after SARS-CoV-2 infection and to understand how antibody (Ab) binding assays compare to those detecting neutralizing antibody (nAb), particularly as we move into the era of vaccines. METHODS: We evaluated the performance of 6 commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), including a surrogate virus neutralization test (sVNT), for detection of SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulins (IgA, IgM, IgG), total or nAb. A result subset was compared with a cell culture-based microneutralization (MN) assay. We tested sera from patients with prior reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, prepandemic sera, and potential cross-reactive sera from patients with other non-COVID-19 acute infections. RESULTS: For sera collected >14 days post-symptom onset, the assay achieving the highest sensitivity was the Wantai total Ab at 100% (95% CI, 94.6%-100%), followed by 93.1% for Euroimmun NCP-IgG, 93.1% for GenScript sVNT, 90.3% for Euroimmun S1-IgG, 88.9% for Euroimmun S1-IgA, and 83.3% for Wantai IgM. Specificity for the best-performing assay was 99.5% for the Wantai total Ab, and for the lowest-performing assay it was 97.1% for sVNT (as per the Instructions for Use [IFU]). The Wantai Total Ab had the best agreement with MN at 98% followed by Euroimmun S1-IgA, Euro NCP-IgG, and sVNT (as per IFU) with 97%, 97% and 95%, respectively; Wantai IgM had the poorest agreement at 93%. CONCLUSIONS: Performance characteristics of the SARS-CoV-2 serology assays detecting different antibody types are consistent with those found in previously published reports. Evaluation of the surrogate virus neutralization test in comparison to the Ab binding assays and a cell culture-based neutralization assay showed good result correlation between all assays. However, correlation between the cell-based neutralization test and some assays detecting Ab's not specifically involved in neutralization was higher than with the sVNT. This study demonstrates the reliability of different assays to detect the humoral immune response following SARS-CoV-2 infection, which can be used to optimize serological test algorithms for assessing antibody responses post-SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination.

19.
BMJ Open ; 11(6): e045975, 2021 06 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1282097

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The threat of a pandemic, over and above the disease itself, may have significant and broad effects on a healthcare system. We aimed to describe the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic (during a relatively low transmission period) and associated societal restrictions on presentations, admissions and outpatient visits. DESIGN: We compared hospital activity in 2020 with the preceding 5 years, 2015-2019, using a retrospective cohort study design. SETTING: Quaternary hospital in Melbourne, Australia. PARTICIPANTS: Emergency department presentations, hospital admissions and outpatient visits from 1 January 2015 to 30 June 2020, n=896 934 episodes of care. INTERVENTION: In Australia, the initial peak COVID-19 phase was March-April. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Separate linear regression models were fitted to estimate the impact of the pandemic on the number, type and severity of emergency presentations, hospital admissions and outpatient visits. RESULTS: During the peak COVID-19 phase (March and April 2020), there were marked reductions in emergency presentations (10 389 observed vs 14 678 expected; 29% reduction; p<0.05) and hospital admissions (5972 observed vs 8368 expected; 28% reduction; p<0.05). Stroke (114 observed vs 177 expected; 35% reduction; p<0.05) and trauma (1336 observed vs 1764 expected; 24% reduction; p<0.05) presentations decreased; acute myocardial infarctions were unchanged. There was an increase in the proportion of hospital admissions requiring intensive care (7.0% observed vs 6.0% expected; p<0.05) or resulting in death (2.2% observed vs 1.5% expected; p<0.05). Outpatient attendances remained similar (30 267 observed vs 31 980 expected; 5% reduction; not significant) but telephone/telehealth consultations increased from 2.5% to 45% (p<0.05) of total consultations. CONCLUSIONS: Although case numbers of COVID-19 were relatively low in Australia during the first 6 months of 2020, the impact on hospital activity was profound.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergency Service, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Telemedicine , Australia/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , Outpatient Clinics, Hospital/statistics & numerical data , Retrospective Studies , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data
20.
Angew Chem Int Ed Engl ; 60(31): 17102-17107, 2021 07 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1245354

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has resulted in an unprecedented need for diagnostic testing that is critical in controlling the spread of COVID-19. We propose a portable infrared spectrometer with purpose-built transflection accessory for rapid point-of-care detection of COVID-19 markers in saliva. Initially, purified virion particles were characterized with Raman spectroscopy, synchrotron infrared (IR) and AFM-IR. A data set comprising 171 transflection infrared spectra from 29 subjects testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR and 28 testing negative, was modeled using Monte Carlo Double Cross Validation with 50 randomized test and model sets. The testing sensitivity was 93 % (27/29) with a specificity of 82 % (23/28) that included positive samples on the limit of detection for RT-qPCR. Herein, we demonstrate a proof-of-concept high throughput infrared COVID-19 test that is rapid, inexpensive, portable and utilizes sample self-collection thus minimizing the risk to healthcare workers and ideally suited to mass screening.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Saliva/chemistry , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cohort Studies , Discriminant Analysis , Humans , Least-Squares Analysis , Monte Carlo Method , Point-of-Care Testing , Proof of Concept Study , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Specimen Handling , Spectrophotometry, Infrared , Vero Cells
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