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Preprint | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20182832


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by SARS-CoV-2, is posing a serious threat to global public health. Reverse transcriptase real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is widely used as the gold standard for clinical detection of SARS-CoV-2. Due to technical limitations, the reported positive rates of qRT-PCR assay of throat swab samples vary from 30%-60%. Therefore, the evaluation of alternative strategies to overcome the limitations of qRT-PCR is required. A previous study reported that one-step nested (OSN)-qRT-PCR revealed better suitability for detecting SARS-CoV-2. However, information on the analytical performance of OSN-qRT-PCR is insufficient. In this study, we aimed to analyze OSN-qRT-PCR by comparing it with droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) and qRT-PCR by using a dilution series of SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviral RNA and a quality assessment panel. The clinical performance of OSN-qRT-PCR was also validated and compared with ddPCR and qRT-PCR using specimens from COVID-19 patients. The LoD (copies/ml) of qRT-PCR, ddPCR, and OSN-qRT-PCR were 520.1 (95% CI): 363.23-1145.69) for ORF1ab and 528.1 (95% CI: 347.7-1248.7) for N, 401.8 (95% CI: 284.8-938.3) for ORF1ab and 336.8 (95% CI: 244.6-792.5) for N, and 194.74 (95% CI: 139.7-430.9) for ORF1ab and 189.1 (95% CI: 130.9-433.9) for N, respectively. Of the 34 clinical samples from COVID-19 patients, the positive rates of OSN-qRT-PCR, ddPCR, and qRT-PCR were 82.35% (28/34), 67.65% (23/34), and 58.82% (20/34), respectively. In conclusion, the highly sensitive and specific OSN-qRT-PCR assay is superior to ddPCR and qRT-PCR assays, showing great potential as a technique for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in patients with low viral loads.

Curr Med Sci ; 40(4): 618-624, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695581


The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV2 is characterized by a remarkable variation in clinical severity ranging from a mild illness to a fatal multi-organ disease. Understanding the dysregulated human immune responses in the fatal subjects is critical for management of COVID-19 patients and the pandemic. In this study, we examined the immune cell compositions in the lung tissues and hilar lymph nodes using immunohistochemistry on 6 deceased COVID-19 patients and 4 focal organizing pneumonia (FOP) patients who underwent lung surgery and served as controls. We found a dominant presence of macrophages and a general deficiency of T cells and B cells in the lung tissues from deceased COVID-19 patients. In contrast to the FOP patients, Tfh cells and germinal center formation were largely absent in the draining hilar lymph nodes in the deceased COVID-19 patients. This was correlated with reduced IgM and IgG levels compared to convalescent COVID-19 patients. In summary, our data highlight a defect of germinal center structure in deceased COVID-19 patients leading to an impaired humoral immunity. Understanding the mechanisms of this deficiency will be one of the key points for the management of this epidemic.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/immunology , Germinal Center/immunology , Pneumonia, Viral/immunology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/immunology , Adaptive Immunity , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Case-Control Studies , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Fatal Outcome , Female , Germinal Center/pathology , Humans , Lymphopenia/immunology , Lymphopenia/mortality , Lymphopenia/pathology , Macrophages/immunology , Macrophages/pathology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/mortality , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer/pathology
Indian J Med Microbiol ; 38(1): 87-93, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-688925


Objective: This study aims to provide scientific basis for rapid screening and early diagnosis of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) through analysing the clinical characteristics and early imaging/laboratory findings of the inpatients. Methods: Three hundred and three patients with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 from the East Hospital of People's Hospital of Wuhan University (Wuhan, China) were selected and divided into four groups: youth (20-40 years, n = 64), middle-aged (41-60 years, n = 89), older (61-80 years, n = 118) and elderly (81-100 years, n = 32). The clinical characteristics and imaging/laboratory findings including chest computed tomography (CT), initial blood count, C-reactive protein [CRP]), procalcitonin (PCT) and serum total IgE were captured and analysed. Results: (1) The first symptoms of all age groups were primarily fever (76%), followed by cough (12%) and dyspnoea (5%). Beside fever, the most common initial symptom of elderly patients was fatigue (13%). (2) Fever was the most common clinical manifestation (80%), with moderate fever being the most common (40%), followed by low fever in patients above 40 years old and high fever in those under 40 years (35%). Cough was the second most common clinical manifestation and was most common (80%) in the middle-aged. Diarrhoea was more common in the middle-aged (21%) and the older (19%). Muscle ache was more common in the middle-aged (15%). Chest pain was more common in the youth (13%), and 13% of the youth had no symptoms. (3) The proportion of patients with comorbidities increased with age. (4) Seventy-one per cent of the patients had positive reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction results and 29% had positive chest CT scans before admission to the hospital. (5) Lesions in all lobes of the lung were observed as the main chest CT findings (76%). (6) Decrease in lymphocytes and increase in monocytes were common in the patients over 40 years old but rare in the youth. Eosinophils (50%), red blood cells (39%) and haemoglobin (40%) decreased in all age groups. (7) The proportion of patients with CRP and PCT elevation increased with age. (8) Thirty-nine per cent of the patients had elevated IgE, with the highest proportion in the old (49%). Conclusion: The clinical characteristics and imaging/laboratory findings of COVID-19 patients vary in different age groups. Personalised criteria should be formulated according to different age groups in the early screening and diagnosis stage.

Betacoronavirus/growth & development , Clinical Laboratory Techniques/methods , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/pathology , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/pathology , Tomography, X-Ray Computed/methods , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , China , Coronavirus Infections/diagnostic imaging , Early Diagnosis , Female , Hospitals, University , Humans , Male , Mass Screening/methods , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnostic imaging , Young Adult