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1.
Methods Mol Biol ; 2452: 147-166, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1844265

ABSTRACT

Droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR) is a third generation of PCR that was recently developed to overcome the limitation of direct quantification observed in real-time quantification PCR (qPCR). Recent studies have shown that ddPCR is more sensitive than the gold standard reverse transcription real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) in detecting severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) samples. In combination with multiplexing, multiple RT-ddPCR assays can be developed to directly quantify different SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid targets within a single sample, significantly saving on cost and time. Since ddPCR is tolerant to a number of inhibitors unlike qPCR, it can be used to detect and quantify samples from complex environments like wastewater. Here we present three one-step RT-ddPCR protocols on how to develop simplex (one target), duplex (two targets), and triplex probe mix (three targets) assays for SARS-CoV-2 detection and quantification. The assays can be used for diagnosis or other research-related SARS-CoV-2 applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Reverse Transcription , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
2.
Clin Microbiol Rev ; : e0016821, 2022 Mar 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1731254

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has led to a global public health disaster. The current gold standard for the diagnosis of infected patients is real-time reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). As effective as this method may be, it is subject to false-negative and -positive results, affecting its precision, especially for the detection of low viral loads in samples. In contrast, digital PCR (dPCR), the third generation of PCR, has been shown to be more effective than the gold standard, RT-qPCR, in detecting low viral loads in samples. In this review article, we selected publications to show the broad-spectrum applications of dPCR, including the development of assays and reference standards, environmental monitoring, mutation detection, and clinical diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2, while comparing it analytically to the gold standard, RT-qPCR. In summary, it is evident that the specificity, sensitivity, reproducibility, and detection limits of RT-dPCR are generally unaffected by common factors that may affect RT-qPCR. As this is the first time that dPCR is being tested in an outbreak of such a magnitude, knowledge of its applications will help chart a course for future diagnosis and monitoring of infectious disease outbreaks.

3.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-318163

ABSTRACT

Outbreaks of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have been recorded in different countries across the globe. The virus is highly contagious, hence early detection, isolation, and quarantine of infected patients will play an important role in containing the viral spread. Diagnosis in a mobile lab can aid to find infected patients in time. Here, we develop a field-deployable diagnostic workflow that can reliably detect COVID-19. Instruments used in this workflow could easily fit in a mobile cabin hospital and also be installed in the community. Different steps from sample inactivation to detection were optimized to find the fastest steps and portable instruments in detection of COVID-19. Each step was compared to that of the normal laboratory diagnosis set-up. From the results, our proposed workflow (80 min) was two times faster compared to that of the normal laboratory workflow (183 min) and a maximum of 32 samples could be detected at each run. Additionally, we showed that using 1% Rewocid WK-30 could inactivate the novel coronavirus directly without affecting the overall detection results. Comparison of our workflow using an in-house assay to that of a commercially acquired assay produced highly reliable results. From the 250 hospital samples tested, there was a high concordance 247/250 (98.8%) between the two assays. The in-house assay sensitivity and specificity were 116/116 (100%) and 131/134 (97.8%) compared to that of the commercial assay. Based on these results, we believe that our workflow is fast, reliable, adaptable and most importantly, field deployable.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317641

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of coronavirus disease 19 (COVID 19), is responsible for the ongoing pandemic but still lacks approved antivirals. Repurposing pre-existing FDA approved drugs presents a rapid approach for new therapeutic options. In the present study, we report that three pre-existing FDA-approved drugs, i.e., vapreotide, grazoprevir, and simeprevir, inhibit the replication of SARS-CoV-2 in cells. The E50 values of vapreotide, grazoprevir, and simeprevir against SARS-CoV-2 in Vero E6 cells was 3.98 ± 0.35 μM, 2.08 ± 0.13 μM, and 1.41 ± 0.12 μM, respectively. In vitro biochemical experiments further revealed that vapreotide, grazoprevir, and simeprevir efficiently inhibits the unwinding activity of the Nsp13 helicase of SARS-CoV-2 with IC50 values of ⁓10, ⁓2.5, and ⁓1.25 µM, respectively, providing signs for understanding their antiviral mechanism of action. Given their good safety profiles in their original indications, our study offices new insights in repurposing these drugs alone or in combination with other antivirals in the global fighting against SARS-CoV-2.Funding: This work was financially supported by the Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (to H.Y.), and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31770192 and No. 32070187 to H.Y.).Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.

6.
Anal Chim Acta ; 1200: 339590, 2022 Apr 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1682826

ABSTRACT

The global public health crisis and economic losses resulting from the current novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic have been dire. The most used real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method needs expensive equipment, technical expertise, and a long turnaround time. Therefore, there is a need for a rapid, accurate, and alternative technique of diagnosis that is deployable at resource-poor settings like point-of-care. This study combines heat deactivation and a novel mechanical lysis method by bead beating for quick and simple sample preparation. Then, using an optimized reverse transcription loop-mediated isothermal amplification (RT-LAMP) assay to target genes encoding the open reading frame 8 (ORF8), spike and nucleocapsid proteins of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The test results can be read simultaneously in fluorometric and colorimetric readouts within 40 min from sample collection. We also calibrated a template transfer tool to simplify sample addition into LAMP reactions when pipetting skills are needed. Most importantly, validation of the direct RT-LAMP system based on multiplexing primers S1:ORF8 in a ratio (1:0.8) using 143 patients' nasopharyngeal swab samples showed a diagnostic performance of 99.30% accuracy, with 98.81% sensitivity and 100% selectivity, compared to commercial RT-PCR kits. Since our workflow does not rely on RNA extraction and purification, the time-to-result is two times faster than other workflows with FDA emergency use authorization. Considering all its strengths: speed, simplicity, accuracy and extraction-free, the system can be useful for optimal point-of-care testing of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Point-of-Care Systems , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcription , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
7.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674827

ABSTRACT

A new SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.529 was named by the WHO as Omicron and classified as a Variant of Concern (VOC) on 26 November 2021. Because this variant has more than 50 mutations, including 30 mutations on the spike, it has generated a lot of concerns on the potential impacts of the VOC on COVID-19. Here through ELISA assays using the recombinant RBD proteins with sequences the same to that of SARS-CoV-2 WIV04 (lineage B.1), the Delta variant and the Omicron variant as the coating antigens, the binding capabilities between the RBDs and the antibodies in COVID-19 convalescent sera and vaccine sera after two doses of the inactivated vaccine produced by Sinopharm WIBP are compared with each other. The results showed that the Omicron variant may evade antibodies induced by the ancestral strain and by the inactivated vaccine, with significant reduction in the binding capability of its RBD much greater than that of the Delta variant.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/metabolism , Binding Sites, Antibody/physiology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Convalescence , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/metabolism , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Humans , Immune Evasion , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , Vaccines, Inactivated/immunology
8.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(1): e0143821, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608700

ABSTRACT

With the emergence and wide spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs), such as the Delta variant (B.1.617.2 lineage and AY sublineage), it is important to track VOCs for sourcing of transmission. Currently, whole-genome sequencing is commonly used for detecting VOCs, but this is limited by the high costs of reagents and sophisticated sequencers. In this study, common mutations in the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 VOCs were identified by analyzing more than 1 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from public data. Among them, mutations C1709A (a change of C to A at position 1709) and C56G, respectively, were found in more than 99% of the genomes of Alpha and Delta variants and were specific to them. Then, a method using the amplification refractory mutation system combined with quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (ARMS-RT-qPCR) based on the two mutations was developed for identifying both VOCs. The assay can detect as little as 1 copy/µL of the VOCs, and the results for identifying Alpha and Delta variants in clinical samples by the ARMS-RT-qPCR assay showed 100% agreement with the results using sequencing-based methods. The whole assay can be completed in 2.5 h using commercial fluorescent PCR instruments. Therefore, the ARMS-RT-qPCR assay could be used for screening the two highly concerning variants Alpha and Delta by normal PCR laboratories in airports and in hospitals and other health-related organizations. Additionally, based on the unique mutations identified by the genomic analysis, similar molecular assays can be developed for rapid identification of other VOCs. IMPORTANCE The current stage of the pandemic, led by SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs), underscores the necessity to develop a cost-effective and rapid molecular diagnosis assay to differentiate the VOCs. In this study, over 1 million SARS-CoV-2 genomic sequences of high quality from GISAID were analyzed and a network of the common mutations of the lineages was constructed. The conserved unique mutations specific for SARS-CoV-2 VOCs were found. Then, ARMS-RT-qPCR assays based on the two unique mutations of the Alpha and Delta variants were developed for the detection of the two VOCs. Application of the assay in clinical samples demonstrated that the current method is a convenient, cost-effective, and rapid way to screen the target SARS-CoV-2 VOCs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Mutation , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/trends , Pharynx/virology , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/classification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
9.
Viruses ; 13(9)2021 09 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430979

ABSTRACT

The worldwide pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) and its emergence of variants needs rapid and point-of-care testing methods for a broad diagnosis. The regular RT-qPCR is time-consuming and limited in central laboratories, so a broad and large-scale screening requirement calls for rapid and in situ methods. In this regard, a reverse transcription recombinase-aided amplification (RT-RAA) is proposed here for the rapid and point-of-care detection of SARS-CoV-2. A set of highly conserved primers and probes targeting more than 98% of SARS-CoV-2 strains, including currently circulating variants (four variants of concerns (VOCs) and three variants of interest (VOIs)), was used in this study. With the preferred primers, the RT-RAA assay showed a 100% specificity to SARS-CoV-2 from eight other respiratory RNA viruses. Moreover, the assay here is of a high sensitivity and 0.48 copies/µL can be detected within 25 min at a constant temperature (42 °C), which can be realized on portable equipment. Furthermore, the RT-RAA assay demonstrated its high agreement for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 in clinical specimens compared with RT-qPCR. The rapid, simple and point-of-care RT-RAA method is expected to be an appealing detection tool to detect SARS-CoV-2, including variants, in clinical diagnostic applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Point-of-Care Testing , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/standards , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Sensitivity and Specificity
11.
Sci Total Environ ; 797: 149085, 2021 Nov 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1313422

ABSTRACT

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has generated a global health crisis that needs well management of not only patients but also environments to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The gold standard RT-qPCR method is sensitive and rapid to detect SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid, but does not answer if PCR-positive samples contain infectious virions. To circumvent this problem, we report an SDS-propidium monoazide (PMA) assisted RT-qPCR method that enables rapid discrimination of live and dead SARS-CoV-2 within 3 h. PMA, a photo-reactive dye, can react with viral RNA released or inside inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virions under assistance of 0.005% SDS, but not viral RNA inside live virions. Formation of PMA-RNA conjugates prevents PCR amplification, leaving only infectious virions to be detected. Under optimum conditions, RT-qPCR detection of heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 resulted in larger than 9 Ct value differences between PMA-treated and PMA-free groups, while less than 0.5 Ct differences were observed in the detection of infectious SARS-CoV-2 ranging from 20 to 5148 viral particles. Using a cutoff Ct difference of 8.6, this method could differentiate as low as 8 PFU live viruses in the mixtures of live and heat-inactivated virions. Further experiments showed that this method could successfully monitor the natural inactivation process of SARS-CoV-2 on plastic surfaces during storage with comparable results to the gold standard plaque assay. We believe that the culture-free method established here could be used for rapid and convenient determination of infectious SARS-CoV-2 virions in PCR-positive samples, which will facilitate better control of SARS-CoV-2 transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Azides , Humans , Pandemics , Propidium/analogs & derivatives , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Sensitivity and Specificity
12.
Virol Sin ; 36(5): 924-933, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225063

ABSTRACT

As a respiratory tract virus, SARS-CoV-2 infected people through contacting with the upper respiratory tract first. Previous studies indicated that microbiota could modulate immune response against pathogen infection. In the present study, we performed metagenomic sequencing of pharyngeal swabs from eleven patients with COVID-19 and eleven Non-COVID-19 patients who had similar symptoms such as fever and cough. Through metagenomic analysis of the above two groups and a healthy group from the public data, there are 6502 species identified in the samples. Specifically, the Pielou index indicated a lower evenness of the microbiota in the COVID-19 group than that in the Non-COVID-19 group. Combined with the linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and the generalized linear model, eighty-one bacterial species were found with increased abundance in the COVID-19 group, where 51 species were enriched more than 8 folds. The top three enriched genera were Streptococcus, Prevotella and Campylobacter containing some opportunistic pathogens. More interestingly, through experiments, we found that two Streptococcus strains, S. suis and S. agalactiae, could stimulate the expression of ACE2 of Vero cells in vitro, which may promote SARS-CoV-2 infection. Therefore, these enriched pathogens in the pharynxes of COVID-19 patients may involve in the virus-host interactions to affect SARS-CoV-2 infection and cause potential secondary bacterial infections through changing the expression of the viral receptor ACE2 and/or modulate the host's immune system.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Microbiota , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Metagenomics , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
13.
J Vis Exp ; (169)2021 03 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1192273

ABSTRACT

Diagnosis of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is a priority for all countries across the globe. Currently, reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) is the gold standard for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis as no permanent solution is available. However effective this technique may be, research has emerged showing its limitations in detection and diagnosis especially when it comes to low abundant targets. In contrast, droplet digital PCR (ddPCR), a recent emerging technology with superior advantages over qPCR, has been shown to overcome the challenges of RT-qPCR in diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 from low abundant target samples. Prospectively, in this article, the capabilities of RT-ddPCR are further expanded by showing steps on how to develop simplex, duplex, triplex probe mix, and quadruplex assays using a two-color detection system. Using primers and probes targeting specific sites of the SARS-CoV-2 genome (N, ORF1ab, RPP30, and RBD2), the development of these assays is shown to be possible. Additionally, step by step detailed protocols, notes, and suggestions on how to improve the assays workflow and analyze data are provided. Adapting this workflow in future works will ensure that the maximum number of targets can be sensitively detected in a small sample significantly improving on cost and sample throughput.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , DNA Primers , Humans , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcription , Sensitivity and Specificity
14.
Cell Discov ; 7(1): 19, 2021 Mar 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1160081

ABSTRACT

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, poses a severe threat to humanity. Rapid and comprehensive analysis of both pathogen and host sequencing data is critical to track infection and inform therapies. In this study, we performed unbiased metatranscriptomic analysis of clinical samples from COVID-19 patients using a recently developed RNA-seq library construction method (TRACE-seq), which utilizes tagmentation activity of Tn5 on RNA/DNA hybrids. This approach avoids the laborious and time-consuming steps in traditional RNA-seq procedure, and hence is fast, sensitive, and convenient. We demonstrated that TRACE-seq allowed integrated characterization of full genome information of SARS-CoV-2, putative pathogens causing coinfection, antibiotic resistance, and host response from single throat swabs. We believe that the integrated information will deepen our understanding of pathogenesis and improve diagnostic accuracy for infectious diseases.

15.
Expert Rev Mol Diagn ; 21(1): 119-129, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1003446

ABSTRACT

Introduction: With the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, different articles have been published highlighting the superiority of droplet digital PCR (ddPCR) over the gold-standard reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) in SARS-CoV-2 detection. However, few studies have been reported on developing multiplex ddPCR assays for SARS-CoV-2 detection and their performance. This study shows steps on how to develop different ddPCR SAR-CoV-2 assays including higher order multiplex assays for SARS-CoV-2 detection and antiviral screening.Methods: Using multiple primer/probe sets, we developed, optimized, and analyzed the performance of simplex (1 target), duplex (2 targets), triplex probe mix (3 targets), and quadruplex (4 targets) SARS-CoV-2 ddPCR assays based on a two-color ddPCR detection system.Results: Results showed that the quadruplex assay had similar limits of detection and accuracy to the lower multiplex assays. Analyzing 94 clinical samples demonstrated that the ddPCR triplex probe mix assay had better sensitivity than the RT-qPCR assay. Additionally, the ddPCR multiplex assay showed that remdesivir could inhibit the growth of SARS-CoV-2 in vitro while another testing drug could not.Conclusion: Our research shows that developing multiplex ddPCR assays is possible by combing probe mix and amplitude-based multiplexing, which will help in developing multiplexed ddPCR assays for different SARS-CoV-2 applications.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , DNA Primers/genetics , False Positive Reactions , Humans , Limit of Detection , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Reproducibility of Results , Sensitivity and Specificity , Temperature , Viral Load/methods
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