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1.
IJID Reg ; 3: 106-113, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1899827

ABSTRACT

Background: : SARS-CoV-2 variants have been emerging and are shown to increase transmissibility, pathogenicity, and decreased vaccine efficacies. The objective of this study was to determine the distribution, prevalence, and dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 variants circulating in Brazzaville, the Republic of Congo (ROC). Methods: : Between December 2020 and July 2021, a total of n=600 oropharyngeal specimens collected in the community were tested for COVID-19. Of the samples tested, 317 (53%) were SARS-CoV-2 positive. All samples that had a threshold of Ct <30 (n=182) were sequenced by next-generation sequencing (NGS), and all complete sequenced genomes were submitted to GISAID; lineages were assigned using pangolin nomenclature and a phylogenetic tree was reconstructed. In addition, the global prevalence of the predominant lineages was analysed using data from GISAID and Outbreak databases. Results: : A total of 15 lineages circulated with B.1.214.2 (26%), B.1.214.1 (19%) and B.1.620 (18%) being predominant. The variants of concern (VOC) alpha (B.1.1.7) (6%) and for the first time in June delta (B.1.617.2) (4%) were observed. In addition, the B.1.214.1 lineage first reported from ROC was observed to be spreading locally and regionally. Phylogenetic analysis suggests that the B.1.620 variant (VUM) under observation may have originated from either Cameroon or the Central African Republic. SARS-CoV-2 lineages were heterogeneous, with the densely populated districts of Poto-Poto and Moungali likely the epicenter of spread. Conclusion: : Longitudinal monitoring and molecular surveillance across time and space are critical to understanding viral phylodynamics, which could have important implications for transmissibility and impact infection prevention and control measures.

2.
Viruses ; 14(6)2022 06 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1884382

ABSTRACT

In this report, we describe a national-scale monitoring of the SARS-CoV-2 (SC-2) variant dynamics in Israel, using multiple-time sampling of 13 wastewater treatment plants. We used a combination of inclusive and selective quantitative PCR assays that specifically identify variants A19/A20 or B.1.1.7 and tested each sample for the presence and relative viral RNA load of each variant. We show that between December 2020 and March 2021, a complete shift in the SC-2 variant circulation was observed, where the B.1.1.7 replaced the A19 in all examined test points. We further show that the normalized viral load (NVL) values and the average new cases per week reached a peak in January 2021 and then decreased gradually in almost all test points, in parallel with the progression of the national vaccination campaign, during February-March 2021. This study demonstrates the importance of monitoring SC-2 variant by using a combination of inclusive and selective PCR tests on a national scale through wastewater sampling, which is far more amendable for high-throughput monitoring compared with sequencing. This approach may be useful for real-time dynamics surveillance of current and future variants, such as the Omicron (BA.1, BA.2) and other variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Israel/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Waste Water
3.
One Health ; 13: 100352, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531692

ABSTRACT

In the frames of a One Health strategy, i.e. a strategy should be able to predict susceptibility to infection in both humans and animals, developing a SARS-CoV-2 mutation tracking system is a goal. We observed that the phylogenetic proximity of vertebrate ACE2 receptors does not affect the binding energy for the viral spike protein. However, all viral variants seem to bind ACE2 better in many animals than in humans. Moreover, two observations highlight that the evolution of the virus started at the beginning of 2020 and culminated with the appearance of the variants. First, codon usage analysis shows that the B.1.1.7 (alpha), B.1.351 (beta) and B.1.617.2 (delta) variants, similar in the use of codons, are also similar to a virus sampled in January 2020. Second, the host-specific D614G mutation becomes prevalent starting from March 2020. Overall, we show that SARS-CoV-2 undergoes a process of molecular evolution that begins with the optimization of codons followed by the functional optimization of the spike protein.

4.
Microorganisms ; 9(9)2021 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1410330

ABSTRACT

Rapid antigen tests (RATs) are an integral part of SARS-CoV-2 containment strategies. As emerging variants of concern (VOCs) displace the initially circulating strains, it is crucial that RATs do not fail to detect these new variants. In this study, four RATs for nasal swab testing were investigated using cultured strains of B.1.1 (non-VOC), B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta). Based on dilution series in cell culture medium and pooled saliva, the limit of detection of these RATs was determined in a laboratory setting. Further investigations on cross-reactivity were conducted using recombinant N-protein from seasonal human coronaviruses (hCoVs). RATs evaluated showed an overall comparable performance with cultured strains of the non-VOC B.1.1 and the VOCs Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta. No cross-reactivity was detected with recombinant N-protein of the hCoV strains HKU1, OC43, NL63, and 229E. A continuous evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 RAT performance is required, especially with regard to evolving mutations. Moreover, cross-reactivity and interference with pathogens and other substances on the test performance of RATs should be consistently investigated to ensure suitability in the context of SARS-CoV-2 containment.

5.
Virol J ; 18(1): 178, 2021 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379795

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of COVID-19 pandemic, has infected more than 179 million people worldwide. Testing of infected individuals is crucial for identification and isolation, thereby preventing further spread of the disease. Presently, Taqman™ Reverse Transcription Real Time PCR is considered gold standard, and is the most common technique used for molecular testing of COVID-19, though it requires sophisticated equipments, expertise and is also relatively expensive. OBJECTIVE: Development and optimization of an alternate molecular testing method for the diagnosis of COVID-19, through a two step Reverse Transcription Loop-mediated isothermal AMPlification (RT-LAMP). RESULTS: Primers for LAMP were carefully designed for discrimination from other closely related human pathogenic coronaviruses. Care was also taken that primer binding sites are present in conserved regions of SARS-CoV2. Our analysis shows that the primer binding sites are well conserved in all the variants of concern (VOC) and variants of interest (VOI), notified by World Health Organization (WHO). These lineages include B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1, B.1.617.2, B.1.427/B.1.429, P.2, B.1.525, P.3, B.1.526 and B.1.617.1. Various DNA polymerases with strand displacement activity were evaluated and conditions were optimized for LAMP amplification and visualization. Different LAMP primer sets were also evaluated using synthetic templates as well as patient samples. CONCLUSION: In a double blind study, the RT-LAMP assay was validated on more than 150 patient samples at two different sites. The RT-LAMP assay appeared to be 89.2% accurate when compared to the Taqman™ rt-RT-PCR assay.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/virology , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques/methods , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , Reverse Transcription , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Sensitivity and Specificity
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