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1.
Analyst ; 147(14): 3315-3327, 2022 Jul 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908309

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted routine care for individuals living with HIV, putting them at risk of virologic failure and HIV-associated illness. Often this population is at high risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and once infected, for severe disease. Therefore, close monitoring of HIV plasma viral load (VL) and screening for SARS-CoV-2 infection are needed. We developed a non-proprietary method to isolate RNA from plasma, nasal secretions (NS), or both. The extracted RNA is then submitted to RT-qPCR to estimate the VL and classify HIV/SARS-CoV-2 status (i.e., HIV virologic failure or suppressed; SARS-CoV-2 as positive, presumptive positive, negative, or indeterminate). In contrived samples, the in-house RNA extraction workflow achieved a detection limit of 200-copies per mL for HIV RNA in plasma and 100-copies per mL for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in NS. Similar detection limits were observed for HIV and SARS-CoV-2 in pooled plasma/NS contrived samples. When comparing in-house with standard extraction methods, we found high agreement (>0.91) between input and measured RNA copies for HIV LTR in contrived plasma; SARS-CoV-2 N1/N2 in contrived NS; and LTR, N1, and N2 in pooled plasma/NS samples. We further evaluated this workflow on 133 clinical specimens: 40 plasma specimens (30 HIV-positive), 67 NS specimens (31 SARS-CoV-2-positive), and 26 combined plasma/NS specimens (26 HIV-positive with 10 SARS-CoV-2-positive), and compared the results obtained using the in-house RNA extraction to those using a commercial kit (standard extraction method). The in-house extraction and standard extraction of clinical specimens were positively correlated: plasma HIV VL (R2 of 0.81) and NS SARS-CoV-2 VL (R2 of 0.95 and 0.99 for N1 and N2 genes, respectively); and pooled plasma/NS HIV VL (R2 of 0.71) and SARS-CoV-2 VL (R2 of 1 both for N1 and N2 genes). Our low-cost molecular test workflow ($1.85 per pooled sample extraction) for HIV RNA and SARS-CoV-2 RNA could serve as an alternative to current standard assays ($12 per pooled sample extraction) for laboratories in low-resource settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , COVID-19/diagnosis , HIV Infections/diagnosis , Humans , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Load/methods , Workflow
2.
PLoS One ; 17(5): e0267750, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1841153

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Higher viral loads in SARS-CoV-2 infections may be linked to more rapid spread of emerging variants of concern (VOC). Rapid detection and isolation of cases with highest viral loads, even in pre- or asymptomatic individuals, is essential for the mitigation of community outbreaks. METHODS AND FINDINGS: In this study, we analyze Ct values from 1297 SARS-CoV-2 positive patient saliva samples collected at the Clemson University testing lab in upstate South Carolina. Samples were identified as positive using RT-qPCR, and clade information was determined via whole genome sequencing at nearby commercial labs. We also obtained patient-reported information on symptoms and exposures at the time of testing. The lowest Ct values were observed among those infected with Delta (median: 22.61, IQR: 16.72-28.51), followed by Alpha (23.93, 18.36-28.49), Gamma (24.74, 18.84-30.64), and the more historic clade 20G (25.21, 20.50-29.916). There was a statistically significant difference in Ct value between Delta and all other clades (all p.adj<0.01), as well as between Alpha and 20G (p.adj<0.05). Additionally, pre- or asymptomatic patients (n = 1093) showed the same statistical differences between Delta and all other clades (all p.adj<0.01); however, symptomatic patients (n = 167) did not show any significant differences between clades. Our weekly testing strategy ensures that cases are caught earlier in the infection cycle, often before symptoms are present, reducing this sample size in our population. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 variants Alpha and Delta have substantially higher viral loads in saliva compared to more historic clades. This trend is especially observed in individuals who are pre- or asymptomatic, which provides evidence supporting higher transmissibility and more rapid spread of emerging variants. Understanding the viral load of variants spreading within a community can inform public policy and clinical decision making.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva , Viral Load/methods
3.
J Med Virol ; 94(8): 3625-3633, 2022 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1772792

ABSTRACT

Since early 2021, SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) have been causing epidemic rebounds in many countries. Their properties are well characterized at the epidemiological level but the potential underlying within-host determinants remain poorly understood. We analyze a longitudinal cohort of 6944 individuals with 14 304 cycle threshold (Ct) values of reverse-transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) VOC screening tests performed in the general population and hospitals in France between February 6 and August 21, 2021. To convert Ct values into numbers of virus copies, we performed an additional analysis using droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). We find that the number of viral genome copies reaches a higher peak value and has a slower decay rate in infections caused by Alpha variant compared to that caused by historical lineages. Following the evidence that viral genome copies in upper respiratory tract swabs are informative on contagiousness, we show that the kinetics of the Alpha variant translate into significantly higher transmission potentials, especially in older populations. Finally, comparing infections caused by the Alpha and Delta variants, we find no significant difference in the peak viral copy number. These results highlight that some of the differences between variants may be detected in virus load variations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Humans , Kinetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load/methods
4.
Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis ; 103(2): 115677, 2022 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1748081

ABSTRACT

Accurate detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 is not only necessary for viral load monitoring to optimize treatment in hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 patients, but also critical for deciding whether the patient could be discharged without any risk of viral shedding. Digital droplet PCR (ddPCR) is more sensitive than reverse transcription quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and is usually considered the superior choice. In the current study, we compared the clinical performance of RT-qPCR and ddPCR using oropharyngeal swab samples from patients hospitalized in the temporary Huoshenshan Hospital, Wuhan, Hubei, China. Results demonstrated that ddPCR was indeed more sensitive than RT-qPCR. Negative results might be caused by poor sampling technique or recovered patients, as the range of viral load in these patients varied significantly. In addition, both methods were highly correlated in terms of their ability to detect all three target genes as well as the ratio of copies of viral genes to that of the IC gene. Furthermore, our results evidenced that both methods detected the N gene more easily than the ORF gene. Taken together, these findings imply that the use of ddPCR, as an alternative to RT-qPCR, is necessary for the accurate diagnosis of hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 patients.


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 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Viral Load/methods
5.
Viruses ; 12(6)2020 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1726020

ABSTRACT

Clinical samples collected in coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19), patients are commonly manipulated in biosafety level 2 laboratories for molecular diagnostic purposes. Here, we tested French norm NF-EN-14476+A2 derived from European standard EN-14885 to assess the risk of manipulating infectious viruses prior to RNA extraction. SARS-CoV-2 cell-culture supernatant and nasopharyngeal samples (virus-spiked samples and clinical samples collected in COVID-19 patients) were used to measure the reduction of infectivity after 10 minute contact with lysis buffer containing various detergents and chaotropic agents. A total of thirteen protocols were evaluated. Two commercially available formulations showed the ability to reduce infectivity by at least 6 log 10, whereas others proved less effective.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/drug effects , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Virus Inactivation/drug effects , Animals , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Betacoronavirus/physiology , COVID-19 , Cell Culture Techniques/methods , Chlorocebus aethiops , Containment of Biohazards/methods , Containment of Biohazards/standards , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2 , Specimen Handling/methods , Vero Cells , Viral Load/methods
6.
J Mater Chem B ; 9(47): 9642-9657, 2021 12 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684136

ABSTRACT

Cancer is a growing threat to human beings. Traditional treatments for malignant tumors usually involve invasive means to healthy human tissues, such as surgical treatment and chemotherapy. In recent years the use of specific stimulus-responsive materials in combination with some non-contact, non-invasive stimuli can lead to better efficacy and has become an important area of research. It promises to develop personalized treatment systems for four types of physical stimuli: light, ultrasound, magnetic field, and temperature. Nanomaterials that are responsive to these stimuli can be used to enhance drug delivery, cancer treatment, and tissue engineering. This paper reviews the principles of the stimuli mentioned above, their effects on materials, and how they work with nanomaterials. For this aim, we focus on specific applications in controlled drug release, cancer therapy, tissue engineering, and virus detection, with particular reference to recent photothermal, photodynamic, sonodynamic, magnetothermal, radiation, and other types of therapies. It is instructive for the future development of stimulus-responsive nanomaterials for these aspects.


Subject(s)
Antineoplastic Agents/therapeutic use , Delayed-Action Preparations/therapeutic use , Metal Nanoparticles/therapeutic use , Neoplasms/drug therapy , Radiation-Sensitizing Agents/therapeutic use , Animals , Antineoplastic Agents/chemistry , Antineoplastic Agents/radiation effects , Delayed-Action Preparations/chemistry , Delayed-Action Preparations/radiation effects , Humans , Infrared Rays , Magnetic Phenomena , Metal Nanoparticles/chemistry , Metal Nanoparticles/radiation effects , Radiation-Sensitizing Agents/chemistry , Radiation-Sensitizing Agents/radiation effects , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Temperature , Tissue Engineering/methods , Ultrasonic Waves , Viral Load/methods
7.
Viruses ; 14(2)2022 02 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674823

ABSTRACT

Studies comparing SARS-CoV-2 nasopharyngeal (NP) viral load (VL) according to virus variant and host vaccination status have yielded inconsistent results. We conducted a single center prospective study between July and September 2021 at the drive-through testing center of the Toulouse University Hospital. We compared the NP VL of 3775 patients infected by the Delta (n = 3637) and Alpha (n = 138) variants, respectively. Patient's symptoms and vaccination status (2619 unvaccinated, 636 one dose and 520 two doses) were recorded. SARS-CoV-2 RNA testing and variant screening were assessed by using Thermo Fisher® TaqPath™ COVID-19 and ID solutions® ID™ SARS-CoV-2/VOC evolution Pentaplex assays. Delta SARS-CoV-2 infections were associated with higher VL than Alpha (coef = 0.68; p ≤ 0.01) independently of patient's vaccination status, symptoms, age and sex. This difference was higher for patients diagnosed late after symptom onset (coef = 0.88; p = 0.01) than for those diagnosed early (coef = 0.43; p = 0.03). Infections in vaccinated patients were associated with lower VL (coef = -0.18; p ≤ 0.01) independently of virus variant, symptom, age and sex. Our results suggest that Delta infections could lead to higher VL and for a longer period compared to Alpha infections. By effectively reducing the NP VL, vaccination could allow for limiting viral spread, even with the Delta variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Viral Load/immunology , Viral Load/statistics & numerical data , Adult , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Nasopharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load/methods , Young Adult
8.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262656, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638777

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, requires reliable diagnostic methods to track the circulation of this virus. Following the development of RT-qPCR methods to meet this diagnostic need in January 2020, it became clear from interlaboratory studies that the reported Ct values obtained for the different laboratories showed high variability. Despite this the Ct values were explored as a quantitative cut off to aid clinical decisions based on viral load. Consequently, there was a need to introduce standards to support estimation of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in diagnostic specimens. In a collaborative study, INSTAND established two reference materials (RMs) containing heat-inactivated SARS-CoV-2 with SARS-CoV-2 RNA loads of ~107 copies/mL (RM 1) and ~106 copies/mL (RM 2), respectively. Quantification was performed by RT-qPCR using synthetic SARS-CoV-2 RNA standards and digital PCR. Between November 2020 and February 2021, German laboratories were invited to use the two RMs to anchor their Ct values measured in routine diagnostic specimens, with the Ct values of the two RMs. A total of 305 laboratories in Germany were supplied with RM 1 and RM 2. The laboratories were requested to report their measured Ct values together with details on the PCR method they used to INSTAND. This resultant 1,109 data sets were differentiated by test system and targeted gene region. Our findings demonstrate that an indispensable prerequisite for linking Ct values to SARS-CoV-2 viral loads is that they are treated as being unique to an individual laboratory. For this reason, clinical guidance based on viral loads should not cite Ct values. The RMs described were a suitable tool to determine the specific laboratory Ct for a given viral load. Furthermore, as Ct values can also vary between runs when using the same instrument, such RMs could be used as run controls to ensure reproducibility of the quantitative measurements.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , RNA, Viral/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load/methods , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genes, Viral , Germany/epidemiology , Humans , Reproducibility of Results
9.
PLoS One ; 16(12): e0260884, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1632593

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To exploit the features of digital PCR for implementing SARS-CoV-2 observational studies by reliably including the viral load factor expressed as copies/µL. METHODS: A small cohort of 51 Covid-19 positive samples was assessed by both RT-qPCR and digital PCR assays. A linear regression model was built using a training subset, and its accuracy was assessed in the remaining evaluation subset. The model was then used to convert the stored cycle threshold values of a large dataset of 6208 diagnostic samples into copies/µL of SARS-CoV-2. The calculated viral load was used for a single cohort retrospective study. Finally, the cohort was randomly divided into a training set (n = 3095) and an evaluation set (n = 3113) to establish a logistic regression model for predicting case-fatality and to assess its accuracy. RESULTS: The model for converting the Ct values into copies/µL was suitably accurate. The calculated viral load over time in the cohort of Covid-19 positive samples showed very low viral loads during the summer inter-epidemic waves in Italy. The calculated viral load along with gender and age allowed building a predictive model of case-fatality probability which showed high specificity (99.0%) and low sensitivity (21.7%) at the optimal threshold which varied by modifying the threshold (i.e. 75% sensitivity and 83.7% specificity). Alternative models including categorised cVL or raw cycle thresholds obtained by the same diagnostic method also gave the same performance. CONCLUSION: The modelling of the cycle threshold values using digital PCR had the potential of fostering studies addressing issues regarding Sars-CoV-2; furthermore, it may allow setting up predictive tools capable of early identifying those patients at high risk of case-fatality already at diagnosis, irrespective of the diagnostic RT-qPCR platform in use. Depending upon the epidemiological situation, public health authority policies/aims, the resources available and the thresholds used, adequate sensitivity could be achieved with acceptable low specificity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Genome, Viral , Humans , Logistic Models , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Sensitivity and Specificity , Young Adult
10.
Eur J Med Res ; 26(1): 147, 2021 Dec 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1582004

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The outbreak of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a public health emergency of international concern. Quantitative testing of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) virus is demanded in evaluating the efficacy of antiviral drugs and vaccines and RT-PCR can be widely deployed in the clinical assay of viral loads. Here, we developed a quantitative RT-PCR method for SARS-CoV-2 virus detection in this study. METHODS: RT-PCR kits targeting E (envelope) gene, N (nucleocapsid) gene and RdRP (RNA-dependent RNA polymerase) gene of SARS-CoV-2 from Roche Diagnostics were evaluated and E gene kit was employed for quantitative detection of COVID-19 virus using Cobas Z480. Viral load was calculated according to the standard curve established by series dilution of an E-gene RNA standard provided by Tib-Molbiol (a division of Roche Diagnostics). Assay performance was evaluated. RESULTS: The performance of the assay is acceptable with limit of detection (LOD) below 10E1 copies/µL and lower limit of quantification (LLOQ) as 10E2 copies/µL. CONCLUSION: A quantitative detection of the COVID-19 virus based on RT-PCR was established.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Coronavirus Envelope Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Coronavirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase/genetics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Humans , Limit of Detection , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load/methods
11.
Immun Inflamm Dis ; 10(3): e580, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1568102

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Patients with COVID-19 may present different viral loads levels. However, the relationship between viral load and disease severity in COVID-19 is still unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to systematically review the association between SARS-CoV-2 viral load and COVID-19 severity. METHODS: The relevant studies using the keywords of "COVID-19" and "viral load" were searched in the databases of PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science. A two-step title/abstract screening process was carried out and the eligible studies were included in the study. RESULTS: Thirty-four studies were included from the initial 1015 records. The vast majority of studies have utilized real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction of the nasopharyngeal/respiratory swabs to report viral load. Viral loads were commonly reported either as cycle threshold (Ct ) or log10 RNA copies/ml. CONCLUSION: The results were inconclusive about the relationship between COVID-19 severity and viral load, as a similar number of studies either approved or opposed this hypothesis. However, the studies denote the direct relationship between older age and higher SARS-CoV-2 viral load, which is a known risk factor for COVID-19 mortality. The higher viral load in older patients may serve as a mechanism for any possible relationships between COVID-19 viral load and disease severity. There was a positive correlation between SARS-CoV-2 viral load and its transmissibility. Nonetheless, further studies are recommended to precisely characterize this matter.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged , Humans , Serologic Tests , Severity of Illness Index , Viral Load/methods
12.
J Mol Diagn ; 23(12): 1661-1670, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1540788

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted through airborne particles in exhaled breath, causing severe respiratory disease, coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), in some patients. Samples for SARS-CoV-2 testing are typically collected by nasopharyngeal swab, with the virus detected by PCR; however, patients can test positive for 3 months after infection. Without the capacity to assay SARS-CoV-2 in breath, it is not possible to understand the risk for transmission from infected individuals. To detect virus in breath, the Bubbler-a breathalyzer that reverse-transcribes RNA from SARS-CoV-2 particles into a sample-specific barcoded cDNA-was developed. In a study of 70 hospitalized patients, the Bubbler was both more predictive of lower respiratory tract involvement (abnormal chest X-ray) and less invasive than alternatives. Samples tested using the Bubbler were threefold more enriched for SARS-CoV-2 RNA than were samples from tongue swabs, implying that virus particles were being directly sampled. The barcode-enabled Bubbler was used for simultaneous diagnosis in large batches of pooled samples at a lower limit of detection of 334 genomic copies per sample. Diagnosis by sequencing can provide additional information, such as viral load and strain identity. The Bubbler was configured to sample nucleic acids in water droplets circulating in air, demonstrating its potential in environmental monitoring and the protective effect of adequate ventilation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Diagnostic Tests, Routine/methods , Respiratory System/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Body Fluids/virology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics , Specimen Handling , Viral Load/methods
13.
J Infect Dev Ctries ; 15(10): 1408-1414, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518651

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In this study, we aimed investigate the relationship of SARS-CoV-2 viral load cycle threshold (Ct) values with pneumonia. METHODOLOGY: A total of 158 patients in whom SARS-CoV-2 was confirmed in upper respiratory tract (URT) samples with molecular method and who had computed tomography (CT) of the chest, between April 2020 and June 2020 were included in this retrospective cross-sectional study. RESULTS: Mean age of 158 PCR positive patients was 45.22 ± 17.89 and 60.8% of them were male. Pneumonia was detected in 40.5% of the patients on their chest CT. A weak but significant correlation was found between SARS-CoV-2 Ct value detected with PCR in analysis of oropharyngeal/ nasopharyngeal (OP/NP) samples and chest CT score (Pearson's r: 0.197, p = 0.01). No correlation was found between the first detected viral load Ct value and age, gender and mortality. There was no significant correlation between chest CT score and mortality. While the areas remaining under ROC curve for Ct value in analysis of OP/NP samples in prediction of chest CT score ≥ 1, ≥ 5 and ≥ 10 were 0.564, 0.640 and 0.703 respectively. CONCLUSIONS: We found that the amount of SARS-CoV-2 viral load (inverse relationship with Ct) detected in OP/NP samples of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia did not reflect the increasing severity of pulmonary lesions on chest CT. Although primary target of SARS-CoV-2 is all epithelial cells of the respiratory tract we believe studies comparing viral loads in lower respiratory tract samples are needed to determine the severity of pulmonary disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Viral Load/methods , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Lung/diagnostic imaging , Lung/pathology , Lung/virology , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Oropharynx/diagnostic imaging , Retrospective Studies , Tomography, X-Ray Computed , Young Adult
14.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470995

ABSTRACT

The gold standard for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection has been nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT). However, rapid antigen detection kits (Ag-RDTs), may offer advantages over NAAT in mass screening, generating results in minutes, both as laboratory-based test or point-of-care (POC) use for clinicians, at a lower cost. We assessed two different POC Ag-RDTs in mass screening versus NAAT for SARS-CoV-2 in a cohort of pediatric patients admitted to the Pediatric Emergency Unit of IRCCS-Polyclinic of Sant'Orsola, Bologna (from November 2020 to April 2021). All patients were screened with nasopharyngeal swabs for the detection of SARS-CoV-2-RNA and for antigen tests. Results were obtained from 1146 patients. The COVID-19 Ag FIA kit showed a baseline sensitivity of 53.8% (CI 35.4-71.4%), baseline specificity 99.7% (CI 98.4-100%) and overall accuracy of 80% (95% CI 0.68-0.91); the AFIAS COVID-19 Ag kit, baseline sensitivity of 86.4% (CI 75.0-93.9%), baseline specificity 98.3% (CI 97.1-99.1%) and overall accuracy of 95.3% (95% CI 0.92-0.99). In both tests, some samples showed very low viral load and negative Ag-RDT. This disagreement may reflect the positive inability of Ag-RDTs of detecting antigen in late phase of infection. Among all cases with positive molecular test and negative antigen test, none showed viral loads > 106 copies/mL. Finally, we found one false Ag-RDTs negative result (low cycle thresholds; 9 × 105 copies/mL). Our results suggest that both Ag-RDTs showed good performances in detection of high viral load samples, making it a feasible and effective tool for mass screening in actively infected children.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Viral Load/methods , Antigens, Viral/analysis , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Male , Mass Screening/methods , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Sensitivity and Specificity
15.
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(2): e0108921, 2021 10 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467673

ABSTRACT

Routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 is rare for institutes of higher education due to prohibitive costs and supply chain delays. During spring 2021, we routinely tested all residential students 1 to 2 times per week using pooled, RNA-extraction-free, reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) testing of saliva at a cost of $0.43/sample with same-day results. The limit of detection was 500 copies/ml on individual samples, and analysis indicates 1,000 and 2,500 copies/ml in pools of 5 and 10, respectively, which is orders of magnitude more sensitive than rapid antigen tests. Importantly, saliva testing flagged 83% of semester positives (43,884 tests administered) and was 95.6% concordant with nasopharyngeal diagnostic results (69.0% concordant on the first test when the nucleocapsid gene (N1) cycle threshold (CT) value was >30). Moreover, testing reduced weekly cases by 59.9% in the spring despite far looser restrictions, allowing for more normalcy while eliminating outbreaks. We also coupled our testing with a survey to clarify symptoms and transmissibility among college-age students. While only 8.5% remained asymptomatic throughout, symptoms were disparate and often cold-like (e.g., only 37.3% developed a fever), highlighting the difficulty with relying on symptom monitoring among this demographic. Based on reported symptom progression, we estimate that we removed 348 days of infectious individuals by routine testing. Interestingly, viral load (CT value) at the time of testing did not affect transmissibility (R2 = 0.0085), though those experiencing noticeable symptoms at the time of testing were more likely to spread the virus to close contacts (31.6% versus 14.3%). Together, our findings support routine testing for reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Implementation of cost- and resource-efficient approaches should receive strong consideration in communities that lack herd immunity. IMPORTANCE This study highlights the utility of routine testing for SARS-CoV-2 using pooled saliva while maintaining high sensitivity of detection (under 2,500 copies/ml) and rapid turnaround of high volume (up to 930 samples in 8 h by two technicians and one quantitative PCR [qPCR] machine). This pooled approach allowed us to test all residential students 1 to 2 times per week on our college campus during the spring of 2021 and flagged 83% of our semester positives. Most students were asymptomatic or presented with symptoms mirroring common colds at the time of testing, allowing for removal of infectious individuals before they otherwise would have sought testing. To our knowledge, the total per-sample consumable cost of $0.43 is the lowest to date. With many communities still lagging in vaccination rates, routine testing that is cost-efficient highlights the capacity of the laboratory's role in controlling the spread of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/economics , COVID-19/diagnosis , Cost-Benefit Analysis , Mass Screening/economics , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/economics , Saliva/virology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Coronavirus Nucleocapsid Proteins/genetics , Humans , Illinois , Limit of Detection , Mass Screening/methods , Nasopharynx/virology , Phosphoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Universities , Viral Load/methods
16.
Clin Chim Acta ; 511: 177-180, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1385202

ABSTRACT

To clarify the effect of different respiratory sample types on SARS-CoV-2 detection, we collected throat swabs, nasal swabs and hock-a-loogie saliva or sputum, and compared their detection rates and viral loads. The detection rates of sputum (95.65%, 22/23) and hock-a-loogie saliva (88.09%, 37/42) were significantly higher than those in throat swabs (41.54%, 27/65) and nasal swabs (72.31%, 47/65) (P < 0.001). The Ct Values of sputum, hock-a-loogie saliva and nasal swabs were significantly higher than that in throat swabs, whereas no significant difference was observed between sputum and saliva samples. Hock-a-loogie saliva are reliable sample types that can be used to detect SARS-CoV-2, and worthy of clinical promotion.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/genetics , Polymerase Chain Reaction/standards , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Saliva/virology , Specimen Handling/standards , Adult , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Specimen Handling/methods , Sputum/virology , Viral Load/methods , Viral Load/standards
17.
Nat Immunol ; 22(10): 1306-1315, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366822

ABSTRACT

B.1.351 is the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant most resistant to antibody neutralization. We demonstrate how the dose and number of immunizations influence protection. Nonhuman primates received two doses of 30 or 100 µg of Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine, a single immunization of 30 µg, or no vaccine. Two doses of 100 µg of mRNA-1273 induced 50% inhibitory reciprocal serum dilution neutralizing antibody titers against live SARS-CoV-2 p.Asp614Gly and B.1.351 of 3,300 and 240, respectively. Higher neutralizing responses against B.1.617.2 were also observed after two doses compared to a single dose. After challenge with B.1.351, there was ~4- to 5-log10 reduction of viral subgenomic RNA and low to undetectable replication in bronchoalveolar lavages in the two-dose vaccine groups, with a 1-log10 reduction in nasal swabs in the 100-µg group. These data establish that a two-dose regimen of mRNA-1273 will be critical for providing upper and lower airway protection against major variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Primates/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Male , Mesocricetus , Primates/virology , RNA, Viral/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Vaccination/methods , Vero Cells , Viral Load/methods
18.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 12931, 2021 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279900

ABSTRACT

The aim was to assess the ability of nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 viral load at first patient's hospital evaluation to predict unfavorable outcomes. We conducted a prospective cohort study including 321 adult patients with confirmed COVID-19 through RT-PCR in nasopharyngeal swabs. Quantitative Synthetic SARS-CoV-2 RNA cycle threshold values were used to calculate the viral load in log10 copies/mL. Disease severity at the end of follow up was categorized into mild, moderate, and severe. Primary endpoint was a composite of intensive care unit (ICU) admission and/or death (n = 85, 26.4%). Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed. Nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 viral load over the second quartile (≥ 7.35 log10 copies/mL, p = 0.003) and second tertile (≥ 8.27 log10 copies/mL, p = 0.01) were associated to unfavorable outcome in the unadjusted logistic regression analysis. However, in the final multivariable analysis, viral load was not independently associated with an unfavorable outcome. Five predictors were independently associated with increased odds of ICU admission and/or death: age ≥ 70 years, SpO2, neutrophils > 7.5 × 103/µL, lactate dehydrogenase ≥ 300 U/L, and C-reactive protein ≥ 100 mg/L. In summary, nasopharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 viral load on admission is generally high in patients with COVID-19, regardless of illness severity, but it cannot be used as an independent predictor of unfavorable clinical outcome.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Nasopharynx/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Viral Load/methods , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Admission , Prognosis , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/genetics , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , Risk Factors
19.
Viruses ; 13(6)2021 05 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1256666

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified in Wuhan, China, in late 2019 and is the causative agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) represents the gold standard for diagnostic assays even if it cannot precisely quantify viral RNA copies. Thus, we decided to compare qRT-PCR with digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR), which is able to give an accurate number of RNA copies that can be found in a specimen. However, the aforementioned methods are not capable to discriminate if the detected RNA is infectious or not. For this purpose, it is necessary to perform an endpoint titration on cell cultures, which is largely used in the research field and provides a tissue culture infecting dose per mL (TCID50/mL) value. Both research and diagnostics call for a model that allows the comparison between the results obtained employing different analytical methods. The aim of this study is to define a comparison among two qRT-PCR protocols (one with preliminary RNA extraction and purification and an extraction-free qRT-PCR), a dPCR and a titration on cell cultures. The resulting correlations yield a faithful estimation of the total number of RNA copies and of the infectious viral burden from a Ct value obtained with diagnostic routine tests. All these estimations take into consideration methodological errors linked to the qRT-PCR, dPCR and titration assays.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , RNA, Viral/analysis , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load/methods , Animals , Cells, Cultured , Chlorocebus aethiops , Digital Technology/methods , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vero Cells , Virus Cultivation
20.
J Mol Diagn ; 23(8): 907-919, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1248982

ABSTRACT

Quantitative viral load assays have transformed our understanding of viral diseases. They hold similar potential to advance COVID-19 control and prevention, but SARS-CoV-2 viral load tests are not yet widely available. SARS-CoV-2 molecular diagnostic tests, which typically employ real-time RT-PCR, yield semiquantitative results only. Droplet digital RT-PCR (RT-ddPCR) offers an attractive platform for SARS-CoV-2 RNA quantification. Eight primer/probe sets originally developed for real-time RT-PCR-based SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic tests were evaluated for use in RT-ddPCR; three were identified as the most efficient, precise, and sensitive for RT-ddPCR-based SARS-CoV-2 RNA quantification. For example, the analytical efficiency for the E-Sarbeco primer/probe set was approximately 83%, whereas assay precision, measured as the coefficient of variation, was approximately 2% at 1000 input copies/reaction. Lower limits of quantification and detection for this primer/probe set were 18.6 and 4.4 input SARS-CoV-2 RNA copies/reaction, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 RNA viral loads in a convenience panel of 48 COVID-19-positive diagnostic specimens spanned a 6.2log10 range, confirming substantial viral load variation in vivo. RT-ddPCR-derived SARS-CoV-2 E gene copy numbers were further calibrated against cycle threshold values from a commercial real-time RT-PCR diagnostic platform. This log-linear relationship can be used to mathematically derive SARS-CoV-2 RNA copy numbers from cycle threshold values, allowing the wealth of available diagnostic test data to be harnessed to address foundational questions in SARS-CoV-2 biology.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , RNA, Viral/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Limit of Detection , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load/methods
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