Rapid and Flexible RT-qPCR Surveillance Platforms To Detect SARS-CoV-2 Mutations.
Microbiol Spectr ; 11(1): e0359122, 2023 02 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2193575
ABSTRACTMultiple mutations in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) increase transmission, disease severity, and immune evasion and facilitate zoonotic or anthropozoonotic infections. Four such mutations, ΔH69/V70, L452R, E484K, and N501Y, occurred in the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein in combinations that allow the simultaneous detection of VOCs. Here, we present two flexible reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) platforms for small- and large-scale screening (also known as variant PCR) to detect these mutations and schemes for adapting the platforms to future mutations. The large-scale RT-qPCR platform was validated by pairwise matching of RT-qPCR results with whole-genome sequencing (WGS) consensus genomes, showing high specificity and sensitivity. Both platforms are valuable examples of complementing WGS to support the rapid detection of VOCs. Our mutational signature approach served as an important intervention measure for the Danish public health system to detect and delay the emergence of new VOCs. IMPORTANCE Denmark weathered the SARS-CoV-2 crisis with relatively low rates of infection and death. Intensive testing strategies with the aim of detecting SARS-CoV-2 in symptomatic and nonsymptomatic individuals were available by establishing a national test system called TestCenter Denmark. This testing regime included the detection of SARS-CoV-2 signature mutations, with referral to the national health system, thereby delaying outbreaks of variants of concern. Our study describes the design of the large-scale RT-qPCR platform established at TestCenter Denmark in conjunction with whole-genome sequencing to report mutations of concern to the national health system. Validation of the large-scale RT-qPCR platform using paired WGS consensus genomes showed high sensitivity and specificity. For smaller laboratories with limited infrastructure, we developed a flexible small-scale RT-qPCR platform to detect three signature mutations in a single run. The RT-qPCR platforms are important tools to support the control of the SARS-CoV-2 endemic in Denmark.
Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Main subject: SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 Type of study: Diagnostic study / Prognostic study Topics: Variants Limits: Humans Language: English Journal: Microbiol Spectr Year: 2023 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: Spectrum.03591-22