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Jade Daigle ◽  
Kathleen Racher ◽  
Justin Hazenberg ◽  
Allan Yeoman ◽  
Heather Hannah ◽  

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, wastewater surveillance has been used to monitor trends in SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in the community. A major challenge in establishing wastewater surveillance programs, especially in remote areas, is the need for a well-equipped laboratory for sample analysis. Currently, no options exist for rapid, sensitive, mobile, and easy-to-use wastewater tests for SARS-CoV-2. The performance of the GeneXpert System, which offers cartridge-based, rapid molecular clinical testing for SARS-CoV-2 in a portable platform, was evaluated using wastewater as the input. The GeneXpert demonstrated a SARS-CoV-2 limit of detection in wastewater below 32 copies/mL with a sample processing time of less than an hour. Using wastewater samples collected from multiple sites across Canada during February and March 2021, a high overall agreement (97.8%) was observed between the GeneXpert assay and laboratory-developed tests regarding the presence or absence of SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, with the use of centrifugal filters the detection threshold of the GeneXpert system was improved to <10 copies/mL in wastewater. Finally, to support on-site wastewater surveillance, GeneXpert testing was implemented in Yellowknife, a remote community in Northern Canada where its use successfully alerted public health authorities to undetected transmission of COVID-19. The identification of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater triggered clinical testing of recent travelers and identification of new COVID-19 cases/clusters. Taken together, these results suggest the GeneXpert is a viable option for surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in wastewater in locations that do not have access to established testing laboratories. Importance: Wastewater-based surveillance is a powerful tool that provides an unbiased measure of COVID-19 prevalence in a community. This work describes a sensitive wastewater rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 based on a widely distributed technology, the GeneXpert. The advantages of an easy-to-use wastewater test for SARS-CoV-2 are clear – it supports surveillance in remote communities, improves access to testing, and provides faster results allowing for an immediate public health response. The application of wastewater rapid testing in a remote community facilitated the detection of a COVID-19 cluster and triggered public health action, clearly demonstrating the utility of this technology. Wastewater surveillance will become increasingly important in the post-vaccination pandemic landscape as individuals with asymptomatic/mild infections continue transmitting SARS-CoV-2 but are unlikely to be tested.

2022 ◽  
Denisa Bojkova ◽  
Marek Widera ◽  
Sandra Ciesek ◽  
Mark N Wass ◽  
Martin Michaelis ◽  

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant is currently causing a large number of infections in many countries. A number of antiviral agents are approved or in clinical testing for the treatment of COVID-19. Despite the high number of mutations in the Omicron variant, we here show that Omicron isolates display similar sensitivity to eight of the most important anti-SARS-CoV-2 drugs and drug candidates (including remdesivir, molnupiravir, and PF-07321332, the active compound in paxlovid), which is of timely relevance for the treatment of the increasing number of Omicron patients. Most importantly, we also found that the Omicron variant displays a reduced capability of antagonising the host cell interferon response. This provides a potential mechanistic explanation for the clinically observed reduced pathogenicity of Omicron variant viruses compared to Delta variant viruses.

2022 ◽  
Vol 136 (1) ◽  
pp. 282-286

This article describes the efforts of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices to facilitate early clinical testing of potentially beneficial neurological devices in the US. Over the past 5 years, the FDA has made significant advances to this aim by developing early feasibility study best practices and encouraging developers and innovators to initiate their clinical studies in the US. The FDA uses several regulatory approaches to help start neurological device clinical studies, such as early engagement with sponsors and developers, in-depth interaction during the FDA review phase of a regulatory submission, and provision of an FDA toolkit that reviewers can apply to the most challenging submissions.

2022 ◽  
pp. 118070
Amy Xiao ◽  
Fuqing Wu ◽  
Mary Bushman ◽  
Jianbo Zhang ◽  
Maxim Imakaev ◽  

2022 ◽  
Vol 196 ◽  
pp. 113689
Yong Ju ◽  
Jaemin Kim ◽  
Yeonkyung Park ◽  
Chang Yeol Lee ◽  
Kyungnam Kim ◽  

2021 ◽  
Smruthi Karthikeyan ◽  
Joshua I Levy ◽  
Peter De Hoff ◽  
Greg Humphrey ◽  
Amanda Birmingham ◽  

As SARS-CoV-2 becomes an endemic pathogen, detecting emerging variants early is critical for public health interventions. Inferring lineage prevalence by clinical testing is infeasible at scale, especially in areas with limited resources, participation, or testing/sequencing capacity, which can also introduce biases. SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration in wastewater successfully tracks regional infection dynamics and provides less biased abundance estimates than clinical testing. Tracking virus genomic sequences in wastewater would improve community prevalence estimates and detect emerging variants. However, two factors limit wastewater-based genomic surveillance: low-quality sequence data and inability to estimate relative lineage abundance in mixed samples. Here, we resolve these critical issues to perform a high-resolution, 295-day wastewater and clinical sequencing effort, in the controlled environment of a large university campus and the broader context of the surrounding county. We develop and deploy improved virus concentration protocols and deconvolution software that fully resolve multiple virus strains from wastewater. We detect emerging variants of concern up to 14 days earlier in wastewater samples, and identify multiple instances of virus spread not captured by clinical genomic surveillance. Our study provides a scalable solution for wastewater genomic surveillance that allows early detection of SARS-CoV-2 variants and identification of cryptic transmission.

2021 ◽  
Jianhong Hu ◽  
Viktoriya Korchina ◽  
Hana Zouk ◽  
Maegan V. Harden ◽  
David Murdock ◽  

Background: Next generation DNA sequencing (NGS) has been rapidly adopted by clinical testing laboratories for detection of germline and somatic genetic variants. The complexity of sample processing in a clinical DNA sequencing laboratory creates multiple opportunities for sample identification errors, demanding stringent quality control procedures. Methods: We utilized DNA genotyping via a 96-SNP PCR panel applied at sample acquisition in comparison to the final sequence, for tracking of sample identity throughout the sequencing pipeline. The 96-SNP PCR panel's inclusion of sex SNPs also provides a mechanism for a genotype-based comparison to recorded sex at sample collection for identification. This approach was implemented in the clinical genomic testing pathways, in the multi-center Electronic Medical Records and Genomics (eMERGE) Phase III program. Results: We identified 110 inconsistencies from 25,015 (0.44%) clinical samples, when comparing the 96-SNP PCR panel data to the test requisition-provided sex. The 96-SNP PCR panel genetic sex predictions were confirmed using additional SNP sites in the sequencing data or high-density hybridization-based genotyping arrays. Results identified clerical errors, samples from transgender participants and stem cell or bone marrow transplant patients and undetermined sample mix-ups. Conclusion: The 96-SNP PCR panel provides a cost-effective, robust tool for tracking samples within DNA sequencing laboratories, while the ability to predict sex from genotyping data provides an additional quality control measure for all procedures, beginning with sample collections. While not sufficient to detect all sample mix-ups, the inclusion of genetic versus reported sex matching can give estimates of the rate of errors in sample collection systems.

2021 ◽  
Nicole L Welch ◽  
Meilin Zhu ◽  
Catherine Hau ◽  
Juliane Weller ◽  
Marzieh Ezzaty Mirhashemi ◽  

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated a clear need for high-throughput, multiplexed, and sensitive assays for detecting SARS-CoV-2 and other respiratory viruses as well as their emerging variants. Here, we present microfluidic CARMEN (mCARMEN), a cost-effective virus and variant detection platform that combines CRISPR-based diagnostics and microfluidics with a streamlined workflow for clinical use. We developed the mCARMEN respiratory virus panel (RVP) and demonstrated its diagnostic-grade performance on 533 patient specimens in an academic setting and then 166 specimens in a clinical setting. We further developed a panel to distinguish 6 SARS-CoV-2 variant lineages, including Delta and Omicron, and evaluated it on 106 patient specimens, with near-perfect concordance to sequencing-based variant classification. Lastly, we implemented a combined Cas13 and Cas12 approach that enables quantitative measurement of viral copies in samples. mCARMEN enables high-throughput surveillance of multiple viruses and variants simultaneously.

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