Development of two TaqMan real-time reverse transcription-PCR assays for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2.
ABSTRACT: The outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, was caused by a novel coronavirus (CoV), named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The rapid detection of viral nucleic acids is critical for the early identification of infected cases. We have developed two TaqMan real-time reverse transcription-PCR assays to detect SARS-CoV-2. The designed primers target the nucleocapsid (N) and open reading frame (ORF) 1b gene regions, where the probes discriminate SARS-CoV-2 from other human and animal CoVs. The sensitivities are one genomic copy per reaction for the N gene assay and ten copies for the ORF 1b gene assay. The overall linear detection ranges are 1-106 and 10-106 copies per reaction for the N gene assay and the ORF 1b gene assay, respectively. Surveillance of 23 suspected COVID-19 patients demonstrated that SARS-CoV-2 could be detected from 100% (23/23) and 62.5% (16/23) of clinical specimens by the N gene assay and the ORF 1b gene assay, respectively. All of the samples not detected by the ORF 1b gene assay were throat swabs, indicating a lower viral load in the upper respiratory tract and the relatively lower sensitivity of the ORF 1b gene assay. The assays developed in the present study offer alternative diagnostic tests for COVID-19.
Project description:BACKGROUND:A novel coronavirus (CoV) was recently identified as the agent for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). We compared the abilities of conventional and real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assays to detect SARS CoV in clinical specimens. METHODS:RNA samples isolated from nasopharyngeal aspirate (NPA; n = 170) and stool (n = 44) were reverse-transcribed and tested by our in-house conventional RT-PCR assay. We selected 98 NPA and 37 stool samples collected at different times after the onset of disease and tested them in a real-time quantitative RT-PCR specific for the open reading frame (ORF) 1b region of SARS CoV. Detection rates for the conventional and real-time quantitative RT-PCR assays were compared. To investigate the nature of viral RNA molecules in these clinical samples, we determined copy numbers of ORF 1b and nucleocapsid (N) gene sequences of SARS CoV. RESULTS:The quantitative real-time RT-PCR assay was more sensitive than the conventional RT-PCR assay for detecting SARS CoV in samples collected early in the course of the disease. Real-time assays targeted at the ORF 1b region and the N gene revealed that copy numbers of ORF 1b and N gene sequences in clinical samples were similar. CONCLUSIONS:NPA and stool samples can be used for early diagnosis of SARS. The real-time quantitative RT-PCR assay for SARS CoV is potentially useful for early detection of SARS CoV. Our results suggest that genomic RNA is the predominant viral RNA species in clinical samples.
Project description:Quick and accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 is critical for COVID-19 control. Dozens of real-time reverse transcription PCR (qRT-PCR) assays have been developed to meet the urgent need of COVID-19 control. However, methodological comparisons among the developed qRT-PCR assays are limited. In the present study, we evaluated the sensitivity, specificity, amplification efficiency, and linear detection ranges of three qRT-PCR assays, including the assays developed by our group (IPBCAMS), and the assays recommended by WHO and China CDC (CCDC). The three qRT-PCR assays exhibited similar sensitivities, with the limit of detection (LoD) at about 10 copies per reaction (except the ORF 1b gene assay in CCDC assays with a LoD at about 100 copies per reaction). No cross reaction with other respiratory viruses were observed in all of the three qRT-PCR assays. Wide linear detection ranges from 10<sup>6</sup> to 10<sup>1</sup> copies per reaction and acceptable reproducibility were obtained. By using 25 clinical specimens, the N gene assay of IPBCAMS assays and CCDC assays performed better (with detection rates of 92 % and 100 %, respectively) than that of the WHO assays (with a detection rate of 60 %), and the ORF 1b gene assay in IPBCAMS assays performed better (with a detection rate of 64 %) than those of the WHO assays and the CCDC assays (with detection rates of 48 % and 20 %, respectively). In conclusion, the N gene assays of CCDC assays and IPBCAMS assays and the ORF 1b gene assay of IPBCAMS assays were recommended for qRT-PCR screening of SARS-CoV-2.
Project description:We verified the analytical performance characteristics of a previously described real-time reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay targeting the open reading frame (ORF) 1b region of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) with RNA transcripts. We then compared it to a novel nucleocapsid gene real-time RT-PCR assay with genomic RNA. The assays differed only in the primer and probe sequences and final concentrations. A commercially available armored RNA (Ambion, Austin, Tex.) was evaluated as positive control for the ORF 1b assay. The analytical sensitivity, reproducibility, amplification efficiency, and dynamic range of the assays were similar. Both were specific for SARS-CoV as determined by testing against human CoV 229E and OC43, specimens from patients without SARS, and by BLAST searches of GenBank for primer and probe sequence homology. The armored RNA was found to be a suitable positive control for the ORF 1b assay that could be reliably recovered and amplified from a variety of clinical specimens.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is the etiological agent of SARS. It is believed that SARS-CoV originates from wild animals. We have developed a multitarget real-time Taqman reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) assay for the quantitative detection of SARS-CoV. The sequences of the Taqman probes with a minor groove binder and the corresponding primers were based on the sequences of the N gene, open reading frame (ORF) 3, and ORF 8. The overall linear range of this assay was from at least 10(1) to 10(6) copies per reaction, and the detection limit could reach less than 10 copies per reaction. The quantification results for SARS-CoV from cell culture correlated well with those of the RT-PCR by using any two of the three sets of primer and probe used in this assay. However, the results of quantification of SARS-CoV obtained by using a few available throat swab specimens from SARS patients and the N gene as the target were almost 10 times higher than those obtained by using ORF 3 and ORF 8. Using this assay, we also detected an apparently SARS-CoV-related coronavirus in the throat swab specimens from masked palm civets in the west part of Hubei Province, People's Republic of China.
Project description:Obesity, characterized by chronic low-grade inflammation of the adipose tissue, is associated with adverse coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outcomes, yet the underlying mechanism is unknown. To explore whether severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection of adipose tissue contributes to pathogenesis, we evaluated COVID-19 autopsy cases and deeply profiled the response of adipose tissue to SARS-CoV-2 infection in vitro. Overall design: SAT SVC and VAT SVC were isolated from 3 participants, exposed to either SARS-CoV-2 or mock conditions in vitro for 24 hours and analyzed using scRNAseq.
Project description:Starting around December 2019, an epidemic of pneumonia, which was named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, broke out in Wuhan, China, and is spreading throughout the world. A new coronavirus, named severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) by the Coronavirus Study Group of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses was soon found to be the cause. At present, the sensitivity of clinical nucleic acid detection is limited, and it is still unclear whether it is related to genetic variation. In this study, we retrieved 95 full-length genomic sequences of SARAS-CoV-2 strains from the National Center for Biotechnology Information and GISAID databases, established the reference sequence by conducting multiple sequence alignment and phylogenetic analyses, and analyzed sequence variations along the SARS-CoV-2 genome. The homology among all viral strains was generally high, among them, 99.99% (99.91%-100%) at the nucleotide level and 99.99% (99.79%-100%) at the amino acid level. Although overall variation in open-reading frame (ORF) regions is low, 13 variation sites in 1a, 1b, S, 3a, M, 8, and N regions were identified, among which positions nt28144 in ORF 8 and nt8782 in ORF 1a showed mutation rate of 30.53% (29/95) and 29.47% (28/95), respectively. These findings suggested that there may be selective mutations in SARS-COV-2, and it is necessary to avoid certain regions when designing primers and probes. Establishment of the reference sequence for SARS-CoV-2 could benefit not only biological study of this virus but also diagnosis, clinical monitoring and intervention of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the future.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Accurate detection of SARS-CoV-2 using molecular assays is critical for patient management and the control of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is an increasing number of SARS-CoV-2 viruses with mutations at the primer or probe binding sites, and these mutations may affect the sensitivity of currently available real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assays targeting the nucleocapsid (N), envelope (E), and open reading frame 1a or 1b genes. Using sequence-independent single-primer amplification and nanopore whole-genome sequencing, we have found that the nonstructural protein 1 (nsp1) gene, located at the 5' end of the SARS-CoV-2 genome, was highly expressed in the nasopharyngeal or saliva specimens of 9 COVID-19 patients of different clinical severity. Based on this finding, we have developed a novel nsp1 real-time RT-PCR assay. The primers and probes are highly specific for SARS-CoV-2. Validation with 101 clinical specimens showed that our nsp1 RT-PCR assay has a sensitivity of 93.1% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 86.2%-97.2%), which was similar to those of N and E gene RT-PCR assays. The diagnostic specificity was 100% (95% CI: 92.9%-100%). The addition of nsp1 for multitarget detection of SARS-CoV-2 can avoid false-negative results due to mutations at the primers/probes binding sites of currently available RT-PCR assays.
Project description:The purpose of this study is to monitor specific anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (anti-SARS-CoV-2) IgG and IgM antibody production in patients with severe forms of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) using various commercially available quantitative and qualitative tests. The sera of 23 confirmed COVID-19 patients were processed for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM detection. Three different immunoassays, viz. Abbott Architect<sup>®</sup> SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay, and two quantitative tests, ANSH<sup>®</sup> SARS-CoV-2 and AESKULISA<sup>®</sup> SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid Protein (NP), were performed and the results pooled, from diagnosis to serum collection. Seroconversion rates were computed for all 3 assays, and possible correlations were tested using the Pearson correlation coefficient and Cohen's kappa coefficient. Overall, 70 combinations of qualitative and quantitative IgG and IgM results were pooled and analyzed. In the early phase (0-4 days after diagnosis), in all tests, IgG seroconversion rates were 43%-61%, and increased in all tests gradually to 100% after 15 days. The Pearson correlation coefficient showed a strong positive relationship between the qualitative IgG test results and both quantitative IgG tests. IgM detection was inconsistent, with maximal concentrations and seroconversion rates between 10-15 days after diagnosis and slight-to-fair agreement between the two quantitative immunoassays. There was no significant association between mortality with IgG or IgM seroconversion or concentrations. Patients with severe COVID-19 develop an early, robust anti-SARS-CoV-2 specific humoral immune response involving IgG immunoglobulins. Further comparative studies are warranted to analyze the value of serological testing in predicting the severity of COVID-19 and detecting prior exposure.
Project description:The pandemic 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) shares certain clinical characteristics with other acute viral infections. We studied the whole-blood transcriptomic host response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) using RNAseq from 24 healthy controls and 62 prospectively enrolled patients with COVID-19. We then compared these data to non-COVID-19 viral infections, curated from 23 independent studies profiling 1,855 blood samples covering six viruses (influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), human rhinovirus (HRV), severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1), Ebola, dengue). We show gene expression changes in COVID-19 versus non-COVID-19 viral infections are highly correlated (r = 0.74, p < 0.001). However, we also found 416 genes specific to COVID-19. Inspection of top genes revealed dynamic immune evasion and counter host responses specific to COVID-19. Statistical deconvolution of cell proportions maps many cell type proportions concordantly shifting. Discordantly increased in COVID-19 were CD56<sup>bright</sup> natural killer cells and M2 macrophages. The concordant and discordant responses mapped out here provide a window to explore the pathophysiology of the host response to SARS-CoV-2.
Project description:Acute kidney injury (AKI) is one of the most prevalent complications among hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients. Here, we aim to investigate the causes, risk factors, and outcomes of AKI in COVID-19 patients. We found that angiotensin-converting enzyme II (ACE2) and transmembrane protease serine 2 (TMPRSS2) were mainly expressed by different cell types in the human kidney. However, in autopsy kidney samples, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) nucleoprotein was detected in ACE2<sup>+</sup> or TMPRSS2<sup>+</sup> renal tubular cells, whereas the RNAscope<sup>®</sup> Assay targeting the SARS-CoV-2 Spike gene was positive mainly in the distal tubular cells and seldom in the proximal tubular cells. In addition, the TMPRSS2 and kidney injury marker protein levels were significantly higher in the SARS-CoV-2-infected renal distal tubular cells, indicating that SARS-CoV-2-mediated AKI mainly occurred in the renal distal tubular cells. Subsequently, a cohort analysis of 722 patients with COVID-19 demonstrated that AKI was significantly related to more serious disease stages and poor prognosis of COVID-19 patients. The progressive increase of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) level during the course of COVID-19 suggests that the patient's condition is aggravated. These results will greatly increase the current understanding of SARS-CoV-2 infection.