Reducing False Negatives in COVID-19 Testing by Using Microneedle-Based Oropharyngeal Swabs.
ABSTRACT: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has become a severe threat to human health worldwide. Early etiological diagnosis plays a critical role in controlling COVID-19 pandemic. However, etiological diagnosis has been largely compromised by high "false-negative" rates of viral nucleic acid testing, resulting from limited sampling efficiency using conventional oropharyngeal swabs. Here, we engineer regular swabs by using a microneedle (MN) patch to significantly improve the quality and quantity of virus collection. The combination of MNs with different crosslinking levels endows the patches with dual capability of mucus penetration and virus extraction. Moreover, the antibody (Ab) against viral spike protein was integrated into the patch, conferring MNs with an active virus capture potential. By taking advantage of the biological and engineered species, we believe that the designed MN/Ab swabs could serve as a promising tool to improve current sampling efficiency with fewer false negatives, contributing to the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Project description:The SARS-CoV-2 virus is an etiological agent of pandemic COVID-19, which spreads rapidly worldwide. No proven effective therapies currently exist for this virus, and efforts to develop antiviral strategies for the treatment of COVID-19 are underway. The rapidly increasing understanding of SARS-CoV-2 virology provides a notable number of possible immunological procedures and drug targets. However, gaps remain in our understanding of the pathogenesis of COVID-19. In this review, we describe the latest information in the context of immunological approaches and emerging current antiviral strategies for COVID-19 treatment.
Project description:Microneedle (MN) patches provide a simple method for delivery of drugs that might otherwise require hypodermic injection. Conventional MN patch fabrication methods typically can load only one or possibly multiple miscible agents with the same formulation on all MNs, which limits the combination and spatial distribution of drugs and formulations having different properties (such as solubility) in a single patch. In this study, we coated MNs individually instead of coating all MNs from the same formulation, making possible a patch where each individual MN is coated with different formulations and drugs. In this way, individually coated MN patches co-delivered multiple agents with different physicochemical characteristics (immiscible molecules, proteins, and nanoparticles) and in different spatial patterns in the skin. MN loading was adjusted by modifying the number of coating layers, and co-delivery of multiple agents was demonstrated in the porcine skin. We conclude that individually coating MNs enables co-delivery of multiple different compounds and formulations with needle-by-needle spatial control in the skin.
Project description:Given the global shortage of nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs typically used for respiratory virus detection, alternative collection methods were evaluated during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study showed that a combined oropharyngeal/nares swab is a suitable alternative to NP swabs for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, with sensitivities of 91.7% and 94.4%, respectively.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus- 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), has posed a great public health threat to the global community as a pandemic. The origin of the virus has been linked to animals, through a yet-to-be-identified intermediate host. The disease is transmitted to humans mainly through inhalation or contact with infected droplets. The variable clinical presentation of COVID-19 includes fever, cough, sore throat, breathlessness, fatigue and malaise; however, cutaneous, ocular, neurological, and gastrointestinal manifestations have also been reported. There is an urgent need to strengthen One Health surveillance, intervention, and management strategies to understand the ecology of coronaviruses and to prevent epidemics in the future. Global attention toward the development of treatments, immunotherapies, vaccines, and control options to combat the COVID-19 pandemic has been on an increasing trend. Here, we review the current epidemiological status, public health concerns, and mitigation strategies for COVID-19.
Project description:Highlights • Diagnosis of COVID-19 using 3D printed swabs needs prospective validation.• Two 3D printed designs demonstrate high concordance with traditional flocked swabs.• 3D printed swabs may be appropriate alternatives for diagnosing COVID-19. COVID-19 greatly disrupted the global supply chain of nasopharyngeal swabs, and thus new products have come to market with little data to support their use. In this prospective study, 2 new 3D printed nasopharyngeal swab designs were evaluated against the standard, flocked nasopharyngeal swab for the diagnosis of COVID-19. Seventy adult patients (37 COVID-positive and 33 COVID-negative) underwent consecutive diagnostic reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing, with a flocked swab followed by one or two 3D printed swabs. The “Lattice Swab” (manufacturer Resolution Medical) demonstrated 93.3% sensitivity (95% CI, 77.9%–99.2%) and 96.8% specificity (83.3%–99.9%), yielding ??=?0.90 (0.85–0.96). The “Origin KXG” (manufacturer Origin Laboratories) demonstrated 83.9% sensitivity (66.3%–94.6%) and 100% specificity (88.8%–100.0%), yielding ??=?0.84 (0.77–0.91). Both 3D printed nasopharyngeal swab results have high concordance with the control swab results. The decision to use 3D printed nasopharyngeal swabs during the COVID-19 pandemic should be strongly considered by clinical and research laboratories.
Project description:The ongoing coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), poses a threat to human health. Despite this, many affected countries are now in the process of gradual lifting of COVID-19 restrictions that were initially implemented in response to the pandemic. The success of the so-called "exit strategy" requires continued surveillance of virus circulation in the community and evaluation of the prevalence of protective immunity among population. Serology tests are valuable tools for these purposes. Herein, SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike (S) recombinant protein was utilized to develop and optimize an indirect enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) that enables a reliable detection of virus-specific IgG antibody in human sera. Importantly, the performance of this assay was evaluated utilizing micro-neutralization (MN) assay as a reference test. Our developed ELISA offers 100% sensitivity, 98.4% specificity, 98.8% agreement, and high overall accuracy. Moreover, the optical density (OD) values of positive samples significantly correlated with their MN titers. The assay specifically detects human IgG antibodies directed against SARS-CoV-2, but not those to Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) or human coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1). The availability of this in-house ELISA protocol would be valuable for various diagnostic and epidemiological applications.
Project description:The current COVID-19 pandemic began in December 2019 in Wuhan (China) and rapidly extended to become a global sanitary and economic emergency. Its etiological agent is the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 presents a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations, which ranges from an asymptomatic infection to a severe pneumonia accompanied by multisystemic failure that can lead to a patient's death. The immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is known to involve all the components of the immune system that together appear responsible for viral elimination and recovery from the infection. Nonetheless, such immune responses are implicated in the disease's progression to a more severe and lethal process. This review describes the general aspects of both COVID-19 and its etiological agent SARS-CoV-2, stressing the similarities with other severe coronavirus infections, such as SARS and MERS, but more importantly, pointing toward the evidence supporting the hypothesis that the clinical spectrum of COVID-19 is a consequence of the corresponding variable spectrum of the immune responses to the virus. The critical point where progression of the disease ensues appears to center on loss of the immune regulation between protective and altered responses due to exacerbation of the inflammatory components. Finally, it appears possible to delineate certain major challenges deserving of exhaustive investigation to further understand COVID-19 immunopathogenesis, thus helping to design more effective diagnostic, therapeutic, and prophylactic strategies.
Project description:Introduction: For the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) response, COVID-19 antigen (Ag), and antibody (Ab) rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) are expected to complement central molecular testing particularly in low-resource settings. The present review assesses requirements for implementation of COVID-19 RDTs in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods: Review of PubMed-published articles assessing COVID-19 RDTs complemented with Instructions for Use (IFU) of products. Results: In total 47 articles on two COVID-19 Ag RDTs and 54 COVID-19 Ab RDTs and IFUs of 20 COVID-19 Ab RDTs were retrieved. Only five COVID-19 Ab RDTs (9.3%) were assessed with capillary blood sampling at the point-of-care; none of the studies were conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. Sampling: Challenges for COVID-19 Ag RDTs include nasopharyngeal sampling (technique, biosafety) and sample stability; for COVID-19 Ab RDTs equivalence of whole blood vs. plasma/serum needs further validation (assessed for only eight (14.8%) products). Sensitivity-Specificity: sensitivity of COVID-19 Ag and Ab RDTs depend on viral load (antigen) and timeframe (antibody), respectively; COVID-19 Ab tests have lower sensitivity compared to laboratory test platforms and the kinetics of IgM and IgG are very similar. Reported specificity was high but has not yet been assessed against tropical pathogens. Kit configuration: For COVID-19 Ag RDTs, flocked swabs should be added to the kit; for COVID-19 Ab RDTs, finger prick sampling materials, transfer devices, and controls should be added (currently only supplied in 15, 5, and 1/20 products). Usability and Robustness: some COVID-19 Ab RDTs showed high proportions of faint lines (>40%) or invalid results (>20%). Shortcomings were reported for buffer vials (spills, air bubbles) and their instructions for use. Stability: storage temperature was ? 30°C for all but one RDT, in-use and result stability were maximal at 1 h and 30 min, respectively. Integration in the healthcare setting requires a target product profile, landscape overview of technologies, certified manufacturing capacity, a sustainable market, and a stringent but timely regulation. In-country deployment depends on integration in the national laboratory network. Discussion/Conclusion: Despite these limitations, successful implementation models in triage, contact tracing, and surveillance have been proposed, in particular for COVID-19 Ab RDTs. Valuable experience is available from implementation of other disease-specific RDTs in sub-Saharan Africa.
Project description:Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), emerged in late 2019 and has since become a global pandemic. Pathogen-specific Abs are typically a major predictor of protective immunity, yet human B cell and Ab responses during COVID-19 are not fully understood. In this study, we analyzed Ab-secreting cell and Ab responses in 20 hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The patients exhibited typical symptoms of COVID-19 and presented with reduced lymphocyte numbers and increased T cell and B cell activation. Importantly, we detected an expansion of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein-specific Ab-secreting cells in all 20 COVID-19 patients using a multicolor FluoroSpot Assay. Out of the 20 patients, 16 had developed SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing Abs by the time of inclusion in the study. SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA, IgG, and IgM Ab levels positively correlated with SARS-CoV-2-neutralizing Ab titers, suggesting that SARS-CoV-2-specific Ab levels may reflect the titers of neutralizing Abs in COVID-19 patients during the acute phase of infection. Last, we showed that IL-6 and C-reactive protein serum concentrations were higher in patients who were hospitalized for longer, supporting the recent observations that IL-6 and C-reactive protein could be used as markers for COVID-19 severity. Altogether, this study constitutes a detailed description of clinical and immunological parameters in 20 COVID-19 patients, with a focus on B cell and Ab responses, and describes tools to study immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination.
Project description:The COVID-19 virus has infected more than 38 million people and resulted in more than one million deaths worldwide as of October 14, 2020. By using the logistic regression model, we identified novel critical factors associated with COVID19 cases, death, and case fatality rates in 154 countries and in the 50 U.S. states. Among numerous factors associated with COVID-19 risk, economic inequality enhanced the risk of COVID-19 transmission. The per capita hospital beds correlated negatively with COVID-19 deaths. Blood types B and AB were protective factors for COVID-19 risk, while blood type A was a risk factor. The prevalence of HIV and influenza and pneumonia was associated with reduced COVID-19 risk. Increased intake of vegetables, edible oil, protein, vitamin D, and vitamin K was associated with reduced COVID-19 risk, while increased intake of alcohol was associated with increased COVID-19 risk. Other factors included age, sex, temperature, humidity, social distancing, smoking, health investment, urbanization level, and race. High temperature is a more compelling factor mitigating COVID-19 transmission than low temperature. Our comprehensive identification of the factors affecting COVID-19 transmission and fatality may provide new insights into the COVID-19 pandemic and advise effective strategies for preventing and migrating COVID-19 spread.