Now showing 1 - 3 of 3
  • Publication
    Genomic epidemiological analysis of SARS-CoV-2 household transmission
    Family clusters have contributed significantly to the onward spread of SARS-CoV-2. However, the dynamics of viral transmission in this setting remain incompletely understood. We describe the clinical and viral-phylogenetic characteristics of a family cluster of SARS-CoV-2 infections with a high attack rate, and explore how whole-genome sequencing (WGS) can inform outbreak investigations in this context. In this cluster, the first symptomatic case was a 22-month-old infant who developed rhinorrhoea and sneezing 2 days prior to attending a family gathering. Subsequently, seven family members in attendance at this event were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infections, including the infant described. WGS revealed indistinguishable SARS-CoV-2 genomes recovered from the adults at the gathering, which were closely related genetically to B.1 lineage viruses circulating in the local community. However, a divergent viral sub-lineage was recovered from the infant and another child, each harbouring a distinguishing spike substitution (N30S). This suggested that the infant was unlikely to be the primary case, despite displaying symptoms first, and additional analysis of her nasopharyngeal swab revealed a picornavirus co-infection to account for her early symptoms. Our findings demonstrate how WGS can elucidate the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infections within household clusters and provide useful information to support outbreak investigations. Additionally, our description of SARS-CoV-2 viral lineages and notable variants circulating in Ireland to date provides an important genomic-epidemiological baseline in the context of vaccine introduction.
  • Publication
    SARS-CoV-2 variant trends in Ireland: Wastewater based epidemiology and clinical surveillance
    SARS-CoV-2 RNA quantification in wastewater is an important tool for monitoring the prevalence of COVID-19 disease on a community scale which complements case-based surveillance systems. As novel variants of concern (VOCs) emerge there is also a need to identify the primary circulating variants in a community, accomplished to date by sequencing clinical samples. Quantifying variants in wastewater offers a cost-effective means to augment these sequencing efforts. In this study, SARS-CoV-2 N1 RNA concentrations and daily loadings were determined and compared to case-based data collected as part of a national surveillance programme to determine the validity of wastewater surveillance to monitor infection spread in the greater Dublin area. Further, sequencing of clinical samples was conducted to determine the primary SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating in Dublin. Finally, digital PCR was employed to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, Alpha and Delta, were quantifiable from wastewater. No lead or lag time was observed between SARS-CoV-2 wastewater and case-based data and SARS-CoV-2 trends in Dublin wastewater significantly correlated with the notification of confirmed cases through case-based surveillance preceding collection with a 5-day average. This demonstrates that viral RNA in Dublin's wastewater mirrors the spread of infection in the community. Clinical sequence data demonstrated that increased COVID-19 cases during Ireland's third wave coincided with the introduction of the Alpha variant, while the fourth wave coincided with increased prevalence of the Delta variant. Interestingly, the Alpha variant was detected in Dublin wastewater prior to the first genome being sequenced from clinical samples, while the Delta variant was identified at the same time in clinical and wastewater samples. This work demonstrates the validity of wastewater surveillance for monitoring SARS-CoV-2 infections and also highlights its effectiveness in identifying circulating variants which may prove useful when sequencing capacity is limited.
      136Scopus© Citations 24
  • Publication
    Plasma EBV microRNAs in paediatric renal transplant recipients
    Background: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was the first human virus identified to express microRNA (miRNA). To date, 44mature miRNAs are encoded for within the EBV genome. EBV miRNAs have not been profiled in paediatric renal transplant recipients. In this study, we investigated circulating EBV miRNA profiles as novel biomarkers in paediatric renal transplant patients. Methods: Forty-two microRNAs encoded within 2 EBV open reading frames (BART and BHRF) were examined in renal transplant recipients who resolved EBV infection (REI) or maintained chronic high viral loads (CHL), and in non-transplant patients with acute infectious mononucleosis (IM). Results: Plasma EBV-miR-BART2-5p was present in higher numbers of IM (7/8) and CHL (7/10) compared to REI (7/12)patients. A trend was observed between the numbers of plasma EBV miRNAs expressed and EBV viral load (p < 0.07).Several EBV-miRs including BART7-3p, 15, 9-3p, 11-3p, 1-3p and 3-3p were detected in IM and CHL patients only. Thelytic EBV-miRs, BHRF1-2-3p and 1-1, indicating active viral replication, were detected in IM patients only. One CHL patient developed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) after several years and analysis of 10 samples over a 30-month period showed an average 24-fold higher change in plasma EBV-miR-BART2-5p compared to the CHL group and 110-fold higher change compared to the REI group.Conclusions Our results suggest that EBV-miR-BART2-5p, which targets the stress-induced immune ligand MICB to escape recognition and elimination by NK cells, may have a role in sustaining high EBV viral loads in CHL paediatric kidney transplant recipients.
      594Scopus© Citations 15