Discovering findings and scientific outputs of the CORONADX project
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Elimination of Carryover Contamination in Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Loop-Mediated Isothermal Amplification for Rapid Detection of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus in Point-of-Care TestingScientific publications — 20 Apr 2022
Loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) is being used as a robust rapid diagnostic tool to prevent the transmission of infectious diseases. However, carryover contamination of LAMP-amplified products originating from previous tests has been a problem in LAMP-based bio-analytical assays. In this study, we developed a Cod-uracil-DNA-glycosylase real-time reverse transcriptase LAMP assay (Cod-UNG-rRT-LAMP) for the elimination of carryover contamination and the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 in point-of-care (POC) testing. Using the Cod-UNG-rRT-LAMP assay, the SARS-CoV-2 virus could be detected as low as 2 copies/µl (8 copies/reaction) within 45 min of amplification and 2.63 ± 0.17 pg (equivalent to 2.296 × 109 copies) of contaminants per reaction could be eliminated. Analysis of clinical SARS-CoV-2 samples using the Cod-UNG-rRT-LAMP assay showed an excellent agreement with a relative accuracy of 98.2%, sensitivity of 97.1%, and specificity of 95.2% in comparison to rRT-PCR. The results obtained in this study clearly demonstrate the feasibility of the use of the Cod-UNG-rRT-LAMP assay for applications toward the POC diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 and on-site testing of other pathogens.
Debunking myths about COVID-19 diagnostic testsLeaflets — 31 Mar 2022
COVID-19 diagnostic testing is an effective tool to measure the spread of the pandemic. But myths about the pandemic and diagnostic tests still circulate, fuelled by a constant flow of information generated by news articles and social media, which have made it difficult for people to separate truth from falsehood. The guide “Unmasking myths about COVID-19 diagnostic tests” debunks some of the most common misconceptions which have circulated during the pandemic. This guide draws on the Facts or Myths? developed within the CORONADX project, which are aiming to transform the more complex jargon into clear, transparent and easy-to-understand messages and recommendations for the general public. The myths featured in the guide focus on the following topics: Does “rapid” mean “less accurate” for coronavirus tests? How useful are rapid COVID-19 tests? Are we able to detect all coronavirus variants? To reach as many people as possible, the guide is available in: English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Swedish, Danish, Portuguese, Greek.
Spike-specific circulating T follicular helper cell and cross-neutralizing antibody responses in COVID-19-convalescent individualsScientific publications — 08 Sep 2021
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and individuals with COVID-19 have symptoms that can be asymptomatic, mild, moderate or severe. In the early phase of infection, T- and B-cell counts are substantially decreased; however, IgM and IgG are detectable within 14 d after symptom onset. In COVID-19-convalescent individuals, spike-specific neutralizing antibodies are variable. No specific drug or vaccine is available for COVID-19 at the time of writing; however, patients benefit from treatment with serum from COVID-19-convalescent individuals. Nevertheless, antibody responses and cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses in COVID-19-convalescent individuals are largely unknown. Here, we show that the majority of COVID-19-convalescent individuals maintained SARS-CoV-2 spike S1- and S2-specific antibodies with neutralizing activity against the SARS-CoV-2 pseudotyped virus, and that some of the antibodies cross-neutralized SARS-CoV, Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus or both pseudotyped viruses.
High seroprevalence of SARS_COV-2 in Bergamo: evidence for herd immunity or reason to be cautious?Scientific publications — 20 Nov 2020
We report 42% Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies’ seroprevalence in one province of Northern Italy and its effect on the second wave. This is one the highest level recorded so far in European seroprevalence studies. We believe this needs to be carefully considered in the context of the current scientific debate about the herd immunity approach to control the COVID-19 outbreak. Italian public health and political authorities have never considered herd immunity to be the solution to counteract the COVID-19 epidemic; however, some recent epidemiological data show how this indirect form of protection might begin to have some relevant effects on the progress of the pandemic in Northern Italian Regions.
COVID-19 in Italy: impact of containment measures and prevalence estimates of infection in the general populationScientific publications — 27 Oct 2020
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy, the Italian Government implemented sev- eral restrictive measures to contain the spread of the infection. Data shows that, among these measures, the lock- down implemented as of 9 March had a positive impact, in particular the central and southern regions of Italy, while other actions appeared to be less effective. When the true prevalence of a disease is unknown, it is possible estimate it, based on mortality data and the assumptive case-fatality rate of the disease. Given these assumptions, the estimated period-prevalence of COVID-19 in Italy varies from 0.35% in Sicily to 13.3% in Lombardy.
Vaccine hesitancy in COVID-19 times. An update from Italy before flu season startsScientific publications — 29 Sep 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and response caused a worrying decline in vaccine uptake around the world. In Italy, the immunization coverage targets set in the 2017-19 National Immunization Prevention Plan (PNPV) have been met only partially. The current public health emergency is likely to have negatively impacted on immunization , with the risk of re-occurrence of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs) outbreaks. As flu season approaches, both National Health Institutions and the scientific community in Italy have taken action. Well in advance as compared to previous years, the Ministry of Health released the Circular to launch the 2020-2021 influenza immunization campaign which this year is longer (starting on October 2020) and extends flu vaccine recommendations to more “at risk” subgroups, offered the vaccine free of charge. In addition, some Italian Regions have recently tried to make flu vaccination compulsory for all Healthcare Workers (HCWs). Since 2017, when the law on childhood vaccination in Italy was passed, compulsory vaccination has proved to be a successful strategy towards coverage increase.
Age-specific COVID-19 case-fatality rate: no evidence of changes over timeScientific publications — 25 Sep 2020
Vaccine hesitancy in COVID-19 times. An update from Italy before flu season startsScientific publications — 08 Sep 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic and response caused a worrying decline in vaccine uptake around the world. In Italy, the immunization coverage targets set in the 2017-19 National Immunization Prevention Plan (PNPV) have been met only partially. The current public health emergency is likely to have negatively impacted on immunization , with the risk of re-occurrence of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPDs) outbreaks. As flu season approaches, both National Health Institutions and the scientific community in Italy have taken action.
Point-of-care devices for pathogen detections: The three most important factors to realise towards commercializationScientific publications — 27 Aug 2020
The development of lab-on-a-chip technology and its applications in biochemical and biomedical analyses has, during the last two decades, led to the potential realisation of portable and on-site detection devices, the so-called point-of-care (PoC) detection systems. These are essentially cheap, easy-to-handle systems, offering rapid sample-to-answer results to non-technical operators. In this perspective, we do not review all the current advances of Lab-on-a-chip techniques for the realisation of PoC. Instead, we aim to provide insight into what we foresee as the three most important factors to play the essential roles for succeeding in making commercially viable PoC pathogen-detection devices. The three insights are namely: the utilizations of (i) disposable polymer (microfluidic) chips, (ii) the implementation of surface-bound (or solid-phase) nucleic-acid amplification techniques and (iii) relying (more) on open-source hardware and software.
The spread of COVID-19 in six western metropolitan regionsScientific publications — 12 Apr 2020
Analysis of the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic in 6 metropolitan regions with similar demographic characteristics, daytime commuting population and business activities: the New York metropolitan area, the Île-de-France region, the Greater London county, Bruxelles-Capital, the Community of Madrid and the Lombardy region. The highest mortality rates 30-days after the onset of the epidemic were recorded in New York (81.2 x 100,000) and Madrid (77.1 x 100,000). Lombardy mortality rate is below average (41.4 per 100,000), and it is the only situation in which the capital of the region (Milan) has not been heavily impacted by the epidemic wave. The study analyzed the role played by containment measures and the positive contribution offered by the hospital care system.
2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19): Paving the Road for Rapid Detection and Point-of-Care DiagnosticsScientific publications — 14 Mar 2020
We believe a point-of-care (PoC) device for the rapid detection of the 2019 novel Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is crucial and urgently needed. With this perspective, we give suggestions regarding a potential candidate for the rapid detection of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), as well as factors for the preparedness and response to the outbreak of the COVID-19.