All Publications

  • Challenges in Harnessing Shared Within-Host Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Variation for Transmission Inference. Open forum infectious diseases Walter, K. S., Kim, E., Verma, R., Altamirano, J., Leary, S., Carrington, Y. J., Jagannathan, P., Singh, U., Holubar, M., Subramanian, A., Khosla, C., Maldonado, Y., Andrews, J. R. 2023; 10 (2): ofad001


    The limited variation observed among severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) consensus sequences makes it difficult to reconstruct transmission linkages in outbreak settings. Previous studies have recovered variation within individual SARS-CoV-2 infections but have not yet measured the informativeness of within-host variation for transmission inference.We performed tiled amplicon sequencing on 307 SARS-CoV-2 samples, including 130 samples from 32 individuals in 14 households and 47 longitudinally sampled individuals, from 4 prospective studies with household membership data, a proxy for transmission linkage.Consensus sequences from households had limited diversity (mean pairwise distance, 3.06 single-nucleotide polymorphisms [SNPs]; range, 0-40). Most (83.1%, 255 of 307) samples harbored at least 1 intrahost single-nucleotide variant ([iSNV] median, 117; interquartile range [IQR], 17-208), above a minor allele frequency threshold of 0.2%. Pairs in the same household shared significantly more iSNVs (mean, 1.20 iSNVs; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.39) than did pairs in different households infected with the same viral clade (mean, 0.31 iSNVs; 95% CI, .28-.34), a signal that decreases with increasingly stringent minor allele frequency thresholds. The number of shared iSNVs was significantly associated with an increased odds of household membership (adjusted odds ratio, 1.35; 95% CI, 1.23-1.49). However, the poor concordance of iSNVs detected across sequencing replicates (24.8% and 35.0% above a 0.2% and 1% threshold) confirms technical concerns that current sequencing and bioinformatic workflows do not consistently recover low-frequency within-host variants.Shared within-host variation may augment the information in consensus sequences for predicting transmission linkages. Improving sensitivity and specificity of within-host variant identification will improve the informativeness of within-host variation.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/ofid/ofad001

    View details for PubMedID 36751652

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC9898879

  • Feasibility of Specimen Self-collection in Young Children Undergoing SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance for In-Person Learning JAMA Network Open Altamirano, J. 2022
  • COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing For All - Using Non-Dilutive Saliva Sample Collection, Stabilization and Ambient Transport Devices. medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences Carrington, Y., Orlino, J., Romero, A., Gustin, J., Rezaei, M., Greene, E., Rose, S., Aiyer, R. A., Nasarabadi, S. 2021


    COVID-19 testing is not accessible for millions during this pandemic despite our best efforts. Without greatly expanded testing of asymptomatic individuals, contact tracing and subsequent isolation of spreaders remains as a means for control. In an effort to increase RT-PCR assay testing for the presence of the novel beta-coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 as well as improve sample collection safety, GenTegra LLC has introduced two products for saliva collection and viral RNA stabilization: GTR-STM™ (GenTegra Saliva Transport Medium) and GTR-STMdk™ (GenTegra Saliva Transport Medium Direct to PCR). Both products contain a proprietary formulation based on GenTegra's novel "Active Chemical Protection™" (ACP) technology that gives non-dilutive, error-free saliva sample collection using RNA stabilization chemicals already dried in the collection tube. GTR-STM can be used for safer saliva-based sample collection at home (or at a test site). Following saliva collection, the sample-containing GTR-STM can be kept at ambient temperature during shipment to an authorized CLIA lab for analysis. SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA in GTR-STM is stable for over a month at ambient temperature, easily surviving the longest transit times from home to lab. GTR-STM enhances patient comfort, convenience, compliance and reduces infectious virus exposure to essential medical and lab professionals. Alternatively, the GTR-STMdk direct-into-PCR product can be used to improve lab throughput and reduce reagent costs for saliva sample collection and testing at any lab site with access to refrigeration. GTR-STMdk reduces lab process time by 25% and reagent costs by 30% compared to other approaches. Since GTR-STMdk retains SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA stability for three days at ambient temperature, it is optimized for lab test site rather than at home saliva collection. SARS-COV-2 viral RNA levels as low as 0.4 genome equivalents/uL are detected in saliva samples using GTR-STMdk. The increased sensitivity of SARS-CoV-2 detection can expand COVID-19 testing to include asymptomatic individuals using pooled saliva.GTR-STM and Direct-into-PCR GTR-STMdk offer substantive improvements in SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA stability, safety, and RT-PCR process efficiency for COVID-19 testing by using a non-dilutive saliva sample collection system for individuals at home or onsite respectively.

    View details for DOI 10.1101/2021.01.20.20243782

    View details for PubMedID 33532800

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7852251