(searched for: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0251296)
Experimental Biology and Medicine; https://doi.org/10.1177/15353702221090181
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus affecting the world population. Early detection has become one of the most successful strategies to alleviate the epidemic and pandemic of this contagious coronavirus. Surveillance testing programs have been initiated in many countries worldwide to prevent the outbreak of COVID-19. In this study, we demonstrated that our previously established clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Cas12a-based assay could detect variants of concern during 2021 in Thailand, including Alpha, Beta, and Delta strains as well as Omicron strain in early 2022. In combination with the newly designed saliva collection funnel, we established a safe, simple, economical, and efficient self-collection protocol for the COVID-19 screening process. We successfully utilized the assay in an active case finding with a total number of 578 asymptomatic participants to detect the SARS-CoV-2 in saliva samples. We finally demonstrated that the validation and evaluation in a large-scale setting could provide valuable information and elaborate the practicality of the test in real-world settings. Our optimized protocol yielded effective results with high sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy (96.86%). In addition, this study demonstrates COVID-19 active case findings in low-resource settings, which would be feasible and attractive for surveillance and outbreak prevention in the future.
Patient Preference and Adherence, pp 625-631; https://doi.org/10.2147/ppa.s349742
Current public health debate centers on COVID-19 testing methods and strategies. In some communities, high transmission risk may justify routine testing, and this requires test methods that are safe and efficient for both patients and the administrative or health-care workers administering them. Saliva testing appears to satisfy those criteria. There is, however, little documentation on the acceptability of this method among beneficiaries. This article presents the lessons learned from a pilot study on the use of saliva testing for routine screening of nursing home and secondary school personnel in Wallonia (the French-speaking part of Belgium), conducted in December 2020 to April 2021, respectively. Administrators at the facilities in question seemed to think highly of saliva testing and wished to continue it after the pilot study was over. This result reinforces the criteria (the noninvasive aspect, in particular) supporting a key role for saliva testing in monitoring community spread of the virus. Nevertheless, wider-scale deployment of this particular method will only be possible if the testing strategy as a whole takes a health promotion approach.
Journal of Medical Virology, Volume 94, pp 2471-2478; https://doi.org/10.1002/jmv.27660
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PLoS ONE, Volume 16; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0261230
The systematic screening of asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals is a powerful tool for controlling community transmission of infectious disease on college campuses. Faced with a paucity of testing in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities developed molecular diagnostic laboratories focused on SARS-CoV-2 diagnostic testing on campus and in their broader communities. We established the UC Santa Cruz Molecular Diagnostic Lab in early April 2020 and began testing clinical samples just five weeks later. Using a clinically-validated laboratory developed test (LDT) that avoided supply chain constraints, an automated sample pooling and processing workflow, and a custom laboratory information management system (LIMS), we expanded testing from a handful of clinical samples per day to thousands per day with the testing capacity to screen our entire campus population twice per week. In this report we describe the technical, logistical, and regulatory processes that enabled our pop-up lab to scale testing and reporting capacity to thousands of tests per day.