PANDEMIC DEFENSE COALITION STUDIES

2023 STUDIES

LAST UPDATED DATE: SEP 12, 2023

ANTIBODY TESTS CAN DETECT IMMUNE RESPONSES TO OMICRON

Detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies after confirmed Omicron BA.1 and presumed BA.4/5 infections using Abbott ARCHITECT and Panbio assays

As more COVID variants evolve, it is important to determine whether tests can still detect antibody responses after infections with new variants. In this study, we detected an increase in antibody levels after Omicron BA.1/2 or BA.4/5 infection amongst a group of vaccinated healthcare workers in the US with the ARCHITECT AdviseDx SARS-CoV-2 IgG II and ARCHITECT SARS-CoV-2 IgG tests. Antibodies were also detected in these patients with the Panbio COVID-19 IgG Rapid Test Device, indicating that antibodies that develop during BA.1/2 or BA.4/5 infection in vaccinated individuals can readily be detected with all three of these tests.

Read this study in IJID Regions.

CHARACTERIZATION OF RARE BANGUI BUNYAVIRUS

Purifying selection decreases the potential for Bangui orthobunyavirus outbreaks in humans

Bunyaviruses are known to cause severe illness in people, so tracking them is important for public health. In this study, a single Bangui bunyavirus infection was found through unbiased sequencing to identify all viruses present (ie ‘virome’) in patients participating in a viral diversity study in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A prototype molecular test to detect Bangui was developed and used to screen >2500 samples from DRC and neighboring countries. With no other infections found through the screening and the only other documented infection occurring 50 years earlier, this virus remains extremely rare in humans. Interestingly, genetic analysis suggests that Bangui virus remains better suited to bird or insect hosts instead of humans, meaning human infections will likely continue to be very rare.

Read this study in Virus Evolution.

COMPETITION OF COVID VARIANTS – MU VS DELTA IN COLOMBIA

The principles of SARS-CoV-2 inter-variant competition are exemplified in the pre-Omicron era of the Colombian epidemic

With thousands of COVID variants recorded to date, we have a wealth of data to learn from about how some variants became global variants of concern (VOC) while others did not. Analysis in this study focused on the competition of two variants in Colombia in early 2021 that had an unexpected outcome – Mu vs Gamma. Although Gamma became a VOC in other Latin American countries, it never fully established itself in Colombia due to the rapid rise in Mu. Later in 2021, VOC Delta began spreading worldwide; our genetic analysis determined that Mu’s established presence in Colombia may have been responsible for keeping Delta at bay and vice versa; in most other countries VOC Delta was well established before Mu could spread, leaving Mu as a regional variant of interest instead of a VOC. These results demonstrate that regional variant trends may not be entirely predictable simply based on the spread of a VOC in other parts of the world.

Read this study in Microbiology Spectrum.

EFFECTS OF VACCINATION AND SARS-COV-2 INFECTIONS ON ANTIBODY LEVELS

Effects of a Booster Dose of BNT162b2 on Spike-Binding Antibodies to SARS-Cov-2 Omicron BA.2, BA.3, BA.4 And BA.5 Subvariants in Infection-Naïve and Previously-Infected Individuals.

It is important to understand how SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccination impact antibody responses and protection from infection. In this study, researchers found that vaccinated people who had a previous infection had higher levels of antibodies that could recognize omicron variants than people who had only been vaccinated – although this difference was eliminated by a booster shot. Antibody levels declined for everyone over time, regardless of whether they had been infected before or not.

Read this study in journal Vaccine.

NEW DIVERGENT INSECT AND BAT ASSOCIATED VIRUSES DISCOVERED

Metagenomic Detection of Divergent Insect- and Bat-Associated Viruses in Plasma from Two African Individuals Enrolled in Blood-Borne Surveillance

With more viruses on Earth than stars in our night sky, it is critical to monitor which ones have the ability to infect people. By using an unbiased sequencing approach, our study characterized all viruses present (ie ‘virome’) in a panel of >700 people participating in a viral surveillance program. Interestingly, nine highly divergent viruses were identified that, when studied with genetic and machine learning models, were found to be most closely related to viruses found in bird and bat excrement. While there was no indication that these viruses made anyone sick, their presence highlights the importance of monitoring the viromes of many different populations to enable rapid identification of something that is clearly linked to illness.

Read this study in Viruses.

SENSITIVE DETECTION OF HEPATITIS B VIRUS RNA

Measuring Hepatitis B pgRNA Stability using an Updated Automated HBV pgRNA Assay with Increased Sensitivity

Approximately 296 million people are living with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections and are at risk for developing liver disease or cancer. Although there is no cure for HBV, some patients may benefit from treatment and determining the duration of that treatment requires careful monitoring. In this research study, a more sensitive prototype molecular test was developed to monitor HBV RNA levels, which serve as a biomarker for how active the virus is in an infected patient. By accurately detecting lower levels of HBV RNA, the new research use only (RUO) test could be useful in refining predictions on treatment outcomes.

Read this study in Hepatology Communications.

STRONG PROGRESS TOWARDS ELIMINATION OF HCV IN THE COUNTRY OF GEORGIA

Nationwide hepatitis C serosurvey and progress towards HCV elimination in the country of Georgia, 2021

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes a chronic infection that may not have symptoms until later in life when a patient develops liver disease. Fortunately, HCV infection can be cured, but only if people are diagnosed to find their infection. To work towards elimination of HCV in the country of Georgia where an estimated 58 million people are living with the virus, a screening approach has been taken to proactively find HCV patients and cure their infections. To understand how successful the program has been since it started in 2015, a nationwide survey was conducted. The results showed an overall reduction in HCV infections of 67%, indicating the program has made substantial progress. 

Read this study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases

2022 STUDIES

LAST UPDATED DATE: APR 3, 2023

ABBOTT PANDEMIC DEFENSE COALITION OVERVIEW

The Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition: A Unique Multisector Approach Adds to Global Pandemic Preparedness Efforts

The Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition is a unique multisector approach to helping prevent the next pandemic. Through infectious disease detection and by developing and deploying diagnostic tools (when necessary), the Coalition establishes itself as a scientific and public health partnership that can respond and develop diagnostic tools for infectious disease threats of pandemic potential.

Read this position paper in International Journal of Infectious Diseases.

COVID-19 MU VARIANT IN COLOMBIA

Assessment of SARS-CoV-2 Mu Variant Emergence and Spread in Colombia

The Mu variant prevailed in Colombia in January 2021 and spread to more than 30 countries. Scientists from Abbott and the Colombia-Wisconsin One Health Consortium at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia studied 1,000+ samples to learn more about this COVID-19 variant.

Read this study in JAMA Network Open.

DETECTING COVID-19 VARIANTS

Detection of SARS-CoV-2 Variants by Abbott Molecular, Antigen, and Serological tests

Viral diversity presents an ongoing challenge for diagnostic tests which need to accurately detect circulating variants. The Abbott Pandemic Defense Coalition monitors SARS-CoV-2 variants and their potential impact on Abbott molecular, antigen, and serologic assays. Our scientists, along with scientists from Rush UniversityCentre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), and Institut de Recherche en Sante, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation (IRESSEF), confirmed that variants, including variants of concern, were detected by the 11 SARS-CoV-2 assays.

Read this study in Journal of Clinical Virology.

DRIED BLOODSPOTS AS VIABLE ALTERNATIVE SAMPLE TYPE TO DRAWN BLOOD

Modified ARCHITECT R Serologic Assays Enable Plasma-Level Performance from Dried Blood Spot Samples.

Dried blood spots (DBS) can expand access to testing because samples are easy to collect and can be easily transported.

Researchers evaluated the performance of diagnostic tests with DBS samples compared to samples collected by a blood draw. We found comparable performance, suggesting that DBS could be a viable alternative sample type.   

Read this study in journal BioTechniques

IDENTIFICATION OF VACCINE BREAKTHROUGH INFECTIONS IN PEOPLE USING NUCLEOCAPSID PROTEIN OF SARS-COV-2

Longitudinal Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Vaccine Antibody Responses and Identification of Vaccine Breakthrough Infections Among Healthcare Workers Using Nucleocapsid Immunoglobulin G

As more people are vaccinated for SARS-CoV-2, the prevalence of antibodies to the spike protein, which is a main target of several major vaccines, will not be able to distinguish between vaccination and natural infection.

Researchers followed a group of people who are at high risk for exposure to SARS-CoV-2, to evaluate whether antibody responses to a viral target that is not present in most vaccines, nucleocapsid, was informative for identifying infections in people who were vaccinated. We found that there were increases in antibodies to nucleocapsid following vaccine breakthrough infections, and that the rate of vaccine breakthrough infections during the omicron wave was  over 15%.  

Read this study in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

MONITORING ANTIBODY LEVELS AFTER COVID-19 VACCINATION IN JAMAICA

SARS-CoV-2 Receptor-Binding Domain IgG Response to AstraZeneca AZD1222 COVID-19 Vaccination, Jamaica

Extensive research has not been conducted in the Caribbean region to assess antibody response and side effects experienced after COVID-19 vaccination. With the Pandemic Defense Coalition partner in Jamaica, University of the West Indies, our scientists studied immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels over time in people who received the noted vaccine and recorded any side effects experienced after the first and second vaccination.

Read this study in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

OROPOUCHE LINKED TO FEBRILE ILLNESS IN COLOMBIA

Oropouche virus as an Emerging Cause of Acute Febrile Illness in Colombia

Undiagnosed fevers could potentially be where we find newly circulating pathogens. In this study, we found Oropouche fever virus to be a significant cause of illnesses with fever in Colombia, a country where this virus had never been identified before. Oropouche fever is a tropical viral infection transmitted to humans by biting midges and mosquitoes, causing dengue-like symptoms, like high fever, headache, rash and joint pain. After developing prototype tests and screening for more cases for research use only, we found that the prevalence of Oropouche infection was 10.9% in acute febrile illness patients, indicating that this virus could represent a significant disease burden.

Read this study in journal  Emerging Microbes & Infections

SARS-COV-2 ANTIBODIES AFTER OMICRON AMONG JAMAICAN POPULATION

Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies after the Omicron Surge, Kingston, Jamaica, 2022

This study examined the prevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in Jamaica for the first time and found that there was extensive population immunity to SARS-CoV-2, with 88.4% of the study population having detectable antibodies to the virus spike and/or nucleocapsid protein. In the study, 77% of the population had evidence of a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, suggesting that much of the population immunity was due to natural infection. Overall, antibody levels against the spike protein were highest vaccinated individuals who also had serological evidence of past infection, called hybrid immunity.

Read this study in Journal of Clinical Virology Plus.

SEROPREVALENCE OF COVID-19 ANTIBODIES IN A SENEGAL CLINIC

Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG Antibodies in a Healthcare Setting During the First Pandemic Wave in Senegal

Seroprevalence, or the percentage of people in a population who have antibodies, was studied in conjunction with Institut de Recherche en Sante, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation (IRESSEF) in Senegal. Plasma from healthcare clinic volunteers was tested between June and October 2020.

Read this study in IJID Regions.

THREE PANDEMICS, ONE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT

A Tale of 3 Pandemics: Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, Hepatitis C Virus, and Human Immunodeficiency Virus in an Urban Emergency Department in Baltimore, Maryland

Scientists from multiple entities, including Johns Hopkins and Abbott, studied SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in emergency department patients in Baltimore, Maryland to determine rates of infection and co-infection.  Sociodemographic disparities, such as race, ethnicity and poverty, were also examined.

Read this study in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.

UNDERSTANDING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19 IN SENEGAL

The Early SARS-CoV-2 Epidemic in Senegal was Driven by the Local Emergence of B.1.416 and the Introduction of B.1.1.420 from Europe

The spread of COVID-19 in Senegal during the first year of the pandemic showed that there were two notable lineages of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that dominated the country. In mid-2020, a lineage called B.1.416 started in Senegal and was exported mainly to Europe. Another lineage, B.1.1.420, originated in Italy, gained mutations that made it more capable of reproducing in Senegal in late 2020, and then spread worldwide.

Read this study, conducted with Pandemic Defense Coalition partner Institut de Recherche en Sante, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation (IRESSEF), in Virus Evolution.

2021 STUDIES

LAST UPDATED DATE: JUL 21, 2022

FINGER BLOOD SAMPLES AND COVID-19 ANTIBODY TESTING

Expanding Access to SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM Serologic Testing Using Fingerstick Whole Blood, Plasma, and Rapid Lateral Flow Assays

Scientists from Abbott and Rush University, a Pandemic Defense Coalition partner, analyzed how blood samples taken from a finger could be used for SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing.

Read this study in Journal of Clinical Virology.

PICOBIRNAVIRUS AND ITS CLASSIFICATION

Understanding the Genetic Diversity of Picobirnavirus: A Classification Update Based on Phylogenetic and Pairwise Sequence Comparison Approaches

Picobirnavirus is a small virus that typically affects the digestive system. Abbott researchers found that picobirnaviruses should be reclassified based upon their full-length sequences. Reclassification will help standardize analysis methods and naming conventions to help scientists further understand how this virus has evolved over time.

Read this study in Viruses.

PICOBIRNAVIRUS IN PATIENTS HOSPITALIZED WITH RESPIRATORY ILLNESS

Emergence of a Distinct Picobirnavirus Genotype Circulating in Patients Hospitalized with Acute Respiratory Illness

Picobirnavirus is a small virus that typically affects the digestive system.  Abbott scientists used next generation sequencing to discover a novel strain of picobirnavirus found in patients hospitalized with respiratory illness.

Read this study in Viruses.

UNDERSTANDING COVID-19 ANTIBODY LEVELS, VACCINATION, AND INFECTION

SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Responses in Infection-Naive or Previously Infected Individuals After 1 and 2 Doses of the BNT162b2 Vaccine

Rush University, a Pandemic Defense Coalition partner, and Abbott scientists studied individuals’ antibody response after both doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Higher SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels were seen after one vaccine dose in people who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to people who received two vaccine doses and who had not been infected with SARS-CoV-2. For people who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2, a second vaccine dose did not significantly increase immunoglobulin G (IgG) levels.

Read this study in JAMA Network Open.

UNDERSTANDING COVID-19 MUTATIONS IN SENEGAL

Emergence of Novel Combinations of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Receptor Binding Domain Variants in Senegal

Institut de Recherche en Sante, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation (IRESSEF) and Abbott scientists studied mutations that occurred on the spike gene in SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. A panel of specimens was analyzed from the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic in Senegal. The sequences found indicated that the virus diversified over time, which meant that it became more able to spread in the population because of its mutations.

Read this study in Scientific Reports.

UNDERSTANDING HOW HEPATITIS C SPREADS THROUGH NETWORKS

Spatiotemporal Phylodynamics of Hepatitis C Among People Who Inject Drugs in India

YRG Care, a Pandemic Defense Coalition partner, and scientists from other entities, including Abbott, looked into the phylodynamics of hepatitis C virus (HCV) across four cities in India. Phylodynamics helps scientists draw connections between how infectious diseases spread and how a population changes as people migrate and public health programs are implemented. Over 450 HCV sequences and individual-related data were used to understand where HCV has traveled over time.

Read this study in Hepatology.

USING NEXT GENERATION SEQUENCING TO ANALYZE COVID-19 SAMPLES

SNP and Phylogenetic Characterization of Low Viral Load SARS-CoV-2 Specimens by Target Enrichment

Scientists from Abbott and Rush University, a Pandemic Defense Coalition partner, leveraged target capture next generation sequencing as a way to analyze low viral load samples that would normally be a challenge to a sequence. This study provided an analysis of viral genetic diversity early in the pandemic, particularly in the Midwestern United States.

Read this study in Frontiers in Virology.