Public Health Genetics and Genomics Week 2023
PHGW, January 2023
Join us from May 15-19, 2023 to celebrate the fourth annual Public Health Genetics and Genomics Week! Public health genetics and genomics apply genetic and genomic information to improve public health and prevent disease. Public health genetics and genomics includes healthcare providers, patients, families, federal agencies, public health professionals, and non-profits. During the fourth annual Public Health Genetics Week, we will be celebrating the efforts of those individuals who participate in the public health genetics system and seek to raise awareness about the field.
Spike Gene Target Amplification in a Diagnostic Assay as a Marker for Public Health Monitoring of Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants — United States, November 2021–January 2023
HM Scobie et al, MMWR, January 25, 2023
When early nowcast estimates of rapidly emerging variants lacked precision and geographic resolution because of lags in genomic sequencing results, SGTF/SGTP estimates were used as complementary data by CDC and the SARS-CoV-2 Interagency Group to support guidance on the use of monoclonal antibody therapies. SGTF/SGTP data were also used as proxy markers in several early studies of vaccine effectiveness and severity of emerging variants (3,5,6). Continued monitoring of SGTF/SGTP patterns will likely serve as a useful complement to genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 lineages.
A Randomized Trial Comparing Omicron-Containing Boosters with the Original Covid-19 Vaccine mRNA-1273
IT Lee et al, MEDRXIV, January 24, 2023
The bivalent omicron BA.1 containing booster elicited superior neutralizing antibody responses against omicron BA.1 with acceptable safety results consistent with the BA.1 monovalent vaccine. Incidence rates for Covid-19 were numerically lower in participants who received mRNA-1273.214 compared to the original booster vaccine mRNA-1273, driven by the BA.2 and BA.4 sublineages.
Wastewater and surface monitoring to detect COVID-19 in elementary school settings: The Safer at School Early Alert project
RKF Miller et al, MEDRXIV, January 25, 2023
In 447 data collection days across the nine sites 89 individuals tested positive for COVID-19, and SARS-CoV-2 was detected in 374 surface samples and 133 wastewater samples. Ninety-three percent of identified cases were associated with an environmental sample (95% CI: 88% - 98%); 67% were associated with a positive wastewater sample (95% CI: 57% - 77%), and 40% were associated with a positive surface sample (95% CI: 29% - 52%). The techniques we utilized allowed for near-complete genomic sequencing of wastewater and surface samples.
Second monovalent SARS-CoV-2 mRNA booster restores Omicron-specific neutralizing activity in both nursing home residents and health care workers
C Nugent et al, MEDRXIV, January 25, 2023
We examined whether the second monovalent SARS-CoV-2 mRNA booster increased antibody levels and their neutralizing activity to Omicron variants in nursing home residents (NH) residents and healthcare workers (HCW). We sampled 367 NH residents and 60 HCW after primary mRNA vaccination, first and second boosters, for antibody response and pseudovirus neutralization assay against SARS-CoV-2 wild-type (WT) (Wuhan-Hu-1) strain and Omicron BA1 variant.
Neutralization of BA.4–BA.5, BA.4.6, BA.2.75.2, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1 with Bivalent Vaccine
J Zhou et al, NEJM, January 25, 2023
The bivalent BA.4–BA.5 vaccine consistently elicited higher neutralizing responses against BA.5-derived sublineages (BA.4.6, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1) and the BA.2-derived sublineage (BA.2.75.2) than the original BNT162b2 vaccine when administered as a fourth booster dose, regardless of the participants’ history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. After the fourth dose, higher neutralizing titers developed in participants with a history of SARS-CoV-2 infection than in those without a history of infection.
Effectiveness of Bivalent Boosters against Severe Omicron Infection
DY Lin et al, NEJM, January 25, 2023
Booster effectiveness peaked at approximately 4 weeks and waned afterward. For all participants 12 years of age or older, vaccine effectiveness against severe infection resulting in hospitalization over days 15 to 99 after receipt of one monovalent booster dose was 25.2% (95% confidence interval [CI], –0.2 to 44.2), and the corresponding vaccine effectiveness for one bivalent booster dose was 58.7% (95% CI, 43.7 to 69.8); the difference in vaccine effectiveness against this outcome between the bivalent booster and the monovalent booster was 33.5 percentage points.
Early Estimates of Bivalent mRNA Booster Dose Vaccine Effectiveness in Preventing Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Infection Attributable to Omicron BA.5– and XBB/XBB.1.5–Related Sublineages Among Immunocompetent Adults — Increasing Community Access to Testing Program, United States, December 2022–January 2023
RL Gelles et al, MMWR, January 25, 2023
The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.2-related sublineage XBB.1.5 is gaining predominance nationwide. Vaccine effectiveness against XBB and XBB.1.5 is unknown.
Using spike (S)-gene target presence as a proxy for BA.2 sublineages, including XBB and XBB.1.5, during December 2022–January 2023, the results showed that a bivalent mRNA booster dose provided additional protection against symptomatic XBB/XBB.1.5 infection for at least the first 3 months after vaccination in persons who had previously received 2–4 monovalent vaccine doses.