Special Issue "Surveillance Strategies and Diagnostic Procedures: Integrated Approaches to Manage the COVID-19 Outbreak"

A special issue of Diagnostics (ISSN 2075-4418). This special issue belongs to the section "Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Renato Millioni
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Fascial Manipulation Institute by Stecco, Padova, Italy
Interests: molecular testing; antigenic testing; rapid test; self-administration test; group testing; sample pooling strategies; methods; biochemistry; proteomics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

The COVID-19 pandemic emergency can hardly be managed with standard approaches. For a prompt return to previous levels of social interaction and business, virus diffusion must be curbed and kept under control—this requires a robust surveillance strategy, for which virus testing will be central. Diagnostic screening should be performed at a mass scale, extended to the asymptomatic population, and repeated over time. Different types of diagnostic tests are now available with alternative methods and benefits. As the monitoring capacity is limited, there is a strong necessity for new strategies that could massively increase laboratory efficiency, while maintaining the benefit of time- and cost-effectiveness.

The effectiveness of the diagnostic tests should not be evaluated as a stand-alone, but in the context of a prolonged surveillance strategy where the necessity of analytical sensitivity must come to terms with the need for a short turnaround time and high testing frequency.

This Special Issue aims to focus attention on the increasing need of multidisciplinary approaches in which diagnostic, clinical, epidemiological, and statistical concerns and insights synergically come together to develop new efficient surveillance strategies, tailored to the characteristics of different monitoring contexts.

Dr. Renato Millioni
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Diagnostics is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • surveillance strategies
  • molecular testing
  • antigenic testing
  • rapid test
  • self-administration test
  • group testing
  • efficiency evaluations

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessCommunication
Presence of SARS-CoV-2 Nucleoprotein in Cardiac Tissues of Donors with Negative COVID-19 Molecular Tests
Diagnostics 2021, 11(4), 731; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11040731 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 333
Abstract
The 2019 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak had detrimental effects on essential medical services such as organ and tissue donation. Lombardy, one of the most active Italian regions in organ/tissue procurement, has been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, data concerning the [...] Read more.
The 2019 Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak had detrimental effects on essential medical services such as organ and tissue donation. Lombardy, one of the most active Italian regions in organ/tissue procurement, has been strongly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, data concerning the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission after tissue transplantation are controversial. Here, we aimed to evaluate the presence/absence of SARS-CoV-2 in different cardiac tissues eligible for transplantation obtained from Lombard donors. We used cardiovascular tissues from eight donors potentially suitable for pulmonary valve transplantation. All donor subjects involved in the study returned negative results for the SARS-CoV-2 RNA molecular tests (quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR, qRT-PCR, and chip-based digital PCR) in nasopharyngeal swabs (NPS) or bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). None of the eight donors included in this study revealed the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 viral genome. However, evaluation of the protein content of pulmonary vein wall (PVW) tissue revealed variable levels of SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein signal in all donors. Our study demonstrated for the first time, to the best of our knowledge, that viral nucleoprotein but not viral RNA was present in the examined tissue bank specimens, suggesting the need for caution and in-depth investigations on implantable tissue specimens collected during the COVID-19 pandemic period. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Safe Management Strategies in Clinical Forensic Autopsies of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
Diagnostics 2021, 11(3), 457; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030457 - 06 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 453
Abstract
To date, there is poor evidence on the transmission of infection in individuals handling the bodies of deceased persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 and in particular, during autopsies. The aim of this study was to demonstrate that when appropriate strategies are adopted autopsy is [...] Read more.
To date, there is poor evidence on the transmission of infection in individuals handling the bodies of deceased persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 and in particular, during autopsies. The aim of this study was to demonstrate that when appropriate strategies are adopted autopsy is a safe procedure with a minimal infection risk for all subjects involved (pathologists, technical personnel, and others) when proper strategies are adopted. We performed 16 autopsies on cadavers of persons who had died with confirmed COVID-19 with different post-mortem intervals (PMI). To confirm the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, for each autopsy, 2 swabs were sampled from lungs, while to evaluate environmental contamination, 11 swabs were taken at three different times: T0 (before autopsy), T1 (at the end of the autopsy, without removing the corpse), and T2 (after cleaning and disinfecting the autopsy room). Specifically, 2 swabs were sampled on face shields used by each pathologist, and 4 swabs were collected on the autopsy table; 4 swabs were also collected from walls and 1 from floor. Lung swabs confirmed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in all cases. Environmental swabs, collected at T0 and T2 were all negative, while swabs sampled at T1 were shown to be positive. Interestingly, no association was shown between PMI length and environmental contamination. Infection control strategies for safe management of clinical forensic autopsies of bodies with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are also described. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Test Groups, Not Individuals: A Review of the Pooling Approaches for SARS-CoV-2 Diagnosis
Diagnostics 2021, 11(1), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11010068 - 04 Jan 2021
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Abstract
Massive molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis is mandatory to manage the spread of COVID-19. Diagnostic screening should be performed at a mass scale, extended to the asymptomatic population, and repeated over time. An accurate diagnostic pipeline for SARS-CoV-2 that could massively increase the [...] Read more.
Massive molecular testing for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis is mandatory to manage the spread of COVID-19. Diagnostic screening should be performed at a mass scale, extended to the asymptomatic population, and repeated over time. An accurate diagnostic pipeline for SARS-CoV-2 that could massively increase the laboratory efficiency, while being sustainable in terms of time and costs, should be based on a pooling strategy. In the past few months, researchers from different disciplines had this same idea: test groups, not individuals. This critical review intends to highlight both the general consents—even if the results from different publications have been obtained with different protocols—and the points of disagreement that are creating some interpretative/comprehension difficulties. Different pooling schemes and technical aspects associated to the type of pooling adopted are described and discussed. We hope that this review can consolidate information to support researchers in designing optimized COVID-19 testing protocols based on pooling. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessBrief Report
Seroprevalence of Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and IgM among Adults over 65 Years Old in the South of Italy
Diagnostics 2021, 11(3), 483; https://doi.org/10.3390/diagnostics11030483 - 09 Mar 2021
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Abstract
SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic betacoronavirus associated with worldwide transmission of COVID-19 disease. By the beginning of March, WHO reported about 113,820,000 confirmed cases including more than 2,527,000 deaths all over the world. However, the true extent of virus circulation or its real infection/fatality [...] Read more.
SARS-CoV-2 is a zoonotic betacoronavirus associated with worldwide transmission of COVID-19 disease. By the beginning of March, WHO reported about 113,820,000 confirmed cases including more than 2,527,000 deaths all over the world. However, the true extent of virus circulation or its real infection/fatality ratio is not well-estimated due to the huge portion of asymptomatic infections. In this observational study, we have estimated the prevalence of specific immunoglobulin M and G directed towards SARS-CoV-2 antigen in a cohort of 1383 adult volunteers aged over 65 years old, living in the district of Benevento, in the South of Italy. Serological screening was carried out on capillary blood in September 2020, seven months after pandemic outbreak in Italy, to evaluate virus circulation and antibody response among elderly adults, in which severe symptoms due to viral infection are more common. The overall seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 4.70% (CI 3.70%–5.95%) with no statistically significant differences between sexes. Among these, 69.69% (CI 55.61%–77.80%) tested positive to IgM, 23.08% (CI 14.51%–34.64%) to IgG and 9.23% (CI 4.30%–18.71%) was positive for both. All patients that were positive to IgM underwent molecular testing through RT-qPCR on oral-rhino pharyngeal swabs and only one specimen was positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA detection. Instead, the presence of IgG from screened volunteers was confirmed by re-testing serum samples using both an ELISA assay validated for in vitro diagnostic use (IVD) and a recently published synthetic peptide-based ELISA assay. In conclusion, our report suggests that (1) early restrictions were successful in limiting COVID-19 diffusion in the district of Benevento; (2) rapid serological analysis is an ideal testing for both determining real seroprevalence and massive screening, whereas detection of viral RNA remains a gold standard for identification of infected patients; (3) even among people without COVID-19 related symptoms, the antibody response against SARS-CoV-2 antigens has individual features. Full article
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