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medRxiv ; 2020 Jul 29.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32766608

COVID-19 primarily affects the lungs, but evidence of systemic disease with multi-organ involvement is emerging. Here, we developed a blood test to broadly quantify cell, tissue, and organ specific injury due to COVID-19, using genome-wide methylation profiling of circulating cell-free DNA in plasma. We assessed the utility of this test to identify subjects with severe disease in two independent, longitudinal cohorts of hospitalized patients. Cell-free DNA profiling was performed on 104 plasma samples from 33 COVID-19 patients and compared to samples from patients with other viral infections and healthy controls. We found evidence of injury to the lung and liver and involvement of red blood cell progenitors associated with severe COVID-19. The concentration of cfDNA correlated with the WHO ordinal scale for disease progression and was significantly increased in patients requiring intubation. This study points to the utility of cell-free DNA as an analyte to monitor and study COVID-19.

Genet Mol Biol ; 41(3): 545-554, 2018.
Article En | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30043834

Our aim was to develop and apply a comprehensive noninvasive prenatal test (NIPT) by using high-coverage targeted next-generation sequencing to estimate fetal fraction, determine fetal sex, and detect trisomy and monogenic disease without parental genotype information. We analyzed 45 pregnancies, 40 mock samples, and eight mother-child pairs to generate 35 simulated datasets. Fetal fraction (FF) was estimated based on analysis of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) allele fraction distribution. A Z-score was calculated for trisomy of chromosome 21 (T21), and fetal sex detection. Monogenic disease detection was performed through variant analysis. Model validation was performed using the simulated datasets. The novel model to estimate FF was robust and accurate (r2= 0.994, p-value < 2.2e-16). For samples with FF > 0.04, T21 detection had 100% sensitivity (95% CI: 63.06 to 100%) and 98.53% specificity (95% CI: 92.08 to 99.96%). Fetal sex was determined with 100% accuracy. We later performed a proof of concept for monogenic disease diagnosis of 5/7 skeletal dysplasia cases. In conclusion, it is feasible to perform a comprehensive NIPT by using only data from high coverage targeted sequencing, which, in addition to detecting trisomies, also make it possible to identify pathogenic variants of the candidate genes for monogenic diseases.