Community SARS-CoV-2 Dynamics and Cycle Threshold Use to Enhance Public Health Surveillance in the Dominican Republic
Keywords:COVID-19, Ct Value, Dominican Republic, PCR, Viral load, Transmission dynamics
To propose appropriate containment measures and optimize surveillance strategies, it is of utmost importance to understand the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 transmission within different age groups and its symptomatic and asymptomatic presentations. This study aimed to understand the cycle-threshold (Ct) of SARS-CoV-2 within individuals attending hospital-based facilities in the Dominican Republic. A total of 3,309 saliva samples were analysed from 14 provinces, which yielded a positivity rate of 18.01% (n=596) across 24 sites. Saliva specimens and levels of viral RNA were quantified by RT-qPCR. Overall mean Ct values were 29.3 cycles and significantly correlated with community positivity rate (r=-0.034, p=0.04). There was no significant difference in mean Ct values between studied age groups [F (19, 30) = 0.65, p = 0.5] and no significant correlation between mean Ct by age groups and community positivity. When comparing asymptomatic and symptomatic patients by age groups, the patients between 5 and 17 years old demonstrated a statistically significant mean difference in Ct values with 27.5 and 32.4 cycles, respectively (t (14) = -2.3, p = 0.03). Results identified in this study demonstrate how understanding community viral load is crucial for optimal SARS-CoV-2 surveillance and should be evaluated in the context of transmissibility dynamics.
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