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1.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.02.10.22270799

ABSTRACT

Introduction Viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings. Methods We conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-collection period, followed by intervention periods comprising 8 weeks of 'rapid' (<48h) and 4 weeks of 'longer-turnaround' (5-10 day) sequencing using a sequence reporting tool (SRT). Data were collected on all hospital onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs; detected [≥]48h from admission). The impact of the sequencing intervention on IPC knowledge and actions, and on incidence of probable/definite hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) was evaluated. Results A total of 2170 HOCI cases were recorded from October 2020-April 2021, with sequence reports returned for 650/1320 (49.2%) during intervention phases. We did not detect a statistically significant change in weekly incidence of HAIs in longer-turnaround (IRR 1.60, 95%CI 0.85-3.01; P=0.14) or rapid (0.85, 0.48-1.50; P=0.54) intervention phases compared to baseline phase. However, IPC practice was changed in 7.8% and 7.4% of all HOCI cases in rapid and longer-turnaround phases, respectively, and 17.2% and 11.6% of cases where the report was returned. In a per-protocol sensitivity analysis there was an impact on IPC actions in 20.7% of HOCI cases when the SRT report was returned within 5 days. Conclusion While we did not demonstrate a direct impact of sequencing on the incidence of nosocomial transmission, our results suggest that sequencing can inform IPC response to HOCIs, particularly when returned within 5 days.

2.
biorxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.03.03.433753

ABSTRACT

Introduction: SARS-CoV-2 has a complex strategy for the transcription of viral subgenomic mRNAs (sgmRNAs), which are targets for nucleic acid diagnostics. Each of these sgRNAs has a unique 5 sequence, the leader-transcriptional regulatory sequence gene junction (leader-TRS-junction), that can be identified using sequencing. Results: High resolution sequencing has been used to investigate the biology of SARS-CoV-2 and the host response in cell culture models and from clinical samples. LeTRS, a bioinformatics tool, was developed to identify leader-TRS-junctions and be used as a proxy to quantify sgmRNAs for understanding virus biology. This was tested on published datasets and clinical samples from patients and longitudinal samples from animal models with COVID-19. Discussion: LeTRS identified known leader-TRS-junctions and identified novel species that were common across different species. The data indicated multi-phasic abundance of sgmRNAs in two different animal models, with spikes in sgmRNA abundance reflected in human samples, and therefore has implications for transmission models and nucleic acid-based diagnostics.

3.
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.10.23.20218446

ABSTRACT

The UK's COVID-19 epidemic during early 2020 was one of world's largest and unusually well represented by virus genomic sampling. Here we reveal the fine-scale genetic lineage structure of this epidemic through analysis of 50,887 SARS-CoV-2 genomes, including 26,181 from the UK sampled throughout the country's first wave of infection. Using large-scale phylogenetic analyses, combined with epidemiological and travel data, we quantify the size, spatio-temporal origins and persistence of genetically-distinct UK transmission lineages. Rapid fluctuations in virus importation rates resulted in >1000 lineages; those introduced prior to national lockdown were larger and more dispersed. Lineage importation and regional lineage diversity declined after lockdown, whilst lineage elimination was size-dependent. We discuss the implications of our genetic perspective on transmission dynamics for COVID-19 epidemiology and control.

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