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1.
Microbiol Spectr ; : e0078621, 2022 Jan 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605388

ABSTRACT

Seroepidemiological studies to monitor antibody kinetics are important for assessing the extent and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in a population. Noninvasive sampling methods are advantageous for reducing the need for venipuncture, which may be a barrier to investigations, particularly in pediatric populations. Oral fluids are obtained by gingiva-crevicular sampling from children and adults and are very well accepted. Enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) based on these samples have acceptable sensitivity and specificity compared to conventional serum-based antibody EIAs and are suitable for population-based surveillance. We describe the development and evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 IgG EIAs using SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleoprotein (NP) and spike (S) proteins in IgG isotype capture format and an indirect receptor-binding-domain (RBD) IgG EIA, intended for use in children as a primary endpoint. All three assays were assessed using a panel of 1,999 paired serum and oral fluids from children and adults participating in school SARS-CoV-2 surveillance studies during and after the first and second pandemic wave in the United Kingdom. The anti-NP IgG capture assay was the best candidate, with an overall sensitivity of 75% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 71 to 79%) and specificity of 99% (95% CI: 78 to 99%) compared with paired serum antibodies. Sensitivity observed in children (80%, 95% CI: 71 to 88%) was higher than that in adults (67%, CI: 60% to 74%). Oral fluid assays (OF) using spike protein and RBD antigens were also 99% specific and achieved reasonable but lower sensitivity in the target population (78%, 95% CI [68% to 86%] and 53%, 95% CI [43% to 64%], respectively). IMPORTANCE We report on the first large-scale assessment of the suitability of oral fluids for detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibody obtained from healthy children attending school. The sample type (gingiva-crevicular fluid, which is a transudate of blood but is not saliva) can be self collected. Although detection of antibodies in oral fluids is less sensitive than that in blood, our study suggests an optimal format for operational use. The laboratory methods we have developed can reliably measure antibodies in children, who are able to take their own samples. Our findings are of immediate practical relevance for use in large-scale seroprevalence studies designed to measure exposure to infection, as they typically require venipuncture. Overall, our data indicate that OF assays based on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are a tool suitable for population-based seroepidemiology studies in children and highly acceptable in children and adults, as venipuncture is no longer necessary.

2.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1598157

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 delta (B.1.617.2) variant is highly transmissible and spreading globally, including in populations with high vaccination rates. We aimed to investigate transmission and viral load kinetics in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals with mild delta variant infection in the community. METHODS: Between Sept 13, 2020, and Sept 15, 2021, 602 community contacts (identified via the UK contract-tracing system) of 471 UK COVID-19 index cases were recruited to the Assessment of Transmission and Contagiousness of COVID-19 in Contacts cohort study and contributed 8145 upper respiratory tract samples from daily sampling for up to 20 days. Household and non-household exposed contacts aged 5 years or older were eligible for recruitment if they could provide informed consent and agree to self-swabbing of the upper respiratory tract. We analysed transmission risk by vaccination status for 231 contacts exposed to 162 epidemiologically linked delta variant-infected index cases. We compared viral load trajectories from fully vaccinated individuals with delta infection (n=29) with unvaccinated individuals with delta (n=16), alpha (B.1.1.7; n=39), and pre-alpha (n=49) infections. Primary outcomes for the epidemiological analysis were to assess the secondary attack rate (SAR) in household contacts stratified by contact vaccination status and the index cases' vaccination status. Primary outcomes for the viral load kinetics analysis were to detect differences in the peak viral load, viral growth rate, and viral decline rate between participants according to SARS-CoV-2 variant and vaccination status. FINDINGS: The SAR in household contacts exposed to the delta variant was 25% (95% CI 18-33) for fully vaccinated individuals compared with 38% (24-53) in unvaccinated individuals. The median time between second vaccine dose and study recruitment in fully vaccinated contacts was longer for infected individuals (median 101 days [IQR 74-120]) than for uninfected individuals (64 days [32-97], p=0·001). SAR among household contacts exposed to fully vaccinated index cases was similar to household contacts exposed to unvaccinated index cases (25% [95% CI 15-35] for vaccinated vs 23% [15-31] for unvaccinated). 12 (39%) of 31 infections in fully vaccinated household contacts arose from fully vaccinated epidemiologically linked index cases, further confirmed by genomic and virological analysis in three index case-contact pairs. Although peak viral load did not differ by vaccination status or variant type, it increased modestly with age (difference of 0·39 [95% credible interval -0·03 to 0·79] in peak log10 viral load per mL between those aged 10 years and 50 years). Fully vaccinated individuals with delta variant infection had a faster (posterior probability >0·84) mean rate of viral load decline (0·95 log10 copies per mL per day) than did unvaccinated individuals with pre-alpha (0·69), alpha (0·82), or delta (0·79) variant infections. Within individuals, faster viral load growth was correlated with higher peak viral load (correlation 0·42 [95% credible interval 0·13 to 0·65]) and slower decline (-0·44 [-0·67 to -0·18]). INTERPRETATION: Vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and accelerates viral clearance. Nonetheless, fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts. Host-virus interactions early in infection may shape the entire viral trajectory. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research.

3.
Nat Immunol ; 23(1): 40-49, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585824

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection is generally mild or asymptomatic in children but a biological basis for this outcome is unclear. Here we compare antibody and cellular immunity in children (aged 3-11 years) and adults. Antibody responses against spike protein were high in children and seroconversion boosted responses against seasonal Beta-coronaviruses through cross-recognition of the S2 domain. Neutralization of viral variants was comparable between children and adults. Spike-specific T cell responses were more than twice as high in children and were also detected in many seronegative children, indicating pre-existing cross-reactive responses to seasonal coronaviruses. Importantly, children retained antibody and cellular responses 6 months after infection, whereas relative waning occurred in adults. Spike-specific responses were also broadly stable beyond 12 months. Therefore, children generate robust, cross-reactive and sustained immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 with focused specificity for the spike protein. These findings provide insight into the relative clinical protection that occurs in most children and might help to guide the design of pediatric vaccination regimens.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Coronavirus 229E, Human/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , Cross Protection/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adaptive Immunity/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross Reactions/immunology , Humans
4.
Preprint | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296775

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT Background The role of educational settings on SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission remains controversial. We investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence and seroconversions rates in secondary schools during the 2020/21 academic year, which included the emergence of the more transmissible Alpha and Delta variants, in England. Methods The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) initiated prospective surveillance in 18 urban English secondary schools. Participants had nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and blood sampling for SARS-CoV-2 Nucleoprotein and Spike protein antibodies at the start (Round 1: September-October 2020) and end (Round 2: December 2021) of the autumn term, when schools reopened after national lockdown was imposed in January 2021 (Round 3: March-April) and end of the academic year (Round 4: May-July). Findings We enrolled 2,314 participants (1277 students, 1037 staff). In-school testing identified 31 PCR-positive participants (20 students, 11 staff). Another 247 confirmed cases (112 students, 135 staff) were identified after linkage with national surveillance data, giving an overall positivity rate of 12.0% (278/2313;staff [14.1%, 146/1037] vs students [10.3%, 132/1276;p=0.006). Nucleoprotein-antibody seroprevalence increased for students and staff between Rounds 1-3 but changed little in Round 4, when the Delta variant was the dominant circulating strain. Overall, Nucleoprotein-antibody seroconversion was 18.4% (137/744) in staff and 18.8% (146/778) in students, while Spike-antibody seroconversion was higher in staff (72.8% (525/721) than students (21.3%, 163/764) because of vaccination. Interpretation SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in secondary schools remained low when community infection rates were low because of national lockdown, even after the emergence of the Delta variant Funding DHSC

5.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295014

ABSTRACT

Introduction SARS-CoV-2 serological studies have so far focused mainly on adults. Public Health England initiated prospective, longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 sero-surveillance in schools across England after the first national lockdown, which allowed comparison of child and adult responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection over time. Methods Staff and students had venepuncture for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in school during June, July and December 2020. Blood samples were tested for nucleocapsid (Abbott) and receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies (in-house assay), and student samples were additionally assessed for live virus neutralising activity. Results In June 2020, 1,344 staff and 835 students were tested. Overall, 11.5% (95% CI: 9.4-13.9) and 11.3% (95% CI: 9.2-13.6;p=0.88) of students had nucleoprotein and RBD antibodies, compared to 15.6% (95% CI: 13.7-17.6) and 15.3% (95% CI: 13.4-17.3;p=0.83) of staff. Live virus neutralising activity was detected in 79.8% (n=71/89) of nucleocapsid and 85.5% (71/83) of RBD antibody positive children. RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with neutralising antibodies (r s =0.7527;p<0.0001) than nucleocapsid antibodies (r s =0.3698;p<0.0001). A median of 24.4 weeks later, 58.2% (107/184) participants had nucleocapsid antibody seroreversion, compared to 20.9% (33/158) for RBD (p<0.001). Similar seroreversion rates were observed between staff and students for nucleocapsid (p=0.26) and RBD-antibodies (p=0.43). Nucleocapsid and RBD antibody quantitative results were significantly lower in staff compared to students (p=0.028 and <0.0001 respectively) at baseline, but not at 24 weeks (p=0.16 and p=0.37, respectively). Conclusion RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with live virus neutralising activity. Most seropositive students and staff retained RBD antibodies for >6 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

6.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294620

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection is generally mild or asymptomatic in children but the biological basis for this is unclear. We studied the profile of antibody and cellular immunity in children aged 3-11 years in comparison with adults. Antibody responses against spike and receptor binding domain (RBD) were high in children and seroconversion boosted antibody responses against seasonal Beta-coronaviruses through cross-recognition of the S2 domain. Seroneutralisation assays against alpha, beta and delta SARS-CoV-2 variants demonstrated comparable neutralising activity between children and adults. T cell responses against spike were >2-fold higher in children compared to adults and displayed a T H 1 cytokine profile. SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific T cells were also detected in many seronegative children, revealing pre-existing responses that were cross-reactive with seasonal Alpha and Beta-coronaviruses. Importantly, all children retained high antibody titres and cellular responses at 6 months after infection whilst relative antibody waning was seen in adults. Spike-specific responses in children also remained broadly stable beyond 12 months. Children thus distinctly generate robust, cross-reactive and sustained immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection with focussed specificity against spike protein. These observations demonstrate novel features of SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses in children and may provide insight into their relative clinical protection. Furthermore, this information will help to guide the introduction of vaccination regimens in the paediatric population.

7.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294092

ABSTRACT

Background Most individuals with COVID-19 will recover without sequelae, but some will develop long- term multi-system impairments. The definition, duration, prevalence and symptoms associated with long COVID, however, have not been established. Methods Public Health England (PHE) initiated longitudinal surveillance of clinical and non-clinical healthcare workers for monthly blood sampling for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in March 2020. Eight months after enrolment, participants completed an online questionnaire including 72 symptoms in the preceding month. Symptomatic mild-to-moderate cases with confirmed COVID-19 were compared with asymptomatic, seronegative controls. Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify independent symptoms associated with long COVID. Results All 2,147 participants were contacted and 1,671 (77.8%) completed the questionnaire, including 140 (8.4%) cases and 1,160 controls. At a median of 7.5 (IQR 7.1-7.8) months after infection, 20 cases (14.3%) had ongoing (4/140, 2.9%) or episodic (16/140, 11.4%) symptoms. We identified three clusters of symptoms associated with long COVID, those affecting the sensory (ageusia, anosmia, loss of appetite and blurred vision), neurological (forgetfulness, short-term memory loss and confusion/brain fog) and cardiorespiratory (chest tightness/pain, unusual fatigue, breathlessness after minimal exertion/at rest, palpitations) systems. The sensory cluster had the highest association with being a case (aOR 5.25, 95% CI 3.45-8.01). Dermatological, gynaecological, gastrointestinal or mental health symptoms were not significantly different between cases and controls. Conclusions Most persistent symptoms reported following mild COVID-19 were equally common in cases and controls. While all three clusters identified had a strong association with previous COVID-19 infection, the sensory cluster had the highest specificity and strength of association. Key points Compared to controls, we identified three clusters of symptoms affecting the sensory, neurological and cardiorespiratory systems that were more prevalent among cases. Notably, gastrointestinal and dermatological symptoms and symptoms related to mental health were as prevalent among cases as controls.

8.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292906

ABSTRACT

We present a comprehensive analysis of antibody and cellular responses in children aged 12-16 years who received COVID-19 vaccination with ChAdOx1 (n=6) or mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273 or BNT162b2, n=9) using a 12-week extended-interval schedule. mRNA vaccination of seropositive children induces high antibody levels, with one dose, but a second dose is required in infection-naïve children. Following a second ChAdOx1 dose, antibody titres were higher than natural infection, but lower than mRNA vaccination. Vaccination induced live virus neutralising antibodies against Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, however, a second dose is required in infection-naïve children. We found higher T-cell responses following mRNA vaccination than ChAdOx1. Phenotyping of responses showed predominantly early effector-memory CD4 T cell populations, with a type-1 cytotoxic cytokine signature, with IL-10. These data demonstrate mRNA vaccination induces a co-ordinated superior antibody and robust cellular responses in children. Seronegative children require a prime-boost regime for optimal protection.

9.
J Infect ; 83(5): 573-580, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527750

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: We assessed SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence and seroconversion in students and staff when secondary schools reopened in March 2021. METHODS: We initiated SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in 18 secondary schools across six regions in September 2020. Participants provided nasal swabs for RT-PCR and blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the beginning (September 2020) and end (December 2020) of the autumn term and at the start of the spring term (March 2021). FINDINGS: In March 2021, 1895 participants (1100 students:795 staff) were tested; 5.6% (61/1094) students and 4.4% (35/792) staff had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection from December 2020-March 2021. Nucleoprotein-antibody seroprevalence was 36.3% (370/1018) in students and 31.9% (245/769) in staff, while spike-antibody prevalence was 39.5% (402/1018) and 59.8% (459/769), respectively, similar to regional community seroprevalence. Between December 2020 and March 2021, 14.8% (97/656; 95%CI: 12.2-17.7) students and 10.0% (59/590; 95%CI: 7.7-12.7) staff seroconverted. Weekly seroconversion rates were similar from September to December 2020 (8.0/1000) and from December 2020 to March 2021 (7.9/1000; students: 9.3/1,000; staff: 6.3/1,000). INTERPRETATION: By March 2021, a third of secondary school students and staff had evidence of prior infection based on N-antibody seropositivity, and an additional third of staff had evidence of vaccine-induced immunity based on S-antibody seropositivity.

10.
EClinicalMedicine ; 41: 101150, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446584

ABSTRACT

Background: Prospective, longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 sero-surveillance in schools across England was initiated after the first national lockdown, allowing comparison of child and adult antibody responses over time. Methods: Prospective active serological surveillance in 46 primary schools in England tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during June, July and December 2020. Samples were tested for nucleocapsid (N) and receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies, to estimate antibody persistence at least 6 months after infection, and for the correlation of N, RBD and live virus neutralising activity. Findings: In June 2020, 1,344 staff and 835 students were tested. Overall, 11.5% (95%CI: 9.4-13.9) and 11.3% (95%CI: 9.2-13.6; p = 0.88) of students had nucleoprotein and RBD antibodies, compared to 15.6% (95%CI: 13.7-17.6) and 15.3% (95%CI: 13.4-17.3; p = 0.83) of staff. Live virus neutralising activity was detected in 79.8% (n = 71/89) of nucleocapsid and 85.5% (71/83) of RBD antibody positive children. RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with neutralising antibodies (rs=0.7527; p<0.0001) than nucleocapsid antibodies (rs=0.3698; p<0.0001). A median of 24.4 weeks later, 58.2% (107/184) participants had nucleocapsid antibody seroreversion, compared to 20.9% (33/158) for RBD (p<0.001). Similar seroreversion rates were observed between staff and students for nucleocapsid (p = 0.26) and RBD-antibodies (p = 0.43). Nucleocapsid and RBD antibody quantitative results were significantly lower in staff compared to students (p = 0.028 and <0.0001 respectively) at baseline, but not at 24 weeks (p = 0.16 and p = 0.37, respectively). Interpretation: The immune response in children following SARS-CoV-2 infection was robust and sustained (>6 months) but further work is required to understand the extent to which this protects against reinfection.

13.
Nat Immunol ; 22(5): 620-626, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387432

ABSTRACT

The immune response to SARS-CoV-2 is critical in controlling disease, but there is concern that waning immunity may predispose to reinfection. We analyzed the magnitude and phenotype of the SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell response in 100 donors at 6 months following infection. T cell responses were present by ELISPOT and/or intracellular cytokine staining analysis in all donors and characterized by predominant CD4+ T cell responses with strong interleukin (IL)-2 cytokine expression. Median T cell responses were 50% higher in donors who had experienced a symptomatic infection, indicating that the severity of primary infection establishes a 'set point' for cellular immunity. T cell responses to spike and nucleoprotein/membrane proteins were correlated with peak antibody levels. Furthermore, higher levels of nucleoprotein-specific T cells were associated with preservation of nucleoprotein-specific antibody level although no such correlation was observed in relation to spike-specific responses. In conclusion, our data are reassuring that functional SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses are retained at 6 months following infection.


Subject(s)
Antigens, Viral/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/blood , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes/virology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/virology , Female , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Interleukin-2/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Phenotype , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Time Factors , Young Adult
14.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0255517, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376622

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about widespread infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) initiated prospective national surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in primary schools across England (sKIDs). We used this opportunity to assess the feasibility and agreeability of large-scale surveillance and testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school among staff, parents and students. METHODS: Staff and students in 131 primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire at recruitment and provide weekly nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing (n = 86) or swabs with blood samples for antibody testing (n = 45) at the beginning and end the summer half-term. In six blood sampling schools, students were asked to complete a pictorial questionnaire before and after their investigations. RESULTS: In total, 135 children aged 4-7 years (n = 40) or 8-11 years (n = 95) completed the pictorial questionnaire fully or partially. Prior to sampling, oral fluid sampling was the most acceptable test (107/132, 81%) followed by throat swabs (80/134, 59%), nose swabs (77/132, 58%), and blood tests (48/130, 37%). Younger students were more nervous about all tests than older students but, after completing their tests, most children reported a "better than expected" experience with all the investigations. Students were more likely to agree to additional testing for nose swabs (93/113, 82%) and oral fluid (93/114, 82%), followed by throat swabs (85/113, 75%) and blood tests (72/108, 67%). Parents (n = 3,994) and staff (n = 2,580) selected a preference for weekly testing with nose swabs, throat swabs or oral fluid sampling, although staff were more flexible about testing frequency. CONCLUSIONS: Primary school staff and parents were supportive of regular tests for SARS-CoV-2 and selected a preference for weekly testing. Children preferred nose swabs and oral fluids over throat swabs or blood sampling.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Educational Personnel/psychology , Students/psychology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , England , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , Parents/psychology , Pharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Schools , Surveys and Questionnaires
15.
BMC Infect Dis ; 21(1): 700, 2021 Jul 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1322927

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Predicting hospital length of stay (LoS) for patients with COVID-19 infection is essential to ensure that adequate bed capacity can be provided without unnecessarily restricting care for patients with other conditions. Here, we demonstrate the utility of three complementary methods for predicting LoS using UK national- and hospital-level data. METHOD: On a national scale, relevant patients were identified from the COVID-19 Hospitalisation in England Surveillance System (CHESS) reports. An Accelerated Failure Time (AFT) survival model and a truncation corrected method (TC), both with underlying Weibull distributions, were fitted to the data to estimate LoS from hospital admission date to an outcome (death or discharge) and from hospital admission date to Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission date. In a second approach we fit a multi-state (MS) survival model to data directly from the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT). We develop a planning tool that uses LoS estimates from these models to predict bed occupancy. RESULTS: All methods produced similar overall estimates of LoS for overall hospital stay, given a patient is not admitted to ICU (8.4, 9.1 and 8.0 days for AFT, TC and MS, respectively). Estimates differ more significantly between the local and national level when considering ICU. National estimates for ICU LoS from AFT and TC were 12.4 and 13.4 days, whereas in local data the MS method produced estimates of 18.9 days. CONCLUSIONS: Given the complexity and partiality of different data sources and the rapidly evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is most appropriate to use multiple analysis methods on multiple datasets. The AFT method accounts for censored cases, but does not allow for simultaneous consideration of different outcomes. The TC method does not include censored cases, instead correcting for truncation in the data, but does consider these different outcomes. The MS method can model complex pathways to different outcomes whilst accounting for censoring, but cannot handle non-random case missingness. Overall, we conclude that data-driven modelling approaches of LoS using these methods is useful in epidemic planning and management, and should be considered for widespread adoption throughout healthcare systems internationally where similar data resources exist.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Intensive Care Units/statistics & numerical data , Length of Stay/statistics & numerical data , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , Data Analysis , England/epidemiology , Female , Hospital Bed Capacity , Hospital Planning/methods , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
16.
EClinicalMedicine ; 37: 100948, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1272390

ABSTRACT

Background: Older children have higher SARS-CoV-2 infection rates than younger children. We investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence and seroconversion rates in staff and students following the full reopening of all secondary schools in England. Methods: Public Health England (PHE) invited secondary schools in six regions (East and West London, Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Manchester and Birmingham) to participate in SARS-CoV-2 surveillance during the 2020/21 academic year. Participants had nasal swabs for RT-PCR and blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the beginning (September 2020) and end (December 2020) of the autumn term. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess independent risk factors for seropositivity and seroconversion. Findings: Eighteen schools in six regions enrolled 2,209 participants, including 1,189 (53.8%) students and 1,020 (46.2%) staff. SARS-CoV-2 infection rates were not significantly different between students and staff in round one (5/948; [0.53%] vs. 2/876 [0.23%]; p = 0.46) or round two (10/948 [1.05%] vs. 7/886 [0.79%]; p = 0.63), and similar to national prevalence. None of four and 7/15 (47%) sequenced strains in rounds 1 and 2 were the highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant. In round 1, antibody seropositivity was higher in students than staff (114/893 [12.8%] vs. 79/861 [9.2%]; p = 0.016), but similar in round 2 (117/893 [13.1%] vs.117/872 [13.3%]; p = 0.85), comparable to local community seroprevalence. Between the two rounds, 8.7% (57/652) staff and 6.6% (36/549) students seroconverted (p = 0.16). Interpretation: In secondary schools, SARS-CoV-2 infection, seropositivity and seroconversion rates were similar in staff and students, and comparable to local community rates. Ongoing surveillance will be important for monitoring the impact of new variants in educational settings.

17.
J Infect ; 83(1): 104-111, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1210060

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In England, the reopening of universities in September 2020 coincided with a rapid increase in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in university aged young adults. This study aimed to estimate SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in students attending universities that had experienced a COVID-19 outbreak after reopening for the autumn term in September 2020. METHODS: A cross-sectional serosurvey was conducted during 02-11 December 2020 in students aged ≤ 25 years across five universities in England. Blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing were obtained using a self-sampling kit and analysed using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 N antibody and/or an in-house receptor binding domain (RBD) assay. FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in 2,905 university students was 17.8% (95%CI, 16.5-19.3), ranging between 7.6%-29.7% across the five universities. Seropositivity was associated with being younger likely to represent first year undergraduates (aOR 3.2, 95% CI 2.0-4.9), living in halls of residence (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.7) and sharing a kitchen with an increasing number of students (shared with 4-7 individuals, aOR 1.43, 95%CI 1.12-1.82; shared with 8 or more individuals, aOR 1.53, 95% CI 1.04-2.24). Seropositivity was 49% in students living in halls of residence that reported high SARS-CoV-2 infection rates (>8%) during the autumn term. INTERPRETATION: Despite large numbers of cases and outbreaks in universities, less than one in five students (17.8%) overall had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the end of the autumn term in England. In university halls of residence affected by a COVID-19 outbreak, however, nearly half the resident students became infected and developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , England/epidemiology , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Students , Universities , Young Adult
18.
J Infect ; 83(1): 84-91, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198892

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: SARS-CoV-2 emerged in South Asia in 2019 and has resulted in a global pandemic. Public Health England (PHE) Manchester rapidly escalated testing for SARS-CoV-2 in the highest COVID-19 incidence location in England. The results of the PHE Manchester SARS-CoV-2 surveillance during the first wave are presented. METHODS: Retrospective data were collected for patients fitting the PHE SARS-CoV-2 case definition from 11th February to 31st August 2020. Respiratory tract, tissue, faecal, fluid and cerebrospinal (CSF) samples were tested for SARS-CoV-2 by a semi-quantitative real-time reverse-transcription PCR. RESULTS: Of the 204,083 tests for SARS-CoV-2, 18,011 were positive demonstrating a positivity of 8.90%. Highest positivity was in nasal swabs (20.99%) followed by broncheo-alveolar lavage samples (12.50%). None of the faecal, fluid or CSF samples received were positive for SARS-CoV-2. CONCLUSIONS: There was a high incidence of SARS-CoV-2 patients in the North-West of England during the first UK wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Highest positivity rate was in nasal specimens suggesting this is the optimum sample type within this dataset for detecting SARS-CoV-2. Further studies are warranted to assess the utility of testing faecal, fluid and CSF samples. Rapid escalation of testing via multiple platforms was required to ensure prompt diagnosis and isolate infected cases to reduce transmission of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS Virus , Asia , England/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS Virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2
19.
Health Educ Res ; 36(3): 272-285, 2021 07 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1189451

ABSTRACT

We examined the feasibility of implementing preventive measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission across 105 English primary schools in summer 2020 via a survey and interviews with headteachers. High rates of implementation of most recommended measures were noted with the exception of requiring 2 m distance for students, fitting hand sanitizers in classrooms and introducing one-way systems in school corridors. Measures such as regular handwashing and stopping assemblies were considered easy to implement. Majorly challenging measures included distancing between individuals (for students: 51%, N = 99; for staff: 34%; N = 98; for parents: 26%, N = 100), spacing out desks (34%, N = 99), keeping same staff assigned to each student group (33%, N = 97) and staggering break times (25%, N = 99). Rapid implementation was facilitated by staff commitment and communication among stakeholders, but hampered by limitations with guidance received, physical environments, resources, parental adherence and balancing preventive measures with learning. Difficulties with distancing for younger children suggest that smaller bubbles with fewer distancing requirements within these may be a policy option. Schools require further financial, human resource and other support for effective implementation of preventive measures.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools , Students , Surveys and Questionnaires
20.
Int J Popul Data Sci ; 5(4): 1411, 2021 Mar 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175861

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Length of Stay (LoS) in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) is an important measure for planning beds capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as the pandemic progresses and we learn more about the disease, treatment and subsequent LoS in ICU may change. Objectives: To investigate the LoS in ICUs in England associated with Covid-19, correcting for censoring, and to evaluate the effect of known predictors of Covid-19 outcomes on ICU LoS. Data sources: We used retrospective data on Covid-19 patients, admitted to ICU between 6 March and 24 May, from the "Covid-19 Hospitalisation in England Surveillance System" (CHESS) database, collected daily from England's National Health Service, and collated by Public Health England. Methods: We used Accelerated Failure Time survival models with Weibull and log-normal distributional assumptions to investigate the effect of predictors, which are known to be associated with poor Covid-19 outcomes, on the LoS in ICU. Results: Patients admitted before 25 March had significantly longer LoS in ICU (mean = 18.4 days, median = 12), controlling for age, sex, whether the patient received Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation, and a co-morbid risk factors score, compared with the period after 7 April (mean = 15.4, median = 10). The periods of admission reflected the changes in the ICU admission policy in England. Patients aged 50-65 had the longest LoS, while higher co-morbid risk factors score led to shorter LoS. Sex and ethnicity were not associated with ICU LoS. Conclusions: The skew of the predicted LoS suggests that a mean LoS, as compared with median, might be better suited as a measure used to assess and plan ICU beds capacity. This is important for the ongoing second and any future waves of Covid-19 cases and potential pressure on the ICU resources. Also, changes in the ICU admission policy are likely to be confounded with improvements in clinical knowledge of Covid-19.

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