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1.
Journal of Infection and Public Health ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2165588

ABSTRACT

Background Some studies have reported that influenza vaccination is associated with lower risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and/or coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) morbidity and mortality. This study aims to estimate effectiveness of influenza vaccination, using Abbott's quadrivalent Influvac Tetra vaccine, against SARS-CoV-2 infection and against severe COVID-19. Methods This matched, test-negative, case-control study was implemented on a population of 30,774 healthcare workers (HCWs) in Qatar during the 2020 annual influenza vaccination campaign, September 17, 2020-December 31, 2020, before introduction of COVID-19 vaccination. Results Of 30,774 HCWs, 576 with PCR-positive tests and 10,033 with exclusively PCR-negative tests were eligible for inclusion in the study. Matching by sex, age, nationality, reason for PCR testing, and PCR test date yielded 518 cases matched to 2,058 controls. Median duration between influenza vaccination and the PCR test was 43 days (IQR, 29-62). Estimated effectiveness of influenza vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection >14 days after receiving the vaccine was 29.7% (95% CI: 5.5- 47.7%). Estimated effectiveness of influenza vaccination against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 was 88.9% (95% CI: 4.1-98.7%). Sensitivity analyses confirmed the main analysis results. Conclusions Recent influenza vaccination is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity.

2.
Lancet Microbe ; 2022 Nov 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2106236

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding protection conferred by natural SARS-CoV-2 infection versus COVID-19 vaccination is important for informing vaccine mandate decisions. We compared protection conferred by natural infection versus that from the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines in Qatar. METHODS: We conducted two matched retrospective cohort studies that emulated target trials. Data were obtained from the national federated databases for COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 testing, and COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death between Feb 28, 2020 (pandemic onset in Qatar) and May 12, 2022. We matched individuals with a documented primary infection and no vaccination record (natural infection cohort) with individuals who had received two doses (primary series) of the same vaccine (BNT162b2-vaccinated or mRNA-1273-vaccinated cohorts) at the start of follow-up (90 days after the primary infection). Individuals were exact matched (1:1) by sex, 10-year age group, nationality, comorbidity count, and timing of primary infection or first-dose vaccination. Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death in the natural infection cohorts was compared with incidence in the vaccinated cohorts, using Cox proportional hazards regression models with adjustment for matching factors. FINDINGS: Between Jan 5, 2021 (date of second-dose vaccine roll-out) and May 12, 2022, 104 500 individuals vaccinated with BNT162b2 and 61 955 individuals vaccinated with mRNA-1273 were matched to unvaccinated individuals with a documented primary infection. During follow-up, 7123 SARS-CoV-2 infections were recorded in the BNT162b2-vaccinated cohort and 3583 reinfections were recorded in the matched natural infection cohort. 4282 SARS-CoV-2 infections were recorded in the mRNA-1273-vaccinated cohort and 2301 reinfections were recorded in the matched natural infection cohort. The overall adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for SARS-CoV-2 infection was 0·47 (95% CI 0·45-0·48) after previous natural infection versus BNT162b2 vaccination, and 0·51 (0·49-0·54) after previous natural infection versus mRNA-1273 vaccination. The overall adjusted HR for severe (acute care hospitalisations), critical (intensive care unit hospitalisations), or fatal COVID-19 cases was 0·24 (0·08-0·72) after previous natural infection versus BNT162b2 vaccination, and 0·24 (0·05-1·19) after previous natural infection versus mRNA-1273 vaccination. Severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 was rare in both the natural infection and vaccinated cohorts. INTERPRETATION: Previous natural infection was associated with lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of the variant, than mRNA primary-series vaccination. Vaccination remains the safest and most optimal tool for protecting against infection and COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death, irrespective of previous infection status. FUNDING: The Biomedical Research Program and the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Biomathematics Research Core, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar; Qatar Ministry of Public Health; Hamad Medical Corporation; Sidra Medicine; Qatar Genome Programme; and Qatar University Biomedical Research Center.

3.
J Travel Med ; 2022 Sep 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2051490

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The future of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic hinges on virus evolution and duration of immune protection of natural infection against reinfection. We investigated duration of protection afforded by natural infection, the effect of viral immune evasion on duration of protection, and protection against severe reinfection, in Qatar, between February 28, 2020 and June 5, 2022. METHODS: Three national, matched, retrospective cohort studies were conducted to compare incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity among unvaccinated persons with a documented SARS-CoV-2 primary infection, to incidence among those infection-naïve and unvaccinated. Associations were estimated using Cox proportional-hazard regression models. RESULTS: Effectiveness of pre-Omicron primary infection against pre-Omicron reinfection was 85.5% (95% CI: 84.8-86.2%). Effectiveness peaked at 90.5% (95% CI: 88.4-92.3%) in the 7th month after the primary infection, but waned to ~ 70% by the 16th month. Extrapolating this waning trend using a Gompertz curve suggested an effectiveness of 50% in the 22nd month and < 10% by the 32nd month. Effectiveness of pre-Omicron primary infection against Omicron reinfection was 38.1% (95% CI: 36.3-39.8%) and declined with time since primary infection. A Gompertz curve suggested an effectiveness of < 10% by the 15th month. Effectiveness of primary infection against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 reinfection was 97.3% (95% CI: 94.9-98.6%), irrespective of the variant of primary infection or reinfection, and with no evidence for waning. Similar results were found in sub-group analyses for those ≥50 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Protection of natural infection against reinfection wanes and may diminish within a few years. Viral immune evasion accelerates this waning. Protection against severe reinfection remains very strong, with no evidence for waning, irrespective of variant, for over 14 months after primary infection.

4.
Frontiers in immunology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2046469

ABSTRACT

In 2021, Qatar experienced considerable incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection that was dominated sequentially by the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants. Using the cycle threshold (Ct) value of an RT-qPCR-positive test to proxy the inverse of infectiousness, we investigated infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 infections by variant, age, sex, vaccination status, prior infection status, and reason for testing in a random sample of 18,355 RT-qPCR-genotyped infections. Regression analyses were conducted to estimate associations with the Ct value of RT-qPCR-positive tests. Compared to Beta infections, Alpha and Delta infections demonstrated 2.56 higher Ct cycles (95% CI: 2.35-2.78), and 4.92 fewer cycles (95% CI: 4.67- 5.16), respectively. The Ct value declined gradually with age and was especially high for children <10 years of age, signifying lower infectiousness in small children. Children <10 years of age had 2.18 higher Ct cycles (95% CI: 1.88-2.48) than those 10-19 years of age. Compared to unvaccinated individuals, the Ct value was higher among individuals who had received one or two vaccine doses, but the Ct value decreased gradually with time since the second-dose vaccination. Ct value was 2.07 cycles higher (95% CI: 1.42-2.72) for those with a prior infection than those without prior infection. The Ct value was lowest among individuals tested because of symptoms and was highest among individuals tested as a travel requirement. Delta was substantially more infectious than Beta. Prior immunity, whether due to vaccination or prior infection, is associated with lower infectiousness of breakthrough infections, but infectiousness increases gradually with time since the second-dose vaccination.

5.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Oct 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2017770

ABSTRACT

Beta (B.1.351) variant COVID-19 disease was investigated in Qatar. Compared to Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant, odds of progressing to severe disease were 1.24-fold (95% CI: 1.11-1.39) higher for Beta. Odds of progressing to critical disease were 1.49-fold (95% CI: 1.13-1.97) higher. Odds of COVID-19 death were 1.57-fold (95% CI: 1.03-2.43) higher.

6.
International journal of public health ; 67, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1998291

ABSTRACT

Objectives: Manual and Craft Workers (MACWs), who constitute more than 80% of the population, were identified to be a vulnerable group to COVID-19 in Qatar. The goal of this study is to identify the limitations face MACWs in Qatar towards practicing the COVID-19 preventive measures and thereby designing behavioral change strategies. Methods: This is a qualitative research study in which individual interviews and focus group discussions were utilized for a deep understanding of the phenomenon from key informants. Four onlive individual interviews and four focus groups (n = 55) were conducted and transcribed verbatim. Inductive qualitative analysis was followed to discover the themes of the interviews. Data were analyzed using constant comparative techniques. Results: Major themes elicited from the analysis revealed that the barriers to following COVID-19 preventive behaviors among migrant workers in Qatar included barriers related to knowledge and risk perception;lifestyle and habits;nature of work and living conditions, and barriers related to health communication, diversified cultures, and languages. Conclusion: The findings would support constructing culturally sensitive health education messages and planning for effective health communication campaigns.

7.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 4675, 2022 08 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984386

ABSTRACT

There is significant genetic distance between SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages. This study investigates immune protection of infection with one sub-lineage against reinfection with the other sub-lineage in Qatar during a large BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron wave, from December 19, 2021 to March 21, 2022. Two national matched, retrospective cohort studies are conducted to estimate effectiveness of BA.1 infection against reinfection with BA.2 (N = 20,994; BA.1-against-BA.2 study), and effectiveness of BA.2 infection against reinfection with BA.1 (N = 110,315; BA.2-against-BA.1 study). Associations are estimated using Cox proportional-hazards regression models after multiple imputation to assign a sub-lineage status for cases with no sub-lineage status (using probabilities based on the test date). Effectiveness of BA.1 infection against reinfection with BA.2 is estimated at 94.2% (95% CI: 89.2-96.9%). Effectiveness of BA.2 infection against reinfection with BA.1 is estimated at 80.9% (95% CI: 73.1-86.4%). Infection with the BA.1 sub-lineage appears to induce strong, but not full immune protection against reinfection with the BA.2 sub-lineage, and vice versa, for at least several weeks after the initial infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Reinfection , Humans , Proportional Hazards Models , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
8.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0271324, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1938448

ABSTRACT

We developed a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) risk score to guide targeted RT-PCR testing in Qatar. The Qatar national COVID-19 testing database, encompassing a total of 2,688,232 RT-PCR tests conducted between February 5, 2020-January 27, 2021, was analyzed. Logistic regression analyses were implemented to derive the COVID-19 risk score, as a tool to identify those at highest risk of having the infection. Score cut-off was determined using the ROC curve based on maximum sum of sensitivity and specificity. The score's performance diagnostics were assessed. Logistic regression analysis identified age, sex, and nationality as significant predictors of infection and were included in the risk score. The ROC curve was generated and the area under the curve was estimated at 0.63 (95% CI: 0.63-0.63). The score had a sensitivity of 59.4% (95% CI: 59.1%-59.7%), specificity of 61.1% (95% CI: 61.1%-61.2%), a positive predictive value of 10.9% (95% CI: 10.8%-10.9%), and a negative predictive value of 94.9% (94.9%-95.0%). The concept and utility of a COVID-19 risk score were demonstrated in Qatar. Such a public health tool can have considerable utility in optimizing testing and suppressing infection transmission, while maximizing efficiency and use of available resources.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Public Health , Qatar/epidemiology , ROC Curve , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(7)2022 Jun 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911730

ABSTRACT

Waning immunity following administration of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines remains a concern for many health systems. We undertook a study to determine if recent reports of waning for severe disease could have been attributed to design-related bias by conducting a study only among those detected with a first SARS-CoV-2 infection. We used a matched case-control study design with the study base being all individuals with first infection with SARS-CoV-2 reported in the State of Qatar between 1 January 2021 and 20 February 2022. Cases were those detected with first SARS-CoV-2 infection requiring intensive care (hard outcome), while controls were those detected with first SARS-CoV-2 infection who recovered without the need for intensive care. Cases and controls were matched in a 1:30 ratio for the calendar month of infection and the comorbidity category. Duration and magnitude of conditional vaccine effectiveness against requiring intensive care and the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) to prevent one more case of COVID-19 requiring intensive care was estimated for the mRNA (BNT162b2/mRNA-1273) vaccines. Conditional vaccine effectiveness against requiring intensive care was 59% (95% confidence interval (CI), 50 to 76) between the first and second dose, and strengthened to 89% (95% CI, 85 to 92) between the second dose and 4 months post the second dose in persons who received a primary course of the vaccine. There was no waning of vaccine effectiveness in the period from 4 to 6, 6 to 9, and 9 to 12 months after the second dose. This study demonstrates that, contrary to mainstream reports using hierarchical measures of effectiveness, conditional vaccine effectiveness against requiring intensive care remains robust till at least 12 months after the second dose of mRNA-based vaccines.

11.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3082, 2022 06 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1873502

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants are genetically divergent. We conducted a matched, test-negative, case-control study to estimate duration of protection of the second and third/booster doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines against BA.1 and BA.2 infections in Qatar. BNT162b2 effectiveness was highest at 46.6% (95% CI: 33.4-57.2%) against symptomatic BA.1 and at 51.7% (95% CI: 43.2-58.9%) against symptomatic BA.2 infections in the first three months after the second dose, but declined to ~10% or below thereafter. Effectiveness rebounded to 59.9% (95% CI: 51.2-67.0%) and 43.7% (95% CI: 36.5-50.0%), respectively, in the first month after the booster dose, before declining again. Effectiveness against COVID-19 hospitalization and death was 70-80% after the second dose and >90% after the booster dose. mRNA-1273 vaccine protection showed similar patterns. mRNA vaccines provide comparable, moderate, and short-lived protection against symptomatic BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron infections, but strong and durable protection against COVID-19 hospitalization and death.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273 , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Qatar/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
12.
N Engl J Med ; 386(19): 1804-1816, 2022 05 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1735349

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Waning of vaccine protection against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and the emergence of the omicron (or B.1.1.529) variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have led to expedited efforts to scale up booster vaccination. Protection conferred by booster doses of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines in Qatar, as compared with protection conferred by the two-dose primary series, is unclear. METHODS: We conducted two matched retrospective cohort studies to assess the effectiveness of booster vaccination, as compared with that of a two-dose primary series alone, against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and Covid-19-related hospitalization and death during a large wave of omicron infections from December 19, 2021, through January 26, 2022. The association of booster status with infection was estimated with the use of Cox proportional-hazards regression models. RESULTS: In a population of 2,239,193 persons who had received at least two doses of BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccine, those who had also received a booster were matched with persons who had not received a booster. Among the BNT162b2-vaccinated persons, the cumulative incidence of symptomatic omicron infection was 2.4% (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.3 to 2.5) in the booster cohort and 4.5% (95% CI, 4.3 to 4.6) in the nonbooster cohort after 35 days of follow-up. Booster effectiveness against symptomatic omicron infection, as compared with that of the primary series, was 49.4% (95% CI, 47.1 to 51.6). Booster effectiveness against Covid-19-related hospitalization and death due to omicron infection, as compared with the primary series, was 76.5% (95% CI, 55.9 to 87.5). BNT162b2 booster effectiveness against symptomatic infection with the delta (or B.1.617.2) variant, as compared with the primary series, was 86.1% (95% CI, 67.3 to 94.1). Among the mRNA-1273-vaccinated persons, the cumulative incidence of symptomatic omicron infection was 1.0% (95% CI, 0.9 to 1.2) in the booster cohort and 1.9% (95% CI, 1.8 to 2.1) in the nonbooster cohort after 35 days; booster effectiveness against symptomatic omicron infection, as compared with the primary series, was 47.3% (95% CI, 40.7 to 53.3). Few severe Covid-19 cases were noted in the mRNA-1273-vaccinated cohorts. CONCLUSIONS: The messenger RNA (mRNA) boosters were highly effective against symptomatic delta infection, but they were less effective against symptomatic omicron infection. However, with both variants, mRNA boosters led to strong protection against Covid-19-related hospitalization and death. (Funded by Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar and others.).


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cohort Studies , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Qatar/epidemiology , RNA, Messenger , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccines, Synthetic
13.
J Glob Health ; 12: 05004, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687376

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effective reproduction number, Rt , is a tool to track and understand pandemic dynamics. This investigation of Rt estimations was conducted to guide the national COVID-19 response in Qatar, from the onset of the pandemic until August 18, 2021. METHODS: Real-time "empirical" Rt Empirical was estimated using five methods, including the Robert Koch Institute, Cislaghi, Systrom-Bettencourt and Ribeiro, Wallinga and Teunis, and Cori et al. methods. Rt was also estimated using a transmission dynamics model (Rt Model-based ). Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses were conducted. Correlations between different Rt estimates were assessed by calculating correlation coefficients, and agreements between these estimates were assessed through Bland-Altman plots. RESULTS: Rt Empirical captured the evolution of the pandemic through three waves, public health response landmarks, effects of major social events, transient fluctuations coinciding with significant clusters of infection, and introduction and expansion of the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant. The various estimation methods produced consistent and overall comparable Rt Empirical estimates with generally large correlation coefficients. The Wallinga and Teunis method was the fastest at detecting changes in pandemic dynamics. Rt Empirical estimates were consistent whether using time series of symptomatic PCR-confirmed cases, all PCR-confirmed cases, acute-care hospital admissions, or ICU-care hospital admissions, to proxy trends in true infection incidence. Rt Model-based correlated strongly with Rt Empirical and provided an average Rt Empirical . CONCLUSIONS: Rt estimations were robust and generated consistent results regardless of the data source or the method of estimation. Findings affirmed an influential role for Rt estimations in guiding national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, even in resource-limited settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Basic Reproduction Number , Humans , Pandemics , Qatar/epidemiology
14.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262897, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662441

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the performance of a rapid point-of-care antibody test, the BioMedomics COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test, in comparison with a high-quality, validated, laboratory-based platform, the Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay. Serological testing was conducted on 709 individuals. Concordance metrics were estimated. Logistic regression was used to assess associations with seropositivity. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 63.5% (450/709; 95% CI 59.8%-67.0%) using the BioMedomics assay and 71.9% (510/709; 95% CI 68.5%-75.2%) using the Elecsys assay. There were 60 discordant results between the two assays, all of which were seropositive in the Elecsys assay, but seronegative in the BioMedomics assay. Overall, positive, and negative percent agreements between the two assays were 91.5% (95% CI 89.2%-93.5%), 88.2% (95% CI 85.1%-90.9%), and 100% (95% CI 98.2%-100%), respectively, with a Cohen's kappa of 0.81 (95% CI 0.78-0.84). Excluding specimens with lower (Elecsys) antibody titers, the agreement improved with overall, positive, and negative percent concordance of 94.4% (95% CI 92.3%-96.1%), 91.8% (95% CI 88.8%-94.3%), and 100% (95% CI 98.2%-100%), respectively, and a Cohen's kappa of 0.88 (95% CI 0.85-0.90). Logistic regression confirmed better agreement with higher antibody titers. The BioMedomics COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test demonstrated good performance in measuring detectable antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, supporting the utility of such rapid point-of-care serological testing to guide the public health responses and vaccine prioritization.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Adult , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Point-of-Care Testing , Qatar , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Young Adult
15.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 532, 2022 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655582

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals and in those who had a prior infection have been observed globally, but the transmission potential of these infections is unknown. The RT-qPCR cycle threshold (Ct) value is inversely correlated with viral load and culturable virus. Here, we investigate differences in RT-qPCR Ct values across Qatar's national cohorts of primary infections, reinfections, BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) breakthrough infections, and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) breakthrough infections. Our matched-cohort analyses of the randomly diagnosed infections show higher mean Ct value in all cohorts of breakthrough infections compared to the cohort of primary infections in unvaccinated individuals. The Ct value is 1.3 (95% CI: 0.9-1.8) cycles higher for BNT162b2 breakthrough infections, 3.2 (95% CI: 1.9-4.5) cycles higher for mRNA-1273 breakthrough infections, and 4.0 (95% CI: 3.5-4.5) cycles higher for reinfections in unvaccinated individuals. Since Ct value correlates inversely with SARS-CoV-2 infectiousness, these differences imply that vaccine breakthrough infections and reinfections are less infectious than primary infections in unvaccinated individuals. Public health benefits of vaccination may have been underestimated, as COVID-19 vaccines not only protect against acquisition of infection, but also appear to protect against transmission of infection.


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Qatar/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination , Viral Load , Young Adult
16.
PLoS Med ; 18(12): e1003879, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573611

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 (or Alpha) variant is insufficiently understood. This study's objective was to describe the introduction and expansion of this variant in Qatar and to estimate the efficacy of natural infection against reinfection with this variant. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Reinfections with the B.1.1.7 variant and variants of unknown status were investigated in a national cohort of 158,608 individuals with prior PCR-confirmed infections and a national cohort of 42,848 antibody-positive individuals. Infections with B.1.1.7 and variants of unknown status were also investigated in a national comparator cohort of 132,701 antibody-negative individuals. B.1.1.7 was first identified in Qatar on 25 December 2020. Sudden, large B.1.1.7 epidemic expansion was observed starting on 18 January 2021, triggering the onset of epidemic's second wave, 7 months after the first wave. B.1.1.7 was about 60% more infectious than the original (wild-type) circulating variants. Among persons with a prior PCR-confirmed infection, the efficacy of natural infection against reinfection was estimated to be 97.5% (95% CI: 95.7% to 98.6%) for B.1.1.7 and 92.2% (95% CI: 90.6% to 93.5%) for variants of unknown status. Among antibody-positive persons, the efficacy of natural infection against reinfection was estimated to be 97.0% (95% CI: 92.5% to 98.7%) for B.1.1.7 and 94.2% (95% CI: 91.8% to 96.0%) for variants of unknown status. A main limitation of this study is assessment of reinfections based on documented PCR-confirmed reinfections, but other reinfections could have occurred and gone undocumented. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed that introduction of B.1.1.7 into a naïve population can create a major epidemic wave, but natural immunity in those previously infected was strongly associated with limited incidence of reinfection by B.1.1.7 or other variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Reinfection/epidemiology , Reinfection/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Basic Reproduction Number , Child , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Theoretical , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Qatar/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , Time Factors , Young Adult
17.
JAMA ; 326(19): 1930-1939, 2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1544170

ABSTRACT

Importance: The effect of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection on vaccine protection remains poorly understood. Objective: To assess protection from SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infection after mRNA vaccination among persons with vs without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Design, Setting, and Participants: Matched-cohort studies in Qatar for the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines. A total of 1 531 736 individuals vaccinated with either vaccine between December 21, 2020, and September 19, 2021, were followed up beginning 14 days after receiving the second dose until September 19, 2021. Exposures: Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 vaccination. Main Outcomes and Measures: Incident SARS-CoV-2 infection, defined as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive nasopharyngeal swab regardless of reason for PCR testing or presence of symptoms. Cumulative incidence was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier estimator method. Results: The BNT162b2-vaccinated cohort comprised 99 226 individuals with and 290 432 matched individuals without prior PCR-confirmed infection (median age, 37 years; 68% male). The mRNA-1273-vaccinated cohort comprised 58 096 individuals with and 169 514 matched individuals without prior PCR-confirmed infection (median age, 36 years; 73% male). Among BNT162b2-vaccinated persons, 159 reinfections occurred in those with and 2509 in those without prior infection 14 days or more after dose 2. Among mRNA-1273-vaccinated persons, 43 reinfections occurred in those with and 368 infections in those without prior infection. Cumulative infection incidence among BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals was an estimated 0.15% (95% CI, 0.12%-0.18%) in those with and 0.83% (95% CI, 0.79%-0.87%) in those without prior infection at 120 days of follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio for breakthrough infection with prior infection, 0.18 [95% CI, 0.15-0.21]; P < .001). Cumulative infection incidence among mRNA-1273-vaccinated individuals was an estimated 0.11% (95% CI, 0.08%-0.15%) in those with and 0.35% (95% CI, 0.32%-0.40%) in those without prior infection at 120 days of follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.35 [95% CI, 0.25-0.48]; P < .001). Vaccinated individuals with prior infection 6 months or more before dose 1 had statistically significantly lower risk for breakthrough infection than those vaccinated less than 6 months before dose 1 (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.42-0.92]; P = .02 for BNT162b2 and 0.40 [95% CI, 0.18-0.91]; P = .03 for mRNA-1273 vaccination). Conclusions and Relevance: Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for breakthrough infection among individuals receiving the BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccines in Qatar between December 21, 2020, and September 19, 2021. The observational study design precludes direct comparisons of infection risk between the 2 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/complications , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Qatar
18.
Qatar Med J ; 2021(3): 59, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506895

ABSTRACT

Public health control measures for communicable diseases are often based on the identification of symptomatic cases. However, emerging epidemiological evidence demonstrates the role of pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic transmissions of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Understanding high-risk settings where transmissions can occur from infected individuals without symptoms has become critical for improving the response to the pandemic. In this review, we discussed the evidence on the transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2, its effect on control strategies, and lessons that can be applied in Qatar. Although Qatar has a small population, it has a distinct setting for COVID-19 control. It has a largely young population and is mostly composed of expatriates particularly from the Middle East and Asia that reside in Qatar for work. Further key considerations for Qatar and travel include population movement during extended religious holiday periods, screening and tracing of visitors and residents at entry points into the country, and expatriates living and working in high-density settings. We also consider how its international airport serves as a major transit destination for the region, as Qatar is expected to experience a rapid expansion of visitors while preparing to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

19.
Nat Med ; 27(12): 2136-2143, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1500483

ABSTRACT

With the global expansion of the highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, we conducted a matched test-negative case-control study to assess the real-world effectiveness of COVID-19 messenger RNA vaccines against infection with Delta in Qatar's population. BNT162b2 effectiveness against any, symptomatic or asymptomatic, Delta infection was 45.3% (95% CI, 22.0-61.6%) ≥14 d after the first vaccine dose, but only 51.9% (95% CI, 47.0-56.4%) ≥14 d after the second dose, with 50% of fully vaccinated individuals receiving their second dose before 11 May 2021. Corresponding mRNA-1273 effectiveness ≥14 d after the first or second dose was 73.7% (95% CI, 58.1-83.5%) and 73.1% (95% CI, 67.5-77.8%), respectively. Notably, effectiveness against Delta-induced severe, critical or fatal disease was 93.4% (95% CI, 85.4-97.0%) for BNT162b2 and 96.1% (95% CI, 71.6-99.5%) for mRNA-1273 ≥ 14 d after the second dose. Our findings show robust effectiveness for both BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 in preventing Delta hospitalization and death in Qatar's population, despite lower effectiveness in preventing infection, particularly for the BNT162b2 vaccine.


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Case-Control Studies , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Qatar/epidemiology , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
20.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(7): e1830-e1840, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1455275

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Risk of reinfection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is unknown. We assessed the risk and incidence rate of documented SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in a cohort of laboratory-confirmed cases in Qatar. METHODS: All SARS-CoV-2 laboratory-confirmed cases with at least 1 polymerase chain reaction-positive swab that was ≥45 days after a first positive swab were individually investigated for evidence of reinfection. Viral genome sequencing of the paired first positive and reinfection viral specimens was conducted to confirm reinfection. RESULTS: Out of 133 266 laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases, 243 persons (0.18%) had at least 1 subsequent positive swab ≥45 days after the first positive swab. Of these, 54 cases (22.2%) had strong or good evidence for reinfection. Median time between the first swab and reinfection swab was 64.5 days (range, 45-129). Twenty-three of the 54 cases (42.6%) were diagnosed at a health facility, suggesting presence of symptoms, while 31 (57.4%) were identified incidentally through random testing campaigns/surveys or contact tracing. Only 1 person was hospitalized at the time of reinfection but was discharged the next day. No deaths were recorded. Viral genome sequencing confirmed 4 reinfections of 12 cases with available genetic evidence. Reinfection risk was estimated at 0.02% (95% confidence interval [CI], .01%-.02%), and reinfection incidence rate was 0.36 (95% CI, .28-.47) per 10 000 person-weeks. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 reinfection can occur but is a rare phenomenon suggestive of protective immunity against reinfection that lasts for at least a few months post primary infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Contact Tracing , Humans , Incidence , Reinfection
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