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1.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-494965

ABSTRACT

The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants including the Delta and Omicron along with waning of vaccine-induced immunity over time contributed to increased rates of breakthrough infection specifically among healthcare workers (HCWs). SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance is an important tool for timely detection and characterization of circulating variants as well as monitoring the emergence of new strains. Our study is the first national SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance among HCWs in Lebanon. We collected 250 samples from five hospitals across Lebanon between December 2021 and January 2022. We extracted viral RNA and performed whole genome sequencing using the Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. A total of 133 (57.1%) samples belonging to the Omicron (BA.1.1) sub-lineage were identified, as well as 44 (18.9%) samples belonging to the BA.1 sub-lineage, 28 (12%) belonging to the BA.2 sub-lineage, and only 15 (6.6%) samples belonging to the Delta variant sub-lineage B.1.617.2. These results show that Lebanon followed the global trend in terms of circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants with Delta rapidly replaced by the Omicron variant. This study underscores the importance of continuous genomic surveillance programs in Lebanon for the timely detection and characterization of circulating variants. The latter is critical to guide public health policy making and to timely implement public health interventions.

2.
Houriiyah Tegally; James E. San; Matthew Cotten; Bryan Tegomoh; Gerald Mboowa; Darren P. Martin; Cheryl Baxter; Monika Moir; Arnold Lambisia; Amadou Diallo; Daniel G. Amoako; Moussa M. Diagne; Abay Sisay; Abdel-Rahman N. Zekri; Abdelhamid Barakat; Abdou Salam Gueye; Abdoul K. Sangare; Abdoul-Salam Ouedraogo; Abdourahmane SOW; Abdualmoniem O. Musa; Abdul K. Sesay; Adamou LAGARE; Adedotun-Sulaiman Kemi; Aden Elmi Abar; Adeniji A. Johnson; Adeola Fowotade; Adewumi M. Olubusuyi; Adeyemi O. Oluwapelumi; Adrienne A. Amuri; Agnes Juru; Ahmad Mabrouk Ramadan; Ahmed Kandeil; Ahmed Mostafa; Ahmed Rebai; Ahmed Sayed; Akano Kazeem; Aladje Balde; Alan Christoffels; Alexander J. Trotter; Allan Campbell; Alpha Kabinet KEITA; Amadou Kone; Amal Bouzid; Amal Souissi; Ambrose Agweyu; Ana V. Gutierrez; Andrew J. Page; Anges Yadouleton; Anika Vinze; Anise N. Happi; Anissa Chouikha; Arash Iranzadeh; Arisha Maharaj; Armel Landry Batchi-Bouyou; Arshad Ismail; Augustina Sylverken; Augustine Goba; Ayoade Femi; Ayotunde Elijah Sijuwola; Azeddine Ibrahimi; Baba Marycelin; Babatunde Lawal Salako; Bamidele S. Oderinde; Bankole Bolajoko; Beatrice Dhaala; Belinda L. Herring; Benjamin Tsofa; Bernard Mvula; Berthe-Marie Njanpop-Lafourcade; Blessing T. Marondera; Bouh Abdi KHAIREH; Bourema Kouriba; Bright Adu; Brigitte Pool; Bronwyn McInnis; Cara Brook; Carolyn Williamson; Catherine Anscombe; Catherine B. Pratt; Cathrine Scheepers; Chantal G. Akoua-Koffi; Charles N. Agoti; Cheikh Loucoubar; Chika Kingsley Onwuamah; Chikwe Ihekweazu; Christian Noel MALAKA; Christophe Peyrefitte; Chukwuma Ewean Omoruyi; Clotaire Donatien Rafai; Collins M. Morang'a; D. James Nokes; Daniel Bugembe Lule; Daniel J. Bridges; Daniel Mukadi-Bamuleka; Danny Park; David Baker; Deelan Doolabh; Deogratius Ssemwanga; Derek Tshiabuila; Diarra Bassirou; Dominic S.Y. Amuzu; Dominique Goedhals; Donald S. Grant; Donwilliams O. Omuoyo; Dorcas Maruapula; Dorcas Waruguru Wanjohi; Ebenezer Foster-Nyarko; Eddy K. Lusamaki; Edgar Simulundu; Edidah M. Ong'era; Edith N. Ngabana; Edward O. Abworo; Edward Otieno; Edwin Shumba; Edwine Barasa; EL BARA AHMED; Elmostafa EL FAHIME; Emmanuel Lokilo; Enatha Mukantwari; Erameh Cyril; Eromon Philomena; Essia Belarbi; Etienne Simon-Loriere; Etile A. Anoh; Fabian Leendertz; Fahn M. Taweh; Fares Wasfi; Fatma Abdelmoula; Faustinos T. Takawira; Fawzi Derrar; Fehintola V Ajogbasile; Florette Treurnicht; Folarin Onikepe; Francine Ntoumi; Francisca M. Muyembe; FRANCISCO NGIAMBUDULU; Frank Edgard ZONGO Ragomzingba; Fred Athanasius DRATIBI; Fred-Akintunwa Iyanu; Gabriel K. Mbunsu; Gaetan Thilliez; Gemma L. Kay; George O. Akpede; George E Uwem; Gert van Zyl; Gordon A. Awandare; Grit Schubert; Gugu P. Maphalala; Hafaliana C. Ranaivoson; Hajar Lemriss; Hannah E Omunakwe; Harris Onywera; Haruka Abe; HELA KARRAY; Hellen Nansumba; Henda Triki; Herve Alberic ADJE KADJO; Hesham Elgahzaly; Hlanai Gumbo; HOTA mathieu; Hugo Kavunga-Membo; Ibtihel Smeti; Idowu B. Olawoye; Ifedayo Adetifa; Ikponmwosa Odia; Ilhem Boutiba-Ben Boubaker; Isaac Ssewanyana; Isatta Wurie; Iyaloo S Konstantinus; Jacqueline Wemboo Afiwa Halatoko; James Ayei; Janaki Sonoo; Jean Bernard LEKANA-DOUKI; Jean-Claude C. Makangara; Jean-Jacques M. Tamfum; Jean-Michel Heraud; Jeffrey G. Shaffer; Jennifer Giandhari; Jennifer Musyoki; Jessica N. Uwanibe; Jinal N. Bhiman; Jiro Yasuda; Joana Morais; Joana Q. Mends; Jocelyn Kiconco; John Demby Sandi; John Huddleston; John Kofi Odoom; John M. Morobe; John O. Gyapong; John T. Kayiwa; Johnson C. Okolie; Joicymara Santos Xavier; Jones Gyamfi; Joseph Humphrey Kofi Bonney; Joseph Nyandwi; Josie Everatt; Jouali Farah; Joweria Nakaseegu; Joyce M. Ngoi; Joyce Namulondo; Judith U. Oguzie; Julia C. Andeko; Julius J. Lutwama; Justin O'Grady; Katherine J Siddle; Kathleen Victoir; Kayode T. Adeyemi; Kefentse A. Tumedi; Kevin Sanders Carvalho; Khadija Said Mohammed; Kunda G. Musonda; Kwabena O. Duedu; Lahcen Belyamani; Lamia Fki-Berrajah; Lavanya Singh; Leon Biscornet; Leonardo de Oliveira Martins; Lucious Chabuka; Luicer Olubayo; Lul Lojok Deng; Lynette Isabella Ochola-Oyier; Madisa Mine; Magalutcheemee Ramuth; Maha Mastouri; Mahmoud ElHefnawi; Maimouna Mbanne; Maitshwarelo I. Matsheka; Malebogo Kebabonye; Mamadou Diop; Mambu Momoh; Maria da Luz Lima Mendonca; Marietjie Venter; Marietou F Paye; Martin Faye; Martin M. Nyaga; Mathabo Mareka; Matoke-Muhia Damaris; Maureen W. Mburu; Maximillian Mpina; Claujens Chastel MFOUTOU MAPANGUY; Michael Owusu; Michael R. Wiley; Mirabeau Youtchou Tatfeng; Mitoha Ondo'o Ayekaba; Mohamed Abouelhoda; Mohamed Amine Beloufa; Mohamed G Seadawy; Mohamed K. Khalifa; Mohammed Koussai DELLAGI; Mooko Marethabile Matobo; Mouhamed Kane; Mouna Ouadghiri; Mounerou Salou; Mphaphi B. Mbulawa; Mudashiru Femi Saibu; Mulenga Mwenda; My V.T. Phan; Nabil Abid; Nadia Touil; Nadine Rujeni; Nalia Ismael; Ndeye Marieme Top; Ndongo Dia; Nedio Mabunda; Nei-yuan Hsiao; Nelson Borico Silochi; Ngonda Saasa; Nicholas Bbosa; Nickson Murunga; Nicksy Gumede; Nicole Wolter; Nikita Sitharam; Nnaemeka Ndodo; Nnennaya A. Ajayi; Noel Tordo; Nokuzola Mbhele; Norosoa H Razanajatovo; Nosamiefan Iguosadolo; Nwando Mba; Ojide C. Kingsley; Okogbenin Sylvanus; Okokhere Peter; Oladiji Femi; Olumade Testimony; Olusola Akinola Ogunsanya; Oluwatosin Fakayode; Onwe E. Ogah; Ousmane Faye; Pamela Smith-Lawrence; Pascale Ondoa; Patrice Combe; Patricia Nabisubi; Patrick Semanda; Paul E. Oluniyi; Paulo Arnaldo; Peter Kojo Quashie; Philip Bejon; Philippe Dussart; Phillip A. Bester; Placide K. Mbala; Pontiano Kaleebu; Priscilla Abechi; Rabeh El-Shesheny; Rageema Joseph; Ramy Karam Aziz; Rene Ghislain Essomba; Reuben Ayivor-Djanie; Richard Njouom; Richard O. Phillips; Richmond Gorman; Robert A. Kingsley; Rosemary Audu; Rosina A.A. Carr; Saad El Kabbaj; Saba Gargouri; Saber Masmoudi; Safietou Sankhe; Sahra Isse Mohamed; Salma MHALLA; Salome Hosch; Samar Kamal Kassim; Samar Metha; Sameh Trabelsi; Sanaa Lemriss; Sara Hassan Agwa; Sarah Wambui Mwangi; Seydou Doumbia; Sheila Makiala-Mandanda; Sherihane Aryeetey; Shymaa S. Ahmed; SIDI MOHAMED AHMED; Siham Elhamoumi; Sikhulile Moyo; Silvia Lutucuta; Simani Gaseitsiwe; Simbirie Jalloh; Soafy Andriamandimby; Sobajo Oguntope; Solene Grayo; Sonia Lekana-Douki; Sophie Prosolek; Soumeya Ouangraoua; Stephanie van Wyk; Stephen F. Schaffner; Stephen Kanyerezi; Steve AHUKA-MUNDEKE; Steven Rudder; Sureshnee Pillay; Susan Nabadda; Sylvie Behillil; Sylvie L. Budiaki; Sylvie van der Werf; Tapfumanei Mashe; Tarik Aanniz; Thabo Mohale; Thanh Le-Viet; Thirumalaisamy P. Velavan; Tobias Schindler; Tongai Maponga; Trevor Bedford; Ugochukwu J. Anyaneji; Ugwu Chinedu; Upasana Ramphal; Vincent Enouf; Vishvanath Nene; Vivianne Gorova; Wael H. Roshdy; Wasim Abdul Karim; William K. Ampofo; Wolfgang Preiser; Wonderful T. Choga; Yahaya ALI ALI AHMED; Yajna Ramphal; Yaw Bediako; Yeshnee Naidoo; Yvan Butera; Zaydah R. de Laurent; Ahmed E.O. Ouma; Anne von Gottberg; George Githinji; Matshidiso Moeti; Oyewale Tomori; Pardis C. Sabeti; Amadou A. Sall; Samuel O. Oyola; Yenew K. Tebeje; Sofonias K. Tessema; Tulio de Oliveira; Christian Happi; Richard Lessells; John Nkengasong; Eduan Wilkinson.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22273906

ABSTRACT

Investment in Africa over the past year with regards to SARS-CoV-2 genotyping has led to a massive increase in the number of sequences, exceeding 100,000 genomes generated to track the pandemic on the continent. Our results show an increase in the number of African countries able to sequence within their own borders, coupled with a decrease in sequencing turnaround time. Findings from this genomic surveillance underscores the heterogeneous nature of the pandemic but we observe repeated dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 variants within the continent. Sustained investment for genomic surveillance in Africa is needed as the virus continues to evolve, particularly in the low vaccination landscape. These investments are very crucial for preparedness and response for future pathogen outbreaks. One-Sentence SummaryExpanding Africa SARS-CoV-2 sequencing capacity in a fast evolving pandemic.

3.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22272177

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe third wave of COVID-19 in England peaked in January 2022 resulting from the rapid transmission of the Omicron variant. However, rates of hospitalisations and deaths were substantially lower than in the first and second waves MethodsIn the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study we obtained data from a random sample of 94,950 participants with valid throat and nose swab results by RT-PCR during round 18 (8 February to 1 March 2022). FindingsWe estimated a weighted mean SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of 2.88% (95% credible interval [CrI] 2.76-3.00), with a within-round reproduction number (R) overall of 0.94 (0{middle dot}91-0.96). While within-round weighted prevalence fell among children (aged 5 to 17 years) and adults aged 18 to 54 years, we observed a level or increasing weighted prevalence among those aged 55 years and older with an R of 1.04 (1.00-1.09). Among 1,195 positive samples with sublineages determined, only one (0.1% [0.0-0.5]) corresponded to AY.39 Delta sublineage and the remainder were Omicron: N=390, 32.7% (30.0-35.4) were BA.1; N=473, 39.6% (36.8-42.5) were BA.1.1; and N=331, 27.7% (25.2-30.4) were BA.2. We estimated an R additive advantage for BA.2 (vs BA.1 or BA.1.1) of 0.40 (0.36-0.43). The highest proportion of BA.2 among positives was found in London. InterpretationIn February 2022, infection prevalence in England remained high with level or increasing rates of infection in older people and an uptick in hospitalisations. Ongoing surveillance of both survey and hospitalisations data is required. FundingDepartment of Health and Social Care, England. O_TEXTBOXResearch in contextO_ST_ABSEvidence before this studyC_ST_ABSA search of PubMed using title or abstract terms ("Omicron" or "BA.1" or "BA.2") and "prevalence" without language or other restrictions, identified 51 results (with no duplicates). All 51 results were evaluated, with 18 deemed relevant. One study focused on Omicron case rates in South Africa during the early stage after the discovery of the new variant (November 2021), one described genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in the USA (June - December 2021), one analysed clinical outcomes based on health records (January - December 2021), one described the results of whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 samples collected in North Africa (March - December 2021), and one was from a previous REACT survey round (November - December 2021). The others focused on the mutation distribution of Omicron, disease severity, immune response, vaccine effectiveness, and prevalence in animal hosts. Added value of this studyWe analysed data from throat and nose swabs collected at home by a randomly selected sample of residents of England, aged 5 years and older, obtained during round 18 (8 February to 1 March 2022) of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study. We estimated a weighted prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 of 2.88% (95% CrI 2.76-3.00) in England in February 2022, which was substantially lower than that estimated in January 2022 (4.41% [4.25-4.56]). The within-round dynamics differed by age group with weighted prevalence falling among children (aged 5 to 17 years) with an R of 0.79 (0.74-0.84) and adults aged 18 to 54 years with an R of 0.92 (0.89-0.96), in contrast to the level or increasing weighted prevalence among those aged 55 years and older with an R of 1.04 (1.00-1.09). Exponential models estimated a daily growth rate advantage of 0.12 (0.11-0.13) in the odds of BA.2 (vs BA.1 or BA.1.1) corresponding to an R additive advantage of 0.40 (0.36-0.43). Implications of all the available evidenceRandom community surveys of SARS-CoV-2 provide robust insights into transmission dynamics and identify groups at heightened risk of infection based on estimates of population prevalence that are unbiased by test-seeking behaviour or availability of tests. In England, replacement by BA.2 of other Omicron sublineages, the level or increasing rates of infection in older people and the uptick in hospitalisations in England toward the end of February 2022 require ongoing surveillance, both to monitor the levels of current (and future) SARS-CoV-2 variants and the risks of severe disease. C_TEXTBOX

4.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22270365

ABSTRACT

BackgroundRapid transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has led to the highest ever recorded case incidence levels in many countries around the world. MethodsThe REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study has been characterising the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using RT-PCR test results from self-administered throat and nose swabs from randomly-selected participants in England at ages 5 years and over, approximately monthly since May 2020. Round 17 data were collected between 5 and 20 January 2022 and provide data on the temporal, socio-demographic and geographical spread of the virus, viral loads and viral genome sequence data for positive swabs. ResultsFrom 102,174 valid tests in round 17, weighted prevalence of swab positivity was 4.41% (95% credible interval [CrI], 4.25% to 4.56%), which is over three-fold higher than in December 2021 in England. Of 3,028 sequenced positive swabs, 2,393 lineages were determined and 2,374 (99.2%) were Omicron including 19 (0.80% of all Omicron lineages) cases of BA.2 sub-lineage and one BA.3 (0.04% of all Omicron) detected on 17 January 2022, and only 19 (0.79%) were Delta. The growth of the BA.2 Omicron sub-lineage against BA.1 and its sub-lineage BA.1.1 indicated a daily growth rate advantage of 0.14 (95% CrI, 0.03, 0.28) for BA.2, which corresponds to an additive R advantage of 0.46 (95% CrI, 0.10, 0.92). Within round 17, prevalence was decreasing overall (R=0.95, 95% CrI, 0.93, 0.97) but increasing in children aged 5 to 17 years (R=1.13, 95% CrI, 1.09, 1.18). Those 75 years and older had a swab-positivity prevalence of 2.46% (95% CI, 2.16%, 2.80%) reflecting a high level of infection among a highly vulnerable group. Among the 3,613 swab-positive individuals reporting whether or not they had had previous infection, 2,334 (64.6%) reported previous confirmed COVID-19. Of these, 64.4% reported a positive test from 1 to 30 days before their swab date. Risks of infection were increased among essential/key workers (other than healthcare or care home workers) with mutually adjusted Odds Ratio (OR) of 1.15 (95% CI, 1.05, 1.26), people living in large compared to single-person households (6+ household size OR 1.73; 95% CI, 1.44, 2.08), those living in urban vs rural areas (OR 1.24, 95% CI, 1.13, 1.35) and those living in the most vs least deprived areas (OR 1.34, 95% CI, 1.20, 1.49). ConclusionsWe observed unprecedented levels of infection with SARS-CoV-2 in England in January 2022, an almost complete replacement of Delta by Omicron, and evidence for a growth advantage for BA.2 compared to BA.1. The increase in the prevalence of infection with Omicron among children (aged 5 to 17 years) during January 2022 could pose a risk to adults, despite the current trend for prevalence in adults to decline. (Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care in England.)

5.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21268252

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe highest-ever recorded numbers of daily severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in England has been observed during December 2021 and have coincided with a rapid rise in the highly transmissible Omicron variant despite high levels of vaccination in the population. Although additional COVID-19 measures have been introduced in England and internationally to contain the epidemic, there remains uncertainty about the spread and severity of Omicron infections among the general population. MethodsThe REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study has been monitoring the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England since May 2020. REACT-1 obtains self-administered throat and nose swabs from a random sample of the population of England at ages 5 years and over. Swabs are tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and samples testing positive are sent for viral genome sequencing. To date 16 rounds have been completed, each including [~]100,000 or more participants with data collected over a period of 2 to 3 weeks per month. Socio-demographic, lifestyle and clinical information (including previous history of COVID-19 and symptoms prior to swabbing) is collected by online or telephone questionnaire. Here we report results from round 14 (9-27 September 2021), round 15 (19 October - 05 November 2021) and round 16 (23 November - 14 December 2021) for a total of 297,728 participants with a valid RT-PCR test result, of whom 259,225 (87.1%) consented for linkage to their NHS records including detailed information on vaccination (vaccination status, date). We used these data to estimate community prevalence and trends by age and region, to evaluate vaccine effectiveness against infection in children ages 12 to 17 years, and effect of a third (booster) dose in adults, and to monitor the emergence of the Omicron variant in England. ResultsWe observed a high overall prevalence of 1.41% (1.33%, 1.51%) in the community during round 16. We found strong evidence of an increase in prevalence during round 16 with an estimated reproduction number R of 1.13 (1.06, 1.09) for the whole of round 16 and 1.27 (1.14, 1.40) when restricting to observations from 1 December onwards. The reproduction number in those aged 18-54 years was estimated at 1.23 (1.14, 1.33) for the whole of round 16 and 1.41 (1.23, 1.61) from 1 December. Our data also provide strong evidence of a steep increase in prevalence in London with an estimated R of 1.62 (1.34, 1.93) from 1 December onwards and a daily prevalence reaching 6.07% (4.06%, 9.00%) on 14 December 2021. As of 1 to 11 December 2021, of the 275 lineages determined, 11 (4.0%) corresponded to the Omicron variant. The first Omicron infection was detected in London on 3 December, and subsequent infections mostly appeared in the South of England. The 11 Omicron cases were all aged 18 to 54 years, double-vaccinated (reflecting the large numbers of people who have received two doses of vaccine in this age group) but not boosted, 9 were men, 5 lived in London and 7 were symptomatic (5 with classic COVID-19 symptoms: loss or change of sense of smell or taste, fever, persistent cough), 2 were asymptomatic, and symptoms were unknown for 2 cases. The proportion of Omicron (vs Delta or Delta sub-lineages) was found to increase rapidly with a daily increase of 66.0% (32.7%, 127.3%) in the odds of Omicron (vs. Delta) infection, conditional on swab positivity. Highest prevalence of swab positivity by age was observed in (unvaccinated) children aged 5 to 11 years (4.74% [4.15%, 5.40%]) similar to the prevalence observed at these ages in round 15. In contrast, prevalence in children aged 12 to 17 years more than halved from 5.35% (4.78%, 5.99%) in round 15 to 2.31% (1.91%, 2.80%) in round 16. As of 14 December 2021, 76.6% children at ages 12 to 17 years had received at least one vaccine dose; we estimated that vaccine effectiveness against infection was 57.9% (44.1%, 68.3%) in this age group. In addition, the prevalence of swab positivity in adults aged 65 years and over fell by over 40% from 0.84% (0.72%, 0.99%) in round 15 to 0.48% (0.39%,0.59%) in round 16 and for those aged 75 years and over it fell by two-thirds from 0.63% (0.48%,0.82%) to 0.21% (0.13%,0.32%). At these ages a high proportion of participants (>90%) had received a third vaccine dose; we estimated that adults having received a third vaccine dose had a three- to four-fold lower risk of testing positive compared to those who had received two doses. ConclusionA large fall in swab positivity from round 15 to round 16 among 12 to 17 year olds, most of whom have been vaccinated, contrasts with the continuing high prevalence among 5 to 11 year olds who have largely not been vaccinated. Likewise there were large falls in swab positivity among people aged 65 years and over, the vast majority of whom have had a third (booster) vaccine dose; these results reinforce the importance of the vaccine and booster campaign. However, the rapidly increasing prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infections in England during December 2021, coincident with the rapid rise of Omicron infections, may lead to renewed pressure on health services. Additional measures beyond vaccination may be needed to control the current wave of infections and prevent health services (in England and other countries) from being overwhelmed. SummaryThe unprecedented rise in SARS-CoV-2 infections is concurrent with rapid spread of the Omicron variant in England and globally. We analysed prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and its dynamics in England from end of November to mid-December 2021 among almost 100,000 participants from the REACT-1 study. Prevalence was high during December 2021 with rapid growth nationally and in London, and of the proportion of infections due to Omicron. We observed a large fall in swab positivity among mostly vaccinated older children (12-17 years) compared with unvaccinated younger children (5-11 years), and in adults who received a third vs. two doses of vaccine. Our results reiterate the importance of vaccination and booster campaigns; however, additional measures may be needed to control the rapid growth of the Omicron variant.

6.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21267806

ABSTRACT

BackgroundIt has been nearly a year since the first vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 were delivered in England. The third wave of COVID-19 in England began in May 2021 as the Delta variant began to outcompete and largely replace other strains. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) series of community surveys for SARS-CoV-2 infection has provided insights into transmission dynamics since May 2020. Round 15 of the REACT-1 study was carried out from 19 October to 5 November 2021. MethodsWe estimated prevalence of SARS-CoV2 infection and used multiple logistic regression to analyse associations between SARS-CoV-2 infection in England and demographic and other risk factors, based on RT-PCR results from self-administered throat and nose swabs in over 100,000 participants. We estimated (single-dose) vaccine effectiveness among children aged 12 to 17 years, and among adults compared swab-positivity in people who had received a third (booster) dose with those who had received two vaccine doses. We used splines to analyse time trends in swab-positivity. ResultsDuring mid-October to early-November 2021, weighted prevalence was 1.57% (1.48%, 1.66%) compared to 0.83% (0.76%, 0.89%) in September 2021 (round 14). Weighted prevalence increased between rounds 14 and 15 across most age groups (including older ages, 65 years and over) and regions, with average reproduction number across rounds of R=1.09 (1.08, 1.11). During round 15, there was a fall in prevalence from a maximum around 20-21 October, with an R of 0.76 (0.70, 0.83), reflecting falls in prevalence at ages 17 years and below and 18 to 54 years. School-aged children had the highest weighted prevalence of infection: 4.95% (4.39%, 5.58%) in those aged 5 to 12 years and 5.21% (4.61%, 5.87%) in those aged 13 to 17 years. In multiple logistic regression, age, sex, key worker status and presence of one or more children in the home were associated with swab positivity. There was evidence of heterogeneity between rounds in swab positivity rates among vaccinated individuals at ages 18 to 64 years, and differences in key demographic and other variables between vaccinated and unvaccinated adults at these ages. Vaccine effectiveness against infection in children was estimated to be 56.2% (41.3%, 67.4%) in rounds 13, 14 and 15 combined, adjusted for demographic factors, with a similar estimate obtained for round 15 only. Among adults we found that those who received a third dose of vaccine were less likely to test positive compared to those who received only two vaccine doses, with adjusted odds ratio (OR) =0.38 (0.26, 0.55). DiscussionSwab-positivity was very high at the start of round 15, reaching a maximum around 20 to 21 October 2021, and then falling through late October with an uncertain trend in the last few days of data collection. The observational nature of survey data and the relatively small proportion of unvaccinated adults call into question the comparability of vaccinated and unvaccinated groups at this relatively late stage in the vaccination programme. However, third vaccine doses for eligible adults and the vaccination of children aged 12 years and over are associated with lower infection risk and, thus, remain a high priority (with possible extension to children aged 5-12 years). These should help reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission during the winter period when healthcare demands typically rise.

7.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21265877

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe third wave of COVID-19 in England coincided with the rapid spread of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 from the end of May 2021. Case incidence data from the national testing programme (Pillar 2) in England may be affected by changes in testing behaviour and other biases. Community surveys may provide important contextual information to inform policy and the public health response. MethodsWe estimated patterns of community prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England using RT-PCR swab-positivity, demographic and other risk factor data from round 15 (interim) of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study (round 15a, carried out from 19 to 29 October 2021). We compared these findings with those from round 14 (9 to 27 September 2021). ResultsDuring mid- to late-October 2021 (round 15a) weighted prevalence was 1.72% (1.61%, 1.84%) compared to 0.83% (0.76%, 0.89%) in September 2021 (round 14). The overall reproduction number (R) from round 14 to round 15a was 1.12 (1.11, 1.14) with increases in prevalence over this period (September to October) across age groups and regions except Yorkshire and The Humber. However, within round 15a (mid- to late-October) there was evidence of a fall in prevalence with R of 0.76 (0.65, 0.88). The highest weighted prevalence was observed among children aged 5 to 12 years at 5.85% (5.10%, 6.70%) and 13 to 17 years at 5.75% (5.02%, 6.57%). At regional level, there was an almost four-fold increase in weighted prevalence in South West from round 14 at 0.59% (0.43%,0.80%) to round 15a at 2.18% (1.84%, 2.58%), with highest smoothed prevalence at subregional level also found in South West in round 15a. Age, sex, key worker status, and presence of children in the home jointly contributed to the risk of swab-positivity. Among the 126 sequenced positive swabs obtained up until 23 October, all were Delta variant; 13 (10.3%) were identified as the AY.4.2 sub-lineage. DiscussionWe observed the highest overall prevalence of swab-positivity seen in the REACT-1 study in England to date in round 15a (October 2021), with a two-fold rise in swab-positivity from round 14 (September 2021). Despite evidence of a fall in prevalence from mid- to late-October 2021, prevalence remains high, particularly in school-aged children, with evidence also of higher prevalence in households with one or more children. Thus, vaccination of children aged 12 and over remains a high priority (with possible extension to children aged 5-12) to help reduce within-household transmission and disruptions to education, as well as among adults, to lessen the risk of serious disease among those infected.

8.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21264695

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 ARTIC amplicon protocol is the most widely used genome sequencing method for SARS-CoV-2, accounting for over 43% of publicly-available genome sequences. The protocol utilises 98 primers to amplify [~]400bp fragments of the SARS-CoV-2 genome covering all 30,000 bases. Understanding the analytical performance metrics of this protocol will improve how the data is used and interpreted. Different concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 control material were used to establish the limit of detection (LoD) of the ARTIC protocol. Results demonstrated the LoD was a minimum of 25-50 virus particles per mL. The sensitivity of ARTIC was comparable to the published sensitivities of commercial diagnostics assays and could therefore be used to confirm diagnostic testing results. A set of over 3,600 clinical samples from three UK regions were then evaluated to compare the protocols performance to clinical diagnostic assays (Roche Lightcycler 480 II, AusDiagnostics, Roche Cobas, Hologic Panther, Corman RdRp, Roche Flow, ABI QuantStudio 5, Seegene Nimbus, Qiagen Rotorgene, Abbott M2000, Thermo TaqPath, Xpert). We developed a Python tool, RonaLDO, to perform this validation (available under the GNU GPL3 open-source licence from https://github.com/quadram-institute-bioscience/ronaldo). Positives detected by diagnostic platforms were generally supported by sequencing data; platforms that used RT-qPCR were the best predictors of whether the sample would subsequently sequence successfully. To maximise success of sample sequencing for phylogenetic analysis, samples with Ct <31 should be chosen. For diagnostic tests that do not provide a quantifiable Ct value, adding a quantification step is recommended. The ARTIC SARS-CoV-2 sequencing protocol is highly sensitive, capable of detecting SARS-CoV-2 in samples with Cts in the high 30s. However, to routinely obtain whole genome coverage, samples with Ct <31 are recommended. Comparing different virus detection methods close to their LoD was challenging and significant discordance was observed.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21262979

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection continues to drive rates of illness and hospitalisations despite high levels of vaccination, with the proportion of cases caused by the Delta lineage increasing in many populations. As vaccination programs roll out globally and social distancing is relaxed, future SARS-CoV-2 trends are uncertain. MethodsWe analysed prevalence trends and their drivers using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) swab-positivity data from round 12 (between 20 May and 7 June 2021) and round 13 (between 24 June and 12 July 2021) of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study, with swabs sent to non-overlapping random samples of the population ages 5 years and over in England. ResultsWe observed sustained exponential growth with an average doubling time in round 13 of 25 days (lower Credible Interval of 15 days) and an increase in average prevalence from 0.15% (0.12%, 0.18%) in round 12 to 0.63% (0.57%, 0.18%) in round 13. The rapid growth across and within rounds appears to have been driven by complete replacement of Alpha variant by Delta, and by the high prevalence in younger less-vaccinated age groups, with a nine-fold increase between rounds 12 and 13 among those aged 13 to 17 years. Prevalence among those who reported being unvaccinated was three-fold higher than those who reported being fully vaccinated. However, in round 13, 44% of infections occurred in fully vaccinated individuals, reflecting imperfect vaccine effectiveness against infection despite high overall levels of vaccination. Using self-reported vaccination status, we estimated adjusted vaccine effectiveness against infection in round 13 of 49% (22%, 67%) among participants aged 18 to 64 years, which rose to 58% (33%, 73%) when considering only strong positives (Cycle threshold [Ct] values < 27); also, we estimated adjusted vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection of 59% (23%, 78%), with any one of three common COVID-19 symptoms reported in the month prior to swabbing. Sex (round 13 only), ethnicity, household size and local levels of deprivation jointly contributed to the risk of higher prevalence of swab-positivity. DiscussionFrom end May to beginning July 2021 in England, where there has been a highly successful vaccination campaign with high vaccine uptake, infections were increasing exponentially driven by the Delta variant and high infection prevalence among younger, unvaccinated individuals despite double vaccination continuing to effectively reduce transmission. Although slower growth or declining prevalence may be observed during the summer in the northern hemisphere, increased mixing during the autumn in the presence of the Delta variant may lead to renewed growth, even at high levels of vaccination.

10.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21261847

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic continues to expand globally, with case numbers rising in many areas of the world, including the Eastern Mediterranean Region. Lebanon experienced its largest wave of COVID-19 infections from January to April 2021. Limited genomic surveillance was undertaken, with just twenty six SARS-CoV-2 genomes available for this period, nine of which were from travellers from Lebanon detected by other countries. Additional genome sequencing is thus needed to allow surveillance of variants in circulation. MethodsNine hundred and five SARS-CoV-2 genomes were sequenced using the ARTIC protocol. The genomes were derived from SARS-CoV-2-positive samples, selected retrospectively from the sentinel COVID-19 surveillance network, to capture diversity of location, sampling time, gender, nationality and age. ResultsAlthough sixteen PANGO lineages were circulating in Lebanon in January 2021, by February there were just four, with the Alpha variant accounting for 97% of samples. In the following two months, all samples contained the Alpha variant. However, this had changed dramatically by June and July, when all samples belonged to the Delta variant. DiscussionThis study provides a ten-fold increase in the number of SARS-CoV-2 genomes available from Lebanon. The Alpha variant, first detected in the UK, rapidly swept through Lebanon, causing the countrys largest wave to date, which peaked in January 2021. The Alpha variant was introduced to Lebanon multiple times despite travel restrictions, but the source of these introductions remains uncertain. The Delta variant was detected in Gambia in travellers from Lebanon in mid-May, suggesting community transmission in Lebanon several weeks before this variant was detected in the country. Prospective sequencing in June/July 2021 showed that the Delta variant had completely replaced the Alpha variant in under six weeks.

11.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21259103

ABSTRACT

BackgroundEngland entered a third national lockdown from 6 January 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite a successful vaccine rollout during the first half of 2021, cases and hospitalisations have started to increase since the end of May as the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant increases in frequency. The final step of relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in England has been delayed from 21 June to 19 July 2021. MethodsThe REal-time Assessment of Community Transmision-1 (REACT-1) study measures the prevalence of swab-positivity among random samples of the population of England. Round 12 of REACT-1 obtained self-administered swab collections from participants from 20 May 2021 to 7 June 2021; results are compared with those for round 11, in which swabs were collected from 15 April to 3 May 2021. ResultsBetween rounds 11 and 12, national prevalence increased from 0.10% (0.08%, 0.13%) to 0.15% (0.12%, 0.18%). During round 12, we detected exponential growth with a doubling time of 11 (7.1, 23) days and an R number of 1.44 (1.20, 1.73). The highest prevalence was found in the North West at 0.26% (0.16%, 0.41%) compared to 0.05% (0.02%, 0.12%) in the South West. In the North West, the locations of positive samples suggested a cluster in Greater Manchester and the east Lancashire area. Prevalence in those aged 5-49 was 2.5 times higher at 0.20% (0.16%, 0.26%) compared with those aged 50 years and above at 0.08% (0.06%, 0.11%). At the beginning of February 2021, the link between infection rates and hospitalisations and deaths started to weaken, although in late April 2021, infection rates and hospital admissions started to reconverge. When split by age, the weakened link between infection rates and hospitalisations at ages 65 years and above was maintained, while the trends converged below the age of 65 years. The majority of the infections in the younger group occurred in the unvaccinated population or those without a stated vaccine history. We observed the rapid replacement of the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant of SARS-CoV-2 with the Delta variant during the period covered by rounds 11 and 12 of the study. DiscussionThe extent to which exponential growth continues, or slows down as a consequence of the continued rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme, including to young adults, requires close monitoring. Data on community prevalence are vital to track the course of the epidemic and inform ongoing decisions about the timing of further lifting of restrictions in England.

12.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21258352

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to expand globally, with case numbers rising in many areas of the world, including the Indian sub-continent. Pakistan has one of the world s largest population, of over 200 million people and is experiencing a severe third wave of infections caused by SARS-CoV-2 that begun in March 2021.In Pakistan, during third wave until now only 12 SARS-CoV-2 genomes have been collected and among these 9 are from Islamabad. This highlights the need for more genome sequencing to allow surveillance of variants in circulation. In fact more genomes are available among travellers with a travel history from Pakistan, than from within the country itself. MethodsFor a better understanding of the circulating variants in Lahore and surrounding areas with a combined population of 11.1 million, within a week of April 2021, 102 samples were sequenced. The samples were randomly collected from 2 hospitals with a diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) cutoff value of less than 25 cycles. ResultsAnalysis of the lineages shows that B.1.1.7 (first identified in the UK, Alpha variant) dominates, accounting for 97.9% (97/99) of cases, with B.1.351 (first identified in South Africa, Beta variant) accounting for 2.0% (2/99) of cases. No other lineages were observed. DiscussionIn depth analysis of the B.1.1.7 lineages indicates multiple separate introductions and subsequent establishment within the region. Eight samples were identical to genomes observed in Europe (7 UK, 1 Switzerland), indicating recent transmission. Genomes of other samples show evidence that these have evolved, indicating sustained transmission over a period of time either within Pakistan or other countries with low density genome sequencing. Vaccines remain effective against B.1.1.7, however the low level of B.1.351 against which some vaccines are less effective demonstrates the requirement for continued prospective genomic surveillance.

13.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21257144

ABSTRACT

BackgroundNational epidemic dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infections are being driven by: the degree of recent indoor mixing (both social and workplace), vaccine coverage, intrinsic properties of the circulating lineages, and prior history of infection (via natural immunity). In England, infections, hospitalisations and deaths fell during the first two steps of the "roadmap" for exiting the third national lockdown. The third step of the roadmap in England takes place on 17 May 2021. MethodsWe report the most recent findings on community infections from the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study in which a swab is obtained from a representative cross-sectional sample of the population in England and tested using PCR. Round 11 of REACT-1 commenced self-administered swab-collection on 15 April 2021 and completed collections on 3 May 2021. We compare the results of REACT-1 round 11 to round 10, in which swabs were collected from 11 to 30 March 2021. ResultsBetween rounds 10 and 11, prevalence of swab-positivity dropped by 50% in England from 0.20% (0.17%, 0.23%) to 0.10% (0.08%, 0.13%), with a corresponding R estimate of 0.90 (0.87, 0.94). Rates of swab-positivity fell in the 55 to 64 year old group from 0.17% (0.12%, 0.25%) in round 10 to 0.06% (0.04%, 0.11%) in round 11. Prevalence in round 11 was higher in the 25 to 34 year old group at 0.21% (0.12%, 0.38%) than in the 55 to 64 year olds and also higher in participants of Asian ethnicity at 0.31% (0.16%, 0.60%) compared with white participants at 0.09% (0.07%, 0.11%). Based on sequence data for positive samples for which a lineage could be identified, we estimate that 92.3% (75.9%, 97.9%, n=24) of infections were from the B.1.1.7 lineage compared to 7.7% (2.1%, 24.1%, n=2) from the B.1.617.2 lineage. Both samples from the B.1.617.2 lineage were detected in London from participants not reporting travel in the previous two weeks. Also, allowing for suitable lag periods, the prior close alignment between prevalence of infections and hospitalisations and deaths nationally has diverged. DiscussionWe observed marked reductions in prevalence from March to April and early May 2021 in England reflecting the success of the vaccination programme and despite easing of restrictions during lockdown. However, there is potential upwards pressure on prevalence from the further easing of lockdown regulations and presence of the B.1.617.2 lineage. If prevalence rises in the coming weeks, policy-makers will need to assess the possible impact on hospitalisations and deaths. In addition, consideration should be given to other health and economic impacts if increased levels of community transmission occur.

14.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21253590

ABSTRACT

BackgroundMitigation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from international travel is a priority. Travellers from countries with travel restrictions (closed travel-corridors) were required to quarantine for 14 days over Summer 2020 in England. We describe the genomic epidemiology of travel-related cases in England and evaluate the effectiveness of this travel policy. MethodsBetween 27/05/2020 and 13/09/2020, probable travel-related SARS-CoV-2 cases and their contacts were identified and combined with UK SARS-CoV-2 sequencing data. The epidemiology and demographics of cases was identified, and the number of contacts per case modelled using negative binomial regression to estimate the effect of travel restriction, and any variation by age, sex and calendar date. Unique travel-related SARS-CoV-2 genomes in the COG-UK dataset were identified to estimate the effect travel restrictions on cluster size generated from these. The Polecat Clustering Tool was used to identify a travel-related SARS-CoV-2 cluster of infection. Findings4,207 travel-related SARS-CoV-2 cases are identified. 51.2% (2155/4207) of cases reported travel to one of three countries; 21.0% (882) Greece, 16.3% (685) Croatia and 14.0% (589) Spain. Median number of contacts per case was 3 (IQR 1-5), and greatest for the 16-20 age-group (9.0, 95% C.I.=5.6-14.5), which saw the largest attenuation by travel restriction. Travel restriction was associated with a 40% (rate ratio=0.60, 95% C.I.=0.37-0.95) lower rate of contacts. 827/4207 (19.7%) of cases had high-quality SARS-CoV-2 genomes available. Fewer genomically-linked cases were observed for index cases related to countries with travel restrictions compared to cases from non-travel restriction countries (rate ratio=0.17, 95% C.I.=0.05-0.52). A large travel-related cluster dispersed across England is identified through genomics, confirmed with contact-tracing data. InterpretationThis study demonstrates the efficacy of travel restriction policy in reducing the onward transmission of imported cases. FundingWellcome Trust, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK Research & Innovation, National Institute of Health Research, Wellcome Sanger Institute. RESEARCH IN CONTEXTO_ST_ABSEvidence before this studyC_ST_ABSWe searched PubMed, medRxiv, bioRxiv, Web of Science and Scopus for the terms (COVID-19 OR SARS-COV-2) AND (imported or importation) AND (sequenc* OR genom* or WGS). We filtered the 55 articles identified through this search and rejected any that did not undertake SARS-CoV-2 sequencing as part of an epidemiological investigation for importation into a different country. The remaining 20 papers were reviewed in greater detail to understand the patterns of importation and the methods used in each case. Added value of this studyThis is the first published study on importations of SARS-CoV-2 into England using genomics. Plessis et al., (2021) used a predictive model to infer the number of importations in to the UK from all SARS-CoV-2 genomes generated before 26th June 2020. The current study assesses the period 27/05/2020 to 13/09/2020 and presents findings of case-reported travel linked to genomic data. Two unpublished reports exist for Wales and Scotland, although only examine a comparatively small number of importations. Implications of all the available evidenceThis large-scale study has a number of findings that are pertinent to public health and of global significance, not available from prior evidence to our knowledge. The study demonstrates travel restrictions, through the implementation of travel-corridors, are effective in reducing the number of contacts per case based on observational data. Age has a significant effect on the number of contacts and this can be mitigated with travel restrictions. Analysis of divergent clusters indicates travel restrictions can reduce the number of onwards cases following a travel-associated case. Analysis of divergent clusters can allow for importations to be identified from genomics, as subsequently evidenced by cluster characteristics derived from contact tracing. The majority of importations of SARS-CoV-2 in England over Summer 2020 were from coastal European countries. The highest number of cases and onward contacts were from Greece, which was largely exempt from self-isolation requirements (bar some islands in September at the end of the study period). Systematic monitoring of imported SARS-CoV-2 cases would help refine implementation of travel restrictions. Finally, along with multiple studies, this study highlights the use of genomics to monitor and track importations of SARS-CoV-2 mutations of interest; this will be of particular use as the repertoire of clinically relevant SARS-CoV-2 variants expand over time and globally.

15.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20232520

ABSTRACT

Zimbabwe reported its first case of SARS-Cov-2 infection in March 2020, and case numbers increased to more than 8,099 to 16th October 2020. An understanding of the SARS-Cov-2 outbreak in Zimbabwe will assist in the implementation of effective public health interventions to control transmission. Nasopharyngeal samples from 92,299 suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in Zimbabwe between 20 March and 16 October 2020 were obtained. Available demographic data associated with those cases identified as positive (8,099) were analysed to describe the national breakdown of positive cases over time in more detail (geographical location, sex, age and travel history). The whole genome sequence (WGS) of one hundred SARS-CoV-2-positive samples from the first 120 days of the epidemic in Zimbabwe was determined to identify their relationship to one another and WGS from global samples. Overall, a greater proportion of infections were in males (55.5%) than females (44.85%), although in older age groups more females were affected than males. Most COVID-19 cases (57 %) were in the 20-40 age group. Eight lineages, from at least 25 separate introductions into the region were found using comparative genomics. Of these, 95% had the D614G mutation on the spike protein which was associated with higher transmissibility than the ancestral strain. Early introductions and spread of SARS-CoV-2 were predominantly associated with genomes common in Europe and the United States of America (USA), and few common in Asia at this time. As the pandemic evolved, travel-associated cases from South Africa and other neighbouring countries were also recorded. Transmission within quarantine centres occurred when travelling nationals returning to Zimbabwe. International and regional migration followed by local transmission were identified as accounting for the development of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in Zimbabwe. Based on this, rapid implementation of public health interventions are critical to reduce local transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Impact of the predominant G614 strain on severity of symptoms in COVID-19 cases needs further investigation.

16.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20229989

ABSTRACT

BackgroundClinical metagenomics (CMg) is being evaluated for translation from a research tool into routine diagnostic service, but its potential to significantly improve management of acutely unwell patients has not been demonstrated. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic provides impetus to determine that benefit given increased risk of secondary infection and nosocomial transmission by multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens linked with expansion of critical care capacity. MethodsProspective evaluation of CMg using nanopore sequencing was performed on 43 respiratory samples over 14 weeks from a cohort of 274 intubated patients across seven COVID-19 intensive care units. ResultsBacteria or fungi were cultured from 200 (73%) patients, with a predominance of Klebsiella spp. (31%) and C. striatum (7%) amongst other common respiratory pathogens. An 8 hour CMg workflow was 93% sensitive and 81% specific for bacterial identification compared to culture, and reported presence or absence of {beta}-lactam resistance genes carried by Enterobacterales that would modify initial guideline-recommended antibiotics in every case. CMg was also 100% concordant with quantitative PCR for detecting Aspergillus fumigatus (4 positive and 39 negative samples). Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-typing using 24 hour sequence data identified an MDR-K. pneumoniae ST307 outbreak involving 4 patients and an MDR-C. striatum outbreak potentially involving 14 patients across three ICUs. ConclusionCMg testing for ICU patients provides same-day pathogen detection and antibiotic resistance prediction that significantly improves initial treatment of nosocomial pneumonia and rapidly detects unsuspected outbreaks of MDR-pathogens.

17.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20201475

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread rapidly throughout the world. In the UK, the initial peak was in April 2020; in the county of Norfolk (UK) and surrounding areas, which has a stable, low-density population, over 3,200 cases were reported between March and August 2020. As part of the activities of the national COVID-19 Genomics Consortium (COG-UK) we undertook whole genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes present in positive clinical samples from the Norfolk region. These samples were collected by four major hospitals, multiple minor hospitals, care facilities and community organisations within Norfolk and surrounding areas. We combined clinical metadata with the sequencing data from regional SARS-CoV-2 genomes to understand the origins, genetic variation, transmission and expansion (spread) of the virus within the region and provide context nationally. Data were fed back into the national effort for pandemic management, whilst simultaneously being used to assist local outbreak analyses. Overall, 1,565 positive samples (172 per 100,000 population) from 1,376 cases were evaluated; for 140 cases between two and six samples were available providing longitudinal data. This represented 42.6% of all positive samples identified by hospital testing in the region and encompassed those with clinical need, and health and care workers and their families. 1,035 cases had genome sequences of sufficient quality to provide phylogenetic lineages. These genomes belonged to 26 distinct global lineages, indicating that there were multiple separate introductions into the region. Furthermore, 100 genetically-distinct UK lineages were detected demonstrating local evolution, at a rate of [~]2 SNPs per month, and multiple co-occurring lineages as the pandemic progressed. Our analysis: identified a sublineage associated with 6 care facilities; found no evidence of reinfection in longitudinal samples; ruled out a nosocomial outbreak; identified 16 lineages in key workers which were not in patients indicating infection control measures were effective; found the D614G spike protein mutation which is linked to increased transmissibility dominates the samples and rapidly confirmed relatedness of cases in an outbreak at a food processing facility. The large-scale genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2-positive samples has provided valuable additional data for public health epidemiology in the Norfolk region, and will continue to help identify and untangle hidden transmission chains as the pandemic evolves. Major pointsIn Norfolk and surrounding regions O_LI100 distinct UK lineages were identified. C_LIO_LI16 UK lineages found in key workers were not observed in patients or in community care. C_LIO_LI172 genomes from SARS-CoV-2 positive samples sequenced per 100,000 population representing 42.6% of all positive cases. C_LIO_LISARS-CoV-2 genomes from 1035 cases sequenced to a high quality. C_LIO_LIOnly 5 countries, out of 103, have sequenced more SARS-CoV-2 genomes than have been sequenced in Norfolk for this paper. C_LIO_LISamples covered the entire first wave, March to August 2020. C_LIO_LIStable evolutionary rate of 2 SNPs per month. C_LIO_LID614G mutation is the dominant genotype and associated with increased transmission. C_LIO_LINo evidence of reinfection in 42 cases with longitudinal samples. C_LIO_LIWGS identified a sublineage associated with care facilities. C_LIO_LIWGS ruled out nosocomial outbreaks. C_LIO_LIRapid WGS confirmed the relatedness of cases from an outbreak at a food processing facility. C_LI

18.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppbiorxiv-162156

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread to almost every country in the world since it started in China in late 2019. Controlling the pandemic requires a multifaceted approach including whole genome sequencing to support public health interventions at local and national levels. One of the most widely used methods for sequencing is the ARTIC protocol, a tiling PCR approach followed by Oxford Nanopore sequencing (ONT) of up to 96 samples at a time. There is a need, however, for a flexible, platform agnostic, method that can provide multiple throughput options depending on changing requirements as the pandemic peaks and troughs. Here we present CoronaHiT, a method capable of multiplexing up to 96 small genomes on a single MinION flowcell or >384 genomes on Illumina NextSeq, using transposase mediated addition of adapters and PCR based addition of barcodes to ARTIC PCR products. We demonstrate the method by sequencing 95 and 59 SARS-CoV-2 genomes for routine and rapid outbreak response runs, respectively, on Nanopore and Illumina platforms and compare to the standard ARTIC LoCost nanopore method. Of the 154 samples sequenced using the three approaches, genomes with [≥] 90% coverage (GISAID criteria) were generated for 64.3% of samples for ARTIC LoCost, 71.4% for CoronaHiT-ONT, and 76.6% for CoronaHiT-Illumina and have almost identical clustering on a maximum likelihood tree. In conclusion, we demonstrate that CoronaHiT can multiplex up to 96 SARS-CoV-2 genomes per MinION flowcell and that Illumina sequencing can be performed on the same libraries, which will allow significantly higher throughput. CoronaHiT provides increased coverage for higher Ct samples, thereby increasing the number of high quality genomes that pass the GISAID QC threshold. This protocol will aid the rapid expansion of SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing globally, to help control the pandemic.

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