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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22271697


Long-term SARS-CoV-2 infections in immunodeficient patients are an important source of variation for the virus but are understudied. Many case studies have been published which describe one or a small number of long-term infected individuals but no study has combined these sequences into a cohesive dataset. This work aims to rectify this and study the genomics of this patient group through a combination of literature searches as well as identifying new case series directly from the COG-UK dataset. The spike gene receptor binding domain (RBD) and N-terminal domains (NTD) were identified as mutation hotspots. Numerous mutations associated with variants of concern were observed to emerge recurrently. Additionally a mutation in the envelope gene, - T30I was determined to be the most recurrent frequently occurring mutation arising in persistent infections. A high proportion of recurrent mutations in immunodeficient individuals are associated with ACE2 affinity, immune escape, or viral packaging optimisation. There is an apparent selective pressure for mutations which aid intra-host transmission or persistence which are often different to mutations which aid inter-host transmission, although the fact that multiple recurrent de novo mutations are considered defining for variants of concern strongly indicates that this potential source of novel variants should not be discounted.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21266297


Genome sequencing is a powerful tool for identifying SARS-CoV-2 variant lineages, however there can be limitations due to sequence drop-out when used to identify specific key mutations. Recently, Thermo Fisher Scientific have developed genotyping assays to help bridge the gap between testing capacity and sequencing capability to generate real-time genotyping results based on specific variants. Over a 6-week period during the months of April and May 2021, we set out to assess the Thermo Fisher TaqMan Mutation Panel Genotyping Assay, initially for three mutations of concern and then an additional two mutations of concern, against SARS-CoV-2 positive clinical samples and the corresponding COG-UK sequencing data. We demonstrate that genotyping is a powerful in-depth technique for identifying specific mutations, an excellent complement to genome sequencing and has real clinical health value potential allowing laboratories to report and action variants of concern much quicker.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21253888


Structured AbstractO_ST_ABSObjectivesC_ST_ABSThe long-term consequences of severe Covid-19 requiring hospital admission are not well characterised. The objective of this study was to establish the long-term effects of Covid-19 following hospitalisation and the impact these may have on patient reported outcome measures. DesignA multicentre, prospective cohort study with at least 3 months follow-up of participants admitted to hospital between 5th February 2020 and 5th October 2020. Setting31 hospitals in the United Kingdom. Participants327 hospitalised participants discharged alive from hospital with confirmed/high likelihood SARS-CoV-2 infection. Main outcome measures and comparisonsThe primary outcome was self-reported recovery at least ninety days after initial Covid-19 symptom onset. Secondary outcomes included new symptoms, new or increased disability (Washington group short scale), breathlessness (MRC Dyspnoea scale) and quality of life (EQ5D-5L). We compared these outcome measures across age, comorbidity status and in-hospital Covid-19 severity to identify groups at highest risk of developing long-term difficulties. Multilevel logistic and linear regression models were built to adjust for the effects of patient and centre level risk factors on these outcomes. ResultsIn total 53.7% (443/824) contacted participants responded, yielding 73.8% (327/443) responses with follow-up of 90 days or more from symptom onset. The median time between symptom onset of initial illness and completing the participant questionnaire was 222 days (Interquartile range (IQR) 189 to 269 days). In total, 54.7% (179/327) of participants reported they did not feel fully recovered. Persistent symptoms were reported by 93.3% (305/325) of participants, with fatigue the most common (82.8%, 255/308), followed by breathlessness (53.5%, 175/327). 46.8% (153/327) reported an increase in MRC dyspnoea scale of at least one grade. New or worse disability was reported by 24.2% (79/327) of participants. Overall (EQ5D-5L) summary index was significantly worse at the time of follow-up (median difference 0.1 points on a scale of 0 to 1, IQR: -0.2 to 0.0). Females under the age of 50 years were five times less likely to report feeling recovered (adjusted OR 5.09, 95% CI 1.64 to 15.74), were more likely to have greater disability (adjusted OR 4.22, 95% CI 1.12 to 15.94), twice as likely to report worse fatigue (adjusted OR 2.06, 95% CI 0.81 to 3.31) and seven times more likely to become more breathless (adjusted OR 7.15, 95% CI 2.24 to 22.83) than men of the same age. ConclusionsSurvivors of Covid-19 experienced long-term symptoms, new disability, increased breathlessness, and reduced quality of life. These findings were present even in young, previously healthy working age adults, and were most common in younger females. Policymakers should fund further research to identify effective treatments for long-Covid and ensure healthcare, social care and welfare support is available for individuals with long-Covid. Section 1: What is already known on this topicO_LILong-term symptoms after hospitalisation for Covid-19 have been reported, but it is not clear what impact this has on quality of life. C_LIO_LIIt is not known which patient groups are most likely to have long-term persistent symptoms following hospitalisation for Covid-19, or if this differs by disease severity. C_LI Section 2: What this study addsO_LIMore than half of patients reported not being fully recovered 7 months after onset of Covid-19 symptoms. C_LIO_LIPreviously healthy participants and those under the age of 50 had higher odds of worse long-term outcomes compared to older participants and those with comorbidities. C_LIO_LIYounger women and those with more severe acute disease in-hospital had the worst long-term outcomes. C_LIO_LIPolicy makers need to ensure there is long-term support for people experiencing long-Covid and should plan for lasting long-term population morbidity. Funding for research to understand mechanisms underlying long-Covid and identify potential interventions for testing in randomised trials is urgently required. C_LI