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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21262164


BackgroundEnglands COVID-19 "roadmap out of lockdown" set out the timeline and conditions for the stepwise lifting of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) as vaccination roll-out continued. Here we assess the roadmap, the impact of the Delta variant, and potential future epidemic trajectories. MethodsWe extended a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to incorporate vaccination and multi-strain dynamics to explicitly capture the emergence of the Delta variant. We calibrated the model to English surveillance data using a Bayesian evidence synthesis framework, then modelled the potential trajectory of the epidemic for a range of different schedules for relaxing NPIs. FindingsThe roadmap was successful in offsetting the increased transmission resulting from lifting NPIs with increasing population immunity through vaccination. However due to the emergence of Delta, with an estimated transmission advantage of 73% (95%CrI: 68-79) over Alpha, fully lifting NPIs on 21 June 2021 as originally planned may have led to 3,400 (95%CrI: 1,300-4,400) peak daily hospital admissions under our central parameter scenario. Delaying until 19 July reduced peak hospitalisations by three-fold to 1,400 (95%CrI: 700-1,500) per day. There was substantial uncertainty in the epidemic trajectory, with particular sensitivity to estimates of vaccine effectiveness and the intrinsic transmissibility of Delta. InterpretationOur findings show that the risk of a large wave of COVID hospitalisations resulting from lifting NPIs can be substantially mitigated if the timing of NPI relaxation is carefully balanced against vaccination coverage. However, with Delta, it may not be possible to fully lift NPIs without a third wave of hospitalisations and deaths, even if vaccination coverage is high. Variants of concern, their transmissibility, vaccine uptake, and vaccine effectiveness must be carefully monitored as countries relax pandemic control measures. FundingNational Institute for Health Research, UK Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. Research in contextO_ST_ABSEvidence before this studyC_ST_ABSWe searched PubMed up to 23 July 2021 with no language restrictions using the search terms: (COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 or 2019-nCoV or "novel coronavirus") AND (vaccine or vaccination) AND ("non pharmaceutical interventions" OR "non-pharmaceutical interventions) AND (model*). We found nine studies that analysed the relaxation of controls with vaccination roll-out. However, none explicitly analysed real-world evidence balancing lifting of interventions, vaccination, and emergence of the Delta variant. Added value of this studyOur data synthesis approach combines real-world evidence from multiple data sources to retrospectively evaluate how relaxation of COVID-19 measures have been balanced with vaccination roll-out. We explicitly capture the emergence of the Delta variant, its transmissibility over Alpha, and quantify its impact on the roadmap. We show the benefits of maintaining NPIs whilst vaccine coverage continues to increase and capture key uncertainties in the epidemic trajectory after NPIs are lifted. Implications of all the available evidenceOur study shows that lifting interventions must be balanced carefully and cautiously with vaccine roll-out. In the presence of a new, highly transmissible variant, vaccination alone may not be enough to control COVID-19. Careful monitoring of vaccine uptake, effectiveness, variants, and changes in contact patterns as restrictions are lifted will be critical in any exit strategy.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21253960


The worldwide endeavour to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been extraordinary, and vaccination is now underway in many countries. However, the doses available in 2021 are likely to be limited. We extended a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission across different country settings to evaluate the public health impact of potential vaccines using WHO-developed target product profiles. We identified optimal vaccine allocation strategies within- and between-countries to maximise averted deaths under constraints on dose supply. We found that the health impact of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination depends on the cumulative population-level infection incidence when vaccination begins, the duration of natural immunity, the trajectory of the epidemic prior to vaccination, and the level of healthcare available to effectively treat those with disease. Within a country we find that for a limited supply (doses for <20% of the population) the optimal strategy is to target the elderly. However, with a larger supply, if vaccination can occur while other interventions are maintained, the optimal strategy switches to targeting key transmitters to indirectly protect the vulnerable. As supply increases, vaccines that reduce or block infection have a greater impact than those that prevent disease alone due to the indirect protection provided to high-risk groups. Given a 2 billion global dose supply in 2021, we find that a strategy in which doses are allocated to countries proportional to population size is close to optimal in averting deaths and aligns with the ethical principles agreed in pandemic preparedness planning. HighlightsO_LIThe global dose supply of COVID-19 vaccines will be constrained in 2021 C_LIO_LIWithin a country, prioritising doses to protect those at highest mortality risk is efficient C_LIO_LIFor a 2 billion dose supply in 2021, allocating to countries according to population size is efficient and equitable C_LI

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21249564


We fitted a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in care homes and the community to regional surveillance data for England. Among control measures implemented, only national lockdown brought the reproduction number below 1 consistently; introduced one week earlier it could have reduced first wave deaths from 36,700 to 15,700 (95%CrI: 8,900-26,800). Improved clinical care reduced the infection fatality ratio from 1.25% (95%CrI: 1.18%-1.33%) to 0.77% (95%CrI: 0.71%-0.84%). The infection fatality ratio was higher in the elderly residing in care homes (35.9%, 95%CrI: 29.1%-43.4%) than those residing in the community (10.4%, 95%CrI: 9.1%-11.5%). England is still far from herd immunity, with regional cumulative infection incidence to 1st December 2020 between 4.8% (95%CrI: 4.4%-5.1%) and 15.4% (95%CrI: 14.9%-15.9%) of the population. One-sentence summaryWe fit a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to surveillance data from England, to estimate transmissibility, severity, and the impact of interventions

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20198663


BackgroundAs in many countries, quantifying COVID-19 spread in Indonesia remains challenging due to testing limitations. In Java, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were implemented throughout 2020. However, as a vaccination campaign launches, cases and deaths are rising across the island. MethodsWe used modelling to explore the extent to which data on burials in Jakarta using strict COVID-19 protocols (C19P) provide additional insight into the transmissibility of the disease, epidemic trajectory, and the impact of NPIs. We assess how implementation of NPIs in early 2021 will shape the epidemic during the period of likely vaccine roll-out. ResultsC19P burial data in Jakarta suggest a death toll approximately 3.3 times higher than reported. Transmission estimates using these data suggest earlier, larger, and more sustained impact of NPIs. Measures to reduce sub-national spread, particularly during Ramadan, substantially mitigated spread to more vulnerable rural areas. Given current trajectory, daily cases and deaths are likely to increase in most regions as the vaccine is rolled-out. Transmission may peak in early 2021 in Jakarta if current levels of control are maintained. However, relaxation of control measures is likely to lead to a subsequent resurgence in the absence of an effective vaccination campaign. ConclusionSyndromic measures of mortality provide a more complete picture of COVID-19 severity upon which to base decision-making. The high potential impact of the vaccine in Java is attributable to reductions in transmission to date and dependent on these being maintained. Increases in control in the relatively short-term will likely yield large, synergistic increases in vaccine impact. Key questionsO_ST_ABSWhat is already known?C_ST_ABSO_LIIn many settings, limited SARS-CoV-2 testing makes it difficult to estimate the true trajectory and associated burden of the virus. C_LIO_LINon-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are key tools to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission. C_LIO_LIVaccines show promise but effectiveness depends upon prioritization strategies, roll-out and uptake. C_LI What are the new findings?O_LIThis study gives evidence of the value of syndrome-based mortality as a metric, which is less dependent upon testing capacity with which to estimate transmission trends and evaluate intervention impact. C_LIO_LINPIs implemented in Java earlier in the pandemic have substantially slowed the course of the epidemic with movement restrictions during Ramadan preventing spread to more vulnerable rural populations. C_LIO_LIPopulation-level immunity remains below proposed herd-immunity thresholds for the virus, though it is likely substantially higher in Jakarta. C_LI What do the new findings imply?O_LIGiven current levels of control, upwards trends in deaths are likely to continue in many provinces while the vaccine is scheduled to be rolled out. A key exception is Jakarta where population-level immunity may increase to a level where the epidemic begins to decline before the vaccine campaign has reached high coverage. C_LIO_LIFurther relaxation of measures would lead to more rapidly progressing epidemics, depleting the eventual incremental effectiveness of the vaccine. Maintaining adherence to control measures in Jakarta may be particularly challenging if the epidemic enters a decline phase but will remain necessary to prevent a subsequent large wave. Elsewhere, higher levels of control with NPIs are likely to yield high synergistic vaccine impact. C_LI

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20144949


BackgroundPhysical distancing measures that reduce social contacts have formed a key part of national COVID-19 containment and mitigation strategies. Many Sub-Saharan African nations are now facing increasing numbers of cases of COVID-19 and there is a need to understand what levels of measures may be required to successfully reduce transmission. MethodsWe collated epidemiological data along with information on key COVID-19 specific response policies and health system capacity estimates for services needed to treat COVID-19 patients in Senegal. We calibrated an age-structured SEIR model to these data to capture transmission dynamics accounting for demography, contact patterns, hospital capacity and disease severity. We simulated the impact of mitigation and suppression strategies focussed on reducing social contact rates. ResultsSenegal acted promptly to contain the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and as a result has reduced the reproduction number from 1.9 (95% CI 1.7-2.2) to 1.3 (95% CI 1.2-1.5), which has slowed but not fully interrupted transmission. We estimate that continued spread is likely to peak in October, and to overwhelm the healthcare system with an estimated 77,400 deaths (95% CI 55,270-100,700). Further reductions in contact rates to suppress transmission (Rt<1) could significantly reduce this burden on healthcare services and improve overall health outcomes. ConclusionsOur results demonstrate that Senegal has already significantly reduced transmission. Enhanced physical distancing measures and rapid scale up of hospital capacity is likely to be needed to reduce mortality and protect healthcare infrastructure from high levels of demand.