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Euro Surveill ; 27(11)2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753318


When SARS-CoV-2 Omicron emerged in 2021, S gene target failure enabled differentiation between Omicron and the dominant Delta variant. In England, where S gene target surveillance (SGTS) was already established, this led to rapid identification (within ca 3 days of sample collection) of possible Omicron cases, alongside real-time surveillance and modelling of Omicron growth. SGTS was key to public health action (including case identification and incident management), and we share applied insights on how and when to use SGTS.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Membrane Glycoproteins/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics
N Engl J Med ; 386(16): 1532-1546, 2022 04 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730372


BACKGROUND: A rapid increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases due to the omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in highly vaccinated populations has aroused concerns about the effectiveness of current vaccines. METHODS: We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease caused by the omicron and delta (B.1.617.2) variants in England. Vaccine effectiveness was calculated after primary immunization with two doses of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca), or mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccine and after a booster dose of BNT162b2, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, or mRNA-1273. RESULTS: Between November 27, 2021, and January 12, 2022, a total of 886,774 eligible persons infected with the omicron variant, 204,154 eligible persons infected with the delta variant, and 1,572,621 eligible test-negative controls were identified. At all time points investigated and for all combinations of primary course and booster vaccines, vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease was higher for the delta variant than for the omicron variant. No effect against the omicron variant was noted from 20 weeks after two ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 doses, whereas vaccine effectiveness after two BNT162b2 doses was 65.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 63.9 to 67.0) at 2 to 4 weeks, dropping to 8.8% (95% CI, 7.0 to 10.5) at 25 or more weeks. Among ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 primary course recipients, vaccine effectiveness increased to 62.4% (95% CI, 61.8 to 63.0) at 2 to 4 weeks after a BNT162b2 booster before decreasing to 39.6% (95% CI, 38.0 to 41.1) at 10 or more weeks. Among BNT162b2 primary course recipients, vaccine effectiveness increased to 67.2% (95% CI, 66.5 to 67.8) at 2 to 4 weeks after a BNT162b2 booster before declining to 45.7% (95% CI, 44.7 to 46.7) at 10 or more weeks. Vaccine effectiveness after a ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 primary course increased to 70.1% (95% CI, 69.5 to 70.7) at 2 to 4 weeks after an mRNA-1273 booster and decreased to 60.9% (95% CI, 59.7 to 62.1) at 5 to 9 weeks. After a BNT162b2 primary course, the mRNA-1273 booster increased vaccine effectiveness to 73.9% (95% CI, 73.1 to 74.6) at 2 to 4 weeks; vaccine effectiveness fell to 64.4% (95% CI, 62.6 to 66.1) at 5 to 9 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Primary immunization with two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 vaccine provided limited protection against symptomatic disease caused by the omicron variant. A BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 booster after either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 primary course substantially increased protection, but that protection waned over time. (Funded by the U.K. Health Security Agency.).

COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , /therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Immunization, Secondary/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
Epidemiol Infect ; 149: e73, 2021 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1145031


The spatio-temporal dynamics of an outbreak provide important insights to help direct public health resources intended to control transmission. They also provide a focus for detailed epidemiological studies and allow the timing and impact of interventions to be assessed.A common approach is to aggregate case data to administrative regions. Whilst providing a good visual impression of change over space, this method masks spatial variation and assumes that disease risk is constant across space. Risk factors for COVID-19 (e.g. population density, deprivation and ethnicity) vary from place to place across England so it follows that risk will also vary spatially. Kernel density estimation compares the spatial distribution of cases relative to the underlying population, unfettered by arbitrary geographical boundaries, to produce a continuous estimate of spatially varying risk.Using test results from healthcare settings in England (Pillar 1 of the UK Government testing strategy) and freely available methods and software, we estimated the spatial and spatio-temporal risk of COVID-19 infection across England for the first 6 months of 2020. Widespread transmission was underway when partial lockdown measures were introduced on 23 March 2020 and the greatest risk erred towards large urban areas. The rapid growth phase of the outbreak coincided with multiple introductions to England from the European mainland. The spatio-temporal risk was highly labile throughout.In terms of controlling transmission, the most important practical application of our results is the accurate identification of areas within regions that may require tailored intervention strategies. We recommend that this approach is absorbed into routine surveillance outputs in England. Further risk characterisation using widespread community testing (Pillar 2) data is needed as is the increased use of predictive spatial models at fine spatial scales.

COVID-19/diagnosis , Time Factors , COVID-19/classification , COVID-19/epidemiology , England/epidemiology , Humans , Population Surveillance/methods , Risk Evaluation and Mitigation , Risk Factors , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Urban Population/statistics & numerical data