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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310909

ABSTRACT

Background: The Innova SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid lateral flow test (LFT) offers fast detection of COVID-19 cases. This study assesses the performance of LFT in the general population attending asymptomatic testing centres.Methods: Observational cohort study to compare LFT with reverse-transcriptase quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) results based on two self-administrated swab samples per participant taken within minutes among individuals declaring no classic symptoms, attending asymptomatic testing sites in Liverpool, UK, between 6th and 29th of November 2020.Findings: 5869 individuals attended 48 testing sites in Liverpool. The relative sensitivity of LFT versus RT-qPCR, excluding void tests, was 40∙0% (95% CI: 28∙5 to 52∙4;28/70). The specificity was 99∙9% (99∙8 to 99∙99;5431/5434), positive predictive value was 90∙3% (74∙2 to 98∙0;28/31) and negative predictive value was 99∙2% (99∙0 to 99∙4;5431/5473). For cases with RT-qPCR cycle threshold CT <18∙3 (approximate viral loads > 10 6 RNA copies/ml), sensitivity was 90∙9% (58∙7 to 99∙8;10/11), for CT <24∙4 (viral load > 10 4 RNA copies/ml), sensitivity was 69∙4% (51∙9 to 83∙7;25/36), and for CT >24∙4 (viral load <10 4 RNA copies/ml), sensitivity was 9∙7% (1∙9 to 23∙7;3/34).Interpretation: Innova LFT is a helpful tool for identifying infections among people who declare no symptoms of COVID-19, particularly those with high viral load and so more likely to infect others. The number of cases with lower CT (indicating higher viral load) missed by LFT, although small, should be considered, with due caution over using single LFT in high-consequence settings. Clear and accurate communication with the public about how to interpret test results is important. Further research is needed to understand how infectiousness is reflected in the viral antigen shedding detected by LFT versus the viral loads approximated by RT-qPCR.Funding: This evaluation was commissioned by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.Declaration of Interests: This evaluation was commissioned by the UK Department of Health and Social Care. IEB, MGF, MGS, DMH, GB and CPC received grant funding from the UK Department of Health and Social Care to evaluate LFT in the Liverpool pilot discussed in this article. IEB reports fees from AstraZeneca as chief data scientist adviser via Liverpool University and a senior investigator grant from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) outside the submitted work. MGS is Chair of the Infectious Disease Scientific Advisory Board and a minority shareholder in Integrum Scientific LLC, Greensboro, NC, USA, a company that has interests in COVID-19 testing but not with lateral flow technology, and reports grants from the NIHR, the Medical Research Council, and the Health Protection Research Unit in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections, University of Liverpool.Ethics Approval Statement: The University of Liverpool provided secondary data analysis as part of a UK national service evaluation with data collection by the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC;Sponsor) As per the National Health Service (NHS) Research Authority guidelines, this work did not require ethical approval.

3.
Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health ; 75(Suppl 1):A3, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1394144

ABSTRACT

BackgroundAsymptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 poses a significant burden on managing the spread of COVID-19. Few studies have evaluated the impact of testing for asymptomatic COVID-19 among large populations or whole cities using empirical data. No study to our knowledge has considered if such interventions result in or exacerbate existing socioeconomic inequalities. The aim of our study is to explore social and spatial inequalities in uptake and case-detection of rapid lateral flow SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests (LFTs) offered to people without symptoms of COVID-19 in Liverpool between 6th November 2020 and 31st January 2021.MethodsLinked pseudonymised records for asymptomatic residents in Liverpool (UK) who received a LFT for COVID-19 between 6th November 2020 to 31st January 2021 were accessed using the Combined Intelligence for Population Health Action (CIPHA) data resource. Bayesian Hierarchical Poisson Besag, York, and Mollié models were used to estimate ecological associations for uptake and positivity of testing.Results214 525 residents (43%) received a LFT identifying 5557 individuals as positive cases of COVID-19 (1.3%). Uptake was highest in November when there was military assistance. High uptake was observed again in the week preceding Christmas and was sustained into a national lockdown. Overall uptake and repeat testing were lower among males (e.g. 40% uptake over the whole period), Black Asian and other Minority Ethnic groups (e.g. 27% uptake for ‘Mixed’ ethnicity) and in the most deprived areas (e.g. 32% uptake in most deprived areas). These population groups were also more likely to have received positive tests for COVID-19. Models demonstrated that uptake and repeat testing were lower in areas of higher deprivation, areas located further from test sites and areas containing populations less confident in the using Internet technologies. Positive tests were spatially clustered in deprived areas.ConclusionOur study provides the first substantial evidence on inequalities involved in large-scale asymptomatic rapid testing of populations for SARS-CoV-2. Large-scale voluntary asymptomatic community testing saw social, ethnic, and spatial inequalities in an ‘inverse care’ pattern, but with an added digital exclusion factor. While test uptake was popular, there was a disconnect between the populations accessing testing and those experiencing harms relating to COVID-19. COVID-19 testing and support to isolate need to be more accessible to the vulnerable communities most impacted by the pandemic, including non-digital means of access.

4.
Brain Commun ; 3(3): fcab168, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364745

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is associated with new-onset neurological and psychiatric conditions. Detailed clinical data, including factors associated with recovery, are lacking, hampering prediction modelling and targeted therapeutic interventions. In a UK-wide cross-sectional surveillance study of adult hospitalized patients during the first COVID-19 wave, with multi-professional input from general and sub-specialty neurologists, psychiatrists, stroke physicians, and intensivists, we captured detailed data on demographics, risk factors, pre-COVID-19 Rockwood frailty score, comorbidities, neurological presentation and outcome. A priori clinical case definitions were used, with cross-specialty independent adjudication for discrepant cases. Multivariable logistic regression was performed using demographic and clinical variables, to determine the factors associated with outcome. A total of 267 cases were included. Cerebrovascular events were most frequently reported (131, 49%), followed by other central disorders (95, 36%) including delirium (28, 11%), central inflammatory (25, 9%), psychiatric (25, 9%), and other encephalopathies (17, 7%), including a severe encephalopathy (n = 13) not meeting delirium criteria; and peripheral nerve disorders (41, 15%). Those with the severe encephalopathy, in comparison to delirium, were younger, had higher rates of admission to intensive care and a longer duration of ventilation. Compared to normative data during the equivalent time period prior to the pandemic, cases of stroke in association with COVID-19 were younger and had a greater number of conventional, modifiable cerebrovascular risk factors. Twenty-seven per cent of strokes occurred in patients <60 years. Relative to those >60 years old, the younger stroke patients presented with delayed onset from respiratory symptoms, higher rates of multi-vessel occlusion (31%) and systemic thrombotic events. Clinical outcomes varied between disease groups, with cerebrovascular disease conferring the worst prognosis, but this effect was less marked than the pre-morbid factors of older age and a higher pre-COVID-19 frailty score, and a high admission white cell count, which were independently associated with a poor outcome. In summary, this study describes the spectrum of neurological and psychiatric conditions associated with COVID-19. In addition, we identify a severe COVID-19 encephalopathy atypical for delirium, and a phenotype of COVID-19 associated stroke in younger adults with a tendency for multiple infarcts and systemic thromboses. These clinical data will be useful to inform mechanistic studies and stratification of patients in clinical trials.

5.
BMJ Open ; 11(7): e041808, 2021 07 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338866

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Herpes simplex virus (HSV) encephalitis is a rare severe form of brain inflammation that commonly leaves survivors and their families with devastating long-term consequences. The virus particularly targets the temporal lobe of the brain causing debilitating problems in memory, especially verbal memory. It is postulated that immunomodulation with the corticosteroid, dexamethasone, could improve outcomes by reducing brain swelling. However, there are concerns (so far not observed) that such immunosuppression might facilitate increased viral replication with resultant worsening of disease. A previous trail closed early because of slow recruitment. METHOD: DexEnceph is a pragmatic multicentre, randomised, controlled, open-label, observer-blind trial to determine whether adults with HSV encephalitis who receive dexamethasone alongside standard antiviral treatment with aciclovir for have improved clinical outcomes compared with those who receive standard treatment alone. Overall, 90 patients with HSV encephalitis are being recruited from a target of 45 recruiting sites; patients are randomised 1:1 to the dexamethasone or control arms of the study. The primary outcome measured is verbal memory as assessed by the Weschler Memory Scale fourth edition Auditory Memory Index at 26 weeks after randomisation. Secondary outcomes are measured up to 72 weeks include additional neuropsychological, clinical and functional outcomes as well as comparison of neuroimaging findings. Patient safety monitoring occurs throughout and includes the detection of HSV DNA in cerebrospinal fluid 2 weeks after randomisation, which is indicative of ongoing viral replication. Innovative methods are being used to ensure recrutiment targets are met for this rare disease. DISCUSSION: DexEnceph aims to be the first completed randomised controlled trial of corticosteroid therapy in HSV encephalitis. The results will provide evidence for future practice in managing adults with the condition and has the potential to improve outcomes . ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The trial has ethical approval from the UK National Research Ethics Committee (Liverpool Central, REF: 15/NW/0545, 10 August 2015). Protocol V.2.1, July 2019. The results will be published and presented as soon as possible on completion. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBERS: ISRCTN11774734, EUDRACT 2015-001609-16.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Encephalitis , Adult , Dexamethasone/therapeutic use , Humans , Multicenter Studies as Topic , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , SARS-CoV-2 , Simplexvirus , Treatment Outcome
6.
BMJ ; 374: n1637, 2021 07 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1299224

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess the performance of the SARS-CoV-2 antigen rapid lateral flow test (LFT) versus polymerase chain reaction testing in the asymptomatic general population attending testing centres. DESIGN: Observational cohort study. SETTING: Community LFT pilot at covid-19 testing sites in Liverpool, UK. PARTICIPANTS: 5869 asymptomatic adults (≥18 years) voluntarily attending one of 48 testing sites during 6-29 November 2020. INTERVENTIONS: Participants were tested using both an Innova LFT and a quantitative reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) test based on supervised self-administered swabbing at testing sites. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Sensitivity, specificity, and predictive values of LFT compared with RT-qPCR in an epidemic steady state of covid-19 among adults with no classic symptoms of the disease. RESULTS: Of 5869 test results, 22 (0.4%) LFT results and 343 (5.8%) RT-qPCR results were void (that is, when the control line fails to appear within 30 minutes). Excluding the void results, the LFT versus RT-qPCR showed a sensitivity of 40.0% (95% confidence interval 28.5% to 52.4%; 28/70), specificity of 99.9% (99.8% to 99.99%; 5431/5434), positive predictive value of 90.3% (74.2% to 98.0%; 28/31), and negative predictive value of 99.2% (99.0% to 99.4%; 5431/5473). When the void samples were assumed to be negative, a sensitivity was observed for LFT of 37.8% (26.8% to 49.9%; 28/74), specificity of 99.6% (99.4% to 99.8%; 5431/5452), positive predictive value of 84.8% (68.1% to 94.9%; 28/33), and negative predictive value of 93.4% (92.7% to 94.0%; 5431/5814). The sensitivity in participants with an RT-qPCR cycle threshold (Ct) of <18.3 (approximate viral loads >106 RNA copies/mL) was 90.9% (58.7% to 99.8%; 10/11), a Ct of <24.4 (>104 RNA copies/mL) was 69.4% (51.9% to 83.7%; 25/36), and a Ct of >24.4 (<104 RNA copies/mL) was 9.7% (1.9% to 23.7%; 3/34). LFT is likely to detect at least three fifths and at most 998 in every 1000 people with a positive RT-qPCR test result with high viral load. CONCLUSIONS: The Innova LFT can be useful for identifying infections among adults who report no symptoms of covid-19, particularly those with high viral load who are more likely to infect others. The number of asymptomatic adults with lower Ct (indicating higher viral load) missed by LFT, although small, should be considered when using single LFT in high consequence settings. Clear and accurate communication with the public about how to interpret test results is important, given the chance of missing some cases, even at high viral loads. Further research is needed to understand how infectiousness is reflected in the viral antigen shedding detected by LFT versus the viral loads approximated by RT-qPCR.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , Carrier State/diagnosis , Carrier State/virology , Adult , COVID-19/complications , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Pilot Projects , Predictive Value of Tests , ROC Curve , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , United Kingdom
7.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 6: 100107, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1225323

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Large-scale asymptomatic testing of communities in Liverpool (UK) for SARS-CoV-2 was used as a public health tool for containing COVID-19. The aim of the study is to explore social and spatial inequalities in uptake and case-detection of rapid lateral flow SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests (LFTs) offered to people without symptoms of COVID-19. METHODS: Linked pseudonymised records for asymptomatic residents in Liverpool who received a LFT for COVID-19 between 6th November 2020 to 31st January 2021 were accessed using the Combined Intelligence for Population Health Action resource. Bayesian Hierarchical Poisson Besag, York, and Mollié models were used to estimate ecological associations for uptake and positivity of testing. FINDINGS: 214 525 residents (43%) received a LFT identifying 5192 individuals as positive cases of COVID-19 (1.3% of tests were positive). Uptake was highest in November when there was military assistance. High uptake was observed again in the week preceding Christmas and was sustained into a national lockdown. Overall uptake were lower among males (e.g. 40% uptake over the whole period), Black Asian and other Minority Ethnic groups (e.g. 27% uptake for 'Mixed' ethnicity) and in the most deprived areas (e.g. 32% uptake in most deprived areas). These population groups were also more likely to have received positive tests for COVID-19. Models demonstrated that uptake and repeat testing were lower in areas of higher deprivation, areas located further from test sites and areas containing populations less confident in the using Internet technologies. Positive tests were spatially clustered in deprived areas. INTERPRETATION: Large-scale voluntary asymptomatic community testing saw social, ethnic, digital and spatial inequalities in uptake. COVID-19 testing and support to isolate need to be more accessible to the vulnerable communities most impacted by the pandemic, including non-digital means of access. FUNDING: Department of Health and Social Care (UK) and Economic and Social Research Council.

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