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1.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; : 1-6, 2022 Jul 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1931252

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Air dispersal of respiratory viruses other than SARS-CoV-2 has not been systematically reported. The incidence and factors associated with air dispersal of respiratory viruses are largely unknown. METHODS: We performed air sampling by collecting 72,000 L of air over 6 hours for pediatric and adolescent patients infected with parainfluenza virus 3 (PIF3), respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinovirus, and adenovirus. The patients were singly or 2-patient cohort isolated in airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) from December 3, 2021, to January 26, 2022. The viral load in nasopharyngeal aspirates (NPA) and air samples were measured. Factors associated with air dispersal were investigated and analyzed. RESULTS: Of 20 singly isolated patients with median age of 30 months (range, 3 months-15 years), 7 (35%) had air dispersal of the viruses compatible with their NPA results. These included 4 (40%) of 10 PIF3-infected patients, 2 (66%) of 3 RSV-infected patients, and 1 (50%) of 2 adenovirus-infected patients. The mean viral load in their room air sample was 1.58×103 copies/mL. Compared with 13 patients (65%) without air dispersal, these 7 patients had a significantly higher mean viral load in their NPA specimens (6.15×107 copies/mL vs 1.61×105 copies/mL; P < .001). Another 14 patients were placed in cohorts as 7 pairs infected with the same virus (PIF3, 2 pairs; RSV, 3 pairs; rhinovirus, 1 pair; and adenovirus, 1 pair) in double-bed AIIRs, all of which had air dispersal. The mean room air viral load in 2-patient cohorts was significantly higher than in rooms of singly isolated patients (1.02×104 copies/mL vs 1.58×103 copies/mL; P = .020). CONCLUSION: Air dispersal of common respiratory viruses may have infection prevention and public health implications.

2.
Vaccine ; 2022 Jun 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1907856

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Without the implementation of mandatory vaccination, it was difficult to increase the influenza vaccination rate among healthcare workers. We described the strategy of personal coaching and assess its impact in increasing the influenza vaccination rate among healthcare workers in Hong Kong. METHODS: Personal coaching of individual staff led by the infection control officer (ICO) and senior nursing officer (SNO) from infection control team could overcome barriers and promote on-site vaccination. The influenza vaccination rates among different categories of staff in 2016/2017 (year 1, baseline), 2017/2018 (year 2, promotion using social media), and 2018/2019 to 2020/2021 (year 3-5, promotion using personal coaching) were analysed in a healthcare region with 8490 ± 206 staff during the study period. RESULTS: With the implementation of personal coaching, the influenza vaccination rates increased significantly among medical (65.0% vs 57.0%, p = 0.048), nursing (30.6% vs 21.1%, p < 0.001), allied health (37.0% vs 27.4%, p < 0.001), care-related supporting staff (37.7% vs 27.3%, p < 0.001), and non-professional staff (27.3% vs 22.3%, p < 0.001) in year 3 compared with year 2, and also significantly increased among all staff in year 4 (38.0% vs 34.7%, p < 0.001) and year 5 (45.2% vs 38.0%, p < 0.001) when compared with the preceding year. The increase in vaccination rate was not apparent with social media promotion alone (26.4%, year 2 vs 25.6%, year 1, p = 0.305). CONCLUSION: Personal coaching led by ICO and SNO significantly increased the vaccination rates among healthcare workers in 3 consecutive years. This model could be promulgated to unit heads to establish a hospital culture conducive to vaccination.

4.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-325537

ABSTRACT

Background: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the enveloped RNA virus SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from faecal samples and active viral replication was reported in human intestinal cells. The human gut also harbors an enormous amount of resident viruses (collectively known as the virome) that play a role in regulating host immunity and disease pathophysiology. Understanding gut virome perturbation that underlies SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity is an unmet need. Methods: : We enrolled 98 COVID-19 patients with varying disease severity (3 asymptomatic, 53 mild, 34 moderate, 5 severe, 3 critical) and 78 non-COVID-19 controls matched for gender and co-morbidities. All subjects had faecal specimens sampled at inclusion. Blood specimens were collected for COVID-19 patients at admission to test for inflammatory markers and white cell counts. Among COVID-19 cases, 37 (38%) patients had serial faecal samples collected 2 to 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until after discharge. Using shotgun metagenomics sequencing, we sequenced and profiled the faecal RNA and DNA virome. We investigated alterations and longitudinal dynamics of the gut virome in association with disease severity and blood parameters. Results: : Patients with COVID-19 showed underrepresentation of Pepper mild mottle virus (RNA virus) and multiple bacteriophage lineages (DNA viruses) and enrichment of environment-derived eukaryotic DNA viruses in faecal samples, compared to non-COVID-19 subjects. Such gut virome alterations persisted up to 30 days after disease resolution. Faecal virome in SARS-CoV-2 infection harboured more stress-, inflammation- and virulence-associated gene encoding capacities including those pertaining to bacteriophage integration, DNA repair, and metabolism and virulence associated with their bacterial host. Baseline fecal abundance of 10 virus species (1 RNA virus, Pepper chlorotic spot virus, and 9 DNA virus species) inversely correlated with disease COVID-19 severity. These viruses inversely correlated with blood levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, white cells and neutrophils. Among the 10 COVID-19 severity-associated DNA virus species, 4 showed inverse correlation with age;5 showed persistent lower abundance both during disease course and after disease resolution relative to non-COVID-19 subjects. Conclusions: Both enteric RNA and DNA virome in COVID-19 patients were different from non-COVID-19 subjects, which persisted after disease resolution of COVID-19. Gut virome may calibrate host immunity and regulate severity to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our observation that gut viruses inversely correlated with both severity of COVID-19 and host age may partly explain that older subjects are prone to severe and worse COVID-19 outcomes. Altogether our data highlight the importance of human gut virome in severity and potentially therapeutics of COVID-19.

5.
Front Immunol ; 12: 763292, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1581338

ABSTRACT

The cytokine release syndrome has been proposed as the driver of inflammation in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, studies on longitudinal cytokine profiles in patients across the whole severity spectrum of COVID-19 are lacking. In this prospective observational study on adult COVID-19 patients admitted to two Hong Kong public hospitals, cytokine profiling was performed on blood samples taken during early phase (within 7 days of symptom onset) and late phase (8 to 12 days of symptom onset). The primary objective was to evaluate the difference in early and late cytokine profiles among patient groups with different disease severity. The secondary objective was to assess the associations between cytokines and clinical endpoints in critically ill patients. A total of 40 adult patients (mild = 8, moderate = 15, severe/critical = 17) hospitalized with COVID-19 were included in this study. We found 22 cytokines which were correlated with disease severity, as proinflammatory Th1-related cytokines (interleukin (IL)-18, interferon-induced protein-10 (IP-10), monokine-induced by gamma interferon (MIG), and IL-10) and ARDS-associated cytokines (IL-6, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), and IL-8) were progressively elevated with increasing disease severity. Furthermore, 11 cytokines were consistently different in both early and late phases, including seven (growth-regulated oncogene-alpha (GRO-α), IL-1RA, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, IP-10, and MIG) that increased and four (FGF-2, IL-5, macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC), and MIP-1α) that decreased from mild to severe/critical patients. IL-8, followed by IP-10 and MDC were the best performing early biomarkers to predict disease severity. Among critically ill patients, MCP-1 predicted the duration of mechanical ventilation, highest norepinephrine dose administered, and length of intensive care stay.


Subject(s)
Biomarkers/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/blood , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/blood , Cytokines/immunology , Female , Hong Kong , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
7.
Microbiome ; 9(1): 91, 2021 04 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1183579

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by the enveloped RNA virus SARS-CoV-2 primarily affects the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from fecal samples, and active viral replication was reported in human intestinal cells. The human gut also harbors an enormous amount of resident viruses (collectively known as the virome) that play a role in regulating host immunity and disease pathophysiology. Understanding gut virome perturbation that underlies SARS-CoV-2 infection and severity is an unmet need. METHODS: We enrolled 98 COVID-19 patients with varying disease severity (3 asymptomatic, 53 mild, 34 moderate, 5 severe, 3 critical) and 78 non-COVID-19 controls matched for gender and co-morbidities. All subjects had fecal specimens sampled at inclusion. Blood specimens were collected for COVID-19 patients at admission to test for inflammatory markers and white cell counts. Among COVID-19 cases, 37 (38%) patients had serial fecal samples collected 2 to 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until after discharge. Using shotgun metagenomics sequencing, we sequenced and profiled the fecal RNA and DNA virome. We investigated alterations and longitudinal dynamics of the gut virome in association with disease severity and blood parameters. RESULTS: Patients with COVID-19 showed underrepresentation of Pepper mild mottle virus (RNA virus) and multiple bacteriophage lineages (DNA viruses) and enrichment of environment-derived eukaryotic DNA viruses in fecal samples, compared to non-COVID-19 subjects. Such gut virome alterations persisted up to 30 days after disease resolution. Fecal virome in SARS-CoV-2 infection harbored more stress-, inflammation-, and virulence-associated gene encoding capacities including those pertaining to bacteriophage integration, DNA repair, and metabolism and virulence associated with their bacterial host. Baseline fecal abundance of 10 virus species (1 RNA virus, pepper chlorotic spot virus, and 9 DNA virus species) inversely correlated with disease COVID-19 severity. These viruses inversely correlated with blood levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, white cells, and neutrophils. Among the 10 COVID-19 severity-associated DNA virus species, 4 showed inverse correlation with age; 5 showed persistent lower abundance both during disease course and after disease resolution relative to non-COVID-19 subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Both enteric RNA and DNA virome in COVID-19 patients were different from non-COVID-19 subjects, which persisted after disease resolution of COVID-19. Gut virome may calibrate host immunity and regulate severity to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our observation that gut viruses inversely correlated with both severity of COVID-19 and host age may partly explain that older subjects are prone to severe and worse COVID-19 outcomes. Altogether, our data highlight the importance of human gut virome in severity and potentially therapeutics of COVID-19. Video Abstract.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Gastrointestinal Microbiome , Child, Preschool , DNA , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/genetics , Humans , RNA , SARS-CoV-2 , Virome
8.
Gut ; 70(4): 698-706, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1024254

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Although COVID-19 is primarily a respiratory illness, there is mounting evidence suggesting that the GI tract is involved in this disease. We investigated whether the gut microbiome is linked to disease severity in patients with COVID-19, and whether perturbations in microbiome composition, if any, resolve with clearance of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. METHODS: In this two-hospital cohort study, we obtained blood, stool and patient records from 100 patients with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Serial stool samples were collected from 27 of the 100 patients up to 30 days after clearance of SARS-CoV-2. Gut microbiome compositions were characterised by shotgun sequencing total DNA extracted from stools. Concentrations of inflammatory cytokines and blood markers were measured from plasma. RESULTS: Gut microbiome composition was significantly altered in patients with COVID-19 compared with non-COVID-19 individuals irrespective of whether patients had received medication (p<0.01). Several gut commensals with known immunomodulatory potential such as Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Eubacterium rectale and bifidobacteria were underrepresented in patients and remained low in samples collected up to 30 days after disease resolution. Moreover, this perturbed composition exhibited stratification with disease severity concordant with elevated concentrations of inflammatory cytokines and blood markers such as C reactive protein, lactate dehydrogenase, aspartate aminotransferase and gamma-glutamyl transferase. CONCLUSION: Associations between gut microbiota composition, levels of cytokines and inflammatory markers in patients with COVID-19 suggest that the gut microbiome is involved in the magnitude of COVID-19 severity possibly via modulating host immune responses. Furthermore, the gut microbiota dysbiosis after disease resolution could contribute to persistent symptoms, highlighting a need to understand how gut microorganisms are involved in inflammation and COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Bacteria , COVID-19 , Dysbiosis , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/immunology , Gastrointestinal Tract , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Bacteria/genetics , Bacteria/immunology , Bacteria/isolation & purification , C-Reactive Protein/analysis , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Cytokines/analysis , DNA, Bacterial/isolation & purification , Dysbiosis/epidemiology , Dysbiosis/etiology , Dysbiosis/immunology , Dysbiosis/virology , Female , Gastrointestinal Tract/immunology , Gastrointestinal Tract/microbiology , Gastrointestinal Tract/virology , Hong Kong , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Transferases/analysis
10.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 42(2): 218-221, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-720801

ABSTRACT

Universal masking for healthcare workers and patients in hospitals was adopted to combat coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), with compliance rates of 100% and 75.9%, respectively. Zero rates of nosocomial influenza A, influenza B, and respiratory syncytial virus infection were achieved from February to April 2020, which was significantly lower than the corresponding months in 2017-2019.


Subject(s)
Cross Infection/prevention & control , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Masks , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/prevention & control , Virus Shedding , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Hong Kong , Hospitals , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/transmission , Patients , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/transmission
11.
Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol ; 41(11): 1258-1265, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-547446

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of severe respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-laden aerosols in the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remains uncertain. Discordant findings of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in air samples were noted in early reports. METHODS: Sampling of air close to 6 asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 patients with and without surgical masks was performed with sampling devices using sterile gelatin filters. Frequently touched environmental surfaces near 21 patients were swabbed before daily environmental disinfection. The correlation between the viral loads of patients' clinical samples and environmental samples was analyzed. RESULTS: All air samples were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the 6 patients singly isolated inside airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIRs) with 12 air changes per hour. Of 377 environmental samples near 21 patients, 19 (5.0%) were positive by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay, with a median viral load of 9.2 × 102 copies/mL (range, 1.1 × 102 to 9.4 × 104 copies/mL). The contamination rate was highest on patients' mobile phones (6 of 77, 7.8%), followed by bed rails (4 of 74, 5.4%) and toilet door handles (4 of 76, 5.3%). We detected a significant correlation between viral load ranges in clinical samples and positivity rate of environmental samples (P < .001). CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2 RNA was not detectable by air samplers, which suggests that the airborne route is not the predominant mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Wearing a surgical mask, appropriate hand hygiene, and thorough environmental disinfection are sufficient infection control measures for COVID-19 patients isolated singly in AIIRs. However, this conclusion may not apply during aerosol-generating procedures or in cohort wards with large numbers of COVID-19 patients.


Subject(s)
Air Microbiology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Fomites/virology , Infection Control/methods , Patients' Rooms , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , Aerosols , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Load
12.
Gastroenterology ; 159(3): 944-955.e8, 2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-324569

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Although severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infects gastrointestinal tissues, little is known about the roles of gut commensal microbes in susceptibility to and severity of infection. We investigated changes in fecal microbiomes of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection during hospitalization and associations with severity and fecal shedding of virus. METHODS: We performed shotgun metagenomic sequencing analyses of fecal samples from 15 patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Hong Kong, from February 5 through March 17, 2020. Fecal samples were collected 2 or 3 times per week from time of hospitalization until discharge; disease was categorized as mild (no radiographic evidence of pneumonia), moderate (pneumonia was present), severe (respiratory rate ≥30/min, or oxygen saturation ≤93% when breathing ambient air), or critical (respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation, shock, or organ failure requiring intensive care). We compared microbiome data with those from 6 subjects with community-acquired pneumonia and 15 healthy individuals (controls). We assessed gut microbiome profiles in association with disease severity and changes in fecal shedding of SARS-CoV-2. RESULTS: Patients with COVID-19 had significant alterations in fecal microbiomes compared with controls, characterized by enrichment of opportunistic pathogens and depletion of beneficial commensals, at time of hospitalization and at all timepoints during hospitalization. Depleted symbionts and gut dysbiosis persisted even after clearance of SARS-CoV-2 (determined from throat swabs) and resolution of respiratory symptoms. The baseline abundance of Coprobacillus, Clostridium ramosum, and Clostridium hathewayi correlated with COVID-19 severity; there was an inverse correlation between abundance of Faecalibacterium prausnitzii (an anti-inflammatory bacterium) and disease severity. Over the course of hospitalization, Bacteroides dorei, Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, Bacteroides massiliensis, and Bacteroides ovatus, which downregulate expression of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) in murine gut, correlated inversely with SARS-CoV-2 load in fecal samples from patients. CONCLUSIONS: In a pilot study of 15 patients with COVID-19, we found persistent alterations in the fecal microbiome during the time of hospitalization, compared with controls. Fecal microbiota alterations were associated with fecal levels of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 severity. Strategies to alter the intestinal microbiota might reduce disease severity.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/microbiology , Dysbiosis/virology , Feces/microbiology , Gastrointestinal Microbiome/genetics , Pneumonia, Viral/microbiology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Female , Gastrointestinal Tract/microbiology , Hong Kong/epidemiology , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Lancet ; 395(10238): 1695-1704, 2020 05 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-232479

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Effective antiviral therapy is important for tackling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. We assessed the efficacy and safety of combined interferon beta-1b, lopinavir-ritonavir, and ribavirin for treating patients with COVID-19. METHODS: This was a multicentre, prospective, open-label, randomised, phase 2 trial in adults with COVID-19 who were admitted to six hospitals in Hong Kong. Patients were randomly assigned (2:1) to a 14-day combination of lopinavir 400 mg and ritonavir 100 mg every 12 h, ribavirin 400 mg every 12 h, and three doses of 8 million international units of interferon beta-1b on alternate days (combination group) or to 14 days of lopinavir 400 mg and ritonavir 100 mg every 12 h (control group). The primary endpoint was the time to providing a nasopharyngeal swab negative for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RT-PCR, and was done in the intention-to-treat population. The study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04276688. FINDINGS: Between Feb 10 and March 20, 2020, 127 patients were recruited; 86 were randomly assigned to the combination group and 41 were assigned to the control group. The median number of days from symptom onset to start of study treatment was 5 days (IQR 3-7). The combination group had a significantly shorter median time from start of study treatment to negative nasopharyngeal swab (7 days [IQR 5-11]) than the control group (12 days [8-15]; hazard ratio 4·37 [95% CI 1·86-10·24], p=0·0010). Adverse events included self-limited nausea and diarrhoea with no difference between the two groups. One patient in the control group discontinued lopinavir-ritonavir because of biochemical hepatitis. No patients died during the study. INTERPRETATION: Early triple antiviral therapy was safe and superior to lopinavir-ritonavir alone in alleviating symptoms and shortening the duration of viral shedding and hospital stay in patients with mild to moderate COVID-19. Future clinical study of a double antiviral therapy with interferon beta-1b as a backbone is warranted. FUNDING: The Shaw-Foundation, Richard and Carol Yu, May Tam Mak Mei Yin, and Sanming Project of Medicine.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Interferon beta-1b/therapeutic use , Lopinavir/therapeutic use , Pneumonia, Viral/drug therapy , Ribavirin/therapeutic use , Ritonavir/therapeutic use , Adult , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Drug Combinations , Drug Therapy, Combination , Female , Hong Kong , Hospitalization , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
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