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medrxiv; 2023.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2023.01.06.23284264


Relaxing social distancing measures and reduced level of influenza over the last two seasons may lead to a winter 2022 influenza wave in England. We used an established model for influenza transmission and vaccination to evaluate the rolled out influenza immunisation programme over October to December 2022. Specifically, we explored how the interplay between pre-season population susceptibility and influenza vaccine efficacy control the timing and the size of a possible winter influenza wave. Our findings suggest that susceptibility affects the timing and the height of a potential influenza wave, with higher susceptibility leading to an earlier and larger influenza wave while vaccine efficacy controls the size of the peak of the influenza wave. With pre-season susceptibility higher than pre-COVID-19 levels, under the planned vaccine programme an early influenza epidemic wave is possible, its size dependent on vaccine effectiveness against the circulating strain. If pre-season susceptibility is low and similar to pre-COVID levels, the planned influenza vaccine programme with an effective vaccine could largely suppress a winter 2022 influenza outbreak in England.

researchsquare; 2022.


Since the first reports of hepatitis of unknown aetiology occurring in UK children, over 1000 cases have been reported worldwide, including 268 cases in the UK, with the majority younger than 6 years old. Using genomic, proteomic and immunohistochemical methods, we undertook extensive investigation of 28 cases and 136 control subjects. In five cases who underwent liver transplantation, we detected high levels of adeno-associated virus 2 (AAV2) in the explanted livers. AAV2 was also detected at high levels in blood from 10/11 non-transplanted cases. Low levels of Adenovirus (HAdV) and Human Herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B), both of which enable AAV2 lytic replication, were also found in the five explanted livers and blood from 15/17 and 6/9 respectively, of the 23 non-transplant cases tested. In contrast, AAV2 was detected at low titre in 6/100 whole bloods from child controls from cohorts with presence or absence of hepatitis and/or adenovirus infection. Our data show an association of AAV2 at high titre in blood or liver tissue, with unexplained hepatitis in children infected in the recent HAdV-F41 outbreak. We were unable to find evidence by electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry or proteomics of HAdV or AAV2 viral particles or proteins in explanted livers, suggesting that hepatic pathology is not due to direct lytic infection by either virus. The potential that AAV2, although not previously associated with disease, may, together with HAdV-F41 and/or HHV-6, be causally implicated in the outbreak of unexplained hepatitis, requires further investigation.

Adenoviridae Infections , Hepatitis
researchsquare; 2021.


Hospital-based transmission played a dominant role in MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV epidemics but large-scale studies of its role in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are lacking. Such transmission risks spreading the virus to the most vulnerable individuals and can have wider-scale impacts through hospital-community interactions. Using data from acute hospitals in England we quantify within-hospital transmission, evaluate likely pathways of spread and factors associated with heightened transmission risk, and explore the wider dynamical consequences. We show that hospital transmission is likely to have been a major contributor to the burden of COVID-19 in England. We estimate that between June 2020 and March 2021 between 95,000 and 167,000 patients acquired SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals with nosocomially-infected patients likely to have been the main sources of transmission to other patients. Increased transmission to patients was associated with hospitals having fewer single rooms and lower heated volume per bed. Moreover, we show that reducing hospital transmission could substantially enhance the efficiency of punctuated lockdown measures in suppressing community transmission. These findings reveal the previously unrecognised scale of hospital transmission, have direct implications for targeting of hospital control measures, and highlight the need to design hospitals better-equipped to limit the transmission of future high consequence pathogens.

COVID-19 , Cross Infection