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1.
Lancet Public Health ; 7(1): e36-e47, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592783

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service use and unmet need, but the impact is unknown. We aimed to determine the proportion of participants reporting sexual risk behaviours, SRH service use and unmet need, and to assess remote sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing service use after the first national lockdown in Britain. METHODS: We used data from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal)-COVID cross-sectional, quasi-representative web survey (Natsal-COVID Wave 1). Adults aged 18-59 years who resided in England, Scotland, or Wales completed the survey between July 29 and Aug 10, 2020, which included questions about the approximate 4-month period after announcement of the initial lockdown in Britain (March 23, 2020). Quota-based sampling and weighting were used to achieve a quasi-representative population sample. Participants aged 45-59 years were excluded from services analysis due to low rates of SRH service use. Among individuals aged 18-44 years, we estimated reported SRH service use and inability to access, and calculated age-adjusted odds ratios (aORs) among sexually experienced individuals (those reporting any sexual partner in their lifetime) and sexually active individuals (those reporting any sexual partner in the past year). Unweighted denominators and weighted estimates are presented hereafter. FINDINGS: 6654 individuals had complete interviews and were included in the analysis. Among 3758 participants aged 18-44 years, 82·0% reported being sexually experienced, and 73·7% reported being sexually active. 20·8% of sexually experienced participants aged 18-44 years reported using SRH services in the 4-month period. Overall, 9·7% of 3108 participants (9·5% of men; 9·9% of women) reported being unable to use a service they needed, although of the participants who reported trying but not being able to use a SRH service at least once, 76·4% of participants also reported an instance of successful use. 5·9% of 1221 sexually active men and 3·6% of 1560 sexually active women reported use of STI-related services and 14·8% of 1728 sexually experienced women reported use of contraceptive services, with SRH service use highest among individuals aged 18-24 years. Sexually active participants reporting condomless sex with new partners since lockdown were much more likely to report using STI-related services than those who did not report condomless sex (aOR 23·8 [95% CI 11·6-48·9]) for men, 10·5 [3·9-28·2] for women) and, among men, were also more likely to have an unsuccessful attempt at STI-service use (aOR 13·3 [5·3-32·9]). Among 106 individuals who reported using STI testing services, 64·4% accessed services remotely (telephone, video, or online). Among 2581 women aged 25-59 years, 2·4% reported cervical screening compared with an estimated 6% in a comparable 4-month period before the pandemic. INTERPRETATION: Many people accessed SRH care during the initial lockdown; however, young people and those reporting sexual risk behaviours reported difficulties in accessing services and thus such services might need to address a backlog of need. FUNDING: Wellcome Trust, The Economic and Social Research Council, The National Institute for Health Research, Medical Research Council/Chief Scientist Office and Public Health Sciences Unit, and UCL Coronavirus Response Fund.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Services Accessibility , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Reproductive Health Services/statistics & numerical data , Sexual Behavior , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Early Detection of Cancer , Female , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Male , Quarantine , Sexually Transmitted Diseases/prevention & control , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/prevention & control , Young Adult
2.
Sex Transm Infect ; 2021 Dec 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1582973

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Physical restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 dramatically altered sexual lifestyles but the specific impacts on sexual behaviour are still emerging. We investigated physical and virtual sexual activities, sexual frequency and satisfaction in the 4 months following lockdown in Britain in March 2020 and compared with pre-lockdown. METHODS: Weighted analyses of web panel survey data collected July/August 2020 from a quota-based sample of 6654 people aged 18-59 years in Britain. Multivariable regression took account of participants' opportunity for partnered sex, gender and age, to examine their independent associations with perceived changes in sexual frequency and satisfaction. RESULTS: Most participants (86.7%) reported some form of sex following lockdown with physical activities more commonly reported than virtual activities (83.7% vs 52.6%). Altogether, 63.2% reported sex with someone ('partnered sex') since lockdown, three-quarters of whom were in steady cohabiting relationships. With decreasing relationship formality, partnered sex was less frequently reported, while masturbation, sex toy use and virtual activities were more frequently reported. Around half of all participants perceived no change in partnered sex frequency compared with the 3 months pre-lockdown, but this was only one-third among those not cohabiting, who were more likely to report increases in non-partnered activities than those cohabiting. Two-thirds of participants perceived no change in sexual satisfaction; declines were more common among those not cohabiting. Relationship informality and younger age were independently associated with perceiving change, often declines, in sexual frequency and satisfaction. CONCLUSIONS: Our quasi-representative study of the British population found a substantial minority reported significant shifts in sexual repertoires, frequency and satisfaction following the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions. However, these negative changes were perceived by some more than others; predominantly those not cohabiting and the young. As these groups are most likely to experience adverse sexual health, it is important to monitor behaviour as restrictions ease to understand the longer term consequences, including for health services.

3.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 3(1): e13-e21, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1586149

ABSTRACT

Background: Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have reported high SARS-CoV-2 infection rates and related mortality, but the proportion of infected people among those who have survived, and duration of the antibody response to natural infection, is unknown. We determined the prevalence and stability of nucleocapsid antibodies (the standard assay for detection of previous infection) in staff and residents in LTCFs in England. Methods: This was a prospective cohort study of residents 65 years or older and of staff 65 years or younger in 201 LTCFs in England between March 1, 2020, and May 7, 2021. Participants were linked to a unique pseudo-identifier based on their UK National Health Service identification number. Serial blood samples were tested for IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein using the Abbott ARCHITECT i-system (Abbott, Maidenhead, UK) immunoassay. Primary endpoints were prevalence and cumulative incidence of antibody positivity, which were weighted to the LTCF population. Incidence rate of loss of antibodies (seroreversion) was estimated from Kaplan-Meier curves. Findings: 9488 samples were included, 8636 (91·0%) of which could be individually linked to 1434 residents and 3288 staff members. The cumulative incidence of nucleocapsid seropositivity was 34·6% (29·6-40·0) in residents and 26·1% (23·0-29·5) in staff over 11 months. 239 (38·6%) residents and 503 women (81·3%) were included in the antibody-waning analysis, and median follow-up was 149 days (IQR 107-169). The incidence rate of seroreversion was 2·1 per 1000 person-days at risk, and median time to reversion was 242·5 days. Interpretation: At least a quarter of staff and a third of surviving residents were infected with SAR-CoV-2 during the first two waves of the pandemic in England. Nucleocapsid-specific antibodies often become undetectable within the first year following infection, which is likely to lead to marked underestimation of the true proportion of people with previous infection. Given that natural infection might act to boost vaccine responses, better assays to identify natural infection should be developed. Funding: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.

4.
Preprint | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-297180

ABSTRACT

Background: Age and frailty are risk factors for poor clinical outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection. As such, COVID-19 vaccination has been prioritised for this group but there is concern that immune responses may be impaired due to immune senescence and co-morbidity. Methods: We studied antibody and cellular immune responses following COVID-19 vaccination in 202 staff and 286 residents of long-term care facilities (LTCF). Due to the high prevalence of previous infection within this environment 50% and 51% of these two groups respectively had serological evidence of prior natural SARS-CoV-2 infection. Results: In both staff and residents with previous infection the antibody responses following dual vaccination were strong and equivalent across the age course. In contrast, within infection-naïve donors these responses were reduced by 2.4-fold and 8.1-fold respectively such that values within the resident population were 2.6-fold lower than in staff. Impaired neutralisation of delta variant spike binding was also apparent within donors without prior infection. Spike-specific T cell responses were also markedly enhanced by prior infection and within infection-naive donors were 52% lower within residents compared to staff. Post-vaccine spike-specific CD4+ T cell responses displayed single or dual production of IFN-γ+ and IL-2+ whilst previous infection primed for an extended functional profile with TNF-ɑ+ and CXCL10 production. Interpretation: These data reveal suboptimal post-vaccine immune responses within infection-naïve elderly residents of LTCF and indicate the need for further optimization of immune protection through the use of booster vaccination.

5.
The Lancet ; 398, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1537155

ABSTRACT

Background The UK's National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal) have been done every 10 years since 1990, and provide a key data source to underpin sexual and reproductive health policy. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many lifestyle aspects, triggering an urgent need for population-level data on sexual behaviour, relationships, and service use at a time when gold-standard, in-person, household-based surveys with probability sampling were not feasible. We designed the Natsal-COVID study to understand the effect of COVID-19 on the nation's sexual and reproductive health. Methods Data were collected over 4 months (survey wave one;July 29 to Aug 10, 2020) and 1 year (wave two;March 27 to April 26, 2021) after the announcement of the UK's first lockdown (March 23, 2020). Data were collected online via web-panel surveys administered by Ipsos MORI. Eligible participants were UK residents aged 18–59 years, and the samples included a boost of those aged 18–29 years. Questions covered participants' sexual behaviour, relationships, and sexual and reproductive health service use. Quotas and weighting were used to achieve a quasi-representative sample of the UK general population. Participants meeting criteria of interest and agreeing to be recontacted were selected for qualitative follow-up interviews over the months of October and November, 2020. Comparisons were made with contemporaneous national probability surveys (2019 Annual Population Survey and 2018 Health Survey for England) and Natsal-3 (2010–12) to understand bias in sociodemographic characteristics, general health, and sexual behaviours. We obtained ethical approval from the ethics committees of the University of Glasgow College of Medical, Veterinary & Life Sciences College (reference 20019174) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Research (reference 22565). Findings 6654 participants completed wave one of the study, of which 45 (0·7%) completed qualitative interviews. A further 6658 participants completed wave two, of which 2098 (31·5%) were wave one participants. Compared with probability surveys, the weighted Natsal-COVID participants were more educated, less sexually experienced, and in poorer health. In wave one, we found that 20·8% of respondents (95% CI 19·3–22·3%) reported using sexual and reproductive health services in the first 4 months of lockdown, whereas 9·7% (8·6–10·8%) reported difficulty accessing services. Wave two allowed for the generation of 1-year estimates, including of chlamydia testing (5·4% [4·7–6·2%]), HIV testing (7·2% [6·4–8·1%]), and cervical cancer screening (10·3% [9·2–11·6%]). Qualitative interviews suggested that participants often required repeated attempts to access sexual and reproductive health services. Interpretation Natsal-COVID rapidly collected quasi-representative population data to evaluate the population-level effect of COVID-19 and lockdown measures on sexual and reproductive health in the UK and to inform sexual and reproductive health policy. Although less representative than the decennial Natsals, Natsal-COVID will complement national surveillance data and Natsal-4 (planned for 2022). Funding Natsal is a collaboration between University College London (UK), the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (UK), the University of Glasgow (UK), Örebro University Hospital (Sweden), and NatCen Social Research (UK). The Natsal Resource, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust (via grant number 212931/Z/18/Z), with contributions from the UK's Economic and Social Research Council and National Institute for Health Research, supports the Natsal-COVID study through funding from the University College London COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund and the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit (Core funding, grant numbers MC_UU_00022/3 and SPHSU18). The sponsors of the study had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the report.

6.
Euro Surveill ; 26(46)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526748

ABSTRACT

We describe the impact of changing epidemiology and vaccine introduction on characteristics of COVID-19 outbreaks in 330 long-term care facilities (LTCF) in England between November 2020 and June 2021. As vaccine coverage in LTCF increased and national incidence declined, the total number of outbreaks and outbreak severity decreased across the LTCF. The number of infected cases per outbreak decreased by 80.6%, while the proportion of outbreaks affecting staff only increased. Our study supports findings of vaccine effectiveness in LTCF.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Long-Term Care , SARS-CoV-2
7.
J Infect ; 2021 Oct 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446866

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Recently emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants have been associated with an increased rate of transmission within the community. We sought to determine whether this also resulted in increased transmission within hospitals. METHODS: We collected viral sequences and epidemiological data of patients with community and healthcare associated SARS-CoV-2 infections, sampled from 16th November 2020 to 10th January 2021, from nine hospitals participating in the COG-UK HOCI study. Outbreaks were identified using ward information, lineage and pairwise genetic differences between viral sequences. RESULTS: Mixed effects logistic regression analysis of 4184 sequences showed healthcare-acquired infections were no more likely to be identified as the Alpha variant than community acquired infections. Nosocomial outbreaks were investigated based on overlapping ward stay and SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence similarity. There was no significant difference in the number of patients involved in outbreaks caused by the Alpha variant compared to outbreaks caused by other lineages. CONCLUSIONS: We find no evidence to support it causing more nosocomial transmission than previous lineages. This suggests that the stringent infection prevention measures already in place in UK hospitals contained the spread of the Alpha variant as effectively as other less transmissible lineages, providing reassurance of their efficacy against emerging variants of concern.

8.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 2(9): e544-e553, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433991

ABSTRACT

Background: Residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have been prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination because of the high COVID-19 mortality in this population. Several countries have implemented an extended interval of up to 12 weeks between the first and second vaccine doses to increase population coverage of single-dose vaccination. We aimed to assess the magnitude and quality of adaptive immune responses following a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine in LTCF residents and staff. Methods: From the LTCFs participating in the ongoing VIVALDI study (ISRCTN14447421), staff and residents who had received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2 [tozinameran] or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), had pre-vaccination and post-vaccination blood samples (collected between Dec 11, 2020, and Feb 16, 2021), and could be linked to a pseudoidentifier in the COVID-19 Data Store were included in our cohort. Past infection with SARS-CoV-2 was defined on the basis of nucleocapsid-specific IgG antibodies being detected through a semiquantitative immunoassay, and participants who tested positive on this assay after but not before vaccination were excluded from the study. Processed blood samples were assessed for spike-specific immune responses, including spike-specific IgG antibody titres, T-cell responses to spike protein peptide mixes, and inhibition of ACE2 binding by spike protein from four variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the original strain as well as the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variants). Responses before and after vaccination were compared on the basis of age, previous infection status, role (staff or resident), and time since vaccination. Findings: Our cohort comprised 124 participants from 14 LTCFs: 89 (72%) staff (median age 48 years [IQR 35·5-56]) and 35 (28%) residents (87 years [77-90]). Blood samples were collected a median 40 days (IQR 25-47; range 6-52) after vaccination. 30 (24%) participants (18 [20%] staff and 12 [34%] residents) had serological evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. All participants with previous infection had high antibody titres following vaccination that were independent of age (r s=0·076, p=0·70). In participants without evidence of previous infection, titres were negatively correlated with age (r s=-0·434, p<0·0001) and were 8·2-times lower in residents than in staff. This effect appeared to result from a kinetic delay antibody generation in older infection-naive participants, with the negative age correlation disappearing only in samples taken more than 42 days post-vaccination (r s=-0·207, p=0·20; n=40), in contrast to samples taken after 0-21 days (r s=-0·774, p=0·0043; n=12) or 22-42 days (r s=-0·437, p=0·0034; n=43). Spike-specific cellular responses were similar between older and younger participants. In infection-naive participants, antibody inhibition of ACE2 binding by spike protein from the original SARS-CoV-2 strain was negatively correlated with age (r s=-0·439, p<0·0001), and was significantly lower against spike protein from the B.1.351 variant (median inhibition 31% [14-100], p=0·010) and the P.1 variant (23% [14-97], p<0·0001) than against the original strain (58% [27-100]). By contrast, a single dose of vaccine resulted in around 100% inhibition of the spike-ACE2 interaction against all variants in people with a history of infection. Interpretation: History of SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts the magnitude and quality of antibody response after a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine in LTCF residents. Residents who are infection-naive have delayed antibody responses to the first dose of vaccine and should be considered for an early second dose where possible. Funding: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.

9.
BMJ Open Respir Res ; 8(1)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430193

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 has been associated with an increased rate of transmission and disease severity among subjects testing positive in the community. Its impact on hospitalised patients is less well documented. METHODS: We collected viral sequences and clinical data of patients admitted with SARS-CoV-2 and hospital-onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs), sampled 16 November 2020 to 10 January 2021, from eight hospitals participating in the COG-UK-HOCI study. Associations between the variant and the outcomes of all-cause mortality and intensive therapy unit (ITU) admission were evaluated using mixed effects Cox models adjusted by age, sex, comorbidities, care home residence, pregnancy and ethnicity. FINDINGS: Sequences were obtained from 2341 inpatients (HOCI cases=786) and analysis of clinical outcomes was carried out in 2147 inpatients with all data available. The HR for mortality of B.1.1.7 compared with other lineages was 1.01 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.28, p=0.94) and for ITU admission was 1.01 (95% CI 0.75 to 1.37, p=0.96). Analysis of sex-specific effects of B.1.1.7 identified increased risk of mortality (HR 1.30, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.78, p=0.096) and ITU admission (HR 1.82, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.90, p=0.011) in females infected with the variant but not males (mortality HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.10, p=0.177; ITU HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.04, p=0.086). INTERPRETATION: In common with smaller studies of patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2, we did not find an overall increase in mortality or ITU admission associated with B.1.1.7 compared with other lineages. However, women with B.1.1.7 may be at an increased risk of admission to intensive care and at modestly increased risk of mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , United Kingdom , Young Adult
10.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(11): 1529-1538, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1281643

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in older adults living in long-term care facilities is uncertain. We investigated the protective effect of the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca non-replicating viral-vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19; AZD1222) and the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA-based vaccine (BNT162b2) in residents of long-term care facilities in terms of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection over time since vaccination. METHODS: The VIVALDI study is a prospective cohort study that commenced recruitment on June 11, 2020, to investigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission, infection outcomes, and immunity in residents and staff in long-term care facilities in England that provide residential or nursing care for adults aged 65 years and older. In this cohort study, we included long-term care facility residents undergoing routine asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 testing between Dec 8, 2020 (the date the vaccine was first deployed in a long-term care facility), and March 15, 2021, using national testing data linked within the COVID-19 Datastore. Using Cox proportional hazards regression, we estimated the relative hazard of PCR-positive infection at 0-6 days, 7-13 days, 14-20 days, 21-27 days, 28-34 days, 35-48 days, and 49 days and beyond after vaccination, comparing unvaccinated and vaccinated person-time from the same cohort of residents, adjusting for age, sex, previous infection, local SARS-CoV-2 incidence, long-term care facility bed capacity, and clustering by long-term care facility. We also compared mean PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values for positive swabs obtained before and after vaccination. The study is registered with ISRCTN, number 14447421. FINDINGS: 10 412 care home residents aged 65 years and older from 310 LTCFs were included in this analysis. The median participant age was 86 years (IQR 80-91), 7247 (69·6%) of 10 412 residents were female, and 1155 residents (11·1%) had evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. 9160 (88·0%) residents received at least one vaccine dose, of whom 6138 (67·0%) received ChAdOx1 and 3022 (33·0%) received BNT162b2. Between Dec 8, 2020, and March 15, 2021, there were 36 352 PCR results in 670 628 person-days, and 1335 PCR-positive infections (713 in unvaccinated residents and 612 in vaccinated residents) were included. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for PCR-positive infection relative to unvaccinated residents declined from 28 days after the first vaccine dose to 0·44 (95% CI 0·24-0·81) at 28-34 days and 0·38 (0·19-0·77) at 35-48 days. Similar effect sizes were seen for ChAdOx1 (adjusted HR 0·32, 95% CI 0·15-0·66) and BNT162b2 (0·35, 0·17-0·71) vaccines at 35-48 days. Mean PCR Ct values were higher for infections that occurred at least 28 days after vaccination than for those occurring before vaccination (31·3 [SD 8·7] in 107 PCR-positive tests vs 26·6 [6·6] in 552 PCR-positive tests; p<0·0001). INTERPRETATION: Single-dose vaccination with BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 vaccines provides substantial protection against infection in older adults from 4-7 weeks after vaccination and might reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission. However, the risk of infection is not eliminated, highlighting the ongoing need for non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent transmission in long-term care facilities. FUNDING: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Nursing Homes/statistics & numerical data , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunization Schedule , Incidence , Male , Mass Vaccination/methods , Mass Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Treatment Outcome
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