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1.
Commun Dis Intell (2018) ; 462022 Mar 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1791296

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Influenza is a common cause of acute respiratory infection, and is a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is an acute respiratory infection that emerged as a pandemic worldwide before the start of the 2020 Australian influenza season. This report summarises the epidemiology of hospitalisations with laboratory-confirmed influenza and COVID-19 during the 2020 influenza season in a sentinel surveillance system. Methods: The Influenza Complications Alert Network (FluCAN) is a sentinel hospital-based surveillance program that operates at sites in all jurisdictions in Australia. Influenza and COVID-19 cases were defined as patients hospitalised at sentinel hospitals and confirmed by nucleic acid detection. Results: There were 448 patients with COVID-19 admitted between 16 March and 31 December 2020, and only 20 patients with influenza admitted between 1 April and 30 November 2020, to one of 22 FluCAN hospitals. Of the COVID-19 cases, 173 (39%) were > 65 years of age, 36 (8%) were children (< 16 years), 6 (1%) were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 4 (1%) were pregnant and 289 (65%) had chronic comorbidities. COVID-19 hospital admissions peaked between weeks 13 and 15 (first wave) nationally, and again between weeks 31 and 35 (Victoria), with most admissions represented by those above 40 years of age. Discussion: There was an unusually low number of hospital admissions with laboratory-confirmed influenza in this season, compared to recent seasons. This is likely to be due to effective public health interventions and international border closures as a result of a rise in COVID-19 respiratory infections and associated hospitalisations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza, Human , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Female , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Humans , Influenza, Human/complications , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Pregnancy , Victoria
3.
Interface Focus ; 12(2): 20210079, 2022 Apr 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1713825

ABSTRACT

Responses to the early (February-July 2020) COVID-19 pandemic varied widely, globally. Reasons for this are multiple but likely relate to the healthcare and financial resources then available, and the degree of trust in, and economic support provided by, national governments. Cultural factors also affected how different populations reacted to the various pandemic restrictions, like masking, social distancing and self-isolation or self-quarantine. The degree of compliance with these measures depended on how much individuals valued their needs and liberties over those of their society. Thus, several themes may be relevant when comparing pandemic responses across different regions. East and Southeast Asian populations tended to be more collectivist and self-sacrificing, responding quickly to early signs of the pandemic and readily complied with most restrictions to control its spread. Australasian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, some Middle Eastern, African and South American countries also responded promptly by imposing restrictions of varying severity, due to concerns for their wider society, including for some, the fragility of their healthcare systems. Western European and North American countries, with well-resourced healthcare systems, initially reacted more slowly, partly in an effort to maintain their economies but also to delay imposing pandemic restrictions that limited the personal freedoms of their citizens.

4.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 9(3): ofac002, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1692167

ABSTRACT

Background: As of mid-2021, Australia's only nationwide coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic occurred in the first 6 months of the pandemic. Subsequently, there has been limited transmission in most states and territories. Understanding community spread during the first wave was hampered by initial limitations on testing and surveillance. To characterize the prevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific antibody seroprevalence generated during this time, we undertook Australia's largest national SARS-CoV-2 serosurvey. Methods: Between June 19 and August 6, 2020, residual specimens were sampled from people undergoing general pathology testing (all ages), women attending antenatal screening (20-39 years), and blood donors (20-69 years) based on the Australian population's age and geographic distributions. Specimens were tested by Wantai total SARS-CoV-2-antibody assay. Seroprevalence estimates adjusted for test performance were produced. The SARS-CoV-2 antibody-positive specimens were characterized with microneutralization assays. Results: Of 11 317 specimens (5132 general pathology; 2972 antenatal; 3213 blood-donors), 71 were positive for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. Seroprevalence estimates were 0.47% (95% credible interval [CrI], 0.04%-0.89%), 0.25% (CrI, 0.03%-0.54%), and 0.23% (CrI, 0.04%-0.54%), respectively. No seropositive specimens had neutralizing antibodies. Conclusions: Australia's seroprevalence was extremely low (<0.5%) after the only national COVID-19 wave thus far. These data and the subsequent limited community transmission highlight the population's naivety to SARS-CoV-2 and the urgency of increasing vaccine-derived protection.

7.
Cell Rep ; 38(6): 110345, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654153

ABSTRACT

Understanding the long-term maintenance of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunity is critical for predicting protection against reinfection. In an age- and gender-matched cohort of 24 participants, the association of disease severity and early immune responses on the maintenance of humoral immunity 12 months post-infection is examined. All severely affected participants maintain a stable subset of SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain (RBD)-specific memory B cells (MBCs) and good neutralizing antibody breadth against the majority of the variants of concern, including the Delta variant. Modeling these immune responses against vaccine efficacy data indicate a 45%-76% protection against symptomatic infection (variant dependent). Overall, these findings indicate durable humoral responses in most participants after infection, reasonable protection against reinfection, and implicate baseline antigen-specific CD4+ T cell responses as a predictor of maintenance of antibody neutralization breadth and RBD-specific MBC levels at 12 months post-infection.


Subject(s)
Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Australia , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/immunology , CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/metabolism , COVID-19/immunology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Immunity/immunology , Immunity, Humoral/immunology , Male , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Severity of Illness Index , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
8.
Int J Infect Dis ; 112: 300-317, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1654547

ABSTRACT

Pandemic dynamics and health care responses are markedly different during the COVID-19 pandemic than in earlier outbreaks. Compared with established infectious disease such as influenza, we currently know relatively little about the origin, reservoir, cross-species transmission and evolution of SARS-CoV-2. Health care services, drug availability, laboratory testing, research capacity and global governance are more advanced than during 20th century pandemics, although COVID-19 has highlighted significant gaps. The risk of zoonotic transmission and an associated new pandemic is rising substantially. COVID-19 vaccine development has been done at unprecedented speed, with the usual sequential steps done in parallel. The pandemic has illustrated the feasibility of this approach and the benefits of a globally coordinated response and infrastructure. Some of the COVID-19 vaccines recently developed or currently in development might offer flexibility or sufficiently broad protection to swiftly respond to antigenic drift or emergence of new coronaviruses. Yet many challenges remain, including the large-scale production of sufficient quantity of vaccines, delivery of vaccines to all countries and ensuring vaccination of relevant age groups. This wide vaccine technology approach will be best employed in tandem with active surveillance for emerging variants or new pathogens using antigen mapping, metagenomics and next generation sequencing.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
9.
BMC Res Notes ; 14(1): 415, 2021 Nov 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523326

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To adapt 'fishplots' to describe real-time evolution of SARS-CoV-2 genomic clusters. RESULTS: This novel analysis adapted the fishplot to depict the size and duration of circulating genomic clusters over time in New South Wales, Australia. It illuminated the effectiveness of interventions on the emergence, spread and eventual elimination of clusters and distilled genomic data into clear information to inform public health action.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Australia , Genomics , Humans , New South Wales , SARS-CoV-2
10.
Aust N Z J Public Health ; 45(6): 616-621, 2021 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1511266

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In May 2020, The Communicable Diseases Network of Australia (CDNA) case definition introduced serological criteria to support the diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). We present findings that support the utility of SARS-CoV-2-specific serology for public health investigations. METHODS: From 24 January to 31 July 2020, the following information was collected from individuals with positive SARS-CoV-2-specific immunofluorescence antibody tests: history of contact with COVID-19 cases; recent travel; symptoms consistent with COVID-19; and SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid testing (NAT) results. Individuals were classified as confirmed or probable by CDNA criteria or additionally as possible (SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG positive with compatible symptoms or epidemiologic risk) or indeterminate (SARS-CoV-2-specific IgA/IgM positive only) cases. RESULTS: A total of 10,595 individuals were tested in the six-month period. Of these, 9.8% (1,037) individuals had positive SARS-CoV-2-specific serology of which 566 (53.6%) were NAT-confirmed COVID-19 cases and 286 (27.6%) were part of a cruise ship outbreak sero-survey. The remaining 185 individuals (NAT negative) were individually classified as serologically confirmed (4, 0.4%), probable (72, 6.9%) possible (66, 6.4%) and indeterminate (38, 3.7%) cases. Maternal antibody transfer was inferred in one infant and four were unclassified. CONCLUSION: SARS-CoV-2-specific serology is a key diagnostic tool for retrospective identification of COVID-19 infection. Implications for public health: SARS-CoV-2 specific serology can enhance the ability to find cases, link missing cases in clusters of infection and identify the epidemiological extent of SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks. A combination of epidemiological criteria, clinical criteria and a quantitative serological test can be used as an adjunct to classify SARS-CoV-2 cases. Our study confirms the low level of community transmission in NSW during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies
11.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e2952-e2959, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501018

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) does not necessarily indicate shedding of infective virions. There are limited data on the correlation between the isolation of SARS-CoV-2, which likely indicates infectivity, and PCR. METHODS: A total of 195 patients with Coronavirus disease 2019 were tested (outpatients, n = 178; inpatients, n = 12; and critically unwell patients admitted to the intensive care unit [ICU] patients, n = 5). SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive samples were cultured in Vero C1008 cells and inspected daily for cytopathic effect (CPE). SARS-CoV-2-induced CPE was confirmed by PCR of culture supernatant. Where no CPE was observed, PCR was performed on day 4 to confirm absence of virus replication. The cycle thresholds (Cts) of the day 4 PCR (Ctculture) and the PCR of the original clinical sample (Ctsample) were compared, and positive cultures were defined where Ctsample - Ctculture was ≥3. RESULTS: Of 234 samples collected, 228 (97%) were from the upper respiratory tract. SARS-CoV-2 was isolated from 56 (24%), including in 28 of 181 (15%), 19 of 42 (45%), and 9 of 11 samples (82%) collected from outpatients, inpatients, and ICU patients, respectively. All 56 samples had Ctsample ≤32; CPE was observed in 46 (20%). The mean duration from symptom onset to culture positivity was 4.5 days (range, 0-18). SARS-CoV-2 was significantly more likely to be isolated from samples collected from inpatients (P < .001) and ICU patients (P < .0001) compared with outpatients, and in samples with lower Ctsample. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 culture may be used as a surrogate marker for infectivity and inform de-isolation protocols.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Critical Care , Humans , Immunologic Tests , SARS-CoV-2 , Vero Cells
14.
Virus Evol ; 6(1): veaa027, 2020 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388022

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic has rapidly spread outside China with major outbreaks occurring in Italy, South Korea, and Iran. Phylogenetic analyses of whole-genome sequencing data identified a distinct SARS-CoV-2 clade linked to travellers returning from Iran to Australia and New Zealand. This study highlights potential viral diversity driving the epidemic in Iran, and underscores the power of rapid genome sequencing and public data sharing to improve the detection and management of emerging infectious diseases.

16.
PLoS Med ; 18(7): e1003656, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1298076

ABSTRACT

The Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody neutralization response and its evasion by emerging viral variants and variant of concern (VOC) are unknown, but critical to understand reinfection risk and breakthrough infection following vaccination. Antibody immunoreactivity against SARS-CoV-2 antigens and Spike variants, inhibition of Spike-driven virus-cell fusion, and infectious SARS-CoV-2 neutralization were characterized in 807 serial samples from 233 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) individuals with detailed demographics and followed up to 7 months. A broad and sustained polyantigenic immunoreactivity against SARS-CoV-2 Spike, Membrane, and Nucleocapsid proteins, along with high viral neutralization, was associated with COVID-19 severity. A subgroup of "high responders" maintained high neutralizing responses over time, representing ideal convalescent plasma donors. Antibodies generated against SARS-CoV-2 during the first COVID-19 wave had reduced immunoreactivity and neutralization potency to emerging Spike variants and VOC. Accurate monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses would be essential for selection of optimal responders and vaccine monitoring and design.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Nucleocapsid Proteins/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
17.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 7(9): ofaa387, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1205747

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific antibodies has become an important tool, complementing nucleic acid tests (NATs) for diagnosis and for determining the prevalence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in population serosurveys. The magnitude and persistence of antibody responses are critical for assessing the duration of immunity. METHODS: A SARS-CoV-2-specific immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) assay for immunoglobulin G (IgG), immunoglobulin A (IgA), and immunoglobulin M (IgM) was developed and prospectively evaluated by comparison to the reference standard of NAT on respiratory tract samples from individuals with suspected COVID-19. Neutralizing antibody responses were measured in a subset of samples using a standard microneutralization assay. RESULTS: A total of 2753 individuals were eligible for the study (126 NAT-positive; prevalence, 4.6%). The median "window period" from illness onset to appearance of antibodies (range) was 10.2 (5.8-14.4) days. The sensitivity and specificity of either SARS-CoV-2 IgG, IgA, or IgM when collected ≥14 days after symptom onset were 91.3% (95% CI, 84.9%-95.6%) and 98.9% (95% CI, 98.4%-99.3%), respectively. The negative predictive value was 99.6% (95% CI, 99.3%-99.8%). The positive predictive value of detecting any antibody class was 79.9% (95% CI, 73.3%-85.1%); this increased to 96.8% (95% CI, 90.7%-99.0%) for the combination of IgG and IgA. CONCLUSIONS: Measurement of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody by IFA is an accurate method to diagnose COVID-19. Serological testing should be incorporated into diagnostic algorithms for SARS-CoV-2 infection to identify additional cases where NAT was not performed and resolve cases where false-negative and false-positive NATs are suspected. The majority of individuals develop robust antibody responses following infection, but the duration of these responses and implications for immunity remain to be established.

19.
Med J Aust ; 214(4): 179-185, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067930

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To estimate SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody seroprevalence after the first epidemic wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Sydney. SETTING, PARTICIPANTS: People of any age who had provided blood for testing at selected diagnostic pathology services (general pathology); pregnant women aged 20-39 years who had received routine antenatal screening; and Australian Red Cross Lifeblood plasmapheresis donors aged 20-69 years. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study; testing of de-identified residual blood specimens collected during 20 April - 2 June 2020. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Estimated proportions of people seropositive for anti-SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG, adjusted for test sensitivity and specificity. RESULTS: Thirty-eight of 5339 specimens were IgG-positive (general pathology, 19 of 3231; antenatal screening, 7 of 560; plasmapheresis donors, 12 of 1548); there were no clear patterns by age group, sex, or location of residence. Adjusted estimated seroprevalence among people who had had general pathology blood tests (all ages) was 0.15% (95% credible interval [CrI], 0.04-0.41%), and 0.29% (95% CrI, 0.04-0.75%) for plasmapheresis donors (20-69 years). Among 20-39-year-old people, the age group common to all three collection groups, adjusted estimated seroprevalence was 0.24% (95% CrI, 0.04-0.80%) for the general pathology group, 0.79% (95% CrI, 0.04-1.88%) for the antenatal screening group, and 0.69% (95% CrI, 0.04-1.59%) for plasmapheresis donors. CONCLUSIONS: Estimated SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was below 1%, indicating that community transmission was low during the first COVID-19 epidemic wave in Sydney. These findings suggest that early control of the spread of COVID-19 was successful, but efforts to reduce further transmission remain important.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Australia/epidemiology , Blood Donors , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Pregnancy , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
20.
Pathology ; 52(7): 783-789, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1043870

ABSTRACT

The aim of this study was to assess the analytic and clinical performance of four rapid lateral flow point-of-care tests (POCTs) for identifying SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. A retrospective study was conducted between 22 January and 30 March 2020 on 132 serum samples for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody detection referred to a tertiary referral hospital laboratory in New South Wales. Multiple sera were tested from 20 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients with SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies detected by immunofluorescence (IFA) or neutralisation, and 71 SARS-CoV-2 uninfected individuals. We measured the sensitivity and specificity for detection of SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG antibodies for each POCT in comparison to positive SARS-CoV-2-specific IFA and viral neutralisation, our current laboratory benchmark tests. All POCTs were found to have a low analytic sensitivity for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, ranging from 27.3% to 58.2%, with a specificity between 88.3% and 100%, and a low clinical sensitivity from 45% to 65%, with a clinical specificity between 87.3% and 100%. All POCTs had an increased sensitivity when specimens were collected more than 14 days from onset of symptoms. The detection using point-of-care testing of SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies after disease onset lagged behind IFA by a range of 0-9 days. POCTs promise the benefit of providing quick easy testing for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies. However, their poor sensitivity and delayed antibody detection make them unsuitable as a diagnostic or screening tool alone.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Point-of-Care Testing , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/blood , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Young Adult
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