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1.
Microbiol Spectr ; : e0525622, 2023 Jun 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20238742

ABSTRACT

The 50% plaque reduction neutralization assay (PRNT50) has been previously used to assess the neutralization capacity of donor plasma against wild-type and variant of concern (VOC) severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Emerging data suggest that plasma with an anti-SARS-CoV-2 level of ≥2 × 104 binding antibody units/mL (BAU/mL) protects against SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 infection. Specimens were collected using a cross-sectional random sampling approach. For PRNT50 studies, 63 previously analyzed specimens by PRNT50 versus SARS-CoV-2 wild-type, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta were analyzed by PRNT50 versus Omicron BA.1. The 63 specimens plus 4,390 specimens (randomly sampled regardless of serological evidence of infection) were also tested using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG II Quant assay (anti-spike [S]; Abbott, Chicago, IL, USA; Abbott Quant assay). In the vaccinated group, the percentages of specimens with any measurable PRNT50 versus wild-type or VOC were wild type (21/25 [84%]), Alpha (19/25 [76%]), Beta (18/25 [72%]), Gamma (13/25 [52%]), Delta (19/25 [76%]), and Omicron BA.1 (9/25 [36%]). In the unvaccinated group, the percentages of specimens with any measurable PRNT50 versus wild type or VOC were wild-type SARS-CoV-2 (16/39 [41%]), Alpha (16/39 [41%]), Beta (10/39 [26%]), Gamma (9/39 [23%]), Delta (16/39 [41%]), and Omicron BA.1 (0/39) (Fisher's exact tests, vaccinated versus unvaccinated for each variant, P < 0.05). None of the 4,453 specimens tested by the Abbott Quant assay had a binding capacity of ≥2 × 104 BAU/mL. Vaccinated donors were more likely than unvaccinated donors to neutralize Omicron when assessed by a PRNT50 assay. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 Omicron emergence occurred in Canada during the period from November 2021 to January 2022. This study assessed the ability of donor plasma collected earlier (January to March 2021) to generate any neutralizing capacity against Omicron BA.1 SARS-CoV-2. Vaccinated individuals, regardless of infection status, were more likely to neutralize Omicron BA.1 than unvaccinated individuals. This study then used a semiquantitative binding antibody assay to screen a larger number of specimens (4,453) for individual specimens that might have high-titer neutralizing capacity against Omicron BA.1. None of the 4,453 specimens tested by the semiquantitative SARS-CoV-2 assay had a binding capacity suggestive of a high-titer neutralizing capacity against Omicron BA.1. These data do not imply that Canadians lacked immunity to Omicron BA.1 during the study period. Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 is complex, and there is still no wide consensus on correlation of protection to SARS-CoV-2.

2.
BMJ Med ; 2(1): e000392, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20235572

ABSTRACT

Objective: To implement complex, PINCER (pharmacist led information technology intervention) prescribing indicators, on a national scale with general practice data to describe the impact of the covid-19 pandemic on safe prescribing. Design: Population based, retrospective cohort study using federated analytics. Setting: Electronic general practice health record data from 56.8 million NHS patients by use of the OpenSAFELY platform, with the approval of the National Health Service (NHS) England. Participants: NHS patients (aged 18-120 years) who were alive and registered at a general practice that used TPP or EMIS computer systems and were recorded as at risk of at least one potentially hazardous PINCER indicator. Main outcome measure: Between 1 September 2019 and 1 September 2021, monthly trends and between practice variation for compliance with 13 PINCER indicators, as calculated on the first of every month, were reported. Prescriptions that do not adhere to these indicators are potentially hazardous and can cause gastrointestinal bleeds; are cautioned against in specific conditions (specifically heart failure, asthma, and chronic renal failure); or require blood test monitoring. The percentage for each indicator is formed of a numerator of patients deemed to be at risk of a potentially hazardous prescribing event and the denominator is of patients for which assessment of the indicator is clinically meaningful. Higher indicator percentages represent potentially poorer performance on medication safety. Results: The PINCER indicators were successfully implemented across general practice data for 56.8 million patient records from 6367 practices in OpenSAFELY. Hazardous prescribing remained largely unchanged during the covid-19 pandemic, with no evidence of increases in indicators of harm as captured by the PINCER indicators. The percentage of patients at risk of potentially hazardous prescribing, as defined by each PINCER indicator, at mean quarter 1 (Q1) 2020 (representing before the pandemic) ranged from 1.11% (age ≥65 years and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to 36.20% (amiodarone and no thyroid function test), while Q1 2021 (representing after the pandemic) percentages ranged from 0.75% (age ≥65 years and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to 39.23% (amiodarone and no thyroid function test). Transient delays occurred in blood test monitoring for some medications, particularly angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (where blood monitoring worsened from a mean of 5.16% in Q1 2020 to 12.14% in Q1 2021, and began to recover in June 2021). All indicators substantially recovered by September 2021. We identified 1 813 058 patients (3.1%) at risk of at least one potentially hazardous prescribing event. Conclusion: NHS data from general practices can be analysed at national scale to generate insights into service delivery. Potentially hazardous prescribing was largely unaffected by the covid-19 pandemic in primary care health records in England.

3.
Trop Med Infect Dis ; 8(5)2023 Apr 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-20242137

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Treatments for COVID-19, including steroids, might exacerbate Strongyloides disease in patients with coinfection. We aimed to systematically review clinical and laboratory features of SARS-CoV-2 and Strongyloides coinfection, investigate possible interventions, assess outcomes, and identify research gaps requiring further attention. METHODS: We searched two electronic databases, LitCOVID and WHO, up to August 2022, including SARS-CoV-2 and Strongyloides coinfection studies. We adapted the World Health Organization-Uppsala Monitoring Centre (WHO-UMC) system for standardized case causality assessment to evaluate if using corticosteroids or other immunosuppressive drugs in COVID-19 patients determined acute manifestations of strongyloidiasis. RESULTS: We included 16 studies reporting 25 cases of Strongyloides and SARS-CoV-2 coinfection: 4 with hyperinfection syndrome; 2 with disseminated strongyloidiasis; 3 with cutaneous reactivation of strongyloidiasis; 3 with isolated digestive symptoms; and 2 with solely eosinophilia, without clinical manifestations. Eleven patients were asymptomatic regarding strongyloidiasis. Eosinopenia or normal eosinophil count was reported in 58.3% of patients with Strongyloides reactivation. Steroids were given to 18/21 (85.7%) cases. A total of 4 patients (19.1%) received tocilizumab and/or Anakirna in addition to steroids. Moreover, 2 patients (9.5%) did not receive any COVID-19 treatment. The causal relationship between Strongyloides reactivation and COVID-19 treatments was considered certain (4% of cases), probable (20% of patients), and possible (20% of patients). For 8% of cases, it was considered unlikely that COVID-19 treatment was associated with strongyloidiasis reactivations; the relationship between the Strongyloides infection and administration of COVID-19 treatment was unassessable/unclassifiable in 48% of cases. Of 13 assessable cases, 11 (84.6%) were considered to be causally associated with Strongyloides, ranging from certain to possible. CONCLUSIONS: Further research is needed to assess the frequency and risk of Strongyloides reactivation in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our limited data using causality assessment supports recommendations that clinicians should screen and treat for Strongyloides infection in patients with coinfection who receive immunosuppressive COVID-19 therapies. In addition, the male gender and older age (over 50 years) may be predisposing factors for Strongyloides reactivation. Standardized guidelines should be developed for reporting future research.

4.
J Dev Econ ; 164: 103114, 2023 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2322558

ABSTRACT

Education systems regularly face unexpected school closures, whether due to disease outbreaks, natural disasters, or other adverse shocks. In low-income countries where internet access is scarce, distance learning - the most common educational solution - is often passive, via TV or radio, with little opportunity for teacher-student interaction. In this paper we evaluate the effectiveness of live tutoring calls from teachers, designed to supplement radio instruction during the 2020 school closures prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We do this with a randomised controlled trial with 4,399 primary school students in Sierra Leone. Tutoring calls led to some limited increase in educational activity, but had no effect on mathematics or language test scores, whether for girls or boys, and whether provided by public or private school teachers. Even having received tutoring calls, one in three children reported not listening to educational radio at all, so limited take-up may partly explain our results.

5.
Ann Intern Med ; 176(5): 685-693, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2315495

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 vaccines were developed and rigorously evaluated in randomized trials during 2020. However, important questions, such as the magnitude and duration of protection, their effectiveness against new virus variants, and the effectiveness of booster vaccination, could not be answered by randomized trials and have therefore been addressed in observational studies. Analyses of observational data can be biased because of confounding and because of inadequate design that does not consider the evolution of the pandemic over time and the rapid uptake of vaccination. Emulating a hypothetical "target trial" using observational data assembled during vaccine rollouts can help manage such potential sources of bias. This article describes 2 approaches to target trial emulation. In the sequential approach, on each day, eligible persons who have not yet been vaccinated are matched to a vaccinated person. The single-trial approach sets a single baseline at the start of the rollout and considers vaccination as a time-varying variable. The nature of the confounding depends on the analysis strategy: Estimating "per-protocol" effects (accounting for vaccination of initially unvaccinated persons after baseline) may require adjustment for both baseline and "time-varying" confounders. These issues are illustrated by using observational data from 2 780 931 persons in the United Kingdom aged 70 years or older to estimate the effect of a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Addressing the issues discussed in this article should help authors of observational studies provide robust evidence to guide clinical and policy decisions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Immunization, Secondary , Vaccination
6.
Br J Gen Pract ; 73(730): e318-e331, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2293768

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare activity across a broad range of clinical services. The NHS stopped non-urgent work in March 2020, later recommending services be restored to near-normal levels before winter where possible. AIM: To describe changes in the volume and variation of coded clinical activity in general practice across six clinical areas: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, mental health, female and reproductive health, screening and related procedures, and processes related to medication. DESIGN AND SETTING: With the approval of NHS England, a cohort study was conducted of 23.8 million patient records in general practice, in situ using OpenSAFELY. METHOD: Common primary care activities were analysed using Clinical Terms Version 3 codes and keyword searches from January 2019 to December 2020, presenting median and deciles of code usage across practices per month. RESULTS: Substantial and widespread changes in clinical activity in primary care were identified since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with generally good recovery by December 2020. A few exceptions showed poor recovery and warrant further investigation, such as mental health (for example, for 'Depression interim review' the median occurrences across practices in December 2020 was down by 41.6% compared with December 2019). CONCLUSION: Granular NHS general practice data at population-scale can be used to monitor disruptions to healthcare services and guide the development of mitigation strategies. The authors are now developing real-time monitoring dashboards for the key measures identified in this study, as well as further studies using primary care data to monitor and mitigate the indirect health impacts of COVID-19 on the NHS.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Female , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , State Medicine , Pandemics , England/epidemiology , Primary Health Care
7.
Lancet Public Health ; 8(5): e364-e377, 2023 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2300635

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has been shown to differently affect various demographic and clinical population subgroups. We aimed to describe trends in absolute and relative COVID-19-related mortality risks across clinical and demographic population subgroups during successive SARS-CoV-2 pandemic waves. METHODS: We did a retrospective cohort study in England using the OpenSAFELY platform with the approval of National Health Service England, covering the first five SARS-CoV-2 pandemic waves (wave one [wild-type] from March 23 to May 30, 2020; wave two [alpha (B.1.1.7)] from Sept 7, 2020, to April 24, 2021; wave three [delta (B.1.617.2)] from May 28 to Dec 14, 2021; wave four [omicron (B.1.1.529)] from Dec 15, 2021, to April 29, 2022; and wave five [omicron] from June 24 to Aug 3, 2022). In each wave, we included people aged 18-110 years who were registered with a general practice on the first day of the wave and who had at least 3 months of continuous general practice registration up to this date. We estimated crude and sex-standardised and age-standardised wave-specific COVID-19-related death rates and relative risks of COVID-19-related death in population subgroups. FINDINGS: 18 895 870 adults were included in wave one, 19 014 720 in wave two, 18 932 050 in wave three, 19 097 970 in wave four, and 19 226 475 in wave five. Crude COVID-19-related death rates per 1000 person-years decreased from 4·48 deaths (95% CI 4·41-4·55) in wave one to 2·69 (2·66-2·72) in wave two, 0·64 (0·63-0·66) in wave three, 1·01 (0·99-1·03) in wave four, and 0·67 (0·64-0·71) in wave five. In wave one, the standardised COVID-19-related death rates were highest in people aged 80 years or older, people with chronic kidney disease stage 5 or 4, people receiving dialysis, people with dementia or learning disability, and people who had received a kidney transplant (ranging from 19·85 deaths per 1000 person-years to 44·41 deaths per 1000 person-years, compared with from 0·05 deaths per 1000 person-years to 15·93 deaths per 1000 person-years in other subgroups). In wave two compared with wave one, in a largely unvaccinated population, the decrease in COVID-19-related mortality was evenly distributed across population subgroups. In wave three compared with wave one, larger decreases in COVID-19-related death rates were seen in groups prioritised for primary SARS-CoV-2 vaccination, including people aged 80 years or older and people with neurological disease, learning disability, or severe mental illness (90-91% decrease). Conversely, smaller decreases in COVID-19-related death rates were observed in younger age groups, people who had received organ transplants, and people with chronic kidney disease, haematological malignancies, or immunosuppressive conditions (0-25% decrease). In wave four compared with wave one, the decrease in COVID-19-related death rates was smaller in groups with lower vaccination coverage (including younger age groups) and conditions associated with impaired vaccine response, including people who had received organ transplants and people with immunosuppressive conditions (26-61% decrease). INTERPRETATION: There was a substantial decrease in absolute COVID-19-related death rates over time in the overall population, but demographic and clinical relative risk profiles persisted and worsened for people with lower vaccination coverage or impaired immune response. Our findings provide an evidence base to inform UK public health policy for protecting these vulnerable population subgroups. FUNDING: UK Research and Innovation, Wellcome Trust, UK Medical Research Council, National Institute for Health and Care Research, and Health Data Research UK.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Learning Disabilities , Adult , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Retrospective Studies , State Medicine , England/epidemiology , Demography
8.
Humanit Soc Sci Commun ; 10(1): 102, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2258506

ABSTRACT

Timely and accurate statistics on the labour market enable policymakers to rapidly respond to changing economic conditions. Estimates of job vacancies by national statistical agencies are highly accurate but reported infrequently and with time lags. In contrast, online job postings provide a high-frequency indicator of vacancies with less accuracy. In this study we develop a robust signal averaging algorithm to measure job vacancies using online job postings data. We apply the algorithm using data on Australian job postings and show that it accurately predicts changes in job vacancies over a 4.5-year period. We also show that the algorithm is significantly more accurate than using raw counts of job postings to predict vacancies. The algorithm therefore offers a promising approach to the timely and reliable measurement of changes in vacancies.

9.
BMJ medicine ; 2(1), 2023.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2261232

ABSTRACT

Objective To ascertain patient eligibility status and describe coverage of antiviral drugs and neutralising monoclonal antibodies (nMAB) as treatment for covid-19 in community settings in England. Design Retrospective, descriptive cohort study, approved by NHS England. Setting Routine clinical data from 23.4 million people linked to data on covid-19 infection and treatment, within the OpenSAFELY-TPP database. Participants Outpatients with covid-19 at high risk of severe outcomes. Interventions Nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (paxlovid), sotrovimab, molnupiravir, casirivimab/imdevimab, or remdesivir, used in the community by covid-19 medicine delivery units. Results 93 870 outpatients with covid-19 were identified between 11 December 2021 and 28 April 2022 to be at high risk of severe outcomes and therefore potentially eligible for antiviral or nMAB treatment (or both). Of these patients, 19 040 (20%) received treatment (sotrovimab, 9660 (51%);molnupiravir, 4620 (24%);paxlovid, 4680 (25%);casirivimab/imdevimab, 50 (<1%);and remdesivir, 30 (<1%)). The proportion of patients treated increased from 9% (190/2220) in the first week of treatment availability to 29% (460/1600) in the latest week. The proportion treated varied by high risk group, being lowest in those with liver disease (16%;95% confidence interval 15% to 17%);by treatment type, with sotrovimab favoured over molnupiravir and paxlovid in all but three high risk groups (Down's syndrome (35%;30% to 39%), rare neurological conditions (45%;43% to 47%), and immune deficiencies (48%;47% to 50%));by age, ranging from ≥80 years (13%;12% to 14%) to 50-59 years (23%;22% to 23%);by ethnic group, ranging from black (11%;10% to 12%) to white (21%;21% to 21%);by NHS region, ranging from 13% (12% to 14%) in Yorkshire and the Humber to 25% (24% to 25%) in the East of England);and by deprivation level, ranging from 15% (14% to 15%) in the most deprived areas to 23% (23% to 24%) in the least deprived areas. Groups that also had lower coverage included unvaccinated patients (7%;6% to 9%), those with dementia (6%;5% to 7%), and care home residents (6%;6% to 7%). Conclusions Using the OpenSAFELY platform, we were able to identify patients with covid-19 at high risk of severe outcomes who were potentially eligible to receive treatment and assess the coverage of these new treatments among these patients. In the context of a rapid deployment of a new service, the NHS analytical code used to determine eligibility could have been over-inclusive and some of the eligibility criteria not fully captured in healthcare data. However targeted activity might be needed to resolve apparent lower treatment coverage observed among certain groups, in particular (at present): different NHS regions, ethnic groups, people aged ≥80 years, those living in socioeconomically deprived areas, and care home residents.

10.
Antimicrob Resist Infect Control ; 12(1): 21, 2023 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2268145

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Risk factors for nosocomial COVID-19 outbreaks continue to evolve. The aim of this study was to investigate a multi-ward nosocomial outbreak of COVID-19 between 1st September and 15th November 2020, occurring in a setting without vaccination for any healthcare workers or patients. METHODS: Outbreak report and retrospective, matched case-control study using incidence density sampling in three cardiac wards in an 1100-bed tertiary teaching hospital in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Patients were confirmed/probable COVID-19 cases and contemporaneous control patients without COVID-19. COVID-19 outbreak definitions were based on Public Health guidelines. Clinical and environmental specimens were tested by RT-PCR and as applicable quantitative viral cultures and whole genome sequencing were conducted. Controls were inpatients on the cardiac wards during the study period confirmed to be without COVID-19, matched to outbreak cases by time of symptom onset dates, age within ± 15 years and were admitted in hospital for at least 2 days. Demographics, Braden Score, baseline medications, laboratory measures, co-morbidities, and hospitalization characteristics were collected on cases and controls. Univariate and multivariate conditional logistical regression was used to identify independent risk factors for nosocomial COVID-19. RESULTS: The outbreak involved 42 healthcare workers and 39 patients. The strongest independent risk factor for nosocomial COVID-19 (IRR 3.21, 95% CI 1.47-7.02) was exposure in a multi-bedded room. Of 45 strains successfully sequenced, 44 (97.8%) were B.1.128 and differed from the most common circulating community lineages. SARS-CoV-2 positive cultures were detected in 56.7% (34/60) of clinical and environmental specimens. The multidisciplinary outbreak team observed eleven contributing events to transmission during the outbreak. CONCLUSIONS: Transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 in hospital outbreaks are complex; however multi-bedded rooms play a significant role in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Humans , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Case-Control Studies , Retrospective Studies , Disease Outbreaks , Risk Factors , Tertiary Care Centers , Alberta
11.
J Hosp Infect ; 2022 Dec 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2231419

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Solid organ and haematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients are at increased vulnerability to SARS-CoV-2 due to immunosuppression and may pose a continued transmission risk especially within hospital settings. Detailed case reports including symptoms, viral load and infectiousness, defined by the presence of replication-competent viruses in culture, provide an opportunity to examine the relationship between clinical course, burden and contagiousness, and provide guidance on release from isolation. OBJECTIVES: We performed a systematic review to investigate the relationship in transplant recipients between serial SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR cycle threshold (Ct) value or cycle of quantification value (Cq), or other measures of viral burden and the likelihood and duration of the presence of infectious virus based on viral culture including the influence of age, sex, underlying pathologies, degree of immunosuppression, and/or vaccination on this relationship. METHODS: We searched LitCovid, medRxiv, Google Scholar and WHO Covid-19 databases, from 1 November 2019 until 26 October 2022. We included studies reporting relevant data for transplantees with SARS-CoV-2 infection: results from serial RT-PCR testing and viral culture data from the same respiratory samples. We assessed methodological quality using five criteria, and synthesised the data narratively and graphically. RESULTS: We included 13 case reports and case series reporting on 41 transplantees including 22 renal, 5 cardiac, 1 bone marrow, 2 liver, 1 bilateral lung, and 10 blood stem cell transplants. We observed a relationship between proxies of viral burden and likelihood of shedding replication-competent SARS-CoV-2. Three individuals shed replication-competent viruses for over 100 days after infection onset. Lack of standardisation of testing and reporting platforms precludes establishing a definitive viral burden cut-off. However, the majority of transplantees stopped shedding replication-competent viruses when the RT-PCR cycle threshold was above 30 despite differences across platforms. CONCLUSIONS: Viral burden is a reasonable proxy for infectivity when considered within the context of the clinical status of each patient. Standardised study design and reporting are essential to standardise guidance based on an increasing evidence base.

12.
Br J Gen Pract ; 72(720): e456-e463, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2217131

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Early evidence has shown that anticoagulant reduces the risk of thrombotic events in those infected with COVID-19. However, evidence of the role of routinely prescribed oral anticoagulants (OACs) in COVID-19 outcomes is limited. AIM: To investigate the association between OACs and COVID-19 outcomes in those with atrial fibrillation and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2. DESIGN AND SETTING: On behalf of NHS England, a population-based cohort study was conducted. METHOD: The study used primary care data and pseudonymously-linked SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing data, hospital admissions, and death records from England. Cox regression was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) for COVID-19 outcomes comparing people with current OAC use versus non-use, accounting for age, sex, comorbidities, other medications, deprivation, and general practice. RESULTS: Of 71 103 people with atrial fibrillation and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 2, there were 52 832 current OAC users and 18 271 non-users. No difference in risk of being tested for SARS-CoV-2 was associated with current use (adjusted HR [aHR] 0.99, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.95 to 1.04) versus non-use. A lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 (aHR 0.77, 95% CI = 0.63 to 0.95) and a marginally lower risk of COVID-19-related death (aHR, 0.74, 95% CI = 0.53 to 1.04) were associated with current use versus non-use. CONCLUSION: Among those at low baseline stroke risk, people receiving OACs had a lower risk of testing positive for SARS-CoV-2 and severe COVID-19 outcomes than non-users; this might be explained by a causal effect of OACs in preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes or unmeasured confounding, including more cautious behaviours leading to reduced infection risk.


Subject(s)
Atrial Fibrillation , COVID-19 , Stroke , Administration, Oral , Anticoagulants/therapeutic use , Atrial Fibrillation/complications , Atrial Fibrillation/drug therapy , Atrial Fibrillation/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Stroke/drug therapy , Stroke/epidemiology , Stroke/prevention & control
13.
BMC Med ; 20(1): 243, 2022 07 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2214584

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: While the vaccines against COVID-19 are highly effective, COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough is possible despite being fully vaccinated. With SARS-CoV-2 variants still circulating, describing the characteristics of individuals who have experienced COVID-19 vaccine breakthroughs could be hugely important in helping to determine who may be at greatest risk. METHODS: With the approval of NHS England, we conducted a retrospective cohort study using routine clinical data from the OpenSAFELY-TPP database of fully vaccinated individuals, linked to secondary care and death registry data and described the characteristics of those experiencing COVID-19 vaccine breakthroughs. RESULTS: As of 1st November 2021, a total of 15,501,550 individuals were identified as being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with a median follow-up time of 149 days (IQR: ​107-179). From within this population, a total of 579,780 (<4%) individuals reported a positive SARS-CoV-2 test. For every 1000 years of patient follow-up time, the corresponding incidence rate (IR) was 98.06 (95% CI 97.93-98.19). There were 28,580 COVID-19-related hospital admissions, 1980 COVID-19-related critical care admissions and 6435 COVID-19-related deaths; corresponding IRs 4.77 (95% CI 4.74-4.80), 0.33 (95% CI 0.32-0.34) and 1.07 (95% CI 1.06-1.09), respectively. The highest rates of breakthrough COVID-19 were seen in those in care homes and in patients with chronic kidney disease, dialysis, transplant, haematological malignancy or who were immunocompromised. CONCLUSIONS: While the majority of COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough cases in England were mild, some differences in rates of breakthrough cases have been identified in several clinical groups. While it is important to note that these findings are simply descriptive and cannot be used to answer why certain groups have higher rates of COVID-19 breakthrough than others, the emergence of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 coupled with the number of positive SARS-CoV-2 tests still occurring is concerning and as numbers of fully vaccinated (and boosted) individuals increases and as follow-up time lengthens, so too will the number of COVID-19 breakthrough cases. Additional analyses, to assess vaccine waning and rates of breakthrough COVID-19 between different variants, aimed at identifying individuals at higher risk, are needed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Chickenpox Vaccine , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Humans , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
15.
Systems ; 10(6):257, 2022.
Article in English | MDPI | ID: covidwho-2163609

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Worldwide health systems are being faced with unprecedented COVID-19-related challenges, ranging from the problems of a novel condition and a shortage of personal protective equipment to frequently changing medical guidelines. Many institutions were forced to innovate and many hospitals, as well as telehealth providers, set up online forward triage tools (OFTTs). Using an OFTT before visiting the emergency department or a doctor's practice became common practice. A policy can be defined as what an institution or government chooses to do or not to do. An OFTT, in this case, has become both a policy and a practice. Methods: The study was part of a broader multiphase sequential explanatory design. First, an online survey was carried out using a questionnaire to n = 176 patients who consented during OFTT usage. Descriptive analysis was carried out to identify who used the tool, for what purpose, and if the participant followed the recommendations. The quantitative results shaped the interview guide's development. Second, in-depth interviews were held with a purposeful sample of n = 19, selected from the OFTT users who had consented to a further qualitative study. The qualitative findings were meant to explain the quantitative results. Third, in-depth interviews were held with healthcare providers and authorities (n = 5) that were privy to the tool. Framework analysis was adopted using the five-factor framework as a lens with which to analyze the qualitative data only. Results: The five-factor framework proved useful in identifying gaps that affected the utility of the COVID-19 OFTT. The identified gaps could fit and be represented by five factors: primary, secondary, tertiary, and extraneous factors, along with a lack of systems thinking. Conclusion: A theory or framework provides a road map to systematically identify those factors affecting policy implementation. Knowing how and why policy practice gaps come about in a COVID-19 OFFT context facilitates better future OFTTs. The framework in this study, although developed in a universal health coverage (UHC) context in South Africa, proved useful in a telehealth context in Switzerland, in Europe. The importance of systems thinking in developing digital tools cannot be overemphasized.

17.
BMJ ; 379: e071932, 2022 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2118119

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness of sotrovimab (a neutralising monoclonal antibody) with molnupiravir (an antiviral) in preventing severe outcomes of covid-19 in adult patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 in the community and at high risk of severe outcomes from covid-19. DESIGN: Observational cohort study with the OpenSAFELY platform. SETTING: With the approval of NHS England, a real world cohort study was conducted with the OpenSAFELY-TPP platform (a secure, transparent, open source software platform for analysis of NHS electronic health records), and patient level electronic health record data were obtained from 24 million people registered with a general practice in England that uses TPP software. The primary care data were securely linked with data on SARS-CoV-2 infection and treatments, hospital admission, and death, over a period when both drug treatments were frequently prescribed in community settings. PARTICIPANTS: Adult patients with covid-19 in the community at high risk of severe outcomes from covid-19, treated with sotrovimab or molnupiravir from 16 December 2021. INTERVENTIONS: Sotrovimab or molnupiravir given in the community by covid-19 medicine delivery units. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Admission to hospital with covid-19 (ie, with covid-19 as the primary diagnosis) or death from covid-19 (ie, with covid-19 as the underlying or contributing cause of death) within 28 days of the start of treatment. RESULTS: Between 16 December 2021 and 10 February 2022, 3331 and 2689 patients were treated with sotrovimab and molnupiravir, respectively, with no substantial differences in baseline characteristics. Mean age of all 6020 patients was 52 (standard deviation 16) years; 59% were women, 89% were white, and 88% had received three or more covid-19 vaccinations. Within 28 days of the start of treatment, 87 (1.4%) patients were admitted to hospital or died of infection from SARS-CoV-2 (32 treated with sotrovimab and 55 with molnupiravir). Cox proportional hazards models stratified by area showed that after adjusting for demographic information, high risk cohort categories, vaccination status, calendar time, body mass index, and other comorbidities, treatment with sotrovimab was associated with a substantially lower risk than treatment with molnupiravir (hazard ratio 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.33 to 0.88, P=0.01). Consistent results were found from propensity score weighted Cox models (0.50, 0.31 to 0.81, P=0.005) and when restricted to people who were fully vaccinated (0.53, 0.31 to 0.90, P=0.02). No substantial effect modifications by other characteristics were detected (all P values for interaction >0.10). The findings were similar in an exploratory analysis of patients treated between 16 February and 1 May 2022 when omicron BA.2 was the predominant variant in England. CONCLUSIONS: In routine care of adult patients in England with covid-19 in the community, at high risk of severe outcomes from covid-19, those who received sotrovimab were at lower risk of severe outcomes of covid-19 than those treated with molnupiravir.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , Humans , Female , Adolescent , Male , Cohort Studies , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
18.
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol ; 323(6): H1262-H1269, 2022 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2117986

ABSTRACT

Myocardial pathologies resulting from SARS-CoV-2 infections are consistently rising with mounting case rates and reinfections; however, the precise global burden is largely unknown and will have an unprecedented impact. Understanding the mechanisms of COVID-19-mediated cardiac injury is essential toward the development of cardioprotective agents that are urgently needed. Assessing novel therapeutic strategies to tackle COVID-19 necessitates an animal model that recapitulates human disease. Here, we sought to compare SARS-CoV-2-infected animals with patients with COVID-19 to identify common mechanisms of cardiac injury. Two-month-old hamsters were infected with either the ancestral (D614) or Delta variant (B.1.617.2) of SARS-CoV-2 for 2 days, 7 days, and/or 14 days. We measured viral RNA and cytokine expression at the earlier time points to capture the initial stages of infection in the lung and heart. We assessed myocardial angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), the entry receptor for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and cardioprotective enzyme, as well as markers for inflammatory cell infiltration in the hamster hearts at days 7 and 14. In parallel, human hearts were stained for ACE2, viral nucleocapsid, and inflammatory cells. Indeed, we identify myocardial ACE2 downregulation and myeloid cell burden as common events in both hamsters and humans infected with SARS-CoV-2, and we propose targeting downstream ACE2 downregulation as a therapeutic avenue that warrants clinical investigation.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Cardiac manifestations of COVID-19 in humans are mirrored in the SARS-CoV-2 hamster model, recapitulating myocardial damage, ACE2 downregulation, and a consistent pattern of immune cell infiltration independent of viral dose and variant. Therefore, the hamster model is a valid approach to study therapeutic strategies for COVID-19-related heart disease.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , COVID-19 , Animals , Humans , Cricetinae , Infant , SARS-CoV-2 , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/genetics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , Inflammation
19.
J Biomed Inform ; : 104236, 2022 Oct 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2083188

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Outbreaks of influenza-like diseases often cause spikes in the demand for hospital beds. Early detection of these outbreaks can enable improved management of hospital resources. The objective of this study was to test whether surveillance algorithms designed to be responsive to a wide range of anomalous decreases in the time between emergency department (ED) presentations with influenza-like illnesses provide efficient early detection of these outbreaks. METHODS: Our study used data on ED presentations to major public hospitals in Queensland, Australia across 2017-2020. We developed surveillance algorithms for each hospital that flag potential outbreaks when the average time between successive ED presentations with influenza-like illnesses becomes anomalously small. We designed one set of algorithms to be responsive to a wide range of anomalous decreases in the time between presentations. These algorithms concurrently monitor three exponentially weighted moving averages (EWMAs) of the time between presentations and flag an outbreak when at least one EWMA falls below its control limit. We designed another set of algorithms to be highly responsive to narrower ranges of anomalous decreases in the time between presentations. These algorithms monitor one EWMA of the time between presentations and flag an outbreak when the EWMA falls below its control limit. Our algorithms use dynamic control limits to reflect that the average time between presentations depends on the time of year, time of day, and day of the week. RESULTS: We compared the performance of the algorithms in detecting the start of two epidemic events at the hospital-level: the 2019 seasonal influenza outbreak and the early-2020 COVID-19 outbreak. The algorithm that concurrently monitors three EWMAs provided significantly earlier detection of these outbreaks than the algorithms that monitor one EWMA. CONCLUSION: Surveillance algorithms designed to be responsive to a wide range of anomalous decreases in the time between ED presentations are highly efficient at detecting outbreaks of influenza-like diseases at the hospital level.

20.
Trop Med Infect Dis ; 7(10)2022 Oct 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2071794

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Maritime and river travel may be associated with respiratory viral spread via infected passengers and/or crew and potentially through other transmission routes. The transmission models of SARS-CoV-2 associated with cruise ship travel are based on transmission dynamics of other respiratory viruses. We aimed to provide a summary and evaluation of relevant data on SARS-CoV-2 transmission aboard cruise ships, report policy implications, and highlight research gaps. METHODS: We searched four electronic databases (up to 26 May 2022) and included studies on SARS-CoV-2 transmission aboard cruise ships. The quality of the studies was assessed based on five criteria, and relevant findings were reported. RESULTS: We included 23 papers on onboard SARS-CoV-2 transmission (with 15 reports on different aspects of the outbreak on Diamond Princess and nine reports on other international cruises), 2 environmental studies, and 1 systematic review. Three articles presented data on both international cruises and the Diamond Princess. The quality of evidence from most studies was low to very low. Index case definitions were heterogeneous. The proportion of traced contacts ranged from 0.19 to 100%. Studies that followed up >80% of passengers and crew reported attack rates (AR) up to 59%. The presence of a distinct dose-response relationship was demonstrated by findings of increased ARs in multi-person cabins. Two studies performed viral cultures with eight positive results. Genomic sequencing and phylogenetic analyses were performed in individuals from three cruises. Two environmental studies reported PCR-positive samples (cycle threshold range 26.21-39.00). In one study, no infectious virus was isolated from any of the 76 environmental samples. CONCLUSION: Our review suggests that crowding and multiple persons per cabin were associated with an increased risk of transmission on cruise ships. Variations in design, methodology, and case ascertainment limit comparisons across studies and quantification of transmission risk. Standardized guidelines for conducting and reporting studies on cruise ships of acute respiratory infection transmission should be developed.

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