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1.
JCI Insight ; 2022 May 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1861743

ABSTRACT

The role of immune responses to previously seen endemic coronavirus epitopes in severe acute respiratory coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and disease progression has not yet been determined. Here, we show that a key characteristic of fatal coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outcomes is that the immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein is enriched for antibodies directed against epitopes shared with endemic beta-coronaviruses, and has a lower proportion of antibodies targeting the more protective variable regions of the spike. The magnitude of antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein, its domains and subunits, and the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid also correlated strongly with responses to the endemic beta-coronavirus spike proteins in individuals admitted to intensive care units (ICU) with fatal COVID-19 outcomes, but not in individuals with non-fatal outcomes. This correlation was found to be due to the antibody response directed at the S2 subunit of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, which has the highest degree of conservation between the beta-coronavirus spike proteins. Intriguingly, antibody responses to the less cross-reactive SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid were not significantly different in individuals who were admitted to ICU with fatal and non-fatal outcomes, suggesting an antibody profile in individuals with fatal outcomes consistent with an original antigenic sin type-response.

2.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Nov 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852981

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: 'Classic' symptoms (cough, fever, loss of taste/smell) prompt SARS-CoV-2 PCR-testing in the UK. Studies have assessed the ability of different symptoms to identify infection, but few have compared symptoms over time (reflecting variants) and by vaccination status. METHODS: Using the COVID-19 Infection Survey, sampling households across the UK, we compared symptoms in PCR-positives vs. PCR-negatives, evaluating sensitivity of combinations of 12 symptoms (percentage symptomatic PCR-positives reporting specific symptoms) and tests per case (TPC) (PCR-positives or PCR-negatives reporting specific symptoms/ PCR-positives reporting specific symptoms). RESULTS: Between April 2020 and August 2021, 27,869 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive episodes occurred in 27,692 participants (median 42 years), of whom 13,427 (48%) self-reported symptoms ("symptomatic PCR-positives"). The comparator comprised 3,806,692 test-negative visits (457,215 participants); 130,612 (3%) self-reported symptoms ("symptomatic PCR-negatives"). Symptom reporting in PCR-positives varied by age, sex, and ethnicity, and over time, reflecting changes in prevalence of viral variants, incidental changes (e.g. seasonal pathogens (with sore throat increasing in PCR-positives and PCR-negatives from April 2021), schools re-opening) and vaccination roll-out. After May-2021 when Delta emerged, headache and fever substantially increased in PCR-positives, but not PCR-negatives. Sensitivity of symptom-based detection increased from 74% using 'classic' symptoms, to 81% adding fatigue/weakness, and 90% including all eight additional symptoms. However, this increased TPC from 4.6 to 5.3 to 8.7. CONCLUSIONS: Expanded symptom combinations may provide modest benefits for sensitivity of PCR-based case detection, but this will vary between settings and over time, and increases tests/case. Large-scale changes to targeted PCR-testing approaches require careful evaluation given substantial resource and infrastructure implications.

3.
Lancet Digit Health ; 4(4): e266-e278, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730184

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Uncertainty in patients' COVID-19 status contributes to treatment delays, nosocomial transmission, and operational pressures in hospitals. However, the typical turnaround time for laboratory PCR remains 12-24 h and lateral flow devices (LFDs) have limited sensitivity. Previously, we have shown that artificial intelligence-driven triage (CURIAL-1.0) can provide rapid COVID-19 screening using clinical data routinely available within 1 h of arrival to hospital. Here, we aimed to improve the time from arrival to the emergency department to the availability of a result, do external and prospective validation, and deploy a novel laboratory-free screening tool in a UK emergency department. METHODS: We optimised our previous model, removing less informative predictors to improve generalisability and speed, developing the CURIAL-Lab model with vital signs and readily available blood tests (full blood count [FBC]; urea, creatinine, and electrolytes; liver function tests; and C-reactive protein) and the CURIAL-Rapide model with vital signs and FBC alone. Models were validated externally for emergency admissions to University Hospitals Birmingham, Bedfordshire Hospitals, and Portsmouth Hospitals University National Health Service (NHS) trusts, and prospectively at Oxford University Hospitals, by comparison with PCR testing. Next, we compared model performance directly against LFDs and evaluated a combined pathway that triaged patients who had either a positive CURIAL model result or a positive LFD to a COVID-19-suspected clinical area. Lastly, we deployed CURIAL-Rapide alongside an approved point-of-care FBC analyser to provide laboratory-free COVID-19 screening at the John Radcliffe Hospital (Oxford, UK). Our primary improvement outcome was time-to-result, and our performance measures were sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC). FINDINGS: 72 223 patients met eligibility criteria across the four validating hospital groups, in a total validation period spanning Dec 1, 2019, to March 31, 2021. CURIAL-Lab and CURIAL-Rapide performed consistently across trusts (AUROC range 0·858-0·881, 95% CI 0·838-0·912, for CURIAL-Lab and 0·836-0·854, 0·814-0·889, for CURIAL-Rapide), achieving highest sensitivity at Portsmouth Hospitals (84·1%, Wilson's 95% CI 82·5-85·7, for CURIAL-Lab and 83·5%, 81·8-85·1, for CURIAL-Rapide) at specificities of 71·3% (70·9-71·8) for CURIAL-Lab and 63·6% (63·1-64·1) for CURIAL-Rapide. When combined with LFDs, model predictions improved triage sensitivity from 56·9% (51·7-62·0) for LFDs alone to 85·6% with CURIAL-Lab (81·6-88·9; AUROC 0·925) and 88·2% with CURIAL-Rapide (84·4-91·1; AUROC 0·919), thereby reducing missed COVID-19 cases by 65% with CURIAL-Lab and 72% with CURIAL-Rapide. For the prospective deployment of CURIAL-Rapide, 520 patients were enrolled for point-of-care FBC analysis between Feb 18 and May 10, 2021, of whom 436 received confirmatory PCR testing and ten (2·3%) tested positive. Median time from arrival to a CURIAL-Rapide result was 45 min (IQR 32-64), 16 min (26·3%) sooner than with LFDs (61 min, 37-99; log-rank p<0·0001), and 6 h 52 min (90·2%) sooner than with PCR (7 h 37 min, 6 h 5 min to 15 h 39 min; p<0·0001). Classification performance was high, with sensitivity of 87·5% (95% CI 52·9-97·8), specificity of 85·4% (81·3-88·7), and negative predictive value of 99·7% (98·2-99·9). CURIAL-Rapide correctly excluded infection for 31 (58·5%) of 53 patients who were triaged by a physician to a COVID-19-suspected area but went on to test negative by PCR. INTERPRETATION: Our findings show the generalisability, performance, and real-world operational benefits of artificial intelligence-driven screening for COVID-19 over standard-of-care in emergency departments. CURIAL-Rapide provided rapid, laboratory-free screening when used with near-patient FBC analysis, and was able to reduce the number of patients who tested negative for COVID-19 but were triaged to COVID-19-suspected areas. FUNDING: The Wellcome Trust, University of Oxford Medical and Life Sciences Translational Fund.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Triage , Artificial Intelligence , COVID-19/diagnosis , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine
4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(7): 1208-1219, 2022 Apr 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704072

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Natural and vaccine-induced immunity will play a key role in controlling the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic. SARS-CoV-2 variants have the potential to evade natural and vaccine-induced immunity. METHODS: In a longitudinal cohort study of healthcare workers (HCWs) in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, we investigated the protection from symptomatic and asymptomatic polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection conferred by vaccination (Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2, Oxford-AstraZeneca ChAdOx1 nCOV-19) and prior infection (determined using anti-spike antibody status), using Poisson regression adjusted for age, sex, temporal changes in incidence and role. We estimated protection conferred after 1 versus 2 vaccinations and from infections with the B.1.1.7 variant identified using whole genome sequencing. RESULTS: In total, 13 109 HCWs participated; 8285 received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (1407 two doses), and 2738 the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine (49 two doses). Compared to unvaccinated seronegative HCWs, natural immunity and 2 vaccination doses provided similar protection against symptomatic infection: no HCW vaccinated twice had symptomatic infection, and incidence was 98% lower in seropositive HCWs (adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.02 [95% confidence interval {CI} < .01-.18]). Two vaccine doses or seropositivity reduced the incidence of any PCR-positive result with or without symptoms by 90% (0.10 [95% CI .02-.38]) and 85% (0.15 [95% CI .08-.26]), respectively. Single-dose vaccination reduced the incidence of symptomatic infection by 67% (0.33 [95% CI .21-.52]) and any PCR-positive result by 64% (0.36 [95% CI .26-.50]). There was no evidence of differences in immunity induced by natural infection and vaccination for infections with S-gene target failure and B.1.1.7. CONCLUSIONS: Natural infection resulting in detectable anti-spike antibodies and 2 vaccine doses both provide robust protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection, including against the B.1.1.7 variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Cohort Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulins , Incidence , Longitudinal Studies , Vaccination
5.
Nat Med ; 28(5): 1072-1082, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684095

ABSTRACT

Antibody responses are an important part of immunity after Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination. However, antibody trajectories and the associated duration of protection after a second vaccine dose remain unclear. In this study, we investigated anti-spike IgG antibody responses and correlates of protection after second doses of ChAdOx1 or BNT162b2 vaccines for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the United Kingdom general population. In 222,493 individuals, we found significant boosting of anti-spike IgG by the second doses of both vaccines in all ages and using different dosing intervals, including the 3-week interval for BNT162b2. After second vaccination, BNT162b2 generated higher peak levels than ChAdOX1. Older individuals and males had lower peak levels with BNT162b2 but not ChAdOx1, whereas declines were similar across ages and sexes with ChAdOX1 or BNT162b2. Prior infection significantly increased antibody peak level and half-life with both vaccines. Anti-spike IgG levels were associated with protection from infection after vaccination and, to an even greater degree, after prior infection. At least 67% protection against infection was estimated to last for 2-3 months after two ChAdOx1 doses, for 5-8 months after two BNT162b2 doses in those without prior infection and for 1-2 years for those unvaccinated after natural infection. A third booster dose might be needed, prioritized to ChAdOx1 recipients and those more clinically vulnerable.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Male
6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(3): 407-415, 2022 02 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684538

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: How severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infectivity varies with viral load is incompletely understood. Whether rapid point-of-care antigen lateral flow devices (LFDs) detect most potential transmission sources despite imperfect clinical sensitivity is unknown. METHODS: We combined SARS-CoV-2 testing and contact tracing data from England between 1 September 2020 and 28 February 2021. We used multivariable logistic regression to investigate relationships between polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-confirmed infection in contacts of community-diagnosed cases and index case viral load, S gene target failure (proxy for B.1.1.7 infection), demographics, SARS-CoV-2 incidence, social deprivation, and contact event type. We used LFD performance to simulate the proportion of cases with a PCR-positive contact expected to be detected using 1 of 4 LFDs. RESULTS: In total, 231 498/2 474 066 (9%) contacts of 1 064 004 index cases tested PCR-positive. PCR-positive results in contacts independently increased with higher case viral loads (lower cycle threshold [Ct] values), for example, 11.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.5-12.0%) at Ct = 15 and 4.5% (95% CI 4.4-4.6%) at Ct = 30. B.1.1.7 infection increased PCR-positive results by ~50%, (eg, 1.55-fold, 95% CI 1.49-1.61, at Ct = 20). PCR-positive results were most common in household contacts (at Ct = 20.1, 8.7% [95% CI 8.6-8.9%]), followed by household visitors (7.1% [95% CI 6.8-7.3%]), contacts at events/activities (5.2% [95% CI 4.9-5.4%]), work/education (4.6% [95% CI 4.4-4.8%]), and least common after outdoor contact (2.9% [95% CI 2.3-3.8%]). Contacts of children were the least likely to test positive, particularly following contact outdoors or at work/education. The most and least sensitive LFDs would detect 89.5% (95% CI 89.4-89.6%) and 83.0% (95% CI 82.8-83.1%) of cases with PCR-positive contacts, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 infectivity varies by case viral load, contact event type, and age. Those with high viral loads are the most infectious. B.1.1.7 increased transmission by ~50%. The best performing LFDs detect most infectious cases.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Family Characteristics , Humans , Viral Load
7.
N Engl J Med ; 386(8): 744-756, 2022 02 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604758

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Before the emergence of the B.1.617.2 (delta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), vaccination reduced transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from vaccinated persons who became infected, potentially by reducing viral loads. Although vaccination still lowers the risk of infection, similar viral loads in vaccinated and unvaccinated persons who are infected with the delta variant call into question the degree to which vaccination prevents transmission. METHODS: We used contact-testing data from England to perform a retrospective observational cohort study involving adult contacts of SARS-CoV-2-infected adult index patients. We used multivariable Poisson regression to investigate associations between transmission and the vaccination status of index patients and contacts and to determine how these associations varied with the B.1.1.7 (alpha) and delta variants and time since the second vaccination. RESULTS: Among 146,243 tested contacts of 108,498 index patients, 54,667 (37%) had positive SARS-CoV-2 polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) tests. In index patients who became infected with the alpha variant, two vaccinations with either BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (also known as AZD1222), as compared with no vaccination, were independently associated with reduced PCR positivity in contacts (adjusted rate ratio with BNT162b2, 0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.21 to 0.48; and with ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.78). Vaccine-associated reductions in transmission of the delta variant were smaller than those with the alpha variant, and reductions in transmission of the delta variant after two BNT162b2 vaccinations were greater (adjusted rate ratio for the comparison with no vaccination, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.39 to 0.65) than after two ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccinations (adjusted rate ratio, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.70 to 0.82). Variation in cycle-threshold (Ct) values (indicative of viral load) in index patients explained 7 to 23% of vaccine-associated reductions in transmission of the two variants. The reductions in transmission of the delta variant declined over time after the second vaccination, reaching levels that were similar to those in unvaccinated persons by 12 weeks in index patients who had received ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and attenuating substantially in those who had received BNT162b2. Protection in contacts also declined in the 3-month period after the second vaccination. CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination was associated with a smaller reduction in transmission of the delta variant than of the alpha variant, and the effects of vaccination decreased over time. PCR Ct values at diagnosis of the index patient only partially explained decreased transmission. (Funded by the U.K. Government Department of Health and Social Care and others.).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , England , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Viral Load
9.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 13: 100282, 2022 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1559972

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly evolving, with emerging variants and fluctuating control policies. Real-time population screening and identification of groups in whom positivity is highest could help monitor spread and inform public health messaging and strategy. METHODS: To develop a real-time screening process, we included results from nose and throat swabs and questionnaires taken 19 July 2020-17 July 2021 in the UK's national COVID-19 Infection Survey. Fortnightly, associations between SARS-CoV-2 positivity and 60 demographic and behavioural characteristics were estimated using logistic regression models adjusted for potential confounders, considering multiple testing, collinearity, and reverse causality. FINDINGS: Of 4,091,537 RT-PCR results from 482,677 individuals, 29,903 (0·73%) were positive. As positivity rose September-November 2020, rates were independently higher in younger ages, and those living in Northern England, major urban conurbations, more deprived areas, and larger households. Rates were also higher in those returning from abroad, and working in healthcare or outside of home. When positivity peaked December 2020-January 2021 (Alpha), high positivity shifted to southern geographical regions. With national vaccine roll-out from December 2020, positivity reduced in vaccinated individuals. Associations attenuated as rates decreased between February-May 2021. Rising positivity rates in June-July 2021 (Delta) were independently higher in younger, male, and unvaccinated groups. Few factors were consistently associated with positivity. 25/45 (56%) confirmed associations would have been detected later using 28-day rather than 14-day periods. INTERPRETATION: Population-level demographic and behavioural surveillance can be a valuable tool in identifying the varying characteristics driving current SARS-CoV-2 positivity, allowing monitoring to inform public health policy. FUNDING: Department of Health and Social Care (UK), Welsh Government, Department of Health (on behalf of the Northern Ireland Government), Scottish Government, National Institute for Health Research.

11.
J Biol Rhythms ; 37(1): 124-129, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1551148

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a global crisis with unprecedented challenges for public health. Vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2 have slowed the incidence of new infections and reduced disease severity. As the time of day of vaccination has been reported to influence host immune responses to multiple pathogens, we quantified the influence of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination time, vaccine type, participant age, sex, and days post-vaccination on anti-Spike antibody responses in health care workers. The magnitude of the anti-Spike antibody response is associated with the time of day of vaccination, vaccine type, participant age, sex, and days post-vaccination. These results may be relevant for optimising SARS-CoV-2 vaccine efficacy.


Subject(s)
Antibody Formation , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Circadian Rhythm , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
12.
PLoS One ; 16(11): e0260476, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1528734

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Delays in patient flow and a shortage of hospital beds are commonplace in hospitals during periods of increased infection incidence, such as seasonal influenza and the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this study was to develop and evaluate the efficacy of machine learning methods at identifying and ranking the real-time readiness of individual patients for discharge, with the goal of improving patient flow within hospitals during periods of crisis. METHODS AND PERFORMANCE: Electronic Health Record data from Oxford University Hospitals was used to train independent models to classify and rank patients' real-time readiness for discharge within 24 hours, for patient subsets according to the nature of their admission (planned or emergency) and the number of days elapsed since their admission. A strategy for the use of the models' inference is proposed, by which the model makes predictions for all patients in hospital and ranks them in order of likelihood of discharge within the following 24 hours. The 20% of patients with the highest ranking are considered as candidates for discharge and would therefore expect to have a further screening by a clinician to confirm whether they are ready for discharge or not. Performance was evaluated in terms of positive predictive value (PPV), i.e., the proportion of these patients who would have been correctly deemed as 'ready for discharge' after having the second screening by a clinician. Performance was high for patients on their first day of admission (PPV = 0.96/0.94 for planned/emergency patients respectively) but dropped for patients further into a longer admission (PPV = 0.66/0.71 for planned/emergency patients still in hospital after 7 days). CONCLUSION: We demonstrate the efficacy of machine learning methods at making operationally focused, next-day discharge readiness predictions for all individual patients in hospital at any given moment and propose a strategy for their use within a decision-support tool during crisis periods.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , Hospital Administration/standards , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Machine Learning , Patient Care/statistics & numerical data , Patient Discharge/standards , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans
13.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Nov 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1506977

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: 'Classic' symptoms (cough, fever, loss of taste/smell) prompt SARS-CoV-2 PCR-testing in the UK. Studies have assessed the ability of different symptoms to identify infection, but few have compared symptoms over time (reflecting variants) and by vaccination status. METHODS: Using the COVID-19 Infection Survey, sampling households across the UK, we compared symptoms in PCR-positives vs. PCR-negatives, evaluating sensitivity of combinations of 12 symptoms (percentage symptomatic PCR-positives reporting specific symptoms) and tests per case (TPC) (PCR-positives or PCR-negatives reporting specific symptoms/ PCR-positives reporting specific symptoms). RESULTS: Between April 2020 and August 2021, 27,869 SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive episodes occurred in 27,692 participants (median 42 years), of whom 13,427 (48%) self-reported symptoms ("symptomatic PCR-positives"). The comparator comprised 3,806,692 test-negative visits (457,215 participants); 130,612 (3%) self-reported symptoms ("symptomatic PCR-negatives"). Symptom reporting in PCR-positives varied by age, sex, and ethnicity, and over time, reflecting changes in prevalence of viral variants, incidental changes (e.g. seasonal pathogens (with sore throat increasing in PCR-positives and PCR-negatives from April 2021), schools re-opening) and vaccination roll-out. After May-2021 when Delta emerged, headache and fever substantially increased in PCR-positives, but not PCR-negatives. Sensitivity of symptom-based detection increased from 74% using 'classic' symptoms, to 81% adding fatigue/weakness, and 90% including all eight additional symptoms. However, this increased TPC from 4.6 to 5.3 to 8.7. CONCLUSIONS: Expanded symptom combinations may provide modest benefits for sensitivity of PCR-based case detection, but this will vary between settings and over time, and increases tests/case. Large-scale changes to targeted PCR-testing approaches require careful evaluation given substantial resource and infrastructure implications.

14.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 6250, 2021 10 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1493099

ABSTRACT

Understanding the trajectory, duration, and determinants of antibody responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection can inform subsequent protection and risk of reinfection, however large-scale representative studies are limited. Here we estimated antibody response after SARS-CoV-2 infection in the general population using representative data from 7,256 United Kingdom COVID-19 infection survey participants who had positive swab SARS-CoV-2 PCR tests from 26-April-2020 to 14-June-2021. A latent class model classified 24% of participants as 'non-responders' not developing anti-spike antibodies, who were older, had higher SARS-CoV-2 cycle threshold values during infection (i.e. lower viral burden), and less frequently reported any symptoms. Among those who seroconverted, using Bayesian linear mixed models, the estimated anti-spike IgG peak level was 7.3-fold higher than the level previously associated with 50% protection against reinfection, with higher peak levels in older participants and those of non-white ethnicity. The estimated anti-spike IgG half-life was 184 days, being longer in females and those of white ethnicity. We estimated antibody levels associated with protection against reinfection likely last 1.5-2 years on average, with levels associated with protection from severe infection present for several years. These estimates could inform planning for vaccination booster strategies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adult , Aged , Antibody Formation/physiology , Bayes Theorem , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/metabolism , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/immunology
15.
J Infect ; 84(1): 40-47, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1487846

ABSTRACT

Objective To describe the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic on the incidence of paediatric viral respiratory tract infection in Oxfordshire, UK. Methods Data on paediatric Emergency Department (ED) attendances (0-15 years inclusive), respiratory virus testing, vital signs and mortality at Oxford University Hospitals were summarised using descriptive statistics. Results Between 1-March-2016 and 30-July-2021, 155,056 ED attendances occurred and 7,195 respiratory virus PCRs were performed. Detection of all pathogens was suppressed during the first national lockdown. Rhinovirus and adenovirus rates increased when schools reopened September-December 2020, then fell, before rising in March-May 2021. The usual winter RSV peak did not occur in 2020/21, with an inter-seasonal rise (32/1,000 attendances in 0-3 yr olds) in July 2021. Influenza remained suppressed throughout. A higher paediatric early warning score (PEWS) was seen for attendees with adenovirus during the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic (p = 0.04, Mann-Witney U test), no other differences in PEWS were seen. Conclusions SARS-CoV-2 caused major changes in the incidence of paediatric respiratory viral infection in Oxfordshire, with implications for clinical service demand, testing strategies, timing of palivizumab RSV prophylaxis, and highlighting the need to understand which public health interventions are most effective for preventing respiratory virus infections.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections , Respiratory Tract Infections , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Hospitals, Teaching , Humans , Pandemics , Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections/epidemiology , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom
16.
Nat Med ; 27(12): 2127-2135, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1469978

ABSTRACT

The effectiveness of the BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 vaccines against new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections requires continuous re-evaluation, given the increasingly dominant B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant. In this study, we investigated the effectiveness of these vaccines in a large, community-based survey of randomly selected households across the United Kingdom. We found that the effectiveness of BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 against infections (new polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive cases) with symptoms or high viral burden is reduced with the B.1.617.2 variant (absolute difference of 10-13% for BNT162b2 and 16% for ChAdOx1) compared to the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant. The effectiveness of two doses remains at least as great as protection afforded by prior natural infection. The dynamics of immunity after second doses differed significantly between BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1, with greater initial effectiveness against new PCR-positive cases but faster declines in protection against high viral burden and symptomatic infection with BNT162b2. There was no evidence that effectiveness varied by dosing interval, but protection was higher in vaccinated individuals after a prior infection and in younger adults. With B.1.617.2, infections occurring after two vaccinations had similar peak viral burden as those in unvaccinated individuals. SARS-CoV-2 vaccination still reduces new infections, but effectiveness and attenuation of peak viral burden are reduced with B.1.617.2.


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , /statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Humans , Middle Aged , Polymerase Chain Reaction , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vaccination , Viral Load , Young Adult
17.
PLoS Med ; 18(10): e1003816, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463303

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Nosocomial spread of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been widely reported, but the transmission pathways among patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) are unclear. Identifying the risk factors and drivers for these nosocomial transmissions is critical for infection prevention and control interventions. The main aim of our study was to quantify the relative importance of different transmission pathways of SARS-CoV-2 in the hospital setting. METHODS AND FINDINGS: This is an observational cohort study using data from 4 teaching hospitals in Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, from January to October 2020. Associations between infectious SARS-CoV-2 individuals and infection risk were quantified using logistic, generalised additive and linear mixed models. Cases were classified as community- or hospital-acquired using likely incubation periods of 3 to 7 days. Of 66,184 patients who were hospitalised during the study period, 920 had a positive SARS-CoV-2 PCR test within the same period (1.4%). The mean age was 67.9 (±20.7) years, 49.2% were females, and 68.5% were from the white ethnic group. Out of these, 571 patients had their first positive PCR tests while hospitalised (62.1%), and 97 of these occurred at least 7 days after admission (10.5%). Among the 5,596 HCWs, 615 (11.0%) tested positive during the study period using PCR or serological tests. The mean age was 39.5 (±11.1) years, 78.9% were females, and 49.8% were nurses. For susceptible patients, 1 day in the same ward with another patient with hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 was associated with an additional 7.5 infections per 1,000 susceptible patients (95% credible interval (CrI) 5.5 to 9.5/1,000 susceptible patients/day) per day. Exposure to an infectious patient with community-acquired Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) or to an infectious HCW was associated with substantially lower infection risks (2.0/1,000 susceptible patients/day, 95% CrI 1.6 to 2.2). As for HCW infections, exposure to an infectious patient with hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 or to an infectious HCW were both associated with an additional 0.8 infection per 1,000 susceptible HCWs per day (95% CrI 0.3 to 1.6 and 0.6 to 1.0, respectively). Exposure to an infectious patient with community-acquired SARS-CoV-2 was associated with less than half this risk (0.2/1,000 susceptible HCWs/day, 95% CrI 0.2 to 0.2). These assumptions were tested in sensitivity analysis, which showed broadly similar results. The main limitations were that the symptom onset dates and HCW absence days were not available. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed that exposure to patients with hospital-acquired SARS-CoV-2 is associated with a substantial infection risk to both HCWs and other hospitalised patients. Infection control measures to limit nosocomial transmission must be optimised to protect both staff and patients from SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Community-Acquired Infections , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Health Personnel , Hospitals , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional , Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/transmission , Cohort Studies , Female , Hospitalization , Hospitals/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Infection Control , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/statistics & numerical data , Infectious Disease Transmission, Professional-to-Patient/statistics & numerical data , Male , Middle Aged , Nurses , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
18.
Lancet ; 398(10307): 1217-1229, 2021 10 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1428616

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: School-based COVID-19 contacts in England have been asked to self-isolate at home, missing key educational opportunities. We trialled daily testing of contacts as an alternative to assess whether this resulted in similar control of transmission, while allowing more school attendance. METHODS: We did an open-label, cluster-randomised, controlled trial in secondary schools and further education colleges in England. Schools were randomly assigned (1:1) to self-isolation of school-based COVID-19 contacts for 10 days (control) or to voluntary daily lateral flow device (LFD) testing for 7 days with LFD-negative contacts remaining at school (intervention). Randomisation was stratified according to school type and size, presence of a sixth form, presence of residential students, and proportion of students eligible for free school meals. Group assignment was not masked during procedures or analysis. Coprimary outcomes in all students and staff were COVID-19-related school absence and symptomatic PCR-confirmed COVID-19, adjusted for community case rates, to estimate within-school transmission (non-inferiority margin <50% relative increase). Analyses were done on an intention-to-treat basis using quasi-Poisson regression, also estimating complier average causal effects (CACE). This trial is registered with the ISRCTN registry, ISRCTN18100261. FINDINGS: Between March 18 and May 4, 2021, 204 schools were taken through the consent process, during which three decided not to participate further. 201 schools were randomly assigned (control group n=99, intervention group n=102) in the 10-week study (April 19-May 10, 2021), which continued until the pre-appointed stop date (June 27, 2021). 76 control group schools and 86 intervention group schools actively participated; additional national data allowed most non-participating schools to be included in analysis of coprimary outcomes. 2432 (42·4%) of 5763 intervention group contacts participated in daily contact testing. There were 657 symptomatic PCR-confirmed infections during 7 782 537 days-at-risk (59·1 per 100 000 per week) in the control group and 740 during 8 379 749 days-at-risk (61·8 per 100 000 per week) in the intervention group (intention-to-treat adjusted incidence rate ratio [aIRR] 0·96 [95% CI 0·75-1·22]; p=0·72; CACE aIRR 0·86 [0·55-1·34]). Among students and staff, there were 59 422 (1·62%) COVID-19-related absences during 3 659 017 person-school-days in the control group and 51 541 (1·34%) during 3 845 208 person-school-days in the intervention group (intention-to-treat aIRR 0·80 [95% CI 0·54-1·19]; p=0·27; CACE aIRR 0·61 [0·30-1·23]). INTERPRETATION: Daily contact testing of school-based contacts was non-inferior to self-isolation for control of COVID-19 transmission, with similar rates of symptomatic infections among students and staff with both approaches. Infection rates in school-based contacts were low, with very few school contacts testing positive. Daily contact testing should be considered for implementation as a safe alternative to home isolation following school-based exposures. FUNDING: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Quarantine/methods , Schools , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Child , Educational Personnel , England , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
19.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(3): e699-e709, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1387800

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody measurements can be used to estimate the proportion of a population exposed or infected and may be informative about the risk of future infection. Previous estimates of the duration of antibody responses vary. METHODS: We present 6 months of data from a longitudinal seroprevalence study of 3276 UK healthcare workers (HCWs). Serial measurements of SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid and anti-spike IgG were obtained. Interval censored survival analysis was used to investigate the duration of detectable responses. Additionally, Bayesian mixed linear models were used to investigate anti-nucleocapsid waning. RESULTS: Anti-spike IgG levels remained stably detected after a positive result, for example, in 94% (95% credibility interval [CrI] 91-96%) of HCWs at 180 days. Anti-nucleocapsid IgG levels rose to a peak at 24 (95% CrI 19-31) days post first polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive test, before beginning to fall. Considering 452 anti-nucleocapsid seropositive HCWs over a median of 121 days from their maximum positive IgG titer, the mean estimated antibody half-life was 85 (95% CrI 81-90) days. Higher maximum observed anti-nucleocapsid titers were associated with longer estimated antibody half-lives. Increasing age, Asian ethnicity, and prior self-reported symptoms were independently associated with higher maximum anti-nucleocapsid levels and increasing age and a positive PCR test undertaken for symptoms with longer anti-nucleocapsid half-lives. CONCLUSIONS: SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid antibodies wane within months and fall faster in younger adults and those without symptoms. However, anti-spike IgG remains stably detected. Ongoing longitudinal studies are required to track the long-term duration of antibody levels and their association with immunity to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , Bayes Theorem , Health Personnel , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Seroepidemiologic Studies
20.
J Infect ; 83(4): 473-482, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330975

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Despite robust efforts, patients and staff acquire SARS-CoV-2 infection in hospitals. We investigated whether whole-genome sequencing enhanced the epidemiological investigation of healthcare-associated SARS-CoV-2 acquisition. METHODS: From 17-November-2020 to 5-January-2021, 803 inpatients and 329 staff were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection at four Oxfordshire hospitals. We classified cases using epidemiological definitions, looked for a potential source for each nosocomial infection, and evaluated genomic evidence supporting transmission. RESULTS: Using national epidemiological definitions, 109/803(14%) inpatient infections were classified as definite/probable nosocomial, 615(77%) as community-acquired and 79(10%) as indeterminate. There was strong epidemiological evidence to support definite/probable cases as nosocomial. Many indeterminate cases were likely infected in hospital: 53/79(67%) had a prior-negative PCR and 75(95%) contact with a potential source. 89/615(11% of all 803 patients) with apparent community-onset had a recent hospital exposure. Within 764 samples sequenced 607 genomic clusters were identified (>1 SNP distinct). Only 43/607(7%) clusters contained evidence of onward transmission (subsequent cases within ≤ 1 SNP). 20/21 epidemiologically-identified outbreaks contained multiple genomic introductions. Most (80%) nosocomial acquisition occurred in rapid super-spreading events in settings with a mix of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. CONCLUSIONS: Current surveillance definitions underestimate nosocomial acquisition. Most nosocomial transmission occurs from a relatively limited number of highly infectious individuals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Hospitals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
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