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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.
Clin Exp Immunol ; 2022 May 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1831028

ABSTRACT

T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 following infection and vaccination are less characterised than antibody responses, due to a more complex experimental pathway.We measured T cell responses in 108 healthcare workers (HCWs) using the commercialised Oxford Immunotec T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 assay service (OI T-SPOT) and the PITCH ELISpot protocol established for academic research settings. Both assays detected T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike, membrane and nucleocapsid proteins. Responses were significantly lower when reported by OI T-SPOT than by PITCH ELISpot. Four weeks after two doses of either Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 AZD1222 vaccine, the responder rate was 63% for OI T-SPOT Panels1 + 2 (peptides representing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein excluding regions present in seasonal coronaviruses), 69% for OI T-SPOT Panel 14 (peptides representing the entire SARS-CoV-2 spike), and 94% for the PITCH ELISpot assay. The two OI T-SPOT panels correlated strongly with each other showing that either readout quantifies spike-specific T cell responses, although the correlation between the OI T-SPOT panels and the PITCH ELISpot was moderate. The standardisation, relative scalability and longer interval between blood acquisition and processing are advantages of the commercial OI T-SPOT assay. However, the OI T-SPOT assay measures T cell responses at a significantly lower magnitude compared to the PITCH ELISpot assay, detecting T cell responses in a lower proportion of vaccinees. This has implications for the reporting of low-level T cell responses that may be observed in patient populations and for the assessment of T cell durability after vaccination.

4.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1251, 2022 03 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740439

ABSTRACT

The trajectories of acquired immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection are not fully understood. We present a detailed longitudinal cohort study of UK healthcare workers prior to vaccination, presenting April-June 2020 with asymptomatic or symptomatic infection. Here we show a highly variable range of responses, some of which (T cell interferon-gamma ELISpot, N-specific antibody) wane over time, while others (spike-specific antibody, B cell memory ELISpot) are stable. We use integrative analysis and a machine-learning approach (SIMON - Sequential Iterative Modeling OverNight) to explore this heterogeneity. We identify a subgroup of participants with higher antibody responses and interferon-gamma ELISpot T cell responses, and a robust trajectory for longer term immunity associates with higher levels of neutralising antibodies against the infecting (Victoria) strain and also against variants B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta). These variable trajectories following early priming may define subsequent protection from severe disease from novel variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Antiviral Agents , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
5.
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
6.
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
7.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322827

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection is normally controlled by effective host immunity including innate, humoral and cellular responses. However, the trajectories and correlates of acquired immunity, and the capacity of memory responses months after infection to neutralise variants of concern - which has important public health implications - is not fully understood. To address this, we studied a cohort of 78 UK healthcare workers who presented in April to June 2020 with symptomatic PCR-confirmed infection or who tested positive during an asymptomatic screening programme and tracked virus-specific B and T cell responses longitudinally at 5-6 time points each over 6 months, prior to vaccination. We observed a highly variable range of responses, some of which - T cell interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) ELISpot, N-specific antibody waned over time across the cohort, while others (spike-specific antibody, B cell memory ELISpot) were stable. In such cohorts, antiviral antibody has been linked to protection against re-infection. We used integrative analysis and a machine-learning approach (SIMON - Sequential Iterative Modeling Over Night) to explore this heterogeneity and to identify predictors of sustained immune responses. Hierarchical clustering defined a group of high and low antibody responders, which showed stability over time regardless of clinical presentation. These antibody responses correlated with IFN-γ ELISpot measures of T cell immunity and represent a subgroup of patients with a robust trajectory for longer term immunity. Importantly, this immune-phenotype associates with higher levels of neutralising antibodies not only against the infecting (Victoria) strain but also against variants B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta). Overall memory responses to SARS-CoV-2 show distinct trajectories following early priming, that may define subsequent protection against infection and severe disease from novel variants.

8.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327455

ABSTRACT

Background T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 following infection and vaccination are less characterised than antibody responses, due to a more complex experimental pathway. Methods We measured T cell responses in 108 healthcare workers (HCWs) in an observational cohort study, using the commercialised Oxford Immunotec T-SPOT Discovery SARS-CoV-2 assay (OI T-SPOT) and the PITCH ELISpot protocol established for academic research settings. Results Both assays detected T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 spike, membrane and nucleocapsid proteins. Responses were significantly lower when reported by OI T-SPOT than by PITCH ELISpot. Four weeks after two doses of either Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162b or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 AZD1222 vaccine, the responder rate was 63% for OI T-SPOT Panels1+2 (peptides representing SARS-CoV-2 spike protein excluding regions present in seasonal coronaviruses), 69% for OI T-SPOT Panel 14 (peptides representing the entire SARS-CoV-2 spike), and 94% for the PITCH ELISpot assay. The two OI T-SPOT panels correlated strongly with each other showing that either readout quantifies spike-specific T cell responses, although the correlation between the OI T-SPOT panels and the PITCH ELISpot was moderate. Conclusion The standardisation, relative scalability and longer interval between blood acquisition and processing are advantages of the commercial OI T-SPOT assay. However, the OI T-SPOT assay measures T cell responses at a significantly lower magnitude compared to the PITCH ELISpot assay, detecting T cell responses in a lower proportion of vaccinees. This has implications for the reporting of low-level T cell responses that may be observed in patient populations and for the assessment of T cell durability after vaccination.

9.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305590

ABSTRACT

Background: Laboratory diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection (the cause of COVID-19) uses PCR to detect viral RNA (vRNA) in respiratory samples. SARS-CoV-2 RNA has also been detected in other sample types, but there is limited understanding of the clinical or laboratory significance of its detection in blood. Methods: We undertook a systematic literature review to assimilate the evidence for the frequency of vRNA in blood, and to identify associated clinical characteristics. We performed RT-PCR in serum samples from a UK clinical cohort of acute and convalescent COVID-19 cases (n=212), together with convalescent plasma samples collected by NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) (n=462 additional samples). To determine whether PCR-positive blood samples could pose an infection risk, we attempted virus isolation from a subset of RNA-positive samples. Results: We identified 28 relevant studies, reporting SARS-CoV-2 RNA in 0-76% of blood samples;pooled estimate 10% (95%CI 5-18%). Among serum samples from our clinical cohort, 27/212 (12.7%) had SARS-CoV-2 RNA detected by RT-PCR. RNA detection occurred in samples up to day 20 post symptom onset, and was associated with more severe disease (multivariable odds ratio 7.5). Across all samples collected ≥28 days post symptom onset, 0/494 (0%, 95%CI 0-0.7%) had vRNA detected. Among our PCR-positive samples, cycle threshold (ct) values were high (range 33.5-44.8), suggesting low vRNA copy numbers. PCR-positive sera inoculated into cell culture did not produce any cytopathic effect or yield an increase in detectable SARS-CoV-2 RNA. There was a relationship between RT-PCR negativity and the presence of total SARS-CoV-2 antibody (p=0.02). Conclusions: vRNA was detectable at low viral loads in a minority of serum samples collected in acute infection, but was not associated with infectious SARS-CoV-2 (within the limitations of the assays used). This work helps to inform biosafety precautions for handling blood products from patients with current or previous COVID-19.

10.
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
11.
Nat Med ; 28(5): 1072-1082, 2022 May.
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
12.
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
13.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-297068

ABSTRACT

Given high SARS-CoV-2 incidence, coupled with slow and inequitable vaccine roll-out, there is an urgent need for evidence to underpin optimum vaccine deployment, aiming to maximise global population immunity at speed. We evaluate whether a single vaccination in previously infected individuals generates similar initial and subsequent antibody responses to two vaccinations in those without prior infection. We compared anti-spike IgG antibody responses after a single dose of ChAdOx1, BNT162b2, or mRNA-1273 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in the COVID-19 Infection Survey in the UK general population. In 100,849 adults who received at least one vaccination, 13,404 (13.3%) had serological and/or PCR evidence of prior infection. Prior infection significantly boosted antibody responses for all three vaccines, producing a higher peak level and longer half-life, and a response comparable to those without prior infection receiving two vaccinations. In those with prior infection, median time above the positivity threshold was estimated to last for >1 year after the first dose. Single-dose vaccination targeted to those previously infected may provide protection in populations with high rates of previous infection faced with limited vaccine supply, as an interim measure while vaccine campaigns are scaled up.

16.
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.

17.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296296

ABSTRACT

We investigated anti-spike IgG antibody responses and correlates of protection following second doses of ChAdOx1 or BNT162b2 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in the UK general population. In 222,493 individuals, we found significant boosting of anti-spike IgG by 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. Antibody levels declined faster at older ages and in males with BNT162b2, but declines were similar across ages and sexes with ChAdOX1. Prior infection significantly increased antibody 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 and 6-15 months after two BNT162b2 doses in those without prior infection, and 1-2 years for those unvaccinated after natural infection. A third booster dose may be needed, prioritised to ChAdOx1 recipients and those more clinically vulnerable.

18.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296041

ABSTRACT

Background Uncertainty in patients’ COVID-19 status contributes to treatment delays, nosocomial transmission, and operational pressures in hospitals. However, typical turnaround times for batch-processed laboratory PCR tests remain 12-24h. Although rapid antigen lateral flow testing (LFD) has been widely adopted in UK emergency care settings, sensitivity is limited. We recently demonstrated that AI-driven triage (CURIAL-1.0) allows high-throughput COVID-19 screening using clinical data routinely available within 1h of arrival to hospital. Here we aimed to determine operational and safety improvements over standard-care, performing external/prospective evaluation across four NHS trusts with updated algorithms optimised for generalisability and speed, and deploying a novel lab-free screening pathway in a UK emergency department. Methods We rationalised predictors in CURIAL-1.0 to optimise separately for generalisability and speed, developing CURIAL-Lab with vital signs and routine laboratory blood predictors (FBC, U&E, LFT, CRP) and CURIAL-Rapide with vital signs and FBC alone. Models were calibrated during training to 90% sensitivity and validated externally for unscheduled admissions to Portsmouth University Hospitals, University Hospitals Birmingham and Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS trusts, and prospectively during the second-wave of the UK COVID-19 epidemic at Oxford University Hospitals (OUH). Predictions were generated using first-performed blood tests and vital signs and compared against confirmatory viral nucleic acid testing. Next, we retrospectively evaluated a novel clinical pathway triaging patients to COVID-19-suspected clinical areas where either model prediction or LFD results were positive, comparing sensitivity and NPV with LFD results alone. Lastly, we deployed CURIAL-Rapide alongside an approved point-of-care FBC analyser (OLO;SightDiagnostics, Israel) to provide lab-free COVID-19 screening in the John Radcliffe Hospital’s Emergency Department (Oxford, UK), as trust-approved service improvement. Our primary improvement outcome was time-to-result availability;secondary outcomes were sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV assessed against a PCR reference standard. We compared CURIAL-Rapide’s performance with clinician triage and LFD results within standard-care. Results 72,223 patients met eligibility criteria across external and prospective validation sites. Model performance was consistent across trusts (CURIAL-Lab: AUROCs range 0.858-0.881;CURIAL-Rapide 0.836-0.854), with highest sensitivity achieved at Portsmouth University Hospitals (CURIAL-Lab:84.1% [95% Wilson’s score CIs 82.5-85.7];CURIAL-Rapide:83.5% [81.8 - 85.1]) at specificities of 71.3% (95% Wilson’s score CIs: 70.9 - 71.8) and 63.6% (63.1 - 64.1). For 3,207 patients receiving LFD-triage within routine care for OUH admissions between December 23, 2021 and March 6, 2021, a combined clinical pathway increased sensitivity from 56.9% for LFDs alone (95% CI 51.7-62.0) to 88.2% with CURIAL-Rapide (84.4-91.1;AUROC 0.919) and 85.6% with CURIAL-Lab (81.6-88.9;AUROC 0.925). 520 patients were prospectively enrolled for point-of-care FBC analysis between February 18, 2021 and May 10, 2021, of whom 436 received confirmatory PCR testing within routine care and 10 (2.3%) tested positive. Median time from patient arrival to availability of CURIAL-Rapide result was 45:00 min (32-64), 16 minutes (26.3%) sooner than LFD results (61:00 min, 37-99;log-rank p<0.0001), and 6:52 h (90.2%) sooner than PCR results (7:37 h, 6:05-15:39;p<0.0001). Sensitivity and specificity of CURIAL-Rapide were 87.5% (52.9-97.8) and 85.4% (81.3-88.7), therefore achieving high NPV (99.7%, 98.2-99.9). CURIAL-Rapide correctly excluded COVID-19 for 58.5% of negative patients who were triaged by a clinician to ‘COVID-19-suspected’ (amber) areas. Impact CURIAL-Lab & CURIAL-Rapide are generalisable, high-throughput screening tests for COVID-19, rapidly excluding the illness with higher NPV than LFDs. CURIAL-Rapide can be used in comb nation with near-patient FBC analysis for rapid, lab-free screening, and may reduce the number of COVID-19-negative patients triaged to enhanced precautions (‘amber’) clinical areas.

19.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295762

ABSTRACT

The effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination in preventing new SARS-CoV-2 infections in the general community is still unclear. Here, we used the Office for National Statistics (ONS) COVID-19 Infection Survey, a large community-based survey of individuals living in randomly selected private households across the UK, to assess the effectiveness of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (Oxford-AstraZeneca;ChAdOx1) vaccines against any new SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive tests, split according to self-reported symptoms, cycle threshold value (<30 versus ≥30) as a surrogate for viral load, and gene positivity pattern (compatible with B.1.1.7 or not). Using 1,945,071 RT-PCR results from nose and throat swabs taken from 383,812 participants between 1 December 2020 and 8 May 2021, we found that vaccination with the ChAdOx1 or BNT162b2 vaccines already reduced SARS-CoV-2 infections ≥21 days after the first dose (61%, 95% CI 54 to 68% versus 66%, 95% CI 60 to 71%, respectively) with greater reductions observed after a second dose (79%, 95% CI 65 to 88% versus 80%, 95% CI 73 to 85%, respectively). Largest reductions were observed for symptomatic infections and/or infections with a higher viral burden. Overall, COVID-19 vaccination reduced the number of new SARS-CoV-2 infections, with the largest benefit received after two vaccinations and against symptomatic and high viral burden infections, and with no evidence of difference between the BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 vaccines.

20.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-294512

ABSTRACT

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

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