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1.
Br J Gen Pract ; 2021 Dec 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608429

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is little evidence about the relation between aetiology, illness severity and clinical course of respiratory tract infections (RTI) in primary care. Understanding these associations would aid to develop effective management strategies for these infections. AIM: To investigate whether the clinical presentation and illness course differ between RTI in whom a viral pathogen was detected and those in whom a potential bacterial pathogen was found. DESIGN AND SETTING: Post hoc analysis of data from a pragmatic randomised trial on the effects of oseltamivir in patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) in primary care (n=3266) in 15 European countries. METHODS: Patient characteristics, signs and symptoms were registered at baseline. Naso-pharyngeal (adults) or nasal and pharyngeal (children) swabs were taken for PCR analysis. Patients were followed up until 28 days after inclusion. Regression models and Kaplan-Meier curves were used to analyse the relation between aetiology, clinical presentation at baseline and course of disease including complications. RESULTS: Except for a less prominent congested nose (OR 0.55, CI 0.35 - 0.86) and acute cough (OR 0.52, CI 0.27 - 0.65) in ILI patients in whom a possible bacterial pathogen was isolated, there were no clear clinical differences in presentations between those with a possible bacterial aetiology than in those with a viral one. Also the course of disease and complications were not related to aetiology. CONCLUSION: Given the currently available microbiological tests and antimicrobial treatments, and outside pandemics like COVID-19, microbiological testing in primary care patients with ILI seems to have limited value.

2.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 2021 Dec 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1593679

ABSTRACT

Clinicians have worked feverishly to treat patients with COVID-19 while also carrying out clinical research studies. We discuss how the clinical research community responded to the pandemic in Europe, what lessons were learned, and provide recommendations for future clinical research response during pandemics. We focused on two platform trials: RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP. Both trials were able to enrol patients very rapidly during the beginning of the pandemic because of pre-established structures and procedures, and because they share simple execution and flexibility to adjust when evidence emergences. However, contracting, regulatory hurdles, and competition with (often inadequately designed or underpowered) national trials was a major challenge in several EU countries. We recommend the creation of structures and partnerships that facilitate prioritisation of clinical research, simplification of clinical trial delivery, development of digital models and procedures for data collection and sharing, development of a mechanism to rapidly leverage pandemic funding and to connect EU funding with national funding, and investment in clinical trial networks, platform trials, and master protocols. Finally, the future pandemic clinical research response of the EU should be embedded in the global response. We believe that globally connected clinical trial networks will be essential to respond more effectively to future infectious diseases outbreaks.

3.
Acta Clin Belg ; : 1-8, 2021 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1541456

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The B.1.617.2 SARS-CoV-2 or Delta variant, first detected in India, has shown a rapid global spread due to its high transmissibility and now represents more than 99% of the currently circulating variants in Europe. METHODS AND RESULT: In May 2021, two ships that had recently arrived in the Port of Antwerp reported crew members with COVID-like symptoms. SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in nasopharyngeal swabs in 30 out of 45 skippers and the B.1.617.2 variant was identified via whole genome sequencing. Crew members were isolated or quarantined and repeatedly tested to assess the evolution of their SARS-CoV-2 viral load based on the cycle threshold (CT) values of the PCR reaction. Viral cultures were also taken at day 7 to detect viable virus and were compared with the subjects CT value at that moment. The shipper's clinical condition was closely observed using a digital home monitoring tool. Eleven crew members (37%) required hospitalization, with CT values of SARS-CoV-2 RNA being a good predictive factor for the hospitalization need. Furthermore, a clear correlation between CT values and positive viral culture was observed, hinting infectiousness even longer than 10 days after the intitial positive PCR test. CONCLUSION: Our study of 2 Delta variant clusters shows that the initial CT value is a good predictor for hospitalization need and suggests that patients infected with this variant may remain infectious for a longer time period.

4.
JAMA ; 326(17): 1690-1702, 2021 Nov 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1525402

ABSTRACT

Importance: The evidence for benefit of convalescent plasma for critically ill patients with COVID-19 is inconclusive. Objective: To determine whether convalescent plasma would improve outcomes for critically ill adults with COVID-19. Design, Setting, and Participants: The ongoing Randomized, Embedded, Multifactorial, Adaptive Platform Trial for Community-Acquired Pneumonia (REMAP-CAP) enrolled and randomized 4763 adults with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 between March 9, 2020, and January 18, 2021, within at least 1 domain; 2011 critically ill adults were randomized to open-label interventions in the immunoglobulin domain at 129 sites in 4 countries. Follow-up ended on April 19, 2021. Interventions: The immunoglobulin domain randomized participants to receive 2 units of high-titer, ABO-compatible convalescent plasma (total volume of 550 mL ± 150 mL) within 48 hours of randomization (n = 1084) or no convalescent plasma (n = 916). Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary ordinal end point was organ support-free days (days alive and free of intensive care unit-based organ support) up to day 21 (range, -1 to 21 days; patients who died were assigned -1 day). The primary analysis was an adjusted bayesian cumulative logistic model. Superiority was defined as the posterior probability of an odds ratio (OR) greater than 1 (threshold for trial conclusion of superiority >99%). Futility was defined as the posterior probability of an OR less than 1.2 (threshold for trial conclusion of futility >95%). An OR greater than 1 represented improved survival, more organ support-free days, or both. The prespecified secondary outcomes included in-hospital survival; 28-day survival; 90-day survival; respiratory support-free days; cardiovascular support-free days; progression to invasive mechanical ventilation, extracorporeal mechanical oxygenation, or death; intensive care unit length of stay; hospital length of stay; World Health Organization ordinal scale score at day 14; venous thromboembolic events at 90 days; and serious adverse events. Results: Among the 2011 participants who were randomized (median age, 61 [IQR, 52 to 70] years and 645/1998 [32.3%] women), 1990 (99%) completed the trial. The convalescent plasma intervention was stopped after the prespecified criterion for futility was met. The median number of organ support-free days was 0 (IQR, -1 to 16) in the convalescent plasma group and 3 (IQR, -1 to 16) in the no convalescent plasma group. The in-hospital mortality rate was 37.3% (401/1075) for the convalescent plasma group and 38.4% (347/904) for the no convalescent plasma group and the median number of days alive and free of organ support was 14 (IQR, 3 to 18) and 14 (IQR, 7 to 18), respectively. The median-adjusted OR was 0.97 (95% credible interval, 0.83 to 1.15) and the posterior probability of futility (OR <1.2) was 99.4% for the convalescent plasma group compared with the no convalescent plasma group. The treatment effects were consistent across the primary outcome and the 11 secondary outcomes. Serious adverse events were reported in 3.0% (32/1075) of participants in the convalescent plasma group and in 1.3% (12/905) of participants in the no convalescent plasma group. Conclusions and Relevance: Among critically ill adults with confirmed COVID-19, treatment with 2 units of high-titer, ABO-compatible convalescent plasma had a low likelihood of providing improvement in the number of organ support-free days. Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02735707.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/therapy , ABO Blood-Group System , Adult , Aged , Critical Illness/therapy , Female , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Length of Stay , Logistic Models , Male , Middle Aged , Respiration, Artificial/statistics & numerical data , Treatment Failure , Vasoconstrictor Agents/therapeutic use
5.
Cancers (Basel) ; 13(22)2021 Nov 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523875

ABSTRACT

Cytokines, chemokines, and (angiogenic) growth factors (CCGs) have been shown to play an intricate role in the progression of both solid and haematological malignancies. Recent studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 infection leads to a worse outcome in cancer patients, especially in haematological malignancy patients. Here, we investigated how SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts the already altered CCG levels in solid or haematological malignancies, specifically, whether there is a protective effect or rather a potentially higher risk for major COVID-19 complications in cancer patients due to elevated CCGs linked to cancer progression. Serially analysing immune responses with 55 CCGs in cancer patients under active treatment with or without SARS-CoV-2 infection, we first showed that cancer patients without SARS-CoV-2 infection (n = 54) demonstrate elevated levels of 35 CCGs compared to the non-cancer, non-infected control group of health care workers (n = 42). Of the 35 CCGs, 19 were common to both the solid and haematological malignancy groups and comprised previously described cytokines such as IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1Ra, IL-17A, and VEGF, but also several less well described cytokines/chemokines such as Fractalkine, Tie-2, and T cell chemokine CTACK. Importantly, we show here that 7 CCGs are significantly altered in SARS-CoV-2 exposed cancer patients (n = 52). Of these, TNF-α, IFN-ß, TSLP, and sVCAM-1, identified to be elevated in haematological cancers, are also known tumour-promoting factors. Longitudinal analysis conducted over 3 months showed persistence of several tumour-promoting CCGs in SARS-CoV-2 exposed cancer patients. These data demonstrate a need for increased vigilance for haematological malignancy patients as a part of long COVID follow-up.

6.
J Clin Virol ; 144: 104998, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1457176

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Influenza virus (IFV) is often encountered in primary care. Implementation of a rapid diagnostic test for its detection at the point-of-care would enable discrimination from other viral causes of influenza-like-illness (ILI) and might be helpful in individual patient management. In this study, the diagnostic performance of such a point-of-care platform was evaluated. METHODS: Respiratory samples (n = 1490) from ILI-patients in primary care in 15 European countries were collected as part of a prospective clinical trial. Both children (n = 252) and adults (n = 1238) were sampled during 3 consecutive periods of high IFV endemicity. Samples were analysed in a central laboratory, after storage at -70 °C, with the Idylla™ Respiratory Panel, detecting both IFV and RSV, on the Idylla™ platform. The Fast Track Diagnostics (FTD) Respiratory Pathogens 21 plus assay was used as reference. A subset of samples (n = 192) was analysed both fresh and after being frozen. RESULTS: The reference method detected IFV-A in 42% and IFV-B in 13% of the samples. Sensitivity of the Idylla for detection of IFV-A and IFV-B was 98.2% and 92.3% and specificity 97.7% and 98.4% respectively. False negative samples contained significantly lower viral loads than true positive samples (FTD mean Ct-value 30.7 versus 26.1 for IFV-A and 30.4 versus 25.1 for IFV-B, p < 0.001). Comparable results were obtained for Idylla analysis using fresh and frozen samples. CONCLUSIONS: The Idylla Respiratory Panel is a promising point-of-care test for detection of IFV in ILI patients due to its excellent diagnostic performance, minimal training requirements and limited hands-on time.

7.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 2021 Oct 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1445304

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Point-of-care tests could be essential in differentiating bacterial and viral acute community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections and driving antibiotic stewardship in the community. OBJECTIVES: To assess diagnostic test accuracy of point-of-care tests in community settings for acute community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections. DATA SOURCES: Multiple databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Open Gray) from inception to 31 May 2021, without language restrictions. STUDY ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Diagnostic test accuracy studies involving patients at primary care, outpatient clinic, emergency department and long-term care facilities with a clinical suspicion of acute community-acquired lower respiratory tract infections. The comparator was any test used as a comparison to the index test. In order not to limit the study inclusion, the comparator was not defined a priori. ASSESSMENT OF RISK OF BIAS: Four investigators independently extracted data, rated risk of bias, and assessed the quality using QUADAS-2. METHODS OF DATA SYNTHESIS: The measures of diagnostic test accuracy were calculated with 95% CI. RESULTS: A total of 421 studies addressed at least one point-of-care test. The diagnostic performance of molecular tests was higher compared with that of rapid diagnostic tests for all the pathogens studied. The accuracy of stand-alone signs and symptoms or biomarkers was poor. Lung ultrasound showed high sensitivity and specificity (90% for both) for the diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia. Rapid antigen-based diagnostic tests for influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, human metapneumovirus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae had sub-optimal sensitivity (range 49%-84%) but high specificity (>80%). DISCUSSION: Physical examination and host biomarkers are not sufficiently reliable as stand-alone tests to differentiate between bacterial and viral pneumonia. Lung ultrasound shows higher accuracy than chest X-ray for bacterial pneumonia at emergency department. Rapid antigen-based diagnostic tests cannot be considered fully reliable because of high false-negative rates. Overall, molecular tests for all the pathogens considered were found to be the most accurate.

8.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 2021 Sep 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1479592

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate a testing algorithm for the rapid identification of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants that includes the use of PCR-based targeted single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) detection assays preceded by a multiplex PCR sensitive to S-Gene Target Failure (SGTF). METHODS: PCR SNP assays targeting SARS-CoV-2 S-gene mutations ΔH69-V70, L452R, E484K, N501Y, H655Y and P681R using melting curve analysis were performed on 567 samples in which SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was detected by a multiplex PCR. Viral whole-genome sequencing (WGS) was performed to confirm the presence of SNPs and to identify the Pangolin lineage. Additionally, 1133 SARS-CoV-2 positive samples with SGTF were further assessed by WGS to determine the presence of ΔH69-V70. RESULTS: The N501Y-specific assay (n = 567) had an overall percentage agreement (OPA) of 98.5%. The ΔH69-V70-specific (n = 178) and E484K-specific (n = 401) assays had OPA of 96.6% and 99.7%, respectively. Assessment of H655Y (n = 139) yielded a 100.0% concordance when applied in the proposed algorithm. The L452R-specific (n = 67) and P681R-specific (n = 62) assays had an OPA of 98.2% and 98.1%, respectively. The proposed algorithm identified six variants of concern/interest (VOC/VOI)-Alpha (n = 149), Beta (n = 65), Gamma (n = 86), Delta (n = 49), Eta (n = 6), Kappa (n = 6)-and 205 non-VOC/VOI strains-including the variants under monitoring B.1.214.2 (n = 43) and B.1.1.318 (n = 18) and Epsilon (n = 1). An excellent concordance was observed for the identification of all SARS-CoV-2 lineages evaluated. CONCLUSIONS: We present a flexible testing algorithm for the rapid detection of current and emerging SARS-CoV-2 VOC/VOIs, which can be easily adapted based on the local endemicity of specific variants.

9.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 726319, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441118

ABSTRACT

Background: Minimising primary care professionals' (PCPs) risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is crucial to ensure their safety as well as functioning health care system. PCPs' perspectives on the support they needed in the early stages of a public health crisis can inform future preparedness. Aim: To understand PCPs' experiences of providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with focus on personal risk from COVID-19 and testing. Design and Setting: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with PCPs in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Greece and Sweden, between April and July 2020. Method: Interviews were analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. Results: Eighty interviews were conducted, showing that PCPs tried to make sense of their risk of both contracting and severity of COVID-19 by assessing individual risk factors and perceived effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They had limited access to PPE yet continued providing care as their "duty." Some PCPs felt that they were put in high-risk situations when patients or colleagues were not flagging symptoms of COVID-19. Not having access to testing in the initial stages of the pandemic was somewhat accepted but when available, was valued. Conclusion: Access to adequate PPE and testing, as well as training for staff and education for patients about the importance of ensuring staff safety is crucial. Given PCPs' varied response in how they appraised personal risk and their tolerance for working, PCPs may benefit from the autonomy in deciding how they want to work during health emergencies.

10.
BMJ Glob Health ; 6(9)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1440818

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: In order to tackle the pandemic, governments have established various types of advisory boards to provide evidence and recommendations to policy makers. Scientists working on these boards have faced many challenges, including working under significant time constraints to produce 'evidence' as quickly as possible. However, their voices are still largely missing in the discussion. This study explores the views and experiences of scientists working on government advisory boards during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim to learn lessons for future pandemic management and preparedness. METHODS: We conducted online video or telephone semi-structured interviews between December 2020 and April 2021 with 21 scientists with an official government advisory role during the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium, the Netherlands, UK, Sweden and Germany. The interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed and analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. RESULTS: Scientists viewed the initial focus on biomedically oriented work during the pandemic as somewhat one-dimensional, but also highlighted difficulties of working in an interdisciplinary way. They found it difficult at times to ensure that the evidence is understood and taken on board by governments. They found themselves taking on new roles, the boundaries of which were not clearly defined. Consequently, they were often perceived and treated as a public figure. CONCLUSION: Scientists working on advisory boards in European countries faced similar challenges, highlighting key lessons to be learnt. Future pandemic preparedness efforts should focus on building interdisciplinary collaboration through development of scientists' skills and appropriate infrastructure; ensuring transparency in how boards operate; defining and protecting the boundaries of the scientific advisor role; and supporting scientists to inform the public in the fight against disinformation, while dealing with potential hostile reactions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Europe , Government , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Fam Pract ; 2021 Aug 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376303

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Primary health care providers (PHCPs) are assumed to be at high risk of a COVID-19 infection, as they are exposed to patients with usually less personal protective equipment (PPE) than other frontline health care workers (HCWs). Nevertheless, current research efforts focussed on the assessment of COVID-19 seroprevalence rates in the general population or hospital HCWs. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to determine the seroprevalence in PHCPs during the second SARS-CoV-2 wave in Flanders (Belgium) and compared it to the seroprevalence in the general population. We also assessed risk factors, availability of PPE and attitudes towards the government guidelines over time. METHODS: A prospective cohort of PHCPs (n = 698), mainly general practitioners, was asked to complete a questionnaire and self-sample capillary blood by finger-pricking at five distinct points in time (June-December 2020). We analysed the dried blood spots for IgG antibodies using a Luminex multiplex immunoassay. RESULTS: The seroprevalence of PHCPs remained stable between June and September (4.6-5.0%), increased significantly from October to December (8.1-13.4%) and was significantly higher than the seroprevalence of the general population. The majority of PHCPs were concerned about becoming infected, had adequate PPE and showed increasing confidence in government guidelines. CONCLUSIONS: The marked increase in seroprevalence during the second COVID-19 wave shows that PHCPs were more at risk during the second wave compared to the first wave in Flanders. This increase was only slightly higher in PHCPs than in the general population suggesting that the occupational health measures implemented provided sufficient protection when managing patients.

12.
BMJ Open ; 11(7): e049257, 2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1334577

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To describe primary health care (consultation characteristics and management) for patients contacting their general practitioner (GP) with a respiratory tract infection (RTI) early on in the COVID-19 pandemic in contrasting European countries, with comparison to prepandemic findings. SETTING: Primary care in 16 countries (79 practices), when no routine SARS-CoV-2 testing was generally available. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Before (n=4376) and early in the pandemic (n=3301), patients with RTI symptoms were registered in this prospective audit study. OUTCOME MEASURES: Consultation characteristics (type of contact and use of PPE) and management characteristics (clinical assessments, diagnostic testing, prescribing, advice and referral) were registered. Differences in these characteristics between countries and between pandemic and prepandemic care are described. RESULTS: Care for patients with RTIs rapidly switched to telephone/video consultations (10% in Armenia, 91% in Denmark), and when consultations were face-to-face, GPs used PPE during 97% (95% CI 96% to 98%) of contacts. Laboratory testing for SARS-CoV-2 in primary care patients with RTIs was rapidly implemented in Denmark (59%) and Germany (31%), while overall testing for C reactive protein decreased. The proportion of patients prescribed antibiotics varied considerably between countries (3% in Belgium, 48% in UK) and was lower during the pandemic compared with the months before, except for Greece, Poland and UK. GPs provided frequent and varied COVID-related advice and more frequently scheduled a follow-up contact (50%, 95% CI 48% to 52%). GPs reported a slightly higher degree of confidence in the likely effectiveness of their management in face-to-face (73% (very) confident, 95% CI 71% to 76%) than in virtual consultations (69%, 95% CI 67% to 71%). CONCLUSIONS: Despite between-country variation in consultation characteristics, access to SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing and medication prescribing, GPs reported a high degree of confidence in managing their patients with RTIs in the emerging pandemic. Insight in the highly variable pandemic responses, as measured in this multicountry audit, can aid in fine-tuning national action and in coordinating a pan-European response during future pandemic threats.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Tract Infections , Armenia , Belgium , COVID-19 Testing , Europe/epidemiology , Germany , Greece , Humans , Pandemics , Poland , Primary Health Care , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Tract Infections/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Intensive Care Med ; 47(8): 867-886, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305144

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To study the efficacy of lopinavir-ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine in critically ill patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: Critically ill adults with COVID-19 were randomized to receive lopinavir-ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, combination therapy of lopinavir-ritonavir and hydroxychloroquine or no antiviral therapy (control). The primary endpoint was an ordinal scale of organ support-free days. Analyses used a Bayesian cumulative logistic model and expressed treatment effects as an adjusted odds ratio (OR) where an OR > 1 is favorable. RESULTS: We randomized 694 patients to receive lopinavir-ritonavir (n = 255), hydroxychloroquine (n = 50), combination therapy (n = 27) or control (n = 362). The median organ support-free days among patients in lopinavir-ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, and combination therapy groups was 4 (- 1 to 15), 0 (- 1 to 9) and-1 (- 1 to 7), respectively, compared to 6 (- 1 to 16) in the control group with in-hospital mortality of 88/249 (35%), 17/49 (35%), 13/26 (50%), respectively, compared to 106/353 (30%) in the control group. The three interventions decreased organ support-free days compared to control (OR [95% credible interval]: 0.73 [0.55, 0.99], 0.57 [0.35, 0.83] 0.41 [0.24, 0.72]), yielding posterior probabilities that reached the threshold futility (≥ 99.0%), and high probabilities of harm (98.0%, 99.9% and > 99.9%, respectively). The three interventions reduced hospital survival compared with control (OR [95% CrI]: 0.65 [0.45, 0.95], 0.56 [0.30, 0.89], and 0.36 [0.17, 0.73]), yielding high probabilities of harm (98.5% and 99.4% and 99.8%, respectively). CONCLUSION: Among critically ill patients with COVID-19, lopinavir-ritonavir, hydroxychloroquine, or combination therapy worsened outcomes compared to no antiviral therapy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Ritonavir , Adult , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Bayes Theorem , COVID-19/drug therapy , Critical Illness , Drug Combinations , Humans , Hydroxychloroquine/therapeutic use , Lopinavir/therapeutic use , Ritonavir/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Br J Gen Pract ; 71(709): e634-e642, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1299600

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Primary care has a crucial role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as the first point of patient care and gatekeeper to secondary care. Qualitative studies exploring the experiences of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic have mainly focused on secondary care. AIM: To gain an understanding of the experiences of European primary care professionals (PCPs) working during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN AND SETTING: An exploratory qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews in primary care in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Greece, and Sweden, between April and July 2020. METHOD: Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed, and analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. RESULTS: Eighty interviews were conducted with PCPs. PCPs had to make their own decisions on how to rapidly transform services in relation to COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care. Despite being overwhelmed with guidance, they often lacked access to practical training. Consequently, PCPs turned to their colleagues for moral support and information to try to quickly adjust to new ways of working, including remote care, and to deal with uncertainty. CONCLUSION: PCPs rapidly transformed primary care delivery despite a number of challenges. Representation of primary care at policy level and engagement with local primary care champions are needed to facilitate easy and coordinated access to practical information on how to adapt services, ongoing training, and access to appropriate mental health support services for PCPs. Preservation of autonomy and responsiveness of primary care are critical to preserve the ability for rapid transformation in any future crisis of care delivery.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Belgium , Delivery of Health Care , England , Europe/epidemiology , Germany , Humans , Ireland , Netherlands , Poland , Primary Health Care , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2 , Sweden
15.
Acta Clin Belg ; : 1-6, 2021 Jun 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276095

ABSTRACT

Purpose: In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, multiple serological assays for the detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) immune response are currently being developed. This study compares the FRENDTM COVID-19 IgG/IgM Duo (NanoEntec) a point of care (POCT) assay with the automated Elecsys anti-SARS-CoV-2 electrochemiluminescent assay (Roche Diagnostics).Methods: Serum samples (n = 81) from PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 positive patients at different time points after the onset of symptoms were analyzed with both assays. An additional 24 serum samples with cross reactivity potential were also included.Results: The sensitivity of the COVID-19 IgG/IgM Duo assay was higher as compared to the Elecsys anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay, especially when using the combined IgM/IgG result in samples analyzed within 6 days after the onset of symptoms (46.2% vs. 15.4%). The sensitivity of both assays increased with increasing time interval after the onset of symptoms and reached 100% for the COVID-19 IgG/IgM Duo assay in samples taken 14 days or more after symptom onset. Specificity of the COVID-19 IgG/IgM Duo assay was 95.8% for IgM, 91.7% for IgG and 87.5% for the combination of both.Conclusion: This study shows that the sensitivity of both assays was highly dependent on the time interval between the onset of the COVID-19 symptoms and serum sampling. Furthermore, rapid serological testing for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by means of the FRENDTM COVID-19 IgG/IgM Duo POCT assay showed a comparable diagnostic performance as the reference automated immunoassay.

17.
PLoS One ; 16(3): e0249391, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1167114

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Households are important sites for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and preventive measures are recommended. This study aimed to 1) investigate the impact of living with a person infected with SARS-CoV-2; 2) understand how household members implemented infection control recommendations in their home; and 3) identify the information and support needs of household members. METHODS: For this observational mixed-methods study, households with a person with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were recruited via drive-through testing sites of Municipal Health Services, healthcare worker screening or hospital emergency visits in the University Medical Centre Utrecht, the Netherlands and via primary care physicians, hospital emergency visits or preoperative screening in the University Hospital of Antwerp, Belgium. We recorded household characteristics, including characteristics of all household members, together with their views on prevention measures. In a subset of households one adult household member was asked to participate in an interview investigating their views on preventive measures. Survey data were analysed using descriptive statistics and interview data by rapid framework analysis. A triangulation protocol was used to integrate findings. RESULTS: Thirty-four households (120 household members) were included in the quantitative survey. Twenty-two households were invited to be interviewed, of which 18 completed an interview (response 81.8%). Survey data showed that almost all households implemented some preventive measures, the use of face masks being least frequently reported. Measures taken depended on what was physically possible, the perceived severity of illness of the index patient and to what extent household members were willing to limit social interaction. Respondents did not believe in the effectiveness of wearing face masks within the house, and from the interviews this was explained by media coverage of face masks, impracticality and the stigma associated with wearing masks. Interviewees reported that quarantine had a high emotional burden and wished to have more information about the exact duration of quarantine, their own COVID-19 status, symptoms and when to seek medical help. CONCLUSION: People were willing to implement prevention measures, however actual adherence depended on perceived severity of illness and the perceived risk of becoming infected. Homes are social environments and recommendations for infection prevention should account for this context. Incorporating our findings into policy making could provide households with more relevant and actionable advice.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Housing , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Masks , Middle Aged , Quarantine , Young Adult
18.
Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg ; 115(10): 1122-1129, 2021 10 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1153250

ABSTRACT

Antibiotic use in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) patients during the COVID-19 pandemic has exceeded the incidence of bacterial coinfections and secondary infections, suggesting inappropriate and excessive prescribing. Even in settings with established antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) programmes, there were weaknesses exposed regarding appropriate antibiotic use in the context of the pandemic. Moreover, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) surveillance and AMS have been deprioritised with diversion of health system resources to the pandemic response. This experience highlights deficiencies in AMR containment and mitigation strategies that require urgent attention from clinical and scientific communities. These include the need to implement diagnostic stewardship to assess the global incidence of coinfections and secondary infections in COVID-19 patients, including those by multidrug-resistant pathogens, to identify patients most likely to benefit from antibiotic treatment and identify when antibiotics can be safely withheld, de-escalated or discontinued. Long-term global surveillance of clinical and societal antibiotic use and resistance trends is required to prepare for subsequent changes in AMR epidemiology, while ensuring uninterrupted supply chains and preventing drug shortages and stock outs. These interventions present implementation challenges in resource-constrained settings, making a case for implementation research on AMR. Knowledge and support for these practices will come from internationally coordinated, targeted research on AMR, supporting the preparation for future challenges from emerging AMR in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic or future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Drug Resistance, Bacterial , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
19.
J Glob Antimicrob Resist ; 25: 5-7, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1146079

ABSTRACT

Antimicrobial resistance must be recognised as a global societal priority - even in the face of the worldwide challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has illustrated the vulnerability of our healthcare systems in co-managing multiple infectious disease threats as resources for monitoring and detecting, and conducting research on antimicrobial resistance have been compromised during the pandemic. The increased awareness of the importance of infectious diseases, clinical microbiology and infection control and lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic should be exploited to ensure that emergence of future infectious disease threats, including those related to AMR, are minimised. Harnessing the public understanding of the relevance of infectious diseases towards the long-term pandemic of AMR could have major implications for promoting good practices about the control of AMR transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Resistance, Bacterial , Anti-Bacterial Agents/pharmacology , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
20.
Ann Am Thorac Soc ; 17(7): 879-891, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-679536

ABSTRACT

There is broad interest in improved methods to generate robust evidence regarding best practice, especially in settings where patient conditions are heterogenous and require multiple concomitant therapies. Here, we present the rationale and design of a large, international trial that combines features of adaptive platform trials with pragmatic point-of-care trials to determine best treatment strategies for patients admitted to an intensive care unit with severe community-acquired pneumonia. The trial uses a novel design, entitled "a randomized embedded multifactorial adaptive platform." The design has five key features: 1) randomization, allowing robust causal inference; 2) embedding of study procedures into routine care processes, facilitating enrollment, trial efficiency, and generalizability; 3) a multifactorial statistical model comparing multiple interventions across multiple patient subgroups; 4) response-adaptive randomization with preferential assignment to those interventions that appear most favorable; and 5) a platform structured to permit continuous, potentially perpetual enrollment beyond the evaluation of the initial treatments. The trial randomizes patients to multiple interventions within four treatment domains: antibiotics, antiviral therapy for influenza, host immunomodulation with extended macrolide therapy, and alternative corticosteroid regimens, representing 240 treatment regimens. The trial generates estimates of superiority, inferiority, and equivalence between regimens on the primary outcome of 90-day mortality, stratified by presence or absence of concomitant shock and proven or suspected influenza infection. The trial will also compare ventilatory and oxygenation strategies, and has capacity to address additional questions rapidly during pandemic respiratory infections. As of January 2020, REMAP-CAP (Randomized Embedded Multifactorial Adaptive Platform for Community-acquired Pneumonia) was approved and enrolling patients in 52 intensive care units in 13 countries on 3 continents. In February, it transitioned into pandemic mode with several design adaptations for coronavirus disease 2019. Lessons learned from the design and conduct of this trial should aid in dissemination of similar platform initiatives in other disease areas.Clinical trial registered with www.clinicaltrials.gov (NCT02735707).


Subject(s)
Community-Acquired Infections/therapy , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Influenza, Human/therapy , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Pneumonia/therapy , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Evidence-Based Medicine , Humans , Pandemics , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2
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