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1.
Pathology ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1796234

ABSTRACT

Summary Diagnostic testing for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has undergone significant changes over the duration of the pandemic. In early 2020, SARS-CoV-2 specific nucleic acid testing (NAT) protocols were predominantly in-house assays developed based on protocols published in peer reviewed journals. As the pandemic has progressed, there has been an increase in the choice of testing platforms. A proficiency testing program for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 by NAT was provided to assist laboratories in assessing and improving test capabilities in the early stages of the pandemic. This was vital in quality assuring initial in-house assays, later commercially produced assays, and informing the public health response. The Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Programs (RCPAQAP) offered three rounds of proficiency testing for SARS-CoV-2 to Australian and New Zealand public and private laboratories in March, May, and November 2020. Each round included a panel of five specimens, consisting of positive (low, medium or high viral loads), inconclusive (technical specimen of selected SARS-CoV-2 specific genes) and negative specimens. Results were received for round 1 from 16, round 2 from 97 and round 3 from 101 participating laboratories. Improvement in the accuracy over time was shown, with the concordance of results in round 1 being 75.0%, in round 2 above 95.0% for all samples except one, and for round 3 above 95.0%. Overall, participants demonstrated high capabilities in detecting SARS-CoV-2, even in samples of low viral load, indicating excellent testing accuracy and therefore providing confidence in Australian and New Zealand public and private laboratories test results.

2.
Br J Pharmacol ; 2022 Mar 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1764898

ABSTRACT

Vaccines have reduced the transmission and severity of COVID-19, but there remains a paucity of efficacious treatment for drug-resistant strains and more susceptible individuals, particularly those who mount a suboptimal vaccine response, either due to underlying health conditions or concomitant therapies. Repurposing existing drugs is a timely, safe and scientifically robust method for treating pandemics, such as COVID-19. Here, we review the pharmacology and scientific rationale for repurposing niclosamide, an anti-helminth already in human use as a treatment for COVID-19. In addition, its potent antiviral activity, niclosamide has shown pleiotropic anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, bronchodilatory and anticancer effects in numerous preclinical and early clinical studies. The advantages and rationale for nebulized and intranasal formulations of niclosamide, which target the site of the primary infection in COVID-19, are reviewed. Finally, we give an overview of ongoing clinical trials investigating niclosamide as a promising candidate against SARS-CoV-2.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-291475

ABSTRACT

Vaccines have reduced the transmission and severity of COVID-19 but there remains a paucity of efficacious treatment for drug resistant strains and more susceptible individuals. Repurposing existing drugs is a timely, safe and scientifically robust method for treating pandemics such as COVID-19. Here, we review the pharmacology and scientific rationale for repurposing niclosamide, an anti-helminth already in human use as a treatment for COVID-19. In addition to potent antiviral activity, niclosamide has shown pleiotropic anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, bronchodilatory and anticancer effects in numerous pre-clinical and early clinical studies. The advantages and rationale for nebulised and intranasal formulations of niclosamide, which target the site of primary infection in COVID-19, are reviewed. Finally, we discuss the TACTIC-E clinical trial, an international COVID-19 therapeutic platform trial for the use of licensed and novel therapeutic agents, which is investigating niclosamide as a promising candidate against SARS-CoV-2.

4.
BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care ; 11(Suppl 1):A16, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1138407

ABSTRACT

BackgroundGiven the symptom burden, complex decision making & communication, and mortality associated with Covid-19, the role of palliative care within the pandemic has been defined. Published data is largely from the hospital setting, and information about community palliative care teams (CPCTs) and Covid-19 is lacking. This study aims to review referrals to a London CPCT during the pandemic and compare suspected Covid-19 with non-Covid-19 referrals, to establish clinical patterns and optimise planning for a second wave.MethodsRetrospective case-note review of 115 consecutive new referrals to a London CPCT between 9th March and 30th April 2020. Demographics, response to referral, symptomatology, Advance Care Planning (ACP) and outcomes were extracted and analysed using descriptive statistics.Results53 patients were categorised as suspected Covid-19, 40 of which were residing within a care home, with 62 as non-Covid-19 controls. End of life care was the commonest referral reason in the suspected Covid-19 group (53%) compared with symptom control (81% in controls). Reduced appetite, fatigue and pain were the most common documented symptoms in all, followed by shortness of breath in the suspected Covid-19 group and nausea/vomiting in the controls.Prior to CPCT assessment, 78% of the suspected Covid-19 patients had comprehensive ACP in place, compared to 31% (controls). Time from referral to death was short in the Covid-19 group: median 5 versus 22 days.ConclusionsCare home patients were disproportionately affected by suspected Covid-19, and these patients were symptomatic and deteriorated quickly. The rapid deterioration in suspected Covid-19 patients may highlight a potential difficulty in refers ‘diagnosing dying’ in these patients. It has allowed us to draw recommendations for future practice. These include combining the CPCT triage and first assessment, using video-conferencing as default, and ongoing work to increase ease of access to anticipatory injectable medications when needed.

5.
Pathology ; 52(7): 790-795, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1042622

ABSTRACT

The current public health emergency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, that is the illness caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has resulted in thousands of cases in Australia since 25 January 2020 when the first case was diagnosed. This emerging virus presents particular hazards to researchers and laboratory staff in a clinical setting, highlighted by rapid and widespread global transmission. Based on the epidemiological and clinical data that have become available in mid-2020, we propose the interim classification of SARS-CoV-2 as a Risk Group 3 organism is reasonable, and discuss establishing Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) regulations accordingly. Despite its global spread, the reported mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2 ranging from 0.13% to 6.22% is considerably less than that of other Risk Group 4 agents including Ebola and Marburg viruses with fatality rates as high as 90%. In addition, studies have demonstrated that approximately 86% of patients presenting with severe courses of the disease are aged 70 years or above, with the presence of comorbid conditions such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases in the majority of all fatal cases. In contrary to recent discussions surrounding the protective and administrative measures needed in a laboratory, the emerging evidence surrounding mortality rate, distinct demographics of severe infections, and the presence of underlying diseases does not justify the categorisation of SARS-CoV-2 as a Risk Group 4 organism. This article summarises biosafety precautions, control measures and appropriate physical containment facilities required to minimise the risk of laboratory-acquired infections with SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Containment of Biohazards/methods , Laboratories , Occupational Exposure/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Australia , Humans , Occupational Health
6.
Thorax ; 75(12): 1089-1094, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-760280

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To determine the rates of asymptomatic viral carriage and seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in healthcare workers. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study of asymptomatic healthcare workers undertaken on 24/25 April 2020. SETTING: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT), UK. PARTICIPANTS: 545 asymptomatic healthcare workers were recruited while at work. Participants were invited to participate via the UHBFT social media. Exclusion criteria included current symptoms consistent with COVID-19. No potential participants were excluded. INTERVENTION: Participants volunteered a nasopharyngeal swab and a venous blood sample that were tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein antibodies, respectively. Results were interpreted in the context of prior illnesses and the hospital departments in which participants worked. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Proportion of participants demonstrating infection and positive SARS-CoV-2 serology. RESULTS: The point prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 viral carriage was 2.4% (n=13/545). The overall seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 24.4% (n=126/516). Participants who reported prior symptomatic illness had higher seroprevalence (37.5% vs 17.1%, χ2=21.1034, p<0.0001) and quantitatively greater antibody responses than those who had remained asymptomatic. Seroprevalence was greatest among those working in housekeeping (34.5%), acute medicine (33.3%) and general internal medicine (30.3%), with lower rates observed in participants working in intensive care (14.8%). BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) ethnicity was associated with a significantly increased risk of seropositivity (OR: 1.92, 95% CI 1.14 to 3.23, p=0.01). Working on the intensive care unit was associated with a significantly lower risk of seropositivity compared with working in other areas of the hospital (OR: 0.28, 95% CI 0.09 to 0.78, p=0.02). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: We identify differences in the occupational risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 between hospital departments and confirm asymptomatic seroconversion occurs in healthcare workers. Further investigation of these observations is required to inform future infection control and occupational health practices.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Diseases , COVID-19/diagnosis , Health Personnel/statistics & numerical data , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Seroepidemiologic Studies
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