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1.
Sci Rep ; 12(1): 11735, 2022 Jul 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1947493

ABSTRACT

Whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has occurred at an unprecedented scale, and can be exploited for characterising outbreak risks at the fine-scale needed to inform control strategies. One setting at continued risk of COVID-19 outbreaks are higher education institutions, associated with student movements at the start of term, close living conditions within residential halls, and high social contact rates. Here we analysed SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences in combination with epidemiological data to investigate a large cluster of student cases associated with University of Glasgow accommodation in autumn 2020, Scotland. We identified 519 student cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with this large cluster through contact tracing data, with 30% sequencing coverage for further analysis. We estimated at least 11 independent introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into the student population, with four comprising the majority of detected cases and consistent with separate outbreaks. These four outbreaks were curtailed within a week following implementation of control measures. The impact of student infections on the local community was short-term despite an underlying increase in community infections. Our study highlights the need for context-specific information in the formation of public health policy for higher educational settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Genomics , Health Planning , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States , Universities
2.
Nat Microbiol ; 2022 Jul 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1921616

ABSTRACT

Vaccines based on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 are a cornerstone of the public health response to COVID-19. The emergence of hypermutated, increasingly transmissible variants of concern (VOCs) threaten this strategy. Omicron (B.1.1.529), the fifth VOC to be described, harbours multiple amino acid mutations in spike, half of which lie within the receptor-binding domain. Here we demonstrate substantial evasion of neutralization by Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants in vitro using sera from individuals vaccinated with ChAdOx1, BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273. These data were mirrored by a substantial reduction in real-world vaccine effectiveness that was partially restored by booster vaccination. The Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.2 did not induce cell syncytia in vitro and favoured a TMPRSS2-independent endosomal entry pathway, these phenotypes mapping to distinct regions of the spike protein. Impaired cell fusion was determined by the receptor-binding domain, while endosomal entry mapped to the S2 domain. Such marked changes in antigenicity and replicative biology may underlie the rapid global spread and altered pathogenicity of the Omicron variant.

3.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335301

ABSTRACT

Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, humans have been exposed to distinct SARS-CoV-2 antigens, either by infection with different variants, and/or vaccination. Population immunity is thus highly heterogeneous, but the impact of such heterogeneity on the effectiveness and breadth of the antibody-mediated response is unclear. We measured antibody-mediated neutralisation responses against SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan , SARS-CoV-2α, SARS-CoV-2δ and SARS-CoV-2ο pseudoviruses using sera from patients with distinct immunological histories, including naive, vaccinated, infected with SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan , SARS-CoV-2α or SARS-CoV-2δ, and vaccinated/infected individuals. We show that the breadth and potency of the antibody-mediated response is influenced by the number, the variant, and the nature (infection or vaccination) of exposures, and that individuals with mixed immunity acquired by vaccination and natural exposure exhibit the broadest and most potent responses. Our results suggest that the interplay between host immunity and SARS-CoV-2 evolution will shape the antigenicity and subsequent transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2, with important implications for future vaccine design. Author Summary Neutralising antibodies provide protection against viruses and are generated because of vaccination or prior infections. The main target of anti-SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies is a protein called Spike, which decorates the viral particle and mediates viral entry into cells. As SARS-CoV-2 evolves, mutations accumulate in the spike protein, allowing the virus to escape antibody-mediated immunity and decreasing vaccine effectiveness. Multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants have appeared since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing various waves of infection through the population and infecting-in some cases-people that had been previously infected or vaccinated. Since the antibody response is highly specific, individuals infected with different variants are likely to have different repertoires of neutralising antibodies. We studied the breadth and potency of the antibody-mediated response against different SARS-CoV-2 variants using sera from vaccinated people as well as from people infected with different variants. We show that potency of the antibody response against different SARS-CoV-2 variants depends on the particular variant that infected each person, the exposure type (infection or vaccination) and the number and order of exposures. Our study provides insight into the interplay between virus evolution and immunity, as well as important information for the development of better vaccination strategies.

4.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-331670

ABSTRACT

Objective To determine how the severity of successively dominant SARS-CoV-2 variants has changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Design Prospective cohort analysis. Setting Community- and hospital- sequenced COVID-19 cases in the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHS GG&C) Health Board (1.2 million people). Participants All sequenced non-nosocomial adult COVID-19 cases in NHS GG&C identified to be infected with the relevant SARS-CoV-2 lineage during the following analysis periods. B.1.177/Alpha analysis: 1st November 2020 - 30th January 2021 (n = 1640). Alpha/Delta analysis: 1st April - 30th June 2021 (n = 5552). AY.4.2 Delta/non-AY.4.2 Delta analysis: 1st July – 31st October 2021 (n = 9613). Non-AY.4.2 Delta/Omicron analysis: 1st – 31st December 2021 (n = 3858). Main outcome measures Admission to hospital, admission to ICU, or death within 28 days of first positive COVID-19 test Results In the B.1.177/Alpha analysis, 300 of 807 (37.2%) B.1.177 cases were recorded as hospitalised or having a more severe outcome, compared to 232 of 833 (27.9%) Alpha cases. After adjusting for the following covariates: age, sex, time of positive test, comorbidities and partial postcode, the cumulative odds ratio was 1.51 (95% central credible interval 1.08-2.11) for Alpha versus B.1.177. In the Alpha/Delta analysis, 113 of 2104 (5.4%) Alpha cases were recorded as hospitalised or having a more severe outcome, compared to 230 of 3448 (6.7%) Delta cases. After adjusting for the above covariates plus number of vaccine doses and reinfection, the cumulative odds ratio was 2.09 (95% central credible interval 1.42-3.08) for Delta versus Alpha. In the non-AY.4.2 Delta/AY.4.2 Delta analysis, 845 of 8644 (9.8%) non-AY.4.2 Delta cases were recorded as hospitalised or having a more severe outcome, compared to 101 of 969 (10.4%) AY.4.2 Delta cases. After adjusting for the previously stated covariates, the cumulative odds ratio was 0.99 (95% central credible interval 0.76-1.27) for AY.4.2 Delta versus non-AY.4.2 Delta. In the non-AY.4.2 Delta/Omicron analysis, 30 of 1164 (2.6%) non-AY.4.2 Delta cases were recorded as hospitalised or having a more severe outcome, compared to 26 of 2694 (1.0%) Omicron cases. After adjusting for the previously listed covariates, the median cumulative odds ratio was 0.49 (95% central credible interval 0.22-1.06) for Omicron versus non-AY.4.2 Delta. Conclusions The direction of change in disease severity between successively emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern was inconsistent. This heterogeneity in virulence between variants, coupled with independent evolutionary emergence, demonstrates that severity associated with future SARS-CoV-2 variants is inherently unpredictable.

5.
Drug Alcohol Depend ; 232: 109263, 2022 Mar 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1719618

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has likely affected the delivery of interventions to prevent blood-borne viruses (BBVs) among people who inject drugs (PWID). We examined the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 in Scotland on: 1) needle and syringe provision (NSP), 2) opioid agonist therapy (OAT) and 3) BBV testing. METHODS: An interrupted time series study design; 23rd March 2020 (date of the first 'lockdown') was chosen as the key date. RESULTS: The number of HIV tests and HCV tests in drug services/prisons, and the number of needles/syringes (N/S) distributed decreased by 94% (RR=0.062, 95% CI 0.041-0.094, p < 0.001), 95% (RR=0.049, 95% CI 0.034-0.069, p < 0.001) and 18% (RR = 0.816, 95% CI 0.750-0.887, p < 0.001), respectively, immediately after lockdown. Post-lockdown, an increasing trend was observed relating to the number of N/S distributed (0.6%; RR = 1.006, 95% CI 1.001-1.012, p = 0.015), HIV tests (12.1%; RR = 1.121, 95% CI 1.092-1.152, p < 0.001) and HCV tests (13.2%; RR = 1.132, 95 CI 1.106-1.158, p < 0.001). Trends relating to the total amount of methadone prescribed remained stable, but a decreasing trend in the number of prescriptions (2.4%; RR = 0.976, 95% CI 0.959-0.993, p = 0.006) and an increasing trend in the quantity prescribed per prescription (2.8%; RR = 1.028, 95% CI 1.013-1.042, p < 0.001) was observed post-lockdown. CONCLUSIONS: COVID-19 impacted the delivery of BBV prevention services for PWID in Scotland. While there is evidence of service recovery; further effort is likely required to return some intervention coverage to pre-pandemic levels in the context of subsequent waves of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Drug Users , HIV Infections , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Substance Abuse, Intravenous , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control , HIV Infections/epidemiology , HIV Infections/prevention & control , Humans , Interrupted Time Series Analysis , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland/epidemiology , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/epidemiology , Substance Abuse, Intravenous/rehabilitation
6.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295699

ABSTRACT

Background The B.1.1.7 (Alpha) SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern was associated with increased transmission relative to other variants present at the time of its emergence and several studies have shown an association between the B.1.1.7 lineage infection and increased 28-day mortality. However, to date none have addressed the impact of infection on severity of illness or the need for oxygen or ventilation. Methods In this prospective clinical cohort sub-study of the COG-UK consortium, 1475 samples from hospitalised and community cases collected between the 1 st November 2020 and 30 th January 2021 were collected. These samples were sequenced in local laboratories and analysed for the presence of B.1.1.7-defining mutations. We prospectively matched sequence data to clinical outcomes as the lineage became dominant in Scotland and modelled the association between B.1.1.7 infection and severe disease using a 4-point scale of maximum severity by 28 days: 1. no support, 2. oxygen, 3. ventilation and 4. death. Additionally, we calculated an estimate of the growth rate of B.1.1.7-associated infections following introduction into Scotland using phylogenetic data. Results B.1.1.7 was responsible for a third wave of SARS-CoV-2 in Scotland, and rapidly replaced the previously dominant second wave lineage B.1.177) due to a significantly higher transmission rate (∼5 fold). Of 1475 patients, 364 were infected with B.1.1.7, 1030 with B.1.177 and 81 with other lineages. Our cumulative generalised linear mixed model analyses found evidence (cumulative odds ratio: 1.40, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.93) of a positive association between increased clinical severity and lineage (B.1.1.7 versus non-B.1.1.7). Viral load was higher in B.1.1.7 samples than in non-B.1.1.7 samples as measured by cycle threshold (Ct) value (mean Ct change: -2.46, 95% CI: -4.22, -0.70). Conclusions The B.1.1.7 lineage was associated with more severe clinical disease in Scottish patients than co-circulating lineages. Funding COG-UK is supported by funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and Genome Research Limited, operating as the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Funding was also provided by UKRI through the JUNIPER consortium (grant number MR/V038613/1). Sequencing and bioinformatics support was funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) core award (MC UU 1201412).

10.
J Infect ; 83(1): 96-103, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1198895

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Patients requiring haemodialysis are at increased risk of serious illness with SARS-CoV-2 infection. To improve the understanding of transmission risks in six Scottish renal dialysis units, we utilised the rapid whole-genome sequencing data generated by the COG-UK consortium. METHODS: We combined geographical, temporal and genomic sequence data from the community and hospital to estimate the probability of infection originating from within the dialysis unit, the hospital or the community using Bayesian statistical modelling and compared these results to the details of epidemiological investigations. RESULTS: Of 671 patients, 60 (8.9%) became infected with SARS-CoV-2, of whom 16 (27%) died. Within-unit and community transmission were both evident and an instance of transmission from the wider hospital setting was also demonstrated. CONCLUSIONS: Near-real-time SARS-CoV-2 sequencing data can facilitate tailored infection prevention and control measures, which can be targeted at reducing risk in these settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Bayes Theorem , Hospitals , Humans , Molecular Epidemiology , Renal Dialysis/adverse effects
11.
J Infect Dis ; 223(6): 971-980, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1155782

ABSTRACT

Identifying drivers of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) exposure and quantifying population immunity is crucial to prepare for future epidemics. We performed a serial cross-sectional serosurvey throughout the first pandemic wave among patients from the largest health board in Scotland. Screening of 7480 patient serum samples showed a weekly seroprevalence ranging from 0.10% to 8.23% in primary and 0.21% to 17.44% in secondary care, respectively. Neutralization assays showed that highly neutralizing antibodies developed in about half of individuals who tested positive with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, mainly among secondary care patients. We estimated the individual probability of SARS-CoV-2 exposure and quantified associated risk factors. We show that secondary care patients, male patients, and 45-64-year-olds exhibit a higher probability of being seropositive. The identification of risk factors and the differences in virus neutralization activity between patient populations provided insights into the patterns of virus exposure during the first pandemic wave and shed light on what to expect in future waves.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cell Line , Cross-Sectional Studies , Delivery of Health Care , Demography , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Immunity , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Risk Factors , Scotland/epidemiology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
12.
PLoS Biol ; 19(2): e3001091, 2021 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1102372

ABSTRACT

The recent emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the underlying cause of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), has led to a worldwide pandemic causing substantial morbidity, mortality, and economic devastation. In response, many laboratories have redirected attention to SARS-CoV-2, meaning there is an urgent need for tools that can be used in laboratories unaccustomed to working with coronaviruses. Here we report a range of tools for SARS-CoV-2 research. First, we describe a facile single plasmid SARS-CoV-2 reverse genetics system that is simple to genetically manipulate and can be used to rescue infectious virus through transient transfection (without in vitro transcription or additional expression plasmids). The rescue system is accompanied by our panel of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (against nearly every viral protein), SARS-CoV-2 clinical isolates, and SARS-CoV-2 permissive cell lines, which are all openly available to the scientific community. Using these tools, we demonstrate here that the controversial ORF10 protein is expressed in infected cells. Furthermore, we show that the promising repurposed antiviral activity of apilimod is dependent on TMPRSS2 expression. Altogether, our SARS-CoV-2 toolkit, which can be directly accessed via our website at https://mrcppu-covid.bio/, constitutes a resource with considerable potential to advance COVID-19 vaccine design, drug testing, and discovery science.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/virology , Reverse Genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , A549 Cells , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Chlorocebus aethiops , Codon , Humans , Hydrazones/pharmacology , Mice , Morpholines/pharmacology , Open Reading Frames , Plasmids/genetics , Pyrimidines/pharmacology , Serine Endopeptidases/metabolism , Vero Cells , Viral Proteins/metabolism
15.
J Infect Dis ; 223(6): 971-980, 2021 03 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-998363

ABSTRACT

Identifying drivers of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) exposure and quantifying population immunity is crucial to prepare for future epidemics. We performed a serial cross-sectional serosurvey throughout the first pandemic wave among patients from the largest health board in Scotland. Screening of 7480 patient serum samples showed a weekly seroprevalence ranging from 0.10% to 8.23% in primary and 0.21% to 17.44% in secondary care, respectively. Neutralization assays showed that highly neutralizing antibodies developed in about half of individuals who tested positive with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, mainly among secondary care patients. We estimated the individual probability of SARS-CoV-2 exposure and quantified associated risk factors. We show that secondary care patients, male patients, and 45-64-year-olds exhibit a higher probability of being seropositive. The identification of risk factors and the differences in virus neutralization activity between patient populations provided insights into the patterns of virus exposure during the first pandemic wave and shed light on what to expect in future waves.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cell Line , Cross-Sectional Studies , Delivery of Health Care , Demography , Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay , Female , Humans , Immunity , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Risk Factors , Scotland/epidemiology , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
16.
Nat Microbiol ; 6(1): 112-122, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-989837

ABSTRACT

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first diagnosed in Scotland on 1 March 2020. During the first month of the outbreak, 2,641 cases of COVID-19 led to 1,832 hospital admissions, 207 intensive care admissions and 126 deaths. We aimed to identify the source and number of introductions of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) into Scotland using a combined phylogenetic and epidemiological approach. Sequencing of 1,314 SARS-CoV-2 viral genomes from available patient samples enabled us to estimate that SARS-CoV-2 was introduced to Scotland on at least 283 occasions during February and March 2020. Epidemiological analysis confirmed that early introductions of SARS-CoV-2 originated from mainland Europe (the majority from Italy and Spain). We identified subsequent early outbreaks in the community, within healthcare facilities and at an international conference. Community transmission occurred after 2 March, 3 weeks before control measures were introduced. Earlier travel restrictions or quarantine measures, both locally and internationally, would have reduced the number of COVID-19 cases in Scotland. The risk of multiple reintroduction events in future waves of infection remains high in the absence of population immunity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Adult , Aged , Europe/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spain/epidemiology , Travel/statistics & numerical data
17.
J Infect Dis ; 222(4): 696-698, 2020 07 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-857632
18.
BMJ Open ; 10(6): e039097, 2020 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-612110

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Following the emergence of the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in December 2019 and the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic, population-level surveillance and rapid assessment of the effectiveness of existing or new therapeutic or preventive interventions are required to ensure that interventions are targeted to those at highest risk of serious illness or death from COVID-19. We aim to repurpose and expand an existing pandemic reporting platform to determine the attack rate of SARS-CoV-2, the uptake and effectiveness of any new pandemic vaccine (once available) and any protective effect conferred by existing or new antimicrobial drugs and other therapies. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A prospective observational cohort will be used to monitor daily/weekly the progress of the COVID-19 epidemic and to evaluate the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions in approximately 5.4 million individuals registered in general practices across Scotland. A national linked dataset of patient-level primary care data, out-of-hours, hospitalisation, mortality and laboratory data will be assembled. The primary outcomes will measure association between: (A) laboratory confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, morbidity and mortality, and demographic, socioeconomic and clinical population characteristics; and (B) healthcare burden of COVID-19 and demographic, socioeconomic and clinical population characteristics. The secondary outcomes will estimate: (A) the uptake (for vaccines only); (B) effectiveness; and (C) safety of new or existing therapies, vaccines and antimicrobials against SARS-CoV-2 infection. The association between population characteristics and primary outcomes will be assessed via multivariate logistic regression models. The effectiveness of therapies, vaccines and antimicrobials will be assessed from time-dependent Cox models or Poisson regression models. Self-controlled study designs will be explored to estimate the risk of therapeutic and prophylactic-related adverse events. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: We obtained approval from the National Research Ethics Service Committee, Southeast Scotland 02. The study findings will be presented at international conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Patient Care Planning/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Humans , Observational Studies as Topic , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Risk Assessment , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland
19.
J Infect Dis ; 222(1): 17-25, 2020 06 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-599715

ABSTRACT

Public health preparedness for coronavirus (CoV) disease 2019 (COVID-19) is challenging in the absence of setting-specific epidemiological data. Here we describe the epidemiology of seasonal CoVs (sCoVs) and other cocirculating viruses in the West of Scotland, United Kingdom. We analyzed routine diagnostic data for >70 000 episodes of respiratory illness tested molecularly for multiple respiratory viruses between 2005 and 2017. Statistical associations with patient age and sex differed between CoV-229E, CoV-OC43, and CoV-NL63. Furthermore, the timing and magnitude of sCoV outbreaks did not occur concurrently, and coinfections were not reported. With respect to other cocirculating respiratory viruses, we found evidence of positive, rather than negative, interactions with sCoVs. These findings highlight the importance of considering cocirculating viruses in the differential diagnosis of COVID-19. Further work is needed to establish the occurrence/degree of cross-protective immunity conferred across sCoVs and with COVID-19, as well as the role of viral coinfection in COVID-19 disease severity.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus 229E, Human/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus NL63, Human/genetics , Coronavirus OC43, Human/genetics , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Seasons , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 , Child , Child, Preschool , Coinfection , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2 , Scotland/epidemiology , Young Adult
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