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J R Soc Interface ; 18(185): 20210608, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1865053


Due to its high lethality among older people, the safety of nursing homes has been of central importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. With test procedures and vaccines becoming available at scale, nursing homes might relax prohibitory measures while controlling the spread of infections. By control we mean that each index case infects less than one other person on average. Here, we develop an agent-based epidemiological model for the spread of SARS-CoV-2 calibrated to Austrian nursing homes to identify optimal prevention strategies. We find that the effectiveness of mitigation testing depends critically on test turnover time (time until test result), the detection threshold of tests and mitigation testing frequencies. Under realistic conditions and in absence of vaccinations, we find that mitigation testing of employees only might be sufficient to control outbreaks if tests have low turnover times and detection thresholds. If vaccines that are 60% effective against high viral load and transmission are available, control is achieved if 80% or more of the residents are vaccinated, even without mitigation testing and if residents are allowed to have visitors. Since these results strongly depend on vaccine efficacy against infection, retention of testing infrastructures, regular testing and sequencing of virus genomes is advised to enable early identification of new variants of concern.

COVID-19 , Pandemics , Aged , Humans , Nursing Homes , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
Aging Dis ; 12(3): 710-717, 2021 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1315005


In December 2019, the People's Republic of China and the World Health Organization first reported on a cluster of pneumonia with an unknown cause. Nine months later more than 1.4 million people have died from COVID 19. In this work, the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic on five nursing homes in Austria, which cared for 889 residents in the first half of 2020, were examined. The research question was whether the measures taken were appropriate to prevent an outbreak within the individual facilities. To detect previously unrecognized infections, the present study evaluated the prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in residents and employees of the nursing homes. Following the analysis of blood samples, the prospectively collected data was connected to data from screening examinations and data from contact tracing. The present study demonstrated an overall prevalence of neutralizing antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 virus in nursing homes of 3.7%. Whereas the prevalence in those facilities that have never been hit by an outbreak is 0%, the prevalence in those facilities with an outbreak is up to 4.9%. Neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 35 persons. A retrospective analysis of all 5 included nursing homes demonstrated that upon regular clinical screening in combination with PCRs an infection with SARS-COV-2 was detected in 66 residents and 24 employees from different professional groups. In only 25 of the 35 persons with neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 an infection was proven in advance. This study suggests that specific measures can prevent transmission within a health care facility. Nevertheless, the results also show that a risk reduction to 0% cannot be achieved. In preparation for further pandemic waves there is still the need to reduce the probability of a transmission in nursing homes with specific test strategies.

Österreichischer Pflegezeitschrift: Organ des Österreichischen Gesundheits- und Krankenpflegeverband ; 74(4):25-27, 2021.
Article in German | CINAHL | ID: covidwho-1303058


The article reports that Chinese metropolis of Wuhan in the Hubei province and reached Austria when Covid-19 pandemic started with the registration of the first two cases of infection in Tyrol. Topics include World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease due to the global spread of the pandemic;and professional groups in the health facilities with a high transmission potential with susceptibility to the immune response of recovered or vaccinated persons.