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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.10.04.22280700


BackgroundCoronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been especially dangerous for elderly people. To reduce the risk of transmission from healthcare workers to elderly people, it is of utmost importance to detect possible severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) positive healthcare workers as early as possible. We aimed to determine whether the Abbott Panbio COVID-19 antigen detection rapid diagnostic test (Ag-RDT) could be used as an alternative to reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). The second aim was to compare the cycle threshold (Ct) in RT-qPCR with the results of the Ag-RDT. MethodsA prospective diagnostic evaluation of the Abbott Panbio COVID-19 Ag-RDT among healthcare workers across three elderly care facilities as well as home-based elderly care workers who met clinical criteria for COVID-19 during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Per healthcare worker, the first nasopharyngeal swab was obtained to perform the Ag-RDT and the second swab for RT-qPCR. A Ct-value of < 40 was interpreted as positive, [≥] 40 as negative. ResultsA total of 683 healthcare workers with COVID-19 symptoms were sampled for detection of SARS-CoV-2 by both Ag-RDT and RT-qPCR. Sixty-three healthcare workers (9.2%) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 by RT-qPCR. The overall sensitivity of Ag-RDT was 81.0% sensitivity (95%CI: 69.6-88.8%) and 100% specificity (95%CI: 99.4-100%). Using a cut-off Ct-value of 32, the sensitivity increased to 92.7% (95% CI: 82.7-97.1%). Negative Ag-RDT results were moderately associated with higher Ct-values (r = 0.62) compared to positive Ag-RDT results. ConclusionThe Panbio COVID-19 Ag-RDT can be used to quickly detect positive SARS-CoV-2 healthcare workers. Negative Ag-RDT should be confirmed by RT-qPCR. In case of severe understaffing and with careful consideration, fully vaccinated healthcare workers with Ag-RDT negative results could work with a mask pending PCR results.

Coronavirus Infections , COVID-19
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.08.20.21262158


BackgroundSARS-CoV-2 vaccines are highly effective at preventing COVID-19-related morbidity and mortality. As no vaccine is 100% effective, breakthrough infections are expected to occur. MethodsWe analyzed the virological characteristics of 161 vaccine breakthrough infections in a population of 24,706 vaccinated healthcare workers (HCWs), using RT-PCR and virus culture. ResultsThe delta variant (B.1.617.2) was identified in the majority of cases. Despite similar Ct-values, we demonstrate lower probability of infectious virus detection in respiratory samples of vaccinated HCWs with breakthrough infections compared to unvaccinated HCWs with primary SARS-CoV-2 infections. Nevertheless, infectious virus was found in 68.6% of breakthrough infections and Ct-values decreased throughout the first 3 days of illness. ConclusionsWe conclude that rare vaccine breakthrough infections occur, but infectious virus shedding is reduced in these cases.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Breakthrough Pain , COVID-19
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.06.29.21259494


Streptococcus pneumoniae is the main bacterial pathogen causing respiratory infections. Since the COVID-19 pandemic emerged, less pneumococcal disease was identified by surveillance systems around the world. Measures to prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 also reduce transmission of pneumococci, but this would gradually lead to lower disease rates. Here, we explore additional factors that have contributed to the instant drop in pneumococcal disease cases captured in surveillance. Our observations on referral practices and other impediments to diagnostic testing indicate that residual IPD has likely occurred but remained undetected by conventional hospital-based surveillance. Depending on setting, we discuss alternative monitoring strategies that could improve sight on pneumococcal disease dynamics.

Respiratory Tract Infections , Pneumococcal Infections , COVID-19