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1.
EClinicalMedicine ; 45: 101319, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704577

ABSTRACT

Background: The role of educational settings in SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission remains controversial. We investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence, and seroconversion rates in secondary schools during the 2020/21 academic year, which included the emergence of the more transmissible alpha and delta variants, in England. Methods: The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) initiated prospective surveillance in 18 urban English secondary schools. Participants had nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and blood sampling for SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein and spike protein antibodies at the start (Round 1: September-October 2020) and end (Round 2: December 2020) of the autumn term, when schools reopened after national lockdown was imposed in January 2021 (Round 3: March-April 2021), and end of the academic year (Round 4: May-July 2021). Findings: We enrolled 2314 participants (1277 students, 1037 staff; one participant had missing data for PCR testing). In-school testing identified 31 PCR-positive participants (20 students, 11 staff). Another 247 confirmed cases (112 students, 135 staff) were identified after linkage with national surveillance data, giving an overall positivity rate of 12.0% (278/2313; staff: 14.1%, 146/1037 vs students: 10.3%, 132/1276; p = 0.006). Trends were similar to national infection data. Nucleoprotein-antibody seroprevalence increased for students and staff between Rounds 1 and 3 but were similar between Rounds 3 and 4, when the delta variant was the dominant circulating strain. Overall, Nucleoprotein-antibody seroconversion was 18.4% (137/744) in staff and 18.8% (146/778) in students, while Spike-antibody seroconversion was higher in staff (72.8%, 525/721) than students (21.3%, 163/764) because of vaccination. Interpretation: SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in secondary schools remained low when community infection rates were low, even as the delta variant was emerging in England. Funding: This study was funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

3.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0262515, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1690740

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Following the full re-opening of schools in England and emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant, we investigated the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in students and staff who were contacts of a confirmed case in a school bubble (school groupings with limited interactions), along with their household members. METHODS: Primary and secondary school bubbles were recruited into sKIDsBUBBLE after being sent home to self-isolate following a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the bubble. Bubble participants and their household members were sent home-testing kits comprising nasal swabs for RT-PCR testing and whole genome sequencing, and oral fluid swabs for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. RESULTS: During November-December 2020, 14 bubbles were recruited from 7 schools, including 269 bubble contacts (248 students, 21 staff) and 823 household contacts (524 adults, 299 children). The secondary attack rate was 10.0% (6/60) in primary and 3.9% (4/102) in secondary school students, compared to 6.3% (1/16) and 0% (0/1) among staff, respectively. The incidence rate for household contacts of primary school students was 6.6% (12/183) and 3.7% (1/27) for household contacts of primary school staff. In secondary schools, this was 3.5% (11/317) and 0% (0/1), respectively. Household contacts were more likely to test positive if their bubble contact tested positive although there were new infections among household contacts of uninfected bubble contacts. INTERPRETATION: Compared to other institutional settings, the overall risk of secondary infection in school bubbles and their household contacts was low. Our findings are important for developing evidence-based infection prevention guidelines for educational settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19/virology , Child , Contact Tracing , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Nasopharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Schools/statistics & numerical data , Students/statistics & numerical data
4.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327750

ABSTRACT

In contrast to the increasing levels of high avidity S antibody measured by the Roche assay in the first 6 months following natural infection, marked waning is seen post 2 or 3 doses of vaccine. Although the kinetics differ between those with vaccine-induced immunity compared to those infected prior to vaccination (hybrid immunity), waning rates appear to be similar following 2 or 3 doses of vaccine. These data should allow countries to optimise the timing of future doses of vaccine.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-319290

ABSTRACT

Background : Little is known about the views of adolescents returning to secondary school during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: In September 2020, Public Health England (PHE) recruited staff and students in secondary schools to provide nasal swabs, oral fluid and blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 infection and antibody testing. Students aged 11-18 years in five London schools completed a short questionnaire about their perception of the pandemic, returning to school, risk to themselves and to others and infection control measures, and participating in school testing. Results: A questionnaire was completed by 64% (297/462) participants. Students were generally not anxious at all (19.7%;58/294) or not really anxious (40.0%, 114/295) about returning to school, although 5.4% (n=16/295) were extremely nervous. Most students were very worried about transmitting the virus to their family (60.2%;177/294) rather than other students (22.0%;65/296) or school staff (19.3%;57/296), or catching the infection themselves (12.5%;37/296). Students better maintained physical distancing in the presence of school staff (84.6%;247/292) and in public places (79.5%;233/293) but not when with other students (46.8%;137/293) or friends (40.8%;120/294). A greater proportion of younger students (school years 7-9) reported not being anxious at all than 16-18 year olds (47/174 [27.0%] vs 3/63 [4.8%];p=0.001). They were also less likely to adhere to physical distancing and wearing face masks. Most students reported positive experiences with testing in schools, with 92.3% (262/284) agreeing to have another blood test in future visits.Conclusions: Younger students were less concerned about catching and transmitting SARS-CoV-2 and were less likely to adhere to protective measures. Greater awareness of the potential risks of COVID-19 transmission between secondary school students potentially leading to increased risk of infection in their teachers and their household members may increase adherence to infection control measures within and outside schools.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-314792

ABSTRACT

Background: Many countries re-opened schools after national lockdown but little is known about the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in educational settings. Public Health England conducted six-month prospective surveillance in primary schools across England. Methods: The COVID-19 Surveillance in School KIDs (sKIDs) study included two arms: weekly nasal swabs for ≥4 weeks following partial reopening during the summer half-term (June to mid-July 2020) and blood sampling with nasal and throat swabs at the beginning and end of the summer half-term, and, following full reopening in September 2020, at the end of the autumn term (end-November 2020). Results: In round 1, 12,026 participants (59.1% students, 40.9% staff) in 131 schools had 43,091 swabs taken. Weekly SARS-CoV-2 infection rates were 3.9 (1/25,537;95% CI, 0.10-21.8) and 11.3 (2/17,554;95% CI, 1.4-41.2) per 100,000 students and staff. At recruitment, N-antibody positivity in 45 schools was 11.1% (91/817;95%CI, 9.2-13.5%) in students and 15.1% (209/1381;95%CI, 13.3-17.1%) in staff, similar to local community seroprevalence. Seropositivity was not associated with school attendance during lockdown or staff contact with students. Round 2 participation was 73.7% (1,619/2,198) and only five (4 students, 1 staff) seroconverted. In round 3, when 61.9% (1,361/2,198) of round 1 participants were re-tested, seroconversion rates were 3.4% (19/562;95%CI, 2.0-5.2) in students and 3.9% (36/930;95%CI, 2.7-5.3) in staff. Conclusions: SARS-CoV-2 infection rates, assessed using nasal swabs for acute infection and serum antibodies for prior infection, were low following partial and full reopening of primary schools in England.Funding Statement: This surveillance was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).Declaration of Interests: None to declare.Ethics Approval Statement: The surveillance protocol was approved by the Public Health England Research Ethics Governance Group (R&D REGG Ref: NR0209, 16 May 2020).

7.
Euro Surveill ; 27(1)2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613512

ABSTRACT

Serum samples were collected pre- and post-booster vaccination with Comirnaty in 626 participants (aged ≥ 50 years) who had received two Comirnaty doses < 30 days apart, two Comirnaty doses ≥ 30 days apart or two Vaxzevria doses ≥ 30 days apart. Irrespective of primary vaccine type or schedule, spike antibody GMTs peaked 2-4 weeks after second dose, fell significantly ≤ 38 weeks later and rose above primary immunisation GMTs 2-4 weeks post-booster. Higher post-booster responses were observed with a longer interval between primary immunisation and boosting.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Humans , London , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom
8.
Nat Immunol ; 23(1): 40-49, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585824

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection is generally mild or asymptomatic in children but a biological basis for this outcome is unclear. Here we compare antibody and cellular immunity in children (aged 3-11 years) and adults. Antibody responses against spike protein were high in children and seroconversion boosted responses against seasonal Beta-coronaviruses through cross-recognition of the S2 domain. Neutralization of viral variants was comparable between children and adults. Spike-specific T cell responses were more than twice as high in children and were also detected in many seronegative children, indicating pre-existing cross-reactive responses to seasonal coronaviruses. Importantly, children retained antibody and cellular responses 6 months after infection, whereas relative waning occurred in adults. Spike-specific responses were also broadly stable beyond 12 months. Therefore, children generate robust, cross-reactive and sustained immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 with focused specificity for the spike protein. These findings provide insight into the relative clinical protection that occurs in most children and might help to guide the design of pediatric vaccination regimens.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Coronavirus 229E, Human/immunology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/immunology , Cross Protection/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adaptive Immunity/immunology , Adult , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross Reactions/immunology , Humans
9.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296775

ABSTRACT

ABSTRACT Background The role of educational settings on SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission remains controversial. We investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence and seroconversions rates in secondary schools during the 2020/21 academic year, which included the emergence of the more transmissible Alpha and Delta variants, in England. Methods The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) initiated prospective surveillance in 18 urban English secondary schools. Participants had nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and blood sampling for SARS-CoV-2 Nucleoprotein and Spike protein antibodies at the start (Round 1: September-October 2020) and end (Round 2: December 2021) of the autumn term, when schools reopened after national lockdown was imposed in January 2021 (Round 3: March-April) and end of the academic year (Round 4: May-July). Findings We enrolled 2,314 participants (1277 students, 1037 staff). In-school testing identified 31 PCR-positive participants (20 students, 11 staff). Another 247 confirmed cases (112 students, 135 staff) were identified after linkage with national surveillance data, giving an overall positivity rate of 12.0% (278/2313;staff [14.1%, 146/1037] vs students [10.3%, 132/1276;p=0.006). Nucleoprotein-antibody seroprevalence increased for students and staff between Rounds 1-3 but changed little in Round 4, when the Delta variant was the dominant circulating strain. Overall, Nucleoprotein-antibody seroconversion was 18.4% (137/744) in staff and 18.8% (146/778) in students, while Spike-antibody seroconversion was higher in staff (72.8% (525/721) than students (21.3%, 163/764) because of vaccination. Interpretation SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in secondary schools remained low when community infection rates were low because of national lockdown, even after the emergence of the Delta variant Funding DHSC

10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 7217, 2021 12 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1565716

ABSTRACT

The UK prioritised delivery of the first dose of BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) and AZD1222 (AstraZeneca) vaccines by extending the interval between doses up to 12 weeks. In 750 participants aged 50-89 years, we here compare serological responses after BNT162b2 and AZD1222 vaccination with varying dose intervals, and evaluate these against real-world national vaccine effectiveness (VE) estimates against COVID-19 in England. We show that antibody levels 14-35 days after dose two are higher in BNT162b2 recipients with an extended vaccine interval (65-84 days) compared with those vaccinated with a standard (19-29 days) interval. Following the extended schedule, antibody levels were 6-fold higher at 14-35 days post dose 2 for BNT162b2 than AZD1222. For both vaccines, VE was higher across all age-groups from 14 days after dose two compared to one dose, but the magnitude varied with dose interval. Higher dose two VE was observed with >6 week interval between BNT162b2 doses compared to the standard schedule. Our findings suggest higher effectiveness against infection using an extended vaccine schedule. Given global vaccine constraints these results are relevant to policymakers.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunization Schedule , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibody Formation , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , England , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
11.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295014

ABSTRACT

Introduction SARS-CoV-2 serological studies have so far focused mainly on adults. Public Health England initiated prospective, longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 sero-surveillance in schools across England after the first national lockdown, which allowed comparison of child and adult responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection over time. Methods Staff and students had venepuncture for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in school during June, July and December 2020. Blood samples were tested for nucleocapsid (Abbott) and receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies (in-house assay), and student samples were additionally assessed for live virus neutralising activity. Results In June 2020, 1,344 staff and 835 students were tested. Overall, 11.5% (95% CI: 9.4-13.9) and 11.3% (95% CI: 9.2-13.6;p=0.88) of students had nucleoprotein and RBD antibodies, compared to 15.6% (95% CI: 13.7-17.6) and 15.3% (95% CI: 13.4-17.3;p=0.83) of staff. Live virus neutralising activity was detected in 79.8% (n=71/89) of nucleocapsid and 85.5% (71/83) of RBD antibody positive children. RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with neutralising antibodies (r s =0.7527;p<0.0001) than nucleocapsid antibodies (r s =0.3698;p<0.0001). A median of 24.4 weeks later, 58.2% (107/184) participants had nucleocapsid antibody seroreversion, compared to 20.9% (33/158) for RBD (p<0.001). Similar seroreversion rates were observed between staff and students for nucleocapsid (p=0.26) and RBD-antibodies (p=0.43). Nucleocapsid and RBD antibody quantitative results were significantly lower in staff compared to students (p=0.028 and <0.0001 respectively) at baseline, but not at 24 weeks (p=0.16 and p=0.37, respectively). Conclusion RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with live virus neutralising activity. Most seropositive students and staff retained RBD antibodies for >6 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection.

12.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-294620

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infection is generally mild or asymptomatic in children but the biological basis for this is unclear. We studied the profile of antibody and cellular immunity in children aged 3-11 years in comparison with adults. Antibody responses against spike and receptor binding domain (RBD) were high in children and seroconversion boosted antibody responses against seasonal Beta-coronaviruses through cross-recognition of the S2 domain. Seroneutralisation assays against alpha, beta and delta SARS-CoV-2 variants demonstrated comparable neutralising activity between children and adults. T cell responses against spike were >2-fold higher in children compared to adults and displayed a T H 1 cytokine profile. SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific T cells were also detected in many seronegative children, revealing pre-existing responses that were cross-reactive with seasonal Alpha and Beta-coronaviruses. Importantly, all children retained high antibody titres and cellular responses at 6 months after infection whilst relative antibody waning was seen in adults. Spike-specific responses in children also remained broadly stable beyond 12 months. Children thus distinctly generate robust, cross-reactive and sustained immune responses after SARS-CoV-2 infection with focussed specificity against spike protein. These observations demonstrate novel features of SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses in children and may provide insight into their relative clinical protection. Furthermore, this information will help to guide the introduction of vaccination regimens in the paediatric population.

13.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Nov 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1545921

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most children recover quickly after COVID-19, but some may have on-going symptoms. Follow-up studies have been limited by small sample sizes and lack of appropriate controls. METHODS: We used national testing data to identify children aged 2-16 years with a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test during 01-07 January 2021 and randomly selected1,500 PCR-positive cases and 1,500 matched PCR-negative controls. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire about the acute illness and pre-specified neurological, dermatological, sensory, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, mental health (including emotional and behavioural well-being) and other symptoms experienced at least five times at one month after the PCR test. RESULTS: Overall, 35.0% (859/2456) completed the questionnaire, including 38.0% (472/1242) cases and 32% (387/1214) controls. of whom 68% (320/472) and 40% (154/387) were symptomatic, respectively. The most prevalent acute symptoms were cough (249 /859, 29.0%), fever (236/859, 27.5%), headache (236/859, 27.4%) and fatigue (231/859, 26.9%). One month later, 21/320 (6.7%) of symptomatic cases and 6/154 (4.2%) of symptomatic controls (p=0.24) experienced on-going symptoms. Of the 65 on-going symptoms solicited, three clusters were significantly (p<0.05) more common, albeit at low prevalence, among symptomatic cases (3-7%) than symptomatic controls (0-3: neurological, sensory and emotional and behavioural wellbeing. Mental health symptoms were reported by all groups but more frequently among symptomatic cases than symptomatic controls or asymptomatic children. CONCLUSIONS: Children with symptomatic COVID-19 had a slightly higher prevalence of on-going symptoms than symptomatic controls, and not as high as previously reported. Healthcare resources should be prioritised to support the mental health of children.

14.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292973

ABSTRACT

Importance: There are limited data on immune responses after COVID-19 vaccine boosters in individuals receiving primary immunisation with BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) or AZD1222 (AstraZeneca) Objective: To assess SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses before and after booster vaccination with BNT162b2 in adults receiving two BNT162b2 or AZD1222 vaccine doses at least 6 months previously, as part of the United Kingdom national immunisation schedule Design: Prospective, cohort study Setting: London, England Participants: 750 immunocompetent adults aged ≥50 years Interventions: A single dose of BNT162b2 administered at least six months after primary immunisation with two doses of BNT162b2 given <30 days apart (BNT162b2-control) or ≥30 days apart (BNT162b2-extended) compared to AZD1222 given ≥30 days apart (AZD1222-extended) Main Outcome and Measures: SARS-CoV-2 spike protein antibody geometric mean titres (GMTs) before and 2-4 weeks after booster Results: Of 750 participants, 626 provided serum samples for up to 38 weeks after their second vaccine dose. Antibody GMTs peaked at 2-4 weeks after the second dose, before declining by 68% at 36-38 weeks after dose 2 for BNT162b2-control participants, 85% at 24-29 weeks for BNT162b2-extended participants and 78% at 24-29 weeks for AZD1222-extended participants. Antibody GMTs was highest in BNT162b2-extended participants (942 [95%CI, 797-1113]) than AZD1222-extended (183 [124-268]) participants at 24-29 weeks or BNT162b2-control participants at 36-38 weeks (208;95%CI, 150-289). At 2-4 weeks after booster, GMTs were significantly higher than after primary vaccination in all three groups: 18,104 (95%CI, 13,911-23,560;n=47) in BNT162b2-control (76.3-fold), 13,980 (11,902-16,421;n=118) in BNT162b2-extended (15.9-fold) and 10,799 (8,510-13,704;n=43) in AZD1222-extended (57.2-fold) participants. BNT162b2-control participants (median:262 days) had a longer interval between primary and booster doses than BNT162b2-extended or AZD1222-extended (both median:186 days) participants. Conclusions and Relevance: We observed rapid serological responses to boosting with BNT162b2, irrespective of vaccine type or schedule used for primary immunisation, with higher post-booster responses with longer interval between primary immunisation and boosting. Boosters will not only provide additional protection for those at highest risk of severe COVID-19 but also prevent infection and, therefore, interrupt transmission, thereby reducing infections rates in the population. Ongoing surveillance will be important for monitoring the duration of protection after the booster.

15.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-292906

ABSTRACT

We present a comprehensive analysis of antibody and cellular responses in children aged 12-16 years who received COVID-19 vaccination with ChAdOx1 (n=6) or mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273 or BNT162b2, n=9) using a 12-week extended-interval schedule. mRNA vaccination of seropositive children induces high antibody levels, with one dose, but a second dose is required in infection-naïve children. Following a second ChAdOx1 dose, antibody titres were higher than natural infection, but lower than mRNA vaccination. Vaccination induced live virus neutralising antibodies against Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, however, a second dose is required in infection-naïve children. We found higher T-cell responses following mRNA vaccination than ChAdOx1. Phenotyping of responses showed predominantly early effector-memory CD4 T cell populations, with a type-1 cytotoxic cytokine signature, with IL-10. These data demonstrate mRNA vaccination induces a co-ordinated superior antibody and robust cellular responses in children. Seronegative children require a prime-boost regime for optimal protection.

16.
J Infect ; 83(5): 573-580, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1527750

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: We assessed SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence and seroconversion in students and staff when secondary schools reopened in March 2021. METHODS: We initiated SARS-CoV-2 surveillance in 18 secondary schools across six regions in September 2020. Participants provided nasal swabs for RT-PCR and blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the beginning (September 2020) and end (December 2020) of the autumn term and at the start of the spring term (March 2021). FINDINGS: In March 2021, 1895 participants (1100 students:795 staff) were tested; 5.6% (61/1094) students and 4.4% (35/792) staff had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection from December 2020-March 2021. Nucleoprotein-antibody seroprevalence was 36.3% (370/1018) in students and 31.9% (245/769) in staff, while spike-antibody prevalence was 39.5% (402/1018) and 59.8% (459/769), respectively, similar to regional community seroprevalence. Between December 2020 and March 2021, 14.8% (97/656; 95%CI: 12.2-17.7) students and 10.0% (59/590; 95%CI: 7.7-12.7) staff seroconverted. Weekly seroconversion rates were similar from September to December 2020 (8.0/1000) and from December 2020 to March 2021 (7.9/1000; students: 9.3/1,000; staff: 6.3/1,000). INTERPRETATION: By March 2021, a third of secondary school students and staff had evidence of prior infection based on N-antibody seropositivity, and an additional third of staff had evidence of vaccine-induced immunity based on S-antibody seropositivity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Prospective Studies , Schools , Seroconversion , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Students
17.
EClinicalMedicine ; 41: 101150, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446584

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Prospective, longitudinal SARS-CoV-2 sero-surveillance in schools across England was initiated after the first national lockdown, allowing comparison of child and adult antibody responses over time. METHODS: Prospective active serological surveillance in 46 primary schools in England tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during June, July and December 2020. Samples were tested for nucleocapsid (N) and receptor binding domain (RBD) antibodies, to estimate antibody persistence at least 6 months after infection, and for the correlation of N, RBD and live virus neutralising activity. FINDINGS: In June 2020, 1,344 staff and 835 students were tested. Overall, 11.5% (95%CI: 9.4-13.9) and 11.3% (95%CI: 9.2-13.6; p = 0.88) of students had nucleoprotein and RBD antibodies, compared to 15.6% (95%CI: 13.7-17.6) and 15.3% (95%CI: 13.4-17.3; p = 0.83) of staff. Live virus neutralising activity was detected in 79.8% (n = 71/89) of nucleocapsid and 85.5% (71/83) of RBD antibody positive children. RBD antibodies correlated more strongly with neutralising antibodies (rs=0.7527; p<0.0001) than nucleocapsid antibodies (rs=0.3698; p<0.0001). A median of 24.4 weeks later, 58.2% (107/184) participants had nucleocapsid antibody seroreversion, compared to 20.9% (33/158) for RBD (p<0.001). Similar seroreversion rates were observed between staff and students for nucleocapsid (p = 0.26) and RBD-antibodies (p = 0.43). Nucleocapsid and RBD antibody quantitative results were significantly lower in staff compared to students (p = 0.028 and <0.0001 respectively) at baseline, but not at 24 weeks (p = 0.16 and p = 0.37, respectively). INTERPRETATION: The immune response in children following SARS-CoV-2 infection was robust and sustained (>6 months) but further work is required to understand the extent to which this protects against reinfection.

19.
EClinicalMedicine ; 37: 100948, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1272390

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Older children have higher SARS-CoV-2 infection rates than younger children. We investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence and seroconversion rates in staff and students following the full reopening of all secondary schools in England. METHODS: Public Health England (PHE) invited secondary schools in six regions (East and West London, Hertfordshire, Derbyshire, Manchester and Birmingham) to participate in SARS-CoV-2 surveillance during the 2020/21 academic year. Participants had nasal swabs for RT-PCR and blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the beginning (September 2020) and end (December 2020) of the autumn term. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess independent risk factors for seropositivity and seroconversion. FINDINGS: Eighteen schools in six regions enrolled 2,209 participants, including 1,189 (53.8%) students and 1,020 (46.2%) staff. SARS-CoV-2 infection rates were not significantly different between students and staff in round one (5/948; [0.53%] vs. 2/876 [0.23%]; p = 0.46) or round two (10/948 [1.05%] vs. 7/886 [0.79%]; p = 0.63), and similar to national prevalence. None of four and 7/15 (47%) sequenced strains in rounds 1 and 2 were the highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 variant. In round 1, antibody seropositivity was higher in students than staff (114/893 [12.8%] vs. 79/861 [9.2%]; p = 0.016), but similar in round 2 (117/893 [13.1%] vs.117/872 [13.3%]; p = 0.85), comparable to local community seroprevalence. Between the two rounds, 8.7% (57/652) staff and 6.6% (36/549) students seroconverted (p = 0.16). INTERPRETATION: In secondary schools, SARS-CoV-2 infection, seropositivity and seroconversion rates were similar in staff and students, and comparable to local community rates. Ongoing surveillance will be important for monitoring the impact of new variants in educational settings.

20.
Lancet Child Adolesc Health ; 5(6): 417-427, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1142360

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Little is known about the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in educational settings. Public Health England initiated a study, COVID-19 Surveillance in School KIDs (sKIDs), in primary schools when they partially reopened from June 1, 2020, after the first national lockdown in England to estimate the incidence of symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence, and seroconversion in staff and students. METHODS: sKIDs, an active, prospective, surveillance study, included two groups: the weekly swabbing group and the blood sampling group. The swabbing group underwent weekly nasal swabs for at least 4 weeks after partial school reopening during the summer half-term (June to mid-July, 2020). The blood sampling group additionally underwent blood sampling for serum SARS-CoV-2 antibodies to measure previous infection at the beginning (June 1-19, 2020) and end (July 3-23, 2020) of the summer half-term, and, after full reopening in September, 2020, and at the end of the autumn term (Nov 23-Dec 18, 2020). We tested for predictors of SARS-CoV-2 antibody positivity using logistic regression. We calculated antibody seroconversion rates for participants who were seronegative in the first round and were tested in at least two rounds. FINDINGS: During the summer half-term, 11 966 participants (6727 students, 4628 staff, and 611 with unknown staff or student status) in 131 schools had 40 501 swabs taken. Weekly SARS-CoV-2 infection rates were 4·1 (one of 24 463; 95% CI 0·1-21·8) per 100 000 students and 12·5 (two of 16 038; 1·5-45·0) per 100 000 staff. At recruitment, in 45 schools, 91 (11·2%; 95% CI 7·9-15·1) of 816 students and 209 (15·1%; 11·9-18·9) of 1381 staff members were positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, similar to local community seroprevalence. Seropositivity was not associated with school attendance during lockdown (p=0·13 for students and p=0·20 for staff) or staff contact with students (p=0·37). At the end of the summer half-term, 603 (73·9%) of 816 students and 1015 (73·5%) of 1381 staff members were still participating in the surveillance, and five (four students, one staff member) seroconverted. By December, 2020, 55 (5·1%; 95% CI 3·8-6·5) of 1085 participants who were seronegative at recruitment (in June, 2020) had seroconverted, including 19 (5·6%; 3·4-8·6) of 340 students and 36 (4·8%; 3·4-6·6) of 745 staff members (p=0·60). INTERPRETATION: In England, SARS-CoV-2 infection rates were low in primary schools following their partial and full reopening in June and September, 2020. FUNDING: UK Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Schools , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/diagnosis , Child , Child, Preschool , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Prospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Seroconversion , Seroepidemiologic Studies
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