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1.
J Sch Health ; 2022 Nov 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2283015

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We examined fidelity and feasibility of implementation of COVID-19 preventive measures in schools, and explored associations between adherence to these measures and staff well-being, to inform policy on sustainable implementation and staff wellbeing. METHODS: Surveys were conducted across 128 schools in England with 107 headteachers and 2698 staff-members with reference to autumn term 2020, examining school-level implementation of preventive measures, adherence, and teacher burnout (response rates for headteacher and staff surveys were 84% and 59%, respectively). RESULTS: The median number of measures implemented in primary and secondary schools was 33 (range 23-41), and 32 (range 22-40), respectively; most measures presented challenges. No differences were found regarding number of measures implemented by school-level socio-economic disadvantage. High adherence was reported for staff wearing face-coverings, staff regularly washing their hands, (secondary only) desks facing forwards, and (primary only) increased cleaning of surfaces and student hand-washing. Adherence to most measures was reported as higher in primary than secondary schools. Over half of school leaders and 42% (517/1234) of other teaching staff suffered from high emotional exhaustion. Higher teacher-reported school-wide adherence with measures was consistently associated with lower burnout for leaders and other teaching staff. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate a tremendous effort in implementing preventive measures and an urgent need to support investments in improving teacher wellbeing.

2.
BMC Infect Dis ; 23(1): 201, 2023 Apr 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2286345

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Both post-COVID-19 condition (long COVID) and the presence of persisting symptoms that do not meet formal definitions of post-COVID-19-condition may adversely affect quality of life and function. However, their prevalence among children and young people in England is unclear. METHODS: We used data from repeated surveys in a large cohort of English schoolchildren from the COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey (SIS) for the school year 2021/22 to describe the weighted prevalence of post-COVID-19-condition and compare persisting symptoms between individuals with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test and those with neither a positive test history nor suspected infection. RESULTS: Among 7797 children from 173 schools, 1.8% of primary school pupils (aged 4 to 11 years), 4.5% of secondary school pupils in years 7-11 (aged 11 to 16 years) and 6.9% of those in years 12-13 (aged 16 to 18 years) met a definition of post-COVID-19 condition in March 2022. Specific persisting symptoms such as anxiety or difficulty concentrating were frequently reported regardless of prior infection status and increased with age: 48.0% of primary school pupils, 52.9% of secondary school pupils in years 7-11 and 79.5% in years 12-13 reporting at least one symptom lasting more than 12 weeks. Persisting loss of smell and taste, cardiovascular and some systemic symptoms were more frequently reported by those with a previous positive test. CONCLUSIONS: We showed that ongoing symptoms were frequently reported by English schoolchildren regardless of SARS-CoV-2 test results and some specific symptoms such as loss of smell and taste were more prevalent in those with a positive test history. Our study emphasises the wide-ranging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and wellbeing of children and young people.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Child , Humans , Adolescent , Middle Aged , Anosmia , Pandemics , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Pediatr Infect Dis J ; 42(6): 496-502, 2023 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2248375

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antibodies are a measure of immunity after primary infection, which may help protect against further SARS-CoV-2 infections. They may also provide some cross-protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants. There are limited data on antibody persistence and, especially, cross-reactivity against different SARS-CoV-2 variants after primary infection in children. METHODS: We initiated enhanced surveillance in 18 secondary schools to monitor SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in September 2020. Students and Staff provided longitudinal blood samples to test for variant-specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using in-house receptor binding domain assays. We recruited 1189 students and 1020 staff; 160 (97 students, 63 staff) were SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid-antibody positive at baseline and had sufficient serum for further analysis. RESULTS: Most participants developed sustained antibodies against their infecting [wild-type (WT)] strain as well as cross-reactive antibodies against the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants but at lower titers than WT. Staff had significantly lower antibodies titers against WT as cross-reactive antibodies against the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants than students (all P < 0.01). In participants with sufficient sera, only 2.3% (1/43) students and 17.2% (5/29) staff had cross-reactive antibodies against the Omicron variant; they also had higher antibody titers against WT (3042.5; 95% confidence interval: 769.0-12,036.2) than those who did not have cross-reactive antibodies against the Omicron variant (680.7; 534.2-867.4). CONCLUSIONS: We found very high rates of antibody persistence after primary infection with WT in students and staff. Infection with WT induced cross-reactive antibodies against Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, but not Omicron. Primary infection with WT may not be cross-protective against the Omicron variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Child , Adolescent , Humans , Prospective Studies , Antibodies, Viral , Antibodies, Neutralizing
4.
JAMA Pediatr ; 2022 Oct 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2240364

ABSTRACT

This cohort study investigates the risk of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection among young children with and without spike-specific T-cell responses.

5.
J Infect ; 86(4): 361-368, 2023 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2244325

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 infection rates are likely to be underestimated in children because of asymptomatic or mild infections. We aim to estimate national and regional prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in primary (4-11 years old) and secondary (11-18 years old) school children between 10 November and 10 December 2021. METHODS: Cross-sectional surveillance in England using two-stage sampling, firstly stratifying into regions and selecting local authorities, then selecting schools according to a stratified sample within selected local authorities. Participants were sampled using a novel oral fluid-validated assay for SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid IgG antibodies. RESULTS: 4980 students from 117 state-funded schools (2706 from 83 primary schools, 2274 from 34 secondary schools) provided a valid sample. After weighting for age, sex, and ethnicity, and adjusting for assay accuracy, the national prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in primary school students, who were all unvaccinated, was 40.1% (95% CI 37.3-43.0). Antibody prevalence increased with age (p < 0.001) and was higher in urban than rural schools (p = 0.01). In secondary school students, the adjusted, weighted national prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was 82.4% (95% CI 79.5-85.1); including 71.5% (95% CI 65.7-76.8) in unvaccinated and 97.5% (95% CI 96.1-98.5) in vaccinated students. Antibody prevalence increased with age (p < 0.001), and was not significantly different in urban versus rural students (p = 0.1). CONCLUSIONS: In November 2021, using a validated oral fluid assay, national SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was estimated to be 40.1% in primary school students and 82.4% in secondary school students. In unvaccinated children, this was approximately threefold higher than confirmed infections highlighting the importance of seroprevalence studies to estimate prior exposure. DATA AVAILABILITY: Deidentified study data are available for access by accredited researchers in the ONS Secure Research Service (SRS) for accredited research purposes under part 5, chapter 5 of the Digital Economy Act 2017. For further information about accreditation, contact Research.support@ons.gov.uk or visit the SRS website.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Child , Humans , Child, Preschool , Adolescent , Cohort Studies , Cross-Sectional Studies , Prevalence , Seroepidemiologic Studies , COVID-19/epidemiology , Antibodies, Viral , England/epidemiology , Schools
6.
Int J Infect Dis ; 128: 230-243, 2023 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2165390

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Investigate risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school students and staff. METHODS: In the 2020/2021 school year, we administered polymerase chain reaction, antibody tests, and questionnaires to a sample of primary and secondary school students and staff, with data linkage to COVID-19 surveillance. We fitted logistic regression models to identify the factors associated with infection. RESULTS: We included 6799 students and 5090 staff in the autumn and 11,952 students and 4569 staff in the spring/summer terms. Infections in students in autumn 2020 were related to the percentage of students eligible for free school meals. We found no statistical association between infection risk in primary and secondary schools and reported contact patterns between students and staff in either period in our study. Using public transports was associated with increased risk in autumn in students (adjusted odds ratio = 1.72; 95% confidence interval 1.31-2.25) and staff. One or more infections in the same household during either period was the strongest risk factor for infection in students and more so among staff. CONCLUSION: Deprivation, community, and household factors were more strongly associated with infection than contacts patterns at school; this suggests that the additional school-based mitigation measures in England in 2020/2021 likely helped reduce transmission risk in schools.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Risk Factors , England , Schools , Students
7.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0262515, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1688746

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
8.
BMJ Open ; 12(9): e052171, 2022 09 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2053203

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To assess implementation and ease of implementation of control measures in schools as reported by staff and parents. DESIGN: A descriptive cross-sectional survey. SETTING: Staff and parents/guardians of the 132 primary schools and 19 secondary schools participating in COVID-19 surveillance in school kids (sKIDs and sKIDsPLUS Studies). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Prevalence of control measures implemented in schools in autumn 2020, parental and staff perception of ease of implementation. RESULTS: In total, 56 of 151 (37%) schools participated in this study, with 1953 parents and 986 staff members completing the questionnaire. Most common measures implemented by schools included regular hand cleaning for students (52 of 56, 93%) and staff (70 of 73, 96%), as reported by parents and staff, respectively, and was among the easiest to implement at all times for students (57%) and even more so, for staff (78%). Maintaining 2-metre distancing was less commonly reported for students (24%-51%) as it was for staff (81%-84%), but was one of the most difficult to follow at all times for students (25%) and staff (16%) alike. Some measures were more commonly reported by primary school compared to secondary school parents, including keeping students within the same small groups (28 of 41, 68% vs 8 of 15, 53%), ensuring the same teacher for classes (29 of 41, 71% vs 6 of 15, 40%). On the other hand, wearing a face covering while at school was reported by three-quarters of secondary school parents compared with only parents of 4 of 41 (10%) primary schools. Other measures such as student temperature checks (5%-13%) and advising staff work from home if otherwise healthy (7%-15%) were rarely reported. CONCLUSIONS: Variable implementation of infection control measures was reported, with some easier to implement (hand hygiene) than others (physical distancing).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , School Teachers , Attitude , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cross-Sectional Studies , Humans , Parents , Schools
9.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(1): e191-e200, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2017789

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Most children recover quickly after coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but some may have ongoing 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 1-7 January 2021 and randomly selected 1500 PCR-positive cases and 1500 matched PCR-negative controls. Parents were asked to complete a questionnaire about the acute illness and prespecified neurological, dermatological, sensory, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, mental health (including emotional and behavioral well-being), and other symptoms experienced ≥5 times at 1 month after the PCR test. RESULTS: Overall, 35.0% (859/2456) completed the questionnaire, including 38.0% (472/1242) of cases and 32% (387/1214) of 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 = .24) experienced ongoing symptoms. Of the 65 ongoing symptoms solicited, 3 clusters were significantly (P < .05) more common, albeit at low prevalence, among symptomatic cases (3-7%) than symptomatic controls (0-3%): neurological, sensory, and emotional and behavioral well-being. 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 ongoing symptoms than symptomatic controls, and not as high as previously reported. Healthcare resources should be prioritized to support the mental health of children.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Fever , Humans , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
10.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 21: 100471, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1996406

ABSTRACT

Background: There remains uncertainty about the epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 among school students and staff and the extent to which non-pharmaceutical-interventions reduce the risk of school settings. Methods: We conducted an open cohort study in a sample of 59 primary and 97 secondary schools in 15 English local authority areas that were implementing government guidance to schools open during the pandemic. We estimated SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence among those attending school, antibody prevalence, and antibody negative to positive conversion rates in staff and students over the school year (November 2020-July 2021). Findings: 22,585 staff and students participated. SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence among those attending school was highest during the first two rounds of testing in the autumn term, ranging from 0.7% (95% CI 0.2, 1.2) among primary staff in November 2020 to 1.6% (95% CI 0.9, 2.3) among secondary staff in December 2020. Antibody conversion rates were highest in the autumn term. Infection patterns were similar between staff and students, and between primary and secondary schools. The prevalence of nucleoprotein antibodies increased over the year and was lower among students than staff. SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence in the North-West region was lower among secondary students attending school on normal school days than the regional estimate for secondary school-age children. Interpretation: SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence in staff and students attending school varied with local community infection rates. Non-pharmaceutical interventions intended to prevent infected individuals attending school may have partially reduced the prevalence of infection among those on the school site. Funding: UK Department of Health and Social Care.

11.
BMC Pediatrics ; 22(1):1-10, 2022.
Article in English | BioMed Central | ID: covidwho-1958307

ABSTRACT

Little is known about the views of adolescents returning to secondary school during the current COVID-19 pandemic. In September 2020, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), formerly known as 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. A questionnaire was completed by 64% (297/462) of 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 to other students (22.0%;65/296) or school staff (19.3%;57/296), or catching the infection themselves (12.5%;37/296). Students were more likely to maintain 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;11–14-year-olds) reported not being anxious at all than older students (school years 12–13;16–18-year-olds) (47/174 [27.0%] vs 3/63 [4.8%];p = 0.001). Younger students were also less likely to adhere to physical distancing measures and wear face masks. Most students reported positive experiences with SARS-CoV-2 testing in schools, with 92.3% (262/284) agreeing to have another blood test in future visits. Younger students in secondary schools 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 SARS-CoV-2 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.

12.
Front Immunol ; 13: 882515, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1903016

ABSTRACT

Children and adolescents generally experience mild COVID-19. However, those with underlying physical health conditions are at a significantly increased risk of severe disease. Here, we present a comprehensive analysis of antibody and cellular responses in adolescents with severe neuro-disabilities who received COVID-19 vaccination with either ChAdOx1 (n=6) or an mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273, n=8, BNT162b2, n=1). Strong immune responses were observed after vaccination and antibody levels and neutralisation titres were both higher after two doses. Both measures were also higher after mRNA vaccination and were further enhanced by prior natural infection where one vaccine dose was sufficient to generate peak antibody response. Robust T-cell responses were generated after dual vaccination and were also higher following mRNA vaccination. Early T-cells were characterised by a dominant effector-memory CD4+ T-cell population with a type-1 cytokine signature with additional production of IL-10. Antibody levels were well-maintained for at least 3 months after vaccination and 3 of 4 donors showed measurable neutralisation titres against the Omicron variant. T-cell responses also remained robust, with generation of a central/stem cell memory pool and showed strong reactivity against Omicron spike. These data demonstrate that COVID-19 vaccines display strong immunogenicity in adolescents and that dual vaccination, or single vaccination following prior infection, generate higher immune responses than seen after natural infection and develop activity against Omicron. Initial evidence suggests that mRNA vaccination elicits stronger immune responses than adenoviral delivery, although the latter is also higher than seen in adult populations. COVID-19 vaccines are therefore highly immunogenic in high-risk adolescents and dual vaccination might be able to provide relative protection against the Omicron variant that is currently globally dominant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273 , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Child , Humans , RNA, Messenger , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
13.
JMIR Res Protoc ; 11(11): e34075, 2022 11 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1875278

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: One of the most debated questions in the COVID-19 pandemic has been the role of schools in SARS-CoV-2 transmission. The COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey (SIS) aims to provide much-needed evidence addressing this issue. OBJECTIVE: We present the study protocol and participation profile for the SIS study, aimed at assessing the role of schools in SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission within school settings, and investigating how transmission within and from schools could be mitigated through the implementation of school COVID-19 control measures. METHODS: SIS was a multisite, prospective, observational cohort study conducted in a stratified random sample of primary and secondary schools in selected local authorities in England. A total of 6 biobehavioral surveys were planned among participating students and staff during the 2020-2021 academic year, between November 2020 and July 2021. Key measurements were SARS-CoV-2 virus prevalence, assessed by nasal swab polymerase chain reaction; anti-SARS-CoV-2 (nucleocapsid protein) antibody prevalence and conversion, assessed in finger-prick blood for staff and oral fluid for students; student and staff school attendance rates; feasibility and acceptability of school-level implementation of SARS-CoV-2 control measures; and investigation of selected school outbreaks. The study was approved by the United Kingdom Health Security Agency Research Support and Governance Office (NR0237) and London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Ethics Review Committee (reference 22657). RESULTS: Data collection and laboratory analyses were completed by September 2021. A total of 22,585 individuals-1891 staff and 4654 students from 59 primary schools and 5852 staff and 10,188 students from 97 secondary schools-participated in at least one survey. Across all survey rounds, staff and student participation rates were 45.2% and 16.4%, respectively, in primary schools and 30% and 15.2%, respectively, in secondary schools. Although primary student participation increased over time, and secondary student participation remained reasonably consistent, staff participation declined across rounds, especially for secondary school staff (3165/7583, 41.7% in round 1 and 2290/10,374, 22.1% in round 6). Although staff participation overall was generally reflective of the eligible staff population, student participation was higher in schools with low absenteeism, a lower proportion of students eligible for free school meals, and from schools in the least deprived locations (in primary schools, 446/4654, 9.6% of participating students were from schools in the least deprived quintile compared with 1262/22,225, 5.7% of eligible students). CONCLUSIONS: We outline the study design, methods, and participation, and reflect on the strengths of the SIS study as well as the practical challenges encountered and the strategies implemented to address these challenges. The SIS study, by measuring current and incident infection over time, alongside the implementation of control measures in schools across a range of settings in England, aims to inform national guidance and public health policy for educational settings. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): RR1-10.2196/34075.

14.
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.

15.
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
16.
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
17.
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 , Vaccine Efficacy , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibody Formation , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , England , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged
18.
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 , Seroconversion , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , England/epidemiology , Humans , Prospective Studies , Schools , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Students
19.
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.

20.
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.

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