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1.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0260949, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1648843

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The UK began delivering its COVID-19 vaccination programme on 8 December 2020, with health and social care workers (H&SCWs) given high priority for vaccination. Despite well-documented occupational exposure risks, however, there is evidence of lower uptake among some H&SCW groups. METHODS: We used a mixed-methods approach-involving an online cross-sectional survey and semi-structured interviews-to gain insight into COVID-19 vaccination beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours amongst H&SCWs in the UK by socio-demographic and employment variables. 1917 people were surveyed- 1656 healthcare workers (HCWs) and 261 social care workers (SCWs). Twenty participants were interviewed. FINDINGS: Workplace factors contributed to vaccination access and uptake. SCWs were more likely to not be offered COVID-19 vaccination than HCWs (OR:1.453, 95%CI: 1.244-1.696). SCWs specifically reported uncertainties around how to access COVID-19 vaccination. Participants who indicated stronger agreement with the statement 'I would recommend my organisation as a place to work' were more likely to have been offered COVID-19 vaccination (OR:1.285, 95%CI: 1.056-1.563). Those who agreed more strongly with the statement 'I feel/felt under pressure from my employer to get a COVID-19 vaccine' were more likely to have declined vaccination (OR:1.751, 95%CI: 1.271-2.413). Interviewees that experienced employer pressure to get vaccinated felt this exacerbated their vaccine concerns and increased distrust. In comparison to White British and White Irish participants, Black African and Mixed Black African participants were more likely to not be offered (OR:2.011, 95%CI: 1.026-3.943) and more likely to have declined COVID-19 vaccination (OR:5.550, 95%CI: 2.294-13.428). Reasons for declining vaccination among Black African participants included distrust in COVID-19 vaccination, healthcare providers, and policymakers. CONCLUSION: H&SCW employers are in a pivotal position to facilitate COVID-19 vaccination access, by ensuring staff are aware of how to get vaccinated and promoting a workplace environment in which vaccination decisions are informed and voluntary.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Caregivers/psychology , Health Personnel/psychology , Vaccination Refusal/psychology , Vaccination/psychology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/supply & distribution , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vaccination Coverage/organization & administration , Vaccination Coverage/statistics & numerical data , Vaccination Refusal/statistics & numerical data
2.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 6: 100120, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1233524

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The full reopening of schools in September 2020 was associated with an increase in COVID-19 cases and outbreaks in educational settings across England. METHODS: Primary and secondary schools reporting an outbreak (≥2 laboratory-confirmed cases within 14 days) to Public Health England (PHE) between 31 August and 18 October 2020 were contacted in November 2020 to complete an online questionnaire. INTERPRETATION: There were 969 school outbreaks reported to PHE, comprising 2% (n = 450) of primary schools and 10% (n = 519) of secondary schools in England. Of the 369 geographically-representative schools contacted, 179 completed the questionnaire (100 primary schools, 79 secondary schools) and 2,314 cases were reported. Outbreaks were larger and across more year groups in secondary schools than in primary schools. Teaching staff were more likely to be the index case in primary (48/100, 48%) than secondary (25/79, 32%) school outbreaks (P = 0.027). When an outbreak occurred, attack rates were higher in staff (881/17,362; 5.07; 95%CI, 4.75-5.41) than students, especially primary school teaching staff (378/3852; 9.81%; 95%CI, 8.90-10.82%) compared to secondary school teaching staff (284/7146; 3.97%; 95%CI, 3.79-5.69%). Secondary school students (1105/91,919; 1.20%; 95%CI, 1.13-1.28%) had higher attack rates than primary school students (328/39,027; 0.84%; 95%CI, 0.75-0.94%). CONCLUSIONS: A higher proportion of secondary schools than primary schools reported a COVID-19 outbreak and experienced larger outbreaks across multiple school year groups. The higher attack rate among teaching staff during an outbreak, especially in primary schools, suggests that additional protective measures may be needed. FUNDING: PHE.

3.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(3): 344-353, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1164679

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and transmission in educational settings is crucial for ensuring the safety of staff and children during the COVID-19 pandemic. We estimated the rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection and outbreaks among staff and students in educational settings during the summer half-term (June-July, 2020) in England. METHODS: In this prospective, cross-sectional analysis, Public Health England initiated enhanced national surveillance in educational settings in England that had reopened after the first national lockdown, from June 1 to July 17, 2020. Educational settings were categorised as early years settings (<5-year-olds), primary schools (5-11-year-olds; only years 1 and 6 allowed to return), secondary schools (11-18-year-olds; only years 10 and 12), or mixed-age settings (spanning a combination of the above). Further education colleges were excluded. Data were recorded in HPZone, an online national database for events that require public health management. RT-PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 event rates and case rates were calculated for staff and students, and direction of transmission was inferred on the basis of symptom onset and testing dates. Events were classified as single cases, coprimary cases (at least two confirmed cases within 48 h, typically within the same household), and outbreaks (at least two epidemiologically linked cases, with sequential cases diagnosed within 14 days in the same educational setting). All events were followed up for 28 days after educational settings closed for the summer holidays. Negative binomial regression was used to correlate educational setting events with regional population, population density, and community incidence. FINDINGS: A median of 38 000 early years settings (IQR 35 500-41 500), 15 600 primary schools (13 450-17 300), and 4000 secondary schools (3700-4200) were open each day, with a median daily attendance of 928 000 students (630 000-1 230 000) overall. There were 113 single cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection, nine coprimary cases, and 55 outbreaks. The risk of an outbreak increased by 72% (95% CI 28-130) for every five cases per 100 000 population increase in community incidence (p<0·0001). Staff had higher incidence than students (27 cases [95% CI 23-32] per 100 000 per day among staff compared with 18 cases [14-24] in early years students, 6·0 cases [4·3-8·2] in primary schools students, and 6·8 cases [2·7-14] in secondary school students]), and most cases linked to outbreaks were in staff members (154 [73%] staff vs 56 [27%] children of 210 total cases). Probable direction of transmission was staff to staff in 26 outbreaks, staff to student in eight outbreaks, student to staff in 16 outbreaks, and student to student in five outbreaks. The median number of secondary cases in outbreaks was one (IQR 1-2) for student index cases and one (1-5) for staff index cases. INTERPRETATION: SARS-CoV-2 infections and outbreaks were uncommon in educational settings during the summer half-term in England. The strong association with regional COVID-19 incidence emphasises the importance of controlling community transmission to protect educational settings. Interventions should focus on reducing transmission in and among staff. FUNDING: Public Health England.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Schools/statistics & numerical data , Adolescent , Child , Cross-Sectional Studies , Databases, Factual , Disease Transmission, Infectious , England/epidemiology , Humans , Incidence , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Students/statistics & numerical data , Universities/statistics & numerical data
4.
J Infect ; 82(4): 67-74, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101374

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concern for the safety of staff and students, their families and the wider community. We monitored SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in school-aged children and compared them with adult infection rates before and after schools reopened in England. METHODS: Public Health England receives daily electronic reports of all SARS-CoV-2 tests nationally. SARS-CoV-2 infection rates by school year from July to December 2020 were analysed, including the effect of a national month-long lockdown whilst keeping schools open in November 2020 RESULTS: SARS-CoV-2 infections rates were low during early summer but started increasing in mid-August, initially in young adults followed by secondary and then primary school-aged children prior to schools reopening in September 2020. Cases in school-aged children lagged behind and followed adult trends after schools reopened, with a strong age gradient in weekly infection rates. There was a strong (P<0.001) correlation in regional infection rates between adults and secondary (R2=0.96-0.98), primary (R2=0.93-0.94) and preschool-aged (R2=0.62-0.85) children. The November lockdown was associated with declines in adult infection rates, followed a week later, by declines in student cases. From 23 November 2020, cases in adults and children increased rapidly following the emergence of a more transmissible novel variant of concern (VOC-202,012/01; B.1.1.7). CONCLUSIONS: In school-aged children, SARS-CoV-2 infections followed the same trajectory as adult cases and only declined after national lockdown was implemented whilst keeping schools open. Maintaining low community infection rates is critical for keeping schools open during the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Child , Child, Preschool , Communicable Disease Control , England/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Schools
6.
PLoS One ; 16(1): e0245532, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1045570

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding the T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 is critical to vaccine development, epidemiological surveillance and disease control strategies. This systematic review critically evaluates and synthesises the relevant peer-reviewed and pre-print literature published from 01/01/2020-26/06/2020. METHODS: For this systematic review, keyword-structured literature searches were carried out in MEDLINE, Embase and COVID-19 Primer. Papers were independently screened by two researchers, with arbitration of disagreements by a third researcher. Data were independently extracted into a pre-designed Excel template and studies critically appraised using a modified version of the MetaQAT tool, with resolution of disagreements by consensus. Findings were narratively synthesised. RESULTS: 61 articles were included. 55 (90%) studies used observational designs, 50 (82%) involved hospitalised patients with higher acuity illness, and the majority had important limitations. Symptomatic adult COVID-19 cases consistently show peripheral T cell lymphopenia, which positively correlates with increased disease severity, duration of RNA positivity, and non-survival; while asymptomatic and paediatric cases display preserved counts. People with severe or critical disease generally develop more robust, virus-specific T cell responses. T cell memory and effector function has been demonstrated against multiple viral epitopes, and, cross-reactive T cell responses have been demonstrated in unexposed and uninfected adults, but the significance for protection and susceptibility, respectively, remains unclear. CONCLUSION: A complex pattern of T cell response to SARS-CoV-2 infection has been demonstrated, but inferences regarding population level immunity are hampered by significant methodological limitations and heterogeneity between studies, as well as a striking lack of research in asymptomatic or pauci-symptomatic individuals. In contrast to antibody responses, population-level surveillance of the T cell response is unlikely to be feasible in the near term. Focused evaluation in specific sub-groups, including vaccine recipients, should be prioritised.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Lymphopenia/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , T-Lymphocytes/pathology , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Host-Pathogen Interactions , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Lymphopenia/etiology , Lymphopenia/immunology , Lymphopenia/virology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/virology
7.
PLoS One ; 15(12): e0244126, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1004459

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Progress in characterising the humoral immune response to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been rapid but areas of uncertainty persist. Assessment of the full range of evidence generated to date to understand the characteristics of the antibody response, its dynamics over time, its determinants and the immunity it confers will have a range of clinical and policy implications for this novel pathogen. This review comprehensively evaluated evidence describing the antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 published from 01/01/2020-26/06/2020. METHODS: Systematic review. Keyword-structured searches were carried out in MEDLINE, Embase and COVID-19 Primer. Articles were independently screened on title, abstract and full text by two researchers, with arbitration of disagreements. Data were double-extracted into a pre-designed template, and studies critically appraised using a modified version of the Public Health Ontario Meta-tool for Quality Appraisal of Public Health Evidence (MetaQAT) tool, with resolution of disagreements by consensus. Findings were narratively synthesised. RESULTS: 150 papers were included. Most studies (113 or 75%) were observational in design, were based wholly or primarily on data from hospitalised patients (108, 72%) and had important methodological limitations. Few considered mild or asymptomatic infection. Antibody dynamics were well described in the acute phase, up to around three months from disease onset, but the picture regarding correlates of the antibody response was inconsistent. IgM was consistently detected before IgG in included studies, peaking at weeks two to five and declining over a further three to five weeks post-symptom onset depending on the patient group; IgG peaked around weeks three to seven post-symptom onset then plateaued, generally persisting for at least eight weeks. Neutralising antibodies were detectable within seven to 15 days following disease onset, with levels increasing until days 14-22 before levelling and then decreasing, but titres were lower in those with asymptomatic or clinically mild disease. Specific and potent neutralising antibodies have been isolated from convalescent plasma. Cross-reactivity but limited cross-neutralisation with other human coronaviridae was reported. Evidence for protective immunity in vivo was limited to small, short-term animal studies, showing promising initial results in the immediate recovery phase. CONCLUSIONS: Literature on antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 is of variable quality with considerable heterogeneity of methods, study participants, outcomes measured and assays used. Although acute phase antibody dynamics are well described, longer-term patterns are much less well evidenced. Comprehensive assessment of the role of demographic characteristics and disease severity on antibody responses is needed. Initial findings of low neutralising antibody titres and possible waning of titres over time may have implications for sero-surveillance and disease control policy, although further evidence is needed. The detection of potent neutralising antibodies in convalescent plasma is important in the context of development of therapeutics and vaccines. Due to limitations with the existing evidence base, large, cross-national cohort studies using appropriate statistical analysis and standardised serological assays and clinical classifications should be prioritised.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Cross Reactions , Female , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism
8.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 15(1): 3-6, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-695884

ABSTRACT

Point-of-care tests (POCTs) offer considerable potential for improving clinical and public health management of COVID-19 by providing timely information to guide decision-making, but data on real-world performance are in short supply. Besides SARS-CoV-2-specific tests, there is growing interest in the role of surrogate (non-specific) tests such as FebriDx, a biochemical POCT which can be used to distinguish viral from bacterial infection in patients with influenza-like illnesses. This short report assesses what is currently known about FebriDx performance across settings and populations by comparison with some of the more intensively evaluated SARS-CoV-2-specific POCTs. While FebriDx shows some potential in supporting triage for early-stage infection in acute care settings, this is dependent on SARS-CoV-2 being the most likely cause for influenza-like illnesses, with reduction in discriminatory power when COVID-19 case numbers are low, and when co-circulating viral respiratory infections become more prevalent during the autumn and winter. Too little is currently known about its performance in primary care and the community to support use in these contexts, and further evaluation is needed. Reliable SARS CoV2-specific POCTs-when they become available-are likely to rapidly overtake surrogates as the preferred option given the greater specificity they provide.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Point-of-Care Testing , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans
9.
BMC Med ; 18(1): 190, 2020 06 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-614848

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Major infectious disease outbreaks are a constant threat to human health. Clinical research responses to outbreaks generate evidence to improve outcomes and outbreak control. Experiences from previous epidemics have identified multiple challenges to undertaking timely clinical research responses. This scoping review is a systematic appraisal of political, economic, administrative, regulatory, logistical, ethical and social (PEARLES) challenges to clinical research responses to emergency epidemics and solutions identified to address these. METHODS: A scoping review. We searched six databases (MEDLINE, Embase, Global Health, PsycINFO, Scopus and Epistemonikos) for articles published from 2008 to July 2018. We included publications reporting PEARLES challenges to clinical research responses to emerging epidemics and pandemics and solutions identified to address these. Two reviewers screened articles for inclusion, extracted and analysed the data. RESULTS: Of 2678 articles screened, 76 were included. Most presented data relating to the 2014-2016 Ebola virus outbreak or the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. The articles related to clinical research responses in Africa (n = 37), Europe (n = 8), North America (n = 5), Latin America and the Caribbean (n = 3) and Asia (n = 1) and/or globally (n = 22). A wide range of solutions to PEARLES challenges was presented, including a need to strengthen global collaborations and coordination at all levels and develop pre-approved protocols and equitable frameworks, protocols and standards for emergencies. Clinical trial networks and expedited funding and approvals were some solutions implemented. National ownership and community engagement from the outset were a key enabler for delivery. Despite the wide range of recommended solutions, none had been formally evaluated. CONCLUSIONS: To strengthen global preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic and future epidemics, identified solutions for rapid clinical research deployment, delivery, and dissemination must be implemented. Improvements are urgently needed to strengthen collaborations, funding mechanisms, global and national research capacity and capability, targeting regions vulnerable to epidemics and pandemics. Solutions need to be flexible to allow timely adaptations to context, and research led by governments of affected regions. Research communities globally need to evaluate their activities and incorporate lessons learnt to refine and rehearse collaborative outbreak response plans in between epidemics.


Subject(s)
Biomedical Research , Disease Outbreaks , Epidemics , Health Services Needs and Demand/trends , Pandemics , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care/organization & administration , Ebolavirus , Global Health , Humans , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2
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