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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-313497

ABSTRACT

Clinical trials of a vaccine during an epidemic face particular challenges, such as the pressure to identify an effective vaccine quickly to control the epidemic, and the effect that time-space-varying infection incidence has on the power of a trial. We illustrate how the operating characteristics of different trial design elements may be evaluated using a network epidemic and trial simulation model, based on COVID-19 and individually randomised two-arm trials with a binary outcome. We show that "ring" recruitment strategies, prioritising participants at high risk of infection, can result in substantial improvement in terms of power, if sufficiently many contacts of observed cases are at high risk. In addition, we introduce a novel method to make more efficient use of the data from the earliest cases of infection observed in the trial, whose infection may have been too early to be vaccine-preventable. Finally, we compare several methods of response-adaptive randomisation, discussing their advantages and disadvantages in this two-arm context and identifying particular adaptation strategies that preserve power and estimation properties, while slightly reducing the number of infections, given an effective vaccine.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-311567

ABSTRACT

Background: The aim of this study is to quantify the hospital burden of COVID-19 during the first wave and how it changed over calendar time;to interpret the results in light of the emergency measures introduced to manage the strain on secondary healthcare. Methods: : This is a cohort study of hospitalised confirmed cases of COVID-19 admitted from February-June 2020 and followed up till 17th July 2020, analysed using a mixture multi-state model. All hospital patients with confirmed COVID-19 disease in Regione Lombardia were involved, admitted from February-June 2020, with non-missing hospital of admission and non-missing admission date. Results: : The cohort consists of 40,550 patients hospitalised during the first wave. These patients had a median age of 69 (interquartile range 56-80) and were more likely to be men (60%) than women (40%). The hospital-fatality risk, averaged over all pathways through hospital, was 27.5% (95% CI 27.1-28.0%);and steadily decreased from 34.6% (32.5-36.6%) in February to 7.6% (6.3-10.6%) in June. Among surviving patients, median length of stay in hospital was 11.8 (11.6-12.3) days, compared to 8.1 (7.8-8.5) days in non-survivors. Averaged over final outcomes, median length of stay in hospital decreased from 21.4 (20.5-22.8) days in February to 5.2 (4.7-5.8) days in June. Conclusions: : The hospital burden, in terms of both risks of poor outcomes and lengths of stay in hospital, has been demonstrated to have decreased over the months of the first wave, perhaps reflecting improved treatment and management of COVID-19 cases, as well as reduced burden as the first wave waned. The quantified burden allows for planning of hospital beds needed for current and future waves of SARS-CoV-2.

3.
Statistics in biopharmaceutical research ; 14(1):33-41, 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1651995

ABSTRACT

Clinical trials of a vaccine during an epidemic face particular challenges, such as the pressure to identify an effective vaccine quickly to control the epidemic, and the effect that time-space-varying infection incidence has on the power of a trial. We illustrate how the operating characteristics of different trial design elements maybe evaluated using a network epidemic and trial simulation model, based on COVID-19 and individually randomized two-arm trials with a binary outcome. We show that “ring” recruitment strategies, prioritizing participants at an imminent risk of infection, can result in substantial improvement in terms of power in the model we present. In addition, we introduce a novel method to make more efficient use of the data from the earliest cases of infection observed in the trial, whose infection may have been too early to be vaccine-preventable. Finally, we compare several methods of response-adaptive randomization (RAR), discussing their advantages and disadvantages in the context of our model and identifying particular adaptation strategies that preserve power and estimation properties, while slightly reducing the number of infections, given an effective vaccine.

5.
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 1612, 2021 09 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496155

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to quantify the hospital burden of COVID-19 during the first wave and how it changed over calendar time; to interpret the results in light of the emergency measures introduced to manage the strain on secondary healthcare. METHODS: This is a cohort study of hospitalised confirmed cases of COVID-19 admitted from February-June 2020 and followed up till 17th July 2020, analysed using a mixture multi-state model. All hospital patients with confirmed COVID-19 disease in Regione Lombardia were involved, admitted from February-June 2020, with non-missing hospital of admission and non-missing admission date. RESULTS: The cohort consists of 40,550 patients hospitalised during the first wave. These patients had a median age of 69 (interquartile range 56-80) and were more likely to be men (60%) than women (40%). The hospital-fatality risk, averaged over all pathways through hospital, was 27.5% (95% CI 27.1-28.0%); and steadily decreased from 34.6% (32.5-36.6%) in February to 7.6% (6.3-10.6%) in June. Among surviving patients, median length of stay in hospital was 11.8 (11.6-12.3) days, compared to 8.1 (7.8-8.5) days in non-survivors. Averaged over final outcomes, median length of stay in hospital decreased from 21.4 (20.5-22.8) days in February to 5.2 (4.7-5.8) days in June. CONCLUSIONS: The hospital burden, in terms of both risks of poor outcomes and lengths of stay in hospital, has been demonstrated to have decreased over the months of the first wave, perhaps reflecting improved treatment and management of COVID-19 cases, as well as reduced burden as the first wave waned. The quantified burden allows for planning of hospital beds needed for current and future waves of SARS-CoV-2 i.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cohort Studies , Female , Hospitalization , Hospitals , Humans , Male , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Elife ; 102021 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1371047

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 is notable both for its rapid spread, and for the heterogeneity of its patterns of transmission, with multiple published incidences of superspreading behaviour. Here, we applied a novel network reconstruction algorithm to infer patterns of viral transmission occurring between patients and health care workers (HCWs) in the largest clusters of COVID-19 infection identified during the first wave of the epidemic at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK. Based upon dates of individuals reporting symptoms, recorded individual locations, and viral genome sequence data, we show an uneven pattern of transmission between individuals, with patients being much more likely to be infected by other patients than by HCWs. Further, the data were consistent with a pattern of superspreading, whereby 21% of individuals caused 80% of transmission events. Our study provides a detailed retrospective analysis of nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 transmission, and sheds light on the need for intensive and pervasive infection control procedures.


The COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, presents a global public health challenge. Hospitals have been at the forefront of this battle, treating large numbers of sick patients over several waves of infection. Finding ways to manage the spread of the virus in hospitals is key to protecting vulnerable patients and workers, while keeping hospitals running, but to generate effective infection control, researchers must understand how SARS-CoV-2 spreads. A range of factors make studying the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in hospitals tricky. For instance, some people do not present any symptoms, and, amongst those who do, it can be difficult to determine whether they caught the virus in the hospital or somewhere else. However, comparing the genetic information of the SARS-CoV-2 virus from different people in a hospital could allow scientists to understand how it spreads. Samples of the genetic material of SARS-CoV-2 can be obtained by swabbing infected individuals. If the genetic sequences of two samples are very different, it is unlikely that the individuals who provided the samples transmitted the virus to one another. Illingworth, Hamilton et al. used this information, along with other data about how SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted, to develop an algorithm that can determine how the virus spreads from person to person in different hospital wards. To build their algorithm, Illingworth, Hamilton et al. collected SARS-CoV-2 genetic data from patients and staff in a hospital, and combined it with information about how SARS-CoV-2 spreads and how these people moved in the hospital . The algorithm showed that, for the most part, patients were infected by other patients (20 out of 22 cases), while staff were infected equally by patients and staff. By further probing these data, Illingworth, Hamilton et al. revealed that 80% of hospital-acquired infections were caused by a group of just 21% of individuals in the study, identifying a 'superspreader' pattern. These findings may help to inform SARS-CoV-2 infection control measures to reduce spread within hospitals, and could potentially be used to improve infection control in other contexts.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Outbreaks/statistics & numerical data , Hospitals/statistics & numerical data , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies
7.
Stat Biopharm Res ; 14(1): 33-41, 2022 Jan 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1266078

ABSTRACT

Clinical trials of a vaccine during an epidemic face particular challenges, such as the pressure to identify an effective vaccine quickly to control the epidemic, and the effect that time-space-varying infection incidence has on the power of a trial. We illustrate how the operating characteristics of different trial design elements maybe evaluated using a network epidemic and trial simulation model, based on COVID-19 and individually randomized two-arm trials with a binary outcome. We show that "ring" recruitment strategies, prioritizing participants at an imminent risk of infection, can result in substantial improvement in terms of power in the model we present. In addition, we introduce a novel method to make more efficient use of the data from the earliest cases of infection observed in the trial, whose infection may have been too early to be vaccine-preventable. Finally, we compare several methods of response-adaptive randomization (RAR), discussing their advantages and disadvantages in the context of our model and identifying particular adaptation strategies that preserve power and estimation properties, while slightly reducing the number of infections, given an effective vaccine.

9.
Lancet Reg Health West Pac ; 10: 100127, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1144860

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted cancer services globally. New Zealand has pursued an elimination strategy to COVID-19, reducing (but not eliminating) this disruption. Early in the pandemic, our national Cancer Control Agency (Te Aho o Te Kahu) began monitoring and reporting on service access to inform national and regional decision-making. In this manuscript we use high-quality, national-level data to describe changes in cancer registrations, diagnosis and treatment over the course of New Zealand's response to COVID-19. METHODS: Data were sourced (2018-2020) from national collections, including cancer registrations, inpatient hospitalisations and outpatient events. Cancer registrations, diagnostic testing (gastrointestinal endoscopy), surgery (colorectal, lung and prostate surgeries), medical oncology access (first specialist appointments [FSAs] and intravenous chemotherapy attendances) and radiation oncology access (FSAs and megavoltage attendances) were extracted. Descriptive analyses of count data were performed, stratified by ethnicity (Indigenous Maori, Pacific Island, non-Maori/non-Pacific). FINDINGS: Compared to 2018-2019, there was a 40% decline in cancer registrations during New Zealand's national shutdown in March-April 2020, increasing back to pre-shutdown levels over subsequent months. While there was a sharp decline in endoscopies, pre-shutdown volumes were achieved again by August. The impact on cancer surgery and medical oncology has been minimal, but there has been an 8% year-to-date decrease in radiation therapy attendances. With the exception of lung cancer, there is no evidence that existing inequities in service access between ethnic groups have been exacerbated by COVID-19. INTERPRETATION: The impact of COVID-19 on cancer care in New Zealand has been largely mitigated. The New Zealand experience may provide other agencies or organisations with a sense of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer services within a country that has actively pursued elimination of COVID-19. FUNDING: Data were provided by New Zealand's Ministry of Health, and analyses completed by Te Aho o Te Kahu staff.

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