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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330892

ABSTRACT

Viruses are microscopic pathogens capable of causing disease and are responsible for a range of human mortality and morbidity worldwide. They can be rendered harmless or destroyed with a range of antiviral chemical compounds. Cucurbit[n]urils (CB[n]s) are a macrocycle chemical compound existing as a range of homologues;due to their structure they can bind to biological materials, acting as supramolecular “hosts” to “guests”, such as amino acids. Due to the increasing need for a non-toxic antiviral compound, we investigated whether cucurbit[n]urils could act in an antiviral manner. We have found that certain cucurbit[n]uril homologues do indeed have an antiviral effect against a range of viruses, including RSV and SARS-CoV-2. In particular, we demonstrate that CB[7] is the active homologue of CB[n] mixtures, having an antiviral effect against enveloped and non-enveloped species. High levels of efficacy were observed with five-minute contact times across different viruses. We also demonstrate that CB[7] acts with an extracellular virucidal mode of action via host-guest supramolecular interactions between viral surface proteins and the CB[n] cavity, rather than via cell internalisation or a virustatic mechanism. This finding demonstrates that CB[7] acts as a supramolecular virucidal antiviral (a mechanism distinct from other current extracellular antivirals) demonstrating the potential of supramolecular interactions for future antiviral disinfectants.

2.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330185

ABSTRACT

Viruses are microscopic pathogens capable of causing disease and are responsible for a range of human mortality and morbidity worldwide. They can be rendered harmless or destroyed with a range of antiviral chemical compounds. Cucurbit[n]urils (CB[n]s) are a macrocycle chemical compound existing as a range of homologues;due to their structure they can bind to biological materials, acting as supramolecular host to guests, such as amino acids. Due to the increasing need for a non-toxic antiviral compound, we investigated whether cucurbit[n]urils could act in an antiviral manner. We have found that certain cucurbit[n]uril homologues do indeed have an antiviral effect against a range of viruses, including RSV and SARS-CoV-2. In particular, we demonstrate that CB[7] is the active homologue of CB[n] mixtures, having an antiviral effect against enveloped and non-enveloped species. High levels of efficacy were observed with five-minute contact times across different viruses. We also demonstrate that CB[7] acts with an extracellular virucidal mode of action via host-guest supramolecular interactions between viral surface proteins and the CB[n] cavity, rather than via cell internalisation or a virustatic mechanism. This finding demonstrates that CB[7] acts as a supramolecular virucidal antiviral (a mechanism distinct from other current extracellular antivirals) demonstrating the potential of supramolecular interactions for future antiviral disinfectants.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305023

ABSTRACT

Background: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about widespread infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) initiated prospective national surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in primary schools across England (sKIDs). We used this opportunity to assess the feasibility and agreeability of large-scale surveillance and testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school among staff, parents and students.Methods: Staff and students in 131 primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire at recruitment and provide weekly nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing (n=86) or swabs with blood samples for antibody testing (n=45) at the beginning and end the summer half-term. In six blood sampling schools, students were asked to complete a pictorial questionnaire before and after their investigations.Results: In total, 134 children aged 4-7 years (n=40) or 8-11 years (n=95) completed the pictorial questionnaire fully or partially. Prior to sampling, oral fluid sampling was the most acceptable test (107/132, 81%) followed by throat swabs (80/134, 59%), nose swabs (77/132, 58%), and blood tests (48/130, 37%). Younger students were more nervous about all tests than older students but, after completing their tests, most children reported a “better than expected” experience with all the investigations. Students were more likely to agree to additional testing for nose swabs (93/113, 82%) and oral fluid (93/114, 82%), followed by throat swabs (85/113, 75%) and blood tests (72/108, 67%). Parents (n=3,994) and staff (n=2,580) selected a preference for weekly testing with nose swabs, throat swabs or oral fluid sampling, although staff were more flexible about testing frequency. Conclusions: Primary school staff and parents were supportive of regular tests for SARS-CoV-2 and selected a preference for weekly testing. Children preferred nose swabs and oral fluids over throat swabs or blood sampling.Funding Statement: This surveillance was internally funded by PHE and did not receive any specific grant funding from agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.Declaration of Interests: None.Ethics Approval Statement: PHE has legal permission, provided by Regulation 3 of The Health Service (Control of Patient Information) Regulations 2002, to process patient confidential information for national surveillance of communicable diseases and as such, individual patient consent is not required.

4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305022

ABSTRACT

Background: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about widespread infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) initiated prospective national surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in primary schools across England (sKIDs). We used this opportunity to assess the feasibility and agreeability of large-scale surveillance and testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school among staff, parents and students.Methods: Staff and students in 131 primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire at recruitment and provide weekly nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing (n=86) or swabs with blood samples for antibody testing (n=45) at the beginning and end the summer half-term. In six blood sampling schools, students were asked to complete a pictorial questionnaire before and after their investigations.Results: In total, 134 children aged 4-7 years (n=40) or 8-11 years (n=95) completed the pictorial questionnaire fully or partially. Prior to sampling, oral fluid sampling was the most acceptable test (107/132, 81%) followed by throat swabs (80/134, 59%), nose swabs (77/132, 58%), and blood tests (48/130, 37%). Younger students were more nervous about all tests than older students but, after completing their tests, most children reported a “better than expected” experience with all the investigations. Students were more likely to agree to additional testing for nose swabs (93/113, 82%) and oral fluid (93/114, 82%), followed by throat swabs (85/113, 75%) and blood tests (72/108, 67%). Parents (n=3,994) and staff (n=2,580) selected a preference for weekly testing with nose swabs, throat swabs or oral fluid sampling, although staff were more flexible about testing frequency. Conclusions: Primary school staff and parents were supportive of regular tests for SARS-CoV-2 and selected a preference for weekly testing. Children preferred nose swabs and oral fluids over throat swabs or blood sampling.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-323456

ABSTRACT

Background: In England, the reopening of universities in September 2020 coincided with a rapid increase in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in university aged young adults. This study aimed to estimate SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in students attending universities that had experienced a COVID-19 outbreak after reopening for the autumn term in September 2020.Methods: A cross-sectional serosurvey was conducted during 02-11 December 2020 in students aged ≤ 25 years across five universities in England. Blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing were obtained using a self-sampling kit and analysed using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 N antibody and/or an in-house receptor binding domain (RBD) assay. Findings: SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in 2,905 university students was 17.8% (95%CI, 16.5-19.3), ranging between 7.6%-29.7% across the five universities. Seropositivity was associated with being younger likely to represent first year undergraduates (aOR 3.2, 95% CI 2.0-4.9), living in halls of residence (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.7) and sharing a kitchen with an increasing number of students (shared with 4-7 individuals, aOR 1.43, 95%CI 1.12-1.82;shared with 8 or more individuals, aOR 1.53, 95% CI 1.04-2.24). Seropositivity was 49% in students living in halls of residence that reported high SARS-CoV-2 infection rates (>8%) during the autumn term.Interpretation: Despite large numbers of cases and outbreaks in universities, less than one in five students (17.8%) overall had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the end of the autumn term in England. In university halls of residence affected by a COVID-19 outbreak, however, nearly half the resident students became infected and developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.

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.
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327722

ABSTRACT

Background Poor sleep is associated with an increased risk of infections and all-cause mortality, and acute sleep loss and disruption have been linked with inflammation and poorer immune control. Previous studies, however, have been unable to evidence causality between the chronic effects of poor sleep and respiratory infection risk. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and potential future disease outbreaks, understanding the risk factors for these infections is of great importance. Aim Our goal was to understand if chronic poor sleep could be identified as a causal risk factor for respiratory infections including influenza, upper respiratory infections and COVID-19. Methods We used population cohorts from the UK Biobank (N ≈ 231,000) and FinnGen (N ≈ 327,000) with ICD-10 based electronic health records and obtained diagnoses of insomnia, influenza and upper respiratory infections (URIs) from primary care and hospital settings. We computed logistic regression to assess association between poor sleep and infections, disease free survival hazard ratios, and used summary statistics from genome-wide association studies of insomnia, influenza, URI and COVID-19 to perform Mendelian randomization analyses and assess causality. Findings Utilizing 23 years of registry data and follow-up, we saw that insomnia diagnosis associated with increased risk for infections in FinnGen and in UK Biobank (FinnGen influenza HR = 5.32 [4.09, 6.92], P = 1.02×10 −35 , UK Biobank influenza HR = 1.54 [1.37, 1.73], P = 2.49×10 −13 ). Mendelian randomization indicated that insomnia causally predisposed to influenza (OR = 1.59, P = 6.23×10 −4 ), upper respiratory infections (OR = 1.71, P = 7.60×10 −13 ), COVID-19 infection (OR = 1.08, P = 0.037) and risk of hospitalization from COVID-19 (OR = 1.47, P = 4.96×10 −5 ). Conclusions Our findings indicate that chronic poor sleep is a causal risk factor for contracting respiratory infections, and in addition contributes to the severity of respiratory infections. These findings highlight the role of sleep in maintaining sufficient immune response against pathogens as suggested by earlier work. As the current COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of people suffering from poor sleep, safe interventions such as sleep management and treating individuals with insomnia could be promoted to reduce infections and save lives.

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.
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.

10.
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.

11.
PLoS One ; 16(9): e0258002, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1448576

ABSTRACT

Detecting viruses, which have significant impact on health and the economy, is essential for controlling and combating viral infections. In recent years there has been a focus towards simpler and faster detection methods, specifically through the use of electronic-based detection at the point-of-care. Point-of-care sensors play a particularly important role in the detection of viruses. Tests can be performed in the field or in resource limited regions in a simple manner and short time frame, allowing for rapid treatment. Electronic based detection allows for speed and quantitative detection not otherwise possible at the point-of-care. Such approaches are largely based upon voltammetry, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, field effect transistors, and similar electrical techniques. Here, we systematically review electronic and electrochemical point-of-care sensors for the detection of human viral pathogens. Using the reported limits of detection and assay times we compare approaches both by detection method and by the target analyte of interest. Compared to recent scoping and narrative reviews, this systematic review which follows established best practice for evidence synthesis adds substantial new evidence on 1) performance and 2) limitations, needed for sensor uptake in the clinical arena. 104 relevant studies were identified by conducting a search of current literature using 7 databases, only including original research articles detecting human viruses and reporting a limit of detection. Detection units were converted to nanomolars where possible in order to compare performance across devices. This approach allows us to identify field effect transistors as having the fastest median response time, and as being the most sensitive, some achieving single-molecule detection. In general, we found that antigens are the quickest targets to detect. We also observe however, that reports are highly variable in their chosen metrics of interest. We suggest that this lack of systematisation across studies may be a major bottleneck in sensor development and translation. Where appropriate, we use the findings of the systematic review to give recommendations for best reporting practice.


Subject(s)
Point-of-Care Systems , Virus Diseases/diagnosis , Electronics , Humans , Virus Diseases/virology
12.
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.

13.
PLoS One ; 16(8): e0255517, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376622

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic has raised concerns about widespread infection and transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in educational settings. In June 2020, Public Health England (PHE) initiated prospective national surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in primary schools across England (sKIDs). We used this opportunity to assess the feasibility and agreeability of large-scale surveillance and testing for SARS-CoV-2 infections in school among staff, parents and students. METHODS: Staff and students in 131 primary schools were asked to complete a questionnaire at recruitment and provide weekly nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing (n = 86) or swabs with blood samples for antibody testing (n = 45) at the beginning and end the summer half-term. In six blood sampling schools, students were asked to complete a pictorial questionnaire before and after their investigations. RESULTS: In total, 135 children aged 4-7 years (n = 40) or 8-11 years (n = 95) completed the pictorial questionnaire fully or partially. Prior to sampling, oral fluid sampling was the most acceptable test (107/132, 81%) followed by throat swabs (80/134, 59%), nose swabs (77/132, 58%), and blood tests (48/130, 37%). Younger students were more nervous about all tests than older students but, after completing their tests, most children reported a "better than expected" experience with all the investigations. Students were more likely to agree to additional testing for nose swabs (93/113, 82%) and oral fluid (93/114, 82%), followed by throat swabs (85/113, 75%) and blood tests (72/108, 67%). Parents (n = 3,994) and staff (n = 2,580) selected a preference for weekly testing with nose swabs, throat swabs or oral fluid sampling, although staff were more flexible about testing frequency. CONCLUSIONS: Primary school staff and parents were supportive of regular tests for SARS-CoV-2 and selected a preference for weekly testing. Children preferred nose swabs and oral fluids over throat swabs or blood sampling.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Educational Personnel/psychology , Students/psychology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Child , Child, Preschool , Cross-Sectional Studies , England , Humans , Nasopharynx/virology , Parents/psychology , Pharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Schools , Surveys and Questionnaires
14.
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.

15.
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.

16.
J Infect ; 83(1): 104-111, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1210060

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In England, the reopening of universities in September 2020 coincided with a rapid increase in SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in university aged young adults. This study aimed to estimate SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in students attending universities that had experienced a COVID-19 outbreak after reopening for the autumn term in September 2020. METHODS: A cross-sectional serosurvey was conducted during 02-11 December 2020 in students aged ≤ 25 years across five universities in England. Blood samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing were obtained using a self-sampling kit and analysed using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 N antibody and/or an in-house receptor binding domain (RBD) assay. FINDINGS: SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in 2,905 university students was 17.8% (95%CI, 16.5-19.3), ranging between 7.6%-29.7% across the five universities. Seropositivity was associated with being younger likely to represent first year undergraduates (aOR 3.2, 95% CI 2.0-4.9), living in halls of residence (aOR 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.7) and sharing a kitchen with an increasing number of students (shared with 4-7 individuals, aOR 1.43, 95%CI 1.12-1.82; shared with 8 or more individuals, aOR 1.53, 95% CI 1.04-2.24). Seropositivity was 49% in students living in halls of residence that reported high SARS-CoV-2 infection rates (>8%) during the autumn term. INTERPRETATION: Despite large numbers of cases and outbreaks in universities, less than one in five students (17.8%) overall had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at the end of the autumn term in England. In university halls of residence affected by a COVID-19 outbreak, however, nearly half the resident students became infected and developed SARS-CoV-2 antibodies.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Cross-Sectional Studies , England/epidemiology , Humans , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Students , Universities , Young Adult
17.
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
19.
Ann Fam Med ; 18(4): 349-354, 2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-653930

ABSTRACT

During a pandemic, primary care is the first line of defense. It is able to reinforce public health messages, help patients manage at home, and identify those in need of hospital care. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, primary care scrambled to rapidly transform itself and protect clinicians, staff, and patients while remaining connected to patients. Using the established public health framework for addressing a pandemic, we describe the actions primary care needs to take in a pandemic. Recommended actions are based on observed experiences of the authors' primary care practices and networks. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, tasks focused on promoting physical distancing and encouraging patients with suspected illness or exposure to self-quarantine. Testing was not available and contract tracing was not possible. As the pandemic spread, in-person care was converted to virtual care using telehealth. Practices remained connected to patients using registries to reach out to those at risk for infection, with uncontrolled chronic conditions, or were socially vulnerable. Practices managed most patients with suspected COVID-19 at home. As the pandemic decelerates, practices are now preparing to address the direct and indirect consequences-complications from COVID-19 infections, missed treatment for acute problems, inadequate prevention, uncontrolled chronic disease, mental illness, and greater social needs. Throughout, practices bore tremendous financial burden, laying off staff or even closing at a time when most needed. Primary care must learn from this experience and be ready for the next pandemic. Policymakers and payers cannot fail primary care during their next time of need.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Delivery of Health Care/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Primary Health Care/methods , Telemedicine/methods , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Humans , Quarantine , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
20.
J Mater Sci ; : 1-4, 2020 May 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-245014
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