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1.
Euro Surveill ; 26(48)2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1613505

ABSTRACT

Easing of COVID-19 restrictions in England in the summer of 2021 was followed by a sharp rise in cases among school-aged children. Weekly rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in primary and secondary school children reached 733.3 and 1,664.7/100,000 population, respectively, by week 39 2021. A surge in household clusters with school-aged index cases was noted at the start of the school term, with secondary cases predominantly in children aged 5-15 years and adults aged 30-49 years.

2.
Preprint | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296775

ABSTRACT

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

3.
Preprint | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296519

ABSTRACT

Abstract Background A rapid increase in cases due to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant in highly vaccinated populations has raised concerns about the effectiveness of current vaccines. Methods We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness (VE) against symptomatic disease caused by the Omicron and Delta variants in England. VE was calculated after primary immunisation with two BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 doses, and at 2+ weeks following a BNT162b2 booster. Results Between 27 November and 06 December 2021, 581 and 56,439 eligible Omicron and Delta cases respectively were identified. There were 130,867 eligible test-negative controls. There was no effect against Omicron from 15 weeks after two ChAdOx1 doses, while VE after two BNT162b2 doses was 88.0% (95%CI: 65.9 to 95.8%) 2-9 weeks after dose 2, dropping to between 34 and 37% from 15 weeks post dose 2.From two weeks after a BNT162b2 booster, VE increased to 71.4% (95%CI: 41.8 to 86.0%) for ChAdOx1 primary course recipients and 75.5% (95%CI: 56.1 to 86.3%) for BNT162b2 primary course recipients. For cases with Delta, VE was 41.8% (95%CI: 39.4-44.1%) at 25+ weeks after two ChAdOx1 doses, increasing to 93.8% (95%CI: 93.2-94.3%) after a BNT162b2 booster. With a BNT162b2 primary course, VE was 63.5% (95%CI: 61.4 to 65.5%) 25+ weeks after dose 2, increasing to 92.6% (95%CI: 92.0-93.1%) two weeks after the booster. Conclusions Primary immunisation with two BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 doses provided no or limited protection against symptomatic disease with the Omicron variant. Boosting with BNT162b2 following either primary course significantly increased protection.

4.
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.

5.
Euro Surveill ; 26(47)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1538334

ABSTRACT

Since December 2019, over 1.5 million SARS-CoV-2-related fatalities have been recorded in the World Health Organization European Region - 90.2% in people ≥ 60 years. We calculated lives saved in this age group by COVID-19 vaccination in 33 countries from December 2020 to November 2021, using weekly reported deaths and vaccination coverage. We estimated that vaccination averted 469,186 deaths (51% of 911,302 expected deaths; sensitivity range: 129,851-733,744; 23-62%). Impact by country ranged 6-93%, largest when implementation was early.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , World Health Organization
6.
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.

7.
HIV Med ; 2021 Sep 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1503684

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: We describe COVID-19 mortality among people with and without HIV during the first wave of the pandemic in England. METHODS: National surveillance data on adults (aged ≥ 15 years) with diagnosed HIV resident in England were linked to national COVID-19 mortality surveillance data (2 March 2020-16 June 2020); HIV clinicians verified linked cases and provided information on the circumstances of death. We present COVID-19 mortality rates by HIV status, using negative binomial regression to assess the association between HIV and mortality, adjusting for gender, age and ethnicity. RESULTS: Overall, 99 people with HIV, including 61 of black ethnicity, died of/with COVID-19 (107/100 000) compared with 49 483 people without HIV (109/100 000). Compared to people without HIV, higher COVID-19 mortality rates were observed in people with HIV of black (188 vs. 122/100 000) and Asian (131 vs. 77.0/100 000) ethnicity, and in both younger (15-59 years: 58.3 vs. 10.2/100 000) and older (≥ 60 years: 434 vs. 355/100 000) people. After adjustment for demographic factors, people with HIV had a higher COVID-19 mortality risk than those without (2.18; 95% CI: 1.76-2.70). Most people with HIV who died of/with COVID-19 had suppressed HIV viraemia (91%) and at least one comorbidity reported to be associated with poor COVID-19 outcomes (87%). CONCLUSIONS: In the first wave of the pandemic in England, COVID-19 mortality among people with HIV was low, but was higher than in those without HIV, after controlling for demographic factors. This supports the strategy of prioritizing COVID-19 vaccination for people with HIV and strongly encouraging its uptake, especially in those of black and Asian ethnicity.

8.
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.

11.
J Infect Dis ; 224(3): 389-394, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1338710

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Postmortem testing can improve our understanding of the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) if sufficiently sensitive and specific. METHODS: We investigated the postmortem sensitivity and specificity of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on upper respiratory swabs using a dataset of everyone tested for SARS-CoV-2 before and after death in England, 1 March to 29 October 2020. We analyzed sensitivity in those with a positive test before death by time to postmortem test. We developed a multivariate model and conducted time-to-negativity survival analysis. For specificity, we analyzed those with a negative test in the week before death. RESULTS: Postmortem testing within a week after death had a sensitivity of 96.8% if the person had tested positive within a week before death. There was no effect of age, sex, or specimen type on sensitivity, but individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related codes on their death certificate were 5.65 times more likely to test positive after death (95% confidence interval, 2.31-13.9). Specificity was 94.2%, increasing to 97.5% in individuals without COVID-19 on the death certificate. CONCLUSION: Postmortem testing has high sensitivity (96.8%) and specificity (94.2%) if performed within a week after death and could be a useful diagnostic tool.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory System/virology , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Postmortem Changes , Sensitivity and Specificity , Young Adult
12.
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.

13.
J Infect Dis ; 224(3): 389-394, 2021 08 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1231036

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Postmortem testing can improve our understanding of the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) if sufficiently sensitive and specific. METHODS: We investigated the postmortem sensitivity and specificity of reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on upper respiratory swabs using a dataset of everyone tested for SARS-CoV-2 before and after death in England, 1 March to 29 October 2020. We analyzed sensitivity in those with a positive test before death by time to postmortem test. We developed a multivariate model and conducted time-to-negativity survival analysis. For specificity, we analyzed those with a negative test in the week before death. RESULTS: Postmortem testing within a week after death had a sensitivity of 96.8% if the person had tested positive within a week before death. There was no effect of age, sex, or specimen type on sensitivity, but individuals with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-related codes on their death certificate were 5.65 times more likely to test positive after death (95% confidence interval, 2.31-13.9). Specificity was 94.2%, increasing to 97.5% in individuals without COVID-19 on the death certificate. CONCLUSION: Postmortem testing has high sensitivity (96.8%) and specificity (94.2%) if performed within a week after death and could be a useful diagnostic tool.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Respiratory System/virology , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/virology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Postmortem Changes , Sensitivity and Specificity , Young Adult
14.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(5): 1468-1471, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1201503

ABSTRACT

Of the 58,186 coronavirus deaths among adults in England during March-December 2020, 77% occurred in hospitals, 93% were in patients >60 years, and 91% occurred within 28 days of positive specimen. Cumulative mortality rates were highest among persons of Black, Asian, other, or mixed ethnicities and in socioeconomically deprived areas.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , England/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Lancet ; 397(10283): 1459-1469, 2021 04 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174548

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Increased understanding of whether individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are protected from future SARS-CoV-2 infection is an urgent requirement. We aimed to investigate whether antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were associated with a decreased risk of symptomatic and asymptomatic reinfection. METHODS: A large, multicentre, prospective cohort study was done, with participants recruited from publicly funded hospitals in all regions of England. All health-care workers, support staff, and administrative staff working at hospitals who could remain engaged in follow-up for 12 months were eligible to join The SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation study. Participants were excluded if they had no PCR tests after enrolment, enrolled after Dec 31, 2020, or had insufficient PCR and antibody data for cohort assignment. Participants attended regular SARS-CoV-2 PCR and antibody testing (every 2-4 weeks) and completed questionnaires every 2 weeks on symptoms and exposures. At enrolment, participants were assigned to either the positive cohort (antibody positive, or previous positive PCR or antibody test) or negative cohort (antibody negative, no previous positive PCR or antibody test). The primary outcome was a reinfection in the positive cohort or a primary infection in the negative cohort, determined by PCR tests. Potential reinfections were clinically reviewed and classified according to case definitions (confirmed, probable, or possible) and symptom-status, depending on the hierarchy of evidence. Primary infections in the negative cohort were defined as a first positive PCR test and seroconversions were excluded when not associated with a positive PCR test. A proportional hazards frailty model using a Poisson distribution was used to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRR) to compare infection rates in the two cohorts. FINDINGS: From June 18, 2020, to Dec 31, 2020, 30 625 participants were enrolled into the study. 51 participants withdrew from the study, 4913 were excluded, and 25 661 participants (with linked data on antibody and PCR testing) were included in the analysis. Data were extracted from all sources on Feb 5, 2021, and include data up to and including Jan 11, 2021. 155 infections were detected in the baseline positive cohort of 8278 participants, collectively contributing 2 047 113 person-days of follow-up. This compares with 1704 new PCR positive infections in the negative cohort of 17 383 participants, contributing 2 971 436 person-days of follow-up. The incidence density was 7·6 reinfections per 100 000 person-days in the positive cohort, compared with 57·3 primary infections per 100 000 person-days in the negative cohort, between June, 2020, and January, 2021. The adjusted IRR was 0·159 for all reinfections (95% CI 0·13-0·19) compared with PCR-confirmed primary infections. The median interval between primary infection and reinfection was more than 200 days. INTERPRETATION: A previous history of SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with an 84% lower risk of infection, with median protective effect observed 7 months following primary infection. This time period is the minimum probable effect because seroconversions were not included. This study shows that previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 induces effective immunity to future infections in most individuals. FUNDING: Department of Health and Social Care of the UK Government, Public Health England, The National Institute for Health Research, with contributions from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Health Personnel , Adult , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , England , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Reinfection , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
16.
J Epidemiol Community Health ; 2021 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1054698
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