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1.
Journal of Infection and Public Health ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2165588

ABSTRACT

Background Some studies have reported that influenza vaccination is associated with lower risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and/or coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) morbidity and mortality. This study aims to estimate effectiveness of influenza vaccination, using Abbott's quadrivalent Influvac Tetra vaccine, against SARS-CoV-2 infection and against severe COVID-19. Methods This matched, test-negative, case-control study was implemented on a population of 30,774 healthcare workers (HCWs) in Qatar during the 2020 annual influenza vaccination campaign, September 17, 2020-December 31, 2020, before introduction of COVID-19 vaccination. Results Of 30,774 HCWs, 576 with PCR-positive tests and 10,033 with exclusively PCR-negative tests were eligible for inclusion in the study. Matching by sex, age, nationality, reason for PCR testing, and PCR test date yielded 518 cases matched to 2,058 controls. Median duration between influenza vaccination and the PCR test was 43 days (IQR, 29-62). Estimated effectiveness of influenza vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection >14 days after receiving the vaccine was 29.7% (95% CI: 5.5- 47.7%). Estimated effectiveness of influenza vaccination against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 was 88.9% (95% CI: 4.1-98.7%). Sensitivity analyses confirmed the main analysis results. Conclusions Recent influenza vaccination is associated with a significant reduction in the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity.

2.
Lancet Microbe ; 2022 Nov 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2106236

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Understanding protection conferred by natural SARS-CoV-2 infection versus COVID-19 vaccination is important for informing vaccine mandate decisions. We compared protection conferred by natural infection versus that from the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines in Qatar. METHODS: We conducted two matched retrospective cohort studies that emulated target trials. Data were obtained from the national federated databases for COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 testing, and COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death between Feb 28, 2020 (pandemic onset in Qatar) and May 12, 2022. We matched individuals with a documented primary infection and no vaccination record (natural infection cohort) with individuals who had received two doses (primary series) of the same vaccine (BNT162b2-vaccinated or mRNA-1273-vaccinated cohorts) at the start of follow-up (90 days after the primary infection). Individuals were exact matched (1:1) by sex, 10-year age group, nationality, comorbidity count, and timing of primary infection or first-dose vaccination. Incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death in the natural infection cohorts was compared with incidence in the vaccinated cohorts, using Cox proportional hazards regression models with adjustment for matching factors. FINDINGS: Between Jan 5, 2021 (date of second-dose vaccine roll-out) and May 12, 2022, 104 500 individuals vaccinated with BNT162b2 and 61 955 individuals vaccinated with mRNA-1273 were matched to unvaccinated individuals with a documented primary infection. During follow-up, 7123 SARS-CoV-2 infections were recorded in the BNT162b2-vaccinated cohort and 3583 reinfections were recorded in the matched natural infection cohort. 4282 SARS-CoV-2 infections were recorded in the mRNA-1273-vaccinated cohort and 2301 reinfections were recorded in the matched natural infection cohort. The overall adjusted hazard ratio (HR) for SARS-CoV-2 infection was 0·47 (95% CI 0·45-0·48) after previous natural infection versus BNT162b2 vaccination, and 0·51 (0·49-0·54) after previous natural infection versus mRNA-1273 vaccination. The overall adjusted HR for severe (acute care hospitalisations), critical (intensive care unit hospitalisations), or fatal COVID-19 cases was 0·24 (0·08-0·72) after previous natural infection versus BNT162b2 vaccination, and 0·24 (0·05-1·19) after previous natural infection versus mRNA-1273 vaccination. Severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 was rare in both the natural infection and vaccinated cohorts. INTERPRETATION: Previous natural infection was associated with lower incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, regardless of the variant, than mRNA primary-series vaccination. Vaccination remains the safest and most optimal tool for protecting against infection and COVID-19-related hospitalisation and death, irrespective of previous infection status. FUNDING: The Biomedical Research Program and the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Biomathematics Research Core, Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar; Qatar Ministry of Public Health; Hamad Medical Corporation; Sidra Medicine; Qatar Genome Programme; and Qatar University Biomedical Research Center.

3.
J Travel Med ; 2022 Sep 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2051490

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The future of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic hinges on virus evolution and duration of immune protection of natural infection against reinfection. We investigated duration of protection afforded by natural infection, the effect of viral immune evasion on duration of protection, and protection against severe reinfection, in Qatar, between February 28, 2020 and June 5, 2022. METHODS: Three national, matched, retrospective cohort studies were conducted to compare incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 severity among unvaccinated persons with a documented SARS-CoV-2 primary infection, to incidence among those infection-naïve and unvaccinated. Associations were estimated using Cox proportional-hazard regression models. RESULTS: Effectiveness of pre-Omicron primary infection against pre-Omicron reinfection was 85.5% (95% CI: 84.8-86.2%). Effectiveness peaked at 90.5% (95% CI: 88.4-92.3%) in the 7th month after the primary infection, but waned to ~ 70% by the 16th month. Extrapolating this waning trend using a Gompertz curve suggested an effectiveness of 50% in the 22nd month and < 10% by the 32nd month. Effectiveness of pre-Omicron primary infection against Omicron reinfection was 38.1% (95% CI: 36.3-39.8%) and declined with time since primary infection. A Gompertz curve suggested an effectiveness of < 10% by the 15th month. Effectiveness of primary infection against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 reinfection was 97.3% (95% CI: 94.9-98.6%), irrespective of the variant of primary infection or reinfection, and with no evidence for waning. Similar results were found in sub-group analyses for those ≥50 years of age. CONCLUSIONS: Protection of natural infection against reinfection wanes and may diminish within a few years. Viral immune evasion accelerates this waning. Protection against severe reinfection remains very strong, with no evidence for waning, irrespective of variant, for over 14 months after primary infection.

4.
Frontiers in immunology ; 13, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2046469

ABSTRACT

In 2021, Qatar experienced considerable incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection that was dominated sequentially by the Alpha, Beta, and Delta variants. Using the cycle threshold (Ct) value of an RT-qPCR-positive test to proxy the inverse of infectiousness, we investigated infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 infections by variant, age, sex, vaccination status, prior infection status, and reason for testing in a random sample of 18,355 RT-qPCR-genotyped infections. Regression analyses were conducted to estimate associations with the Ct value of RT-qPCR-positive tests. Compared to Beta infections, Alpha and Delta infections demonstrated 2.56 higher Ct cycles (95% CI: 2.35-2.78), and 4.92 fewer cycles (95% CI: 4.67- 5.16), respectively. The Ct value declined gradually with age and was especially high for children <10 years of age, signifying lower infectiousness in small children. Children <10 years of age had 2.18 higher Ct cycles (95% CI: 1.88-2.48) than those 10-19 years of age. Compared to unvaccinated individuals, the Ct value was higher among individuals who had received one or two vaccine doses, but the Ct value decreased gradually with time since the second-dose vaccination. Ct value was 2.07 cycles higher (95% CI: 1.42-2.72) for those with a prior infection than those without prior infection. The Ct value was lowest among individuals tested because of symptoms and was highest among individuals tested as a travel requirement. Delta was substantially more infectious than Beta. Prior immunity, whether due to vaccination or prior infection, is associated with lower infectiousness of breakthrough infections, but infectiousness increases gradually with time since the second-dose vaccination.

5.
Int J Infect Dis ; 124: 96-103, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2031346

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To estimate the real-world effectiveness of sotrovimab against severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 in Qatar at a time in which most SARS-CoV-2 incidences occurred due to the BA.2 Omicron subvariant. METHODS: We conducted a matched case-control study among all individuals eligible for sotrovimab treatment per United States Food and Drug Administration guidelines in the resident population of Qatar. The odds of progression to severe forms of COVID-19 were compared in cases (treatment group) versus controls (eligible patients who opted not to receive the treatment). Subgroup analyses were conducted. RESULTS: A total of 3364 individuals were eligible for sotrovimab treatment during the study period, of whom 519 individuals received the treatment, whereas the remaining 2845 constituted the controls. The adjusted odds ratio of disease progression to severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 comparing the treatment group to the control group was 2.67 (95% confidence interval 0.60-11.91). In the analysis including only the subgroup of patients at higher risk of severe forms of COVID-19, the adjusted odds ratio was 0.65 (95% confidence interval 0.17-2.48). CONCLUSION: There was no evidence for a protective effect of sotrovimab in reducing COVID-19 severity in a setting dominated by the BA.2 subvariant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , COVID-19/drug therapy , Antibodies, Neutralizing/therapeutic use , Case-Control Studies , Qatar/epidemiology
6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Oct 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2017770

ABSTRACT

Beta (B.1.351) variant COVID-19 disease was investigated in Qatar. Compared to Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant, odds of progressing to severe disease were 1.24-fold (95% CI: 1.11-1.39) higher for Beta. Odds of progressing to critical disease were 1.49-fold (95% CI: 1.13-1.97) higher. Odds of COVID-19 death were 1.57-fold (95% CI: 1.03-2.43) higher.

7.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 4675, 2022 08 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1984386

ABSTRACT

There is significant genetic distance between SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant BA.1 and BA.2 sub-lineages. This study investigates immune protection of infection with one sub-lineage against reinfection with the other sub-lineage in Qatar during a large BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron wave, from December 19, 2021 to March 21, 2022. Two national matched, retrospective cohort studies are conducted to estimate effectiveness of BA.1 infection against reinfection with BA.2 (N = 20,994; BA.1-against-BA.2 study), and effectiveness of BA.2 infection against reinfection with BA.1 (N = 110,315; BA.2-against-BA.1 study). Associations are estimated using Cox proportional-hazards regression models after multiple imputation to assign a sub-lineage status for cases with no sub-lineage status (using probabilities based on the test date). Effectiveness of BA.1 infection against reinfection with BA.2 is estimated at 94.2% (95% CI: 89.2-96.9%). Effectiveness of BA.2 infection against reinfection with BA.1 is estimated at 80.9% (95% CI: 73.1-86.4%). Infection with the BA.1 sub-lineage appears to induce strong, but not full immune protection against reinfection with the BA.2 sub-lineage, and vice versa, for at least several weeks after the initial infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Reinfection , Humans , Proportional Hazards Models , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
8.
PLoS One ; 17(7): e0271324, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1938448

ABSTRACT

We developed a Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) risk score to guide targeted RT-PCR testing in Qatar. The Qatar national COVID-19 testing database, encompassing a total of 2,688,232 RT-PCR tests conducted between February 5, 2020-January 27, 2021, was analyzed. Logistic regression analyses were implemented to derive the COVID-19 risk score, as a tool to identify those at highest risk of having the infection. Score cut-off was determined using the ROC curve based on maximum sum of sensitivity and specificity. The score's performance diagnostics were assessed. Logistic regression analysis identified age, sex, and nationality as significant predictors of infection and were included in the risk score. The ROC curve was generated and the area under the curve was estimated at 0.63 (95% CI: 0.63-0.63). The score had a sensitivity of 59.4% (95% CI: 59.1%-59.7%), specificity of 61.1% (95% CI: 61.1%-61.2%), a positive predictive value of 10.9% (95% CI: 10.8%-10.9%), and a negative predictive value of 94.9% (94.9%-95.0%). The concept and utility of a COVID-19 risk score were demonstrated in Qatar. Such a public health tool can have considerable utility in optimizing testing and suppressing infection transmission, while maximizing efficiency and use of available resources.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , Public Health , Qatar/epidemiology , ROC Curve , Retrospective Studies , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity
9.
J Glob Health ; 12: 05032, 2022 Jul 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1924590

ABSTRACT

Background: Understanding the disease severity associated with the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is important in determining appropriate management strategies at the individual and population levels. We determined the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infection in persons infected with the Omicron vs the Delta variant. Methods: We identified individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection with Delta and propensity-score matched controls with Omicron variant infection from the National COVID-19 Database in Qatar. We excluded temporary visitors to Qatar, those with a prior documented infection, those ≤18 years old, and those with <14 days of follow up after the index test positive date. We determined the rates of admission to the hospital, admission to intensive care unit, mechanical ventilation, or death among those infected with the Delta or Omicron variants. Results: Among 9763 cases infected with the Delta variant and 11 310 cases infected with the Omicron variant, we identified 3926 propensity-score matched pairs. Among 3926 Delta infected, 3259 (83.0%) had mild, 633 (16.1%) had moderate and 34 (0.9%) had severe/critical disease. Among 3926 Omicron infected, 3866 (98.5%) had mild, 59 (1.5%) had moderate, and only 1 had severe/critical disease (overall P < 0.001). Factors associated with less moderate or severe/critical disease included infection with Omicron variant (aOR = 0.06; confidence interval (CI) = 0.05-0.09) and vaccination including a booster (aOR = 0.30; 95% CI = 0.09-0.99). Conclusions: Omicron variant infection is associated with significantly lower severity of disease compared with the Delta variant. Vaccination continues to offer strong protection against severe/critical disease.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Humans , Qatar/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index
10.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(7)2022 Jun 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1911730

ABSTRACT

Waning immunity following administration of mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccines remains a concern for many health systems. We undertook a study to determine if recent reports of waning for severe disease could have been attributed to design-related bias by conducting a study only among those detected with a first SARS-CoV-2 infection. We used a matched case-control study design with the study base being all individuals with first infection with SARS-CoV-2 reported in the State of Qatar between 1 January 2021 and 20 February 2022. Cases were those detected with first SARS-CoV-2 infection requiring intensive care (hard outcome), while controls were those detected with first SARS-CoV-2 infection who recovered without the need for intensive care. Cases and controls were matched in a 1:30 ratio for the calendar month of infection and the comorbidity category. Duration and magnitude of conditional vaccine effectiveness against requiring intensive care and the number needed to vaccinate (NNV) to prevent one more case of COVID-19 requiring intensive care was estimated for the mRNA (BNT162b2/mRNA-1273) vaccines. Conditional vaccine effectiveness against requiring intensive care was 59% (95% confidence interval (CI), 50 to 76) between the first and second dose, and strengthened to 89% (95% CI, 85 to 92) between the second dose and 4 months post the second dose in persons who received a primary course of the vaccine. There was no waning of vaccine effectiveness in the period from 4 to 6, 6 to 9, and 9 to 12 months after the second dose. This study demonstrates that, contrary to mainstream reports using hierarchical measures of effectiveness, conditional vaccine effectiveness against requiring intensive care remains robust till at least 12 months after the second dose of mRNA-based vaccines.

11.
Clin Infect Dis ; 75(1): e361-e367, 2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1886383

ABSTRACT

SHORT SUMMARY: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection from the Omicron variant in children/adolescents is less severe than infection from the Delta variant. Those 6 to <18 years also have less severe disease than those <6 years old. BACKGROUND: There are limited data assessing coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) disease severity in children/adolescents infected with the Omicron variant. METHODS: We identified children and adolescents <18 years of age with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection with Delta and propensity score-matched controls with Omicron variant infection from the National COVID-19 Database in Qatar. Primary outcome was disease severity, determined by hospital admission, admission to the intensive care unit (ICU), or mechanical ventilation within 14 days of diagnosis, or death within 28 days. RESULTS: Among 1735 cases with Delta variant infection between 1 June and 6 November 2021, and 32 635 cases with Omicron variant infection between 1 January and 15 January 2022, who did not have prior infection and were not vaccinated, we identified 985 propensity score-matched pairs. Among those who were Delta infected, 84.2% had mild, 15.7% had moderate, and 0.1% had severe/critical disease. Among those who were Omicron infected, 97.8% had mild, 2.2% had moderate, and none had severe/critical disease (P < .001). Omicron variant infection (vs Delta) was associated with significantly lower odds of moderate or severe/critical disease (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 0.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], .07-.18). Those aged 6-11 and 12 to <18 years had lower odds of developing moderate or severe/critical disease compared with those younger than age 6 years (aOR, 0.47; 95% CI, .33-.66 for 6-11 year olds; aOR, 0.45; 95% CI, .21-.94 for 12 to <18 year olds). CONCLUSIONS: Omicron variant infection in children/adolescents is associated with less severe disease than Delta variant infection as measured by hospitalization rates and need for ICU care or mechanical ventilation. Those 6 to <18 years of age also have less severe disease than those <6 years old.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Child , Humans , Respiration, Artificial , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
13.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 3082, 2022 06 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1873502

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants are genetically divergent. We conducted a matched, test-negative, case-control study to estimate duration of protection of the second and third/booster doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines against BA.1 and BA.2 infections in Qatar. BNT162b2 effectiveness was highest at 46.6% (95% CI: 33.4-57.2%) against symptomatic BA.1 and at 51.7% (95% CI: 43.2-58.9%) against symptomatic BA.2 infections in the first three months after the second dose, but declined to ~10% or below thereafter. Effectiveness rebounded to 59.9% (95% CI: 51.2-67.0%) and 43.7% (95% CI: 36.5-50.0%), respectively, in the first month after the booster dose, before declining again. Effectiveness against COVID-19 hospitalization and death was 70-80% after the second dose and >90% after the booster dose. mRNA-1273 vaccine protection showed similar patterns. mRNA vaccines provide comparable, moderate, and short-lived protection against symptomatic BA.1 and BA.2 Omicron infections, but strong and durable protection against COVID-19 hospitalization and death.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273 , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Qatar/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Vaccines, Synthetic , mRNA Vaccines
14.
J Glob Health ; 12: 05004, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1687376

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effective reproduction number, Rt , is a tool to track and understand pandemic dynamics. This investigation of Rt estimations was conducted to guide the national COVID-19 response in Qatar, from the onset of the pandemic until August 18, 2021. METHODS: Real-time "empirical" Rt Empirical was estimated using five methods, including the Robert Koch Institute, Cislaghi, Systrom-Bettencourt and Ribeiro, Wallinga and Teunis, and Cori et al. methods. Rt was also estimated using a transmission dynamics model (Rt Model-based ). Uncertainty and sensitivity analyses were conducted. Correlations between different Rt estimates were assessed by calculating correlation coefficients, and agreements between these estimates were assessed through Bland-Altman plots. RESULTS: Rt Empirical captured the evolution of the pandemic through three waves, public health response landmarks, effects of major social events, transient fluctuations coinciding with significant clusters of infection, and introduction and expansion of the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant. The various estimation methods produced consistent and overall comparable Rt Empirical estimates with generally large correlation coefficients. The Wallinga and Teunis method was the fastest at detecting changes in pandemic dynamics. Rt Empirical estimates were consistent whether using time series of symptomatic PCR-confirmed cases, all PCR-confirmed cases, acute-care hospital admissions, or ICU-care hospital admissions, to proxy trends in true infection incidence. Rt Model-based correlated strongly with Rt Empirical and provided an average Rt Empirical . CONCLUSIONS: Rt estimations were robust and generated consistent results regardless of the data source or the method of estimation. Findings affirmed an influential role for Rt estimations in guiding national responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, even in resource-limited settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Basic Reproduction Number , Humans , Pandemics , Qatar/epidemiology
15.
PLoS One ; 17(1): e0262897, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1662441

ABSTRACT

This study investigated the performance of a rapid point-of-care antibody test, the BioMedomics COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test, in comparison with a high-quality, validated, laboratory-based platform, the Roche Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay. Serological testing was conducted on 709 individuals. Concordance metrics were estimated. Logistic regression was used to assess associations with seropositivity. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 63.5% (450/709; 95% CI 59.8%-67.0%) using the BioMedomics assay and 71.9% (510/709; 95% CI 68.5%-75.2%) using the Elecsys assay. There were 60 discordant results between the two assays, all of which were seropositive in the Elecsys assay, but seronegative in the BioMedomics assay. Overall, positive, and negative percent agreements between the two assays were 91.5% (95% CI 89.2%-93.5%), 88.2% (95% CI 85.1%-90.9%), and 100% (95% CI 98.2%-100%), respectively, with a Cohen's kappa of 0.81 (95% CI 0.78-0.84). Excluding specimens with lower (Elecsys) antibody titers, the agreement improved with overall, positive, and negative percent concordance of 94.4% (95% CI 92.3%-96.1%), 91.8% (95% CI 88.8%-94.3%), and 100% (95% CI 98.2%-100%), respectively, and a Cohen's kappa of 0.88 (95% CI 0.85-0.90). Logistic regression confirmed better agreement with higher antibody titers. The BioMedomics COVID-19 IgM/IgG Rapid Test demonstrated good performance in measuring detectable antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, supporting the utility of such rapid point-of-care serological testing to guide the public health responses and vaccine prioritization.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Serological Testing , COVID-19/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/isolation & purification , Adult , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/genetics , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , Point-of-Care Testing , Qatar , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/blood , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Young Adult
16.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 532, 2022 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655582

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals and in those who had a prior infection have been observed globally, but the transmission potential of these infections is unknown. The RT-qPCR cycle threshold (Ct) value is inversely correlated with viral load and culturable virus. Here, we investigate differences in RT-qPCR Ct values across Qatar's national cohorts of primary infections, reinfections, BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) breakthrough infections, and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) breakthrough infections. Our matched-cohort analyses of the randomly diagnosed infections show higher mean Ct value in all cohorts of breakthrough infections compared to the cohort of primary infections in unvaccinated individuals. The Ct value is 1.3 (95% CI: 0.9-1.8) cycles higher for BNT162b2 breakthrough infections, 3.2 (95% CI: 1.9-4.5) cycles higher for mRNA-1273 breakthrough infections, and 4.0 (95% CI: 3.5-4.5) cycles higher for reinfections in unvaccinated individuals. Since Ct value correlates inversely with SARS-CoV-2 infectiousness, these differences imply that vaccine breakthrough infections and reinfections are less infectious than primary infections in unvaccinated individuals. Public health benefits of vaccination may have been underestimated, as COVID-19 vaccines not only protect against acquisition of infection, but also appear to protect against transmission of infection.


Subject(s)
/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Child , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Qatar/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination , Viral Load , Young Adult
17.
JAMA Intern Med ; 182(2): 197-205, 2022 02 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1592009

ABSTRACT

Importance: The Delta variant is now the predominant circulating SARS-CoV-2 strain worldwide. Severity of illness in persons infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant compared with the Beta variant is not known. Objective: To directly compare clinical outcomes in persons infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant vs those infected with the Beta variant in Qatar. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort study used data from the national COVID-19 database in Qatar, which includes information on all individuals who were ever tested for SARS-CoV-2 using a reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction test and all individuals who received any SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in Qatar. Among persons with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection between March 22 and July 7, 2021, those infected with the Delta variant were identified and were propensity score matched with control individuals infected with the Beta variant. The variants were ascertained by variant genotyping of the positive samples. Exposures: SARS-CoV-2 infection with the Delta or Beta variant. Main Outcomes and Measures: The main outcomes were admission to the hospital, admission to the intensive care unit, use of supplemental oxygen, use of high-flow oxygen, receipt of mechanical ventilation, or death among those infected with the Delta or Beta variant overall and stratified by vaccination status. Results: Among 1427 persons infected with the Delta variant (252 [55.9%] male; median age, 34 years [IQR, 17-43 years]) and 5353 persons infected with the Beta variant (233 [51.7%] male; median age, 34 years [IQR, 17-45 years]), 451 propensity score-matched pairs were identified. Persons infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized (27.3% [95% CI, 23.2%-31.6%] vs 20.0% [95% CI, 16.4-24.0]; P = .01) or to have mild-moderate or severe-critical disease outcomes (27.9% [95% CI, 23.8%-32.3%] vs 20.2% [95% CI, 16.6%-24.2%]; P = .01) compared with persons infected with the Beta variant. Infection with the Delta variant was independently associated with higher odds of experiencing any adverse outcome (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.53; 95% CI, 1.72-3.72). Compared with being unvaccinated, being vaccinated with a second dose more than 3 months before infection was associated with lower odds of any adverse outcome among persons infected with the Delta variant (aOR, 0.11; 95% CI, 0.04-0.26) and among those infected with the Beta variant (aOR, 0.22; 95% CI, 0.05-0.98). Protection was similar among those who received a second vaccine dose less than 3 months before infection, but having received only a single dose was not associated with a lower odds of any severe outcome among those infected with the Delta variant (aOR, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.41-3.06) or those infected with the Beta variant (aOR, 0.74; 95% CI, 0.20-2.72). Conclusions and Relevance: In this cohort study of persons with COVID-19 in Qatar, infection with the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant was associated with more severe disease than was infection with the Beta variant. Being unvaccinated was associated with greater odds of severe-critical disease.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Severity of Illness Index , Adult , Aged , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Qatar , Retrospective Studies
18.
PLoS Med ; 18(12): e1003879, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573611

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The epidemiology of the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 (or Alpha) variant is insufficiently understood. This study's objective was to describe the introduction and expansion of this variant in Qatar and to estimate the efficacy of natural infection against reinfection with this variant. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Reinfections with the B.1.1.7 variant and variants of unknown status were investigated in a national cohort of 158,608 individuals with prior PCR-confirmed infections and a national cohort of 42,848 antibody-positive individuals. Infections with B.1.1.7 and variants of unknown status were also investigated in a national comparator cohort of 132,701 antibody-negative individuals. B.1.1.7 was first identified in Qatar on 25 December 2020. Sudden, large B.1.1.7 epidemic expansion was observed starting on 18 January 2021, triggering the onset of epidemic's second wave, 7 months after the first wave. B.1.1.7 was about 60% more infectious than the original (wild-type) circulating variants. Among persons with a prior PCR-confirmed infection, the efficacy of natural infection against reinfection was estimated to be 97.5% (95% CI: 95.7% to 98.6%) for B.1.1.7 and 92.2% (95% CI: 90.6% to 93.5%) for variants of unknown status. Among antibody-positive persons, the efficacy of natural infection against reinfection was estimated to be 97.0% (95% CI: 92.5% to 98.7%) for B.1.1.7 and 94.2% (95% CI: 91.8% to 96.0%) for variants of unknown status. A main limitation of this study is assessment of reinfections based on documented PCR-confirmed reinfections, but other reinfections could have occurred and gone undocumented. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we observed that introduction of B.1.1.7 into a naïve population can create a major epidemic wave, but natural immunity in those previously infected was strongly associated with limited incidence of reinfection by B.1.1.7 or other variants.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Reinfection/epidemiology , Reinfection/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Basic Reproduction Number , Child , Female , Humans , Immunity, Innate , Male , Middle Aged , Models, Theoretical , Polymerase Chain Reaction , Qatar/epidemiology , Retrospective Studies , Time Factors , Young Adult
19.
J Clin Invest ; 131(23)2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546629

ABSTRACT

BackgroundSARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy is associated with a higher risk of pregnancy-related complications and neonatal respiratory distress and hospitalization. Effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in pregnant women is not known.MethodsAll women with confirmed pregnancy who presented to the national referral hospital in Qatar between December 20, 2020, and May 30, 2021, with at least 1 SARS-CoV-2 test and not testing prior to pregnancy were included. We determined the vaccine effectiveness of mRNA vaccines in preventing confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection during pregnancy using both cohort and test-negative case-control designs. Analyses were adjusted for age group, nationality, and gestational age.ResultsAmong 4534 pregnant women, there were 407 vaccinated and 407 unvaccinated women in the matched cohort analysis. Vaccine effectiveness was 87.6% (95%CI 44.1%-97.2%) at least 14 days after the second dose. There were 386 test-positive and 834 matched women in the test-negative case control analysis. Vaccine effectiveness was 86.8% (95%CI 47.5%-98.5%) at least 14 days after the second dose. Adjustment for age, nationality, and gestational age yielded similar results for both designs. In the test-negative analysis, vaccine effectiveness at least 14 days after the first dose but before the second dose was 40.8% (95% CI 0.0%-80.4%). Of the 386 test-positive pregnant women, 74 cases were Alpha variant, 163 cases were Beta variant, and 156 cases were variants of unknown status. There were 9 severe or critical disease cases and no deaths in the test-positive pregnant women, all of whom were unvaccinated.ConclusionThe mRNA vaccines provide a high level of protection against documented SARS-CoV-2 infection, which supports the inclusion of pregnant women in vaccination campaigns.FUNDINGHamad Medical Corporation, Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar, and the Ministry of Public Health Qatar.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination , Vaccines, Synthetic/administration & dosage , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , Female , Humans , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/immunology , Vaccines, Synthetic/adverse effects
20.
JAMA ; 326(19): 1930-1939, 2021 11 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1544170

ABSTRACT

Importance: The effect of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection on vaccine protection remains poorly understood. Objective: To assess protection from SARS-CoV-2 breakthrough infection after mRNA vaccination among persons with vs without prior SARS-CoV-2 infection. Design, Setting, and Participants: Matched-cohort studies in Qatar for the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines. A total of 1 531 736 individuals vaccinated with either vaccine between December 21, 2020, and September 19, 2021, were followed up beginning 14 days after receiving the second dose until September 19, 2021. Exposures: Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 vaccination. Main Outcomes and Measures: Incident SARS-CoV-2 infection, defined as a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-positive nasopharyngeal swab regardless of reason for PCR testing or presence of symptoms. Cumulative incidence was calculated using the Kaplan-Meier estimator method. Results: The BNT162b2-vaccinated cohort comprised 99 226 individuals with and 290 432 matched individuals without prior PCR-confirmed infection (median age, 37 years; 68% male). The mRNA-1273-vaccinated cohort comprised 58 096 individuals with and 169 514 matched individuals without prior PCR-confirmed infection (median age, 36 years; 73% male). Among BNT162b2-vaccinated persons, 159 reinfections occurred in those with and 2509 in those without prior infection 14 days or more after dose 2. Among mRNA-1273-vaccinated persons, 43 reinfections occurred in those with and 368 infections in those without prior infection. Cumulative infection incidence among BNT162b2-vaccinated individuals was an estimated 0.15% (95% CI, 0.12%-0.18%) in those with and 0.83% (95% CI, 0.79%-0.87%) in those without prior infection at 120 days of follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio for breakthrough infection with prior infection, 0.18 [95% CI, 0.15-0.21]; P < .001). Cumulative infection incidence among mRNA-1273-vaccinated individuals was an estimated 0.11% (95% CI, 0.08%-0.15%) in those with and 0.35% (95% CI, 0.32%-0.40%) in those without prior infection at 120 days of follow-up (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.35 [95% CI, 0.25-0.48]; P < .001). Vaccinated individuals with prior infection 6 months or more before dose 1 had statistically significantly lower risk for breakthrough infection than those vaccinated less than 6 months before dose 1 (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.42-0.92]; P = .02 for BNT162b2 and 0.40 [95% CI, 0.18-0.91]; P = .03 for mRNA-1273 vaccination). Conclusions and Relevance: Prior SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for breakthrough infection among individuals receiving the BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 vaccines in Qatar between December 21, 2020, and September 19, 2021. The observational study design precludes direct comparisons of infection risk between the 2 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19/complications , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Qatar
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