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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-323293

ABSTRACT

• Telephone interviews were conducted with 19 MACRO trial participants from 5 ENT sites across the UK. • Trial participants experienced mixed levels of communication during the COVID period and some felt uninformed about the trial status and their clinical situation. • Participants were most concerned about getting COVID through interactions with other patients in hospital settings. Conversely, there was a high level of trust in healthcare professionals. • Pre-visit COVID-safety information, minimising contact with other patients, and strict waiting room management can facilitate the restart of the MACRO trial from the patient perspective. • Patient confidence in trial participation is likely to continue improving with COVID vaccination roll out.

2.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317431

ABSTRACT

We sought to explore people’s perceptions of adhering to infection control behaviours in the home during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to increase our understanding of adherence, and to inform the adaptation of an online behavioural intervention called Germ Defence. Thirteen participants completed thinkaloud interviews. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The interviews were triangulated with open-ended survey data from 124 participants.Thematic analysis generated 7 themes;perceived risk, belief in the efficacy of protective behaviours, acceptability of the behaviours, having capacity to perform the behaviours, habit forming reduces effort involved in the behaviours, having the confidence to perform the behaviours, and social norms affecting motivation to engage in the behaviours. Behaviours such as isolating and social distancing at home were identified as less acceptable than cleaning and handwashing, influenced by the need for connection and intimacy with other household members. This was especially true in the absence of symptoms and when levels of perceived risk were low. People felt more empowered when they understood that even small changes, such as spending some time apart, were worthwhile in order to reduce exposure and lessen viral load.The current study provided valuable insight into the acceptability and feasibility of the protective behaviours, and how behavioural guidelines could be presented to the public during a pandemic. The findings were used to directly inform the optimisation of the Germ Defence intervention.

3.
BMJ Open ; 12(1): e048267, 2022 01 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1604369

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Up to 80% of patients with respiratory tract infections (RTI) attending healthcare facilities in rural areas of China are prescribed antibiotics, many of which are unnecessary. Since 2009, China has implemented several policies to try to reduce inappropriate antibiotic use; however, antibiotic prescribing remains high in rural health facilities. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: A cluster randomised controlled trial will be carried out to estimate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of a complex intervention in reducing antibiotic prescribing at township health centres in Anhui Province, China. 40 Township health centres will be randomised at a 1:1 ratio to the intervention or usual care arms. In the intervention group, practitioners will receive an intervention comprising: (1) training to support appropriate antibiotic prescribing for RTI, (2) a computer-based treatment decision support system, (3) virtual peer support, (4) a leaflet for patients and (5) a letter of commitment to optimise antibiotic use to display in their clinic. The primary outcome is the percentage of antibiotics (intravenous and oral) prescribed for RTI patients. Secondary outcomes include patient symptom severity and duration, recovery status, satisfaction, antibiotic consumption. A full economic evaluation will be conducted within the trial period. Costs and savings for both clinics and patients will be considered and quality of life will be measured by EuroQoL (EQ-5D-5L). A qualitative process evaluation will explore practitioner and patient views and experiences of trial processes, intervention fidelity and acceptability, and barriers and facilitators to implementation. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was obtained from the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee of Anhui Medical University (Ref: 20180259); the study has undergone due diligence checks and is registered at the University of Bristol (Ref: 2020-3137). Research findings will be disseminated to stakeholders through conferences and peer-reviewed journals in China, the UK and internationally. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN30652037.


Subject(s)
Anti-Bacterial Agents , Respiratory Tract Infections , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , China , Humans , Inappropriate Prescribing/prevention & control , Primary Health Care , Quality of Life , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy
4.
Br J Gen Pract ; 72(716): e217-e224, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608429

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is little evidence about the relationship between aetiology, illness severity, and clinical course of respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in primary care. Understanding these associations would aid in the development of effective management strategies for these infections. AIM: To investigate whether clinical presentation and illness course differ between RTIs where a viral pathogen was detected and those where a potential bacterial pathogen was found. DESIGN AND SETTING: Post hoc analysis of data from a pragmatic randomised trial on the effects of oseltamivir in patients with flu-like illness in primary care (n = 3266) in 15 European countries. METHOD: Patient characteristics and their signs and symptoms of disease were registered at baseline. Nasopharyngeal (adults) or nasal and pharyngeal (children) swabs were taken for polymerase chain reaction analysis. Patients were followed up until 28 days after inclusion. Regression models and Kaplan-Meier curves were used to analyse the relationship between aetiology, clinical presentation at baseline, and course of disease including complications. RESULTS: Except for a less prominent congested nose (odds ratio [OR] 0.55, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.35 to 0.86) and acute cough (OR 0.42, 95% CI = 0.27 to 0.65) in patients with flu-like illness in whom a possible bacterial pathogen was isolated, there were no clear clinical differences in presentations between those with a possible bacterial aetiology compared with those with a viral aetiology. Also, course of disease and complications were not related to aetiology. CONCLUSION: Given current available microbiological tests and antimicrobial treatments, and outside pandemics such as COVID-19, microbiological testing in primary care patients with flu-like illness seems to have limited value. A wait-and-see policy in most of these patients with flu-like illness seems the best option.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Respiratory Tract Infections , Virus Diseases , Adult , Child , Humans , Pandemics , Respiratory Tract Infections/diagnosis , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy , Respiratory Tract Infections/microbiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Virus Diseases/complications , Virus Diseases/diagnosis , Virus Diseases/epidemiology
5.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(2): e22197, 2021 02 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1573649

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: To control the COVID-19 pandemic, people should adopt protective behaviors at home (self-isolation, social distancing, putting shopping and packages aside, wearing face coverings, cleaning and disinfecting, and handwashing). There is currently limited support to help individuals conduct these behaviors. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to report current household infection control behaviors in the United Kingdom and examine how they might be improved. METHODS: This was a pragmatic cross-sectional observational study of anonymous participant data from Germ Defence between May 6-24, 2020. Germ Defence is an open-access fully automated website providing behavioral advice for infection control within households. A total of 28,285 users sought advice from four website pathways based on household status (advice to protect themselves generally, to protect others if the user was showing symptoms, to protect themselves if household members were showing symptoms, and to protect a household member who is at high risk). Users reported current infection control behaviors within the home and intentions to change these behaviors. RESULTS: Current behaviors varied across all infection control measures but were between sometimes (face covering: mean 1.61, SD 1.19; social distancing: mean 2.40, SD 1.22; isolating: mean 2.78, SD 1.29; putting packages and shopping aside: mean 2.75, SD 1.55) and quite often (cleaning and disinfecting: mean 3.17, SD 1.18), except for handwashing (very often: mean 4.00, SD 1.03). Behaviors were similar regardless of the website pathway used. After using Germ Defence, users recorded intentions to improve infection control behavior across all website pathways and for all behaviors (overall average infection control score mean difference 0.30, 95% CI 0.29-0.31). CONCLUSIONS: Self-reported infection control behaviors other than handwashing are lower than is optimal for infection prevention, although handwashing is much higher. Advice using behavior change techniques in Germ Defence led to intentions to improve these behaviors. Promoting Germ Defence within national and local public health and primary care guidance could reduce COVID-19 transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Infection Control/methods , Internet-Based Intervention , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Family Characteristics , Health Behavior , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , United Kingdom/epidemiology
6.
BMJ Open ; 11(12): e056161, 2021 12 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546533

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: We sought to explore people's experiences and perceptions of implementing infection control behaviours in the home during the COVID-19 pandemic, guided by an online behavioural intervention. DESIGN: Inductive qualitative study. SETTING: UK public during the COVID-19 pandemic. PARTICIPANTS: Thirteen people took part in telephone interviews, and 124 completed a qualitative open-text survey. All were recruited from the public. Most survey participants were aged over 60 years, while interview participants were more distributed in age. Most reported being at increased risk from COVID-19, and were white British. INTERVENTION: Online behavioural intervention to support infection control behaviours in the home during the COVID-19 pandemic. DATA COLLECTION: Telephone think-aloud interviews and qualitative survey data. DATA ANALYSIS: The think-aloud interview data and qualitative survey data were analysed independently using inductive thematic analysis. The findings were subsequently triangulated. RESULTS: Thematic analysis of the telephone interviews generated seven themes: perceived risk; belief in the effectiveness of protective behaviours; acceptability of distancing and isolation; having capacity to perform the behaviours; habit forming reduces effort; having the confidence to perform the behaviours; and social norms affect motivation to engage in the behaviours. The themes identified from the survey data mapped well onto the interview analysis. Isolating and social distancing at home were less acceptable than cleaning and handwashing, influenced by the need for intimacy with household members. This was especially true in the absence of symptoms and when perceived risk was low. People felt more empowered when they understood that even small changes, such as spending some time apart, were worthwhile to reduce exposure and lessen viral load. CONCLUSIONS: The current study provided valuable insight into the acceptability and feasibility of protective behaviours, and how public health guidance could be incorporated into a behaviour change intervention for the public during a pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Aged , Humans , Infection Control , Pandemics/prevention & control , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2
7.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(10): e26104, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463394

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Washing hands helps prevent transmission of seasonal and pandemic respiratory viruses. In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) during the swine flu outbreak, participants with access to a fully automated, digital intervention promoting handwashing reported washing their hands more often and experienced fewer respiratory tract infections than those without access to the intervention. Based on these findings, the intervention was adapted, renamed as "Germ Defence," and a study was designed to assess the preliminary dissemination of the intervention to the general public to help prevent the spread of seasonal colds and flu. OBJECTIVE: This study compares the process evaluations of the RCT and Germ Defence dissemination to examine (1) how web-based research enrollment procedures affected those who used the intervention, (2) intervention usage in the 2 contexts, and (3) whether increased intentions to wash hands are replicated once disseminated. METHODS: The RCT ran between 2010 and 2012 recruiting participants offline from general practices, with restricted access to the intervention (N=9155). Germ Defence was disseminated as an open access website for use by the general public from 2016 to 2019 (N=624). The process evaluation plan was developed using Medical Research Council guidance and the framework for Analyzing and Measuring Usage and Engagement Data. Both interventions contained a goal-setting section where users self-reported current and intended handwashing behavior across 7 situations. RESULTS: During web-based enrolment, 54.3% (17,511/32,250) of the RCT participants dropped out of the study compared to 36.5% (358/982) of Germ Defence users. Having reached the start of the intervention, 93.8% (8586/9155) of RCT users completed the core section, whereas 65.1% (406/624) of Germ Defence users reached the same point. Users across both studies selected to increase their handwashing in 5 out of 7 situations, including before eating snacks (RCT mean difference 1.040, 95% CI 1.016-1.063; Germ Defence mean difference 0.949, 95% CI 0.766-1.132) and after blowing their nose, sneezing, or coughing (RCT mean difference 0.995, 95% CI 0.972-1.019; Germ Defence mean difference 0.842, 95% CI 0.675-1.008). CONCLUSIONS: By comparing the preliminary dissemination of Germ Defence to the RCT, we were able to examine the potential effects of the research procedures on uptake and attrition such as the sizeable dropout during the RCT enrolment procedure that may have led to a more motivated sample. The Germ Defence study highlighted the points of attrition within the intervention. Despite sample bias in the trial context, the intervention replicated increases in intentions to handwash when used "in the wild." This preliminary dissemination study informed the adaptation of the intervention for the COVID-19 health emergency, and it has now been disseminated globally. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN75058295; https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN75058295.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Internet-Based Intervention , Hand Disinfection , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Open Forum Infect Dis ; 8(10): ofab440, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1462456

ABSTRACT

Fatigue is a dominant feature of both acute and convalescent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) (sometimes termed "long-COVID"), with up to 46% of patients reporting fatigue that lasts from weeks to months. The investigators of the international Collaborative on Fatigue Following Infection (COFFI) conducted a systematic review of post-COVID fatigue and a narrative review on fatigue after other infections, and made recommendations for clinical and research approaches to assessing fatigue after COVID-19. In the majority of COVID-19 cohort studies, persistent fatigue was reported by a significant minority of patients, ranging from 13% to 33% at 16-20 weeks post-symptom onset. Data from the prospective cohort studies in COFFI and others indicate that fatigue is also a prevalent outcome from many acute systemic infections, notably infectious mononucleosis, with a case rate for clinically significant Post-infective fatigue after exclusion of recognized medical and psychiatric causes, ranging from 10%-35% at 6 months. To better characterize post-COVID fatigue, the COFFI investigators recommend the following: application of validated screening questionnaires for case detection; standardized interviews encompassing fatigue, mood, and other symptoms; and investigative approaches to identify end-organ damage and mental health conditions.

9.
Lancet ; 398(10309): 1417-1426, 2021 10 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1432164

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antibiotic resistance is a global public health threat. Antibiotics are very commonly prescribed for children presenting with uncomplicated lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs), but there is little evidence from randomised controlled trials of the effectiveness of antibiotics, both overall or among key clinical subgroups. In ARTIC PC, we assessed whether amoxicillin reduces the duration of moderately bad symptoms in children presenting with uncomplicated (non-pneumonic) LRTI in primary care, overall and in key clinical subgroups. METHODS: ARTIC PC was a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial done at 56 general practices in England. Eligible children were those aged 6 months to 12 years presenting in primary care with acute uncomplicated LRTI judged to be infective in origin, where pneumonia was not suspected clinically, with symptoms for less than 21 days. Patients were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive amoxicillin 50 mg/kg per day or placebo oral suspension, in three divided doses orally for 7 days. Patients and investigators were masked to treatment assignment. The primary outcome was the duration of symptoms rated moderately bad or worse (measured using a validated diary) for up to 28 days or until symptoms resolved. The primary outcome and safety were assessed in the intention-to-treat population. The trial is registered with the ISRCTN Registry (ISRCTN79914298). FINDINGS: Between Nov 9, 2016, and March 17, 2020, 432 children (not including six who withdrew permission for use of their data after randomisation) were randomly assigned to the antibiotics group (n=221) or the placebo group (n=211). Complete data for symptom duration were available for 317 (73%) patients; missing data were imputed for the primary analysis. Median durations of moderately bad or worse symptoms were similar between the groups (5 days [IQR 4-11] in the antibiotics group vs 6 days [4-15] in the placebo group; hazard ratio [HR] 1·13 [95% CI 0·90-1·42]). No differences were seen for the primary outcome between the treatment groups in the five prespecified clinical subgroups (patients with chest signs, fever, physician rating of unwell, sputum or chest rattle, and short of breath). Estimates from complete-case analysis and a per-protocol analysis were similar to the imputed data analysis. INTERPRETATION: Amoxicillin for uncomplicated chest infections in children is unlikely to be clinically effective either overall or for key subgroups in whom antibiotics are commonly prescribed. Unless pneumonia is suspected, clinicians should provide safety-netting advice but not prescribe antibiotics for most children presenting with chest infections. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research.


Subject(s)
Amoxicillin/therapeutic use , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , Respiratory Tract Infections/drug therapy , Administration, Oral , Amoxicillin/administration & dosage , Anti-Bacterial Agents/administration & dosage , Child , Child, Preschool , Double-Blind Method , England , Female , Humans , Infant , Male , Primary Health Care , Treatment Outcome
10.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(10): e26104, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1406787

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Washing hands helps prevent transmission of seasonal and pandemic respiratory viruses. In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) during the swine flu outbreak, participants with access to a fully automated, digital intervention promoting handwashing reported washing their hands more often and experienced fewer respiratory tract infections than those without access to the intervention. Based on these findings, the intervention was adapted, renamed as "Germ Defence," and a study was designed to assess the preliminary dissemination of the intervention to the general public to help prevent the spread of seasonal colds and flu. OBJECTIVE: This study compares the process evaluations of the RCT and Germ Defence dissemination to examine (1) how web-based research enrollment procedures affected those who used the intervention, (2) intervention usage in the 2 contexts, and (3) whether increased intentions to wash hands are replicated once disseminated. METHODS: The RCT ran between 2010 and 2012 recruiting participants offline from general practices, with restricted access to the intervention (N=9155). Germ Defence was disseminated as an open access website for use by the general public from 2016 to 2019 (N=624). The process evaluation plan was developed using Medical Research Council guidance and the framework for Analyzing and Measuring Usage and Engagement Data. Both interventions contained a goal-setting section where users self-reported current and intended handwashing behavior across 7 situations. RESULTS: During web-based enrolment, 54.3% (17,511/32,250) of the RCT participants dropped out of the study compared to 36.5% (358/982) of Germ Defence users. Having reached the start of the intervention, 93.8% (8586/9155) of RCT users completed the core section, whereas 65.1% (406/624) of Germ Defence users reached the same point. Users across both studies selected to increase their handwashing in 5 out of 7 situations, including before eating snacks (RCT mean difference 1.040, 95% CI 1.016-1.063; Germ Defence mean difference 0.949, 95% CI 0.766-1.132) and after blowing their nose, sneezing, or coughing (RCT mean difference 0.995, 95% CI 0.972-1.019; Germ Defence mean difference 0.842, 95% CI 0.675-1.008). CONCLUSIONS: By comparing the preliminary dissemination of Germ Defence to the RCT, we were able to examine the potential effects of the research procedures on uptake and attrition such as the sizeable dropout during the RCT enrolment procedure that may have led to a more motivated sample. The Germ Defence study highlighted the points of attrition within the intervention. Despite sample bias in the trial context, the intervention replicated increases in intentions to handwash when used "in the wild." This preliminary dissemination study informed the adaptation of the intervention for the COVID-19 health emergency, and it has now been disseminated globally. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN75058295; https://www.isrctn.com/ISRCTN75058295.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Internet-Based Intervention , Hand Disinfection , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2
11.
BMJ Open ; 11(8): e053876, 2021 08 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376514

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Acne is one of the most common inflammatory skin diseases worldwide and can have significant psychosocial impact and cause permanent scarring. Spironolactone, a potassium-sparing diuretic, has antiandrogenic properties, potentially reducing sebum production and hyperkeratinisation in acne-prone follicles. Dermatologists have prescribed spironolactone for acne in women for over 30 years, but robust clinical study data are lacking. This study seeks to evaluate whether spironolactone is clinically effective and cost-effective in treating acne in women. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Women (≥18 years) with persistent facial acne requiring systemic therapy are randomised to receive one tablet per day of 50 mg spironolactone or a matched placebo until week 6, increasing to up to two tablets per day (total of 100 mg spironolactone or matched placebo) until week 24, along with usual topical therapy if desired. Study treatment stops at week 24; participants are informed of their treatment allocation and enter an unblinded observational follow-up period for up to 6 months (up to week 52 after baseline). Primary outcome is the Acne-specific Quality of Life (Acne-QoL) symptom subscale score at week 12. Secondary outcomes include Acne-QoL total and subscales; participant acne self-assessment recorded on a 6-point Likert scale at 6, 12, 24 weeks and up to 52 weeks; Investigator's Global Assessment at weeks 6 and 12; cost and cost effectiveness are assessed over 24 weeks. Aiming to detect a group difference of 2 points on the Acne-QoL symptom subscale (SD 5.8, effect size 0.35), allowing for 20% loss to follow-up, gives a sample size of 398 participants. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This protocol was approved by Wales Research Ethics Committee (18/WA/0420). Follow-up to be completed in early 2022. Findings will be disseminated to participants, peer-reviewed journals, networks and patient groups, on social media, on the study website and the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit website to maximise impact. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN12892056;Pre-results.


Subject(s)
Acne Vulgaris , Spironolactone , Acne Vulgaris/drug therapy , Adult , Clinical Trials, Phase III as Topic , Double-Blind Method , Female , Humans , Quality of Life , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Spironolactone/therapeutic use , Treatment Outcome
13.
BMC Public Health ; 21(1): 1180, 2021 06 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1274543

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Digital interventions have potential to efficiently support improved hygiene practices to reduce transmission of COVID-19. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the evidence for digital interventions to improve hygiene practices within the community. METHODS: We reviewed articles published between 01 January 2000 and 26 May 2019 that presented a controlled trial of a digital intervention to improve hygiene behaviours in the community. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Cochrane Controlled Register of Trials (CENTRAL), China National Knowledge Infrastructure and grey literature. Trials in hospitals were excluded, as were trials aiming at prevention of sexually transmitted infections; only target diseases with transmission mechanisms similar to COVID-19 (e.g. respiratory and gastrointestinal infections) were included. Trials had to evaluate a uniquely digital component of an intervention. Study designs were limited to randomised controlled trials, controlled before-and-after trials, and interrupted time series analyses. Outcomes could be either incidence of infections or change in hygiene behaviours. The Risk of Bias 2 tool was used to assess study quality. RESULTS: We found seven studies that met the inclusion criteria. Six studies reported successfully improving self-reported hygiene behaviour or health outcomes, but only one of these six trials, Germ Defence, confirmed improvements using objective measures (reduced consultations and antibiotic prescriptions). Settings included kindergartens, workplaces, and service station restrooms. Modes of delivery were diverse: WeChat, website, text messages, audio messages to mobiles, electronic billboards, and electronic personal care records. Four interventions targeted parents of young children with educational materials. Two targeted the general population; these also used behaviour change techniques or theory to inform the intervention. Only one trial had low risk of bias, Germ Defence; the most common concerns were lack of information about the randomisation, possible bias in reporting of behavioural outcomes, and lack of an analysis plan and possible selective reporting of results. CONCLUSION: There was only one trial that was judged to be at low risk of bias, Germ Defence, which reduced incidence and severity of illness, as confirmed by objective measures. Further evaluation is required to determine the effectiveness of the other interventions reviewed. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PROSPERO CRD42020189919 .


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Parents , Adult , Child , China , Health Behavior , Health Education , Humans , Incidence , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Front Public Health ; 9: 668197, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1226995

ABSTRACT

Background: A rigorous approach is needed to inform rapid adaptation and optimisation of behavioral interventions in evolving public health contexts, such as the Covid-19 pandemic. This helps ensure that interventions are relevant, persuasive, and feasible while remaining evidence-based. This paper provides a set of iterative methods to rapidly adapt and optimize an intervention during implementation. These methods are demonstrated through the example of optimizing an effective online handwashing intervention called Germ Defense. Methods: Three revised versions of the intervention were rapidly optimized and launched within short timeframes of 1-2 months. Optimisations were informed by: regular stakeholder engagement; emerging scientific evidence, and changing government guidance; rapid qualitative research (telephone think-aloud interviews and open-text surveys), and analyses of usage data. All feedback was rapidly collated, using the Table of Changes method from the Person-Based Approach to prioritize potential optimisations in terms of their likely impact on behavior change. Written feedback from stakeholders on each new iteration of the intervention also informed specific optimisations of the content. Results: Working closely with clinical stakeholders ensured that the intervention was clinically accurate, for example, confirming that information about transmission and exposure was consistent with evidence. Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) contributors identified important clarifications to intervention content, such as whether Covid-19 can be transmitted via air as well as surfaces, and ensured that information about difficult behaviors (such as self-isolation) was supportive and feasible. Iterative updates were made in line with emerging evidence, including changes to the information about face-coverings and opening windows. Qualitative research provided insights into barriers to engaging with the intervention and target behaviors, with open-text surveys providing a useful supplement to detailed think-aloud interviews. Usage data helped identify common points of disengagement, which guided decisions about optimisations. The Table of Changes was modified to facilitate rapid collation and prioritization of multiple sources of feedback to inform optimisations. Engagement with PPI informed the optimisation process. Conclusions: Rapid optimisation methods of this kind may in future be used to help improve the speed and efficiency of adaptation, optimization, and implementation of interventions, in line with calls for more rapid, pragmatic health research methods.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Public Health , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2
15.
Trials ; 22(1): 263, 2021 Apr 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1175339

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To examine the effectiveness of randomising dissemination of the Germ Defence behaviour change website via GP practices across England UK. TRIAL DESIGN: A two-arm (1:1 ratio) cluster randomised controlled trial implementing Germ Defence via GP practices compared with usual care. PARTICIPANTS: Setting: All Primary care GP practices in England. PARTICIPANTS: All patients aged 16 years and over who were granted access by participating GP practices. INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: Intervention: We will ask staff at GP practices randomised to the intervention arm to share the weblink to Germ Defence with all adult patients registered at their practice during the 4-month trial implementation period and care will otherwise follow current standard management. Germ Defence is an interactive website ( http://GermDefence.org/ ) employing behaviour change techniques and practical advice on how to reduce the spread of infection in the home. The coronavirus version of Germ Defence helps people understand what measures to take and when to take them to avoid infection. This includes hand washing, avoiding sharing rooms and surfaces, dealing with deliveries and ventilating rooms. Using behaviour change techniques, it helps users think through and adopt better home hygiene habits and find ways to solve any barriers, providing personalised goal setting and tailored advice that fits users' personal circumstances and problem solving to overcome barriers. Comparator: Patients at GP practices randomised to the usual care arm will receive current standard management for the 4-month trial period after which we will ask staff to share the link to Germ Defence with all adult patients registered at their practice. MAIN OUTCOMES: The primary outcome is the effects of implementing Germ Defence on prevalence of all respiratory tract infection diagnoses during the 4-month trial implementation period. The secondary outcomes are: 1) incidence of COVID-19 diagnoses 2) incidence of COVID-19 symptom presentation 3) incidence of gastrointestinal infections 4) number of primary care consultations 5) antibiotic usage 6) hospital admissions 7) uptake of GP practices disseminating Germ Defence to their patients 8) usage of the Germ Defence website by individuals who were granted access by their GP practice RANDOMISATION: GP practices will be randomised on a 1:1 basis by the independent Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration (BRTC). Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs) in England will be divided into blocks according to region, and equal numbers in each block will be randomly allocated to intervention or usual care. The randomisation schedule will be generated in Stata statistical software by a statistician not otherwise involved in the enrolment of general practices into the study. BLINDING (MASKING): The principal investigators, the statistician and study collaborators will remain blinded from the identity of randomised practices until the end of the study. NUMBERS TO BE RANDOMISED (SAMPLE SIZE): To detect planned effect size (based on PRIMIT trial, Little et al, 2015): 11.1 million respondents from 6822 active GP practices. Assuming 25% of these GP practices will engage, we will contact all GP practices in England spread across 135 Clinical Commissioning Groups. TRIAL STATUS: Protocol version 2.0, dated 13 January 2021. Implementation is ongoing. The implementation period started on 10 November 2020 and will end on 10 March 2021. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This trial was registered in the ISRCTN registry ( isrctn.com/ ISRCTN14602359 ) on 12 August 2020. FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Health Behavior , Pandemics , Adult , England/epidemiology , General Practice , Humans , Internet , Primary Health Care , Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic , Treatment Outcome
16.
Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol ; 128(2): 204-212, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-919229

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, utilizes a viral membrane spike protein for host cell entry. For the virus to engage in host membrane fusion, SARS-CoV-2 utilizes the human transmembrane surface protease, TMPRSS2, to cleave and activate the spike protein. Camostat mesylate, an orally available well-known serine protease inhibitor, is a potent inhibitor of TMPRSS2 and has been hypothesized as a potential antiviral drug against COVID-19. In vitro human cell and animal studies have shown that camostat mesylate inhibits virus-cell membrane fusion and hence viral replication. In mice, camostat mesylate treatment during acute infection with influenza, also dependent on TMPRSS2, leads to a reduced viral load. The decreased viral load may be associated with an improved patient outcome. Because camostat mesylate is administered as an oral drug, it may be used in outpatients as well as inpatients at all disease stages of SARS-CoV-2 infection if it is shown to be an effective antiviral agent. Clinical trials are currently ongoing to test whether this well-known drug could be repurposed and utilized to combat the current pandemic. In the following, we will review current knowledge on camostat mesylate mode of action, potential benefits as an antiviral agent and ongoing clinical trials.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Esters/therapeutic use , Guanidines/therapeutic use , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/therapeutic use , Animals , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Antiviral Agents/adverse effects , Drug Repositioning , Esters/administration & dosage , Esters/adverse effects , Guanidines/administration & dosage , Guanidines/adverse effects , Humans , Mice , Patient Safety , Serine Endopeptidases/drug effects , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/administration & dosage , Serine Proteinase Inhibitors/adverse effects
17.
BMJ Open ; 10(9): e040644, 2020 09 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-767942

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To review evidence on routinely prescribed drugs in the UK that could upregulate or downregulate ACE2 and potentially affect COVID-19 disease. DESIGN: Systematic review. DATA SOURCE: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library and Web of Science. STUDY SELECTION: Any design with animal or human models examining a currently prescribed UK drug compared with a control, placebo or sham group, and reporting an effect on ACE2 level, activity or gene expression. DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, Web of Science and OpenGrey from inception to 1 April 2020. Methodological quality was assessed using the SYstematic Review Centre for Laboratory animal Experimentation (SYRCLE) risk-of-bias tool for animal studies and Cochrane risk-of-bias tool for human studies. RESULTS: We screened 3360 titles and included 112 studies with 21 different drug classes identified as influencing ACE2 activity. Ten studies were in humans and one hundred and two were in animal models None examined ACE2 in human lungs. The most frequently examined drugs were angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) (n=55) and ACE inhibitors (ACE-I) (n=22). More studies reported upregulation than downregulation with ACE-I (n=22), ARBs (n=55), insulin (n=8), thiazolidinedione (n=7) aldosterone agonists (n=3), statins (n=5), oestrogens (n=5) calcium channel blockers (n=3) glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonists (n=2) and Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) (n=2). CONCLUSIONS: There is an abundance of the academic literature and media reports on the potential of drugs that could attenuate or exacerbate COVID-19 disease. This is leading to trials of repurposed drugs and uncertainty among patients and clinicians concerning continuation or cessation of prescribed medications. Our review indicates that the impact of currently prescribed drugs on ACE2 has been poorly studied in vivo, particularly in human lungs where the SARS-CoV-2 virus appears to enact its pathogenic effects. We found no convincing evidence to justify starting or stopping currently prescribed drugs to influence outcomes of COVID-19 disease.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists/pharmacology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology , Calcium Channel Blockers/pharmacology , Coronavirus Infections , Estrogens/pharmacology , Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors/pharmacology , Hypoglycemic Agents/pharmacology , Pandemics , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/drug effects , Pneumonia, Viral , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2 , Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal/pharmacology , Betacoronavirus/metabolism , COVID-19 , Down-Regulation , Glucagon-Like Peptide 1/agonists , Humans , Insulin/pharmacology , Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists/pharmacology , Peptidyl-Dipeptidase A/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2 , Thiazolidinediones/pharmacology , United Kingdom , Up-Regulation
18.
BJGP Open ; 4(3)2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-651856

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 virus causing COVID-19 binds human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptors in human tissues. ACE2 expression may be associated with COVID-19 infection and mortality rates. Routinely prescribed drugs that up- or down-regulate ACE2 expression are, therefore, of critical research interest as agents that might promote or reduce risk of COVID-19 infection in a susceptible population. AIM: To collate evidence on routinely prescribed drug treatments in the UK that could up- or down-regulate ACE2, and thus potentially affect COVID-19 infection. DESIGN & SETTING: Systematic review of studies published in MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), the Cochrane Library, and Web of Science from inception to 1 April 2020. METHOD: A systematic review will be conducted in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. Inclusion criteria will be: (1) assesses the effect of drug exposure on ACE2 level of expression or activity; (2) the drug is included in the British National Formulary (BNF) and, therefore, available to prescribe in the UK; and (3) a control, placebo, or sham group is included as comparator. Exclusion criteria will be: (1) ACE2 measurement in utero; (2) ACE2 measurement in children aged <18 years; (3) drug not in the BNF; and (4) review article. Quality will be assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias tool for human studies, and the SYstematic Review Center for Laboratory animal Experimentation (SYRCLE) risk of bias tool for animal studies. RESULTS: Data will be reported in summary tables and narrative synthesis. CONCLUSION: This systematic review will identify drug therapies that may increase or decrease ACE2 expression. This might identify medications increasing risk of COVID-19 transmission, or as targets for intervention in mitigating transmission.

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