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1.
J Clin Pathol ; 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-2020140

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Serological tests are widely used in various medical disciplines for diagnostic and monitoring purposes. Unfortunately, the sensitivity and specificity of test systems are often poor, leaving room for false-positive and false-negative results. However, conventional methods were used to increase specificity and decrease sensitivity and vice versa. Using SARS-CoV-2 serology as an example, we propose here a novel testing strategy: the 'sensitivity improved two-test' or 'SIT(2)' algorithm. METHODS: SIT(2) involves confirmatory retesting of samples with results falling in a predefined retesting zone of an initial screening test, with adjusted cut-offs to increase sensitivity. We verified and compared the performance of SIT(2) to single tests and orthogonal testing (OTA) in an Austrian cohort (1117 negative, 64 post-COVID-positive samples) and validated the algorithm in an independent British cohort (976 negatives and 536 positives). RESULTS: The specificity of SIT(2) was superior to single tests and non-inferior to OTA. The sensitivity was maintained or even improved using SIT(2) when compared with single tests or OTA. SIT(2) allowed correct identification of infected individuals even when a live virus neutralisation assay could not detect antibodies. Compared with single testing or OTA, SIT(2) significantly reduced total test errors to 0.46% (0.24-0.65) or 1.60% (0.94-2.38) at both 5% or 20% seroprevalence. CONCLUSION: For SARS-CoV-2 serology, SIT(2) proved to be the best diagnostic choice at both 5% and 20% seroprevalence in all tested scenarios. It is an easy to apply algorithm and can potentially be helpful for the serology of other infectious diseases.

2.
Embase; 2021.
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-335728

ABSTRACT

There is strong evidence for brain-related abnormalities in COVID-191-13. It remains unknown however whether the impact of SARS-CoV-2 infection can be detected in milder cases, and whether this can reveal possible mechanisms contributing to brain pathology. Here, we investigated brain changes in 785 UK Biobank participants (aged 51-81) imaged twice, including 401 cases who tested positive for infection with SARS-CoV-2 between their two scans, with 141 days on average separating their diagnosis and second scan, and 384 controls. The availability of pre-infection imaging data reduces the likelihood of pre-existing risk factors being misinterpreted as disease effects. We identified significant longitudinal effects when comparing the two groups, including: (i) greater reduction in grey matter thickness and tissue-contrast in the orbitofrontal cortex and parahippocampal gyrus, (ii) greater changes in markers of tissue damage in regions functionally-connected to the primary olfactory cortex, and (iii) greater reduction in global brain size. The infected participants also showed on average larger cognitive decline between the two timepoints. Importantly, these imaging and cognitive longitudinal effects were still seen after excluding the 15 cases who had been hospitalised. These mainly limbic brain imaging results may be the in vivo hallmarks of a degenerative spread of the disease via olfactory pathways, of neuroinflammatory events, or of the loss of sensory input due to anosmia. Whether this deleterious impact can be partially reversed, or whether these effects will persist in the long term, remains to be investigated with additional follow up.

3.
Embase; 2021.
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-330530

ABSTRACT

We investigated anti-spike IgG antibody responses and correlates of protection following second doses of ChAdOx1 or BNT162b2 SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in the UK general population. In 222,493 individuals, we found significant boosting of anti-spike IgG by second doses of both vaccines in all ages and using different dosing intervals, including the 3-week interval for BNT162b2. After second vaccination, BNT162b2 generated higher peak levels than ChAdOX1. Older individuals and males had lower peak levels with BNT162b2 but not ChAdOx1, while declines were similar across ages and sexes with ChAdOX1 or BNT162b2. Prior infection significantly increased antibody peak level and half-life with both vaccines. Anti-spike IgG levels were associated with protection from infection after vaccination and, to an even greater degree, after prior infection. At least 67% protection against infection was estimated to last for 2-3 months after two ChAdOx1 doses and 5-8 months after two BNT162b2 doses in those without prior infection, and 1-2 years for those unvaccinated after natural infection. A third booster dose may be needed, prioritised to ChAdOx1 recipients and those more clinically vulnerable.

6.
Clin Radiol ; 77(2): 148-155, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1611681

ABSTRACT

AIM: To determine if there is a difference in radiological, biochemical, or clinical severity between patients infected with Alpha-variant SARS-CoV-2 compared with those infected with pre-existing strains, and to determine if the computed tomography (CT) severity score (CTSS) for COVID-19 pneumonitis correlates with clinical severity and can prognosticate outcomes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Blinded CTSS scoring was applied to 137 hospital patients who had undergone both CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) and whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 within 14 days of CTPA between 1/12/20-5/1/21. RESULTS: There was no evidence of a difference in imaging severity on CTPA, viral load, clinical parameters of severity, or outcomes between Alpha and preceding variants. CTSS on CTPA strongly correlates with clinical and biochemical severity at the time of CTPA, and with patient outcomes. Classifying CTSS into a binary value of "high" and "low", with a cut-off score of 14, patients with a high score have a significantly increased risk of deterioration, as defined by subsequent admission to critical care or death (multivariate hazard ratio [HR] 2.76, p<0.001), and hospital length of stay (17.4 versus 7.9 days, p<0.0001). CONCLUSION: There was no evidence of a difference in radiological severity of Alpha variant infection compared with pre-existing strains. High CTSS applied to CTPA is associated with increased risk of COVID-19 severity and poorer clinical outcomes and may be of use particularly in settings where CT is not performed for diagnosis of COVID-19 but rather is used following clinical deterioration.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnostic imaging , Computed Tomography Angiography , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Whole Genome Sequencing , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Cohort Studies , Critical Care , Female , Humans , Length of Stay , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , Time Factors , United Kingdom , Viral Load
7.
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education ; 52(2):110-116, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1341896
9.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology ; 58(1):e00963, 2020.
Article | WHO COVID | ID: covidwho-17602

ABSTRACT

Influenza is a major global public health threat as a result of its highly pathogenic variants, large zoonotic reservoir, and pandemic potential. Metagenomic viral sequencing offers the potential for a diagnostic test for influenza virus which also provides insights on transmission, evolution, and drug resistance and simultaneously detects other viruses. We therefore set out to apply the Oxford Nanopore Technologies sequencing method to metagenomic sequencing of respiratory samples. We generated influenza virus reads down to a limit of detection of 102 to 103 genome copies/ml in pooled samples, observing a strong relationship between the viral titer and the proportion of influenza virus reads (P=4.7×10-5). Applying our methods to clinical throat swabs, we generated influenza virus reads for 27/27 samples with mid-to-high viral titers (cycle threshold [CT] values, <30) and 6/13 samples with low viral titers (CT values, 30 to 40). No false-positive reads were generated from 10 influenza virus-negative samples. Thus, Nanopore sequencing operated with 83% sensitivity (95% confidence interval [CI], 67 to 93%) and 100% specificity (95% CI, 69 to 100%) compared to the current diagnostic standard. Coverage of full-length virus was dependent on sample composition, being negatively influenced by increased host and bacterial reads. However, at high influenza virus titers, we were able to reconstruct >99% complete sequences for all eight gene segments. We also detected a human coronavirus coinfection in one clinical sample. While further optimization is required to improve sensitivity, this approach shows promise for the Nanopore platform to be used in the diagnosis and genetic analysis of influenza virus and other respiratory viruses.

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