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1.
Commun Med (Lond) ; 2: 54, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1852523

ABSTRACT

Background: The infection fatality ratio (IFR) is a key statistic for estimating the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and has been continuously debated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The age-specific IFR can be quantified using antibody surveys to estimate total infections, but requires consideration of delay-distributions from time from infection to seroconversion, time to death, and time to seroreversion (i.e. antibody waning) alongside serologic test sensitivity and specificity. Previous IFR estimates have not fully propagated uncertainty or accounted for these potential biases, particularly seroreversion. Methods: We built a Bayesian statistical model that incorporates these factors and applied this model to simulated data and 10 serologic studies from different countries. Results: We demonstrate that seroreversion becomes a crucial factor as time accrues but is less important during first-wave, short-term dynamics. We additionally show that disaggregating surveys by regions with higher versus lower disease burden can inform serologic test specificity estimates. The overall IFR in each setting was estimated at 0.49-2.53%. Conclusion: We developed a robust statistical framework to account for full uncertainties in the parameters determining IFR. We provide code for others to apply these methods to further datasets and future epidemics.

2.
Nat Med ; 2022 May 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830084

ABSTRACT

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Gamma variant of concern has spread rapidly across Brazil since late 2020, causing substantial infection and death waves. Here we used individual-level patient records after hospitalization with suspected or confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) between 20 January 2020 and 26 July 2021 to document temporary, sweeping shocks in hospital fatality rates that followed the spread of Gamma across 14 state capitals, during which typically more than half of hospitalized patients aged 70 years and older died. We show that such extensive shocks in COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates also existed before the detection of Gamma. Using a Bayesian fatality rate model, we found that the geographic and temporal fluctuations in Brazil's COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates were primarily associated with geographic inequities and shortages in healthcare capacity. We estimate that approximately half of the COVID-19 deaths in hospitals in the 14 cities could have been avoided without pre-pandemic geographic inequities and without pandemic healthcare pressure. Our results suggest that investments in healthcare resources, healthcare optimization and pandemic preparedness are critical to minimize population-wide mortality and morbidity caused by highly transmissible and deadly pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

3.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317173

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant was first identified in the state of Maharashtra in late 2020 and has spread throughout India, displacing the B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant and other pre-existing lineages. Mathematical modelling indicates that the growth advantage is most likely explained by a combination of increased transmissibility and immune evasion. Indeed in vitro, the delta variant is less sensitive to neutralising antibodies in sera from recovered individuals, with higher replication efficiency as compared to the Alpha variant. In an analysis of vaccine breakthrough in over 100 healthcare workers across three centres in India, the Delta variant not only dominates vaccine-breakthrough infections with higher respiratory viral loads compared to non-delta infections (Ct value of 16.5 versus 19), but also generates greater transmission between HCW as compared to B.1.1.7 or B.1.617.1 (p=0.02). In vitro, the Delta variant shows 8 fold approximately reduced sensitivity to vaccine-elicited antibodies compared to wild type Wuhan-1 bearing D614G. Serum neutralising titres against the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant were significantly lower in participants vaccinated with ChadOx-1 as compared to BNT162b2 (GMT 3372 versus 654, p<0001). These combined epidemiological and in vitro data indicate that the dominance of the Delta variant in India has been most likely driven by a combination of evasion of neutralising antibodies in previously infected individuals and increased virus infectivity. Whilst severe disease in fully vaccinated HCW was rare, breakthrough transmission clusters in hospitals associated with the Delta variant are concerning and indicate that infection control measures need continue in the post-vaccination era.

4.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-317127

ABSTRACT

Renewal processes are a popular approach used in modelling infectious disease outbreaks. In a renewal process, previous infections give rise to future infections. However, while this formulation seems sensible, its application to infectious disease can be difficult to justify from first principles. It has been shown from the seminal work of Bellman and Harris that the renewal equation arises as the expectation of an age-dependent branching process. In this paper we provide a detailed derivation of the original Bellman Harris process. We introduce generalisations, that allow for time-varying reproduction numbers and the accounting of exogenous events, such as importations. We show how inference on the renewal equation is easy to accomplish within a Bayesian hierarchical framework. Using off the shelf MCMC packages, we fit to South Korea COVID-19 case data to estimate reproduction numbers and importations. Our derivation provides the mathematical fundamentals and assumptions underpinning the use of the renewal equation for modelling outbreaks.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312148

ABSTRACT

Model selection is a fundamental part of the applied Bayesian statistical methodology. Metrics such as the Akaike Information Criterion are commonly used in practice to select models but do not incorporate the uncertainty of the models' parameters and can give misleading choices. One approach that uses the full posterior distribution is to compute the ratio of two models' normalising constants, known as the Bayes factor. Often in realistic problems, this involves the integration of analytically intractable, high-dimensional distributions, and therefore requires the use of stochastic methods such as thermodynamic integration (TI). In this paper we apply a variation of the TI method, referred to as referenced TI, which computes a single model's normalising constant in an efficient way by using a judiciously chosen reference density. The advantages of the approach and theoretical considerations are set out, along with explicit pedagogical 1 and 2D examples. Benchmarking is presented with comparable methods and we find favourable convergence performance. The approach is shown to be useful in practice when applied to a real problem - to perform model selection for a semi-mechanistic hierarchical Bayesian model of COVID-19 transmission in South Korea involving the integration of a 200D density.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-312147

ABSTRACT

Updating observations of a signal due to the delays in the measurement process is a common problem in signal processing, with prominent examples in a wide range of fields. An important example of this problem is the nowcasting of COVID-19 mortality: given a stream of reported counts of daily deaths, can we correct for the delays in reporting to paint an accurate picture of the present, with uncertainty? Without this correction, raw data will often mislead by suggesting an improving situation. We present a flexible approach using a latent Gaussian process that is capable of describing the changing auto-correlation structure present in the reporting time-delay surface. This approach also yields robust estimates of uncertainty for the estimated nowcasted numbers of deaths. We test assumptions in model specification such as the choice of kernel or hyper priors, and evaluate model performance on a challenging real dataset from Brazil. Our experiments show that Gaussian process nowcasting performs favourably against both comparable methods, and against a small sample of expert human predictions. Our approach has substantial practical utility in disease modelling -- by applying our approach to COVID-19 mortality data from Brazil, where reporting delays are large, we can make informative predictions on important epidemiological quantities such as the current effective reproduction number.

7.
EuropePMC; 2020.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-310525

ABSTRACT

Following the emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and its spread outside of China, Europe has experienced large epidemics. In response, many European countries have implemented unprecedented non-pharmaceutical interventions including case isolation, the closure of schools and universities, banning of mass gatherings and/or public events, and most recently, wide-scale social distancing including local and national lockdowns. In this technical update, we extend a semi-mechanistic Bayesian hierarchical model that infers the impact of these interventions and estimates the number of infections over time. Our methods assume that changes in the reproductive number - a measure of transmission - are an immediate response to these interventions being implemented rather than broader gradual changes in behaviour. Our model estimates these changes by calculating backwards from temporal data on observed to estimate the number of infections and rate of transmission that occurred several weeks prior, allowing for a probabilistic time lag between infection and death. In this update we extend our original model [Flaxman, Mishra, Gandy et al 2020, Report #13, Imperial College London] to include (a) population saturation effects, (b) prior uncertainty on the infection fatality ratio, (c) a more balanced prior on intervention effects and (d) partial pooling of the lockdown intervention covariate. We also (e) included another 3 countries (Greece, the Netherlands and Portugal). The model code is available at https://github.com/ImperialCollegeLondon/covid19model/ We are now reporting the results of our updated model online at https://mrc-ide.github.io/covid19estimates/ We estimated parameters jointly for all M=14 countries in a single hierarchical model. Inference is performed in the probabilistic programming language Stan using an adaptive Hamiltonian Monte Carlo (HMC) sampler.

8.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-295504

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant was first identified in the state of Maharashtra in late 2020 and spread throughout India, outcompeting pre-existing lineages including B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and B.1.1.7 (Alpha). In vitro , B.1.617.2 is 6-fold less sensitive to serum neutralising antibodies from recovered individuals, and 8-fold less sensitive to vaccine-elicited antibodies as compared to wild type Wuhan-1 bearing D614G. Serum neutralising titres against B.1.617.2 were lower in ChAdOx-1 versus BNT162b2 vaccinees. B.1.617.2 spike pseudotyped viruses exhibited compromised sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies against the receptor binding domain (RBD) and N-terminal domain (NTD), in particular to the clinically approved bamlavinimab and imdevimab monoclonal antibodies. B.1.617.2 demonstrated higher replication efficiency in both airway organoid and human airway epithelial systems as compared to B.1.1.7, associated with B.1.617.2 spike being in a predominantly cleaved state compared to B.1.1.7. Additionally we observed that B.1.617.2 had higher replication and spike mediated entry as compared to B.1.617.1, potentially explaining B.1.617.2 dominance. In an analysis of over 130 SARS-CoV-2 infected healthcare workers across three centres in India during a period of mixed lineage circulation, we observed substantially reduced ChAdOx-1 vaccine efficacy against B.1.617.2 relative to non-B.1.617.2. Compromised vaccine efficacy against the highly fit and immune evasive B.1.617.2 Delta variant warrants continued infection control measures in the post-vaccination era.

9.
Science ; 374(6570): 995-999, 2021 Nov 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526449

ABSTRACT

Delhi, the national capital of India, experienced multiple severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreaks in 2020 and reached population seropositivity of >50% by 2021. During April 2021, the city became overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases and fatalities, as a new variant, B.1.617.2 (Delta), replaced B.1.1.7 (Alpha). A Bayesian model explains the growth advantage of Delta through a combination of increased transmissibility and reduced sensitivity to immune responses generated against earlier variants (median estimates: 1.5-fold greater transmissibility and 20% reduction in sensitivity). Seropositivity of an employee and family cohort increased from 42% to 87.5% between March and July 2021, with 27% reinfections, as judged by increased antibody concentration after a previous decline. The likely high transmissibility and partial evasion of immunity by the Delta variant contributed to an overwhelming surge in Delhi.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , Child , Humans , Immune Evasion , India/epidemiology , Molecular Epidemiology , Phylogeny , Reinfection , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Young Adult
10.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 5820, 2021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1454762

ABSTRACT

European governments use non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to control resurging waves of COVID-19. However, they only have outdated estimates for how effective individual NPIs were in the first wave. We estimate the effectiveness of 17 NPIs in Europe's second wave from subnational case and death data by introducing a flexible hierarchical Bayesian transmission model and collecting the largest dataset of NPI implementation dates across Europe. Business closures, educational institution closures, and gathering bans reduced transmission, but reduced it less than they did in the first wave. This difference is likely due to organisational safety measures and individual protective behaviours-such as distancing-which made various areas of public life safer and thereby reduced the effect of closing them. Specifically, we find smaller effects for closing educational institutions, suggesting that stringent safety measures made schools safer compared to the first wave. Second-wave estimates outperform previous estimates at predicting transmission in Europe's third wave.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Government , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/virology , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Models, Theoretical , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Time Factors
11.
Nature ; 599(7883): 114-119, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1392870

ABSTRACT

The B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was first identified in the state of Maharashtra in late 2020 and spread throughout India, outcompeting pre-existing lineages including B.1.617.1 (Kappa) and B.1.1.7 (Alpha)1. In vitro, B.1.617.2 is sixfold less sensitive to serum neutralizing antibodies from recovered individuals, and eightfold less sensitive to vaccine-elicited antibodies, compared with wild-type Wuhan-1 bearing D614G. Serum neutralizing titres against B.1.617.2 were lower in ChAdOx1 vaccinees than in BNT162b2 vaccinees. B.1.617.2 spike pseudotyped viruses exhibited compromised sensitivity to monoclonal antibodies to the receptor-binding domain and the amino-terminal domain. B.1.617.2 demonstrated higher replication efficiency than B.1.1.7 in both airway organoid and human airway epithelial systems, associated with B.1.617.2 spike being in a predominantly cleaved state compared with B.1.1.7 spike. The B.1.617.2 spike protein was able to mediate highly efficient syncytium formation that was less sensitive to inhibition by neutralizing antibody, compared with that of wild-type spike. We also observed that B.1.617.2 had higher replication and spike-mediated entry than B.1.617.1, potentially explaining the B.1.617.2 dominance. In an analysis of more than 130 SARS-CoV-2-infected health care workers across three centres in India during a period of mixed lineage circulation, we observed reduced ChAdOx1 vaccine effectiveness against B.1.617.2 relative to non-B.1.617.2, with the caveat of possible residual confounding. Compromised vaccine efficacy against the highly fit and immune-evasive B.1.617.2 Delta variant warrants continued infection control measures in the post-vaccination era.


Subject(s)
Immune Evasion , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Virus Replication/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Fusion , Cell Line , Female , Health Personnel , Humans , India , Kinetics , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Vaccination
12.
BMC Med ; 19(1): 213, 2021 08 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379790

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The literature paints a complex picture of the association between mortality risk and ICU strain. In this study, we sought to determine if there is an association between mortality risk in intensive care units (ICU) and occupancy of beds compatible with mechanical ventilation, as a proxy for strain. METHODS: A national retrospective observational cohort study of 89 English hospital trusts (i.e. groups of hospitals functioning as single operational units). Seven thousand one hundred thirty-three adults admitted to an ICU in England between 2 April and 1 December, 2020 (inclusive), with presumed or confirmed COVID-19, for whom data was submitted to the national surveillance programme and met study inclusion criteria. A Bayesian hierarchical approach was used to model the association between hospital trust level (mechanical ventilation compatible), bed occupancy, and in-hospital all-cause mortality. Results were adjusted for unit characteristics (pre-pandemic size), individual patient-level demographic characteristics (age, sex, ethnicity, deprivation index, time-to-ICU admission), and recorded chronic comorbidities (obesity, diabetes, respiratory disease, liver disease, heart disease, hypertension, immunosuppression, neurological disease, renal disease). RESULTS: One hundred thirty-five thousand six hundred patient days were observed, with a mortality rate of 19.4 per 1000 patient days. Adjusting for patient-level factors, mortality was higher for admissions during periods of high occupancy (> 85% occupancy versus the baseline of 45 to 85%) [OR 1.23 (95% posterior credible interval (PCI): 1.08 to 1.39)]. In contrast, mortality was decreased for admissions during periods of low occupancy (< 45% relative to the baseline) [OR 0.83 (95% PCI 0.75 to 0.94)]. CONCLUSION: Increasing occupancy of beds compatible with mechanical ventilation, a proxy for operational strain, is associated with a higher mortality risk for individuals admitted to ICU. Further research is required to establish if this is a causal relationship or whether it reflects strain on other operational factors such as staff. If causal, the result highlights the importance of strategies to keep ICU occupancy low to mitigate the impact of this type of resource saturation.


Subject(s)
Bed Occupancy/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19/mortality , Cause of Death , Critical Care/statistics & numerical data , Hospital Mortality , Intensive Care Units , Ventilators, Mechanical , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Bayes Theorem , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
13.
Sci Rep ; 11(1): 16342, 2021 08 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1354114

ABSTRACT

The UK and Sweden have among the worst per-capita COVID-19 mortality in Europe. Sweden stands out for its greater reliance on voluntary, rather than mandatory, control measures. We explore how the timing and effectiveness of control measures in the UK, Sweden and Denmark shaped COVID-19 mortality in each country, using a counterfactual assessment: what would the impact have been, had each country adopted the others' policies? Using a Bayesian semi-mechanistic model without prior assumptions on the mechanism or effectiveness of interventions, we estimate the time-varying reproduction number for the UK, Sweden and Denmark from daily mortality data. We use two approaches to evaluate counterfactuals which transpose the transmission profile from one country onto another, in each country's first wave from 13th March (when stringent interventions began) until 1st July 2020. UK mortality would have approximately doubled had Swedish policy been adopted, while Swedish mortality would have more than halved had Sweden adopted UK or Danish strategies. Danish policies were most effective, although differences between the UK and Denmark were significant for one counterfactual approach only. Our analysis shows that small changes in the timing or effectiveness of interventions have disproportionately large effects on total mortality within a rapidly growing epidemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Health Policy , Models, Theoretical , COVID-19/therapy , Denmark/epidemiology , Humans , Sweden/epidemiology , United Kingdom/epidemiology
14.
EClinicalMedicine ; 39: 101064, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330784

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since its emergence in Autumn 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (WHO label Alpha) rapidly became the dominant lineage across much of Europe. Simultaneously, several other VOCs were identified globally. Unlike B.1.1.7, some of these VOCs possess mutations thought to confer partial immune escape. Understanding when and how these additional VOCs pose a threat in settings where B.1.1.7 is currently dominant is vital. METHODS: We examine trends in the prevalence of non-B.1.1.7 lineages in London and other English regions using passive-case detection PCR data, cross-sectional community infection surveys, genomic surveillance, and wastewater monitoring. The study period spans from 31st January 2021 to 15th May 2021. FINDINGS: Across data sources, the percentage of non-B.1.1.7 variants has been increasing since late March 2021. This increase was initially driven by a variety of lineages with immune escape. From mid-April, B.1.617.2 (WHO label Delta) spread rapidly, becoming the dominant variant in England by late May. INTERPRETATION: The outcome of competition between variants depends on a wide range of factors such as intrinsic transmissibility, evasion of prior immunity, demographic specificities and interactions with non-pharmaceutical interventions. The presence and rise of non-B.1.1.7 variants in March likely was driven by importations and some community transmission. There was competition between non-B.1.17 variants which resulted in B.1.617.2 becoming dominant in April and May with considerable community transmission. Our results underscore that early detection of new variants requires a diverse array of data sources in community surveillance. Continued real-time information on the highly dynamic composition and trajectory of different SARS-CoV-2 lineages is essential to future control efforts. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, DeepMind, EPSRC, EA Funds programme, Open Philanthropy, Academy of Medical Sciences Bill,Melinda Gates Foundation, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, The Novo Nordisk Foundation, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Community Jameel, Cancer Research UK, Imperial College COVID-19 Research Fund, Medical Research Council, Wellcome Sanger Institute.

16.
J Med Internet Res ; 23(6): e28253, 2021 06 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202100

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Before the advent of an effective vaccine, nonpharmaceutical interventions, such as mask-wearing, social distancing, and lockdowns, have been the primary measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Such measures are highly effective when there is high population-wide adherence, which requires information on current risks posed by the pandemic alongside a clear exposition of the rules and guidelines in place. OBJECTIVE: Here we analyzed online news media coverage of COVID-19. We quantified the total volume of COVID-19 articles, their sentiment polarization, and leading subtopics to act as a reference to inform future communication strategies. METHODS: We collected 26 million news articles from the front pages of 172 major online news sources in 11 countries (available online at SciRide). Using topic detection, we identified COVID-19-related content to quantify the proportion of total coverage the pandemic received in 2020. The sentiment analysis tool Vader was employed to stratify the emotional polarity of COVID-19 reporting. Further topic detection and sentiment analysis was performed on COVID-19 coverage to reveal the leading themes in pandemic reporting and their respective emotional polarizations. RESULTS: We found that COVID-19 coverage accounted for approximately 25.3% of all front-page online news articles between January and October 2020. Sentiment analysis of English-language sources revealed that overall COVID-19 coverage was not exclusively negatively polarized, suggesting wide heterogeneous reporting of the pandemic. Within this heterogenous coverage, 16% of COVID-19 news articles (or 4% of all English-language articles) can be classified as highly negatively polarized, citing issues such as death, fear, or crisis. CONCLUSIONS: The goal of COVID-19 public health communication is to increase understanding of distancing rules and to maximize the impact of governmental policy. The extent to which the quantity and quality of information from different communication channels (eg, social media, government pages, and news) influence public understanding of public health measures remains to be established. Here we conclude that a quarter of all reporting in 2020 covered COVID-19, which is indicative of information overload. In this capacity, our data and analysis form a quantitative basis for informing health communication strategies along traditional news media channels to minimize the risks of COVID-19 while vaccination is rolled out.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Data Mining/methods , Mass Media/statistics & numerical data , Public Health/methods , Social Media/statistics & numerical data , Health Resources , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
17.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2394, 2021 04 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1199294

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial mortality worldwide. However, to date, countries in the Middle East and Africa have reported considerably lower mortality rates than in Europe and the Americas. Motivated by reports of an overwhelmed health system, we estimate the likely under-ascertainment of COVID-19 mortality in Damascus, Syria. Using all-cause mortality data, we fit a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission to reported mortality, estimating that 1.25% of COVID-19 deaths (sensitivity range 1.00% - 3.00%) have been reported as of 2 September 2020. By 2 September, we estimate that 4,380 (95% CI: 3,250 - 5,550) COVID-19 deaths in Damascus may have been missed, with 39.0% (95% CI: 32.5% - 45.0%) of the population in Damascus estimated to have been infected. Accounting for under-ascertainment corroborates reports of exceeded hospital bed capacity and is validated by community-uploaded obituary notifications, which confirm extensive unreported mortality in Damascus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/mortality , Mortality/trends , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Pandemics , Population Surveillance/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Survival Rate , Syria/epidemiology
18.
Science ; 372(6544): 815-821, 2021 05 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1186201

ABSTRACT

Cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in Manaus, Brazil, resurged in late 2020 despite previously high levels of infection. Genome sequencing of viruses sampled in Manaus between November 2020 and January 2021 revealed the emergence and circulation of a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern. Lineage P.1 acquired 17 mutations, including a trio in the spike protein (K417T, E484K, and N501Y) associated with increased binding to the human ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptor. Molecular clock analysis shows that P.1 emergence occurred around mid-November 2020 and was preceded by a period of faster molecular evolution. Using a two-category dynamical model that integrates genomic and mortality data, we estimate that P.1 may be 1.7- to 2.4-fold more transmissible and that previous (non-P.1) infection provides 54 to 79% of the protection against infection with P.1 that it provides against non-P.1 lineages. Enhanced global genomic surveillance of variants of concern, which may exhibit increased transmissibility and/or immune evasion, is critical to accelerate pandemic responsiveness.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Emerging/virology , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Brazil/epidemiology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Molecular Epidemiology , Mutation , Protein Binding , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Load
19.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1090, 2021 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087445

ABSTRACT

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have sought to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission by restricting population movement through social distancing interventions, thus reducing the number of contacts. Mobility data represent an important proxy measure of social distancing, and here, we characterise the relationship between transmission and mobility for 52 countries around the world. Transmission significantly decreased with the initial reduction in mobility in 73% of the countries analysed, but we found evidence of decoupling of transmission and mobility following the relaxation of strict control measures for 80% of countries. For the majority of countries, mobility explained a substantial proportion of the variation in transmissibility (median adjusted R-squared: 48%, interquartile range - IQR - across countries [27-77%]). Where a change in the relationship occurred, predictive ability decreased after the relaxation; from a median adjusted R-squared of 74% (IQR across countries [49-91%]) pre-relaxation, to a median adjusted R-squared of 30% (IQR across countries [12-48%]) post-relaxation. In countries with a clear relationship between mobility and transmission both before and after strict control measures were relaxed, mobility was associated with lower transmission rates after control measures were relaxed indicating that the beneficial effects of ongoing social distancing behaviours were substantial.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Algorithms , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Global Health , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Physical Distancing , Quarantine/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
20.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 170, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1068027

ABSTRACT

Background: Since early March 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic across the United Kingdom has led to a range of social distancing policies, which have resulted in reduced mobility across different regions. Crowd level data on mobile phone usage can be used as a proxy for actual population mobility patterns and provide a way of quantifying the impact of social distancing measures on changes in mobility. Methods: Here, we use two mobile phone-based datasets (anonymised and aggregated crowd level data from O2 and from the Facebook app on mobile phones) to assess changes in average mobility, both overall and broken down into high and low population density areas, and changes in the distribution of journey lengths. Results: We show that there was a substantial overall reduction in mobility, with the most rapid decline on the 24th March 2020, the day after the Prime Minister's announcement of an enforced lockdown. The reduction in mobility was highly synchronized across the UK. Although mobility has remained low since 26th March 2020, we detect a gradual increase since that time. We also show that the two different datasets produce similar trends, albeit with some location-specific differences. We see slightly larger reductions in average mobility in high-density areas than in low-density areas, with greater variation in mobility in the high-density areas: some high-density areas eliminated almost all mobility. Conclusions: These analyses form a baseline from which to observe changes in behaviour in the UK as social distancing is eased and inform policy towards the future control of SARS-CoV-2 in the UK.

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