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1.
Sexually Transmitted Infections ; 98:A76, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956947

ABSTRACT

Introduction The first COVID-19 lockdown in the UK resulted in disrupted patterns in risk behaviour and access to sexual health services (SHS), and therefore in HIV/STI testing and diagnosis. Methods To understand how HIV testing was affected by changes in risk behaviour and SHS access, quantification of these two unobserved variables using proxies for each - including number of partners, measures of propensity to consult, number of SHS attendances, and number of HIV and STI tests offered - is necessary. The effects of lockdown on the resulting measures of risk behaviour and SHS access, and of these intermediate variables on the number of HIV tests accepted, can then be estimated. Results Preliminary results from quantifying SHS access using proxies from GUMCAD surveillance data, including numbers of attendances and HIV/STI tests offered, resulted in a measure of SHS access which corresponds to approximately a unit increase in tests offered and attendances (estimates in range 0.88-1.04). SHS access decreased by 638 units after the lockdown compared to before. The number of HIV tests accepted increased by 0.88 for each unit increase in SHS access. Discussion These initial findings support the hypothesis that disruption to HIV testing resulted from the lockdown via its effect on SHS access. In ongoing work, we are using data from Natsal-COVID (general population survey), RiiSHCOVID (MSM survey) and the BASHH Clinical Thermometer Survey (SHS staff) to improve our derived measures of risk behaviour and SHS access, and therefore quantify the lockdown effect on HIV/STI testing and diagnosis via each of these paths. (Figure Presented).

2.
Sexually Transmitted Infections ; 98:A62-A63, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956935

ABSTRACT

Introduction As COVID-19 has deepened health inequalities, we examine the COVID-19 experience of MSM as a population disproportionately affected by poor-health. Methods An online cross-sectional survey of MSM recruited via social media and dating applications for 3 weeks in November/December 2021. Questions included those on COVID-19 experience addressing: COVID-19 test history;when (if ever) tested positive;self-perception of ever having had COVID-19 and long-COVID. Logistic regression was used to assess sociodemographic and behavioural characteristics associated with these outcomes. Results Among 1,038 participants (median age: 41;88.1% white ethnicity): most reported ever testing for COVID-19 (95.0%;n=987), while 19.6% (193/987) reported a positive result [8.1% (80/987) testing positive since August 2021]. In those without a prior positive test (n=793) or testing history (n=52), an additional 148 participants reported self-perceived COVID, resulting in 32.8% (341/1038) with a COVID-19 history. In these, one-quarter (25.2%;86/341) reported long- COVID (8.3%;86/1038 of all) and 4.1% (14/341) hospitalisation history for COVID-related symptoms (1.8%;19/1038 of all). COVID-19 history was associated with residence in England (aOR:1.52,95%CI:1.02-2.28), degree-level education (aOR:1.33;95%CI:1.01-1.75), and vaccination status (aOR:2.98,95%CI:1.61-5.53, none/one dose vs. boosted). Long-COVID was associated with hospitalisation history (aOR:3.21;95%CI:1.09-9.45) and degree-level education (aOR:0.56;95%CI:0.36-0.99). Conclusion In this large community sample, one in five MSM reported testing positive for COVID-19, and one-third had a COVID-19 history. There was no evidence of age or ethnicityrelated inequalities, although long-COVID appears to exceed general population estimates. Continued monitoring of long- COVID in MSM is warranted as COVID-19 infections in the UK continue to increase.

3.
Sexually Transmitted Infections ; 98:A33-A34, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956908

ABSTRACT

Introduction COVID-19 restrictions severely impacted in-person sexual health services, an important access point for condoms. We examine whether MSM in the UK had difficulty accessing condoms because of COVID-19 restrictions and associated factors. Methods Data on difficulty accessing condoms since the start of the pandemic (23rd March 2020) were collected as part of a short, online cross-sectional survey of MSM in November/ December 2021, recruited via social media and Grindr. Eligible participants were UK-resident MSM (cis/trans/non-binary person assigned male at birth - AMAB), aged ≥16 years who were sexually active (reported sex with men in the last year). Multivariable logistic regression to adjust for age and numbers of new sex partners was used to examine if and how reporting this outcome varied by key sociodemographic factors. Results Of all participants (N=1039), over 1 in 7 (13.3%;n=138) reported ever having difficulty accessing condoms, of whom, over half (55.8%;n=77) reported difficulty due to the pandemic (7.4% of all participants). Reporting difficulty accessing condoms was significantly higher among: Younger MSM (aged 16-29 years vs. ≥45;12.8% vs. 4.9%;aOR=2.78);trans/non-binary AMAB participants (vs. cisgender males;24.4% vs. 6.6%;aOR=4.86);bisexually-identifying MSM (vs. gay-identifying;11.1% vs. 6.5%;aOR=1.78);and MSM without degree level education (vs. having a degree;9.8% vs. 5.6%;aOR=2.01). Discussion A minority of sexually active MSM reported difficulty accessing condoms because of the pandemic, however, this was more common among those who already experience a disproportionate burden of poor sexual health. Interventions are needed to address these inequalities in accessing this important primary STI/HIV prevention measure. (Table Presented).

4.
Sexually Transmitted Infections ; 98:A9, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956897

ABSTRACT

Introduction MSM are disproportionately affected by health inequalities which may be exacerbated by COVID-19 and pandemic- related restrictions. We examine uptake of the COVID- 19 vaccine in MSM and assess factors associated with vaccination status. Methods An online cross-sectional survey of MSM recruited via social media and dating applications for 3 weeks in November/December 2021. Questions included those on vaccine offer and uptake (1 dose/2 doses/2 doses+booster). Logistic regression assessed factors associated with reporting full vaccination status (≥2 doses) by sociodemographic characteristics, HIV status, self-reported COVID history, and mental health indicators. Results Of 1,039 participants, 98.2% (n=1,020) reported everhaving been offered a COVID vaccine, of which 98.0% (1,000/1,020) reported ≥1 dose and 96.5% (985/1020) full vaccination status. In multivariate models, full vaccination status was associated with: age (aOR:1.04, 95%CI:1.01-1.06 per increasing year), gender (aOR: 0.26, 95%CI:0.09-0.72, gender minority vs cis male), degree-level education (aOR: 2.11,95% CI:1.12-3.98), employment since lockdown (aOR: 2.07,95% CI:1.08-3.94), single relationship status (aOR: 0.50,95% CI:0.25-1.00), self-reported COVID-19 history (aOR: 0.47, 95%CI:0.25-0.88), HPV vaccination history (aOR: 3.32, 95% CI:1.43-7.75), and self-reported low life-worth (aOR: 0.29, 95%CI:0.15-0.54). Conclusion This large community survey suggests COVID-19 vaccine uptake and coverage is high in MSM and exceeds general population vaccination estimates. However, inequalities appear to exist in some groups, including younger age-groups, gender minorities, and those with poorer mental health less likely to report full vaccination. Efforts are needed to limit COVID-related exacerbation of health inequalities in these groups who already experience a greater burden of poor health relative to other MSM.

5.
Sexually Transmitted Infections ; 98:A8-A9, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956896

ABSTRACT

Introduction Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, STIs disproportionately affected some Black communities. We examined ethnic inequalities in sexual health during the pandemic. Methods Analyses were restricted to England residents aged 18-59. We included 5,240 sexually-experienced participants from Natsal-COVID survey Wave 2 (quasi-representative web panel survey) reporting one-year outcomes from March 2020- April 2021. We estimated weighted proportions and adjusted odds ratios (AORs) between ethnicity and sexual risk behaviour (condomless sex with new partner on first occasion), sexual health service (SHS) use, and unmet need (trying but failing to access SHS). Using GUMCAD national surveillance data from before (March 2019-March 2020) and during (March 2020-March 2021) the pandemic, we compared proportional differences in rates of STI tests and diagnoses by ethnicity. Results Compared to Natsal-COVID participants of White ethnicity, sexual risk behaviour (8%) was higher among participants of Mixed/Other (22%, AOR:2.26 [95% CI 1.08-4.73]) and Asian (15%, 1.58 [1.07-2.35]);SHS use (5%) was higher in Black (20%, 3.04 [1.75-5.28]) and Mixed/Other (20%, 2.64 [1.35-5.14]);and unmet need (2%) was higher in Black (11%, 5.01 [2.26-11.09]) and Asian (5%, 2.33 [1.11-4.90]) ethnicity. In GUMCAD, among people attending SHS, we observed similar reductions of around 50% in testing and diagnoses during the pandemic across different ethnic groups, although the greatest reduction was in people of Asian ethnicity (56% and 52% respectively). Discussion Two independent national data sources showed sexual health inequalities persisted during the first year of the pandemic with evidence of more unmet need among minority ethnicities, but further work is needed to assess whether these worsened.

6.
Sexually Transmitted Infections ; 98:A7, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1956893

ABSTRACT

Introduction We examine changes in sexual behaviour, STI & HIV testing and testing need among MSM in the UK preand post-COVID-19 restrictions. Methods An online survey of 1,309 MSM recruited via social media and Grindr over three weeks in November/December 2021. Questions on sexual behaviour and service use had an approximate three-month lookback period corresponding to a period of no/limited COVID-19 restrictions. Unmet testing need was defined as reporting any new and/or multiple condomless anal sex (CAS) partners without a recent STI/HIV test. MSM recruited through Grindr who were UK-resident, cisgender, aged ≥16 years who reported sex with men in the last year (N=430) were compared to those from a related 2017 survey (N=1914) using multivariable regression to adjust for demographic differences between the samples. Results Compared to the 2017 survey, sexual risk behaviour was higher in the 2021 survey: ≥1 recent new sex partner (71.5% vs. 81.5%, respectively, aOR=1.80);≥2 recent CAS partners (30.1% vs. 48.8%, aOR=2.23). Reporting recent testing for STIs/HIV was also higher in late 2021 (37.3% vs. 42.6%, aOR=1.34;and 48.7% vs. 45.1%, aOR=1.27, respectively). However, there was no significant change in the proportion with unmet need for STIs (41.4% vs. 44.2%) and HIV (34.8% vs. 39.3%). Discussion These large, community surveys of MSM in the UK suggest greater sexual risk behaviour post-restrictions in 2021 compared to 2017. However, while we found no evidence of reduced service accessibility following the removal of most restrictions, there remains considerable unmet STI/HIV testing need among UK MSM. (Table Presented).

7.
J Math Biol ; 85(1): 10, 2022 Jul 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1935765

ABSTRACT

Demand for influenza vaccine rose as countries prepared for the second COVID-19 wave over the winter months of 2020-2021. High coverage of the influenza vaccine can significantly reduce morbidity and mortality of the burden of influenza. Natural influenza infection creates short-term non-specific immunity against respiratory viruses (virus interference). We model two viral diseases, both of the SEIR type, to investigate whether the influenza vaccine increases the combined disease burden of influenza and COVID-19 in a dual outbreak. We show that the combined disease burden's behavior depends on virus interference factors and the proportion of the population vaccinated against influenza. Our results indicate that influenza vaccination only lowers the overall disease burden when net virus interference is relatively low.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cost of Illness , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Influenza, Human/prevention & control , Vaccination
8.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med ; 2022: 5403757, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1932835

ABSTRACT

Therapeutic strategies based upon enzyme inhibition have recently gained higher attention in treating hazardous ailments. Herein, the potential use of seventy-two antimicrobial alkaloids isolated from marine-derived fungi to fight COVID-19 infection via inhibition of SARS-CoV-2 lethal virus was performed using in silico analyses. Molecular modelling was performed to assess their enzyme inhibitory potential on the main protease SARS-CoV-2 MPro, 3-chymotrypsin-like protease SARS-CoV-2 3CLpro, and papain-like protease SARS-CoV-2 PLpro using Discovery Studio 4.5. Validation of the docking experiments was done by determination of RMSD (root mean square deviation) after redocking the superimposition of the cocrystalized ligands. Results showed that gymnastatin Z (72) showed the best fitting score in SARS-CoV-2 MPro and SARS-CoV-2 3CLpr active sites with ∆G equal -34.15 and -34.28 Kcal/mol, respectively. Meanwhile, scalusamide C (62) displayed the highest fitting within SARS-CoV-2 PLpro active sites (∆G = -26.91 Kcal/mol) followed by eutypellazine M (57). ADMET/TOPKAT prediction displayed that eutypellazine M and scalusamide C showed better pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties. Gymnastatin Z is safer showing better toxicity criteria and higher rat oral LD50 and rat chronic LOAEL (lowest observed adverse effect level). Chemometric analysis using principle component analysis (PCA) based on the binding energies observed for the compounds with respect to the three tested enzymes revealed the clustering of the compounds into different clusters. Eutypellazine M, scalusamide C, and gymnastatin Z appear in one cluster due to their closeness in activity. Thus, these compounds could serve as promising SARS-CoV-2 enzymes inhibitors that could help in alleviation of COVID-19 infection. Further investigations are recommended to confirm the results of molecular modelling.

9.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22277847

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThere is inconclusive evidence whether pregnancy exacerbates COVID-19 symptoms or not, and scarce data from the Middle East and North Africa region. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between pregnancy and COVID-19 symptoms in Qatar. MethodsThis cross-sectional study was carried out using data of all women with confirmed COVID-19, comparing pregnant and non-pregnant women of child-bearing age (18-49 years). Data of all COVID-19 cases were collected by the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) in Qatar, between March and September 2020. Symptoms were compared by pregnancy status and classified into moderate and severe. Multivariable logistic and poisson regression was carried out to investigate the association between pregnancy and severity of COVID-19 symptoms. ResultsDuring the study period, 105744 individuals were diagnosed with COVID-19, 16908 were women of childbearing age. From that sample, 799 women who were pregnant (mean age 29.9 years (SD 5.2)) and 16109 women who were not pregnant (mean age 33.1 years (SD 7.8)). After multivariable logistic regression, pregnancy was associated with a 1.4-fold higher odds of reporting any symptoms of COVID-19 (OR 1.41, 95% CI 1.18-1.68), and 1.3-fold higher odds of reporting shortness of breath (OR 1.29, 95% CI 1.02-1.63). After multivariable poisson regression, pregnancy was also associated with a higher number of symptoms (IRR 1.03, 95%CI 0.98-1.08). ConclusionOur findings suggest that, in this setting, pregnant women are more likely to have symptomatic COVID-19, and shortness of breath, compared to non-pregnant women of childbearing age.

10.
NeuroQuantology ; 20(3):550-557, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1918149

ABSTRACT

Immune memory is the source of protective immunity from a subsequent infection and one of the major components of immunological memory to viruses is memory B cells (MBCs).MBCs express typical B cell surface proteins, including CD19+ in humans, CD19+ was essential for primary B-cell activation and differentiation into memory B cells.This cross-sectional study was conducted in Wasit Province/Iraq, the study aim to compare Bcell marker expression (CD19+) for recovered COVID-19 patients and vaccinated participants withBNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) mRNA vaccine who were not infected with COVID-19and have been investigated by Flowcytometry method. A total of 80 blood specimens from male and female were obtained from several hospitals and vaccination centers in thegovernorate and divided in four groups,20 healthy control participants, 20 recoveredpatients frommildly symptomatic COVID-19 (after1-3 months), 20 participants vaccinated with the 1st dose of mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine (after 21 days of 1st dose), and 20 participants vaccinated with the 2nddose of mRNA BNT162b2vaccine(after 20-30 days of 2nd dose), aged between (18-61) years old.The results of this study showed that the vaccinatedgroup with the 2nd dose of mRNA BNT162b2(Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccinewas highest level than other studied groups, overall,our data provide insights regarding the humoral immune response of B lymphocyte marker expression (CD19+) in all studied groups, and this elicits the efficacy of BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine when taken two doses.

11.
African Journal of Reproductive Health ; 26(3):8, 2022.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1897311

ABSTRACT

This study described the maternal and perinatal outcomes of pregnant women infected with COVID-19. A cross-sectional descriptive design was used in this study of 75 women diagnosed with COVID-19 in the isolation unit of Obstetrics and Gynecology Department at Suez Canal University hospital. Data was collected by a structured interview questionnaire and assessment of patients' records in the period from April 26, 2021, to October 31, 2021. This study found that 7/29 (24.14%) of women had abortions, 9/46 (19.57%) had preterm labor, 2/19 (10.53%) had both postpartum hemorrhage and puerperal pyrexia, 2/46 (4.35%) had an antepartum hemorrhage, and 2/52 (3.85%) had preeclampsia. Regarding fetal complications, 2/46 (4.35%) had intrauterine fetal distress, and 2/52 (3.85%) had a stillbirth. Concerning neonatal outcomes, 31.25% of cases needed NICU admission, 12.5% required mechanical ventilation and developed ARDS, 18.75% had low birth weight, and only 6.25% of all cases died. This study concluded that pregnant women with COVID-19 seem to have a high risk of abortion and preterm birth. Their neonates are at high risk of NICU admission and low birth weight.

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13.
Cureus ; 14(4): e24248, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1876126

ABSTRACT

Background In this study, we aimed to study the frequency of hypertension in Sudanese patients with gouty arthritis attending the largest three tertiary hospitals in Khartoum and correlate it with serum uric acid levels. Methodology An observational, descriptive, cross-sectional, hospital-based study was conducted in rheumatology clinics in Khartoum state, Sudan, from August 2020 to January 2021 involving 100 participants. Data were collected, prepared, and analyzed using SPSS version 25.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). Results In this study, 100 participants were enrolled. The majority were males (79%), with 45% of the participants in the age group of 61-75 years. Overall, 89% of participants had symptoms of gouty arthritis, with the knee being the most common joint affected in 27% of participants. Most participants had a uric acid level above the target (6 mg/dL). The most frequently used uric acid lowering agent was found to be allopurinol in 85% of the patients. Furthermore, among those with gouty arthritis, 51% had hypertension with nearly half being insufficiently controlled. The frequency of undiagnosed hypertension among the participants was found to be 19%, which was statistically significant among gouty arthritis patients (p-value < 0.0001). Upon further analysis of our hypertensive participants, 79.5% of males (n = 35) had high blood pressure levels, which was statistically significant as well (p-value = 0.005), with the highest prevalence being among the age group of 61-75 years. Of those who were hypertensive, 51% had a history of concomitant comorbidity. Overall, 90% of the hypertensive participants (n = 40) had joint symptoms. Moreover, serum uric acid level was above the target in 93% of the participants. Conclusions Hypertension was found to be the most frequently recognized comorbidity in gouty arthritic patients, with more than a third remaining undiagnosed. Moreover, the male gender was a significant risk factor for hypertension among the gouty arthritis participants. Nevertheless, most patients with high blood pressure levels had concurrent elevated uric acid levels.

18.
International Journal of Advanced Computer Science and Applications ; 12(10), 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1811489

ABSTRACT

Semantic similarity is applied for many areas in Natural Language Processing, such as information retrieval, text classification, plagiarism detection, and others. Many researchers used semantic similarity for English texts, but few used for Arabic due to the ambiguity of Arabic concepts in both sense and morphology. Therefore, the first contribution in this paper is developing a semantic similarity approach between Arabic sentences. Nowadays, the world faces a global problem of coronavirus disease. In light of these circumstances and distancing's imposition, it is difficult for farmers to physically communicate with agricultural experts to provide advice and find suitable solutions for their agricultural complaints. In addition, traditional practices still are used by most farmers. Thus, our second contribution is helping the farmers solve their Arabic agricultural complaints using our proposed approach. The Latent Semantic Analysis approach is applied to retrieve the most problem-related semantic to a farmer's complaint and find the related solution for the farmer. Two methods are used in this approach as a weighting schema for data representation are Term Frequency and Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency. The proposed model has also classified the big agricultural dataset and the submitted farmer complaint according to the crop type using MapReduce Support Vector Machine to improve the performance of semantic similarity results. The proposed approach's performance with Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency-based Latent Semantic Analysis achieved better than its counterparts with an F-measure of 86.7%.

19.
Ricerche di Matematica ; : 1-21, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1781763

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 has caused severe respiratory illnesses and deaths since late 2019 and spreads globally. While asymptomatic cases play a crucial role in transmitting COVID-19, they do not contribute to the observed prevalence, which drives behavior change during the pandemic. This study aims to identify the effect of the proportion of asymptomatic infections on the magnitude of an epidemic under behavior change scenarios by developing a compartmental mathematical model. In this interest, we discuss three different behavior change cases separately: constant behavior change, instantaneous behavior change response to the disease’s perceived prevalence, and piecewise constant behavior change response to government policies. Our results imply that the proportion of asymptomatic infections which maximizes the spread of the epidemic depends on the nature of the dominant force driving behavior changes.

20.
12th International Conference on Computing Communication and Networking Technologies, ICCCNT 2021 ; 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1752371

ABSTRACT

Over the years, the domain of psychological therapy and counselling has significantly expanded and established different forums to provide mental health services. The use of virtual therapy for providing mental support to individuals has drastically increased by professionals over the internet through emails, chatting over voice, audio platforms or chat rooms. The world was exposed to certain triggers initiated due to the unprecedented crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, yet therapy applications have helped alleviate mental health challenges and maximize benefits towards the psychological wellbeing of the society. However, evaluation of its efficiency in actually helping people during a crisis is important. The present study aims to (a) Evaluate online counselling services and its effectiveness in providing the necessary emotional support during the pandemic and (b) Understand perspective of trained experts and members on e-therapy platforms. Initially, the study carefully reviewed existing literature on virtual therapy. An online survey was designed to garner the opinions of over 100 mental health professionals about online counselling services. The results reported, about 72% of the experts would consider shifting to virtual platforms during difficult situations for their clients. This paper is particularly useful for mental health professionals evaluating the shift to online platforms for their clients. In the future, researchers could develop technology to enhance the process of e-therapy for the clients and the experts. © 2021 IEEE.

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