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Topics in Antiviral Medicine ; 30(1 SUPPL):18, 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1880294

ABSTRACT

Background: The Sisonke Phase IIIB open-label implementation study vaccinated health care workers (HCWs) with the single dose Ad26.COV2.S vaccine during two phases of the South African Covid-19 epidemic, dominated first by the Beta followed by the Delta variant of concern. Methods: HCWs were vaccinated over 3 months (17 February-17 May 2021). Safety was monitored by self-reporting, facility reporting and linkage to national databases. Vaccine effectiveness (VE) against Covid-19 related hospitalisation, hospitalisation requiring critical or intensive care and death, ascertained 28 days or more post vaccination was assessed up until 17 July 2021. Nested sub-cohorts (A and B) from two national medical schemes were evaluated to assess VE using a matched retrospective cohort design. Results: Over the 3-month period, 477234 HCWs were vaccinated in 122 vaccination sites across South Africa. VE derived from the sub-cohorts comprising 215 813 HCWs was 83% (95% CI 75-89) to prevent Covid-19 deaths, 75% (95% CI 69-82) to prevent hospital admissions requiring critical or intensive care and 67% (95% CI 62-71) to prevent Covid-19 related hospitalisations. The VE was maintained in older HCWs and those with comorbidities including HIV infection. VE remained consistent throughout the Beta and Delta dominant phases of the study. 10279 adverse events were reported and 139 (1.4%) were serious, including two cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome and four cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome who recovered. Conclusion: The single dose Ad26.COV2.S was safe and effective against severe Covid-19 disease and death post-vaccination, and against both Beta and Delta variants providing real-world evidence for its use globally.

2.
Embase; 2021.
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-336070

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Globally, there have been more than 404 million cases of SARS-CoV-2, with 5.8 million confirmed deaths, as of February 2022. South Africa has experienced four waves of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, with the second, third, and fourth waves being driven by the Beta, Delta, and Omicron variants, respectively. A key question with the emergence of new variants is the extent to which they are able to reinfect those who have had a prior natural infection. We developed two approaches to monitor routine epidemiological surveillance data to examine whether SARS-CoV-2 reinfection risk has changed through time in South Africa, in the context of the emergence of the Beta (B.1.351), Delta (B.1.617.2), and Omicron (B.1.1.529) variants. We analyze line list data on positive tests for SARS-CoV-2 with specimen receipt dates between 04 March 2020 and 31 January 2022, collected through South Africa's National Notifiable Medical Conditions Surveillance System. Individuals having sequential positive tests at least 90 days apart were considered to have suspected reinfections. Our routine monitoring of reinfection risk included comparison of reinfection rates to the expectation under a null model (approach 1) and estimation of the time-varying hazards of infection and reinfection throughout the epidemic (approach 2) based on model-based reconstruction of the susceptible populations eligible for primary and second infections. Results: 105,323 suspected reinfections were identified among 2,942,248 individuals with laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 who had a positive test result at least 90 days prior to 31 January 2022. The number of reinfections observed through the end of the third wave in September 2021 was consistent with the null model of no change in reinfection risk (approach 1). Although increases in the hazard of primary infection were observed following the introduction of both the Beta and Delta variants, no corresponding increase was observed in the reinfection hazard (approach 2). Contrary to expectation, the estimated hazard ratio for reinfection versus primary infection was lower during waves driven by the Beta and Delta variants than for the first wave (relative hazard ratio for wave 2 versus wave 1: 0.71 (CI95: 0.60-0.85);for wave 3 versus wave 1: 0.54 (CI95: 0.45-0.64)). In contrast, the recent spread of the Omicron variant has been associated with an increase in reinfection hazard coefficient. The estimated hazard ratio for reinfection versus primary infection versus wave 1 was 1.75 (CI95: 1.48-2.10) for the period of Omicron emergence (01 November 2021 to 30 November 2021) and 1.70 (CI95: 1.44-2.04) for wave 4 versus wave 1. Individuals with identified reinfections since 01 November 2021 had experienced primary infections in all three prior waves, and an increase in third infections has been detected since mid-November 2021. Many individuals experiencing third infections had second infections during the third (Delta) wave that ended in September 2021, strongly suggesting that these infections resulted from immune evasion rather than waning immunity. Conclusion: Population-level evidence suggests that the Omicron variant is associated with substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection. In contrast, there is no population-wide epidemiological evidence of immune escape associated with the Beta or Delta variants. This finding has important implications for public health planning, particularly in countries like South Africa with high rates of immunity from prior infection. Further development of methods to track reinfection risk during pathogen emergence, including refinements to assess the impact of waning immunity, account for vaccine-derived protection, and monitor the risk of multiple reinfections will be an important tool for future pandemic preparedness.

3.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-327037

ABSTRACT

Following the results of the ENSEMBLE 2 study, which demonstrated improved vaccine efficacy of a two-dose regimen of Ad26.COV.2 vaccine given 2 months apart, we expanded the Sisonke study which had provided single dose Ad26.COV.2 vaccine to almost 500 000 health care workers (HCW) in South Africa to include a booster dose of the Ad26.COV.2. Sisonke 2 enrolled 227 310 HCW from the 8 November to the 17 December 2021. Enrolment commenced before the onset of the Omicron driven fourth wave in South Africa affording us an opportunity to evaluate early VE in preventing hospital admissions of a homologous boost of the Ad26.COV.2 vaccine given 6-9 months after the initial vaccination in HCW. We estimated vaccine effectiveness (VE) of the Ad26.COV2.S vaccine booster in 69 092 HCW as compared to unvaccinated individuals enrolled in the same managed care organization using a test negative design. We compared VE against COVID19 admission for omicron during the period 15 November to 20 December 2021. After adjusting for confounders, we observed that VE for hospitalisation increased over time since booster dose, from 63% (95%CI 31-81%);to 84% (95% CI 67-92%) and then 85% (95% CI: 54-95%), 0-13 days, 14-27 days, and 1-2 months post-boost. We provide the first evidence of the effectiveness of a homologous Ad26.COV.2 vaccine boost given 6-9 months after the initial single vaccination series during a period of omicron variant circulation. This data is important given the increased reliance on the Ad26.COV.2 vaccine in Africa.

4.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326920

ABSTRACT

Background: The Sisonke open-label phase 3b implementation study aimed to assess the safety and effectiveness of the Janssen Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine among health care workers (HCWs) in South Africa. Here, we present the safety data. Methods: We monitored adverse events (AEs) at vaccination sites, through self-reporting triggered by text messages after vaccination, health care provider reports and by active case finding. The frequency and incidence rate of non-serious and serious AEs were evaluated from day of first vaccination (17 February 2021) until 28 days after the final vaccination (15 June 2021). COVID-19 breakthrough infections, hospitalisations and deaths were ascertained via linkage of the electronic vaccination register with existing national databases. Findings: Of 477,234 participants, 10,279 (2.2%) reported AEs, of which 139 (1.4%) were serious. Women reported more AEs than men (2.3% vs. 1.6%). AE reports decreased with increasing age (3.2% for 18–30, 2.1% for 31-45, 1.8% for 46-55 and 1.5% in >55-year-olds). Participants with previous COVID-19 infection reported slightly more AEs (2.6% vs. 2.1%). The commonest reactogenicity events were headache and body aches, followed by injection site pain and fever, and most occurred within 48 hours of vaccination. Two cases of Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome and four cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome were reported post-vaccination. Serious AEs and AEs of special interest including vascular and nervous system events, immune system disorders and deaths occurred at lower than the expected population rates. Interpretation: The single-dose Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine had an acceptable safety profile supporting the continued use of this vaccine in our setting.

5.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326899

ABSTRACT

A new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Omicron (B.1.1.529), has been identified based on genomic sequencing and epidemiological data in South Africa. Presumptive Omicron cases in South Africa have grown extremely rapidly, despite high prior exposure and moderate vaccination coverage. The available evidence suggests that Omicron spread is at least in part due to evasion of this immune protection, though Omicron may also exhibit higher intrinsic transmissibility. Using detailed laboratory and epidemiological data from South Africa, we estimate the constraints on these two characteristics of the new variant and their relationship. Our estimates and associated uncertainties provide essential information to inform projection and scenario modeling analyses, which are crucial planning tools for governments around the world.

6.
Afr J Thorac Crit Care Med ; 27(4)2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1502738

ABSTRACT

SUMMARY: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is transmitted mainly by aerosol in particles <10 µm that can remain suspended for hours before being inhaled. Because particulate filtering facepiece respirators ('respirators'; e.g. N95 masks) are more effective than surgical masks against bio-aerosols, many international organisations now recommend that health workers (HWs) wear a respirator when caring for individuals who may have COVID-19. In South Africa (SA), however, surgical masks are still recommended for the routine care of individuals with possible or confirmed COVID-19, with respirators reserved for so-called aerosol-generating procedures. In contrast, SA guidelines do recommend respirators for routine care of individuals with possible or confirmed tuberculosis (TB), which is also transmitted via aerosol. In health facilities in SA, distinguishing between TB and COVID-19 is challenging without examination and investigation, both of which may expose HWs to potentially infectious individuals. Symptom-based triage has limited utility in defining risk. Indeed, significant proportions of individuals with COVID-19 and/or pulmonary TB may not have symptoms and/or test negative. The prevalence of undiagnosed respiratory disease is therefore likely significant in many general clinical areas (e.g. waiting areas). Moreover, a proportion of HWs are HIV-positive and are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 and death. RECOMMENDATIONS: Sustained improvements in infection prevention and control (IPC) require reorganisation of systems to prioritise HW and patient safety. While this will take time, it is unacceptable to leave HWs exposed until such changes are made. We propose that the SA health system adopts a target of 'zero harm', aiming to eliminate transmission of respiratory pathogens to all individuals in every healthcare setting. Accordingly, we recommend: the use of respirators by all staff (clinical and non-clinical) during activities that involve contact or sharing air in indoor spaces with individuals who: (i) have not yet been clinically evaluated; or (ii) are thought or known to have TB and/or COVID-19 or other potentially harmful respiratory infections;the use of respirators that meet national and international manufacturing standards;evaluation of all respirators, at the least, by qualitative fit testing; andthe use of respirators as part of a 'package of care' in line with international IPC recommendations. We recognise that this will be challenging, not least due to global and national shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE). SA national policy around respiratory protective equipment enables a robust framework for manufacture and quality control and has been supported by local manufacturers and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition. Respirator manufacturers should explore adaptations to improve comfort and reduce barriers to communication. Structural changes are needed urgently to improve the safety of health facilities: persistent advocacy and research around potential systems change remain essential.

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