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2.
Front Public Health ; 11: 1009309, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2247783

ABSTRACT

Background: The 2021 World Health Organization study on the impact of COVID-19 on older people (≥60 years) in the African region highlighted the difficulties they faced as the virus spread across borders and dominated the way of life. These difficulties included disruptions to both essential health care services and social support, as well as disconnections from family and friends. Among those who contracted COVID-19, the risks of severe illness, complications, and mortality were highest among near-old and older persons. Objective: Recognizing that older persons are a diverse group including younger- and older-aged individuals, a study was conducted to track the epidemic among near-old (50-59 years) and older persons (≥60 years) in South Africa covering the 2 years since the epidemic emerged. Methods: Using a quantitative secondary research approach, data for near-old and older persons were extracted for comparative purposes. COVID-19 surveillance outcomes (confirmed cases, hospitalizations, and deaths) and vaccination data were compiled up to March 5th, 2022. COVID-19 surveillance outcomes were plotted by epidemiological week and epidemic waves to visualize the overall growth and trajectory of the epidemic. Means for each age-group and by COVID-19 waves, together with age-specific rates, were calculated. Results: Average numbers of new COVID-19 confirmed cases and hospitalizations were highest among people aged 50-59- and 60-69-years. However, average age-specific infection rates showed that people aged 50-59 years and ≥80 years were most vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. Age-specific hospitalization and death rates increased, with people aged ≥ 70 years most affected. The number of people vaccinated was slightly higher among people aged 50-59 years before Wave Three and during Wave Four, but higher among people aged ≥ 60 years during Wave Three. The findings suggest that uptake of vaccinations stagnated prior to and during Wave Four for both age groups. Discussion: Health promotion messages and COVID-19 epidemiological surveillance and monitoring are still needed, particularly for older persons living in congregate residential and care facilities. Prompt health-seeking should be encouraged, including testing and diagnosis as well as taking up vaccines and boosters, particularly for high-risk older persons.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epidemiological Monitoring , South Africa/epidemiology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , Humans , Aged , Male , Female , Middle Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 Vaccines
3.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2022 Jul 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2232964

ABSTRACT

A 22-year-old female with uncontrolled advanced HIV infection was persistently infected with SARS-CoV-2 beta variant for 9 months, the virus accumulating >20 additional mutations. Antiretroviral therapy suppressed HIV and cleared SARS-CoV-2 within 6-9 weeks. Increased vigilance is warranted to benefit affected individuals and prevent the emergence of novel SARS-CoV-2 variants.

4.
Nat Med ; 28(9): 1785-1790, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908212

ABSTRACT

Three lineages (BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3) of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron variant of concern predominantly drove South Africa's fourth Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) wave. We have now identified two new lineages, BA.4 and BA.5, responsible for a fifth wave of infections. The spike proteins of BA.4 and BA.5 are identical, and similar to BA.2 except for the addition of 69-70 deletion (present in the Alpha variant and the BA.1 lineage), L452R (present in the Delta variant), F486V and the wild-type amino acid at Q493. The two lineages differ only outside of the spike region. The 69-70 deletion in spike allows these lineages to be identified by the proxy marker of S-gene target failure, on the background of variants not possessing this feature. BA.4 and BA.5 have rapidly replaced BA.2, reaching more than 50% of sequenced cases in South Africa by the first week of April 2022. Using a multinomial logistic regression model, we estimated growth advantages for BA.4 and BA.5 of 0.08 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.08-0.09) and 0.10 (95% CI: 0.09-0.11) per day, respectively, over BA.2 in South Africa. The continued discovery of genetically diverse Omicron lineages points to the hypothesis that a discrete reservoir, such as human chronic infections and/or animal hosts, is potentially contributing to further evolution and dispersal of the virus.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Amino Acids , Animals , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , South Africa/epidemiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
5.
Pan Afr Med J ; 41: 91, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1811324

ABSTRACT

The 21st International Conference on HIV/AIDS and STI's in Africa (ICASA) was successfully held from the 6th to 11t h December 2021 in Durban, South Africa. Little did we know at the time of planning that COVID-19 could become such a formidable force in eroding the progress made to bring lifesaving therapies among vulnerable communities in Africa. The conference also highlighted Africa's openness to the world, also shown in the way South Africa shared data on its discovery of the Omicron variant. Arguably the most important of lessons is that integrated HIV/TB services have become a platform on which to provide other services. We also saw how HIV and TB services were used as leverage for COVID-19 services. Much was also discussed about the need to adopt more self-care approaches, as was demonstrated with the increased use of self-testing technologies for HIV, and potentially other health needs. It's clear that Africa needs to increase its capacity to support and enable innovation, particularly in the design and manufacturing of new technologies including diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , HIV Infections , HIV Infections/epidemiology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa
6.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1976, 2022 04 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1783980

ABSTRACT

Global genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has identified variants associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Here we report the emergence of the PANGO lineage C.1.2, detected at low prevalence in South Africa and eleven other countries. The initial C.1.2 detection is associated with a high substitution rate, and includes changes within the spike protein that have been associated with increased transmissibility or reduced neutralization sensitivity in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern or variants of interest. Like Beta and Delta, C.1.2 shows significantly reduced neutralization sensitivity to plasma from vaccinees and individuals infected with the ancestral D614G virus. In contrast, convalescent donors infected with either Beta or Delta show high plasma neutralization against C.1.2. These functional data suggest that vaccine efficacy against C.1.2 will be equivalent to Beta and Delta, and that prior infection with either Beta or Delta will likely offer protection against C.1.2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
8.
Nat Med ; 27(3): 440-446, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1319035

ABSTRACT

The first severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in South Africa was identified on 5 March 2020, and by 26 March the country was in full lockdown (Oxford stringency index of 90)1. Despite the early response, by November 2020, over 785,000 people in South Africa were infected, which accounted for approximately 50% of all known African infections2. In this study, we analyzed 1,365 near whole genomes and report the identification of 16 new lineages of SARS-CoV-2 isolated between 6 March and 26 August 2020. Most of these lineages have unique mutations that have not been identified elsewhere. We also show that three lineages (B.1.1.54, B.1.1.56 and C.1) spread widely in South Africa during the first wave, comprising ~42% of all infections in the country at the time. The newly identified C lineage of SARS-CoV-2, C.1, which has 16 nucleotide mutations as compared with the original Wuhan sequence, including one amino acid change on the spike protein, D614G (ref. 3), was the most geographically widespread lineage in South Africa by the end of August 2020. An early South African-specific lineage, B.1.106, which was identified in April 2020 (ref. 4), became extinct after nosocomial outbreaks were controlled in KwaZulu-Natal Province. Our findings show that genomic surveillance can be implemented on a large scale in Africa to identify new lineages and inform measures to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Such genomic surveillance presented in this study has been shown to be crucial in the identification of the 501Y.V2 variant in South Africa in December 2020 (ref. 5).


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Datasets as Topic , Genome, Viral , Humans , Molecular Typing , Mutation , Pandemics , Phylogeny , Phylogeography , Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sequence Analysis, RNA , South Africa/epidemiology , Whole Genome Sequencing
9.
Nature ; 592(7854): 438-443, 2021 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1164876

ABSTRACT

Continued uncontrolled transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in many parts of the world is creating conditions for substantial evolutionary changes to the virus1,2. Here we describe a newly arisen lineage of SARS-CoV-2 (designated 501Y.V2; also known as B.1.351 or 20H) that is defined by eight mutations in the spike protein, including three substitutions (K417N, E484K and N501Y) at residues in its receptor-binding domain that may have functional importance3-5. This lineage was identified in South Africa after the first wave of the epidemic in a severely affected metropolitan area (Nelson Mandela Bay) that is located on the coast of the Eastern Cape province. This lineage spread rapidly, and became dominant in Eastern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces within weeks. Although the full import of the mutations is yet to be determined, the genomic data-which show rapid expansion and displacement of other lineages in several regions-suggest that this lineage is associated with a selection advantage that most plausibly results from increased transmissibility or immune escape6-8.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Mutation , Phylogeny , Phylogeography , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/transmission , DNA Mutational Analysis , Evolution, Molecular , Genetic Fitness , Humans , Immune Evasion , Models, Molecular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Selection, Genetic , South Africa/epidemiology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Time Factors
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