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1.
International Journal of Infectious Diseases ; 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-1983202

ABSTRACT

Objectives Seroprevalence studies can provide a measure of SARS-CoV-2 cumulative incidence, but a better understanding of spike (anti-S) and nucleocapsid (anti-N) antibody dynamics following infection is needed to assess longevity of detectability. Methods Adults aged ≥18 years old, from households enrolled in the Virus Watch prospective community cohort study in England and Wales, provided monthly capillary-blood samples which were tested for anti-S and anti-N. Participants self-reported vaccination dates and past medical history. Prior polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swabs were obtained through Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS) linkage data. Primary outcome variables were seropositivity and total anti-N and anti-S levels after PCR confirmed infection. Results A total of 13,802 eligible individuals provided 58,770 capillary blood samples. 537 of these had a prior positive PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection within 0-269 days of antibody sample date, with 432 (80.45%) having a positive anti-N result. Median anti-N levels peaked between days 90 and 119 post PCR results and then began to decline. There is evidence of anti-N waning from 120 days onwards, with earlier waning for females and younger age categories. Conclusion Our findings suggests that anti-N have around 80% sensitivity for identifying previous COVID-19 infection and duration of detectability is affected by sex and age.

2.
Lancet Reg Health Eur ; 16: 100352, 2022 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799798

ABSTRACT

Background: Workplaces are an important potential source of SARS-CoV-2 exposure; however, investigation into workplace contact patterns is lacking. This study aimed to investigate how workplace attendance and features of contact varied between occupations across the COVID-19 pandemic in England. Methods: Data were obtained from electronic contact diaries (November 2020-November 2021) submitted by employed/self-employed prospective cohort study participants (n=4,616). We used mixed models to investigate the effects of occupation and time for: workplace attendance, number of people sharing workspace, time spent sharing workspace, number of close contacts, and usage of face coverings. Findings: Workplace attendance and contact patterns varied across occupations and time. The predicted probability of intense space sharing during the day was highest for healthcare (78% [95% CI: 75-81%]) and education workers (64% [59%-69%]), who also had the highest probabilities for larger numbers of close contacts (36% [32%-40%] and 38% [33%-43%] respectively). Education workers also demonstrated relatively low predicted probability (51% [44%-57%]) of wearing a face covering during close contact. Across all occupational groups, workspace sharing and close contact increased and usage of face coverings decreased during phases of less stringent restrictions. Interpretation: Major variations in workplace contact patterns and mask use likely contribute to differential COVID-19 risk. Patterns of variation by occupation and restriction phase may inform interventions for future waves of COVID-19 or other respiratory epidemics. Across occupations, increasing workplace contact and reduced face covering usage is concerning given ongoing high levels of community transmission and emergence of variants. Funding: Medical Research Council; HM Government; Wellcome Trust.

3.
Wellcome Open Res ; 6: 224, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1780277

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Increased transmissibility of B.1.1.7 variant of concern (VOC) in the UK may explain its rapid emergence and global spread. We analysed data from putative household infector - infectee pairs in the Virus Watch Community cohort study to assess the serial interval of COVID-19 and whether this was affected by emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant. Methods: The Virus Watch study is an online, prospective, community cohort study following up entire households in England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Putative household infector-infectee pairs were identified where more than one person in the household had a positive swab matched to an illness episode. Data on whether or not individual infections were caused by the B.1.1.7 variant were not available. We therefore developed a classification system based on the percentage of cases estimated to be due to B.1.1.7 in national surveillance data for different English regions and study weeks. Results: Out of 24,887 illnesses reported, 915 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 186 likely 'infector-infectee' pairs in 186 households amongst 372 individuals were identified. The mean COVID-19 serial interval was 3.18 (95%CI: 2.55 - 3.81) days. There was no significant difference (p=0.267) between the mean serial interval for VOC hotspots (mean = 3.64 days, (95%CI: 2.55 - 4.73)) days and non-VOC hotspots, (mean = 2.72 days, (95%CI: 1.48 - 3.96)). Conclusions: Our estimates of the average serial interval of COVID-19 are broadly similar to estimates from previous studies and we find no evidence that B.1.1.7 is associated with a change in serial intervals.  Alternative explanations such as increased viral load, longer period of viral shedding or improved receptor binding may instead explain the increased transmissibility and rapid spread and should undergo further investigation.

4.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-330045

ABSTRACT

Background: Understanding symptomatology and accuracy of clinical case definitions for community COVID-19 cases is important for Test, Trace and Isolate (TTI) and future targeting of early antiviral treatment.   Methods: : Community cohort participants prospectively recorded daily symptoms and swab results (mainly undertaken through the UK TTI system).  We compared symptom frequency, severity, timing, and duration in test positive and negative illnesses.  We compared the test performance of the current UK TTI case definition (cough, high temperature, or loss of or altered sense of smell or taste) with a wider definition adding muscle aches, chills, headache, or loss of appetite.     Results: : Among 9706 swabbed illnesses, including 973 SARS-CoV-2 positives, symptoms were more common, severe and longer lasting in swab positive than negative illnesses.  Cough, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches were the most common symptoms in positive illnesses but also common in negative illnesses. Conversely, high temperature, loss or altered sense of smell or taste and loss of appetite were less frequent in positive illnesses, but comparatively even less frequent in negative illnesses.  The current UK definition had 81% sensitivity and 47% specificity versus 93% and 27% respectively for the broader definition. 1.7-fold more illnesses met the broader case definition than the current definition.  Conclusions: : Symptoms alone cannot reliably distinguish COVID-19 from other respiratory illnesses. Adding additional symptoms to case definitions could identify more infections, but with a large increase in the number needing testing and the number of unwell individuals and contacts self-isolating whilst awaiting results.

5.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296537

ABSTRACT

Background: Workplaces are an important potential source of SARS-CoV-2 exposure;however, investigation into workplace contact patterns is lacking. This study aimed to investigate how workplace attendance and features of contact varied between occupations and over time during the COVID-19 pandemic in England. Methods: Data were obtained from electronic contact diaries submitted between November 2020 and November 2021 by employed/self-employed prospective cohort study participants (n=4,616). We used mixed models to investigate the main effects and potential interactions between occupation and time for: workplace attendance, number of people in shared workspace, time spent sharing workspace, number of close contacts, and usage of face coverings. Findings: Workplace attendance and contact patterns varied across occupations and time. The predicted probability of intense space sharing during the day was highest for healthcare (78% [95% CI: 75-81%]) and education workers (64% [59%-69%]), who also had the highest probabilities for larger numbers of close contacts (36% [32%-40%] and 38% [33%-43%] respectively). Education workers also demonstrated relatively low predicted probability (51% [44%-57%]) of wearing a face covering during close contact. Across all occupational groups, levels of workspace sharing and close contact were higher and usage of face coverings at work lower in later phases of the pandemic compared to earlier phases. Interpretation: Major variations in patterns of workplace contact and mask use are likely to contribute to differential COVID-19 risk. Across occupations, increasing workplace contact and reduced usage of face coverings presents an area of concern given ongoing high levels of community transmission and emergence of variants.

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296536

ABSTRACT

Background: Workers differ in their risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection according to their occupation, but the direct contribution of occupation to this relationship is unclear. This study aimed to investigate how infection risk differed across occupational groups in England and Wales up to October 2021, after adjustment for potential confounding and stratification by pandemic phase. Methods: Data from 12,182 employed/self-employed participants in the Virus Watch prospective cohort study were used to generate risk ratios for virologically- or serologically-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection using robust Poisson regression, adjusting for socio-demographic and health-related factors and non-work public activities. We calculated attributable fractions (AF) amongst the exposed for each occupational group based on adjusted risk ratios (aRR). Findings: Increased risk was seen in nurses (aRR=1.90 [1.40-2.40], AF=47%);doctors (1.74 [1.26-2.40], 42%);carers (2.18 [1.63-2.92], 54%);teachers (primary = 1.94 [1.44- 2.61], 48%;secondary =1.64, [1.23-2.17], 39%), and warehouse and process/plant workers (1.58 [1.20-2.09], 37%) compared to both office-based professional occupations (reported above) and all other occupations. Differential risk was apparent in the earlier phases (Feb 2020 - May 2021) and attenuated later (June - October 2021) for most groups, although teachers demonstrated persistently elevated risk. Interpretation: Occupational differentials in SARS-CoV-2 infection risk are robust to adjustment for socio-demographic, health-related, and activity-related potential confounders. Patterns of differential infection risk varied over time, and ongoing excess risk was observed in education professionals. Direct investigation into workplace factors underlying elevated risk and how these change over time is needed to inform occupational health interventions.

7.
Vaccine ; 39(48): 7108-7116, 2021 11 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458555

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccination intention is key to the success of any vaccination programme, alongside vaccine availability and access. Public intention to take a COVID-19 vaccine is high in England and Wales compared to other countries, but vaccination rate disparities between ethnic, social and age groups has led to concern. METHODS: Online survey of prospective household community cohort study participants across England and Wales (Virus Watch). Vaccination intention was measured by individual participant responses to 'Would you accept a COVID-19 vaccine if offered?', collected in December 2020 and February 2021. Responses to a 13-item questionnaire collected in January 2021 were analysed using factor analysis to investigate psychological influences on vaccination intention. RESULTS: Survey response rate was 56% (20,785/36,998) in December 2020 and 53% (20,590/38,727) in February 2021, with 14,880 adults reporting across both time points. In December 2020, 1,469 (10%) participants responded 'No' or 'Unsure'. Of these people, 1,266 (86%) changed their mind and responded 'Yes' or 'Already had a COVID-19 vaccine' by February 2021. Vaccination intention increased across all ethnic groups and levels of social deprivation. Age was most strongly associated with vaccination intention, with 16-24-year-olds more likely to respond "Unsure" or "No" versus "Yes" than 65-74-year-olds in December 2020 (OR: 4.63, 95 %CI: 3.42, 6.27 & OR 7.17 95 %CI: 4.26, 12.07 respectively) and February 2021 (OR: 27.92 95 %CI: 13.79, 56.51 & OR 17.16 95 %CI: 4.12, 71.55). The association between ethnicity and vaccination intention weakened, but did not disappear, over time. Both vaccine- and illness-related psychological factors were shown to influence vaccination intention. CONCLUSIONS: Four in five adults (86%) who were reluctant or intending to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020 had changed their mind in February 2021 and planned to accept, or had already accepted, a vaccine.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adult , Cohort Studies , England , Humans , Intention , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Wales/epidemiology
9.
BMJ Open ; 11(6): e048042, 2021 06 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1285085

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has caused significant global mortality and impacted lives around the world. Virus Watch aims to provide evidence on which public health approaches are most likely to be effective in reducing transmission and impact of the virus, and will investigate community incidence, symptom profiles and transmission of COVID-19 in relation to population movement and behaviours. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: Virus Watch is a household community cohort study of acute respiratory infections in England and Wales and will run from June 2020 to August 2021. The study aims to recruit 50 000 people, including 12 500 from minority ethnic backgrounds, for an online survey cohort and monthly antibody testing using home fingerprick test kits. Nested within this larger study will be a subcohort of 10 000 individuals, including 3000 people from minority ethnic backgrounds. This cohort of 10 000 people will have full blood serology taken between October 2020 and January 2021 and repeat serology between May 2021 and August 2021. Participants will also post self-administered nasal swabs for PCR assays of SARS-CoV-2 and will follow one of three different PCR testing schedules based on symptoms. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: This study has been approved by the Hampstead National Health Service (NHS) Health Research Authority Ethics Committee (ethics approval number 20/HRA/2320). We are monitoring participant queries and using these to refine methodology where necessary, and are providing summaries and policy briefings of our preliminary findings to inform public health action by working through our partnerships with our study advisory group, Public Health England, NHS and government scientific advisory panels.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Guideline Adherence/statistics & numerical data , Patient Acceptance of Health Care/statistics & numerical data , Public Health , COVID-19/epidemiology , England/epidemiology , Humans , Prospective Studies , Risk Factors , State Medicine , Wales/epidemiology
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