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1.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-22270799

ABSTRACT

IntroductionViral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings. MethodsWe conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-collection period, followed by intervention periods comprising 8 weeks of rapid (<48h) and 4 weeks of longer-turnaround (5-10 day) sequencing using a sequence reporting tool (SRT). Data were collected on all hospital onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs; detected [≥]48h from admission). The impact of the sequencing intervention on IPC knowledge and actions, and on incidence of probable/definite hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) was evaluated. ResultsA total of 2170 HOCI cases were recorded from October 2020-April 2021, with sequence reports returned for 650/1320 (49.2%) during intervention phases. We did not detect a statistically significant change in weekly incidence of HAIs in longer-turnaround (IRR 1.60, 95%CI 0.85-3.01; P=0.14) or rapid (0.85, 0.48-1.50; P=0.54) intervention phases compared to baseline phase. However, IPC practice was changed in 7.8% and 7.4% of all HOCI cases in rapid and longer-turnaround phases, respectively, and 17.2% and 11.6% of cases where the report was returned. In a per-protocol sensitivity analysis there was an impact on IPC actions in 20.7% of HOCI cases when the SRT report was returned within 5 days. ConclusionWhile we did not demonstrate a direct impact of sequencing on the incidence of nosocomial transmission, our results suggest that sequencing can inform IPC response to HOCIs, particularly when returned within 5 days.

2.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-21253894

ABSTRACT

BackgroundNosocomial infections have posed a significant problem during the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting bed capacity and patient flow in hospitals. Effective infection control measures and identifying areas of highest risk is required to reduce the risk of spread to patients who are admitted with other illnesses. This is the first pandemic where whole genome sequencing (WGS) has been readily available. We demonstrate how WGS can be deployed to help identify and control outbreaks. Aims & MethodsSwabs performed on patients to detect SARS-CoV-2 underwent RT-PCR on one of multiple different platforms available at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Positive samples underwent WGS on the GridION platform using the ARTIC amplicon sequencing protocol at the University of Nottingham. ResultsPhylogenetic analysis from WGS and epidemiological data was used to identify an initial transmission that occurred in the admissions ward. It also showed high prevalence of asymptomatic staff infection with genetically identical viral sequences which may have contributed to the propagation of the outbreak. Actions were taken to help reduce the risk of nosocomial transmission by the introduction of rapid point of care testing in the admissions ward and introduction of portable HEPA14 filters. WGS was also used in two instances to exclude an outbreak by discerning that the phylotypes were not identical, saving time and resources. ConclusionsIn conjunction with accurate epidemiological data, timely WGS can identify high risk areas of nosocomial transmission, which would benefit from implementation of appropriate control measures. Conversely, WGS can disprove nosocomial transmission, validating existing control measures and maintaining clinical service, even where epidemiological data is suggestive of an outbreak.

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