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1.
NPJ Digit Med ; 5(1): 9, 2022 Jan 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635827

ABSTRACT

During the critical early stages of an emerging pandemic, limited availability of pathogen-specific testing can severely inhibit individualized risk screening and pandemic tracking. Standard clinical laboratory tests offer a widely available complementary data source for first-line risk screening and pandemic surveillance. Here, we propose an integrated framework for developing clinical-laboratory indicators for novel pandemics that combines population-level and individual-level analyses. We apply this framework to 7,520,834 clinical laboratory tests recorded over five years and find clinical-lab-test combinations that are strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 PCR test results and Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) diagnoses: Interleukin-related tests (e.g. IL4, IL10) were most strongly associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and MIS-C, while other more widely available tests (ferritin, D-dimer, fibrinogen, alanine transaminase, and C-reactive protein) also had strong associations. When novel pandemics emerge, this framework can be used to identify specific combinations of clinical laboratory tests for public health tracking and first-line individualized risk screening.

2.
NPJ Digit Med ; 5(1): 1, 2022 Jan 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1617005

ABSTRACT

In times of crisis, communication by leaders is essential for mobilizing an effective public response. During the COVID-19 pandemic, compliance with public health guidelines has been critical for the prevention of infections and deaths. We assembled a corpus of over 1500 pandemic-related speeches, containing over 4 million words, delivered by all 50 US state governors during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. We analyzed the semantic, grammatical and linguistic-complexity properties of these speeches, and examined their relationships to COVID-19 case rates over space and time. We found that as COVID-19 cases rose, governors used stricter language to issue guidance, employed greater negation to defend their actions and highlight prevailing uncertainty, and used more extreme descriptive adjectives. As cases surged to their highest levels, governors used shorter words with fewer syllables. Investigating and understanding such characteristic responses to stress is important for improving effective public communication during major health crises.

3.
Nat Med ; 27(10): 1693-1695, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526092

ABSTRACT

To evaluate the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 messenger RNA vaccine in pregnant women, we conducted an observational cohort study of pregnant women aged 16 years or older, with no history of SARS-CoV-2, who were vaccinated between 20 December 2020 and 3 June 2021. A total of 10,861 vaccinated pregnant women were matched to 10,861 unvaccinated pregnant controls using demographic and clinical characteristics. Study outcomes included documented infection with SARS-CoV-2, symptomatic COVID-19, COVID-19-related hospitalization, severe illness and death. Estimated vaccine effectiveness from 7 through to 56 d after the second dose was 96% (95% confidence interval 89-100%) for any documented infection, 97% (91-100%) for infections with documented symptoms and 89% (43-100%) for COVID-19-related hospitalization. Only one event of severe illness was observed in the unvaccinated group and no deaths were observed in either group. In summary, the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine was estimated to have high vaccine effectiveness in pregnant women, which is similar to the effectiveness estimated in the general population.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/prevention & control , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Incidence , Pregnancy , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Young Adult
4.
Lancet ; 398(10316): 2093-2100, 2021 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488010

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many countries are experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19, driven predominantly by the delta (B.1.617.2) variant of SARS-CoV-2. In response, these countries are considering the administration of a third dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose to address potential waning immunity over time and reduced effectiveness against the delta variant. We aimed to use the data repositories of Israel's largest health-care organisation to evaluate the effectiveness of a third dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine for preventing severe COVID-19 outcomes. METHODS: Using data from Clalit Health Services, which provides mandatory health-care coverage for over half of the Israeli population, individuals receiving a third vaccine dose between July 30, 2020, and Sept 23, 2021, were matched (1:1) to demographically and clinically similar controls who did not receive a third dose. Eligible participants had received the second vaccine dose at least 5 months before the recruitment date, had no previous documented SARS-CoV-2 infection, and had no contact with the health-care system in the 3 days before recruitment. Individuals who are health-care workers, live in long-term care facilities, or are medically confined to their homes were excluded. Primary outcomes were COVID-19-related admission to hospital, severe disease, and COVID-19-related death. The third dose effectiveness for each outcome was estimated as 1 - risk ratio using the Kaplan-Meier estimator. FINDINGS: 1 158 269 individuals were eligible to be included in the third dose group. Following matching, the third dose and control groups each included 728 321 individuals. Participants had a median age of 52 years (IQR 37-68) and 51% were female. The median follow-up time was 13 days (IQR 6-21) in both groups. Vaccine effectiveness evaluated at least 7 days after receipt of the third dose, compared with receiving only two doses at least 5 months ago, was estimated to be 93% (231 events for two doses vs 29 events for three doses; 95% CI 88-97) for admission to hospital, 92% (157 vs 17 events; 82-97) for severe disease, and 81% (44 vs seven events; 59-97) for COVID-19-related death. INTERPRETATION: Our findings suggest that a third dose of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine is effective in protecting individuals against severe COVID-19-related outcomes, compared with receiving only two doses at least 5 months ago. FUNDING: The Ivan and Francesca Berkowitz Family Living Laboratory Collaboration at Harvard Medical School and Clalit Research Institute.

6.
N Engl J Med ; 385(12): 1078-1090, 2021 09 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1371631

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Preapproval trials showed that messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) had a good safety profile, yet these trials were subject to size and patient-mix limitations. An evaluation of the safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine with respect to a broad range of potential adverse events is needed. METHODS: We used data from the largest health care organization in Israel to evaluate the safety of the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. For each potential adverse event, in a population of persons with no previous diagnosis of that event, we individually matched vaccinated persons to unvaccinated persons according to sociodemographic and clinical variables. Risk ratios and risk differences at 42 days after vaccination were derived with the use of the Kaplan-Meier estimator. To place these results in context, we performed a similar analysis involving SARS-CoV-2-infected persons matched to uninfected persons. The same adverse events were studied in the vaccination and SARS-CoV-2 infection analyses. RESULTS: In the vaccination analysis, the vaccinated and control groups each included a mean of 884,828 persons. Vaccination was most strongly associated with an elevated risk of myocarditis (risk ratio, 3.24; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.55 to 12.44; risk difference, 2.7 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 1.0 to 4.6), lymphadenopathy (risk ratio, 2.43; 95% CI, 2.05 to 2.78; risk difference, 78.4 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 64.1 to 89.3), appendicitis (risk ratio, 1.40; 95% CI, 1.02 to 2.01; risk difference, 5.0 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 0.3 to 9.9), and herpes zoster infection (risk ratio, 1.43; 95% CI, 1.20 to 1.73; risk difference, 15.8 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 8.2 to 24.2). SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with a substantially increased risk of myocarditis (risk ratio, 18.28; 95% CI, 3.95 to 25.12; risk difference, 11.0 events per 100,000 persons; 95% CI, 5.6 to 15.8) and of additional serious adverse events, including pericarditis, arrhythmia, deep-vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, myocardial infarction, intracranial hemorrhage, and thrombocytopenia. CONCLUSIONS: In this study in a nationwide mass vaccination setting, the BNT162b2 vaccine was not associated with an elevated risk of most of the adverse events examined. The vaccine was associated with an excess risk of myocarditis (1 to 5 events per 100,000 persons). The risk of this potentially serious adverse event and of many other serious adverse events was substantially increased after SARS-CoV-2 infection. (Funded by the Ivan and Francesca Berkowitz Family Living Laboratory Collaboration at Harvard Medical School and Clalit Research Institute.).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/adverse effects , COVID-19/complications , Cardiovascular Diseases/etiology , Myocarditis/etiology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Appendicitis/etiology , Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology , Female , Herpes Zoster/etiology , Humans , Israel , Kaplan-Meier Estimate , Lymphadenopathy/etiology , Male , Middle Aged , Myocarditis/epidemiology , Risk , Risk Factors , Young Adult
7.
NPJ Digit Med ; 4(1): 22, 2021 Feb 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1082674

ABSTRACT

Effective public health response to novel pandemics relies on accurate and timely surveillance of pandemic spread, as well as characterization of the clinical course of the disease in affected individuals. We sought to determine whether Internet search patterns can be useful for tracking COVID-19 spread, and whether these data could also be useful in understanding the clinical progression of the disease in 32 countries across six continents. Temporal correlation analyses were conducted to characterize the relationships between a range of COVID-19 symptom-specific search terms and reported COVID-19 cases and deaths for each country from January 1 through April 20, 2020. Increases in COVID-19 symptom-related searches preceded increases in reported COVID-19 cases and deaths by an average of 18.53 days (95% CI 15.98-21.08) and 22.16 days (20.33-23.99), respectively. Cross-country ensemble averaging was used to derive average temporal profiles for each search term, which were combined to create a search-data-based view of the clinical course of disease progression. Internet search patterns revealed a clear temporal pattern of disease progression for COVID-19: Initial symptoms of fever, dry cough, sore throat and chills were followed by shortness of breath an average of 5.22 days (3.30-7.14) after initial symptom onset, matching the clinical course reported in the medical literature. This study shows that Internet search data can be useful for characterizing the detailed clinical course of a disease. These data are available in real-time at population scale, providing important benefits as a complementary resource for tracking pandemics, especially before widespread laboratory testing is available.

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