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1.
Embase; 2021.
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-336223

ABSTRACT

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern (VOCs) have been key drivers of new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic waves. To better understand variant epidemiologic characteristics, here we apply a model-inference system to reconstruct SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics in South Africa, a country that has experienced three VOC pandemic waves (i.e. Beta, Delta, and Omicron). We estimate key epidemiologic quantities in each of the nine South African provinces during March 2020 - Feb 2022, while accounting for changing detection rates, infection seasonality, nonpharmaceutical interventions, and vaccination. Model validation shows that estimated underlying infection rates and key parameters (e.g., infection-detection rate and infection-fatality risk) are in line with independent epidemiological data and investigations. In addition, retrospective predictions capture pandemic trajectories beyond the model training period. These detailed, validated model-inference estimates thus enable quantification of both the immune erosion potential and transmissibility of three major SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, i.e., Beta, Delta, and Omicron. These findings help elucidate changing COVID-19 dynamics and inform future public health planning.

2.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333853

ABSTRACT

WHAT IS ALREADY KNOWN ABOUT THIS TOPIC?: The highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant has begun to cause increases in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in parts of the United States. With slowed vaccination uptake, this novel variant is expected to increase the risk of pandemic resurgence in the US in July-December 2021. WHAT IS ADDED BY THIS REPORT?: Data from nine mechanistic models project substantial resurgences of COVID-19 across the US resulting from the more transmissible Delta variant. These resurgences, which have now been observed in most states, were projected to occur across most of the US, coinciding with school and business reopening. Reaching higher vaccine coverage in July-December 2021 reduces the size and duration of the projected resurgence substantially. The expected impact of the outbreak is largely concentrated in a subset of states with lower vaccination coverage. WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE?: Renewed efforts to increase vaccination uptake are critical to limiting transmission and disease, particularly in states with lower current vaccination coverage. Reaching higher vaccination goals in the coming months can potentially avert 1.5 million cases and 21,000 deaths and improve the ability to safely resume social contacts, and educational and business activities. Continued or renewed non-pharmaceutical interventions, including masking, can also help limit transmission, particularly as schools and businesses reopen.

3.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333680

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: To analyze potential COVID-19 epidemic outcomes in New York City under different SARS-CoV-2 virus circulation scenarios and vaccine rollout policies from early Jan 2021 to end of June 2021. KEY FINDINGS: In anticipation of the potential arrival and dominance of the more infectious SARS-CoV-2 variant:Mass-vaccination would be critical to mitigating epidemic severity (26-52% reduction in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, compared to no vaccination, provided the new UK variant supplants currently circulating variants). Prioritizing key risk groups for earlier vaccination would lead to greater reductions in hospitalizations and deaths than infections. Thus, in general this would be a good strategy.Current vaccination prioritization policy is suboptimal. To avert more hospitalizations and deaths, mass-vaccination of all individuals 65 years or older should be done as soon as possible. For groups listed in the same phase, 65+ year-olds should be given first priority ahead of others.Available vaccine doses should be given to the next priority groups as soon as possible without awaiting hesitant up-stream groups. While efficacy of vaccination off-protocol is unknown, provided immune response following a first vaccine dose persists, delaying the 2 nd vaccine dose by ~1 month (i.e. administer the two doses 8 weeks apart) can substantially reduce infections, hospitalizations, and deaths compared to the 3-week apart regimen. Across all scenarios tested here, delaying the 2 nd vaccine dose leads to the largest reduction in severe epidemic outcomes (e.g. hospitalizations and deaths). Therefore, to protect as many people as possible, this strategy should be considered if rapid increases in infections, hospitalization or deaths and/or shortages in vaccines were to occur.

4.
PubMed; 2020.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-333494

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Estimation of the fraction and contagiousness of undocumented novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infections is critical for understanding the overall prevalence and pandemic potential of this disease. Many mild infections are typically not reported and, depending on their contagiousness, may support stealth transmission and the spread of documented infection. METHODS: Here we use observations of reported infection and spread within China in conjunction with mobility data, a networked dynamic metapopulation model and Bayesian inference, to infer critical epidemiological characteristics associated with the emerging coronavirus, including the fraction of undocumented infections and their contagiousness. RESULTS: We estimate 86% of all infections were undocumented (95% CI: [82%-90%]) prior to the Wuhan travel shutdown (January 23, 2020). Per person, these undocumented infections were 52% as contagious as documented infections ([44%-69%]) and were the source of infection for two-thirds of documented cases. Our estimate of the reproductive number (2.23;[1.77-3.00]) aligns with earlier findings;however, after travel restrictions and control measures were imposed this number falls considerably. CONCLUSIONS: A majority of COVID-19 infections were undocumented prior to implementation of control measures on January 23, and these undocumented infections substantially contributed to virus transmission. These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of COVID-19 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging. Our findings also indicate that heightened awareness of the outbreak, increased use of personal protective measures, and travel restriction have been associated with reductions of the overall force of infection;however, it is unclear whether this reduction will be sufficient to stem the virus spread.

5.
Embase;
Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326906

ABSTRACT

Within days of first detection, Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant case numbers grew exponentially and spread globally. To better understand variant epidemiological characteristics, we utilize a model-inference system to reconstruct SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics in South Africa and decompose novel variant transmissibility and immune erosion. Accounting for under-detection of infection, infection seasonality, nonpharmaceutical interventions, and vaccination, we estimate that the majority of South Africans had been infected by SARS-CoV-2 before the Omicron wave. Based on findings for Gauteng province, Omicron is estimated 100.3% (95% CI: 74.8 - 140.4%) more transmissible than the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 and 36.5% (95% CI: 20.9 - 60.1%) more transmissible than Delta;in addition, Omicron erodes 63.7% (95% CI: 52.9 - 73.9%) of the population immunity, accumulated from prior infections and vaccination, in Gauteng.

6.
PUBMED; 2021.
Preprint in English | PUBMED | ID: ppcovidwho-293473

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 Delta pandemic wave in India surged and declined within 3 months;cases then remained low despite the continued spread of Delta elsewhere. Here we aim to estimate key epidemiological characteristics of the Delta variant based on data from India and examine the underpinnings of its dynamics. Methods: We utilize multiple datasets and model-inference methods to reconstruct COVID-19 pandemic dynamics in India during March 2020 - June 2021. We further use model estimates to retrospectively predict cases and deaths during July - mid-Oct 2021, under various vaccination and vaccine effectiveness (VE) settings to estimate the impact of vaccination and VE for non-Delta-infection recoverees. Findings: We estimate that Delta escaped immunity in 34.6% (95% CI: 0 - 64.2%) of individuals with prior wildtype infection and was 57.0% (95% CI: 37.9 - 75.6%) more infectious than wildtype SARS-CoV-2. Models assuming higher VE among those with prior non-Delta infection, particularly after the 1 st dose, generated more accurate predictions than those assuming no such increases (best-performing VE setting: 90/95% vs. 30/67% baseline for the 1 st /2 nd dose). Counterfactual modeling indicates that high vaccination coverage for 1 st vaccine-dose in India (~50% by mid-Oct 2021) combined with the boosting of VE among recoverees averted around 60% of infections during July - mid-Oct 2021. Interpretation: Non-pharmaceutical interventions, infection seasonality, and high coverage of 1-dose vaccination likely all contributed to pandemic dynamics in India during 2021. Given the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines globally and boosting of VE, for populations with high prior infection rates, prioritizing the first vaccine-dose may protect more people. Research in context: Evidence before this study: We searched PubMed for studies published through Nov 3, 2021 on the Delta (B.1.617.2) SARS-CoV-2 variant that focused on three areas: 1) transmissibility [search terms: ("Delta variant" OR "B.1.617") AND ("transmission rate" OR "growth rate" OR "secondary attack rate" OR "transmissibility")];2) immune response ([search terms: ("Delta variant" OR "B.1.617") AND ("immune evas" OR "immune escape")];and 3) vaccine effectiveness ([search terms: ("Delta variant" OR "B.1.617") AND ("vaccine effectiveness" OR "vaccine efficacy" OR "vaccination")]. Our search returned 256 papers, from which we read the abstracts and identified 54 relevant studies.Forty-two studies addressed immune evasion and/or vaccine effectiveness. Around half (n=19) of these studies measured the neutralizing ability of convalescent sera and/or vaccine sera against Delta and most reported some reduction (around 2-to 8-fold) compared to ancestral variants. The remainder (n=23) used field observations (often with a test-negative or cohort-design) and reported lower VE against infection but similar VE against hospitalization or death. Together, these laboratory and field observations consistently indicate that Delta can evade preexisting immunity. In addition, five studies reported higher B-cell and/or T-cell vaccine-induced immune response among recovered vaccinees than naive vaccinees, suggesting potential boosting of pre-existing immunity;however, all studies were based on small samples (n = 10 to 198 individuals). Sixteen studies examined transmissibility, including 1) laboratory experiments (n=6) showing that Delta has higher affinity to the cell receptor, fuses membranes more efficiently, and/or replicates faster than other SARS-CoV-2 variants, providing biological mechanisms for its higher transmissibility;2) field studies (n=5) showing higher rates of breakthrough infections by Delta and/or higher viral load among Delta infections than other variants;and 3) modeling/mixed studies (n=5) using genomic or case data to estimate the growth rate or reproduction number, reporting a 60-120% increase. Only one study jointly estimated the increase in transmissibility (1.3-1.7-fold, 50% CI) and immune evasion (10-50%, 50% CI);this study also reported a 27.5% (25/91) reinfection rate by Delta. Added value of this study: We utilize observed pandemic dynamics and the differential vaccination coverage for two vaccine doses in India, where the Delta variant was first identified, to estimate the epidemiological properties of Delta and examine the impact of prior non-Delta infection on immune boosting at the population level. We estimate that Delta variant can escape immunity from prior wildtype infection roughly one-third of the time and is around 60% more infectious than wildtype SARS-CoV-2. In addition, our analysis suggests the large increase in population receiving their first vaccine dose (~50% by end of Oct 2021) combined with the boosting effect of vaccination for non-Delta infection recoverees likely mitigated epidemic intensity in India during July - Oct 2021. Implications of all the available evidence: Our analysis reconstructs the interplay and effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions, infection seasonality, Delta variant emergence, and vaccination on COVID-19 pandemic dynamics in India. Modeling findings support prioritizing the first vaccine dose in populations with high prior infection rates, given vaccine shortages.

7.
Epidemiology and Infection ; 149:8, 2021.
Article in English | Web of Science | ID: covidwho-1537260

ABSTRACT

Nearly 1 year into the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, the first severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 vaccines received emergency use authorisation and vaccination campaigns began. A number of factors can reduce the averted burden of cases and deaths due to vaccination. Here, we use a dynamic model, parametrised with Bayesian inference methods, to assess the effects of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) (such as social distancing, mask mandates, school and workplace closure), and vaccine administration and uptake rates on infections and deaths averted in the United States. We show that scenarios depicting higher compliance with NPIs avert more than 60% of infections and 70% of deaths during the period of vaccine administration, and that increasing the vaccination rate from 5 to 11 million people per week could increase the averted burden by more than one-third. These findings underscore the importance of maintaining NPIs and increasing vaccine administration rates.

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