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1.
Lancet ; 400 Suppl 1: S40, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2132731

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The serial interval is a key epidemiological measure that quantifies the time between an infector's and an infectee's onset of symptoms. This measure helps investigate epidemiological links between cases, and is an important parameter in transmission models used to estimate transmissibility and inform control strategies. The emergence of multiple variants of concern (VOC) during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has led to uncertainties about potential changes in the serial interval of COVID-19. We estimated the household serial interval of multiple VOC using data collected by the Virus Watch study. This online, prospective, community cohort study followed-up entire households in England and Wales since mid-June 2020. METHODS: This analysis included 5842 symptomatic individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection among 2579 households from Sept 1, 2020, to Aug 10, 2022. SARS-CoV-2 variant designation was based upon national surveillance data of variant prevalence by date and geographical region. We used a Bayesian framework to infer who infected whom by exploring all transmission trees compatible with the observed dates of symptoms, given assumptions on the incubation period and generation time distributions using the R package outbreaker2. FINDINGS: We characterised the serial interval of COVID-19 by VOC. The mean serial interval was shortest for omicron BA5 (2·02 days; 95% credible interval [CrI] 1·26-2·84) and longest for alpha (3·37 days; 2·52-4·04). The mean serial interval before alpha (wild-type) was 2·29 days (95% CrI 1·39-2·94), 3·11 days (2·28-3·90) for delta, 2·72 days (2·01-3·47) for omicron BA1, and 2·67 days (1·90-3·46) for omicron BA2. We estimated that 17% (95% CrI 5-26) of serial interval values are negative across all variants. INTERPRETATION: Most methods estimating the reproduction number from incidence time series do not allow for a negative serial interval by construction. Further research is needed to extend these methods and assess biases introduced by not accounting for negative serial intervals. To our knowledge, this study is the first to use a Bayesian framework to estimate the serial interval of all major SARS-CoV-2 VOC from thousands of confirmed household cases. FUNDING: UK Medical Research Council and Wellcome Trust.

3.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 5780, 2022 10 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2050383

ABSTRACT

Vaccination constitutes the best long-term solution against Coronavirus Disease-2019; however, vaccine-derived immunity may not protect all groups equally, and the durability of protective antibodies may be short. We evaluate Spike-antibody responses following BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1-S vaccination amongst SARS-CoV2-naive adults across England and Wales enrolled in a prospective cohort study (Virus Watch). Here we show BNT162b2 recipients achieved higher peak antibody levels after two doses; however, both groups experience substantial antibody waning over time. In 8356 individuals submitting a sample ≥28 days after Dose 2, we observe significantly reduced Spike-antibody levels following two doses amongst individuals reporting conditions and therapies that cause immunosuppression. After adjusting for these, several common chronic conditions also appear to attenuate the antibody response. These findings suggest the need to continue prioritising vulnerable groups, who have been vaccinated earliest and have the most attenuated antibody responses, for future boosters.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cohort Studies , Demography , Humans , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
4.
Int J Infect Dis ; 123: 104-111, 2022 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2015445

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Seroprevalence studies can provide a measure of SARS-CoV-2 cumulative incidence, but a better understanding of spike and nucleocapsid (anti-N) antibody dynamics following infection is needed to assess the longevity of detectability. METHODS: Adults aged ≥18 years, from households enrolled in the Virus Watch prospective community cohort study in England and Wales, provided monthly capillary blood samples, which were tested for spike antibody and anti-N. Participants self-reported vaccination dates and past medical history. Previous polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swabs were obtained through Second Generation Surveillance System linkage data. The primary outcome variables were seropositivity and total anti-N and spike antibody levels after PCR-confirmed infection. RESULTS: A total of 13,802 eligible individuals provided 58,770 capillary blood samples. A total of 537 of these had a previous positive PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection within 0-269 days of antibody sample date, among them 432 (80.45%) having a positive anti-N result. Median anti-N levels peaked between days 90 and 119 after 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 suggest that anti-N has around 80% sensitivity for identifying previous COVID-19 infection, and the duration of detectability is affected by sex and age.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Nucleocapsid , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Seroepidemiologic Studies
5.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 4869, 2022 08 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1991588

ABSTRACT

A range of studies globally demonstrate that the effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines wane over time, but the total effect of anti-S antibody levels on risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and whether this varies by vaccine type is not well understood. Here we show that anti-S levels peak three to four weeks following the second dose of vaccine and the geometric mean of the samples is nine fold higher for BNT162b2 than ChAdOx1. Increasing anti-S levels are associated with a reduced risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (Hazard Ratio 0.85; 95%CIs: 0.79-0.92). We do not find evidence that this antibody relationship with risk of infection varies by second dose vaccine type (BNT162b2 vs. ChAdOx1). In keeping with our anti-S antibody data, we find that people vaccinated with ChAdOx1 had 1.64 times the odds (95% confidence interval 1.45-1.85) of a breakthrough infection compared to BNT162b2. We anticipate our findings to be useful in the estimation of the protective effect of anti-S levels on risk of infection due to Delta. Our findings provide evidence about the relationship between antibody levels and protection for different vaccines and will support decisions on optimising the timing of booster vaccinations and identifying individuals who should be prioritised for booster vaccination, including those who are older, clinically extremely vulnerable, or received ChAdOx1 as their primary course. Our finding that risk of infection by anti-S level does not interact with vaccine type, but that individuals vaccinated with ChAdOx1 were at higher risk of infection, provides additional support for the use of using anti-S levels for estimating vaccine efficacy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Viral Vaccines , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
6.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 3(7): e470-e480, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915225

ABSTRACT

Background: Residents and staff in long-term care facilities have been prioritised for vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, but data on potential waning of vaccine effectiveness and the effect of booster doses in this vulnerable population are scarce. We aimed to evaluate effectiveness of one, two, and three vaccine doses against infection and severe clinical outcomes in staff and residents of long-term care facilities in England over the first year following vaccine roll-out. Methods: The VIVALDI study is a prospective cohort study done in 331 long-term care facilities in England. Residents aged 65 years or older and staff aged 18 years or older were eligible for participation. Participants had routine PCR testing throughout the study period between Dec 8, 2020, and Dec 11, 2021. We retrieved all PCR results and cycle threshold values for PCR-positive samples from routine testing in long-term care facilities, and positive PCR results from clinical testing in hospitals through the UK's COVID-19 Datastore. PCR results were linked to participants using pseudo-identifiers based on individuals' unique UK National Health Service (NHS) numbers, which were also used to retrieve vaccination records from the National Immunisation Management Service, hospitalisation records from NHS England, and deaths data from the Office for National Statistics through the COVID-19 Datastore. In a Cox proportional hazards regression, we estimated vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19-related hospitalisation, and COVID-19-related death after one, two, and three vaccine doses, separately by previous SARS-CoV-2 exposure. This study is registered with the ISRCTN Registry, ISRCTN 14447421. Findings: 80 186 residents and staff of long-term care facilities had records available for the study period, of whom 15 518 eligible residents and 19 515 eligible staff were included in the analysis. For residents without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 exposure, vaccine effectiveness decreased from 61·7% (95% CI 35·1 to 77·4) to 22·0% (-14·9 to 47·0) against infection; from 89·0% (70·6 to 95·9) to 56·3% (30·1 to 72·6) against hospitalisation; and from 96·4% (84·3 to 99·2) to 64·4% (36·1 to 80·1) against death, when comparing 14-83 days after dose two and 84 days or more after dose two. For staff without evidence of previous exposure, vaccine effectiveness against infection decreased slightly from 57·9% (43·1 to 68·9) at 14-83 days after dose two to 42·1% (29·9 to 52·2) at 84 days or more after dose two. There were no hospitalisations or deaths among unexposed staff at 14-83 days, but seven hospitalisations (vaccine effectiveness 91·0% [95% CI 74·3 to 96·8]) and one death were observed at 84 days or more after dose two. High vaccine effectiveness was restored following a third vaccine dose, with vaccine effectiveness in unexposed residents of 72·7% (55·8 to 83·1) against infection, 90·1% (80·6 to 95·0) against hospitalisation, and 97·5% (88·1 to 99·5) against death; and vaccine effectiveness in unexposed staff of 78·2% (70·0 to 84·1) against infection and 95·8% (49·9 to 99·6) against hospitalisation. There were no COVID-19-related deaths among unexposed staff after the third vaccine dose. Interpretation: Our findings showed substantial waning of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against all outcomes in residents of long-term care facilities from 12 weeks after a primary course of ChAdOx1-S or mRNA vaccines. Boosters restored protection, and maximised immunity across all outcomes. These findings show the importance of boosting and the need for ongoing surveillance in this vulnerable cohort. Funding: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Long-Term Care , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine , Vaccine Efficacy
7.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 3(7): e461-e469, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1915222

ABSTRACT

Background: Older age and frailty are risk factors for poor clinical outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection. As such, COVID-19 vaccination has been prioritised for individuals with these factors, but there is concern that immune responses might be impaired due to age-related immune dysregulation and comorbidity. We aimed to study humoral and cellular responses to COVID-19 vaccines in residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Methods: In this observational cohort study, we assessed antibody and cellular immune responses following COVID-19 vaccination in members of staff and residents at 74 LTCFs across the UK. Staff and residents were eligible for inclusion if it was possible to link them to a pseudo-identifier in the COVID-19 datastore, if they had received two vaccine doses, and if they had given a blood sample 6 days after vaccination at the earliest. There were no comorbidity exclusion criteria. Participants were stratified by age (<65 years or ≥65 years) and infection status (previous SARS-CoV-2 infection [infection-primed group] or SARS-CoV-2 naive [infection-naive group]). Anticoagulated edetic acid (EDTA) blood samples were assessed and humoral and cellular responses were quantified. Findings: Between Dec 11, 2020, and June 27, 2021, blood samples were taken from 220 people younger than 65 years (median age 51 years [IQR 39-61]; 103 [47%] had previously had a SARS-CoV-2 infection) and 268 people aged 65 years or older of LTCFs (median age 87 years [80-92]; 144 [43%] had a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection). Samples were taken a median of 82 days (IQR 72-100) after the second vaccination. Antibody responses following dual vaccination were strong and equivalent between participants younger then 65 years and those aged 65 years and older in the infection-primed group (median 125 285 Au/mL [1128 BAU/mL] for <65 year olds vs 157 979 Au/mL [1423 BAU/mL] for ≥65 year olds; p=0·47). The antibody response was reduced by 2·4-times (467 BAU/mL; p≤0·0001) in infection-naive people younger than 65 years and 8·1-times (174 BAU/mL; p≤0·0001) in infection-naive residents compared with their infection-primed counterparts. Antibody response was 2·6-times lower in infection-naive residents than in infection-naive people younger than 65 years (p=0·0006). Impaired neutralisation of delta (1.617.2) variant spike binding was also apparent in infection-naive people younger than 65 years and in those aged 65 years and older. Spike-specific T-cell responses were also significantly enhanced in the infection-primed group. Infection-naive people aged 65 years and older (203 SFU per million [IQR 89-374]) had a 52% lower T-cell response compared with infection-naive people younger than 65 years (85 SFU per million [30-206]; p≤0·0001). Post-vaccine spike-specific CD4 T-cell responses displayed single or dual production of IFN-γ and IL-2 were similar across infection status groups, whereas the infection-primed group had an extended functional profile with TNFα and CXCL10 production. Interpretation: These data reveal suboptimal post-vaccine immune responses within infection-naive residents of LTCFs, and they suggest the need for optimisation of immune protection through the use of booster vaccination. Funding: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , Immunity, Cellular , Long-Term Care , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination
8.
BMJ Open ; 12(6): e054336, 2022 06 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1909750

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Understanding the effectiveness and durability of protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection conferred by previous infection and COVID-19 is essential to inform ongoing management of the pandemic. This study aims to determine whether prior SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination in healthcare workers protects against future infection. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a prospective cohort study design in staff members working in hospitals in the UK. At enrolment, participants are allocated into cohorts, positive or naïve, dependent on their prior SARS-CoV-2 infection status, as measured by standardised SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing on all baseline serum samples and previous SARS-CoV-2 test results. Participants undergo monthly antibody testing and fortnightly viral RNA testing during follow-up and based on these results may move between cohorts. Any results from testing undertaken for other reasons (eg, symptoms, contact tracing) or prior to study entry will also be captured. Individuals complete enrolment and fortnightly questionnaires on exposures, symptoms and vaccination. Follow-up is 12 months from study entry, with an option to extend follow-up to 24 months.The primary outcome of interest is infection with SARS-CoV-2 after previous SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination during the study period. Secondary outcomes include incidence and prevalence (both RNA and antibody) of SARS-CoV-2, viral genomics, viral culture, symptom history and antibody/neutralising antibody titres. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study was approved by the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee, Health Research Authority (IRAS ID 284460, REC reference 20/SC/0230) on 22 May 2020; the vaccine amendment was approved on 12 January 2021. Participants gave informed consent before taking part in the study.Regular reports to national and international expert advisory groups and peer-reviewed publications ensure timely dissemination of findings to inform decision making. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN11041050.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Health Personnel , Humans , Incidence , Multicenter Studies as Topic , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral , Reinfection , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vaccination
9.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 3(5): e347-e355, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1821559

ABSTRACT

Background: The SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant (B.1.1.529) is highly transmissible, but disease severity appears to be reduced compared with previous variants such as alpha and delta. We investigated the risk of severe outcomes following infection in residents of long-term care facilities. Methods: We did a prospective cohort study in residents of long-term care facilities in England who were tested regularly for SARS-CoV-2 between Sept 1, 2021, and Feb 1, 2022, and who were participants of the VIVALDI study. Residents were eligible for inclusion if they had a positive PCR or lateral flow device test during the study period, which could be linked to a National Health Service (NHS) number, enabling linkage to hospital admissions and mortality datasets. PCR or lateral flow device test results were linked to national hospital admission and mortality records using the NHS-number-based pseudo-identifier. We compared the risk of hospital admission (within 14 days following a positive SARS-CoV-2 test) or death (within 28 days) in residents who had tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 in the period shortly before omicron emerged (delta-dominant) and in the omicron-dominant period, adjusting for age, sex, primary vaccine course, past infection, and booster vaccination. Variants were confirmed by sequencing or spike-gene status in a subset of samples. Results: 795 233 tests were done in 333 long-term care facilities, of which 159 084 (20·0%) could not be linked to a pseudo-identifier and 138 012 (17·4%) were done in residents. Eight residents had two episodes of infection (>28 days apart) and in these cases the second episode was excluded from the analysis. 2264 residents in 259 long-term care facilities (median age 84·5 years, IQR 77·9-90·0) were diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2, of whom 253 (11·2%) had a previous infection and 1468 (64·8%) had received a booster vaccination. About a third of participants were male. Risk of hospital admissions was markedly lower in the 1864 residents infected in the omicron-period (4·51%, 95% CI 3·65-5·55) than in the 400 residents infected in the pre-omicron period (10·50%, 7·87-13·94), as was risk of death (5·48% [4·52-6·64] vs 10·75% [8·09-14·22]). Adjusted hazard ratios (aHR) also indicated a reduction in hospital admissions (0·64, 95% CI 0·41-1·00; p=0·051) and mortality (aHR 0·68, 0·44-1·04; p=0·076) in the omicron versus the pre-omicron period. Findings were similar in residents with a confirmed variant. Interpretation: Observed reduced severity of the omicron variant compared with previous variants suggests that the wave of omicron infections is unlikely to lead to a major surge in severe disease in long-term care facility populations with high levels of vaccine coverage or natural immunity. Continued surveillance in this vulnerable population is important to protect residents from infection and monitor the public health effect of emerging variants. Funding: UK Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged, 80 and over , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Long-Term Care , Male , Prospective Studies , State Medicine
10.
Occup Environ Med ; 2022 Apr 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1807493

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection varies across occupations; however, investigation into factors underlying differential risk is limited. We aimed to estimate the total effect of occupation on SARS-CoV-2 serological status, whether this is mediated by workplace close contact, and how exposure to poorly ventilated workplaces varied across occupations. METHODS: We used data from a subcohort (n=3775) of adults in the UK-based Virus Watch cohort study who were tested for SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid antibodies (indicating natural infection). We used logistic decomposition to investigate the relationship between occupation, contact and seropositivity, and logistic regression to investigate exposure to poorly ventilated workplaces. RESULTS: Seropositivity was 17.1% among workers with daily close contact vs 10.0% for those with no work-related close contact. Compared with other professional occupations, healthcare, indoor trade/process/plant, leisure/personal service, and transport/mobile machine workers had elevated adjusted total odds of seropositivity (1.80 (1.03 to 3.14) - 2.46 (1.82 to 3.33)). Work-related contact accounted for a variable part of increased odds across occupations (1.04 (1.01 to 1.08) - 1.23 (1.09 to 1.40)). Occupations with raised odds of infection after accounting for work-related contact also had greater exposure to poorly ventilated workplaces. CONCLUSIONS: Work-related close contact appears to contribute to occupational variation in seropositivity. Reducing contact in workplaces is an important COVID-19 control measure.

11.
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.

12.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 3(1): e13-e21, 2022 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1665611

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have reported high SARS-CoV-2 infection rates and related mortality, but the proportion of infected people among those who have survived, and duration of the antibody response to natural infection, is unknown. We determined the prevalence and stability of nucleocapsid antibodies (the standard assay for detection of previous infection) in staff and residents in LTCFs in England. METHODS: This was a prospective cohort study of residents 65 years or older and of staff 65 years or younger in 201 LTCFs in England between March 1, 2020, and May 7, 2021. Participants were linked to a unique pseudo-identifier based on their UK National Health Service identification number. Serial blood samples were tested for IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein using the Abbott ARCHITECT i-system (Abbott, Maidenhead, UK) immunoassay. Primary endpoints were prevalence and cumulative incidence of antibody positivity, which were weighted to the LTCF population. Incidence rate of loss of antibodies (seroreversion) was estimated from Kaplan-Meier curves. FINDINGS: 9488 samples were included, 8636 (91·0%) of which could be individually linked to 1434 residents and 3288 staff members. The cumulative incidence of nucleocapsid seropositivity was 34·6% (29·6-40·0) in residents and 26·1% (23·0-29·5) in staff over 11 months. 239 (38·6%) residents and 503 women (81·3%) were included in the antibody-waning analysis, and median follow-up was 149 days (IQR 107-169). The incidence rate of seroreversion was 2·1 per 1000 person-days at risk, and median time to reversion was 242·5 days. INTERPRETATION: At least a quarter of staff and a third of surviving residents were infected with SAR-CoV-2 during the first two waves of the pandemic in England. Nucleocapsid-specific antibodies often become undetectable within the first year following infection, which is likely to lead to marked underestimation of the true proportion of people with previous infection. Given that natural infection might act to boost vaccine responses, better assays to identify natural infection should be developed. FUNDING: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Antibodies, Viral , Female , Humans , Long-Term Care , Nucleocapsid , Prevalence , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , State Medicine
13.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(11): 1529-1538, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1637724

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines in older adults living in long-term care facilities is uncertain. We investigated the protective effect of the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca non-replicating viral-vectored vaccine (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19; AZD1222) and the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA-based vaccine (BNT162b2) in residents of long-term care facilities in terms of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection over time since vaccination. METHODS: The VIVALDI study is a prospective cohort study that commenced recruitment on June 11, 2020, to investigate SARS-CoV-2 transmission, infection outcomes, and immunity in residents and staff in long-term care facilities in England that provide residential or nursing care for adults aged 65 years and older. In this cohort study, we included long-term care facility residents undergoing routine asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 testing between Dec 8, 2020 (the date the vaccine was first deployed in a long-term care facility), and March 15, 2021, using national testing data linked within the COVID-19 Datastore. Using Cox proportional hazards regression, we estimated the relative hazard of PCR-positive infection at 0-6 days, 7-13 days, 14-20 days, 21-27 days, 28-34 days, 35-48 days, and 49 days and beyond after vaccination, comparing unvaccinated and vaccinated person-time from the same cohort of residents, adjusting for age, sex, previous infection, local SARS-CoV-2 incidence, long-term care facility bed capacity, and clustering by long-term care facility. We also compared mean PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values for positive swabs obtained before and after vaccination. The study is registered with ISRCTN, number 14447421. FINDINGS: 10 412 care home residents aged 65 years and older from 310 LTCFs were included in this analysis. The median participant age was 86 years (IQR 80-91), 7247 (69·6%) of 10 412 residents were female, and 1155 residents (11·1%) had evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. 9160 (88·0%) residents received at least one vaccine dose, of whom 6138 (67·0%) received ChAdOx1 and 3022 (33·0%) received BNT162b2. Between Dec 8, 2020, and March 15, 2021, there were 36 352 PCR results in 670 628 person-days, and 1335 PCR-positive infections (713 in unvaccinated residents and 612 in vaccinated residents) were included. Adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for PCR-positive infection relative to unvaccinated residents declined from 28 days after the first vaccine dose to 0·44 (95% CI 0·24-0·81) at 28-34 days and 0·38 (0·19-0·77) at 35-48 days. Similar effect sizes were seen for ChAdOx1 (adjusted HR 0·32, 95% CI 0·15-0·66) and BNT162b2 (0·35, 0·17-0·71) vaccines at 35-48 days. Mean PCR Ct values were higher for infections that occurred at least 28 days after vaccination than for those occurring before vaccination (31·3 [SD 8·7] in 107 PCR-positive tests vs 26·6 [6·6] in 552 PCR-positive tests; p<0·0001). INTERPRETATION: Single-dose vaccination with BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 vaccines provides substantial protection against infection in older adults from 4-7 weeks after vaccination and might reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission. However, the risk of infection is not eliminated, highlighting the ongoing need for non-pharmaceutical interventions to prevent transmission in long-term care facilities. FUNDING: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Nursing Homes/statistics & numerical data , Age Factors , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/statistics & numerical data , COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunization Schedule , Incidence , Male , Mass Vaccination/methods , Mass Vaccination/statistics & numerical data , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Treatment Outcome
14.
Euro Surveill ; 26(46)2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1526748

ABSTRACT

We describe the impact of changing epidemiology and vaccine introduction on characteristics of COVID-19 outbreaks in 330 long-term care facilities (LTCF) in England between November 2020 and June 2021. As vaccine coverage in LTCF increased and national incidence declined, the total number of outbreaks and outbreak severity decreased across the LTCF. The number of infected cases per outbreak decreased by 80.6%, while the proportion of outbreaks affecting staff only increased. Our study supports findings of vaccine effectiveness in LTCF.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Long-Term Care , SARS-CoV-2
15.
J Epidemiol Community Health ; 76(4): 319-326, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467721

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Differential exposure to public activities may contribute to stark deprivation-related inequalities in SARS-CoV-2 infection and outcomes but has not been directly investigated. We set out to investigate whether participants in Virus Watch-a large community cohort study based in England and Wales-reported differential exposure to public activities and non-household contacts during the autumn-winter phase of the COVID-19 pandemic according to postcode-level socioeconomic deprivation. METHODS: Participants (n=20 120-25 228 across surveys) reported their daily activities during 3 weekly periods in late November 2020, late December 2020 and mid-February 2021. Deprivation was quantified based on participants' residential postcode using English or Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation quintiles. We used Poisson mixed-effect models with robust standard errors to estimate the relationship between deprivation and risk of exposure to public activities during each survey period. RESULTS: Relative to participants in the least deprived areas, participants in the most deprived areas exhibited elevated risk of exposure to vehicle sharing (adjusted risk ratio (aRR) range across time points: 1.73-8.52), public transport (aRR: 3.13-5.73), work or education outside of the household (aRR: 1.09-1.21), essential shops (aRR: 1.09-1.13) and non-household contacts (aRR: 1.15-1.19) across multiple survey periods. CONCLUSION: Differential exposure to essential public activities-such as attending workplaces and visiting essential shops-is likely to contribute to inequalities in infection risk and outcomes. Public health interventions to reduce exposure during essential activities and financial and practical support to enable low-paid workers to stay at home during periods of intense transmission may reduce COVID-related inequalities.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Health Status Disparities , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Wales/epidemiology
16.
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
17.
Lancet Healthy Longev ; 2(9): e544-e553, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1433991

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Residents of long-term care facilities (LTCFs) have been prioritised for COVID-19 vaccination because of the high COVID-19 mortality in this population. Several countries have implemented an extended interval of up to 12 weeks between the first and second vaccine doses to increase population coverage of single-dose vaccination. We aimed to assess the magnitude and quality of adaptive immune responses following a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine in LTCF residents and staff. METHODS: From the LTCFs participating in the ongoing VIVALDI study (ISRCTN14447421), staff and residents who had received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine (BNT162b2 [tozinameran] or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19), had pre-vaccination and post-vaccination blood samples (collected between Dec 11, 2020, and Feb 16, 2021), and could be linked to a pseudoidentifier in the COVID-19 Data Store were included in our cohort. Past infection with SARS-CoV-2 was defined on the basis of nucleocapsid-specific IgG antibodies being detected through a semiquantitative immunoassay, and participants who tested positive on this assay after but not before vaccination were excluded from the study. Processed blood samples were assessed for spike-specific immune responses, including spike-specific IgG antibody titres, T-cell responses to spike protein peptide mixes, and inhibition of ACE2 binding by spike protein from four variants of SARS-CoV-2 (the original strain as well as the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 variants). Responses before and after vaccination were compared on the basis of age, previous infection status, role (staff or resident), and time since vaccination. FINDINGS: Our cohort comprised 124 participants from 14 LTCFs: 89 (72%) staff (median age 48 years [IQR 35·5-56]) and 35 (28%) residents (87 years [77-90]). Blood samples were collected a median 40 days (IQR 25-47; range 6-52) after vaccination. 30 (24%) participants (18 [20%] staff and 12 [34%] residents) had serological evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. All participants with previous infection had high antibody titres following vaccination that were independent of age (r s=0·076, p=0·70). In participants without evidence of previous infection, titres were negatively correlated with age (r s=-0·434, p<0·0001) and were 8·2-times lower in residents than in staff. This effect appeared to result from a kinetic delay antibody generation in older infection-naive participants, with the negative age correlation disappearing only in samples taken more than 42 days post-vaccination (r s=-0·207, p=0·20; n=40), in contrast to samples taken after 0-21 days (r s=-0·774, p=0·0043; n=12) or 22-42 days (r s=-0·437, p=0·0034; n=43). Spike-specific cellular responses were similar between older and younger participants. In infection-naive participants, antibody inhibition of ACE2 binding by spike protein from the original SARS-CoV-2 strain was negatively correlated with age (r s=-0·439, p<0·0001), and was significantly lower against spike protein from the B.1.351 variant (median inhibition 31% [14-100], p=0·010) and the P.1 variant (23% [14-97], p<0·0001) than against the original strain (58% [27-100]). By contrast, a single dose of vaccine resulted in around 100% inhibition of the spike-ACE2 interaction against all variants in people with a history of infection. INTERPRETATION: History of SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts the magnitude and quality of antibody response after a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine in LTCF residents. Residents who are infection-naive have delayed antibody responses to the first dose of vaccine and should be considered for an early second dose where possible. FUNDING: UK Government Department of Health and Social Care.

19.
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
20.
Lancet ; 397(10283): 1459-1469, 2021 04 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1174548

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Increased understanding of whether individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are protected from future SARS-CoV-2 infection is an urgent requirement. We aimed to investigate whether antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were associated with a decreased risk of symptomatic and asymptomatic reinfection. METHODS: A large, multicentre, prospective cohort study was done, with participants recruited from publicly funded hospitals in all regions of England. All health-care workers, support staff, and administrative staff working at hospitals who could remain engaged in follow-up for 12 months were eligible to join The SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation study. Participants were excluded if they had no PCR tests after enrolment, enrolled after Dec 31, 2020, or had insufficient PCR and antibody data for cohort assignment. Participants attended regular SARS-CoV-2 PCR and antibody testing (every 2-4 weeks) and completed questionnaires every 2 weeks on symptoms and exposures. At enrolment, participants were assigned to either the positive cohort (antibody positive, or previous positive PCR or antibody test) or negative cohort (antibody negative, no previous positive PCR or antibody test). The primary outcome was a reinfection in the positive cohort or a primary infection in the negative cohort, determined by PCR tests. Potential reinfections were clinically reviewed and classified according to case definitions (confirmed, probable, or possible) and symptom-status, depending on the hierarchy of evidence. Primary infections in the negative cohort were defined as a first positive PCR test and seroconversions were excluded when not associated with a positive PCR test. A proportional hazards frailty model using a Poisson distribution was used to estimate incidence rate ratios (IRR) to compare infection rates in the two cohorts. FINDINGS: From June 18, 2020, to Dec 31, 2020, 30 625 participants were enrolled into the study. 51 participants withdrew from the study, 4913 were excluded, and 25 661 participants (with linked data on antibody and PCR testing) were included in the analysis. Data were extracted from all sources on Feb 5, 2021, and include data up to and including Jan 11, 2021. 155 infections were detected in the baseline positive cohort of 8278 participants, collectively contributing 2 047 113 person-days of follow-up. This compares with 1704 new PCR positive infections in the negative cohort of 17 383 participants, contributing 2 971 436 person-days of follow-up. The incidence density was 7·6 reinfections per 100 000 person-days in the positive cohort, compared with 57·3 primary infections per 100 000 person-days in the negative cohort, between June, 2020, and January, 2021. The adjusted IRR was 0·159 for all reinfections (95% CI 0·13-0·19) compared with PCR-confirmed primary infections. The median interval between primary infection and reinfection was more than 200 days. INTERPRETATION: A previous history of SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with an 84% lower risk of infection, with median protective effect observed 7 months following primary infection. This time period is the minimum probable effect because seroconversions were not included. This study shows that previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 induces effective immunity to future infections in most individuals. FUNDING: Department of Health and Social Care of the UK Government, Public Health England, The National Institute for Health Research, with contributions from the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Health Personnel , Adult , Asymptomatic Infections , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , England , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , Reinfection , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
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