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1.
BMJ Open ; 12(4): e052514, 2022 Apr 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1799219

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been a significant cause of mortality in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COG-UK Consortium Hospital-Onset COVID-19 Infections (COG-UK HOCI) study aims to evaluate whether the use of rapid whole-genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, supported by a novel probabilistic reporting methodology, can inform infection prevention and control (IPC) practice within NHS hospital settings. DESIGN: Multicentre, prospective, interventional, superiority study. SETTING: 14 participating NHS hospitals over winter-spring 2020/2021 in the UK. PARTICIPANTS: Eligible patients must be admitted to hospital with first-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 PCR-positive test result >48 hour from time of admission, where COVID-19 diagnosis not suspected on admission. The projected sample size is 2380 patients. INTERVENTION: The intervention is the return of a sequence report, within 48 hours in one phase (rapid local lab processing) and within 5-10 days in a second phase (mimicking central lab), comparing the viral genome from an eligible study participant with others within and outside the hospital site. PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcomes are incidence of Public Health England (PHE)/IPC-defined SARS-CoV-2 hospital-acquired infection during the baseline and two interventional phases, and proportion of hospital-onset cases with genomic evidence of transmission linkage following implementation of the intervention where such linkage was not suspected by initial IPC investigation. Secondary outcomes include incidence of hospital outbreaks, with and without sequencing data; actual and desirable changes to IPC actions; periods of healthcare worker (HCW) absence. Health economic analysis will be conducted to determine cost benefit of the intervention. A process evaluation using qualitative interviews with HCWs will be conducted alongside the study. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN50212645. Pre-results stage. This manuscript is based on protocol V.6.0. 2 September 2021.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Testing , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Hospitals , Humans , Multicenter Studies as Topic , Pandemics/prevention & control , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , State Medicine , Treatment Outcome , United Kingdom/epidemiology
2.
mBio ; 13(2): e0379821, 2022 Apr 26.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1745822

ABSTRACT

Numerous studies have shown that a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection can greatly enhance the antibody response to COVID-19 vaccination, with this so called "hybrid immunity" leading to greater neutralization breadth against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. However, little is known about how breakthrough infection (BTI) in COVID-19-vaccinated individuals will impact the magnitude and breadth of the neutralizing antibody response. Here, we compared neutralizing antibody responses between unvaccinated and COVID-19-double-vaccinated individuals (including both AZD1222 and BNT162b2 vaccinees) who have been infected with the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant. Rapid production of spike-reactive IgG was observed in the vaccinated group, providing evidence of effective vaccine priming. Overall, potent cross-neutralizing activity against current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern was observed in the BTI group compared to the infection group, including neutralization of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant. This study provides important insights into population immunity where transmission levels remain high and in the context of new or emerging variants of concern. IMPORTANCE COVID-19 vaccines have been vital in controlling SARS-CoV-2 infections and reducing hospitalizations. However, breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections (BTI) occur in some vaccinated individuals. Here, we study how BTI impacts on the potency and the breadth of the neutralizing antibody response. We show that a Delta infection in COVID-19-vaccinated individuals provides potent neutralization against the current SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the Omicron variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
3.
J Clin Virol ; 147: 105080, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1693299

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Viral diversity presents an ongoing challenge for diagnostic tests, which need to accurately detect all circulating variants. The Abbott Global Surveillance program monitors severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants and their impact on diagnostic test performance. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the capacity of Abbott molecular, antigen, and serologic assays to detect circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, including all current variants of concern (VOC): B.1.1.7 (alpha), B.1.351 (beta), P.1 (gamma) and B.1.617.2 (delta). STUDY DESIGN: Dilutions of variant virus cultures (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.429, B.1.526.1, B.1.526.2, B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, P.1, R.1 and control isolate WA1) and a panel of N = 248 clinical samples from patients with sequence confirmed variant infections (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.427, B.1.429, B.1.526, B.1.526.1, B.1.526.2, P.1, P.2, R.1) were evaluated on at least one assay: Abbott ID NOW COVID-19, m2000 RealTime SARS-CoV-2, Alinity m SARS-CoV-2, and Alinity m Resp-4-Plex molecular assays; the BinaxNOW COVID-19 Ag Card and Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test Device; and the ARCHITECT/Alinity i SARS-CoV-2 IgG and AdviseDx IgM assays, Panbio COVID-19 IgG assay, and ARCHITECT/Alinity i AdviseDx SARS-CoV-2 IgG II assay. RESULTS: Consistent with in silico predictions, each molecular and antigen assay detected VOC virus cultures with equivalent sensitivity to the WA1 control strain. Notably, 100% of all tested variant patient specimens were detected by molecular assays (N = 197 m2000, N = 88 Alinity m, N = 99 ID NOW), and lateral flow assays had a sensitivity of >94% for specimens with genome equivalents (GE) per device above 4 log (85/88, Panbio; 54/57 Binax). Furthermore, Abbott antibody assays detected IgG and IgM in 94-100% of sera from immune competent B.1.1.7 patients 15-26 days after symptom onset. CONCLUSIONS: These data confirm variant detection for 11 SARS-CoV-2 assays, which is consistent with each assay target region being highly conserved. Importantly, alpha, beta, gamma, and delta VOCs were detected by molecular and antigen assays, indicating that these tests may be suitable for widescale use where VOCs predominate.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Sensitivity and Specificity , Serologic Tests
4.
BMJ Open ; 12(2): e055474, 2022 02 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1691309

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Alpha variant (B.1.1.7 lineage) of SARS-CoV-2 emerged and became the dominant circulating variant in the UK in late 2020. Current literature is unclear on whether the Alpha variant is associated with increased severity. We linked clinical data with viral genome sequence data to compare admitted cases between SARS-CoV-2 waves in London and to investigate the association between the Alpha variant and the severity of disease. METHODS: Clinical, demographic, laboratory and viral sequence data from electronic health record systems were collected for all cases with a positive SARS-CoV-2 RNA test between 13 March 2020 and 17 February 2021 in a multisite London healthcare institution. Multivariate analysis using logistic regression assessed risk factors for severity as defined by hypoxia at admission. RESULTS: There were 5810 SARS-CoV-2 RNA-positive cases of which 2341 were admitted (838 in wave 1 and 1503 in wave 2). Both waves had a temporally aligned rise in nosocomial cases (96 in wave 1 and 137 in wave 2). The Alpha variant was first identified on 15 November 2020 and increased rapidly to comprise 400/472 (85%) of sequenced isolates from admitted cases in wave 2. A multivariate analysis identified risk factors for severity on admission, such as age (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.03, for every year older; p<0.001), obesity (OR 1.70, 95% CI 1.28 to 2.26; p<0.001) and infection with the Alpha variant (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.26 to 2.24; p<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Our analysis is the first in hospitalised cohorts to show increased severity of disease associated with the Alpha variant. The number of nosocomial cases was similar in both waves despite the introduction of many infection control interventions before wave 2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , London/epidemiology , Pandemics , RNA, Viral/genetics , Severity of Illness Index
5.
Genome Med ; 13(1): 182, 2021 11 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523323

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Clinical metagenomics (CMg) has the potential to be translated from a research tool into routine service to improve antimicrobial treatment and infection control decisions. The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic provides added impetus to realise these benefits, given the increased risk of secondary infection and nosocomial transmission of multi-drug-resistant (MDR) pathogens linked with the expansion of critical care capacity. METHODS: CMg using nanopore sequencing was evaluated in a proof-of-concept study on 43 respiratory samples from 34 intubated patients across seven intensive care units (ICUs) over a 9-week period during the first COVID-19 pandemic wave. RESULTS: An 8-h CMg workflow was 92% sensitive (95% CI, 75-99%) and 82% specific (95% CI, 57-96%) for bacterial identification based on culture-positive and culture-negative samples, respectively. CMg sequencing reported the presence or absence of ß-lactam-resistant genes carried by Enterobacterales that would modify the initial guideline-recommended antibiotics in every case. CMg was also 100% concordant with quantitative PCR for detecting Aspergillus fumigatus from 4 positive and 39 negative samples. Molecular typing using 24-h sequencing data identified an MDR-K. pneumoniae ST307 outbreak involving 4 patients and an MDR-C. striatum outbreak involving 14 patients across three ICUs. CONCLUSION: CMg testing provides accurate pathogen detection and antibiotic resistance prediction in a same-day laboratory workflow, with assembled genomes available the next day for genomic surveillance. The provision of this technology in a service setting could fundamentally change the multi-disciplinary team approach to managing ICU infections. The potential to improve the initial targeted treatment and rapidly detect unsuspected outbreaks of MDR-pathogens justifies further expedited clinical assessment of CMg.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/pathology , Cross Infection/transmission , Metagenomics , Anti-Bacterial Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/virology , Coinfection/drug therapy , Coinfection/microbiology , Corynebacterium/genetics , Corynebacterium/isolation & purification , Cross Infection/microbiology , DNA, Bacterial/chemistry , DNA, Bacterial/metabolism , Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial/genetics , Female , Humans , Intensive Care Units , Klebsiella pneumoniae/genetics , Klebsiella pneumoniae/isolation & purification , Male , Middle Aged , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Sequence Analysis, DNA , beta-Lactamases/genetics
6.
Nat Microbiol ; 6(11): 1433-1442, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1469971

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 vaccine design and vaccination rollout need to take into account a detailed understanding of antibody durability and cross-neutralizing potential against SARS-CoV-2 and emerging variants of concern (VOCs). Analyses of convalescent sera provide unique insights into antibody longevity and cross-neutralizing activity induced by variant spike proteins, which are putative vaccine candidates. Using sera from 38 individuals infected in wave 1, we show that cross-neutralizing activity can be detected up to 305 days pos onset of symptoms, although sera were less potent against B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B1.351 (Beta). Over time, despite a reduction in overall neutralization activity, differences in sera neutralization potency against SARS-CoV-2 and the Alpha and Beta variants decreased, which suggests that continued antibody maturation improves tolerance to spike mutations. We also compared the cross-neutralizing activity of wave 1 sera with sera from individuals infected with the Alpha, the Beta or the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variants up to 79 days post onset of symptoms. While these sera neutralize the infecting VOC and parental virus to similar levels, cross-neutralization of different SARS-CoV-2 VOC lineages is reduced. These findings will inform the optimization of vaccines to protect against SARS-CoV-2 variants.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Male , Middle Aged , Mutation , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Vaccination , Young Adult
7.
Viruses ; 13(10)2021 10 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463840

ABSTRACT

The emergence of variants of SARS-CoV-2 has created challenges for the testing infrastructure. Although large-scale genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has facilitated hospital and public health responses, access to sequencing facilities globally is variable and turnaround times can be significant, so there is a requirement for rapid and cost-effective alternatives. Applying a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) approach enables rapid (<4 h) identification of SARS-CoV-2 lineages from nucleic acid extracts, through the presence or absence of a panel of defined of genomic polymorphisms. For example, the B.1.1.7 lineage ("UK", "Alpha", or "Kent" variant) is characterised by 23 mutations compared to the reference strain, and the most biologically significant of these are found in the S gene. We have developed a SARS-CoV-2 typing assay focused on five positions in the S gene (HV69/70, N501, K417, E484 and P681). This configuration can identify a range of variants, including all the "Variants of Concern" currently designated by national and international public health bodies. The panel has been evaluated using a range of clinical isolates and standardised control materials at four UK hospitals and shows excellent concordance with the known lineage information derived from full sequence analysis. The assay has a turnaround time of about three hours for a set of up to 24 samples and has been utilised to identify emerging variants in a clinical setting.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Nucleic Acid Amplification Techniques/methods , Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Whole Genome Sequencing/methods
8.
J Infect ; 83(6): 693-700, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446866

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Recently emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants have been associated with an increased rate of transmission within the community. We sought to determine whether this also resulted in increased transmission within hospitals. METHODS: We collected viral sequences and epidemiological data of patients with community and healthcare associated SARS-CoV-2 infections, sampled from 16th November 2020 to 10th January 2021, from nine hospitals participating in the COG-UK HOCI study. Outbreaks were identified using ward information, lineage and pairwise genetic differences between viral sequences. RESULTS: Mixed effects logistic regression analysis of 4184 sequences showed healthcare-acquired infections were no more likely to be identified as the Alpha variant than community acquired infections. Nosocomial outbreaks were investigated based on overlapping ward stay and SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence similarity. There was no significant difference in the number of patients involved in outbreaks caused by the Alpha variant compared to outbreaks caused by other lineages. CONCLUSIONS: We find no evidence to support it causing more nosocomial transmission than previous lineages. This suggests that the stringent infection prevention measures already in place in UK hospitals contained the spread of the Alpha variant as effectively as other less transmissible lineages, providing reassurance of their efficacy against emerging variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
12.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 28(1): 93-100, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356178

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To analyse nosocomial transmission in the early stages of the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic at a large multisite healthcare institution. Nosocomial incidence is linked with infection control interventions. METHODS: Viral genome sequence and epidemiological data were analysed for 574 consecutive patients, including 86 nosocomial cases, with a positive PCR test for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during the first 19 days of the pandemic. RESULTS: Forty-four putative transmission clusters were found through epidemiological analysis; these included 234 cases and all 86 nosocomial cases. SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences were obtained from 168/234 (72%) of these cases in epidemiological clusters, including 77/86 nosocomial cases (90%). Only 75/168 (45%) of epidemiologically linked, sequenced cases were not refuted by applying genomic data, creating 14 final clusters accounting for 59/77 sequenced nosocomial cases (77%). Viral haplotypes from these clusters were enriched 1-14x (median 4x) compared to the community. Three factors implicated unidentified cases in transmission: (a) community-onset or indeterminate cases were absent in 7/14 clusters (50%), (b) four clusters (29%) had additional evidence of cryptic transmission, and (c) in three clusters (21%) diagnosis of the earliest case was delayed, which may have facilitated transmission. Nosocomial cases decreased to low levels (0-2 per day) despite continuing high numbers of admissions of community-onset SARS-CoV-2 cases (40-50 per day) and before the impact of introducing universal face masks and banning hospital visitors. CONCLUSION: Genomics was necessary to accurately resolve transmission clusters. Our data support unidentified cases-such as healthcare workers or asymptomatic patients-as important vectors of transmission. Evidence is needed to ascertain whether routine screening increases case ascertainment and limits nosocomial transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Disease Outbreaks , Genome, Viral , Genomics , Hospitals , Humans , Pandemics
14.
Lancet Microbe ; 2(9): e461-e471, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1294386

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Lateral flow devices (LFDs) for rapid antigen testing are set to become a cornerstone of SARS-CoV-2 mass community testing, although their reduced sensitivity compared with PCR has raised questions of how well they identify infectious cases. Understanding their capabilities and limitations is, therefore, essential for successful implementation. We evaluated six commercial LFDs and assessed their correlation with infectious virus culture and PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values. METHODS: In a single-centre, laboratory evaluation study, we did a head-to-head comparison of six LFDs commercially available in the UK: Innova Rapid SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Test, Spring Healthcare SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Cassette, E25Bio Rapid Diagnostic Test, Encode SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test Device, SureScreen COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test Cassette, and SureScreen COVID-19 Rapid Fluorescence Antigen Test. We estimated the specificities and sensitivities of the LFDs using stored naso-oropharyngeal swabs collected at St Thomas' Hospital (London, UK) for routine diagnostic SARS-CoV-2 testing by real-time RT-PCR (RT-rtPCR). Swabs were from inpatients and outpatients from all departments of St Thomas' Hospital, and from health-care staff (all departments) and their household contacts. SARS-CoV-2-negative swabs from the same population (confirmed by RT-rtPCR) were used for comparative specificity determinations. All samples were collected between March 23 and Oct 27, 2020. We determined the limit of detection (LOD) for each test using viral plaque-forming units (PFUs) and viral RNA copy numbers of laboratory-grown SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, LFDs were selected to assess the correlation of antigen test result with RT-rtPCR Ct values and positive viral culture in Vero E6 cells. This analysis included longitudinal swabs from five infected inpatients with varying disease severities. Furthermore, the sensitivities of available LFDs were assessed in swabs (n=23; collected from Dec 4, 2020, to Jan 12, 2021) confirmed to be positive (RT-rtPCR and whole-genome sequencing) for the B.1.1.7 variant, which was the dominant genotype in the UK at the time of study completion. FINDINGS: All LFDs showed high specificity (≥98·0%), except for the E25Bio test (86·0% [95% CI 77·9-99·9]), and most tests reliably detected 50 PFU/test (equivalent SARS-CoV-2 N gene Ct value of 23·7, or RNA copy number of 3 × 106/mL). Sensitivities of the LFDs on clinical samples ranged from 65·0% (55·2-73·6) to 89·0% (81·4-93·8). These sensitivities increased to greater than 90% for samples with Ct values of lower than 25 for all tests except the SureScreen fluorescence (SureScreen-F) test. Positive virus culture was identified in 57 (40·4%) of 141 samples; 54 (94·7%) of the positive cultures were from swabs with Ct values lower than 25. Among the three LFDs selected for detailed comparisons (the tests with highest sensitivity [Innova], highest specificity [Encode], and alternative technology [SureScreen-F]), sensitivity of the LFDs increased to at least 94·7% when only including samples with detected viral growth. Longitudinal studies of RT-rtPCR-positive samples (tested with Innova, Encode, and both SureScreen-F and the SureScreen visual [SureScreen-V] test) showed that most of the tests identified all infectious samples as positive. Test performance (assessed for Innova and SureScreen-V) was not affected when reassessed on swabs positive for the UK variant B.1.1.7. INTERPRETATION: In this comprehensive comparison of antigen LFDs and virus infectivity, we found a clear relationship between Ct values, quantitative culture of infectious virus, and antigen LFD positivity in clinical samples. Our data support regular testing of target groups with LFDs to supplement the current PCR testing capacity, which would help to rapidly identify infected individuals in situations in which they would otherwise go undetected. FUNDING: King's Together Rapid COVID-19, Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, Huo Family Foundation, UK Department of Health, National Institute for Health Research Comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Testing , Humans , RNA, Viral/genetics
15.
Nat Microbiol ; 5(12): 1598-1607, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-892039

ABSTRACT

Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 can be detected in most infected individuals 10-15 d after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. However, due to the recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in the human population, it is not known how long antibody responses will be maintained or whether they will provide protection from reinfection. Using sequential serum samples collected up to 94 d post onset of symptoms (POS) from 65 individuals with real-time quantitative PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, we show seroconversion (immunoglobulin (Ig)M, IgA, IgG) in >95% of cases and neutralizing antibody responses when sampled beyond 8 d POS. We show that the kinetics of the neutralizing antibody response is typical of an acute viral infection, with declining neutralizing antibody titres observed after an initial peak, and that the magnitude of this peak is dependent on disease severity. Although some individuals with high peak infective dose (ID50 > 10,000) maintained neutralizing antibody titres >1,000 at >60 d POS, some with lower peak ID50 had neutralizing antibody titres approaching baseline within the follow-up period. A similar decline in neutralizing antibody titres was observed in a cohort of 31 seropositive healthcare workers. The present study has important implications when considering widespread serological testing and antibody protection against reinfection with SARS-CoV-2, and may suggest that vaccine boosters are required to provide long-lasting protection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Humans , Kinetics , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Seroconversion , Severity of Illness Index , Young Adult
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