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1.
Preprint | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296939

ABSTRACT

Efficient COVID-19 vaccines have been developed in record time. Here, we present findings from a comprehensive and integrated analysis of multiple compartments of the memory immune response in 312 individuals vaccinated with the BNT162b2 mRNA vaccine. Two vaccine doses induced high antibody and T cell responses in most individuals. However, antibody recognition of the Spike protein of delta variant was less efficient than that of the Wuhan strain. Age stratified analyses identified a group of low antibody responders where individuals ≥ 60 years were overrepresented. Waning of the antibody and cellular responses was observed in 30% of the vaccinees after six months. However, age did not influence the waning of these responses. Taken together, while individuals ≥ 60 years old took longer to acquire vaccine-induced immunity, they develop more sustained acquired immunity at six months post-vaccination. However, the higher proportion of older individuals in the group of antibody low responders and the lower antibody reactivity the Delta variant call for a booster immunization to increase immune responses and protection.

3.
Food Qual Prefer ; 97: 104482, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1531262

ABSTRACT

Sudden loss of smell and/or taste has been identified as an early symptom of SARS-CoV-2 2019 (COVID-19) infection, and presents an effective target for prompt self-isolation and reducing community spread. The current study sought to develop and test a novel, rapid, self-administered test to objectively measure smell and taste losses associated with COVID-19, and administered self-report questionnaires to characterise symptoms associated with COVID-19 in Singapore. Participants (N = 99) completed questionnaires to record recent changes in smell and taste ability. This was followed by the 'Singapore Smell and Taste Test' (SSTT), a personal, objective testing kit for daily self-assessment of smell and taste function at their place of residence. Seventy-two recruited participants were confirmed as COVID-19 positive at baseline, of which 58 completed the SSTT at home. Of these, 36.2% had objectively measured smell and/or taste loss. The SSTT measures of smell and taste function were positively associated with participants' self-reported smell and taste acuity, and rated smell intensity of 6 common household items. This study presents the first application of the SSTT as a rapid, cost-effective, objective tool to self-monitor smell and taste function in a residential setting, and ensures comparability across individuals through the use of standardised stimuli. The SSTT has potential for future application in populations with limited access to formal COVID-19 testing as a self-administered objective method to monitor sudden changes in smell and taste, and to prompt early self-isolation, in order to reduce community transmission of COVID-19.

4.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e3136-e3143, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1501035

ABSTRACT

Singapore's hospitals had prepared to receive patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), planning various scenarios and levels of surge with a policy of isolating all confirmed cases as inpatients. The National University Hospital adopted a whole of hospital approach to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with 3 primary goals: zero hospital-acquired COVID-19, all patients receive timely necessary care, and maintenance of staff morale. These goals to date have been met. A large influx of COVID-19 cases required significant transformation of clinical and operational processes. Isolation room numbers almost tripled and dedicated COVID-19 cohort wards were established, elective care was postponed, and intensive care units were augmented with equipment and manpower. In the wake of the surge, establishing a new normal for hospital care requires maintaining vigilance to detect endemic COVID-19, establishing contingency plans to ramp up in case of another surge, while returning to business as usual.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hospitals, University , Humans , Inpatients , Intensive Care Units , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Ann Acad Med Singap ; 50(9): 703-711, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1464250

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Vaccination remains a key strategy to living endemically with COVID-19. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine was first granted interim authorisation for use in Singapore in December 2020. With overseas studies published about the safety and side effect profiles of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines focusing mainly on non-Asian populations, we described the side effects of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination experienced by the healthcare workers (HCWs) in a tertiary hospital in Singapore. METHODS: Data were obtained from the Occupational Health Clinic (OHC) at the National University Hospital in Singapore, which monitored staff for any adverse effects within 30 minutes post vaccination on-site and any adverse effects after that. A cross-sectional study among the vaccinated HCWs was conducted using an online survey, which established basic demographics, histories of allergies or atopic disorders, and adverse events encountered after dose 1 and dose 2 of vaccination. RESULTS: No anaphylaxis was reported. Most common symptom was giddiness (32.7%) experienced by HCWs within 30 minutes. Adverse events attended post-vaccination by OHC were generally mild and self-limiting. From the survey, odds of experiencing an adverse event after dose 2 was significantly higher than after the first dose, especially for fever/chills (odds ratio [OR] 22.5). Fever/chills, injection site reactions, headache, aches and pains, and feeling unwell were significantly more common in HCWs below 60 years compared to those ≥60 years. An allergy to food (adjusted OR 2.7) and a history of eczema/sensitive skin (adjusted OR 2.6) were associated with a skin reaction not at injection site. CONCLUSION: The side effects experienced after Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are generally self-limiting and mild, with no anaphylaxis reported.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Health Personnel , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology , Tertiary Care Centers , Vaccination
7.
J Investig Med ; 69(7): 1287-1296, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1276980

ABSTRACT

This systematic and meta-review aimed to compare clinical presentation, outcomes, and care management among patients with COVID-19 during the early phase of the pandemic. A total of 77 peer-reviewed publications were identified between January 1, 2020 and April 9, 2020 from PubMed, Google Scholar, and Chinese Medical Journal databases. Subsequently, meta-analysis of 40 non-overlapping studies, comprising of 4844 patients from seven countries, was conducted to see differences in clinical characteristics and laboratory outcomes across patients from different geographical regions (Wuhan, other parts of China and outside China), severity (non-severe, severe and fatal) and age groups (adults and children). Patients from Wuhan had a higher mean age (54.3 years) and rates of dyspnea (39.5%) compared with patients from other parts of China and outside China. Myalgia, fatigue, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and fatalities were also significantly more prevalent among Wuhan patients. A significant dose-response increase in prevalence of diabetes, D-dimer, white blood cells, neutrophil levels and ARDS was seen from non-severe to severe and fatal outcomes. A significant increase in mean duration of symptom onset to admission was seen between non-severe cases (4.2 days) and severe and fatal cases (6.3 days and 8.8 days, respectively). Proportion of asymptomatic cases was higher in children (20%) compared with adults (2.4%). In conclusion, patients with COVID-19 from Wuhan displayed more severe clinical disease during the early phase of the pandemic, while disease severity was significantly lesser among pediatric cases. This review suggests that biomarkers at admission may be useful for prognosis among patients with COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/statistics & numerical data , Symptom Assessment/statistics & numerical data , Adult , COVID-19/blood , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/therapy , Child , Global Health/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Mortality , Observational Studies as Topic , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care , Prognosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index
9.
Int J Infect Dis ; 103: 214-216, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1065175

ABSTRACT

Ivermectin, a US Food and Drug Administration-approved anti-parasitic agent, was found to inhibit severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) replication in vitro. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted to determine the rapidity of viral clearance and safety of ivermectin among adult SARS-CoV-2 patients. The trial included 72 hospitalized patients in Dhaka, Bangladesh, who were assigned to one of three groups: oral ivermectin alone (12 mg once daily for 5 days), oral ivermectin in combination with doxycycline (12 mg ivermectin single dose and 200 mg doxycycline on day 1, followed by 100 mg every 12 h for the next 4 days), and a placebo control group. Clinical symptoms of fever, cough, and sore throat were comparable among the three groups. Virological clearance was earlier in the 5-day ivermectin treatment arm when compared to the placebo group (9.7 days vs 12.7 days; p = 0.02), but this was not the case for the ivermectin + doxycycline arm (11.5 days; p = 0.27). There were no severe adverse drug events recorded in the study. A 5-day course of ivermectin was found to be safe and effective in treating adult patients with mild COVID-19. Larger trials will be needed to confirm these preliminary findings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/drug therapy , Ivermectin/therapeutic use , SARS-CoV-2 , Adult , COVID-19/virology , Double-Blind Method , Female , Humans , Ivermectin/adverse effects , Male , Middle Aged
10.
JMIR Res Protoc ; 9(12): e24797, 2020 Dec 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1067571

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Sudden loss of smell and/or taste has been suggested to be an early marker of COVID-19 infection, with most findings based on self-reporting of sensory changes at a single time point. OBJECTIVE: To understand the onset, severity, and recovery of sensory changes associated with COVID-19 infection, this study will longitudinally track changes in chemosensory acuity among people with suspected COVID-19 infection using standardized test stimuli that are self-administered over 28 days. METHODS: In a prospective, case-controlled observational study, volunteers will be recruited when they present for COVID-19 screening by respiratory tract polymerase chain reaction test ("swab test"). The volunteers will initially complete a series of questionnaires to record their recent changes in smell and taste ability, followed by a brief standardized smell and taste test. Participants will receive a home-use smell and taste test kit to prospectively complete daily self-assessments of their smell and taste acuity at their place of residence for up to 4 weeks, with all data submitted for collection through web-based software. RESULTS: This study has been approved by the Domain Specific Review Board of the National Healthcare Group, Singapore, and is funded by the Biomedical Research Council Singapore COVID-19 Research Fund. Recruitment began on July 23, 2020, and will continue through to March 31, 2021. As of October 2, 2020, 69 participants had been recruited. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this study will be the first to collect longitudinal data on changes to smell and taste sensitivity related to clinically diagnosed COVID-19 infection, confirmed by PCR swab test, in a population-based cohort. The findings will provide temporal insights on the onset, severity, and recovery of sensory changes with COVID-19 infection, the consistency of symptoms, and the frequency of full smell recovery among patients with COVID-19. This self-administered and cost-effective approach has many advantages over self-report questionnaire-based methods and provides a more objective measure of smell and taste changes associated with COVID-19 infection; this will encourage otherwise asymptomatic individuals who are potential spreaders of the virus to self-isolate and seek formal medical diagnosis if they experience a sudden change in sensory acuity. This broadened case finding can potentially help control the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce the emergence of clusters of infections. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04492904; https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT04492904. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/24797.

12.
Ann Acad Med Singap ; 49(11): 857-869, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1001259

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Pregnant women are reported to be at increased risk of severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) due to underlying immunosuppression during pregnancy. However, the clinical course of COVID-19 in pregnancy and risk of vertical and horizontal transmission remain relatively unknown. We aim to describe and evaluate outcomes in pregnant women with COVID-19 in Singapore. METHODS: Prospective observational study of 16 pregnant patients admitted for COVID-19 to 4 tertiary hospitals in Singapore. Outcomes included severe disease, pregnancy loss, and vertical and horizontal transmission. RESULTS: Of the 16 patients, 37.5%, 43.8% and 18.7% were infected in the first, second and third trimesters, respectively. Two gravidas aged ≥35 years (12.5%) developed severe pneumonia; one patient (body mass index 32.9kg/m2) required transfer to intensive care. The median duration of acute infection was 19 days; one patient remained reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) positive >11 weeks from diagnosis. There were no maternal mortalities. Five pregnancies produced term live-births while 2 spontaneous miscarriages occurred at 11 and 23 weeks. RT-PCR of breast milk and maternal and neonatal samples taken at birth were negative; placenta and cord histology showed non-specific inflammation; and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific immunoglobulins were elevated in paired maternal and umbilical cord blood (n=5). CONCLUSION: The majority of COVID-19 infected pregnant women had mild disease and only 2 women with risk factors (obesity, older age) had severe infection; this represents a slightly higher incidence than observed in age-matched non-pregnant women. Among the women who delivered, there was no definitive evidence of mother-to-child transmission via breast milk or placenta.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/epidemiology , Pregnancy Outcome/epidemiology , Abortion, Spontaneous/epidemiology , Adult , COVID-19/physiopathology , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , COVID-19 Serological Testing , Cohort Studies , Disease Transmission, Infectious/statistics & numerical data , Female , Fetal Blood/immunology , Humans , Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical/statistics & numerical data , Live Birth/epidemiology , Maternal Age , Milk, Human/chemistry , Milk, Human/virology , Obesity, Maternal/epidemiology , Placenta/pathology , Pregnancy , Pregnancy Complications, Infectious/physiopathology , Pregnancy Trimester, First , Pregnancy Trimester, Second , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/analysis , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Severity of Illness Index , Singapore/epidemiology , Umbilical Cord/pathology , Young Adult
13.
Risk Manag Healthc Policy ; 13: 2489-2496, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-921104

ABSTRACT

Background: By estimating N95 respirator demand based on simulated epidemics, we aim to assist planning efforts requiring estimations of respirator demand for the healthcare system to continue operating safely in the coming months. Methods: We assess respiratory needs over the course of mild, moderate and severe epidemic scenarios within Singapore as a case study using a transmission dynamic model. The number of respirators required within the respiratory isolation wards and intensive care units was estimated over the course of the epidemic. We also considered single-use, extended-use and prolonged-use strategies for N95 respirators for use by healthcare workers treating suspected but negative (misclassified) or confirmed COVID-19 patients. Results: Depending on the confirmed to misclassified case ratio, from 1:0 to 1:10, a range of 117.1 million to 1.1 billion masks are required for single-use. This decreases to 71.6-784.4 million for extended-use and 12.8-148.2 million for prolonged-use, representing a 31.8-38.9% and 86.5-89.1% reduction, respectively. Conclusion: An extended-use policy should be considered when short-term supply chains are strained but planning measures are in place to ensure long-term availability. With severe shortage expectations from a severe epidemic, as some European countries have experienced, prolonged use is necessary to prolong supply.

14.
Clin Infect Dis ; 73(9): e3136-e3143, 2021 11 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-920692

ABSTRACT

Singapore's hospitals had prepared to receive patients infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), planning various scenarios and levels of surge with a policy of isolating all confirmed cases as inpatients. The National University Hospital adopted a whole of hospital approach to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) with 3 primary goals: zero hospital-acquired COVID-19, all patients receive timely necessary care, and maintenance of staff morale. These goals to date have been met. A large influx of COVID-19 cases required significant transformation of clinical and operational processes. Isolation room numbers almost tripled and dedicated COVID-19 cohort wards were established, elective care was postponed, and intensive care units were augmented with equipment and manpower. In the wake of the surge, establishing a new normal for hospital care requires maintaining vigilance to detect endemic COVID-19, establishing contingency plans to ramp up in case of another surge, while returning to business as usual.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Hospitals, University , Humans , Inpatients , Intensive Care Units , SARS-CoV-2
15.
J Occup Health ; 62(1): e12172, 2020 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-863436

ABSTRACT

With coronavirus disease 2019 declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020, occupational health services in a tertiary hospital in Singapore stepped up via a three-pronged approach, namely, protection of individual staff, protection of staff workforce, and prevention of nosocomial spread so as to support business continuity plans. Despite the multiple new challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospital's occupational health services were able to adapt and keep all employees and patients safe with strong support from senior management and close collaboration with various departments.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Infectious Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional/prevention & control , Occupational Health Services/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Tertiary Care Centers/organization & administration , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Cross Infection/virology , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology
17.
BMC Med ; 18(1): 179, 2020 06 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-549100

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: On January 30, COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern-a week after Singapore's first imported case and 5 days before local transmission. The National University Hospital (NUH) is Singapore's third largest hospital with 1200 beds, heavy clinical workloads, and major roles in research and teaching. MAIN BODY: With memories of SARS still vivid, there was an urgent requirement for the NUH Division of Infectious Diseases to adapt-undergoing major reorganization to face rapidly changing priorities while ensuring usual essential services and standards. Leveraging on individual strengths, our division mobilized to meet the demands of COVID-19 while engaging in high-level coordination, strategy, and advocacy. We present our experience of the 60 days since the nation's first case. During this time, our hospital has managed 3030 suspect cases, including 1300 inpatients, 37 confirmed cases, and overseen 4384 samples tested for COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Complex hospital adaptations were supported by an unprecedented number of workflows and coordination channels essential to safe and effective operations. The actions we describe, aligned with international recommendations and emerging evidence-based best practices, may serve as a framework for other divisions and institutions facing the spread of COVID-19 globally.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Hospitals, University , Organizational Innovation , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Public Health , Academic Medical Centers , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Communicable Diseases , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Delivery of Health Care , Hospitals, University/organization & administration , Humans , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology , Workload
18.
Surg Endosc ; 34(8): 3292-3297, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-232658

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant changes to surgical practice across the worlds. Some countries are seeing a tailing down of cases, while others are still having persistent and sustained community spread. These evolving disease patterns call for a customized and dynamic approach to the selection, screening, planning, and for the conduct of surgery for these patients. METHODS: The current literature and various international society guidelines were reviewed and a set of recommendations were drafted. These were circulated to the Governors of the Endoscopic and Laparoscopic Surgeons of Asia (ELSA) for expert comments and discussion. The results of these were compiled and are presented in this paper. RESULTS: The recommendations include guidance for selection and screening of patients in times of active community spread, limited community spread, during times of sporadic cases or recovery and the transition between phases. Personal protective equipment requirements are also reviewed for each phase as minimum requirements. Capability management for the re-opening of services is also discussed. The choice between open and laparoscopic surgery is patient based, and the relative advantages of laparoscopic surgery with regard to complications, and respiratory recovery after major surgery has to be weighed against the lack of safety data for laparoscopic surgery in COVID-19 positive patients. We provide recommendations on the operating room set up and conduct of general surgery. If laparoscopic surgery is to be performed, we describe circuit modifications to assist in reducing plume generation and aerosolization. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic requires every surgical unit to have clear guidelines to ensure both patient and staff safety. These guidelines may assist in providing guidance to units developing their own protocols. A judicious approach must be adopted as surgical units look to re-open services as the pandemic evolves.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Infection Control/methods , Laparoscopy/methods , Minimally Invasive Surgical Procedures/methods , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Asia/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Humans , Operating Rooms , Patient Selection , Personal Protective Equipment , SARS-CoV-2 , Surgeons
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