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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-338394

ABSTRACT

Movement and contacts are central to the transmission of infectious diseases and, within the hospital setting, healthcare worker (HCW) mobility and their contact with patients play an important role in the spread of nosocomial disease. Yet data relating to HCW behaviours associated with mobility and contacts in the healthcare environment are often limited. This paper proposes a framework for integrating several electronic data sources routinely-collected by modern hospitals, to enable the measurement of HCW behaviours relevant to the transmission of infections. Using data from a London teaching hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, we demonstrate how, at an aggregate level, electronic medical records (EMRs) and door access logs can be used to establish changes in HCW mobility and patient contacts. In addition, to show the utility of these data sources in supporting infection prevention and control (IPC), we investigate changes in the indirect connectivity of patients (resulting from shared contacts with HCWs) and spatial connectivity of floors (owing to the movements of HCWs). Average daily rates of patient contacts are computed and found to be higher throughout the pandemic compared to that pre-pandemic, while the average daily rates of HCW mobility remained stable until the second wave, where they surpassed pre-pandemic levels. The response of HCW behaviour to the pandemic was not equal between floors, whereby the highest increases in patient contacts and mobility were on floors handling the majority of COVID-19 patients. The first wave of COVID-19 patients resulted in changes to the flow of HCWs between floors, but the interconnectivity between COVID-19 and non COVID-19 wards was evident throughout the pandemic. Daily rates of indirect contact between patients provided evidence for reactive staff cohorting, whereby indirect contact rates between COVID-19 positive and negative patients were lowest during peaks in COVID-19 hospital admissions. We propose that IPC practitioners use these routinely collected data on HCW behaviour to support infection control activities and to help better protect hospital staff and patients from nosocomial outbreaks of communicable diseases.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-305830

ABSTRACT

Background: For a targeted therapeutic strategy to show outcome benefit, there needs to be a strong biological and pathogenic rationale to underpin and direct personalised treatments. Relevant biological disease features and biomarkers identify patients for the correct therapeutic, delivered at an appropriate time, dose and duration for maximal efficacy. We evaluated whether serum levels of a wide range of proposed therapeutic targets in COVID-19 discriminated between patients with mild and severe disease or death.Methods: A search of clinicaltrials.gov identified immunological drug targets in COVID-19. We subsequently conducted an observational study investigating the association of serum biomarkers relating to putative therapeutic biomarkers with illness severity and outcome.Results: A search of clinicaltrials.gov identified 477 randomized trials assessing immunomodulatory therapies, including 168 different therapies against 83 different pathways. We measured levels of ten cytokines/signalling proteins including those related to the most common therapeutic targets (GM-CSF, IFN-α2a, IFN-β, IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-1ra, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, TNF-α), immunoglobulin G ( IgG) antibodies directed against either the COVID-19 spike protein (S1) or nucleocapsid protein (N), and neutralization titres of antibodies within the first 5 days of hospital admission in 86 patients, 44 (51%) with mild disease and 42 (49%) with severe disease. Six of the ten cytokine/signalling protein markers measured (IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, interferon- a, interferon- b, IL -1ra ) discriminated between patients with mild and severe disease, although most were similar or only modestly raised above that seen in healthy volunteers. A similar proportion of patients with mild or severe disease had detectable S1 or N IgG antibodies with equivalent levels between groups. Neutralization titres were higher among patients with severe disease.Interpretation: Some therapeutic and prognostic biomarkers may be potentially useful in identifying patients who may benefit from specific immunomodulatory therapies in COVID-19 disease, particularly interleukin-6. It is however noteworthy that absolute values of a number of identified biomarkers were either appropriately elevated or within the normal range. This implies that these immunomodulatory treatments may be of limited benefit.Funding: National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Centre (BRC756/HI/MS/101440) and the UCL Coronavirus Response Fund.Declaration of Interests: MeS reports grants and advisory board fees from NewB, grants from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Critical Pressure, Apollo Therapeutics, advisory board and speaker fees (paid to his institution) from Amormed, Biotest, GE, Baxter, Roche, and Bayer, and honorarium for chairing a data monitoring and safety committee from Shionogi. All other authors have nothing to declare. Ethics Approval Statement: Ethical approval was received from the London-Westminster Research Ethics Committee, the Health Research Authority and Health and Care Research Wales (HCRW) on 2nd July 2020 (REC reference 20/HRA/2505, IRAS ID 284088). The SAFER study protocol was approved by the NHS Health Research Authority (ref 20/SC/0147) on 26 March 2020. Ethical oversight was provided by the South- Central Berkshire Research Ethics Committee.

4.
Med (N Y) ; 2(9): 1093-1109.e6, 2021 09 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1404795

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Differences in humoral immunity to coronaviruses, including severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), between children and adults remain unexplained, and the effect of underlying immune dysfunction or suppression is unknown. Here, we sought to examine the antibody immune competence of children and adolescents with prevalent inflammatory rheumatic diseases, juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), and juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (JSLE) against the seasonal human coronavirus (HCoV)-OC43 that frequently infects this age group. METHODS: Sera were collected from JIA (n = 118), JDM (n = 49), and JSLE (n = 30) patients and from healthy control (n = 54) children and adolescents prior to the coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic. We used sensitive flow-cytometry-based assays to determine titers of antibodies that reacted with the spike and nucleoprotein of HCoV-OC43 and cross-reacted with the spike and nucleoprotein of SARS-CoV-2, and we compared them with respective titers in sera from patients with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children and adolescents (MIS-C). FINDINGS: Despite immune dysfunction and immunosuppressive treatment, JIA, JDM, and JSLE patients maintained comparable or stronger humoral responses than healthier peers, which was dominated by immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies to HCoV-OC43 spike, and harbored IgG antibodies that cross-reacted with SARS-CoV-2 spike. In contrast, responses to HCoV-OC43 and SARS-CoV-2 nucleoproteins exhibited delayed age-dependent class-switching and were not elevated in JIA, JDM, and JSLE patients, which argues against increased exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Consequently, autoimmune rheumatic diseases and their treatment were associated with a favorable ratio of spike to nucleoprotein antibodies. FUNDING: This work was supported by a Centre of Excellence Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology Versus Arthritis grant, 21593, UKRI funding reference MR/R013926/1, the Great Ormond Street Children's Charity, Cure JM Foundation, Myositis UK, Lupus UK, and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centres at GOSH and UCLH. This work was supported by the Francis Crick Institute, which receives its core funding from Cancer Research UK, the UK Medical Research Council, and the Wellcome Trust.


Subject(s)
Autoimmune Diseases , COVID-19 , Coronavirus OC43, Human , Rheumatic Diseases , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Viral , Antibody Formation , COVID-19/complications , Child , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Nucleoproteins , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome
5.
Sci Adv ; 7(22)2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388434

ABSTRACT

The coronaviral spike is the dominant viral antigen and the target of neutralizing antibodies. We show that SARS-CoV-2 spike binds biliverdin and bilirubin, the tetrapyrrole products of heme metabolism, with nanomolar affinity. Using cryo-electron microscopy and x-ray crystallography, we mapped the tetrapyrrole interaction pocket to a deep cleft on the spike N-terminal domain (NTD). At physiological concentrations, biliverdin significantly dampened the reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 spike with immune sera and inhibited a subset of neutralizing antibodies. Access to the tetrapyrrole-sensitive epitope is gated by a flexible loop on the distal face of the NTD. Accompanied by profound conformational changes in the NTD, antibody binding requires relocation of the gating loop, which folds into the cleft vacated by the metabolite. Our results indicate that SARS-CoV-2 spike NTD harbors a dominant epitope, access to which can be controlled by an allosteric mechanism that is regulated through recruitment of a metabolite.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Heme/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/metabolism , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Bilirubin/metabolism , Biliverdine/metabolism , Cryoelectron Microscopy , Crystallography, X-Ray , Epitopes , Humans , Immune Sera , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
6.
Brain Commun ; 3(3): fcab099, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1358433

ABSTRACT

Preliminary pathological and biomarker data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 infection can damage the nervous system. To understand what, where and how damage occurs, we collected serum and CSF from patients with COVID-19 and characterized neurological syndromes involving the PNS and CNS (n = 34). We measured biomarkers of neuronal damage and neuroinflammation, and compared these with non-neurological control groups, which included patients with (n = 94) and without (n = 24) COVID-19. We detected increased concentrations of neurofilament light, a dynamic biomarker of neuronal damage, in the CSF of those with CNS inflammation (encephalitis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis) [14 800 pg/ml (400, 32 400)], compared to those with encephalopathy [1410 pg/ml (756, 1446)], peripheral syndromes (Guillain-Barré syndrome) [740 pg/ml (507, 881)] and controls [872 pg/ml (654, 1200)]. Serum neurofilament light levels were elevated across patients hospitalized with COVID-19, irrespective of neurological manifestations. There was not the usual close correlation between CSF and serum neurofilament light, suggesting serum neurofilament light elevation in the non-neurological patients may reflect peripheral nerve damage in response to severe illness. We did not find significantly elevated levels of serum neurofilament light in community cases of COVID-19 arguing against significant neurological damage. Glial fibrillary acidic protein, a marker of astrocytic activation, was not elevated in the CSF or serum of any group, suggesting astrocytic activation is not a major mediator of neuronal damage in COVID-19.

7.
Crit Care Explor ; 3(8): e0488, 2021 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1356719

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Multiple mechanisms have been proposed to explain disease severity in coronavirus disease 2019. Therapeutic approaches need to be underpinned by sound biological rationale. We evaluated whether serum levels of a range of proposed coronavirus disease 2019 therapeutic targets discriminated between patients with mild or severe disease. DESIGN: A search of ClinicalTrials.gov identified coronavirus disease 2019 immunological drug targets. We subsequently conducted a retrospective observational cohort study investigating the association of serum biomarkers within the first 5 days of hospital admission relating to putative therapeutic biomarkers with illness severity and outcome. SETTING: University College London, a tertiary academic medical center in the United Kingdom. PATIENTS: Patients admitted to hospital with a diagnosis of coronavirus disease 2019. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Eighty-six patients were recruited, 44 (51%) with mild disease and 42 (49%) with severe disease. We measured levels of 10 cytokines/signaling proteins related to the most common therapeutic targets (granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor, interferon-α2a, interferon-ß, interferon-γ, interleukin-1ß, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist, interleukin-6, interleukin-7, interleukin-8, tumor necrosis factor-α), immunoglobulin G antibodies directed against either coronavirus disease 2019 spike protein or nucleocapsid protein, and neutralization titers of antibodies. Four-hundred seventy-seven randomized trials, including 168 different therapies against 83 different pathways, were identified. Six of the 10 markers (interleukin-6, interleukin-7, interleukin-8, interferon-α2a, interferon-ß, interleukin-1 receptor antagonist) discriminated between patients with mild and severe disease, although most were similar or only modestly raised above that seen in healthy volunteers. A similar proportion of patients with mild or severe disease had detectable spike protein or nucleocapsid protein immunoglobulin G antibodies with equivalent levels between groups. Neutralization titers were higher among patients with severe disease. CONCLUSIONS: Some therapeutic and prognostic biomarkers may be useful in identifying coronavirus disease 2019 patients who may benefit from specific immunomodulatory therapies, particularly interleukin-6. However, biomarker absolute values often did not discriminate between patients with mild and severe disease or death, implying that these immunomodulatory treatments may be of limited benefit.

8.
EClinicalMedicine ; 39: 101070, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1351631

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A high prevalence of antiphospholipid antibodies has been reported in case series of patients with neurological manifestations and COVID-19; however, the pathogenicity of antiphospholipid antibodies in COVID-19 neurology remains unclear. METHODS: This single-centre cross-sectional study included 106 adult patients: 30 hospitalised COVID-neurological cases, 47 non-neurological COVID-hospitalised controls, and 29 COVID-non-hospitalised controls, recruited between March and July 2020. We evaluated nine antiphospholipid antibodies: anticardiolipin antibodies [aCL] IgA, IgM, IgG; anti-beta-2 glycoprotein-1 [aß2GPI] IgA, IgM, IgG; anti-phosphatidylserine/prothrombin [aPS/PT] IgM, IgG; and anti-domain I ß2GPI (aD1ß2GPI) IgG. FINDINGS: There was a high prevalence of antiphospholipid antibodies in the COVID-neurological (73.3%) and non-neurological COVID-hospitalised controls (76.6%) in contrast to the COVID-non-hospitalised controls (48.2%). aPS/PT IgG titres were significantly higher in the COVID-neurological group compared to both control groups (p < 0.001). Moderate-high titre of aPS/PT IgG was found in 2 out of 3 (67%) patients with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis [ADEM]. aPS/PT IgG titres negatively correlated with oxygen requirement (FiO2 R=-0.15 p = 0.040) and was associated with venous thromboembolism (p = 0.043). In contrast, aCL IgA (p < 0.001) and IgG (p < 0.001) was associated with non-neurological COVID-hospitalised controls compared to the other groups and correlated positively with d-dimer and creatinine but negatively with FiO2. INTERPRETATION: Our findings show that aPS/PT IgG is associated with COVID-19-associated ADEM. In contrast, aCL IgA and IgG are seen much more frequently in non-neurological hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Characterisation of antiphospholipid antibody persistence and potential longitudinal clinical impact are required to guide appropriate management. FUNDING: This work is supported by UCL Queen Square Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and Moorfields BRC grants (#560441 and #557595). LB is supported by a Wellcome Trust Fellowship (222102/Z/20/Z). RWP is supported by an Alzheimer's Association Clinician Scientist Fellowship (AACSF-20-685780) and the UK Dementia Research Institute. KB is supported by the Swedish Research Council (#2017-00915) and the Swedish state under the agreement between the Swedish government and the County Councils, the ALF-agreement (#ALFGBG-715986). HZ is a Wallenberg Scholar supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council (#2018-02532), the European Research Council (#681712), Swedish State Support for Clinical Research (#ALFGBG-720931), the Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF), USA (#201809-2016862), and theUK Dementia Research Institute at UCL. BDM is supported by grants from the MRC/UKRI (MR/V007181/1), MRC (MR/T028750/1) and Wellcome (ISSF201902/3). MSZ, MH and RS are supported by the UCL/UCLH NIHR Biomedical Research Centre and MSZ is supported by Queen Square National Brain Appeal.

9.
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
11.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 21(9): 1246-1256, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1180123

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Emergence of variants with specific mutations in key epitopes in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 raises concerns pertinent to mass vaccination campaigns and use of monoclonal antibodies. We aimed to describe the emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant of concern (VOC), including virological characteristics and clinical severity in contemporaneous patients with and without the variant. METHODS: In this cohort study, samples positive for SARS-CoV-2 on PCR that were collected from Nov 9, 2020, for patients acutely admitted to one of two hospitals on or before Dec 20, 2020, in London, UK, were sequenced and analysed for the presence of VOC-defining mutations. We fitted Poisson regression models to investigate the association between B.1.1.7 infection and severe disease (defined as point 6 or higher on the WHO ordinal scale within 14 days of symptoms or positive test) and death within 28 days of a positive test and did supplementary genomic analyses in a cohort of chronically shedding patients and in a cohort of remdesivir-treated patients. Viral load was compared by proxy, using PCR cycle threshold values and sequencing read depths. FINDINGS: Of 496 patients with samples positive for SARS-CoV-2 on PCR and who met inclusion criteria, 341 had samples that could be sequenced. 198 (58%) of 341 had B.1.1.7 infection and 143 (42%) had non-B.1.1.7 infection. We found no evidence of an association between severe disease and death and lineage (B.1.1.7 vs non-B.1.1.7) in unadjusted analyses (prevalence ratio [PR] 0·97 [95% CI 0·72-1·31]), or in analyses adjusted for hospital, sex, age, comorbidities, and ethnicity (adjusted PR 1·02 [0·76-1·38]). We detected no B.1.1.7 VOC-defining mutations in 123 chronically shedding immunocompromised patients or in 32 remdesivir-treated patients. Viral load by proxy was higher in B.1.1.7 samples than in non-B.1.1.7 samples, as measured by cycle threshold value (mean 28·8 [SD 4·7] vs 32·0 [4·8]; p=0·0085) and genomic read depth (1280 [1004] vs 831 [682]; p=0·0011). INTERPRETATION: Emerging evidence exists of increased transmissibility of B.1.1.7, and we found increased virus load by proxy for B.1.1.7 in our data. We did not identify an association of the variant with severe disease in this hospitalised cohort. FUNDING: University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, University College London/University College London Hospitals NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Severity of Illness Index , Whole Genome Sequencing , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , London , Male , Middle Aged , Phylogeny , United Kingdom , Viral Load , Virus Shedding
12.
Science ; 370(6522): 1339-1343, 2020 12 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-913669

ABSTRACT

Zoonotic introduction of novel coronaviruses may encounter preexisting immunity in humans. Using diverse assays for antibodies recognizing SARS-CoV-2 proteins, we detected preexisting humoral immunity. SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein (S)-reactive antibodies were detectable using a flow cytometry-based method in SARS-CoV-2-uninfected individuals and were particularly prevalent in children and adolescents. They were predominantly of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) class and targeted the S2 subunit. By contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infection induced higher titers of SARS-CoV-2 S-reactive IgG antibodies targeting both the S1 and S2 subunits, and concomitant IgM and IgA antibodies, lasting throughout the observation period. SARS-CoV-2-uninfected donor sera exhibited specific neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotypes. Distinguishing preexisting and de novo immunity will be critical for our understanding of susceptibility to and the natural course of SARS-CoV-2 infection.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Humoral , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , COVID-19/blood , Epitope Mapping , Female , HEK293 Cells , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Viral Zoonoses/blood , Viral Zoonoses/immunology , Young Adult
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