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8.
Clin Med (Lond) ; 21(3): e295-e299, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1171932

ABSTRACT

The new variant of concern (VOC), B.1.1.7, has a distinct set of mutations in nucleotides encoding the spike (S) protein on the surface of SARS-CoV-2. SARS-CoV-2 previously accumulated mutations at a much slower rate, of 1-2 per month; the sudden appearance of a large cluster of mutations was thought to be unusual. We now suspect that VOC may have arisen from immunosuppressed individuals who shed virus for longer periods. Epidemiological analyses estimate VOC to be more infectious; this is of most concern because these estimates were calculated during periods where many regions of the UK were in high social distancing restrictions. Therefore, the previous 'tiered' system implemented in the UK was ineffective at containing VOC. The most likely reason for this is that previous restrictions, no matter how strict, still allowed for gatherings in certain places. VOC also has implications for the national vaccination programme - a higher proportion of people will need to be vaccinated with a more infectious virus. Prolongation of the second dose of vaccines to increase vaccine uptake has understandably caused concern, but is based on sound immunological principles. There is now an urgent need to monitor the effect of new variants on vaccine efficacy - marking a new chapter in the global fight against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , United Kingdom/epidemiology
9.
J Infect ; 82(6): 253-259, 2021 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152506

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Human to human transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is driven by the respiratory route but little is known about the pattern and quantity of virus output from exhaled breath. We have previously shown that face-mask sampling (FMS) can detect exhaled tubercle bacilli and have adapted its use to quantify exhaled SARS-CoV-2 RNA in patients admitted to hospital with Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19). METHODS: Between May and December 2020, we took two concomitant FMS and nasopharyngeal samples (NPS) over two days, starting within 24 h of a routine virus positive NPS in patients hospitalised with COVID-19, at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, UK. Participants were asked to wear a modified duckbilled facemask for 30 min, followed by a nasopharyngeal swab. Demographic, clinical, and radiological data, as well as International Severe Acute Respiratory and emerging Infections Consortium (ISARIC) mortality and deterioration scores were obtained. Exposed masks were processed by removal, dissolution and analysis of sampling matrix strips fixed within the mask by RT-qPCR. Viral genome copy numbers were determined and results classified as Negative; Low: ≤999 copies; Medium: 1000-99,999 copies and High ≥ 100,000 copies per strip for FMS or per 100 µl for NPS. RESULTS: 102 FMS and NPS were collected from 66 routinely positive patients; median age: 61 (IQR 49 - 77), of which FMS was positive in 38% of individuals and concomitant NPS was positive in 50%. Positive FMS viral loads varied over five orders of magnitude (<10-3.3 x 106 genome copies/strip); 21 (32%) patients were asymptomatic at the time of sampling. High FMS viral load was associated with respiratory symptoms at time of sampling and shorter interval between sampling and symptom onset (FMS High: median (IQR) 2 days (2-3) vs FMS Negative: 7 days (7-10), p = 0.002). On multivariable linear regression analysis, higher FMS viral loads were associated with higher ISARIC mortality (Medium FMS vs Negative FMS gave an adjusted coefficient of 15.7, 95% CI 3.7-27.7, p = 0.01) and deterioration scores (High FMS vs Negative FMS gave an adjusted coefficient of 37.6, 95% CI 14.0 to 61.3, p = 0.002), while NPS viral loads showed no significant association. CONCLUSION: We demonstrate a simple and effective method for detecting and quantifying exhaled SARS-CoV-2 in hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Higher FMS viral loads were more likely to be associated with developing severe disease compared to NPS viral loads. Similar to NPS, FMS viral load was highest in early disease and in those with active respiratory symptoms, highlighting the potential role of FMS in understanding infectivity.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Masks , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral , Viral Load
12.
EClinicalMedicine ; 29: 100630, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-919678

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Patients from ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected by Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to explore the relationship between ethnicity and clinical outcomes in COVID-19. METHODS: Databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, PROSPERO, Cochrane library and MedRxiv) were searched up to 31st August 2020, for studies reporting COVID-19 data disaggregated by ethnicity. Outcomes were: risk of infection; intensive therapy unit (ITU) admission and death. PROSPERO ID: 180654. FINDINGS: 18,728,893 patients from 50 studies were included; 26 were peer-reviewed; 42 were from the United States of America and 8 from the United Kingdom. Individuals from Black and Asian ethnicities had a higher risk of COVID-19 infection compared to White individuals. This was consistent in both the main analysis (pooled adjusted RR for Black: 2.02, 95% CI 1.67-2.44; pooled adjusted RR for Asian: 1.50, 95% CI 1.24-1.83) and sensitivity analyses examining peer-reviewed studies only (pooled adjusted RR for Black: 1.85, 95%CI: 1.46-2.35; pooled adjusted RR for Asian: 1.51, 95% CI 1.22-1.88). Individuals of Asian ethnicity may also be at higher risk of ITU admission (pooled adjusted RR 1.97 95% CI 1.34-2.89) (but no studies had yet been peer-reviewed) and death (pooled adjusted RR/HR 1.22 [0.99-1.50]). INTERPRETATION: Individuals of Black and Asian ethnicity are at increased risk of COVID-19 infection compared to White individuals; Asians may be at higher risk of ITU admission and death. These findings are of critical public health importance in informing interventions to reduce morbidity and mortality amongst ethnic minority groups.

14.
Future Healthc J ; 7(3): e80-e83, 2020 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-890679

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to multiple service delivery changes across acute care sectors in the UK. Due to increased responsibility for care of COVID-19 patients, medical trainees across all specialties might experience difficulty in achieving certain competencies for their training curriculum due to changes in learning opportunities. While there might be a tendency to perceive these changes negatively in terms of the impact on training, we think this unprecedented situation might present a unique learning opportunity. A group of geriatric medicine trainees and trainers devised an innovative, forward-thinking specific training plan based on existing Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board geriatric medicine curricula, encouraging development of a personal development plan (PDP) tailored to the pandemic. This model could be considered for all specialty training curricula, providing a proactive approach to optimising training during the pandemic. By formulating a 'pandemic PDP' early and considering methods to maximise learning, training needs can be met even in these extraordinary times.

15.
Age Ageing ; 50(1): 16-20, 2021 01 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-780321

ABSTRACT

In the COVID-19 pandemic, patients who are older and residents of long-term care facilities (LTCF) are at greatest risk of worse clinical outcomes. We reviewed discharge criteria for hospitalised COVID-19 patients from 10 countries with the highest incidence of COVID-19 cases as of 26 July 2020. Five countries (Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Iran) had no discharge criteria; the remaining five (USA, India, Russia, South Africa and the UK) had discharge guidelines with large inter-country variability. India and Russia recommend discharge for a clinically recovered patient with two negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests 24 h apart; the USA offers either a symptom based strategy-clinical recovery and 10 days after symptom onset, or the same test-based strategy. The UK suggests that patients can be discharged when patients have clinically recovered; South Africa recommends discharge 14 days after symptom onset if clinically stable. We recommend a unified, simpler discharge criteria, based on current studies which suggest that most SARS-CoV-2 loses its infectivity by 10 days post-symptom onset. In asymptomatic cases, this can be taken as 10 days after the first positive PCR result. Additional days of isolation beyond this should be left to the discretion of individual clinician. This represents a practical compromise between unnecessarily prolonged admissions and returning highly infectious patients back to their care facilities, and is of particular importance in older patients discharged to LTCFs, residents of which may be at greatest risk of transmission and worse clinical outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Long-Term Care , Patient Discharge , Patient Transfer , Skilled Nursing Facilities/statistics & numerical data , Aged , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19 Testing/methods , Convalescence , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Internationality , Long-Term Care/methods , Long-Term Care/statistics & numerical data , Male , Needs Assessment , Patient Discharge/standards , Patient Discharge/trends , Patient Transfer/methods , Patient Transfer/standards , Quality Improvement/organization & administration , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification
18.
EClinicalMedicine ; 25: 100466, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-650195

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Accumulating evidence indicates that COVID-19 causes adverse outcomes in ethnic minority groups. However, little is known about the impact of ethnicity and household size on acquiring infection with SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: We undertook a retrospective cohort study, in Leicester (UK), of all individuals assessed for COVID-19 with polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust between 1st March and 28th April 2020. We used logistic regression to identify sociodemographic, clinical and temporal factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity before/after lockdown. FINDINGS: 971/4051 (24.0%) patients with suspected COVID-19 were found to be PCR positive for SARS-CoV-2. PCR positivity was more common amongst individuals from ethnic minortiy backgrounds than their White counterparts (White 20.0%, South Asian 37.5%, Black 36.1%, Other 32.2%; p<0.001 for all ethnic minority groups vs White). After adjustment, compared to White ethnicity, South Asian (aOR 2.44 95%CI 2.01, 2.97), Black (aOR 2.56 95%CI 1.71, 3.84) and Other (aOR 2.53 95%CI 1.74, 3.70) ethnicities were more likely to test positive, as were those with a larger estimated household size (aOR 1.06 95%CI 1.02, 1.11). We saw increasing proportions of positive tests in the three weeks post-lockdown amongst the ethnic minority , but not the White, cohort. Estimated household size was associated with PCR positivity after, but not before, lockdown (aOR 1.10 95%CI 1.03, 1.16). INTERPRETATION: In individuals presenting with suspected COVID-19, those from ethnic minority communities and larger households had an increased likelihood of SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity. Pandemic control measures may have more rapid impact on slowing viral transmission amongst those of White ethnicity compared to ethnic minority groups, Research is urgently required to understand the mechanisms underlying these disparities and whether public health interventions have differential effects on individuals from ethnic minority groups. FUNDING: 10.13039/100006662 NIHR.

19.
EClinicalMedicine ; 23: 100404, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-505963

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The relationship between ethnicity and COVID-19 is uncertain. We performed a systematic review to assess whether ethnicity has been reported in patients with COVID-19 and its relation to clinical outcomes. METHODS: We searched EMBASE, MEDLINE, Cochrane Library and PROSPERO for English-language citations on ethnicity and COVID-19 (1st December 2019-15th May 2020). We also reviewed: COVID-19 articles in NEJM, Lancet, BMJ, JAMA, clinical trial protocols, grey literature, surveillance data and preprint articles on COVID-19 in MedRxiv to evaluate if the association between ethnicity and clinical outcomes were reported and what they showed. PROSPERO:180654. FINDINGS: Of 207 articles in the database search, five reported ethnicity; two reported no association between ethnicity and mortality. Of 690 articles identified from medical journals, 12 reported ethnicity; three reported no association between ethnicity and mortality. Of 209 preprints, 34 reported ethnicity - 13 found Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals had an increased risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 and 12 reported worse clinical outcomes, including ITU admission and mortality, in BAME patients compared to White patients. Of 12 grey literature reports, seven with original data reported poorer clinical outcomes in BAME groups compared to White groups. INTERPRETATION: Data on ethnicity in patients with COVID-19 in the published medical literature remains limited. However, emerging data from the grey literature and preprint articles suggest BAME individuals are at an increased risk of acquiring SARS-CoV-2 infection compared to White individuals and also worse clinical outcomes from COVID-19. Further work on the role of ethnicity in the current pandemic is of urgent public health importance. FUNDING: NIHR.

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