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medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.02.10.22270799


Introduction Viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings. Methods We conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-collection period, followed by intervention periods comprising 8 weeks of 'rapid' (<48h) and 4 weeks of 'longer-turnaround' (5-10 day) sequencing using a sequence reporting tool (SRT). Data were collected on all hospital onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs; detected [≥]48h from admission). The impact of the sequencing intervention on IPC knowledge and actions, and on incidence of probable/definite hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) was evaluated. Results A total of 2170 HOCI cases were recorded from October 2020-April 2021, with sequence reports returned for 650/1320 (49.2%) during intervention phases. We did not detect a statistically significant change in weekly incidence of HAIs in longer-turnaround (IRR 1.60, 95%CI 0.85-3.01; P=0.14) or rapid (0.85, 0.48-1.50; P=0.54) intervention phases compared to baseline phase. However, IPC practice was changed in 7.8% and 7.4% of all HOCI cases in rapid and longer-turnaround phases, respectively, and 17.2% and 11.6% of cases where the report was returned. In a per-protocol sensitivity analysis there was an impact on IPC actions in 20.7% of HOCI cases when the SRT report was returned within 5 days. Conclusion While we did not demonstrate a direct impact of sequencing on the incidence of nosocomial transmission, our results suggest that sequencing can inform IPC response to HOCIs, particularly when returned within 5 days.

researchsquare; 2021.


Objectives To assess whether a commercially available CE-IVD, ELISA-based surrogate neutralisation assay (cPass, Genscript) provides a genuine measure of SARS-CoV-2 neutralisation by human sera, and further to establish whether measuring responses against the RBD of S was a diagnostically useful proxy for responses against the whole S protein.Methods Serum samples from 30 patients were assayed for anti-NP responses, for ‘neutralisation’ by the surrogate neutralisation assay and for neutralisation by SARS-CoV-2 S pseudotyped virus assays utilising two target cell lines. Correlation between assays was measured using linear regression.Results The responses observed within the surrogate neutralisation assay demonstrated an extremely strong, highly significant positive correlation with those observed in both pseudotyped virus assays.Conclusions The tested ELISA-based surrogate assay provides an immunologically useful measure of functional immune responses in a much quicker and highly automatable fashion. It also reinforces that detection of anti-RBD neutralising antibodies alone is a powerful measure of the capacity to neutralise viral infection.

Virus Diseases
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.10.09.20199778


BackgroundCOVID-19 is infrequently complicated by secondary bacterial infection, but nevertheless antibiotic prescriptions are common. We used community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) as a benchmark to define the processes that occur in a bacterial pulmonary infection, and tested the hypothesis that baseline inflammatory markers and their response to antibiotic therapy could distinguish CAP from COVID-19. MethodsIn patients admitted to Royal Free Hospital (RFH) and Barnet Hospital (BH) we defined CAP by lobar consolidation on chest radiograph, and COVID-19 by SARS-CoV-2 detection by PCR. Data were derived from routine laboratory investigations. ResultsOn admission all CAP and >90% COVID-19 patients received antibiotics. We identified 106 CAP and 619 COVID-19 patients at RFH. CAP was characterised by elevated white cell count (WCC) and C-reactive protein (CRP) compared to COVID-19 (median WCC 12.48 (IQR 8.2-15.3) vs 6.78 (IQR 5.2-9.5) x106 cells/ml and median CRP CRP 133.5 (IQR 65-221) vs 86 (IQR 42-160) mg/L). Blood samples collected 48-72 hours into admission revealed decreasing CRP in CAP but not COVID-19 (CRP difference -33 (IQR -112 to +3.5) vs +15 (IQR -15 to +70) mg/L respectively). In the independent validation cohort (BH) consisting of 169 CAP and 181 COVID-19 patients, admission WCC >8.2x106 cells/ml or falling CRP during admission identified 95% of CAP cases, and predicted the absence of bacterial co-infection in 45% of COVID-19 patients. ConclusionsWe propose that in COVID-19 the absence of both elevated baseline WCC and antibiotic-related decrease in CRP can exclude bacterial co-infection and facilitate antibiotic stewardship efforts.