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1.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.08.08.22278521

ABSTRACT

In many countries, non-pharmaceutical interventions to limit SARS-CoV-2 transmission resulted in significant reductions in other respiratory viruses. However, similar data from Africa are limited. We explored the extent to which viruses such as influenza and rhinovirus co-circulated with SARS-CoV-2 in The Gambia during the COVID-19 pandemic. Between April 2020 and March 2022, respiratory viruses were detected using RT-PCR in nasopharyngeal swabs from 1397 participants with influenza-like illness. Overall virus positivity was 44.2%, with prevalence higher in children <5 years (80%) compared to children aged 5-17 years (53.1%), adults aged 18-50 (39.5%) and >50 years (39.9%), p<0.0001. After SARS-CoV-2 (18.3%), rhinoviruses (10.5%) and influenza viruses (5.5%) were the most prevalent. SARS-CoV-2 positivity was lower in children <5 (4.3%) and 5-17 years (12.7%) than in adults aged 18-50 (19.3%) and >50 years (24.3%), p<0.0001. In contrast, rhinoviruses were most prevalent in children <5 years (28.7%), followed by children aged 5-17 (15.8%), adults aged 18-50 (8.3%) and >50 years (6.3%), p<0.0001. Four SARS-CoV-2 waves occurred, with 36.1%-52.4% SARS-CoV-2 positivity during peak months. Influenza infections were observed in both 2020 and 2021 during the rainy season as expected (peak positivity 16.4%-23.5%). Peaks of rhinovirus were asynchronous to the months when SARS-CoV-2 and influenza peaked.

2.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.06.15.22276423

ABSTRACT

Structured summary Background Whole genome sequencing (WGS) for managing healthcare associated infections (HCAIs) has developed considerably through experiences with SARS-CoV-2. We interviewed various healthcare professionals (HCPs) with direct experience of using WGS in hospitals (within the COG-UK Hospital Onset COVID-19 Infection (HOCI) study) to explore its acceptability and future use. Method An exploratory, cross-sectional, qualitative design employed semi-structured interviews with 39 diverse HCPs between December 2020 and June 2021. Participants were recruited from five sites within the larger clinical study of a novel genome sequencing reporting tool for SARS-CoV-2 (the HOCI study). All had experience, in their diverse roles, of using sequencing data to manage nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infection. Deductive and inductive thematic analysis identified themes exploring aspects of the acceptability of sequencing. Findings The analysis highlighted the overall acceptability of rapid WGS for infectious disease using SARS-CoV-2 as a case study. Diverse professionals were largely very positive about its future use and believed that it could become a valuable and routine tool for managing HCAIs. We identified three key themes ‘1) ‘Proof of concept achieved’; 2) ‘Novel insights and implications’; and 3) ‘Challenges and demands’. Conclusion Our qualitative analysis, drawn from five diverse hospitals, shows the broad acceptability of rapid sequencing and its potential. Participants believed it could and should become an everyday technology capable of being embedded within typical hospital processes and systems. However, its future integration into existing healthcare systems will not be without challenges (e.g., resource, multi-level change) warranting further mixed methods research.


Subject(s)
Cross Infection , Communicable Diseases
3.
ssrn; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3941809

ABSTRACT

Background: Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2 infection and mount poor antibody responses to standard vaccines. We addressed whether ESRD patients could mount immune responses that protected against re-infection following natural SARS-CoV-2 infection or 2-dose vaccination.Methods: Haemodialysis (HD and renal transplant patients were recruited following SARS-CoV-2 infection (n=46) or before SARS-CoV-2 vaccination (n=94). SARS-CoV-2 IgG responses, surrogate neutralising antibody (NAb) titres to wildtype and VOCs, T cell responses and viral sequencing in the vaccine-naïve convalescent cohort were serially assessed following infection. Surrogate NAb titres were measured pre-vaccination and 33 days after 2nd vaccine. Incidence of breakthrough infection was assessed 180 days following 1st vaccination. Findings: 22% of vaccine-naive HD (n=9/36) and transplant patients (n=1/10) demonstrated PCR-positive re-infection (RI) at median 212 days (IQR 140-239) post 1st infection. Prior to RI episodes, RI patients demonstrated poor IgG Spike and RBD responses which were equivalent to levels in pre-pandemic sera (median RI titres: Spike 187 AU/ml, IQR 143-3432, p=0.96; RBD 145 AU/ml, IQR 85-938, p>0.99), unlike patients who developed a single infection only (SI) when compared to pre-pandemic sera (median SI titres: Spike 22826 AU/ml, IQR 1255-63811, p<0.0001; RBD 9588 AU/ml, IQR 270-21616, p=0.001). IgG Spike and RBD titres increased following RI compared to pre-pandemic sera (median RI titres: Spike 22611 AU/ml, IQR 4488-75509, p=0.0006; RBD 6354 AU/ml, IQR 1671-20962, p=0.01). T cell analysis revealed no differences between RI and SI cohorts. Following 2-dose vaccination, 5% of the HD cohort who received AZD1222 (n=3/61) developed breakthrough infection at 6 months following 1st vaccination, unlike those who received BNT162b2 (n=0/16). AZD1222-vaccinated, infection-naïve (I-N) HD patients (n=32) and immunosuppressed transplant recipients (n=17) made poor NAb responses to wildtype, alpha, beta and gamma when compared to infection-experienced (I-E) HD patients (n=29) (I-N vs I-E HD wildtype p<0.0001, alpha p=0.0007, beta p<0.0001, gamma p=0.002). NAb responses improved with BNT162b2 vaccination (n=16); RI patients mounted larger NAb responses to AZD1222 vaccination than SI patients (wildtype p=0.01, alpha p=0.02, beta p<0.02). Interpretation: ESRD patients are highly susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 re-infection, or breakthrough infection following vaccination, associated with poor protective antibody responses. SARS-CoV-2-specific IgG and surrogate NAb responses increase with repeated exposure (infection experience and/or vaccination) in patients who survive infections. Our findings support the case for specific booster regimens in such immune-incompetent patients. Funding Information: Oxford Transplant Foundation, Oxfordshire Health Services Research Committee, UK Department of Health and Social Care, Huo Family Foundation, NIHR (COV19-RECPLAS), UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium, NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, WT109965MA.Declaration of Interests: We declare no competing interestsEthics Approval Statement: Haemodialysis (HD) and transplant cohorts: In this prospective, observational cohort study, HD and transplant patients within Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust(OUH) were recruited under Oxford Radcliffe Biobank approved studies, “Biomarkers to stratify risk in Renal Transplant Recipients and Dialysis Patients with Covid-19” (ref: ORB 20/A056), and “Immunological responses to COVID-19 vaccines in transplant and haemodialysis patients” (ref: ORB 21/A014). The Oxford Radcliffe Biobank has a favorable ethics opinion from the South Central Oxford Committee C (REC: 19/SC/0173). Healthcare Worker cohort (HC, PITCH study): PITCH is a sub-study of the SIREN study which was approved by the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee, Health Research 250 Authority (IRAS ID 284460, REC reference 20/SC/0230), with PITCH recognised as a sub-study on 2 December 2020. SIREN is registered with ISRCTN (Trial ID:252 ISRCTN11041050)The study was conducted in compliance with all relevant ethical regulations for work with human participants, and according to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki (2008) and the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines. Written informed consent was obtained for all patients enrolled in the study.


Subject(s)
Kidney Failure, Chronic
4.
ssrn; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3910058

ABSTRACT

SARS-COV-2 vaccines have been shown to be efficacious primarily in healthy volunteer populations and population level studies. Immune responses following SARS-CoV-2 vaccination are less well characterised in potentially immune vulnerable patient groups, including those with immune-mediated inflammatory and chronic diseases (inflammatory arthritis [IA] incorporating rheumatoid arthritis [RA] and psoriatic arthritis [PsA]; ANCA-Associated Vasculitis [AAV]; inflammatory bowel disease [IBD]); hepatic disease (HepD), end stage kidney disease requiring haemodialysis (HD) without or with immunosuppression (HDIS); solid cancers (SC) and haematological malignancies (HM), and those that have undergone haemopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). The OCTAVE trial is a multi-centre, multi-disease, prospective cohort that will comprehensively assess SARS-CoV-2 vaccine responses within and between the abovementioned disease cohorts using common analytical platforms in patients recruited across the United Kingdom (UK). The majority of subjects received either COVID-19 mRNA Vaccine BNT162b2 (Pfizer/BioNTech) or ChAdOx1 Vaccine (AstraZeneca formerly AZD1222) as part of the UK National COVID19 vaccination programme. As of 13 th August 2021; 2,583 patients have been recruited. We report herein the humoral and T cell immune response results from the first 600 participants recruited where serology data are available at baseline, pre-second vaccine dose (boost) and/or 4 weeks post second dose. We also include in the analysis, data obtained from 231 healthy individuals from the PITCH (Protective Immunity from T cells in Healthcare workers) study. Overall, in comparison to PITCH where 100% of tested individuals (n=93) generated anti-Spike antibodies after vaccine doses, 89% of patients within OCTAVE seroconverted 4 weeks after second vaccine dose. By corollary, approximately 11% of patients across all disease cohorts fail to generate antibodies that react to SARS-CoV-2 spike 4 weeks after two vaccines. Failure to generate spike reactive antibodies was found at a higher proportion in some specific patient subgroups, particularly AAV (72.4%), HD-IS (16.7%) and HepD (16.7%). Importantly, all recruited AAV patients had received Rituximab; a targeted B cell depletion therapy. Furthermore, even in those who seroconverted, 40% of patients across disease cohorts generate lower levels of SARS-CoV-2 antibody reactivity compared to healthy subjects after two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines; the functional significance of these findings in providing protection from subsequent SARS-CoV-2 exposure is not currently known. In contrast to the observed serological response, evaluation of the Spike-specific T cell response revealed that across all patient sub-groups (including AAV) a response similar to healthy individuals was generated. Our data argue strongly for further vaccination strategies to optimise humoral immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 in patients with chronic diseases and/or patients on immune suppressive therapies. Trial Registration: The trial is registered on ISRCTN 12821688.Funding: This work was supported by the Medical Research Council COVID-19 Immunity – National Core Study (IMM-NCS) [grant number MC-PC-20031]. Staff at the Cancer Research UK Clinical Trials Unit (CRCTU) are supported by a core funding grant from Cancer Research UK (C22436/A25354). PK and EB are supported by the NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centres at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Birmingham Biomedical Research Centres. EB and PK are supported by an NIHR Senior Investigator award. PK is funded by WT109965MA. SJD is funded by an NIHR Global Research Professorship (NIHR300791). TdS is funded by a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellowship (110058/Z/15/Z). DS is supported by the NIHR Academic Clinical Lecturer programme in Oxford. LT is supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant number 205228/Z/16/Z), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Medical Countermeasures Initiative contract 75F40120C00085. and the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Emerging and Zoonotic Infections (NIHR200907) at University of Liverpool in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), in collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the University of Oxford. The PITCH (Protective Immunity from T cells to Covid-19 in Health workers) Consortium, is funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care with contributions from UKRI/NIHR through the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UKCIC), the Huo Family Foundation and The National Institute for Health Research (UKRIDHSC COVID-19 Rapid Response Rolling Call, Grant Reference Number COV19-RECPLAS).Declaration of Interest: None to declare. Ethical Approval: This study was approved by the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency on the 5th February 2021 and the London and Chelsea Research Ethics Committee (REC Ref:21/HRA/0489) on 12th February 2021, with subsequent amendments approved on 3rd March 2021, 19th April 2021 and 26th April 2021).


Subject(s)
Kidney Diseases , Chronic Disease , Hepatitis , Arthritis, Psoriatic , Arthritis , Inflammatory Bowel Diseases , Meningeal Neoplasms , Arthritis, Rheumatoid , Neoplasms , Learning Disabilities
5.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.05.05.21256384

ABSTRACT

Since identification of the first Sri Lankan individual with the SARS-CoV-2 in early March 2020, small clusters that occurred were largely contained until the current extensive outbreak that started in early October 2020. In order to understand the molecular epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in Sri Lanka, we carried out genomic sequencing overlaid on available epidemiological data. The B.1.411 lineage was most prevalent, which was established in Sri Lanka and caused outbreaks throughout the country. The estimated time of the most recent common ancestor of this lineage was 10th August 2020 (95% lower and upper bounds 6th July to 7th September), suggesting cryptic transmission may have occurred, prior to a large epidemic starting in October 2020. Returning travellers were identified with infections caused by lineage B.1.258 , as well as the more transmissible B.1.1.7 lineage. Ongoing genomic surveillance in Sri Lanka is vital as vaccine roll-out increases.

6.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.04.13.21255342

ABSTRACT

IntroductionNosocomial transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been a significant cause of mortality in National Health Service (NHS) hospitals during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of rapid whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2, supported by a novel probabilistic reporting methodology, to inform infection prevention and control (IPC) practice within NHS hospital settings. Methods and analysisCOG-UK HOCI (COG-UK Consortium Hospital-Onset COVID-19 Infections study) is a multicentre, prospective, interventional, superiority study. Eligible patients must be admitted to hospital with first confirmed SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive test result >48h from time of admission, where COVID-19 diagnosis was not suspected upon admission. The projected sample size for 14 participating sites covering all study phases over winter-spring 2020/2021 in the United Kingdom is 2,380 patients. The intervention is the return of a sequence report, within 48 hours in one phase (rapid local lab) and within 5-10 days in a second phase (mimicking central lab use), comparing the viral genome from an eligible study participant with others within and outside the hospital site. The primary outcomes are the 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. A process evaluation using qualitative interviews with HCWs will be conducted alongside the study and analysis, underpinned by iterative programme theory of the sequence report. Health economic analysis will be conducted to determine cost-benefit of the intervention, and whether this leads to economic advantages within the NHS setting. Ethics and disseminationThe protocol has been approved by the National Research Ethics Service Committee (Cambridge South 20/EE/0118). This manuscript is based on version 5.0 of the protocol. The study findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications. Study Registration numberISRCTN50212645 Strengths and limitations of this studyO_LIThe COG-UK HOCI study harnesses the infrastructure of the UKs existing national COVID-19 genome sequencing platform to evaluate the specific benefit of sequencing to hospital infection control. C_LIO_LIThe evaluation is thought to be the first interventional study globally to assess effectiveness of genomic sequencing for infection control in an unbiased patient selection in secondary care settings. C_LIO_LIA range of institutional settings will participate, from specialist NHS-embedded or academic centres experienced in using pathogen genomics to district general hospitals. C_LIO_LIThe findings are likely to have wider applicability in future decisions to utilise genome sequencing for infection control of other pathogens (such as influenza, respiratory syncytial virus, norovirus, clostridium difficile and antimicrobial resistant pathogens) in secondary care settings. C_LIO_LIThe study has been awarded UK NIHR Urgent Public Health status, ensuring prioritised access to NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) research staff to recruit patients. C_LIO_LIThe study does not have a randomised controlled design due to the logistics of managing this against diverse standard practice. C_LI

7.
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.09.28.20202929

ABSTRACT

A major issue in identification of protective T cell responses against SARS-CoV-2 lies in distinguishing people infected with SARS-CoV-2 from those with cross-reactive immunity generated by exposure to other coronaviruses. We characterised SARS-CoV-2 T cell immune responses in 168 PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infected subjects and 118 seronegative subjects without known SARS-CoV-2 exposure using a range of T cell assays that differentially capture immune cell function. Strong ex vivo ELISpot and proliferation responses to multiple antigens (including M, NP and ORF3) were found in those who had been infected by SARS-CoV-2 but were rare in pre-pandemic and unexposed seronegative subjects. However, seronegative doctors with high occupational exposure and recent COVID-19 compatible illness showed patterns of T cell responses characteristic of infection, indicating that these readouts are highly sensitive. By contrast, over 90% of convalescent or unexposed people showed proliferation and cellular lactate responses to spike subunits S1/S2, indicating pre-existing cross-reactive T cell populations. The detection of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 is therefore critically dependent on the choice of assay and antigen. Memory responses to specific non-spike proteins provides a method to distinguish recent infection from pre-existing immunity in exposed populations.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
8.
biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.06.05.134551

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 is an ongoing global crisis in which the development of effective vaccines and therapeutics will depend critically on understanding the natural immunity to the virus, including the role of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells. We have conducted a study of 42 patients following recovery from COVID-19, including 28 mild and 14 severe cases, comparing their T cell responses to those of 16 control donors. We assessed the immune memory of T cell responses using IFN{gamma} based assays with overlapping peptides spanning SARS-CoV-2 apart from ORF1. We found the breadth, magnitude and frequency of memory T cell responses from COVID-19 were significantly higher in severe compared to mild COVID-19 cases, and this effect was most marked in response to spike, membrane, and ORF3a proteins. Total and spike-specific T cell responses correlated with the anti-Spike, anti-Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) as well as anti-Nucleoprotein (NP) endpoint antibody titre (p<0.001, <0.001 and =0.002). We identified 39 separate peptides containing CD4+ and/or CD8+ epitopes, which strikingly included six immunodominant epitope clusters targeted by T cells in many donors, including 3 clusters in spike (recognised by 29%, 24%, 18% donors), two in the membrane protein (M, 32%, 47%) and one in the nucleoprotein (Np, 35%). CD8+ responses were further defined for their HLA restriction, including B*4001-restricted T cells showing central memory and effector memory phenotype. In mild cases, higher frequencies of multi-cytokine producing M- and NP-specific CD8+ T cells than spike-specific CD8+ T cells were observed. They furthermore showed a higher ratio of SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ to CD4+ T cell responses. Immunodominant epitope clusters and peptides containing T cell epitopes identified in this study will provide critical tools to study the role of virus-specific T cells in control and resolution of SARS-CoV-2 infections. The identification of T cell specificity and functionality associated with milder disease, highlights the potential importance of including non-spike proteins within future COVID-19 vaccine design.


Subject(s)
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome , Memory Disorders
9.
biorxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | bioRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.29.069054

ABSTRACT

We have developed an analysis pipeline to facilitate real-time mutation tracking in SARS-CoV-2, focusing initially on the Spike (S) protein because it mediates infection of human cells and is the target of most vaccine strategies and antibody-based therapeutics. To date we have identified thirteen mutations in Spike that are accumulating. Mutations are considered in a broader phylogenetic context, geographically, and over time, to provide an early warning system to reveal mutations that may confer selective advantages in transmission or resistance to interventions. Each one is evaluated for evidence of positive selection, and the implications of the mutation are explored through structural modeling. The mutation Spike D614G is of urgent concern; it began spreading in Europe in early February, and when introduced to new regions it rapidly becomes the dominant form. Also, we present evidence of recombination between locally circulating strains, indicative of multiple strain infections. These finding have important implications for SARS-CoV-2 transmission, pathogenesis and immune interventions.

10.
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.15.20066407

ABSTRACT

BackgroundThe COVID-19 pandemic caused >1 million infections during January-March 2020. There is an urgent need for reliable antibody detection approaches to support diagnosis, vaccine development, safe release of individuals from quarantine, and population lock-down exit strategies. We set out to evaluate the performance of ELISA and lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) devices. MethodsWe tested plasma for COVID (SARS-CoV-2) IgM and IgG antibodies by ELISA and using nine different LFIA devices. We used a panel of plasma samples from individuals who have had confirmed COVID infection based on a PCR result (n=40), and pre-pandemic negative control samples banked in the UK prior to December-2019 (n=142). ResultsELISA detected IgM or IgG in 34/40 individuals with a confirmed history of COVID infection (sensitivity 85%, 95%CI 70-94%), vs. 0/50 pre-pandemic controls (specificity 100% [95%CI 93-100%]). IgG levels were detected in 31/31 COVID-positive individuals tested [≥]10 days after symptom onset (sensitivity 100%, 95%CI 89-100%). IgG titres rose during the 3 weeks post symptom onset and began to fall by 8 weeks, but remained above the detection threshold. Point estimates for the sensitivity of LFIA devices ranged from 55-70% versus RT-PCR and 65-85% versus ELISA, with specificity 95-100% and 93-100% respectively. Within the limits of the study size, the performance of most LFIA devices was similar. ConclusionsCurrently available commercial LFIA devices do not perform sufficiently well for individual patient applications. However, ELISA can be calibrated to be specific for detecting and quantifying SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG and is highly sensitive for IgG from 10 days following first symptoms.

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