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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-329658

ABSTRACT

The first SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC) to be designated was lineage B.1.1.7, later labelled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as Alpha. Originating in early Autumn but discovered in December 2020, it spread rapidly and caused large waves of infections worldwide. The Alpha variant is notable for being defined by a long ancestral phylogenetic branch with an increased evolutionary rate, along which only two sequences have been sampled. Alpha genomes comprise a well-supported monophyletic clade within which the evolutionary rate is more typical of SARS-CoV-2. The Alpha epidemic continued to grow despite the continued restrictions on social mixing across the UK, and the imposition of new restrictions, in particular the English national lockdown in November 2020. While these interventions succeeded in reducing the absolute number of cases, the impact of these non-pharmaceutical interventions was predominantly to drive the decline of the SARS-CoV-2 lineages which preceded Alpha. We investigate the only two sampled sequences that fall on the branch ancestral to Alpha. We find that one is likely to be a true intermediate sequence, providing information about the order of mutational events that led to Alpha. We explore alternate hypotheses that can explain how Alpha acquired a large number of mutations yet remained largely unobserved in a region of high genomic surveillance: an under-sampled geographical location, a non-human animal population, or a chronically-infected individual. We conclude that the last hypothesis provides the best explanation of the observed behaviour and dynamics of the variant, although we find that the individual need not be immunocompromised, as persistently-infected immunocompetent hosts also display a higher within-host rate of evolution. Finally, we compare the ancestral branches and mutation profiles of other VOCs to each other, and identify that Delta appears to be an outlier both in terms of the genomic locations of its defining mutations, and its lack of rapid evolutionary rate on the ancestral branch. As new variants, such as Omicron, continue to evolve (potentially through similar mechanisms) it remains important to investigate the origins of other variants to identify ways to potentially disrupt their evolution and emergence.

2.
Lancet ; 399(10332): 1303-1312, 2022 04 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1740323

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated partial vaccine escape and high transmissibility, with early studies indicating lower severity of infection than that of the delta variant (B.1.617.2). We aimed to better characterise omicron severity relative to delta by assessing the relative risk of hospital attendance, hospital admission, or death in a large national cohort. METHODS: Individual-level data on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases resident in England between Nov 29, 2021, and Jan 9, 2022, were linked to routine datasets on vaccination status, hospital attendance and admission, and mortality. The relative risk of hospital attendance or admission within 14 days, or death within 28 days after confirmed infection, was estimated using proportional hazards regression. Analyses were stratified by test date, 10-year age band, ethnicity, residential region, and vaccination status, and were further adjusted for sex, index of multiple deprivation decile, evidence of a previous infection, and year of age within each age band. A secondary analysis estimated variant-specific and vaccine-specific vaccine effectiveness and the intrinsic relative severity of omicron infection compared with delta (ie, the relative risk in unvaccinated cases). FINDINGS: The adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of hospital attendance (not necessarily resulting in admission) with omicron compared with delta was 0·56 (95% CI 0·54-0·58); for hospital admission and death, HR estimates were 0·41 (0·39-0·43) and 0·31 (0·26-0·37), respectively. Omicron versus delta HR estimates varied with age for all endpoints examined. The adjusted HR for hospital admission was 1·10 (0·85-1·42) in those younger than 10 years, decreasing to 0·25 (0·21-0·30) in 60-69-year-olds, and then increasing to 0·47 (0·40-0·56) in those aged at least 80 years. For both variants, past infection gave some protection against death both in vaccinated (HR 0·47 [0·32-0·68]) and unvaccinated (0·18 [0·06-0·57]) cases. In vaccinated cases, past infection offered no additional protection against hospital admission beyond that provided by vaccination (HR 0·96 [0·88-1·04]); however, for unvaccinated cases, past infection gave moderate protection (HR 0·55 [0·48-0·63]). Omicron versus delta HR estimates were lower for hospital admission (0·30 [0·28-0·32]) in unvaccinated cases than the corresponding HR estimated for all cases in the primary analysis. Booster vaccination with an mRNA vaccine was highly protective against hospitalisation and death in omicron cases (HR for hospital admission 8-11 weeks post-booster vs unvaccinated: 0·22 [0·20-0·24]), with the protection afforded after a booster not being affected by the vaccine used for doses 1 and 2. INTERPRETATION: The risk of severe outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection is substantially lower for omicron than for delta, with higher reductions for more severe endpoints and significant variation with age. Underlying the observed risks is a larger reduction in intrinsic severity (in unvaccinated individuals) counterbalanced by a reduction in vaccine effectiveness. Documented previous SARS-CoV-2 infection offered some protection against hospitalisation and high protection against death in unvaccinated individuals, but only offered additional protection in vaccinated individuals for the death endpoint. Booster vaccination with mRNA vaccines maintains over 70% protection against hospitalisation and death in breakthrough confirmed omicron infections. FUNDING: Medical Research Council, UK Research and Innovation, Department of Health and Social Care, National Institute for Health Research, Community Jameel, and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Hospitalization , Humans , Vaccines, Synthetic
3.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1012, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1709629

ABSTRACT

Mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from international travel is a priority. We evaluated the effectiveness of travellers being required to quarantine for 14-days on return to England in Summer 2020. We identified 4,207 travel-related SARS-CoV-2 cases and their contacts, and identified 827 associated SARS-CoV-2 genomes. Overall, quarantine was associated with a lower rate of contacts, and the impact of quarantine was greatest in the 16-20 age-group. 186 SARS-CoV-2 genomes were sufficiently unique to identify travel-related clusters. Fewer genomically-linked cases were observed for index cases who returned from countries with quarantine requirement compared to countries with no quarantine requirement. This difference was explained by fewer importation events per identified genome for these cases, as opposed to fewer onward contacts per case. Overall, our study demonstrates that a 14-day quarantine period reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the onward transmission of imported cases, mainly by dissuading travel to countries with a quarantine requirement.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Diseases, Imported/prevention & control , Quarantine/legislation & jurisprudence , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/transmission , Contact Tracing , England/epidemiology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genomics , Health Impact Assessment , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Travel/legislation & jurisprudence , Travel-Related Illness
4.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-306829

ABSTRACT

Background:  As of August 2021, every region of the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 196,000,000 cases worldwide. Methods: : We analysed COVID-19 cases among travellers from mainland China to different regions and countries, comparing the region- and country-specific rates of detected and confirmed cases per flight volume to estimate the relative sensitivity of surveillance in different regions and countries. Results: : Although travel restrictions from Wuhan City and other cities across China may have reduced the absolute number of travellers to and from China, we estimated that up to 70% (95% CI: 54% - 80%) of imported cases could remain undetected relative to the sensitivity of surveillance in Singapore. The percentage of undetected imported cases rises to 75% (95% CI 66% - 82%) when comparing to the surveillance sensitivity in multiple countries. Conclusions: : Our analysis shows that a large number of COVID-19 cases remain undetected across the world. These undetected cases potentially resulted in multiple chains of human-to-human transmission outside mainland China.

5.
SSRN;
Preprint in English | SSRN | ID: ppcovidwho-326260

ABSTRACT

Background: The Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) of SARS-CoV-2 has demonstrated partial vaccine escape and high transmissibility, with early studies indicating lower severity of infection compared with Delta (B.1.617.2). We sought to better characterise Omicron severity relative to Delta by assessing the relative risk of hospital attendance, hospital admission or death in a large national cohort. Methods: Individual-level data on laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases resident in England between 22 November 2021 and 9 January 2022 were linked to routine datasets on vaccination status, hospitalisation and mortality. The relative risk of attendance at hospital within 14 days, or death within 28 days following confirmed infection, was estimated using proportional hazards regression. Analyses were stratified by test date, 10-year age band, ethnicity, region and vaccination status and further adjusted for sex, index of multiple deprivation decile, evidence of a prior infection and year of age within each age band. A secondary analysis estimated variant- and vaccine-specific vaccine effectiveness and the intrinsic relative severity of Omicron infection compared with Delta;i.e. the relative risk in unvaccinated cases. Findings: We found that the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of hospital attendance (not necessarily resulting in admission) with Omicron compared with Delta was 0.56 (95%CI: 0.54-0.58);for hospital admission and death the estimates were 0.41 (95%CI: 0.39-0.43) and 0.31 (95%CI: 0.26-0.37), respectively. Omicron vs Delta HR estimates varied with age for all endpoints examined: the adjusted HR for hospital admission was 1.07 (95%CI: 0.83-1.38) in <10 year-olds, falling to 0.25 (95%CI: 0.21-0.30) in 60-69 year-olds, and rising to 0.48 (95%CI: 0.40-0.57) in ≥80 year-olds. For both variants, past infection gave some protection against death both in vaccinated (HR: 0.45 [95%CI: 0.30-0.68]) and unvaccinated (0.14 [95%CI: 0.04-0.45]) cases. In vaccinated cases, past infection offered no additional protection against hospital admission beyond that provided by vaccination (HR: 0.99 [95%CI: 0.9-1.08]), whilst for unvaccinated cases moderate protection remained (HR: 0.53 [95%CI: 0.46-0.61]). Estimation of variant-specific vaccine effectiveness gave lower Omicron vs Delta HR estimates for hospital admission (0.29 [95%CI: 0.28-0.31]) in unvaccinated cases than estimated for all cases in the primary analysis. Booster vaccination with an mRNA vaccine was highly protective against hospitalisation and death in Omicron cases (HR for hospital admission 8-11 weeks post booster, compared with unvaccinated: 0.22 [95%CI: 0.19-0.24]), with the protection afforded after a booster not being significantly affected by the vaccine used for doses 1 and 2. Interpretation: The risk of severe outcomes following SARS-CoV-2 infection is substantially lower for Omicron compared with Delta cases, with higher reductions for more severe endpoints and significant variation with age. The (low) risk of hospital admission in children <10 years of age did not differ significantly by variant, while 60-69 year-olds had an approximately 75% reduced risk of hospital admission with Omicron compared with Delta. Underlying the observed HRs is a larger reduction in intrinsic severity (in unvaccinated individuals) counterbalanced by a reduction in vaccine effectiveness. A documented previous SARS-CoV-2 infection offered some protection against hospitalisation and high protection against death in unvac

6.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296548

ABSTRACT

Background:  As of August 2021, every region of the world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 196,000,000 cases worldwide. Methods: We analysed COVID-19 cases among travellers from mainland China to different regions and countries, comparing the region- and country-specific rates of detected and confirmed cases per flight volume to estimate the relative sensitivity of surveillance in different regions and countries. Results: Although travel restrictions from Wuhan City and other cities across China may have reduced the absolute number of travellers to and from China, we estimated that up to 70% (95% CI: 54% - 80%) of imported cases could remain undetected relative to the sensitivity of surveillance in Singapore. The percentage of undetected imported cases rises to 75% (95% CI 66% - 82%) when comparing to the surveillance sensitivity in multiple countries. Conclusions:  Our analysis shows that a large number of COVID-19 cases remain undetected across the world.   These undetected cases potentially resulted in multiple chains of human-to-human transmission outside mainland China.

7.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296241

ABSTRACT

The evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continuously produces new variants, which warrant timely epidemiological characterisation. Here we use the dense genomic surveillance generated by the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium to reconstruct the dynamics of 71 different lineages in each of 315 English local authorities between September 2020 and June 2021. This analysis reveals a series of sub-epidemics that peaked in the early autumn of 2020, followed by a jump in transmissibility of the B.1.1.7/Alpha lineage. Alpha grew when other lineages declined during the second national lockdown and regionally tiered restrictions between November and December 2020. A third more stringent national lockdown suppressed Alpha and eliminated nearly all other lineages in early 2021. However, a series of variants (mostly containing the spike E484K mutation) defied these trends and persisted at moderately increasing proportions. Accounting for sustained introductions, however, indicates that their transmissibility is unlikely to have exceeded that of Alpha. Finally, B.1.617.2/Delta was repeatedly introduced to England and grew rapidly in the early summer of 2021, constituting approximately 98% of sampled SARS-CoV-2 genomes on June 26.

8.
2021.
Preprint in English | Other preprints | ID: ppcovidwho-296035

ABSTRACT

Previous work has shown that environment affects SARS-CoV-2 transmission, but it is unclear whether emerging strains show similar responses. Here we show that, like other SARS-CoV-2 strains, lineage B.1.1.7 spread with greater transmission in colder and more densely populated parts of England. However, we also find evidence of B.1.1.7 having a transmission advantage at warmer temperatures compared to other strains. This implies that spring and summer conditions are unlikely to slow B.1.1.7’s invasion in Europe and across the Northern hemisphere - an important consideration for public health interventions.

9.
Lancet ; 398(10313): 1825-1835, 2021 11 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492790

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: England's COVID-19 roadmap out of lockdown policy set out the timeline and conditions for the stepwise lifting of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) as vaccination roll-out continued, with step one starting on March 8, 2021. In this study, we assess the roadmap, the impact of the delta (B.1.617.2) variant of SARS-CoV-2, and potential future epidemic trajectories. METHODS: This mathematical modelling study was done to assess the UK Government's four-step process to easing lockdown restrictions in England, UK. We extended a previously described model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to incorporate vaccination and multi-strain dynamics to explicitly capture the emergence of the delta variant. We calibrated the model to English surveillance data, including hospital admissions, hospital occupancy, seroprevalence data, and population-level PCR testing data using a Bayesian evidence synthesis framework, then modelled the potential trajectory of the epidemic for a range of different schedules for relaxing NPIs. We estimated the resulting number of daily infections and hospital admissions, and daily and cumulative deaths. Three scenarios spanning a range of optimistic to pessimistic vaccine effectiveness, waning natural immunity, and cross-protection from previous infections were investigated. We also considered three levels of mixing after the lifting of restrictions. FINDINGS: The roadmap policy was successful in offsetting the increased transmission resulting from lifting NPIs starting on March 8, 2021, with increasing population immunity through vaccination. However, because of the emergence of the delta variant, with an estimated transmission advantage of 76% (95% credible interval [95% CrI] 69-83) over alpha, fully lifting NPIs on June 21, 2021, as originally planned might have led to 3900 (95% CrI 1500-5700) peak daily hospital admissions under our central parameter scenario. Delaying until July 19, 2021, reduced peak hospital admissions by three fold to 1400 (95% CrI 700-1700) per day. There was substantial uncertainty in the epidemic trajectory, with particular sensitivity to the transmissibility of delta, level of mixing, and estimates of vaccine effectiveness. INTERPRETATION: Our findings show that the risk of a large wave of COVID-19 hospital admissions resulting from lifting NPIs can be substantially mitigated if the timing of NPI relaxation is carefully balanced against vaccination coverage. However, with the delta variant, it might not be possible to fully lift NPIs without a third wave of hospital admissions and deaths, even if vaccination coverage is high. Variants of concern, their transmissibility, vaccine uptake, and vaccine effectiveness must be carefully monitored as countries relax pandemic control measures. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research, UK Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust, and UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Communicable Disease Control/organization & administration , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination Coverage/organization & administration , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/mortality , England/epidemiology , Hospital Mortality/trends , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Patient Admission/statistics & numerical data
10.
Nature ; 600(7889): 506-511, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1467111

ABSTRACT

The evolution of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus leads to new variants that warrant timely epidemiological characterization. Here we use the dense genomic surveillance data generated by the COVID-19 Genomics UK Consortium to reconstruct the dynamics of 71 different lineages in each of 315 English local authorities between September 2020 and June 2021. This analysis reveals a series of subepidemics that peaked in early autumn 2020, followed by a jump in transmissibility of the B.1.1.7/Alpha lineage. The Alpha variant grew when other lineages declined during the second national lockdown and regionally tiered restrictions between November and December 2020. A third more stringent national lockdown suppressed the Alpha variant and eliminated nearly all other lineages in early 2021. Yet a series of variants (most of which contained the spike E484K mutation) defied these trends and persisted at moderately increasing proportions. However, by accounting for sustained introductions, we found that the transmissibility of these variants is unlikely to have exceeded the transmissibility of the Alpha variant. Finally, B.1.617.2/Delta was repeatedly introduced in England and grew rapidly in early summer 2021, constituting approximately 98% of sampled SARS-CoV-2 genomes on 26 June 2021.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral/genetics , Genomics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/transmission , England/epidemiology , Epidemiological Monitoring , Humans , Molecular Epidemiology , Mutation , Quarantine/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/classification , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics
11.
Virus Evol ; 6(2): veaa082, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1388023

ABSTRACT

Since spilling over into humans, SARS-CoV-2 has rapidly spread across the globe, accumulating significant genetic diversity. The structure of this genetic diversity and whether it reveals epidemiological insights are fundamental questions for understanding the evolutionary trajectory of this virus. Here, we use a recently developed phylodynamic approach to uncover phylogenetic structures underlying the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. We find support for three SARS-CoV-2 lineages co-circulating, each with significantly different demographic dynamics concordant with known epidemiological factors. For example, Lineage C emerged in Europe with a high growth rate in late February, just prior to the exponential increase in cases in several European countries. Non-synonymous mutations that characterize Lineage C occur in functionally important gene regions responsible for viral replication and cell entry. Even though Lineages A and B had distinct demographic patterns, they were much more difficult to distinguish. Continuous application of phylogenetic approaches to track the evolutionary epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 lineages will be increasingly important to validate the efficacy of control efforts and monitor significant evolutionary events in the future.

12.
EClinicalMedicine ; 39: 101064, 2021 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1330784

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Since its emergence in Autumn 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 (WHO label Alpha) rapidly became the dominant lineage across much of Europe. Simultaneously, several other VOCs were identified globally. Unlike B.1.1.7, some of these VOCs possess mutations thought to confer partial immune escape. Understanding when and how these additional VOCs pose a threat in settings where B.1.1.7 is currently dominant is vital. METHODS: We examine trends in the prevalence of non-B.1.1.7 lineages in London and other English regions using passive-case detection PCR data, cross-sectional community infection surveys, genomic surveillance, and wastewater monitoring. The study period spans from 31st January 2021 to 15th May 2021. FINDINGS: Across data sources, the percentage of non-B.1.1.7 variants has been increasing since late March 2021. This increase was initially driven by a variety of lineages with immune escape. From mid-April, B.1.617.2 (WHO label Delta) spread rapidly, becoming the dominant variant in England by late May. INTERPRETATION: The outcome of competition between variants depends on a wide range of factors such as intrinsic transmissibility, evasion of prior immunity, demographic specificities and interactions with non-pharmaceutical interventions. The presence and rise of non-B.1.1.7 variants in March likely was driven by importations and some community transmission. There was competition between non-B.1.17 variants which resulted in B.1.617.2 becoming dominant in April and May with considerable community transmission. Our results underscore that early detection of new variants requires a diverse array of data sources in community surveillance. Continued real-time information on the highly dynamic composition and trajectory of different SARS-CoV-2 lineages is essential to future control efforts. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research, Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, DeepMind, EPSRC, EA Funds programme, Open Philanthropy, Academy of Medical Sciences Bill,Melinda Gates Foundation, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, The Novo Nordisk Foundation, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Community Jameel, Cancer Research UK, Imperial College COVID-19 Research Fund, Medical Research Council, Wellcome Sanger Institute.

13.
Science ; 373(6557): 889-895, 2021 08 20.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1322770

ABSTRACT

Understanding the causes and consequences of the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants of concern is crucial to pandemic control yet difficult to achieve because they arise in the context of variable human behavior and immunity. We investigated the spatial invasion dynamics of lineage B.1.1.7 by jointly analyzing UK human mobility, virus genomes, and community-based polymerase chain reaction data. We identified a multistage spatial invasion process in which early B.1.1.7 growth rates were associated with mobility and asymmetric lineage export from a dominant source location, enhancing the effects of B.1.1.7's increased intrinsic transmissibility. We further explored how B.1.1.7 spread was shaped by nonpharmaceutical interventions and spatial variation in previous attack rates. Our findings show that careful accounting of the behavioral and epidemiological context within which variants of concern emerge is necessary to interpret correctly their observed relative growth rates.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Communicable Disease Control , Genome, Viral , Humans , Incidence , Phylogeography , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Travel , United Kingdom/epidemiology
14.
EClinicalMedicine ; 37: 100968, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290307

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We evaluated features of HIV transmission networks involving persons diagnosed during incident HIV infection (IHI) to assess network-based opportunities to curtail onward transmission. METHODS: Transmission networks were constructed using partial pol sequences reported to North Carolina surveillance among persons with recent (2014-2018) and past (<2014) HIV diagnoses. IHI were defined as documented acute infections or seroconversion. Demographic and virologic features of HIV genetic clusters (<1.5% pairwise genetic distance) involving ≥ 1 IHI were assessed. Persons with viral genetic links and who had diagnoses >90 days prior to an IHI were further characterized. We assessed named partner outcomes among IHI index persons using contact tracing data. FINDINGS: Of 4,405 HIV diagnoses 2014-2018 with sequences, there were 323 (7%) IHI index persons; most were male (88%), Black (65%), young (68% <30 years), and reported sex with men (MSM) risk (79%). Index persons were more likely to be cluster members compared to non-index persons diagnosed during the same period (72% vs. 49%). In total, 162 clusters were identified involving 233 IHI, 577 recent diagnoses, and 163 past diagnoses. Most IHI cases (53%) had viral linkages to ≥1 previously diagnosed person without evidence of HIV viral suppression in the year prior to the diagnosis of the IHI index. In contact tracing, only 53% IHI cases named an HIV-positive contact, resulting in 0.5 previously diagnosed persons detected per IHI investigated. When combined with viral analyses, the detection rate of viremic previously diagnosed persons increased to 1.3. INTERPRETATION: Integrating public health with molecular epidemiology, revealed that more than half of IHI have viral links to persons with previously diagnosed unsuppressed HIV infection which was largely unrecognized by traditional contact tracing. Enhanced partner services to support engagement and retention in HIV care and improved case finding supported by rapid phylogenetic analysis are tools to substantially reduce onward HIV transmission.

15.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 2188, 2021 04 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1180242

ABSTRACT

Unprecedented public health interventions including travel restrictions and national lockdowns have been implemented to stem the COVID-19 epidemic, but the effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical interventions is still debated. We carried out a phylogenetic analysis of more than 29,000 publicly available whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences from 57 locations to estimate the time that the epidemic originated in different places. These estimates were examined in relation to the dates of the most stringent interventions in each location as well as to the number of cumulative COVID-19 deaths and phylodynamic estimates of epidemic size. Here we report that the time elapsed between epidemic origin and maximum intervention is associated with different measures of epidemic severity and explains 11% of the variance in reported deaths one month after the most stringent intervention. Locations where strong non-pharmaceutical interventions were implemented earlier experienced much less severe COVID-19 morbidity and mortality during the period of study.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/diagnosis , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Phylogeny , Phylogeography/methods , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Epidemics , Humans , Public Health/methods , Public Health/statistics & numerical data , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Severity of Illness Index
16.
Nature ; 593(7858): 266-269, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1152860

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7, designated variant of concern (VOC) 202012/01 by Public Health England1, was first identified in the UK in late summer to early autumn 20202. Whole-genome SARS-CoV-2 sequence data collected from community-based diagnostic testing for COVID-19 show an extremely rapid expansion of the B.1.1.7 lineage during autumn 2020, suggesting that it has a selective advantage. Here we show that changes in VOC frequency inferred from genetic data correspond closely to changes inferred by S gene target failures (SGTF) in community-based diagnostic PCR testing. Analysis of trends in SGTF and non-SGTF case numbers in local areas across England shows that B.1.1.7 has higher transmissibility than non-VOC lineages, even if it has a different latent period or generation time. The SGTF data indicate a transient shift in the age composition of reported cases, with cases of B.1.1.7 including a larger share of under 20-year-olds than non-VOC cases. We estimated time-varying reproduction numbers for B.1.1.7 and co-circulating lineages using SGTF and genomic data. The best-supported models did not indicate a substantial difference in VOC transmissibility among different age groups, but all analyses agreed that B.1.1.7 has a substantial transmission advantage over other lineages, with a 50% to 100% higher reproduction number.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Adolescent , Adult , Age Distribution , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , England/epidemiology , Evolution, Molecular , Genome, Viral/genetics , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/analysis , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Time Factors , Young Adult
17.
Virus Evol ; 7(1): veaa102, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1145192

ABSTRACT

Analysis of genetic sequence data from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic can provide insights into epidemic origins, worldwide dispersal, and epidemiological history. With few exceptions, genomic epidemiological analysis has focused on geographically distributed data sets with few isolates in any given location. Here, we report an analysis of 20 whole SARS- CoV-2 genomes from a single relatively small and geographically constrained outbreak in Weifang, People's Republic of China. Using Bayesian model-based phylodynamic methods, we estimate a mean basic reproduction number (R 0) of 3.4 (95% highest posterior density interval: 2.1-5.2) in Weifang, and a mean effective reproduction number (Rt) that falls below 1 on 4 February. We further estimate the number of infections through time and compare these estimates to confirmed diagnoses by the Weifang Centers for Disease Control. We find that these estimates are consistent with reported cases and there is unlikely to be a large undiagnosed burden of infection over the period we studied.

18.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1090, 2021 02 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1087445

ABSTRACT

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have sought to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission by restricting population movement through social distancing interventions, thus reducing the number of contacts. Mobility data represent an important proxy measure of social distancing, and here, we characterise the relationship between transmission and mobility for 52 countries around the world. Transmission significantly decreased with the initial reduction in mobility in 73% of the countries analysed, but we found evidence of decoupling of transmission and mobility following the relaxation of strict control measures for 80% of countries. For the majority of countries, mobility explained a substantial proportion of the variation in transmissibility (median adjusted R-squared: 48%, interquartile range - IQR - across countries [27-77%]). Where a change in the relationship occurred, predictive ability decreased after the relaxation; from a median adjusted R-squared of 74% (IQR across countries [49-91%]) pre-relaxation, to a median adjusted R-squared of 30% (IQR across countries [12-48%]) post-relaxation. In countries with a clear relationship between mobility and transmission both before and after strict control measures were relaxed, mobility was associated with lower transmission rates after control measures were relaxed indicating that the beneficial effects of ongoing social distancing behaviours were substantial.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Pandemics/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Algorithms , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Communicable Disease Control/statistics & numerical data , Global Health , Humans , Models, Theoretical , Physical Distancing , Quarantine/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology
19.
Science ; 371(6530): 708-712, 2021 02 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1066806

ABSTRACT

The United Kingdom's COVID-19 epidemic during early 2020 was one of world's largest and was unusually well represented by virus genomic sampling. We determined the fine-scale genetic lineage structure of this epidemic through analysis of 50,887 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) genomes, including 26,181 from the UK sampled throughout the country's first wave of infection. Using large-scale phylogenetic analyses combined with epidemiological and travel data, we quantified the size, spatiotemporal origins, and persistence of genetically distinct UK transmission lineages. Rapid fluctuations in virus importation rates resulted in >1000 lineages; those introduced prior to national lockdown tended to be larger and more dispersed. Lineage importation and regional lineage diversity declined after lockdown, whereas lineage elimination was size-dependent. We discuss the implications of our genetic perspective on transmission dynamics for COVID-19 epidemiology and control.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Genome, Viral , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Chain of Infection , Communicable Disease Control , Communicable Diseases, Imported/epidemiology , Communicable Diseases, Imported/virology , Epidemics , Humans , Phylogeny , Travel , United Kingdom/epidemiology
20.
Cell ; 184(1): 64-75.e11, 2021 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1064909

ABSTRACT

Global dispersal and increasing frequency of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variant D614G are suggestive of a selective advantage but may also be due to a random founder effect. We investigate the hypothesis for positive selection of spike D614G in the United Kingdom using more than 25,000 whole genome SARS-CoV-2 sequences. Despite the availability of a large dataset, well represented by both spike 614 variants, not all approaches showed a conclusive signal of positive selection. Population genetic analysis indicates that 614G increases in frequency relative to 614D in a manner consistent with a selective advantage. We do not find any indication that patients infected with the spike 614G variant have higher COVID-19 mortality or clinical severity, but 614G is associated with higher viral load and younger age of patients. Significant differences in growth and size of 614G phylogenetic clusters indicate a need for continued study of this variant.


Subject(s)
Amino Acid Substitution , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Aspartic Acid/analysis , Aspartic Acid/genetics , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genome, Viral , Glycine/analysis , Glycine/genetics , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Virulence , Whole Genome Sequencing
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