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PLoS Comput Biol ; 17(7): e1009149, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1325366


The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for models that can project epidemic trends, explore intervention scenarios, and estimate resource needs. Here we describe the methodology of Covasim (COVID-19 Agent-based Simulator), an open-source model developed to help address these questions. Covasim includes country-specific demographic information on age structure and population size; realistic transmission networks in different social layers, including households, schools, workplaces, long-term care facilities, and communities; age-specific disease outcomes; and intrahost viral dynamics, including viral-load-based transmissibility. Covasim also supports an extensive set of interventions, including non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as physical distancing and protective equipment; pharmaceutical interventions, including vaccination; and testing interventions, such as symptomatic and asymptomatic testing, isolation, contact tracing, and quarantine. These interventions can incorporate the effects of delays, loss-to-follow-up, micro-targeting, and other factors. Implemented in pure Python, Covasim has been designed with equal emphasis on performance, ease of use, and flexibility: realistic and highly customized scenarios can be run on a standard laptop in under a minute. In collaboration with local health agencies and policymakers, Covasim has already been applied to examine epidemic dynamics and inform policy decisions in more than a dozen countries in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America.

COVID-19 , Models, Biological , SARS-CoV-2 , Systems Analysis , Basic Reproduction Number , COVID-19/etiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19 Testing , COVID-19 Vaccines , Computational Biology , Computer Simulation , Contact Tracing , Disease Progression , Hand Disinfection , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Masks , Mathematical Concepts , Pandemics , Physical Distancing , Quarantine , Software
PLoS Biol ; 18(11): e3000897, 2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-922696


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the etiological agent of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) disease, has moved rapidly around the globe, infecting millions and killing hundreds of thousands. The basic reproduction number, which has been widely used-appropriately and less appropriately-to characterize the transmissibility of the virus, hides the fact that transmission is stochastic, often dominated by a small number of individuals, and heavily influenced by superspreading events (SSEs). The distinct transmission features of SARS-CoV-2, e.g., high stochasticity under low prevalence (as compared to other pathogens, such as influenza), and the central role played by SSEs on transmission dynamics cannot be overlooked. Many explosive SSEs have occurred in indoor settings, stoking the pandemic and shaping its spread, such as long-term care facilities, prisons, meat-packing plants, produce processing facilities, fish factories, cruise ships, family gatherings, parties, and nightclubs. These SSEs demonstrate the urgent need to understand routes of transmission, while posing an opportunity to effectively contain outbreaks with targeted interventions to eliminate SSEs. Here, we describe the different types of SSEs, how they influence transmission, empirical evidence for their role in the COVID-19 pandemic, and give recommendations for control of SARS-CoV-2.

COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/transmission , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Coinfection/epidemiology , Humans , Poisson Distribution , Stochastic Processes
Int J Infect Dis ; 101: 194-200, 2020 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-796226


BACKGROUND: Absolute numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported to date in the sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region have been significantly lower than those across the Americas, Asia and Europe. As a result, there has been limited information about the demographic and clinical characteristics of deceased cases in the region, as well as the impacts of different case management strategies. METHODS: Data from deceased cases reported across SSA through 10 May 2020 and from hospitalized cases in Burkina Faso through 15 April 2020 were analyzed. Demographic, epidemiological and clinical information on deceased cases in SSA was derived through a line-list of publicly available information and, for cases in Burkina Faso, from aggregate records at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Tengandogo in Ouagadougou. A synthetic case population was probabilistically derived using distributions of age, sex and underlying conditions from populations of West African countries to assess individual risk factors and treatment effect sizes. Logistic regression analysis was conducted to evaluate the adjusted odds of survival for patients receiving oxygen therapy or convalescent plasma, based on therapeutic effectiveness observed for other respiratory illnesses. RESULTS: Across SSA, deceased cases for which demographic data were available were predominantly male (63/103, 61.2%) and aged >50 years (59/75, 78.7%). In Burkina Faso, specifically, the majority of deceased cases either did not seek care at all or were hospitalized for a single day (59.4%, 19/32). Hypertension and diabetes were often reported as underlying conditions. After adjustment for sex, age and underlying conditions in the synthetic case population, the odds of mortality for cases not receiving oxygen therapy were significantly higher than for those receiving oxygen, such as due to disruptions to standard care (OR 2.07; 95% CI 1.56-2.75). Cases receiving convalescent plasma had 50% reduced odds of mortality than those who did not (95% CI 0.24-0.93). CONCLUSIONS: Investment in sustainable production and maintenance of supplies for oxygen therapy, along with messaging around early and appropriate use for healthcare providers, caregivers and patients could reduce COVID-19 deaths in SSA. Further investigation into convalescent plasma is warranted until data on its effectiveness specifically in treating COVID-19 becomes available. The success of supportive or curative clinical interventions will depend on earlier treatment seeking, such that community engagement and risk communication will be critical components of the response.

COVID-19 Drug Treatment , COVID-19/mortality , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Adolescent , Adult , Africa South of the Sahara , Aged , Antiviral Agents/administration & dosage , Asia/epidemiology , Burkina Faso/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Child , Child, Preschool , Europe/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunization, Passive , Infant , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Young Adult , COVID-19 Serotherapy