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1.
PubMed; 2021.
Preprint in English | PubMed | ID: ppcovidwho-334727

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Gamma variant spread rapidly across Brazil, causing substantial infection and death waves. We use individual-level patient records following hospitalisation with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to document the extensive shocks in hospital fatality rates that followed Gamma's spread across 14 state capitals, and in which more than half of hospitalised patients died over sustained time periods. We show that extensive fluctuations in COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates also existed prior to Gamma's detection, and were largely transient after Gamma's detection, subsiding with hospital demand. Using a Bayesian fatality rate model, we find that the geographic and temporal fluctuations in Brazil's COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates are primarily associated with geographic inequities and shortages in healthcare capacity. We project that approximately half of Brazil's COVID-19 deaths in hospitals could have been avoided without pre-pandemic geographic inequities and without pandemic healthcare pressure. Our results suggest that investments in healthcare resources, healthcare optimization, and pandemic preparedness are critical to minimize population wide mortality and morbidity caused by highly transmissible and deadly pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, especially in low- and middle-income countries. NOTE: The following manuscript has appeared as 'Report 46 - Factors driving extensive spatial and temporal fluctuations in COVID-19 fatality rates in Brazilian hospitals' at https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk:8443/handle/10044/1/91875 . ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates fluctuate dramatically in Brazil, and these fluctuations are primarily associated with geographic inequities and shortages in healthcare capacity.

2.
Science ; 372(6544):815-821, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1735994

ABSTRACT

Cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in Manaus, Brazil, resurged in late 2020 despite previously high levels of infection. Genome sequencing of viruses sampled in Manaus between November 2020 and January 2021 revealed the emergence and circulation of a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern. Lineage P.1 acquired 17 mutations, including a trio in the spike protein (K417T, E484K, and N501Y) associated with increased binding to the human ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptor. Molecular clock analysis shows that P.1 emergence occurred around mid-November 2020 and was preceded by a period of faster molecular evolution. Using a two-category dynamical model that integrates genomic and mortality data, we estimate that P.1 may be 1.7- to 2.4-fold more transmissible and that previous (non-P.1) infection provides 54 to 79% of the protection against infection with P.1 that it provides against non-P.1 lineages. Enhanced global genomic surveillance of variants of concern, which may exhibit increased transmissibility and/or immune evasion, is critical to accelerate pandemic responsiveness.

3.
MEDLINE;
Preprint in English | MEDLINE | ID: ppcovidwho-326624

ABSTRACT

Cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Manaus, Brazil, resurged in late 2020, despite high levels of previous infection there. Through genome sequencing of viruses sampled in Manaus between November 2020 and January 2021, we identified the emergence and circulation of a novel SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, lineage P.1, that acquired 17 mutations, including a trio in the spike protein (K417T, E484K and N501Y) associated with increased binding to the human ACE2 receptor. Molecular clock analysis shows that P.1 emergence occurred around early November 2020 and was preceded by a period of faster molecular evolution. Using a two-category dynamical model that integrates genomic and mortality data, we estimate that P.1 may be 1.4-2.2 times more transmissible and 25-61% more likely to evade protective immunity elicited by previous infection with non-P.1 lineages. Enhanced global genomic surveillance of variants of concern, which may exhibit increased transmissibility and/or immune evasion, is critical to accelerate pandemic responsiveness. One-Sentence Summary: We report the evolution and emergence of a SARS-CoV-2 lineage of concern associated with rapid transmission in Manaus.

4.
Wellcome Open Research ; 5:143, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1675237

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.

5.
PUBMED; 2021.
Preprint in English | PUBMED | ID: ppcovidwho-292894

ABSTRACT

Prevention of COVID-19 on a global scale will require the continued development of high-volume, low-cost platforms for the manufacturing of vaccines to supply on-going demand. Vaccine candidates based on recombinant protein subunits remain important because they can be manufactured at low costs in existing large-scale production facilities that use microbial hosts like Komagataella phaffii ( Pichia pastoris ). Here, we report an improved and scalable manufacturing approach for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein receptor binding domain (RBD);this protein is a key antigen for several reported vaccine candidates. We genetically engineered a manufacturing strain of K. phaffii to obviate the requirement for methanol-induction of the recombinant gene. Methanol-free production improved the secreted titer of the RBD protein by >5x by alleviating protein folding stress. Removal of methanol from the production process enabled scale up to a 1,200 L pre-existing production facility. This engineered strain is now used to produce an RBD-based vaccine antigen that is currently in clinical trials and could be used to produce other variants of RBD as needed for future vaccines.

6.
PUBMED; 2021.
Preprint in English | PUBMED | ID: ppcovidwho-292866

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Gamma variant spread rapidly across Brazil, causing substantial infection and death waves. We use individual-level patient records following hospitalisation with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 to document the extensive shocks in hospital fatality rates that followed Gamma's spread across 14 state capitals, and in which more than half of hospitalised patients died over sustained time periods. We show that extensive fluctuations in COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates also existed prior to Gamma's detection, and were largely transient after Gamma's detection, subsiding with hospital demand. Using a Bayesian fatality rate model, we find that the geographic and temporal fluctuations in Brazil's COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates are primarily associated with geographic inequities and shortages in healthcare capacity. We project that approximately half of Brazil's COVID-19 deaths in hospitals could have been avoided without pre-pandemic geographic inequities and without pandemic healthcare pressure. Our results suggest that investments in healthcare resources, healthcare optimization, and pandemic preparedness are critical to minimize population wide mortality and morbidity caused by highly transmissible and deadly pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2, especially in low- and middle-income countries. Note: The following manuscript has appeared as 'Report 46 - Factors driving extensive spatial and temporal fluctuations in COVID-19 fatality rates in Brazilian hospitals' at https://spiral.imperial.ac.uk:8443/handle/10044/1/91875 . One sentence summary: COVID-19 in-hospital fatality rates fluctuate dramatically in Brazil, and these fluctuations are primarily associated with geographic inequities and shortages in healthcare capacity.

7.
Wellcome Open Research ; 5, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1515644

ABSTRACT

State space models, including compartmental models, are used to model physical, biological and social phenomena in a broad range of scientific fields. A common way of representing the underlying processes in these models is as a system of stochastic processes which can be simulated forwards in time. Inference of model parameters based on observed time-series data can then be performed using sequential Monte Carlo techniques. However, using these methods for routine inference problems can be made difficult due to various engineering considerations: allowing model design to change in response to new data and ideas, writing model code which is highly performant, and incorporating all of this with up-to-date statistical techniques. Here, we describe a suite of packages in the R programming language designed to streamline the design and deployment of state space models, targeted at infectious disease modellers but suitable for other domains. Users describe their model in a familiar domain-specific language, which is converted into parallelised C++ code. A fast, parallel, reproducible random number generator is then used to run large numbers of model simulations in an efficient manner. We also provide standard inference and prediction routines, though the model simulator can be used directly if these do not meet the user's needs. These packages provide guarantees on reproducibility and performance, allowing the user to focus on the model itself, rather than the underlying computation. The ability to automatically generate high-performance code that would be tedious and time-consuming to write and verify manually, particularly when adding further structure to compartments, is crucial for infectious disease modellers. Our packages have been critical to the development cycle of our ongoing real-time modelling efforts in the COVID-19 pandemic, and have the potential to do the same for models used in a number of different domains. © 2021 FitzJohn RG et al.

8.
Wellcome Open Research ; 5, 2021.
Article in English | Scopus | ID: covidwho-1471171

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. © 2021 Bhatia S et al.

9.
Wellcome Open Research ; 5:81, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1068026

ABSTRACT

Background: The COVID-19 epidemic was declared a Global Pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. By 24 March 2020, over 440,000 cases and almost 20,000 deaths had been reported worldwide. In response to the fast-growing epidemic, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei, China imposed strict social distancing in Wuhan on 23 January 2020 followed closely by similar measures in other provinces. These interventions have impacted economic productivity in China, and the ability of the Chinese economy to resume without restarting the epidemic was not clear. Methods: Using daily reported cases from mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, we estimated transmissibility over time and compared it to daily within-city movement, as a proxy for economic activity. Results: Initially, within-city movement and transmission were very strongly correlated in the five mainland provinces most affected by the epidemic and Beijing. However, that correlation decreased rapidly after the initial sharp fall in transmissibility. In general, towards the end of the study period, the correlation was no longer apparent, despite substantial increases in within-city movement. A similar analysis for Hong Kong shows that intermediate levels of local activity were maintained while avoiding a large outbreak. At the very end of the study period, when China began to experience the re-introduction of a small number of cases from Europe and the United States, there is an apparent up-tick in transmission.

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