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1.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322658

ABSTRACT

Background: Recently emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants have been associated with an increased rate of transmission within the community. Little is known about the impact their increased infectivity has on transmission within hospitals.Methods: We collected viral sequences and epidemiological data of patients with community and healthcare associated SARS-CoV-2 infections, sampled from 16th November 2020 to 10th January 2021, from nine hospitals participating in the COG-UK HOCI study. Outbreaks were identified using ward information, lineage and pairwise genetic differences between viral sequences.Findings: Mixed effects logistic regression analysis of 4184 sequences showed healthcare-acquired infections were no more likely to be identified as the Alpha variant than community acquired infections. Nosocomial outbreaks were investigated based on overlapping ward stay and SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence similarity. There was no significant difference in the number of patients involved in outbreaks caused by the Alpha variant compared to outbreaks caused by other lineages.Interpretation: Notwithstanding evidence from community studies that the Alpha variant is more transmissible, we find no evidence to support it causing more nosocomial transmission than previous lineages. This suggests that the stringent infection prevention measures already in place in UK hospitals contained the spread of the Alpha variant as effectively as other less transmissible lineages, providing reassurance of their efficacy against emerging variants of concern.Funding Information: COG-UK HOCI funded by COG-UK consortium. The COG-UK consortium is supported by funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and Genome Research Limited, operating as the Wellcome Sanger Institute.Declaration of Interests: None to declare. Ethics Approval Statement: Ethical approval for the HOCI study was provided by REC 20/EE/0118.

2.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-322107

ABSTRACT

Real-Time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is the gold standard diagnostic method for acute SARS-CoV-2 infection. Cycle threshold (Ct) is defined as the number of heating and cooling cycles required during the PCR process. Ct-values are inversely proportional to the amount of target nucleic acid in a sample. Our aim in this retrospective study was to determine the impact of serial SARS-CoV-2 qPCR Ct-values, among critically ill COVID-19 patients both prior and during intensive care unit (ICU) stay, on: mortality, need for mechanical ventilation (MV) and development of acute kidney injury (AKI). There was a continuous increment in Ct-values over the ICU stay from 1 st -week through to 3 rd -week. Although not significant, lower ICU 1 st -week Ct-values were associated with Black ethnicity, increased need for MV and mortality. However, patients who had developed AKI at any stage of their illness had significantly lower Ct-values compared to those with normal renal function. When ICU 1 st -week Ct-values are subcategorised as <20, 20-30 and >30 the 28-day survival probability was less for patients with Ct-values of <20.To our knowledge this is the first report showing the impact of Ct-values and outcomes, especially AKI, among patients at different time point’s prior to and during ICU stay.

3.
Surgery (Oxf) ; 39(11): 759-768, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1492441

ABSTRACT

The most commonly used molecular diagnostic technique is the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). PCR detects a short section of genetic code of interest, a cancer gene, human mRNA or a pathogen's genome. It is used by every specialty in medicine and surgery, with increasing frequency and importance. In this article, the history, steps of the cycle, uses, forms, advantages and disadvantages of PCR are discussed. With the SARS coronavirus-2 pandemic having such an enormous impact on the delivery of elective surgery, decisions to proceed or defer are made by surgeons on a daily basis, based on PCR results. An understanding of these results is provided, what they tell us, what they do not and what other information is required to make these decisions. It is imperative to also look beyond PCR results, seeing the patient within the context of their symptoms, other pathology and imaging results, with the assistance of a medical virologist or microbiologist, in complex cases.

4.
J Infect ; 83(6): 693-700, 2021 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1446866

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Recently emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants have been associated with an increased rate of transmission within the community. We sought to determine whether this also resulted in increased transmission within hospitals. METHODS: We collected viral sequences and epidemiological data of patients with community and healthcare associated SARS-CoV-2 infections, sampled from 16th November 2020 to 10th January 2021, from nine hospitals participating in the COG-UK HOCI study. Outbreaks were identified using ward information, lineage and pairwise genetic differences between viral sequences. RESULTS: Mixed effects logistic regression analysis of 4184 sequences showed healthcare-acquired infections were no more likely to be identified as the Alpha variant than community acquired infections. Nosocomial outbreaks were investigated based on overlapping ward stay and SARS-CoV-2 genome sequence similarity. There was no significant difference in the number of patients involved in outbreaks caused by the Alpha variant compared to outbreaks caused by other lineages. CONCLUSIONS: We find no evidence to support it causing more nosocomial transmission than previous lineages. This suggests that the stringent infection prevention measures already in place in UK hospitals contained the spread of the Alpha variant as effectively as other less transmissible lineages, providing reassurance of their efficacy against emerging variants of concern.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Cross Infection , Cross Infection/epidemiology , Hospitals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
5.
Infez Med ; 29(3): 386-392, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444692

ABSTRACT

Real-Time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) is the gold standard diagnostic method for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Cycle threshold (Ct) is defined as the number of heating and cooling cycles required during the PCR process. Ct-values are inversely proportional to the amount of target nucleic acid in a sample. Our aim, in this retrospective study, was to determine the impact of serial SARS-CoV-2 qPCR Ct-values on: mortality, need for mechanical ventilation (MV) and development of acute kidney injury (AKI) in patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) with COVID-19. Ct values were evaluated during the time points from pre-ICU admission to week 1, week 2 and week 3 during ICU stay; impact on mortality, need for MV and AKI was determined. There was a continuous increment in Ct-values over the ICU stay from 1st week through to 3rd week. Although not significant, lower ICU 1st week Ct-values were associated with Black ethnicity, increased need for MV and mortality. However, patients who had developed AKI at any stage of their illness had significantly lower Ct-values compared to those with normal renal function. When ICU 1st-week Ct-values are subcategorised as <20, 20-30 and >30 the 28-day survival probability was less for patients with Ct-values of <20. This report shows that the impact of Ct-values and outcomes, especially AKI, among patients at different time points prior to and during ICU stay, larger studies are required to confirm out findings.

6.
BMJ Open Respir Res ; 8(1)2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1430193

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 has been associated with an increased rate of transmission and disease severity among subjects testing positive in the community. Its impact on hospitalised patients is less well documented. METHODS: We collected viral sequences and clinical data of patients admitted with SARS-CoV-2 and hospital-onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs), sampled 16 November 2020 to 10 January 2021, from eight hospitals participating in the COG-UK-HOCI study. Associations between the variant and the outcomes of all-cause mortality and intensive therapy unit (ITU) admission were evaluated using mixed effects Cox models adjusted by age, sex, comorbidities, care home residence, pregnancy and ethnicity. FINDINGS: Sequences were obtained from 2341 inpatients (HOCI cases=786) and analysis of clinical outcomes was carried out in 2147 inpatients with all data available. The HR for mortality of B.1.1.7 compared with other lineages was 1.01 (95% CI 0.79 to 1.28, p=0.94) and for ITU admission was 1.01 (95% CI 0.75 to 1.37, p=0.96). Analysis of sex-specific effects of B.1.1.7 identified increased risk of mortality (HR 1.30, 95% CI 0.95 to 1.78, p=0.096) and ITU admission (HR 1.82, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.90, p=0.011) in females infected with the variant but not males (mortality HR 0.82, 95% CI 0.61 to 1.10, p=0.177; ITU HR 0.74, 95% CI 0.52 to 1.04, p=0.086). INTERPRETATION: In common with smaller studies of patients hospitalised with SARS-CoV-2, we did not find an overall increase in mortality or ITU admission associated with B.1.1.7 compared with other lineages. However, women with B.1.1.7 may be at an increased risk of admission to intensive care and at modestly increased risk of mortality.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Cohort Studies , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Severity of Illness Index , United Kingdom , Young Adult
8.
J Infect Prev ; 22(4): 156-161, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-977667

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We report an outbreak of SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection among healthcare workers (HCW) in an NHS elective healthcare facility. METHODOLOGY: A narrative chronological account of events after declaring an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 among HCWs. As part of the investigations, HCWs were offered testing during the outbreak. These were: (1) screening by real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT- PCR) to detect a current infection; and (2) serum samples to determine seroprevalence. RESULTS: Over 180 HCWs were tested by real-time RT-PCR for SARS-CoV-2 infection. The rate of infection was 15.2% (23.7% for clinical or directly patient-facing HCWs vs. 4.8% in non-clinical non-patient-facing HCWs). Of the infected HCWs, 57% were asymptomatic. Seroprevalence (SARS-CoV-2 IgG) among HCWs was 13%. It was challenging to establish an exact source for the outbreak. The importance of education, training, social distancing and infection prevention practices were emphasised. Additionally, avoidance of unnecessary transfer of patients and minimising cross-site working for staff and early escalation were highlighted. Establishing mass and regular screening for HCWs are also crucial to enabling the best care for patients while maintaining the wellbeing of staff. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the first UK outbreak report among HCWs and we hope to have highlighted some key issues and learnings that can be considered by other NHS staff and HCWs globally when dealing with such a task in future.

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