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1.
The Lancet ; 400(10367):1924-1925, 2022.
Article in English | ScienceDirect | ID: covidwho-2132749
2.
Lancet Respir Med ; 10(11): 1061-1073, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2106219

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the window of SARS-CoV-2 infectiousness is crucial in developing policies to curb transmission. Mathematical modelling based on scarce empirical evidence and key assumptions has driven isolation and testing policy, but real-world data are needed. We aimed to characterise infectiousness across the full course of infection in a real-world community setting. METHODS: The Assessment of Transmission and Contagiousness of COVID-19 in Contacts (ATACCC) study was a UK prospective, longitudinal, community cohort of contacts of newly diagnosed, PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 index cases. Household and non-household exposed contacts aged 5 years or older were eligible for recruitment if they could provide informed consent and agree to self-swabbing of the upper respiratory tract. The primary objective was to define the window of SARS-CoV-2 infectiousness and its temporal correlation with symptom onset. We quantified viral RNA load by RT-PCR and infectious viral shedding by enumerating cultivable virus daily across the course of infection. Participants completed a daily diary to track the emergence of symptoms. Outcomes were assessed with empirical data and a phenomenological Bayesian hierarchical model. FINDINGS: Between Sept 13, 2020, and March 31, 2021, we enrolled 393 contacts from 327 households (the SARS-CoV-2 pre-alpha and alpha variant waves); and between May 24, 2021, and Oct 28, 2021, we enrolled 345 contacts from 215 households (the delta variant wave). 173 of these 738 contacts were PCR positive for more than one timepoint, 57 of which were at the start of infection and comprised the final study population. The onset and end of infectious viral shedding were captured in 42 cases and the median duration of infectiousness was 5 (IQR 3-7) days. Although 24 (63%) of 38 cases had PCR-detectable virus before symptom onset, only seven (20%) of 35 shed infectious virus presymptomatically. Symptom onset was a median of 3 days before both peak viral RNA and peak infectious viral load (viral RNA IQR 3-5 days, n=38; plaque-forming units IQR 3-6 days, n=35). Notably, 22 (65%) of 34 cases and eight (24%) of 34 cases continued to shed infectious virus 5 days and 7 days post-symptom onset, respectively (survival probabilities 67% and 35%). Correlation of lateral flow device (LFD) results with infectious viral shedding was poor during the viral growth phase (sensitivity 67% [95% CI 59-75]), but high during the decline phase (92% [86-96]). Infectious virus kinetic modelling suggested that the initial rate of viral replication determines the course of infection and infectiousness. INTERPRETATION: Less than a quarter of COVID-19 cases shed infectious virus before symptom onset; under a crude 5-day self-isolation period from symptom onset, two-thirds of cases released into the community would still be infectious, but with reduced infectious viral shedding. Our findings support a role for LFDs to safely accelerate deisolation but not for early diagnosis, unless used daily. These high-resolution, community-based data provide evidence to inform infection control guidance. FUNDING: National Institute for Health and Care Research.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , RNA, Viral , Cohort Studies , Prospective Studies , Bayes Theorem
3.
Lancet ; 400(10353): 693-706, 2022 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2076865

ABSTRACT

Annual seasonal influenza epidemics of variable severity caused by influenza A and B virus infections result in substantial disease burden worldwide. Seasonal influenza virus circulation declined markedly in 2020-21 after SARS-CoV-2 emerged but increased in 2021-22. Most people with influenza have abrupt onset of respiratory symptoms and myalgia with or without fever and recover within 1 week, but some can experience severe or fatal complications. Prevention is primarily by annual influenza vaccination, with efforts underway to develop new vaccines with improved effectiveness. Sporadic zoonotic infections with novel influenza A viruses of avian or swine origin continue to pose pandemic threats. In this Seminar, we discuss updates of key influenza issues for clinicians, in particular epidemiology, virology, and pathogenesis, diagnostic testing including multiplex assays that detect influenza viruses and SARS-CoV-2, complications, antiviral treatment, influenza vaccines, infection prevention, and non-pharmaceutical interventions, and highlight gaps in clinical management and priorities for clinical research.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Influenza A virus , Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Animals , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Swine
4.
PLoS One ; 17(2): e0262515, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1688746

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Following the full re-opening of schools in England and emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant, we investigated the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in students and staff who were contacts of a confirmed case in a school bubble (school groupings with limited interactions), along with their household members. METHODS: Primary and secondary school bubbles were recruited into sKIDsBUBBLE after being sent home to self-isolate following a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the bubble. Bubble participants and their household members were sent home-testing kits comprising nasal swabs for RT-PCR testing and whole genome sequencing, and oral fluid swabs for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. RESULTS: During November-December 2020, 14 bubbles were recruited from 7 schools, including 269 bubble contacts (248 students, 21 staff) and 823 household contacts (524 adults, 299 children). The secondary attack rate was 10.0% (6/60) in primary and 3.9% (4/102) in secondary school students, compared to 6.3% (1/16) and 0% (0/1) among staff, respectively. The incidence rate for household contacts of primary school students was 6.6% (12/183) and 3.7% (1/27) for household contacts of primary school staff. In secondary schools, this was 3.5% (11/317) and 0% (0/1), respectively. Household contacts were more likely to test positive if their bubble contact tested positive although there were new infections among household contacts of uninfected bubble contacts. INTERPRETATION: Compared to other institutional settings, the overall risk of secondary infection in school bubbles and their household contacts was low. Our findings are important for developing evidence-based infection prevention guidelines for educational settings.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Adolescent , Adult , Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19/virology , Child , Contact Tracing , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Incidence , Male , Nasopharynx/virology , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Schools/statistics & numerical data , Students/statistics & numerical data
5.
JMIR Res Protoc ; 11(8): e38026, 2022 Aug 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2022388

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) commonly causes lower respiratory tract infections and hospitalization in children. In 2019-2020, the Europe-wide RSV ComNet standardized study protocol was developed to measure the clinical and socioeconomic disease burden of RSV infections among children aged <5 years in primary care. RSV has a recognized seasonality in England. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to describe (1) the adaptations of the RSV ComNet standardized study protocol for England and (2) the challenges of conducting the study during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This study was conducted by the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners Research and Surveillance Centre-the English national primary care sentinel network. We invited all (N=248) general practices within the network that undertook virology sampling to participate in the study by recruiting eligible patients (registered population: n=3,056,583). Children aged <5 years with the following case definition of RSV infection were included in the study: those consulting a health care practitioner in primary care with symptoms meeting the World Health Organization's definition of acute respiratory illness or influenza-like illness who have laboratory-confirmed RSV infection. The parents/guardians of these cases were asked to complete 2 previously validated questionnaires (14 and 30 days postsampling). A sample size of at least 100 RSV-positive cases is required to estimate the percentage of children that consult in primary care who need hospitalization. Assuming a swab positivity rate of 20% in children aged <5 years, we estimated that 500 swabs are required. We adapted our method for the pandemic by extending sampling planned for winter 2020-2021 to a rolling data collection, allowing verbal consent and introducing home swabbing because of increased web-based consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: The preliminary results of the data collection between International Organization for Standardization (ISO) weeks 1-41 in 2021 are described. There was no RSV detected in the winter of 2020-2021 through the study. The first positive RSV swab collected through the sentinel network in England was collected in ISO week 17 and then every week since ISO week 25. In total, 16 (N=248, 6.5%) of the virology-sampling practices volunteered to participate; these were high-sampling practices collecting the majority of eligible swabs across the sentinel network-200 (43.8%) out of 457 swabs, of which 54 (N=200, 27%) were positive for RSV. CONCLUSIONS: Measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic meant there was no circulating RSV last winter; however, RSV has circulated out of season, as detected by the sentinel network. The sentinel network practices have collected 40% (200/500) of the required samples, and 27% (54/200) were RSV positive. We have demonstrated the feasibility of implementing a European-standardized RSV disease burden study protocol in England during a pandemic, and we now need to recruit to this adapted protocol. INTERNATIONAL REGISTERED REPORT IDENTIFIER (IRRID): DERR1-10.2196/38026.

6.
J Infect ; 85(5): 545-556, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2007862

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: To investigate serological differences between SARS-CoV-2 reinfection cases and contemporary controls, to identify antibody correlates of protection against reinfection. METHODS: We performed a case-control study, comparing reinfection cases with singly infected individuals pre-vaccination, matched by gender, age, region and timing of first infection. Serum samples were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike (anti-S), anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (anti-N), live virus microneutralisation (LV-N) and pseudovirus microneutralisation (PV-N). Results were analysed using fixed effect linear regression and fitted into conditional logistic regression models. RESULTS: We identified 23 cases and 92 controls. First infections occurred before November 2020; reinfections occurred before February 2021, pre-vaccination. Anti-S levels, LV-N and PV-N titres were significantly lower among cases; no difference was found for anti-N levels. Increasing anti-S levels were associated with reduced risk of reinfection (OR 0·63, CI 0·47-0·85), but no association for anti-N levels (OR 0·88, CI 0·73-1·05). Titres >40 were correlated with protection against reinfection for LV-N Wuhan (OR 0·02, CI 0·001-0·31) and LV-N Alpha (OR 0·07, CI 0·009-0·62). For PV-N, titres >100 were associated with protection against Wuhan (OR 0·14, CI 0·03-0·64) and Alpha (0·06, CI 0·008-0·40). CONCLUSIONS: Before vaccination, protection against SARS-CoV-2 reinfection was directly correlated with anti-S levels, PV-N and LV-N titres, but not with anti-N levels. Detectable LV-N titres were sufficient for protection, whilst PV-N titres >100 were required for a protective effect. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN11041050.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/prevention & control , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Reinfection/prevention & control , Vaccination
7.
Influenza Other Respir Viruses ; 16(5): 937-941, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1973654

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The use of rapid molecular testing for influenza diagnosis is becoming increasingly popular. Used at the point of care or in a clinical laboratory, these tests detect influenza A and B viruses, though many do not distinguish between influenza A subtypes. The UK Severe Influenza Surveillance System (USISS) collects surveillance data on laboratory-confirmed influenza admissions to secondary care in England. This study set out to understand how rapid influenza molecular testing was being used and how it might influence the availability of subtyping data collected on influenza cases admitted to secondary care in England. METHODS: At the end of the 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 influenza seasons, a questionnaire was sent to all National Health Service Hospital Trusts in England to evaluate the use of rapid influenza testing. Surveillance data collected through USISS was analysed from 2011/2012 to 2020/2021. RESULTS: Of responding trusts, 42% (13/31) in 2017/2018 and 55% (9/17) in 2018/2019 used rapid influenza molecular tests, either alone or in combination with other testing. The majority of rapid tests used did not subtype the influenza A result, and limited follow-up testing occurred. Surveillance data showed significant proportions of influenza A hospital and intensive care unit/high dependency unit admissions without subtyping information, increasing by approximately 35% between 2012/2013 and 2020/2021. CONCLUSIONS: The use of rapid influenza molecular tests is a likely contributing factor to the large proportion of influenza A hospitalisations in England that were unsubtyped. Given their clear clinical advantages, further work must be done to reinforce these data for public health through integrated genomic surveillance.


Subject(s)
Influenza, Human , England/epidemiology , Humans , Influenza, Human/diagnosis , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Seasons , Secondary Care , State Medicine
8.
BMJ Open ; 12(6): e054336, 2022 06 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1909750

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Understanding the effectiveness and durability of protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection conferred by previous infection and COVID-19 is essential to inform ongoing management of the pandemic. This study aims to determine whether prior SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination in healthcare workers protects against future infection. METHODS AND ANALYSIS: This is a prospective cohort study design in staff members working in hospitals in the UK. At enrolment, participants are allocated into cohorts, positive or naïve, dependent on their prior SARS-CoV-2 infection status, as measured by standardised SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing on all baseline serum samples and previous SARS-CoV-2 test results. Participants undergo monthly antibody testing and fortnightly viral RNA testing during follow-up and based on these results may move between cohorts. Any results from testing undertaken for other reasons (eg, symptoms, contact tracing) or prior to study entry will also be captured. Individuals complete enrolment and fortnightly questionnaires on exposures, symptoms and vaccination. Follow-up is 12 months from study entry, with an option to extend follow-up to 24 months.The primary outcome of interest is infection with SARS-CoV-2 after previous SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 vaccination during the study period. Secondary outcomes include incidence and prevalence (both RNA and antibody) of SARS-CoV-2, viral genomics, viral culture, symptom history and antibody/neutralising antibody titres. ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: The study was approved by the Berkshire Research Ethics Committee, Health Research Authority (IRAS ID 284460, REC reference 20/SC/0230) on 22 May 2020; the vaccine amendment was approved on 12 January 2021. Participants gave informed consent before taking part in the study.Regular reports to national and international expert advisory groups and peer-reviewed publications ensure timely dissemination of findings to inform decision making. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN11041050.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines , Health Personnel , Humans , Incidence , Multicenter Studies as Topic , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral , Reinfection , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vaccination
9.
Euro Surveill ; 27(15)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1869325

ABSTRACT

BackgroundHouseholds appear to be the highest risk setting for COVID-19 transmission. Large household transmission studies in the early stages of the pandemic in Asia reported secondary attack rates ranging from 5 to 30%.AimWe aimed to investigate the transmission dynamics of COVID-19 in household and community settings in the UK.MethodsA prospective case-ascertained study design based on the World Health Organization FFX protocol was undertaken in the UK following the detection of the first case in late January 2020. Household contacts of cases were followed using enhanced surveillance forms to establish whether they developed symptoms of COVID-19, became confirmed cases and their outcomes. We estimated household secondary attack rates (SAR), serial intervals and individual and household basic reproduction numbers. The incubation period was estimated using known point source exposures that resulted in secondary cases.ResultsWe included 233 households with two or more people with 472 contacts. The overall household SAR was 37% (95% CI: 31-43%) with a mean serial interval of 4.67 days, an R0 of 1.85 and a household reproduction number of 2.33. SAR were lower in larger households and highest when the primary case was younger than 18 years. We estimated a mean incubation period of around 4.5 days.ConclusionsRates of COVID-19 household transmission were high in the UK for ages above and under 18 years, emphasising the need for preventative measures in this setting. This study highlights the importance of the FFX protocol in providing early insights on transmission dynamics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adolescent , Family Characteristics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , United Kingdom/epidemiology
10.
Commun Med (Lond) ; 2: 36, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1860433

ABSTRACT

Background: Evaluation of susceptibility to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) requires rapid screening tests for neutralising antibodies which provide protection. Methods: Firstly, we developed a receptor-binding domain-specific haemagglutination test (HAT) to Wuhan and VOC (alpha, beta, gamma and delta) and compared to pseudotype, microneutralisation and virus neutralisation assays in 835 convalescent sera. Secondly, we investigated the antibody response using the HAT after two doses of mRNA (BNT162b2) vaccination. Sera were collected at baseline, three weeks after the first and second vaccinations from older (80-99 years, n = 89) and younger adults (23-77 years, n = 310) and compared to convalescent sera from naturally infected individuals (1-89 years, n = 307). Results: Here we show that HAT antibodies highly correlated with neutralising antibodies (R = 0.72-0.88) in convalescent sera. Home-dwelling older individuals have significantly lower antibodies to the Wuhan strain after one and two doses of BNT162b2 vaccine than younger adult vaccinees and naturally infected individuals. Moverover, a second vaccine dose boosts and broadens the antibody repertoire to VOC in naïve, not previously infected older and younger adults. Most (72-76%) older adults respond after two vaccinations to alpha and delta, but only 58-62% to beta and gamma, compared to 96-97% of younger vaccinees and 68-76% of infected individuals. Previously infected older individuals have, similarly to younger adults, high antibody titres after one vaccination. Conclusions: Overall, HAT provides a surrogate marker for neutralising antibodies, which can be used as a simple inexpensive, rapid test. HAT can be rapidly adaptable to emerging VOC for large-scale evaluation of potentially decreasing vaccine effectiveness.

11.
J Infect ; 84(5): 675-683, 2022 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1788130

ABSTRACT

Background COVID-19 vaccines approved in the UK are highly effective in general population cohorts, however, data on effectiveness amongst individuals with clinical conditions that place them at increased risk of severe disease are limited. Methods We used GP electronic health record data, sentinel virology swabbing and antibody testing within a cohort of 712 general practices across England to estimate vaccine antibody response and vaccine effectiveness against medically attended COVID-19 amongst individuals in clinical risk groups using cohort and test-negative case control designs. Findings There was no reduction in S-antibody positivity in most clinical risk groups, however reduced S-antibody positivity and response was significant in the immunosuppressed group. Reduced vaccine effectiveness against clinical disease was also noted in the immunosuppressed group; after a second dose, effectiveness was moderate (Pfizer: 59.6%, 95%CI 18.0-80.1%; AstraZeneca 60.0%, 95%CI -63.6-90.2%). Interpretation In most clinical risk groups, immune response to primary vaccination was maintained and high levels of vaccine effectiveness were seen. Reduced antibody response and vaccine effectiveness were seen after 1 dose of vaccine amongst a broad immunosuppressed group, and second dose vaccine effectiveness was moderate. These findings support maximising coverage in immunosuppressed individuals and the policy of prioritisation of this group for third doses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19/prevention & control , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 , Humans , Immunity , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccine Efficacy
12.
N Engl J Med ; 386(16): 1532-1546, 2022 04 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1730372

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: A rapid increase in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases due to the omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in highly vaccinated populations has aroused concerns about the effectiveness of current vaccines. METHODS: We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease caused by the omicron and delta (B.1.617.2) variants in England. Vaccine effectiveness was calculated after primary immunization with two doses of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 (AstraZeneca), or mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccine and after a booster dose of BNT162b2, ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, or mRNA-1273. RESULTS: Between November 27, 2021, and January 12, 2022, a total of 886,774 eligible persons infected with the omicron variant, 204,154 eligible persons infected with the delta variant, and 1,572,621 eligible test-negative controls were identified. At all time points investigated and for all combinations of primary course and booster vaccines, vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease was higher for the delta variant than for the omicron variant. No effect against the omicron variant was noted from 20 weeks after two ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 doses, whereas vaccine effectiveness after two BNT162b2 doses was 65.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 63.9 to 67.0) at 2 to 4 weeks, dropping to 8.8% (95% CI, 7.0 to 10.5) at 25 or more weeks. Among ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 primary course recipients, vaccine effectiveness increased to 62.4% (95% CI, 61.8 to 63.0) at 2 to 4 weeks after a BNT162b2 booster before decreasing to 39.6% (95% CI, 38.0 to 41.1) at 10 or more weeks. Among BNT162b2 primary course recipients, vaccine effectiveness increased to 67.2% (95% CI, 66.5 to 67.8) at 2 to 4 weeks after a BNT162b2 booster before declining to 45.7% (95% CI, 44.7 to 46.7) at 10 or more weeks. Vaccine effectiveness after a ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 primary course increased to 70.1% (95% CI, 69.5 to 70.7) at 2 to 4 weeks after an mRNA-1273 booster and decreased to 60.9% (95% CI, 59.7 to 62.1) at 5 to 9 weeks. After a BNT162b2 primary course, the mRNA-1273 booster increased vaccine effectiveness to 73.9% (95% CI, 73.1 to 74.6) at 2 to 4 weeks; vaccine effectiveness fell to 64.4% (95% CI, 62.6 to 66.1) at 5 to 9 weeks. CONCLUSIONS: Primary immunization with two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 vaccine provided limited protection against symptomatic disease caused by the omicron variant. A BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 booster after either the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 primary course substantially increased protection, but that protection waned over time. (Funded by the U.K. Health Security Agency.).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , /therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Case-Control Studies , Humans , Immunization, Secondary/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
13.
EClinicalMedicine ; 45: 101319, 2022 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1704577

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of educational settings in SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission remains controversial. We investigated SARS-CoV-2 infection, seroprevalence, and seroconversion rates in secondary schools during the 2020/21 academic year, which included the emergence of the more transmissible alpha and delta variants, in England. METHODS: The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) initiated prospective surveillance in 18 urban English secondary schools. Participants had nasal swabs for SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR and blood sampling for SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein and spike protein antibodies at the start (Round 1: September-October 2020) and end (Round 2: December 2020) of the autumn term, when schools reopened after national lockdown was imposed in January 2021 (Round 3: March-April 2021), and end of the academic year (Round 4: May-July 2021). FINDINGS: We enrolled 2314 participants (1277 students, 1037 staff; one participant had missing data for PCR testing). In-school testing identified 31 PCR-positive participants (20 students, 11 staff). Another 247 confirmed cases (112 students, 135 staff) were identified after linkage with national surveillance data, giving an overall positivity rate of 12.0% (278/2313; staff: 14.1%, 146/1037 vs students: 10.3%, 132/1276; p = 0.006). Trends were similar to national infection data. Nucleoprotein-antibody seroprevalence increased for students and staff between Rounds 1 and 3 but were similar between Rounds 3 and 4, when the delta variant was the dominant circulating strain. Overall, Nucleoprotein-antibody seroconversion was 18.4% (137/744) in staff and 18.8% (146/778) in students, while Spike-antibody seroconversion was higher in staff (72.8%, 525/721) than students (21.3%, 163/764) because of vaccination. INTERPRETATION: SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in secondary schools remained low when community infection rates were low, even as the delta variant was emerging in England. FUNDING: This study was funded by the UK Department of Health and Social Care.

14.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(1): e0228921, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1702730

ABSTRACT

In March 2020, the Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) (formerly Public Health England [PHE]) Porton Down, was tasked by the Department of Health and Social Care with setting up a national surveillance laboratory facility to study SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses and population-level sero-surveillance in response to the growing SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. In the following 12 months, the laboratory tested more than 160,000 samples, facilitating a wide range of research and informing UKHSA, DHSC, and UK government policy. Here we describe the implementation and use of the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay and provide an extended evaluation of its performance. We present a markedly improved overall sensitivity of 91.39% (≥14 days 92.74%, ≥21 days 93.59%) compared to our small-scale early study, and a specificity of 98.56%. In addition, we detail extended characteristics of the Euroimmun assay: intra- and interassay precision, correlation to neutralization, and assay linearity. IMPORTANCE Serology assays have been useful in determining those with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in a wide range of research and serosurveillance projects. However, assays vary in their sensitivity at detecting SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Here, we detail an extended evaluation and characterization of the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay, one that has been widely used within the United Kingdom on over 160,000 samples to date.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/blood , Immunoglobulin G/blood , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Humans , Public Health , Reagent Kits, Diagnostic , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Sensitivity and Specificity , United Kingdom/epidemiology
15.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(3)2022 Jan 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667164

ABSTRACT

COVID-19 caused a global pandemic state. Many governments enforced quarantines which had several negative effects on peoples' health. The present study aimed to investigate the social restriction effects on the physical activity (PA) habits of north Italian people and understand whether PA was a healthy support during lockdown. Moreover, it analysed some possible strategies which could promote an active lifestyle when the pandemic ends. A new questionnaire was proposed (Cronbach's alpha = 0.816), and 309 surveys were collected in people from two Italian regions (53.72% from Emilia-Romagna and 46.28% from Veneto; 62.46% were female and 37.54% were male; and the age range was 46.67 ± 15.45 years). The number of younger people (≤25 years) who practiced PA increased during lockdown (p < 0.01); in addition, they were more active than people who were 26-35 years old (p < 0.001). The training frequency before COVID-19 was higher in females than males (p = 0.01), and the frequency of weekly PA increased during lockdown in groups aged 26-35 years (p < 0.001). Despite the fact that PA was a psychological support during lockdown (p < 0.001), performing forced home-based PA demotivated people (p < 0.001). Finally, people thought to practice outdoor PA (OPA) at the end of lockdown because they wanted to retain contact with nature, which can improve psychological well-being. Future strategies to promote OPA may increase participation in PA, especially in older people.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Quarantine , Adult , Aged , Communicable Disease Control , Exercise , Female , Habits , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Pilot Projects , SARS-CoV-2
16.
J Clin Invest ; 132(2)2022 01 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633624

ABSTRACT

Memory B cells (MBCs) can provide a recall response able to supplement waning antibodies (Abs) with an affinity-matured response better able to neutralize variant viruses. We studied a cohort of elderly care home residents and younger staff (median age of 87 years and 56 years, respectively), who had survived COVID-19 outbreaks with only mild or asymptomatic infection. The cohort was selected because of its high proportion of individuals who had lost neutralizing antibodies (nAbs), thus allowing us to specifically investigate the reserve immunity from SARS-CoV-2-specific MBCs in this setting. Class-switched spike and receptor-binding domain (RBD) tetramer-binding MBCs persisted 5 months after mild or asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, irrespective of age. The majority of spike- and RBD-specific MBCs had a classical phenotype, but we found that activated MBCs, indicating possible ongoing antigenic stimulation or inflammation, were expanded in the elderly group. Spike- and RBD-specific MBCs remained detectable in the majority of individuals who had lost nAbs, although at lower frequencies and with a reduced IgG/IgA isotype ratio. Functional spike-, S1 subunit of the spike protein- (S1-), and RBD-specific recall was also detectable by enzyme-linked immune absorbent spot (ELISPOT) assay in some individuals who had lost nAbs, but was significantly impaired in the elderly. Our findings demonstrate that a reserve of SARS-CoV-2-specific MBCs persists beyond the loss of nAbs but highlight the need for careful monitoring of functional defects in spike- and RBD-specific B cell immunity in the elderly.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , Immunologic Memory , Memory B Cells/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin Class Switching , Male , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology
17.
N Engl J Med ; 386(4): 340-350, 2022 01 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1621313

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), have been used since December 2020 in the United Kingdom. Real-world data have shown the vaccines to be highly effective against Covid-19 and related severe disease and death. Vaccine effectiveness may wane over time since the receipt of the second dose of the ChAdOx1-S (ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) and BNT162b2 vaccines. METHODS: We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic Covid-19 and related hospitalization and death in England. Effectiveness of the ChAdOx1-S and BNT162b2 vaccines was assessed according to participant age and status with regard to coexisting conditions and over time since receipt of the second vaccine dose to investigate waning of effectiveness separately for the B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.617.2 (delta) variants. RESULTS: Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic Covid-19 with the delta variant peaked in the early weeks after receipt of the second dose and then decreased by 20 weeks to 44.3% (95% confidence interval [CI], 43.2 to 45.4) with the ChAdOx1-S vaccine and to 66.3% (95% CI, 65.7 to 66.9) with the BNT162b2 vaccine. Waning of vaccine effectiveness was greater in persons 65 years of age or older than in those 40 to 64 years of age. At 20 weeks or more after vaccination, vaccine effectiveness decreased less against both hospitalization, to 80.0% (95% CI, 76.8 to 82.7) with the ChAdOx1-S vaccine and 91.7% (95% CI, 90.2 to 93.0) with the BNT162b2 vaccine, and death, to 84.8% (95% CI, 76.2 to 90.3) and 91.9% (95% CI, 88.5 to 94.3), respectively. Greater waning in vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization was observed in persons 65 years of age or older in a clinically extremely vulnerable group and in persons 40 to 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions than in healthy adults. CONCLUSIONS: We observed limited waning in vaccine effectiveness against Covid-19-related hospitalization and death at 20 weeks or more after vaccination with two doses of the ChAdOx1-S or BNT162b2 vaccine. Waning was greater in older adults and in those in a clinical risk group.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Adolescent , Adult , Age Factors , Aged , COVID-19/mortality , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Immunization, Secondary , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , Male , Middle Aged , Patient Acuity , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , United Kingdom/epidemiology
18.
Microbiol Spectr ; 10(1): e0078621, 2022 02 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1605388

ABSTRACT

Seroepidemiological studies to monitor antibody kinetics are important for assessing the extent and spread of SARS-CoV-2 in a population. Noninvasive sampling methods are advantageous for reducing the need for venipuncture, which may be a barrier to investigations, particularly in pediatric populations. Oral fluids are obtained by gingiva-crevicular sampling from children and adults and are very well accepted. Enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) based on these samples have acceptable sensitivity and specificity compared to conventional serum-based antibody EIAs and are suitable for population-based surveillance. We describe the development and evaluation of SARS-CoV-2 IgG EIAs using SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleoprotein (NP) and spike (S) proteins in IgG isotype capture format and an indirect receptor-binding-domain (RBD) IgG EIA, intended for use in children as a primary endpoint. All three assays were assessed using a panel of 1,999 paired serum and oral fluids from children and adults participating in school SARS-CoV-2 surveillance studies during and after the first and second pandemic wave in the United Kingdom. The anti-NP IgG capture assay was the best candidate, with an overall sensitivity of 75% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 71 to 79%) and specificity of 99% (95% CI: 78 to 99%) compared with paired serum antibodies. Sensitivity observed in children (80%, 95% CI: 71 to 88%) was higher than that in adults (67%, CI: 60% to 74%). Oral fluid assays (OF) using spike protein and RBD antigens were also 99% specific and achieved reasonable but lower sensitivity in the target population (78%, 95% CI [68% to 86%] and 53%, 95% CI [43% to 64%], respectively). IMPORTANCE We report on the first large-scale assessment of the suitability of oral fluids for detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibody obtained from healthy children attending school. The sample type (gingiva-crevicular fluid, which is a transudate of blood but is not saliva) can be self collected. Although detection of antibodies in oral fluids is less sensitive than that in blood, our study suggests an optimal format for operational use. The laboratory methods we have developed can reliably measure antibodies in children, who are able to take their own samples. Our findings are of immediate practical relevance for use in large-scale seroprevalence studies designed to measure exposure to infection, as they typically require venipuncture. Overall, our data indicate that OF assays based on the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies are a tool suitable for population-based seroepidemiology studies in children and highly acceptable in children and adults, as venipuncture is no longer necessary.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19/diagnosis , Gingival Crevicular Fluid/immunology , Immunoglobulin G/analysis , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Child , Child, Preschool , Humans , Immunoenzyme Techniques , Infant , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies
19.
Lancet Infect Dis ; 22(2): 183-195, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1598157

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The SARS-CoV-2 delta (B.1.617.2) variant is highly transmissible and spreading globally, including in populations with high vaccination rates. We aimed to investigate transmission and viral load kinetics in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals with mild delta variant infection in the community. METHODS: Between Sept 13, 2020, and Sept 15, 2021, 602 community contacts (identified via the UK contract-tracing system) of 471 UK COVID-19 index cases were recruited to the Assessment of Transmission and Contagiousness of COVID-19 in Contacts cohort study and contributed 8145 upper respiratory tract samples from daily sampling for up to 20 days. Household and non-household exposed contacts aged 5 years or older were eligible for recruitment if they could provide informed consent and agree to self-swabbing of the upper respiratory tract. We analysed transmission risk by vaccination status for 231 contacts exposed to 162 epidemiologically linked delta variant-infected index cases. We compared viral load trajectories from fully vaccinated individuals with delta infection (n=29) with unvaccinated individuals with delta (n=16), alpha (B.1.1.7; n=39), and pre-alpha (n=49) infections. Primary outcomes for the epidemiological analysis were to assess the secondary attack rate (SAR) in household contacts stratified by contact vaccination status and the index cases' vaccination status. Primary outcomes for the viral load kinetics analysis were to detect differences in the peak viral load, viral growth rate, and viral decline rate between participants according to SARS-CoV-2 variant and vaccination status. FINDINGS: The SAR in household contacts exposed to the delta variant was 25% (95% CI 18-33) for fully vaccinated individuals compared with 38% (24-53) in unvaccinated individuals. The median time between second vaccine dose and study recruitment in fully vaccinated contacts was longer for infected individuals (median 101 days [IQR 74-120]) than for uninfected individuals (64 days [32-97], p=0·001). SAR among household contacts exposed to fully vaccinated index cases was similar to household contacts exposed to unvaccinated index cases (25% [95% CI 15-35] for vaccinated vs 23% [15-31] for unvaccinated). 12 (39%) of 31 infections in fully vaccinated household contacts arose from fully vaccinated epidemiologically linked index cases, further confirmed by genomic and virological analysis in three index case-contact pairs. Although peak viral load did not differ by vaccination status or variant type, it increased modestly with age (difference of 0·39 [95% credible interval -0·03 to 0·79] in peak log10 viral load per mL between those aged 10 years and 50 years). Fully vaccinated individuals with delta variant infection had a faster (posterior probability >0·84) mean rate of viral load decline (0·95 log10 copies per mL per day) than did unvaccinated individuals with pre-alpha (0·69), alpha (0·82), or delta (0·79) variant infections. Within individuals, faster viral load growth was correlated with higher peak viral load (correlation 0·42 [95% credible interval 0·13 to 0·65]) and slower decline (-0·44 [-0·67 to -0·18]). INTERPRETATION: Vaccination reduces the risk of delta variant infection and accelerates viral clearance. Nonetheless, fully vaccinated individuals with breakthrough infections have peak viral load similar to unvaccinated cases and can efficiently transmit infection in household settings, including to fully vaccinated contacts. Host-virus interactions early in infection may shape the entire viral trajectory. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , COVID-19/virology , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Viral Load/physiology , Adult , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Cohort Studies , England/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Kinetics , Longitudinal Studies , Male , Middle Aged , Prospective Studies , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vaccination , Vaccination Coverage
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