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1.
Wellcome Open Res ; 5: 145, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2292058

ABSTRACT

Background: In the context of the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, understanding household transmission of seasonal coronaviruses may inform pandemic control. We aimed to investigate what proportion of seasonal coronavirus transmission occurred within households, measure the risk of transmission in households, and describe the impact of household-related factors of risk of transmission. Methods: Using data from three winter seasons of the UK Flu Watch cohort study, we measured the proportion of symptomatic infections acquired outside and within the home, the household transmission risk and the household secondary attack risk for PCR-confirmed seasonal coronaviruses. We present transmission risk stratified by demographic features of households. Results: We estimated that the proportion of cases acquired outside the home, weighted by age and region, was 90.7% (95% CI 84.6- 94.5, n=173/195) and within the home was 9.3% (5.5-15.4, 22/195). Following a symptomatic coronavirus index case, 14.9% (9.8 - 22.1, 20/134) of households experienced symptomatic transmission to at least one other household member. Onward transmission risk ranged from 11.90% (4.84-26.36, 5/42) to 19.44% (9.21-36.49, 7/36) by strain. The overall household secondary attack risk for symptomatic cases was 8.00% (5.31-11.88, 22/275), ranging across strains from 5.10 (2.11-11.84, 5/98) to 10.14 (4.82- 20.11, 7/69). Median clinical onset serial interval was 7 days (IQR= 6-9.5). Households including older adults, 3+ children, current smokers, contacts with chronic health conditions, and those in relatively deprived areas had the highest transmission risks. Child index cases and male index cases demonstrated the highest transmission risks. Conclusion: Most seasonal coronaviruses appear to be acquired outside the household, with relatively modest risk of onward transmission within households. Transmission risk following an index case appears to vary by demographic household features, with potential overlap between those demonstrating the highest point estimates for seasonal coronavirus transmission risk and COVID-19 susceptibility and poor illness outcomes.

2.
Lancet Microbe ; 4(6): e397-e408, 2023 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2294174

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Despite circumstantial evidence for aerosol and fomite spread of SARS-CoV-2, empirical data linking either pathway with transmission are scarce. Here we aimed to assess whether the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on frequently-touched surfaces and residents' hands was a predictor of SARS-CoV-2 household transmission. METHODS: In this longitudinal cohort study, during the pre-alpha (September to December, 2020) and alpha (B.1.1.7; December, 2020, to April, 2021) SARS-CoV-2 variant waves, we prospectively recruited contacts from households exposed to newly diagnosed COVID-19 primary cases, in London, UK. To maximally capture transmission events, contacts were recruited regardless of symptom status and serially tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection by RT-PCR on upper respiratory tract (URT) samples and, in a subcohort, by serial serology. Contacts' hands, primary cases' hands, and frequently-touched surface-samples from communal areas were tested for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. SARS-CoV-2 URT isolates from 25 primary case-contact pairs underwent whole-genome sequencing (WGS). FINDINGS: From Aug 1, 2020, until March 31, 2021, 620 contacts of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2-infected primary cases were recruited. 414 household contacts (from 279 households) with available serial URT PCR results were analysed in the full household contacts' cohort, and of those, 134 contacts with available longitudinal serology data and not vaccinated pre-enrolment were analysed in the serology subcohort. Household infection rate was 28·4% (95% CI 20·8-37·5) for pre-alpha-exposed contacts and 51·8% (42·5-61·0) for alpha-exposed contacts (p=0·0047). Primary cases' URT RNA viral load did not correlate with transmission, but was associated with detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on their hands (p=0·031). SARS-CoV-2 detected on primary cases' hands, in turn, predicted contacts' risk of infection (adjusted relative risk [aRR]=1·70 [95% CI 1·24-2·31]), as did SARS-CoV-2 RNA presence on household surfaces (aRR=1·66 [1·09-2·55]) and contacts' hands (aRR=2·06 [1·57-2·69]). In six contacts with an initial negative URT PCR result, hand-swab (n=3) and household surface-swab (n=3) PCR positivity preceded URT PCR positivity. WGS corroborated household transmission. INTERPRETATION: Presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on primary cases' and contacts' hands and on frequently-touched household surfaces associates with transmission, identifying these as potential vectors for spread in households. FUNDING: National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit in Respiratory Infections, Medical Research Council.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Prospective Studies , RNA, Viral/genetics , Longitudinal Studies , Risk Factors , Cohort Studies
3.
N Engl J Med ; 385(7): 585-594, 2021 08 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2251957

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The B.1.617.2 (delta) variant of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), has contributed to a surge in cases in India and has now been detected across the globe, including a notable increase in cases in the United Kingdom. The effectiveness of the BNT162b2 and ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccines against this variant has been unclear. METHODS: We used a test-negative case-control design to estimate the effectiveness of vaccination against symptomatic disease caused by the delta variant or the predominant strain (B.1.1.7, or alpha variant) over the period that the delta variant began circulating. Variants were identified with the use of sequencing and on the basis of the spike (S) gene status. Data on all symptomatic sequenced cases of Covid-19 in England were used to estimate the proportion of cases with either variant according to the patients' vaccination status. RESULTS: Effectiveness after one dose of vaccine (BNT162b2 or ChAdOx1 nCoV-19) was notably lower among persons with the delta variant (30.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 25.2 to 35.7) than among those with the alpha variant (48.7%; 95% CI, 45.5 to 51.7); the results were similar for both vaccines. With the BNT162b2 vaccine, the effectiveness of two doses was 93.7% (95% CI, 91.6 to 95.3) among persons with the alpha variant and 88.0% (95% CI, 85.3 to 90.1) among those with the delta variant. With the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine, the effectiveness of two doses was 74.5% (95% CI, 68.4 to 79.4) among persons with the alpha variant and 67.0% (95% CI, 61.3 to 71.8) among those with the delta variant. CONCLUSIONS: Only modest differences in vaccine effectiveness were noted with the delta variant as compared with the alpha variant after the receipt of two vaccine doses. Absolute differences in vaccine effectiveness were more marked after the receipt of the first dose. This finding would support efforts to maximize vaccine uptake with two doses among vulnerable populations. (Funded by Public Health England.).


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Immunogenicity, Vaccine , SARS-CoV-2 , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Case-Control Studies , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Treatment Outcome , United Kingdom/epidemiology , Vaccine Potency , Young Adult
4.
Pediatr Infect Dis J ; 42(6): 496-502, 2023 06 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2248375

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Antibodies are a measure of immunity after primary infection, which may help protect against further SARS-CoV-2 infections. They may also provide some cross-protection against SARS-CoV-2 variants. There are limited data on antibody persistence and, especially, cross-reactivity against different SARS-CoV-2 variants after primary infection in children. METHODS: We initiated enhanced surveillance in 18 secondary schools to monitor SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in September 2020. Students and Staff provided longitudinal blood samples to test for variant-specific SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using in-house receptor binding domain assays. We recruited 1189 students and 1020 staff; 160 (97 students, 63 staff) were SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid-antibody positive at baseline and had sufficient serum for further analysis. RESULTS: Most participants developed sustained antibodies against their infecting [wild-type (WT)] strain as well as cross-reactive antibodies against the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants but at lower titers than WT. Staff had significantly lower antibodies titers against WT as cross-reactive antibodies against the Alpha, Beta and Delta variants than students (all P < 0.01). In participants with sufficient sera, only 2.3% (1/43) students and 17.2% (5/29) staff had cross-reactive antibodies against the Omicron variant; they also had higher antibody titers against WT (3042.5; 95% confidence interval: 769.0-12,036.2) than those who did not have cross-reactive antibodies against the Omicron variant (680.7; 534.2-867.4). CONCLUSIONS: We found very high rates of antibody persistence after primary infection with WT in students and staff. Infection with WT induced cross-reactive antibodies against Alpha, Beta and Delta variants, but not Omicron. Primary infection with WT may not be cross-protective against the Omicron variant.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Child , Adolescent , Humans , Prospective Studies , Antibodies, Viral , Antibodies, Neutralizing
6.
Lancet ; 400(10353): 693-706, 2022 08 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2284974

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
7.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 29(1)2022 Dec 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2230070

ABSTRACT

Since June 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Immunity and Reinfection Evaluation (SIREN) study has conducted routine PCR testing in UK healthcare workers and sequenced PCR-positive samples. SIREN detected increases in infections and reinfections during Omicron subvariant waves contemporaneous with national surveillance. SIREN's sentinel surveillance methods can be used for variant surveillance.

8.
JMIR Public Health Surveill ; 8(12): e39141, 2022 12 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2198102

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) is one of Europe's oldest sentinel systems, working with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) and its predecessor bodies for 55 years. Its surveillance report now runs twice weekly, supplemented by online observatories. In addition to conducting sentinel surveillance from a nationally representative group of practices, the RSC is now also providing data for syndromic surveillance. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to describe the cohort profile at the start of the 2021-2022 surveillance season and recent changes to our surveillance practice. METHODS: The RSC's pseudonymized primary care data, linked to hospital and other data, are held in the Oxford-RCGP Clinical Informatics Digital Hub, a Trusted Research Environment. We describe the RSC's cohort profile as of September 2021, divided into a Primary Care Sentinel Cohort (PCSC)-collecting virological and serological specimens-and a larger group of syndromic surveillance general practices (SSGPs). We report changes to our sampling strategy that brings the RSC into alignment with European Centre for Disease Control guidance and then compare our cohort's sociodemographic characteristics with Office for National Statistics data. We further describe influenza and COVID-19 vaccine coverage for the 2020-2021 season (week 40 of 2020 to week 39 of 2021), with the latter differentiated by vaccine brand. Finally, we report COVID-19-related outcomes in terms of hospitalization, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, and death. RESULTS: As a response to COVID-19, the RSC grew from just over 500 PCSC practices in 2019 to 1879 practices in 2021 (PCSC, n=938; SSGP, n=1203). This represents 28.6% of English general practices and 30.59% (17,299,780/56,550,136) of the population. In the reporting period, the PCSC collected >8000 virology and >23,000 serology samples. The RSC population was broadly representative of the national population in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, National Health Service Region, socioeconomic status, obesity, and smoking habit. The RSC captured vaccine coverage data for influenza (n=5.4 million) and COVID-19, reporting dose one (n=11.9 million), two (n=11 million), and three (n=0.4 million) for the latter as well as brand-specific uptake data (AstraZeneca vaccine, n=11.6 million; Pfizer, n=10.8 million; and Moderna, n=0.7 million). The median (IQR) number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and ICU admissions was 1181 (559-1559) and 115 (50-174) per week, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The RSC is broadly representative of the national population; its PCSC is geographically representative and its SSGPs are newly supporting UKHSA syndromic surveillance efforts. The network captures vaccine coverage and has expanded from reporting primary care attendances to providing data on onward hospital outcomes and deaths. The challenge remains to increase virological and serological sampling to monitor the effectiveness and waning of all vaccines available in a timely manner.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , General Practitioners , Influenza Vaccines , Influenza, Human , Humans , Influenza, Human/epidemiology , COVID-19 Vaccines , State Medicine , Vaccination , United Kingdom/epidemiology
9.
Lancet ; 400(10367): 1924-1925, 2022 12 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2132749

Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Pandemics
10.
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
11.
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
12.
J Infect ; 85(5): 545-556, 2022 11.
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
13.
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
14.
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
15.
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
16.
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.

17.
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
18.
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 , Vaccine Efficacy , 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273/therapeutic use , BNT162 Vaccine/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , Case-Control Studies , ChAdOx1 nCoV-19/therapeutic use , Humans , Immunization, Secondary/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2/genetics
19.
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.

20.
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
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