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1.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.07.27.22278129

ABSTRACT

Identifying drivers of viral diversity is key to understanding the evolutionary as well as epidemiological dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. Using rich viral genomic data sets, we show that periods of steadily rising diversity have been punctuated by sudden, enormous increases followed by similarly abrupt collapses of diversity. We introduce a mechanistic model of saltational evolution with epistasis and demonstrate that these features parsimoniously account for the observed temporal dynamics of inter-genomic diversity. Our results provide support for recent proposals that saltational evolution may be a signature feature of SARS-CoV-2, allowing the pathogen to more readily evolve highly transmissible variants. These findings lend theoretical support to a heightened awareness of biological contexts where increased diversification may occur. They also underline the power of pathogen genomics and other surveillance streams in clarifying the phylodynamics of emerging and endemic infections. In public health terms, our results further underline the importance of equitable distribution of up-to-date vaccines.


Subject(s)
Goiter, Endemic , COVID-19
2.
medrxiv; 2022.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2022.01.26.22269905

ABSTRACT

Importance Successive waves of infection by SARS-CoV-2 have left little doubt that COVID-19 will transition to an endemic disease, yet the future seasonality of COVID-19 remains one of its most consequential unknowns. Foreknowledge of spatiotemporal surges would have immediate and long-term consequences for medical and public health decision-making. Objective To estimate the impending endemic seasonality of COVID-19 in temperate population centers via a phylogenetic ancestral and descendent states approach that leverages long-term data on the incidence of circulating coronaviruses. Design We performed a comparative evolutionary analysis on literature-based monthly verified cases of HCoV-NL63, HCoV-229E, HCoV-HKU1, and HCoV-OC43 infection within populations across the Northern Hemisphere. Ancestral and descendent states analyses on human-infecting coronaviruses provided projections of the impending seasonality of endemic COVID-19. Setting Quantitative projections of the endemic seasonality of COVID-19 were based on human endemic coronavirus infection incidence data from New York City (USA); Denver (USA); Tampere (Finland); Trøndelag (Norway); Gothenburg (Sweden); Stockholm (Sweden); Amsterdam (Netherlands); Beijing (China); South Korea (Nationwide); Yamagata (Japan); Hong Kong; Nakon Si Thammarat (Thailand); Guangzhou (China); and Sarlahi (Nepal). Main Outcome(s) and Measure(s) The primary projection was the monthly relative frequency of SARS-CoV-2 infections in each geographic locale. Four secondary outcomes consisted of empirical monthly relative frequencies of the endemic human-infecting coronaviruses HCoV-NL63, -229E, -HKU1, and -OC43. Results We project asynchronous surges of SARS-CoV-2 across locales in the Northern Hemisphere. In New York City, SARS-CoV-2 incidence is projected in late fall and winter months (Nov.–Jan.), In Tampere, Finland; Yamagata, Japan; and Sarlahi, Nepal incidence peaks in February. Gothenburg and Stockholm in Sweden reach peak incidence between November and February. Guangzhou, China; and South Korea. In Denver, incidence peaks in early Spring (Mar.). In Amsterdam, incidence rises in late fall (Dec.), and declines in late spring (Apr.). In Hong Kong, the projected apex of infection is in late fall (Nov.–Dec.), yet variation in incidence is muted across other seasons. Seasonal projections for Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand and for Beijing, China are muted compared to other locations. Conclusions and Relevance This knowledge of likely spatiotemporal surges of COVID-19 is fundamental to medical preparedness and expansions of public health interventions that anticipate the impending endemicity of this disease and mitigate COVID-19 transmission. These results provide crucial guidance for adaptive public health responses to this disease, and are vital to the long-term mitigation of COVID-19 transmission. Key Points Question Under endemic conditions, what are the projected spatiotemporal seasonal surges of COVID-19? Findings We applied a phylogenetic ancestral and descendent states approach, leveraging long-term data on the incidence of circulating coronaviruses. We found that seasonal surges are expected in or near the winter months; dependent on the specific population center, infections are forecasted to surge in the late fall, winter, or early spring. Meaning Globally, endemic COVID-19 surges should be expected to occur asynchronously, often coincident with local expected surges of other human-infecting respiratory viruses.


Subject(s)
Goiter, Endemic , COVID-19
3.
ssrn; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3916756

ABSTRACT

Background: Serology is a great tool to assess the level of immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in settings with limited access to molecular diagnostics. However, African populations displays a particular immunological profile with massive circulation of infectious agents from different aetiologies that can affect assays performance.Methods: We evaluated the OMEGA Diagnostics COVID-19 ELISA-IgG and the ID Screen® SARS-CoV-2-N IgG Indirect in Senegal using a panel of 636 blood samples covering several African-endemic diseases and healthy donors to determine test sensitivity and specificity. The sensitivity panel of sera includes 461 serum samples collected from 91 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 disease. COVID-19 cases were confirmed by qRT-PCR and samples were collected on an interval of three days until viral clearance. In addition, 272 sera obtained from COVID-19 negative individuals were selected from a well-documented biobank of sera collected before the COVID-19 outbreak.Finding: High-cross reactivity have been found in individuals with a history of exposure to Chikungunya, HIV, malaria (Plasmodium falciparum), rheumatoid factor as well as healthy donors with respective specificities of 55%, 41.8%, 70%, 70% and 75%. ELISA experiments with commercial assays targeting either SARS-CoV-2 Nucleocapsid protein and Spike 2 protein or nucleocapsid protein only suggest that cross-reactivity might be directed against Spike 2 protein and not Nucleocapsid protein. Further samples characterisation reveals that anti-malaria IgG is the leading cause of such poor specificities, but exposure to other diseases contributed as well.Interpretation: We anticipate that COVID-19 seroprevalence can be biased if assays are not contextualized. Since malaria is endemic in African settings, we propose that a particular attention must be given in serological surveillance of COVID-19 or anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies quantification as vaccines are being rolled out.FundingUK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office/Wellcome Trust Joint Initiative for Research in Epidemic Preparedness and Response (JIREP grant number 220764/Z/20/Z).Funding Information: UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office/Wellcome Trust Joint Initiative for Research in Epidemic Preparedness and Response (JIREP grant number 220764/Z/20/Z).Declaration of Interests: JRAF was an employee of Mologic Ltd, which was the development partner of one of the ELISAs adopted in this study. The remaining authors declare no competing interest.Ethics Approval Statement: Pre-COVID-19 samples for malaria (PCR), dengue, yellow fever, Zika, Chikungunya, Influenza A/B, HIV, rheumatoid arthritis and samples tested negative for the same diseases and also Crimean Congo haemorrhagic fever, West Nile fever encephalitis and Rift Valley fever were part of national public health surveillance program of the Senegalese Ministry of Social Action and Health performed in collaboration with Institut Pasteur de Dakar. Therefore, consultation with ethics committee was not required. Pre-COVID-19 samples for malaria endemic areas were from a longitudinal cohort survey performed in Dielmo village and approved by the Senegalese National Ethics Committee for Research in Health (reference number 00000007/MSAS/CNERS/Sec 26 January 2021). Samples from COVID-19 RT-PCR positive patients were obtained from a multicentre cohort survey approved by the Senegalese National Ethics Committee for Research in Health (reference number 00000068/MSAS/CNERS/Sec, 10 April 2020).


Subject(s)
Yellow Fever , Malaria , Goiter, Endemic , HIV Infections , Rift Valley Fever , Arthritis, Rheumatoid , Encephalitis, Arbovirus , West Nile Fever , COVID-19 , Hemorrhagic Fever, Crimean
4.
medrxiv; 2021.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2021.07.12.21260394

ABSTRACT

Some countries have been crippled by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic while others have emerged with few infections and fatalities; the factors underscoring this macro-epidemiological variation is one of the mysteries of this global catastrophe. Variation in immune responses influence SARS-CoV-2 transmission and mortality, and factors shaping this variation at the country level, in addition to other socio-ecological drivers, may be important. Here, we construct spatially explicit Bayesian models that combine data on prevalence of endemic diseases and other socio-ecological characteristics to quantify patterns of confirmed deaths and cases across the globe before mass vaccination. We find that the prevalence of parasitic worms, human immunodeficiency virus and malaria play a surprisingly important role in predicting country-level SARS-CoV-2 patterns. When combined with factors such as population density, our models predict 63% (56-67) and 76% (69-81) of confirmed cases and deaths among countries, respectively. While our findings at this macro-scale are necessarily associative, they highlight a need for studies to consider factors, such as infection by other pathogens, on global SARS-CoV-2 dynamics. These relationships are vital for developing countries that already have the highest burden of endemic disease and are becoming the most affected by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Goiter, Endemic , Malaria , Virus Diseases , Death
5.
ssrn; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-SSRN | ID: ppzbmed-10.2139.ssrn.3818122

ABSTRACT

A time like this is unprecedented in history, when almost all nations of the world are battling with an existence threatening disease on rampage. Predating the outbreak of the novel strain of COVID-19 in Nigeria was the Ebola virus outbreak that strongly rocked the nation and almost crippled her economy and that of many other African nations. Even more disturbing is the realization that the outbreak and ravage of these dangerous viruses does not in any way translate to the cowering and reduction of other seemingly less dangerous ones. Still very much amidst us are typhoid fever, malaria, Lassa fever, chicken pox and others that have claimed the lives of millions in this part of the world. Despite some uncertainties plaguing available information in this regard, medical and health experts seem to agree on the fact that basic hygiene and a clean environment could serve as an effective measure against many of these viruses and diseases; a very simple and basic measure which Nigeria should embrace tightly, considering the nation’s inadequacy in handling the cost demanding effect of a boomerang. This paper starts by looking into the importance of basic hygiene and a clean environment in curbing diseases and viruses. The paper then proceeds to consider the level of public hygiene and sanitation maintained in Nigeria; before delving into the current state and impact of laws in this area, examining both International laws and local legislations. The ultimate aim here is to push forth a more effective legal regime, enforcement procedure and positive attitude towards environmental sanitation and public hygiene, having in mind the larger picture of a safer Nigeria with a healthier economy.


Subject(s)
Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola , Malaria , Goiter, Endemic , Typhoid Fever , Lassa Fever , COVID-19
6.
researchsquare; 2021.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-RESEARCHSQUARE | ID: ppzbmed-10.21203.rs.3.rs-143573.v1

ABSTRACT

Background: The word ‘pandemic’ conjures dystopian images of bodies stacked in the streets and societies on the brink of collapse. Despite this frightening picture, denialism and noncompliance with public health measures are common in the historical record, for example during the 1918 Influenza pandemic or the 2015 Ebola epidemic. The unique characteristics of SARS-CoV-2—its high basic reproduction number (R0), time-limited natural immunity and considerable potential for asymptomatic spread—exacerbate the public health repercussions of noncompliance with interventions (such as vaccines and masks) to limit disease transmission. Our work explores the rationality and impact of noncompliance with COVID-19 disease control measures. Methods: In this work, we used game theory to explore when noncompliance confers a perceived benefit to individuals. We then used epidemiological modeling to predict the impact of noncompliance on control of COVID-19, demonstrating that the presence of a noncompliant subpopulation prevents suppression of disease spread. Results: Our modeling demonstrating that noncompliance is a Nash equilibrium under a broad set of conditions, and that the existence of a noncompliant population can result in extensive endemic disease in the long-term after a return to pre-pandemic social and economic activity. Endemic disease poses a threat for both compliant and noncompliant individuals; all community members are protected if complete suppression is achieved, which is only possible with a high degree of compliance. For interventions that are highly effective at preventing disease spread, however, the consequences of noncompliance are borne disproportionately by noncompliant individuals. Conclusions: In sum, our work demonstrates the limits of free-market approaches to compliance with disease control measures during a pandemic. The act of noncompliance with disease intervention measures creates a negative externality, rendering COVID-19 disease control ineffective in the short term and making complete suppression impossible in the long term. Our work underscores the importance of developing effective strategies for prophylaxis through public health measures aimed at complete suppression and the need to focus on compliance at a population level.


Subject(s)
Goiter, Endemic , COVID-19
7.
preprints.org; 2020.
Preprint in English | PREPRINT-PREPRINTS.ORG | ID: ppzbmed-202005.0027.v2

ABSTRACT

The goal of this paper is to contribute the perspective of a systems engineer to the effort to fight pandemics. The availability of low latency case data and effectiveness of social distancing suggest there is sufficient control for successful smoothing and targeting almost any desired level of low or high cases and immunity. This control proceeds from spontaneous public reaction to caseloads and news as well as government mediated recommendations and orders. We simulate multi-step and intermittent-with-feedback partial unlock of social distancing for rapidly-spreading moderate-mortality epidemics and pandemics similar to COVID-19. Optimized scenarios reduce total cases and therefore deaths typically 8% and up to 30% by controlling overshoot as groups cross the herd immunity threshold, or lower thresholds to manage medical resources and provide economic relief. We analyze overshoot and provide guidance on how to damp it. However, we find overshoot damping, whether from expert planning or natural public self-isolation, increases the likelihood of transition to an endemic disease. An SIR model is used to evaluate scenarios that are intended to function over a wide variety of parameters. The end result is not a case trajectory prediction, but a prediction of which strategies produce near-optimal results over a wide range of epidemiological and social parameters. Overshoot damping perversely increases the chance a pathogen will transition to an endemic disease, so we briefly describe the undershoot conditions that promote transition to endemic status.


Subject(s)
Goiter, Endemic , Death , COVID-19
8.
medrxiv; 2020.
Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppzbmed-10.1101.2020.04.03.20052787

ABSTRACT

Preliminary evidence suggests that climate may modulate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2. Yet it remains unclear whether seasonal and geographic variations in climate can substantially alter the pandemic trajectory, given high susceptibility is a core driver. Here, we use a climate-dependent epidemic model to simulate the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic probing different scenarios of climate-dependence based on known coronavirus biology. We find that while variations in humidity may be important for endemic infections, during the pandemic stage of an emerging pathogen such as SARS-CoV-2 climate may drive only modest changes to pandemic size and duration. Our results suggest that, in the absence of effective control measures, significant cases in the coming months are likely to occur in more humid (warmer) climates, irrespective of the climate-dependence of transmission and that summer temperatures will not substantially limit pandemic growth.


Subject(s)
Goiter, Endemic , COVID-19
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