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Serial interval of COVID-19 and the effect of Variant B.1.1.7: analyses from prospective community cohort study (Virus Watch).
Geismar, Cyril; Fragaszy, Ellen; Nguyen, Vincent; Fong, Wing Lam Erica; Shrotri, Madhumita; Beale, Sarah; Rodger, Alison; Lampos, Vasileios; Byrne, Thomas; Kovar, Jana; Navaratnam, Annalan M D; Patel, Parth; Aldridge, Robert W; Hayward, Andrew.
  • Geismar C; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London, UK.
  • Fragaszy E; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, UK.
  • Nguyen V; Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
  • Fong WLE; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London, UK.
  • Shrotri M; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, UK.
  • Beale S; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, UK.
  • Rodger A; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, UK.
  • Lampos V; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London, UK.
  • Byrne T; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, UK.
  • Kovar J; Institute for Global Health, University College London, London, UK.
  • Navaratnam AMD; Department of Computer Science, University College London, London, UK.
  • Patel P; Centre for Public Health Data Science, Institute of Health Informatics, University College London, London, UK.
  • Aldridge RW; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London, UK.
  • Hayward A; Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, University College London, London, UK.
Wellcome Open Res ; 6: 224, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1780277
ABSTRACT

Introduction:

Increased transmissibility of B.1.1.7 variant of concern (VOC) in the UK may explain its rapid emergence and global spread. We analysed data from putative household infector - infectee pairs in the Virus Watch Community cohort study to assess the serial interval of COVID-19 and whether this was affected by emergence of the B.1.1.7 variant.

Methods:

The Virus Watch study is an online, prospective, community cohort study following up entire households in England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Putative household infector-infectee pairs were identified where more than one person in the household had a positive swab matched to an illness episode. Data on whether or not individual infections were caused by the B.1.1.7 variant were not available. We therefore developed a classification system based on the percentage of cases estimated to be due to B.1.1.7 in national surveillance data for different English regions and study weeks.

Results:

Out of 24,887 illnesses reported, 915 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and 186 likely 'infector-infectee' pairs in 186 households amongst 372 individuals were identified. The mean COVID-19 serial interval was 3.18 (95%CI 2.55 - 3.81) days. There was no significant difference (p=0.267) between the mean serial interval for VOC hotspots (mean = 3.64 days, (95%CI 2.55 - 4.73)) days and non-VOC hotspots, (mean = 2.72 days, (95%CI 1.48 - 3.96)).

Conclusions:

Our estimates of the average serial interval of COVID-19 are broadly similar to estimates from previous studies and we find no evidence that B.1.1.7 is associated with a change in serial intervals.  Alternative explanations such as increased viral load, longer period of viral shedding or improved receptor binding may instead explain the increased transmissibility and rapid spread and should undergo further investigation.
Keywords

Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Type of study: Etiology study / Observational study / Risk factors Topics: Variants Language: English Journal: Wellcome Open Res Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: Wellcomeopenres.16974.1

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Full text: Available Collection: International databases Database: MEDLINE Type of study: Etiology study / Observational study / Risk factors Topics: Variants Language: English Journal: Wellcome Open Res Year: 2021 Document Type: Article Affiliation country: Wellcomeopenres.16974.1