Imperial College London

DrChristinaAtchison

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Principal Clinical Academic Fellow
 
 
 
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christina.atchison11

 
 
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Reynolds BuildingCharing Cross Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

111 results found

Eales O, Wang H, Haw D, Ainslie KEC, Walters C, Atchison C, Cooke G, Barclay W, Ward H, Darzi A, Ashby D, Donnelly C, Elliott P, Riley Set al., 2022, Trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence during England’s roadmap out of lockdown, January to July 2021, PLoS Computational Biology, ISSN: 1553-734X

Background:Following rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers, England entered a national lockdown on 6 January 2021, with staged relaxations of restrictions from 8 March 2021 onwards.Aim:We characterise how the lockdown and subsequent easing of restrictions affected trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence.Methods:On average, risk of infection is proportional to infection prevalence. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study is a repeat cross-sectional study of over 98,000 people every round (rounds approximately monthly) that estimates infection prevalence in England. We used Bayesian P-splines to estimate prevalence and the time-varying reproduction number (Rt) nationally, regionally and by age group from round 8 (beginning 6 January 2021) to round 13 (ending 12 July 2021) of REACT-1. As a comparator, a separate segmented-exponential model was used to quantify the impact on Rt of each relaxation of restrictions.Results:Following an initial plateau of 1.54% until mid-January, infection prevalence decreased until 13 May when it reached a minimum of 0.09%, before increasing until the end of the study to 0.76%. Following the first easing of restrictions, which included schools reopening, the reproduction number Rt increased by 82% (55%, 108%), but then decreased by 61% (82%, 53%) at the second easing of restrictions, which was timed to match the Easter school holidays. Following further relaxations of restrictions, the observed Rt increased steadily, though the increase due to these restrictions being relaxed was offset by the effects of vaccination and also affected by the rapid rise of Delta. There was a high degree of synchrony in the temporal patterns of prevalence between regions and age groups.Conclusion:High-resolution prevalence data fitted to P-splines allowed us to show that the lockdown was effective at reducing risk of infection with school holidays/closures playing a significant part.

Journal article

Chadeau-Hyam M, Tang D, Eales O, Bodinier B, Wang H, Jonnerby J, Whitaker M, Elliott J, Haw D, Walters CE, Atchison C, Diggle PJ, Page AJ, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Donnelly CA, Elliott Pet al., 2022, Omicron SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England during February 2022: A series of cross-sectional community surveys, The Lancet Regional Health Europe, Vol: 21, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2666-7762

BackgroundThe Omicron wave of COVID-19 in England peaked in January 2022 resulting from the rapid transmission of the Omicron BA.1 variant. We investigate the spread and dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in the population of England during February 2022, by region, age and main SARS-CoV-2 sub-lineage.MethodsIn the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study we obtained data from a random sample of 94,950 participants with valid throat and nose swab results by RT-PCR during round 18 (8 February to 1 March 2022).FindingsWe estimated a weighted mean SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of 2.88% (95% credible interval [CrI] 2.76–3.00), with a within-round effective reproduction number (R) overall of 0.94 (0·91–0.96). While within-round weighted prevalence fell among children (aged 5 to 17 years) and adults aged 18 to 54 years, we observed a level or increasing weighted prevalence among those aged 55 years and older with an R of 1.04 (1.00–1.09). Among 1,616 positive samples with sublineages determined, one (0.1% [0.0–0.3]) corresponded to XE BA.1/BA.2 recombinant and the remainder were Omicron: N=1047, 64.8% (62.4–67.2) were BA.1; N=568, 35.2% (32.8–37.6) were BA.2. We estimated an R additive advantage for BA.2 (vs BA.1) of 0.38 (0.34–0.41). The highest proportion of BA.2 among positives was found in London.InterpretationIn February 2022, infection prevalence in England remained high with level or increasing rates of infection in older people and an uptick in hospitalisations. Ongoing surveillance of both survey and hospitalisations data is required.FundingDepartment of Health and Social Care, England.

Journal article

Eales O, Ainslie KEC, Walters CE, Wang H, Atchison C, Ashby D, Donnelly CA, Cooke G, Barclay W, Ward H, Darzi A, Elliott P, Riley Set al., 2022, Appropriately smoothing prevalence data to inform estimates of growth rate and reproduction number, Epidemics: the journal of infectious disease dynamics, Vol: 40, ISSN: 1755-4365

The time-varying reproduction number () can change rapidly over the course of a pandemic due to changing restrictions, behaviours, and levels of population immunity. Many methods exist that allow the estimation of from case data. However, these are not easily adapted to point prevalence data nor can they infer across periods of missing data. We developed a Bayesian P-spline model suitable for fitting to a wide range of epidemic time-series, including point-prevalence data. We demonstrate the utility of the model by fitting to periodic daily SARS-CoV-2 swab-positivity data in England from the first 7 rounds (May 2020–December 2020) of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study. Estimates of over the period of two subsequent rounds (6–8 weeks) and single rounds (2–3 weeks) inferred using the Bayesian P-spline model were broadly consistent with estimates from a simple exponential model, with overlapping credible intervals. However, there were sometimes substantial differences in point estimates. The Bayesian P-spline model was further able to infer changes in over shorter periods tracking a temporary increase above one during late-May 2020, a gradual increase in over the summer of 2020 as restrictions were eased, and a reduction in during England’s second national lockdown followed by an increase as the Alpha variant surged. The model is robust against both under-fitting and over-fitting and is able to interpolate between periods of available data; it is a particularly versatile model when growth rate can change over small timescales, as in the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. This work highlights the importance of pairing robust methods with representative samples to track pandemics.

Journal article

Elliott P, Eales O, Bodinier B, Tang D, Wang H, Jonnerby LJA, Haw D, Elliott J, Whitaker M, Walters C, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Trotter A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Ward H, Darzi A, Cooke G, Chadeau M, Donnelly Cet al., 2022, Dynamics of a national Omicron SARS-CoV-2 epidemic during January 2022 in England, Nature Communications, Vol: 13, ISSN: 2041-1723

Rapid transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has led to record-breaking case incidence rates around the world. Since May 2020, the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study tracked the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England through RT-PCR of self-administered throat and nose swabs from randomly-selected participants aged 5 years and over. In January 2022, we found an overall weighted prevalence of 4.41% (n=102,174), three-fold higher than in November to December 2021; we sequenced 2,374 (99.2%) Omicron infections (19 BA.2), and only 19 (0.79%) Delta, with a growth rate advantage for BA.2 compared to BA.1 or BA.1.1. Prevalence was decreasing overall (reproduction number R=0.95, 95% credible interval [CrI], 0.93, 0.97), but increasing in children aged 5 to 17 years (R=1.13, 95% CrI, 1.09, 1.18). In England during January 2022, we observed unprecedented levels of SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially among children, driven by almost complete replacement of Delta by Omicron.

Journal article

Atchison C, Moshe M, Brown J, Whitaker M, Wong N, Bharath A, Mckendry R, Darzi A, Ashby D, Donnelly C, Riley S, Elliott P, Barclay W, Cooke G, Ward Het al., 2022, Validity of self-testing at home with rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection by lateral flow immunoassay, Clinical Infectious Diseases, ISSN: 1058-4838

Background: We explore severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) performance under field conditions compared to laboratory-based ELISA and live virus neutralisation. Methods: In July 2021, 3758 participants performed, at home, a self-administered LFIA on finger-prick blood, reported and submitted a photograph of the result, and provided a self-collected capillary blood sample for assessment of IgG antibodies using the Roche Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay. We compared the self-reported LFIA result to the quantitative Roche assay and checked the reading of the LFIA result with an automated image analysis (ALFA). In a subsample of 250 participants, we compared the results to live virus neutralisation. Results: Almost all participants (3593/3758, 95.6%) had been vaccinated or reported prior infection. Overall, 2777/3758 (73.9%) were positive on self-reported LFIA, 2811/3457 (81.3%) positive by LFIA when ALFA-reported, and 3622/3758 (96.4%) positive on Roche (using the manufacturer reference standard threshold for positivity of 0.8 U ml−1). Live virus neutralisation was detected in 169 of 250 randomly selected samples (67.6%); 133/169 were positive with self-reported LFIA (sensitivity 78.7%; 95% CI 71.8, 84.6), 142/155 (91.6%; 86.1, 95.5) with ALFA, and 169 (100%; 97.8, 100.0) with Roche. There were 81 samples with no detectable virus neutralisation; 47/81 were negative with self-reported LFIA (specificity 58.0%; 95% CI 46.5, 68.9), 34/75 (45.3%; 33.8, 57.3) with ALFA, and 0/81 (0%; 0.0, 4.5) with Roche. Conclusions: Self-administered LFIA is less sensitive than a quantitative antibody test, but the positivity in LFIA correlates better than the quantitative ELISA with virus neutralisation.

Journal article

Eales O, Martins LDO, Page AJ, Wang H, Bodinier B, Tang D, Haw D, Jonnerby J, Atchison C, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Riley S, Elliott P, Donnelly CA, Chadeau-Hyam Met al., 2022, Dynamics of competing SARS-CoV-2 variants during the Omicron epidemic in England, Nature Communications, Vol: 13, ISSN: 2041-1723

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been characterised by the regular emergence of genomic variants. With natural and vaccine-induced population immunity at high levels, evolutionary pressure favours variants better able to evade SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies. The Omicron variant (first detected in November 2021) exhibited a high degree of immune evasion, leading to increased infection rates worldwide. However, estimates of the magnitude of this Omicron wave have often relied on routine testing data, which are prone to several biases. Using data from the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study, a series of cross-sectional surveys assessing prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England, we estimated the dynamics of England’s Omicron wave (from 9 September 2021 to 1 March 2022). We estimate an initial peak in national Omicron prevalence of 6.89% (5.34%, 10.61%) during January 2022, followed by a resurgence in SARS-CoV-2 infections as the more transmissible Omicron sub-lineage, BA.2 replaced BA.1 and BA.1.1. Assuming the emergence of further distinct variants, intermittent epidemics of similar magnitudes may become the ‘new normal’.

Journal article

Atchison C, Moshe M, Brown J, Whitaker M, Wong N, Bharath A, McKendry R, Darzi A, Ashby D, Donnelly C, Riley S, Elliott P, Barclay W, Cooke G, Ward Het al., 2022, Validity of self-testing at home with rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection by lateral flow immunoassay, Publisher: medRxiv

<h4>ABSTRACT</h4> <h4>Background</h4> Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody lateral flow immunoassays (LFIA) can be carried out in the home and have been used as an affordable and practical approach to large-scale antibody prevalence studies. However, assay performance differs from that of high-throughput laboratory-based assays which can be highly sensitive. We explore LFIA performance under field conditions compared to laboratory-based ELISA and assess the potential of LFIAs to identify people who lack functional antibodies following infection or vaccination. <h4>Methods</h4> Field evaluation of a self-administered LFIA test (Fortress, NI) among 3758 participants from the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) study in England selected based on vaccination history and previous LFIA result to ensure a range of antibody titres. In July 2021, participants performed, at home, a self-administered LFIA on finger-prick blood, reported and submitted a photograph of the result, and provided a self-collected capillary blood sample (Tasso-SST) for serological assessment of IgG antibodies to the spike protein using the Roche Elecsys® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 assay. We compared the self-administered and reported LFIA result to the quantitative Roche assay and checked the reading of the LFIA result with an automated image analysis (ALFA). In a subsample of 250 participants, we compared the results to live virus neutralisation. <h4>Results</h4> Almost all participants (3593/3758, 95.6%) had been vaccinated or reported prior infection, with most having received one (862, 22.9%) or two (2430, 64.7%) COVID-19 vaccine doses. Overall, 2777/3758 (73.9%) were positive on self-reported LFIA, 2811/3457 (81.3%) positive by LFIA when ALFA-reported, and 3622/3758 (96.4%) positive on Roche anti-S (using the manufacturer reference standard threshold for positivity of 0.8 U ml -1 ). Live virus neutra

Working paper

Eales O, Wang H, Bodinier B, Haw D, Jonnerby J, Atchison C, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Riley S, Chadeau M, Donnelly C, Elliott Pet al., 2022, SARS-CoV-2 lineage dynamics in England from September to November 2021: high diversity of Delta sub-lineages and increased transmissibility of AY.4.2, BMC Infectious Diseases, Vol: 22, ISSN: 1471-2334

Background: Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, evolutionary pressure has driven large increases in the transmissibility of the virus. However, with increasing levels of immunity through vaccination and natural infection the evolutionary pressure will switch towards immune escape. Genomic surveillance in regions of high immunity is crucial in detecting emerging variants that can more successfully navigate the immune landscape. Methods: We present phylogenetic relationships and lineage dynamics within England (a country with high levels of immunity), as inferred from a random community sample of individuals who provided a self-administered throat and nose swab for rt-PCR testing as part of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study. During round 14 (9 September - 27 September 2021) and 15 (19 October - 5 November 2021) lineages were determined for 1322 positive individuals, with 27.1% of those which reported their symptom status reporting no symptoms in the previous month.Results: We identified 44 unique lineages, all of which were Delta or Delta sub-lineages, and found a reduction in their mutation rate over the study period. The proportion of the Delta sub-lineage AY.4.2 was increasing, with a reproduction number 15% (95% CI, 8%-23%) greater than the most prevalent lineage, AY.4. Further, AY.4.2 was less associated with the most predictive COVID-19 symptoms (p = 0.029) and had a reduced mutation rate (p = 0.050). Both AY.4.2 and AY.4 were found to be geographically clustered in September but this was no longer the case by late October/early November, with only the lineage AY.6 exhibiting clustering towards the South of England.Conclusions: As SARS-CoV-2 moves towards endemicity and new variants emerge, genomic data obtained from random community samples can augment routine surveillance data without the potential biases introduced due to higher sampling rates of symptomatic individuals.

Journal article

Eales O, de Oliveira Martins L, Page A, Wang H, Bodinier B, Tang D, Haw D, Jonnerby LJA, Atchison C, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Riley S, Elliott P, Donnelly C, Chadeau Met al., 2022, Dynamics and scale of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron epidemic in England, Nature Communications, ISSN: 2041-1723

Journal article

Wong N, Meshkinfamfard S, Turbé V, Whitaker M, Moshe M, Bardanzellu A, Dai T, Pignatelli E, Barclay W, Darzi A, Elliott P, Ward H, Tanaka R, Cooke G, McKendry R, Atchison C, Bharath Aet al., 2022, Machine learning to support visual auditing of home-based lateral flow immunoassay self-test results for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, Communications Medicine, Vol: 2, ISSN: 2730-664X

Lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) are being used worldwide for COVID-19 mass testing and antibody prevalence studies. Relatively simple to use and low cost, these tests can be self-administered at home but rely on subjective interpretation of a test line by eye, risking false positives and negatives. Here we report the development of ALFA (Automated Lateral Flow Analysis) to improve reported sensitivity and specificity. Our computational pipeline uses machine learning, computer vision techniques and signal processing algorithms to analyse images of the Fortress LFIA SARS-CoV-2 antibody self-test, and subsequently classify results as invalid, IgG negative and IgG positive. A large image library of 595,339 participant-submitted test photographs was created as part of the REACT-2 community SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence study in England, UK. Automated analysis showed substantial agreement with human experts (Kappa 0.90-0.97) and performed consistently better than study participants, particularly for weak positive IgG results. Specificity (98.7-99.4%) and sensitivity (90.1-97.1%) were high compared with visual interpretation by human experts (ranges due to the varying prevalence of weak positive IgG tests in datasets). Alongside ALFA, we developed an analysis toolkit which could also detect device blood leakage issues. Given the potential for LFIAs to be used at scale in the COVID-19 response (for both antibody and antigen testing), even a small improvement in the accuracy of the algorithms could impact the lives of millions of people by reducing the risk of false positive and false negative result read-outs by members of the public. Our findings support the use of machine learning-enabled automated reading of at-home antibody lateral flow tests, to be a tool for improved accuracy for population-level community surveillance.

Journal article

Chadeau M, Tang D, Eales O, Bodinier B, Wang H, Jonnerby LJA, Whitaker M, Elliott J, Haw D, Walters C, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Donnelly C, Elliott Pet al., 2022, Cross-sectional community surveys to monitor the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England during February 2022, The Lancet Regional Health Europe, ISSN: 2666-7762

Background: The Omicron wave of COVID-19 in England peaked in January 2022 resulting from the rapid transmission of the Omicron BA.1 variant. We investigate the spread and dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in the population of England during February 2022, by region, age and main SARS-CoV-2 sub-lineage.Methods: In the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study we obtained data from a random sample of 94,950 participants with valid throat and nose swab results by RT-PCR during round 18 (8 February to 1 March 2022).Findings: We estimated a weighted mean SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of 2.88% (95% credible interval [CrI] 2.76–3.00), with a within-round effective reproduction number (R) overall of 0.94 (0·91–0.96). While within-round weighted prevalence fell among children (aged 5 to 17 years) and adults aged 18 to 54 years, we observed a level or increasing weighted prevalence among those aged 55 years and older with an R of 1.04 (1.00–1.09). Among 1,616 positive samples with sublineages determined, one (0.1% [0.0–0.3]) corresponded to XE BA.1/BA.2 recombinant and the remainder were Omicron: N=1,047, 64.8% (62.4–67.2) were BA.1; N=568, 35.2% (32.8–37.6) were BA.2. We estimated an R additive advantage for BA.2 (vs BA.1) of 0.38 (0.34–0.41). The highest proportion of BA.2 among positives was found in London. Interpretation: In February 2022, infection prevalence in England remained high with level or increasing rates of infection in older people and an uptick in hospitalisations. Ongoing surveillance of both survey and hospitalisations data is required.Funding Department of Health and Social Care, England.

Journal article

Eales O, Wang H, Haw D, Ainslie KEC, Walters CE, Atchison C, Cooke G, Barclay W, Ward H, Darzi A, Ashby D, Donnelly CA, Elliott P, Riley Set al., 2022, Trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence during England’s roadmap out of lockdown, January to July 2021

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Following rapidly rising COVID-19 case numbers, England entered a national lockdown on 6 January 2021, with staged relaxations of restrictions from 8 March 2021 onwards.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Aim</jats:title><jats:p>We characterise how the lockdown and subsequent easing of restrictions affected trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>On average, risk of infection is proportional to infection prevalence. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study is a repeat cross-sectional study of over 98,000 people every round (rounds approximately monthly) that estimates infection prevalence in England. We used Bayesian P-splines to estimate prevalence and the time-varying reproduction number (<jats:italic>R</jats:italic><jats:sub><jats:italic>t</jats:italic></jats:sub>) nationally, regionally and by age group from round 8 (beginning 6 January 2021) to round 13 (ending 12 July 2021) of REACT-1. As a comparator, a separate segmented-exponential model was used to quantify the impact on <jats:italic>R</jats:italic><jats:sub><jats:italic>t</jats:italic></jats:sub> of each relaxation of restrictions.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>Following an initial plateau of 1.54% until mid-January, infection prevalence decreased until 13 May when it reached a minimum of 0.09%, before increasing until the end of the study to 0.76%. Following the first easing of restrictions, which included schools reopening, the reproduction number <jats:italic>R</jats:italic><jats:sub><jats:italic>t</jats:italic></jats:sub> incre

Journal article

Raja A, van Veldhoven K, Ewuzie A, Frost G, Sandys V, Atkinson B, Nicholls I, Graham A, Higgins H, Coldwell M, Simpson A, Cooke J, Bennett A, Barber C, Morgan D, Atchison C, Keen C, Fletcher T, Pearce N, Brickley EB, Chen Yet al., 2022, Investigation of a SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak at an Automotive Manufacturing Site in England, INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, Vol: 19

Journal article

Chadeau M, Eales O, Bodinier B, Wang H, Haw D, Whitaker M, Elliott J, Walters C, Jonnerby LJA, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Donnelly C, Elliott Pet al., 2022, Breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections in double and triple vaccinated adults and single dose vaccine effectiveness among children in Autumn 2021 in England: REACT-1 study, EClinicalMedicine, Vol: 48, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2589-5370

Background: Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection with Delta variant was increasing in England in late summer 2021 among children aged 5 to 17 years, and adults who had received two vaccine doses. In September 2021, a third (booster) dose was offered to vaccinated adults aged 50 years and over, vulnerable adults and healthcare/care-home workers, and a single vaccine dose already offered to 16 and 17 year-olds was extended to children aged 12 to 15 years. Methods: SARS-CoV-2 community prevalence in England was available from self-administered throat and nose swabs using reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in round 13 (24 June to 12 July 2021, N= 98,233), round 14 (9 to 27 September 2021, N = 100,527) and round 15 (19 October to 5 November 2021, N = 100,112) from the REACT-1 study randomised community surveys. Linking to National Health Service (NHS) vaccination data for consenting participants, we estimated vaccine effectiveness in children aged 12 to 17 years and compared swab-positivity rates in adults who received a third dose with those who received two doses. Findings: Weighted SARS-CoV-2 prevalence was 1.57% (1.48%, 1.66%) in round 15 compared with 0.83% (0.76%, 0.89%) in round 14, and the previously observed link between infections and hospitalisations and deaths had weakened. Vaccine effectiveness against infection in children aged 12 to 17 years was estimated (round 15) at 64.0% (50.9%, 70.6%) and 67.7% (53.8%, 77.5%) for symptomatic infections. Adults who received a third vaccine dose were less likely to test positive compared to those who received two doses, with adjusted odds ratio of 0.36 (0.25, 0.53). Interpretation: Vaccination of children aged 12 to 17 years and third (booster) doses in adults were effective at reducing infection risk. High rates of vaccination, including booster doses, are a key part of the strategy to reduce infection rates in the community.

Journal article

Elliott P, Eales O, Steyn N, Tang D, Bodinier B, Wang H, Elliott J, Whitaker M, Atchison C, Diggle P, Trotter A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Ward H, Darzi A, Cooke G, Donnelly C, Chadeau-Hyam Met al., 2022, Twin peaks: the Omicron SARS-CoV-2 BA.1 and BA.2 epidemics in England

BACKGROUNDRapid transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has led to record-breaking incidencerates around the world. Sub-lineages have been detected in many countries with BA.1replacing Delta and BA.2 replacing BA.1.METHODSThe REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study has trackedSARS-CoV-2 infection in England using RT-PCR results from self-administered throat and noseswabs from randomly-selected participants aged 5+ years. Rounds of data collection wereapproximately monthly from May 2020 to March 2022.RESULTSIn March 2022, weighted prevalence was 6.37% (N=109,181), more than twice that inFebruary 2022 following an initial Omicron peak in January 2022. Of the lineagesdetermined by viral genome sequencing, 3,382 (99.97%) were Omicron, including 346(10.2%) BA.1, 3035 (89.7%) BA.2 and one (0.03%) BA.3 sub-lineage; the remainder (1, 0.03%)was Delta AY.4. The BA.2 Omicron sub-lineage had a growth rate advantage (compared toBA.1 and sub-lineages) of 0.11 (95% credible interval [CrI], 0.10, 0.11). Prevalence wasincreasing overall (reproduction number R=1.07, 95% CrI, 1.06, 1.09), with the greatestincrease in those aged 55+ years (R=1.12, 95% CrI, 1.09, 1.14) among whom estimatedprevalence on March 31, 2022 was 8.31%, nearly 20-fold the median prevalence since May1, 2020.CONCLUSIONSWe observed unprecedented levels of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England in March 2022 and analmost complete replacement of Omicron BA.1 by BA.2. The high and increasing prevalencein older adults may increase hospitalizations and deaths despite high levels of vaccination.(Funded by the Department of Health and Social Care in England.)

Journal article

Eales O, de Oliveira Martins L, Page AJ, Wang H, Bodinier B, Tang D, Haw D, Jonnerby J, Atchison C, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Riley S, Elliott P, Donnelly CA, Chadeau-Hyam Met al., 2022, The new normal? Dynamics and scale of the SARS-CoV-2 variant Omicron epidemic in England

<jats:title>Summary</jats:title><jats:p>The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has been characterised by the regular emergence of genomic variants which have led to substantial changes in the epidemiology of the virus. With natural and vaccine-induced population immunity at high levels, evolutionary pressure favours variants better able to evade SARS-CoV-2 neutralising antibodies. The Omicron variant was first detected in late November 2021 and exhibited a high degree of immune evasion, leading to increased infection rates in many countries. However, estimates of the magnitude of the Omicron wave have relied mainly on routine testing data, which are prone to several biases. Here we infer the dynamics of the Omicron wave in England using PCR testing and genomic sequencing obtained by the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study, a series of cross-sectional surveys testing random samples of the population of England. We estimate an initial peak in national Omicron prevalence of 6.89% (5.34%, 10.61%) during January 2022, followed by a resurgence in SARS-CoV-2 infections in England during February-March 2022 as the more transmissible Omicron sub-lineage, BA.2 replaced BA.1 and BA.1.1. Assuming the emergence of further distinct genomic variants, intermittent epidemics of similar magnitude as the Omicron wave may become the ‘new normal’.</jats:p>

Journal article

Chadeau-Hyam M, Wang H, Eales O, Haw D, Bodinier B, Whitaker M, Walters CE, Ainslie KEC, Atchison C, Fronterre C, Diggle PJ, Page AJ, Trotter AJ, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Riley S, Donnelly CA, Elliott Pet al., 2022, SARS-CoV-2 infection and vaccine effectiveness in England (REACT-1): a series of cross-sectional random community surveys, The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, Vol: 10, Pages: 355-366, ISSN: 2213-2600

SummaryBackground England has experienced a third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic since the end of May, 2021, coincidingwith the rapid spread of the delta (B.1.617.2) variant, despite high levels of vaccination among adults. Vaccinationrates (single dose) in England are lower among children aged 16–17 years and 12–15 years, whose vaccination inEngland commenced in August and September, 2021, respectively. We aimed to analyse the underlying dynamicsdriving patterns in SARS-CoV-2 prevalence during September, 2021, in England.Methods The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study, which commenced datacollection in May, 2020, involves a series of random cross-sectional surveys in the general population of Englandaged 5 years and older. Using RT-PCR swab positivity data from 100 527 participants with valid throat and noseswabs in round 14 of REACT-1 (Sept 9–27, 2021), we estimated community-based prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 andvaccine effectiveness against infection by combining round 14 data with data from round 13 (June 24 to July 12, 2021;n=172 862).Findings During September, 2021, we estimated a mean RT-PCR positivity rate of 0·83% (95% CrI 0·76–0·89), with areproduction number (R) overall of 1·03 (95% CrI 0·94–1·14). Among the 475 (62·2%) of 764 sequenced positiveswabs, all were of the delta variant; 22 (4·63%; 95% CI 3·07–6·91) included the Tyr145His mutation in the spikeprotein associated with the AY.4 sublineage, and there was one Glu484Lys mutation. Age, region, key worker status,and household size jointly contributed to the risk of swab positivity. The highest weighted prevalence was observedamong children aged 5–12 years, at 2·32% (95% CrI 1·96–2·73) and those aged 13–17 years, at 2·55% (2·11–3·08).The SARS-CoV-2 epidemic grew in those aged 5–11 years, with an R of 1&m

Journal article

Eales O, Walters CE, Wang H, Haw D, Ainslie KEC, Atchison CJ, Page AJ, Prosolek S, Trotter AJ, Le Viet T, Alikhan N-F, Jackson LM, Ludden C, Ashby D, Donnelly CA, Cooke G, Barclay W, Ward H, Darzi A, Elliott P, Riley Set al., 2022, Characterising the persistence of RT-PCR positivity and incidence in a community survey of SARS-CoV-2, Wellcome Open Research, Vol: 7, Pages: 102-102, ISSN: 2398-502X

Background: The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study has provided unbiased estimates of swab-positivity in England approximately monthly since May 2020 using RT-PCR testing of self-administered throat and nose swabs. However, estimating infection incidence requires an understanding of the persistence of RT-PCR swab-positivity in the community.Methods: During round 8 of REACT-1 from 6 January to 22 January 2021, we collected up to two additional swabs from 896 initially RT-PCR positive individuals approximately 6 and 9 days after their initial swab.Results: Test sensitivity and duration of positivity were estimated using an exponential decay model, for all participants and for subsets by initial N-gene cycle threshold (Ct) value, symptom status, lineage and age. A P-spline model was used to estimate infection incidence for the entire duration of the REACT-1 study. REACT-1 test sensitivity was estimated at 0.79 (0.77, 0.81) with median duration of positivity at 9.7 (8.9, 10.6) days. We found greater duration of positivity in those exhibiting symptoms, with low N-gene Ct values, or infected with the Alpha variant. Test sensitivity was found to be higher for those who were pre-symptomatic or with low N-gene Ct values. Compared to swab-positivity, our estimates of infection incidence included sharper features with evident transient increases around the time of changes in social distancing measures.Conclusions: These results validate previous efforts to estimate incidence of SARS-CoV-2 from swab-positivity data and provide a reliable means to obtain community infection estimates to inform policy response.

Journal article

Chadeau-Hyam M, Tang D, Eales O, Bodinier B, Wang H, Jonnerby J, Whitaker M, Elliott J, Haw D, Walters C, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Donnelly C, Elliott Pet al., 2022, The Omicron SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England during February 2022

Background The third wave of COVID-19 in England peaked in January 2022 resulting fromthe rapid transmission of the Omicron variant. However, rates of hospitalisations and deathswere substantially lower than in the first and second wavesMethods In the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study weobtained data from a random sample of 94,950 participants with valid throat and nose swabresults by RT-PCR during round 18 (8 February to 1 March 2022).Findings We estimated a weighted mean SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of 2.88% (95% credibleinterval [CrI] 2.76–3.00), with a within-round reproduction number (R) overall of 0.94 (0·91–0.96). While within-round weighted prevalence fell among children (aged 5 to 17 years) andadults aged 18 to 54 years, we observed a level or increasing weighted prevalence amongthose aged 55 years and older with an R of 1.04 (1.00–1.09). Among 1,195 positive sampleswith sublineages determined, only one (0.1% [0.0–0.5]) corresponded to AY.39 Deltasublineage and the remainder were Omicron: N=390, 32.7% (30.0–35.4) were BA.1; N=473,39.6% (36.8–42.5) were BA.1.1; and N=331, 27.7% (25.2–30.4) were BA.2. We estimated anR additive advantage for BA.2 (vs BA.1 or BA.1.1) of 0.40 (0.36–0.43). The highest proportionof BA.2 among positives was found in London.Interpretation In February 2022, infection prevalence in England remained high with levelor increasing rates of infection in older people and an uptick in hospitalisations. Ongoingsurveillance of both survey and hospitalisations data is required.Funding Department of Health and Social Care, England.

Working paper

Higgins H, Andrews N, Stowe J, Amirthalingam G, Ramsay M, Bahra G, Hackett A, Breen KA, Desborough M, Khan D, Leary H, Sweeney C, Hutchinson E, Shapiro SE, Lees C, Dhanapal J, MacCallum PK, Burke S, McDonald V, Entwistle NMA, Booth S, Atchison CJ, Hunt BJet al., 2022, Risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome after COVID-19 vaccination prior to the recognition of vaccine-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis: A self-controlled case series study in England, RESEARCH AND PRACTICE IN THROMBOSIS AND HAEMOSTASIS, Vol: 6

Journal article

Ward H, Whittaker M, Flower B, Tang S, Atchison C, Darzi A, Donnelly C, Cann A, Diggle P, Ashby D, Riley S, Barclay W, Elliott P, Cooke Get al., 2022, Population antibody responses following COVID-19 vaccination in 212,102 individuals, Nature Communications, Vol: 13, ISSN: 2041-1723

Population antibody surveillance helps track immune responses to COVID-19 vaccinations at scale, and identify host factors that may affect antibody production. We analyse data from 212,102 vaccinated individuals within the REACT-2 programme in England, which uses self-administered lateral flow antibody tests in sequential cross-sectional community samples; 71,923 (33.9%) received at least one dose of BNT162b2 vaccine and 139,067 (65.6%) received ChAdOx1. For both vaccines, antibody positivity peaks 4-5 weeks after first dose and then declines. At least 21 days after second dose of BNT162b2, close to 100% of respondents test positive, while for ChAdOx1, this is significantly reduced, particularly in the oldest age groups (72.7% [70.9–74.4] at ages 75 years and above). For both vaccines, antibody positivity decreases with age, and is higher in females and those with previous infection. Antibody positivity is lower in transplant recipients, obese individuals, smokers and those with specific comorbidities. These groups will benefit from additional vaccine doses.

Journal article

Elliott P, Bodinier B, Eales O, Wang H, Haw D, Elliott J, Whitaker M, Jonnerby J, Tang D, Walters CE, Atchison C, Diggle PJ, Page AJ, Trotter AJ, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Ward H, Darzi A, Cooke GS, Chadeau-Hyam M, Donnelly CAet al., 2022, Rapid increase in Omicron infections in England during December 2021: REACT-1 study., Science, Vol: 375, Pages: eabn8347-eabn8347, ISSN: 0036-8075

The unprecedented rise in SARS-CoV-2 infections during December 2021 was concurrent with rapid spread of the Omicron variant in England and globally. We analyzed prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 and its dynamics in England from end November to mid-December 2021 among almost 100,000 participants from the REACT-1 study. Prevalence was high with rapid growth nationally and particularly in London during December 2021, and an increasing proportion of infections due to Omicron. We observed large falls in swab positivity among mostly vaccinated older children (12-17 years) compared with unvaccinated younger children (5-11 years), and in adults who received a third (booster) vaccine dose vs. two doses. Our results reinforce the importance of vaccination and booster campaigns, although additional measures have been needed to control the rapid growth of the Omicron variant.

Journal article

Eales O, Ainslie KEC, Walters CE, Wang H, Atchison C, Ashby D, Donnelly CA, Cooke G, Barclay W, Ward H, Darzi A, Elliott P, Riley Set al., 2022, Appropriately smoothing prevalence data to inform estimates of growth rate and reproduction number

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The time-varying reproduction number (<jats:bold><jats:italic>R</jats:italic></jats:bold><jats:sub><jats:bold><jats:italic>t</jats:italic></jats:bold></jats:sub>) can change rapidly over the course of a pandemic due to changing restrictions, behaviours, and levels of population immunity. Many methods exist that allow the estimation of <jats:bold><jats:italic>R</jats:italic></jats:bold><jats:sub><jats:bold><jats:italic>t</jats:italic></jats:bold></jats:sub> from case data. However, these are not easily adapted to point prevalence data nor can they infer <jats:bold><jats:italic>R</jats:italic></jats:bold><jats:sub><jats:bold><jats:italic>t</jats:italic></jats:bold></jats:sub> across periods of missing data. We developed a Bayesian P-spline model suitable for fitting to a wide range of epidemic time-series, including point-prevalence data. We demonstrate the utility of the model by fitting to periodic daily SARS-CoV-2 swab-positivity data in England from the first 7 rounds (May 2020 – December 2020) of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study. Estimates of <jats:bold><jats:italic>R</jats:italic></jats:bold><jats:sub><jats:bold><jats:italic>t</jats:italic></jats:bold></jats:sub> over the period of two subsequent rounds (6-8 weeks) and single rounds (2-3 weeks) inferred using the Bayesian P-spline model were broadly consistent with estimates from a simple exponential model, with overlapping credible intervals. However, there were sometimes substantial differences in point estimates. The Bayesian P-spline model was further able to infer changes in <jats:bold><jats:italic>R</jats:italic></jats:bold><jats:sub><jats

Journal article

Atkinson B, van Veldhoven K, Nicholls I, Coldwell M, Clarke A, Frost G, Atchison CJ, Raja AI, Bennett AM, Morgan D, Pearce N, Fletcher T, Brickley EB, Chen Yet al., 2022, An outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 in a public-facing office in England, 2021

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Between August-September 2021, an outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, with an attack rate of 55% (22/40 workers), occurred in a public-facing office in England. To identify workplace and worker-related risk factors, a comprehensive investigation involving surface sampling, environmental assessment, molecular and serological testing, and worker questionnaires was performed in September – October 2021. The results affirm the utility of surface sampling to identify SARS-CoV-2 control deficiencies and the importance of evolving, site-specific risk assessments with layered COVID-19 mitigation strategies.</jats:p>

Journal article

Elliott P, Eales O, Bodinier B, Tang D, Wang H, Jonnerby J, Haw D, Elliott J, Whitaker M, Walters C, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Trotter A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Ward H, Darzi A, Cooke G, Chadeau-Hyam M, Donnelly Cet al., 2022, Post-peak dynamics of a national Omicron SARS-CoV-2 epidemic during January 2022

Background: Rapid transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has led to the highestever recorded case incidence levels in many countries around the world.Methods: The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study hasbeen characterising the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus using RT-PCR test results fromself-administered throat and nose swabs from randomly-selected participants in England atages 5 years and over, approximately monthly since May 2020. Round 17 data were collectedbetween 5 and 20 January 2022 and provide data on the temporal, socio-demographic andgeographical spread of the virus, viral loads and viral genome sequence data for positiveswabs.Results: From 102,174 valid tests in round 17, weighted prevalence of swab positivity was4.41% (95% credible interval [CrI], 4.25% to 4.56%), which is over three-fold higher than inDecember 2021 in England. Of 3,028 sequenced positive swabs, 2,393 lineages weredetermined and 2,374 (99.2%) were Omicron including 19 (0.80% of all Omicron lineages)cases of BA.2 sub-lineage and one BA.3 (0.04% of all Omicron) detected on 17 January 2022,and only 19 (0.79%) were Delta. The growth of the BA.2 Omicron sub-lineage against BA.1and its sub-lineage BA.1.1 indicated a daily growth rate advantage of 0.14 (95% CrI, 0.03,0.28) for BA.2, which corresponds to an additive R advantage of 0.46 (95% CrI, 0.10, 0.92).Within round 17, prevalence was decreasing overall (R=0.95, 95% CrI, 0.93, 0.97) butincreasing in children aged 5 to 17 years (R=1.13, 95% CrI, 1.09, 1.18). Those 75 years andolder had a swab-positivity prevalence of 2.46% (95% CI, 2.16%, 2.80%) reflecting a highlevel of infection among a highly vulnerable group. Among the 3,613 swab-positiveindividuals reporting whether or not they had had previous infection, 2,334 (64.6%)reported previous confirmed COVID-19. Of these, 64.4% reported a positive test from 1 to30 days before their swab date. Risks of infection were increased among essential/keyworkers

Working paper

Elliott P, Bodinier B, Eales O, Wang H, Haw D, Elliott J, Whitaker M, Jonnerby J, Tang D, Walters C, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Trotter A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Ward H, Darzi A, Cooke G, Chadeau-Hyam M, Donnelly Cet al., 2021, Rapid increase in Omicron infections in England during December 2021: REACT-1 study

Background: The highest-ever recorded numbers of daily severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in England has been observed during December 2021 and have coincided with a rapid rise in the highly transmissible Omicron variant despite high levels of vaccination in the population. Although additional COVID-19 measures have beenintroduced in England and internationally to contain the epidemic, there remains uncertainty about the spread and severity of Omicron infections among the general population.Methods: The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission–1 (REACT-1) study has been monitoring the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England since May 2020.REACT-1 obtains self-administered throat and nose swabs from a random sample of the population of England at ages 5 years and over. Swabs are tested for SARS-CoV-2 infection by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and samples testing positive are sent for viral genome sequencing. To date 16 rounds have been completed, each including~100,000 or more participants with data collected over a period of 2 to 3 weeks per month.Socio-demographic, lifestyle and clinical information (including previous history of COVID-19 and symptoms prior to swabbing) is collected by online or telephone questionnaire. Here we report results from round 14 (9-27 September 2021), round 15 (19 October - 05 November2021) and round 16 (23 November - 14 December 2021) for a total of 297,728 participants with a valid RT-PCR test result, of whom 259,225 (87.1%) consented for linkage to their NHS records including detailed information on vaccination (vaccination status, date). We usedthese data to estimate community prevalence and trends by age and region, to evaluate vaccine effectiveness against infection in children ages 12 to 17 years, and effect of a third (booster) dose in adults, and to monitor the emergence of the Omicron variant in England.Results: We observed a high overall prevalen

Working paper

Eales O, Page AJ, de Oliveira Martins L, Wang H, Bodinier B, Haw D, Jonnerby J, Atchison C, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Riley S, Chadeau-Hyam M, Donnelly CA, Elliott Pet al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 lineage dynamics in England from September to November 2021: high diversity of Delta sub-lineages and increased transmissibility of AY.4.2

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2, evolutionary pressure has driven large increases in the transmissibility of the virus. However, with increasing levels of immunity through vaccination and natural infection the evolutionary pressure will switch towards immune escape. Here we present phylogenetic relationships and lineage dynamics within England (a country with high levels of immunity), as inferred from a random community sample of individuals who provided a self-administered throat and nose swab for rt-PCR testing as part of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study. From 9 to 27 September 2021 (round 14) and 19 October to 5 November 2021 (round 15), all lineages sequenced within REACT-1 were Delta or a Delta sub-lineage with 44 unique lineages identified. The proportion of the original Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was found to be increasing between September and November 2021, which may reflect an increasing number of sub-lineages which have yet to be identified. The proportion of B.1.617.2 was greatest in London, which was further identified as a region with an increased level of genetic diversity. The Delta sub-lineage AY.4.2 was found to be robustly increasing in proportion, with a reproduction number 15% (8%, 23%) greater than its parent and most prevalent lineage, AY.4. Both AY.4.2 and AY.4 were found to be geographically clustered in September but this was no longer the case by late October/early November, with only the lineage AY.6 exhibiting clustering towards the South of England. Though no difference in the viral load based on cycle threshold (Ct) values was identified, a lower proportion of those infected with AY.4.2 had symptoms for which testing is usually recommend (loss or change of sense of taste, loss or change of sense of smell, new persistent cough, fever), compared to AY.4 (p = 0.026). The evolutionary rate of SARS-CoV-2, as measured by the mutation rate, was fou

Journal article

Redd R, Cooper E, Atchison C, Pereira I, Hollings P, Cooper T, Millar C, Ashby D, Riley S, Darzi A, Barclay WS, Cooke GS, Elliott P, Donnelly CA, Ward Het al., 2021, Behavioural responses to SARS-CoV-2 antibody testing in England: REACT-2 study, Wellcome Open Research, Vol: 6, Pages: 203-203

<ns3:p><ns3:bold>Background:  </ns3:bold>This study assesses the behavioural responses to SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results as part of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) research programme, a large community-based surveillance study of antibody prevalence in England.</ns3:p><ns3:p> <ns3:bold>Methods:</ns3:bold> A follow-up survey was conducted six weeks after the SARS-CoV-2 antibody test. The follow-up survey included 4500 people with a positive result and 4039 with a negative result. Reported changes in behaviour were assessed using difference-in-differences models. A nested interview study was conducted with 40 people to explore how they thought through their behavioural decisions.</ns3:p><ns3:p> <ns3:bold>Results:</ns3:bold> While respondents reduced their protective behaviours over the six weeks, we did not find evidence that positive test results changed participant behaviour trajectories in relation to the number of contacts the respondents had, for leaving the house to go to work, or for leaving the house to socialise in a personal place. The qualitative findings supported these results. Most people did not think that they had changed their behaviours because of their test results, however they did allude to some changes in their attitudes and perceptions around risk, susceptibility, and potential severity of symptoms.</ns3:p><ns3:p> <ns3:bold>Conclusions: </ns3:bold>We found limited evidence that knowing your antibody status leads to behaviour change in the context of a research study. While this finding should not be generalised to widespread self-testing in other contexts, it is reassuring given the importance of large prevalence studies, and the practicalities of doing these at scale using self-testing with lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA).</ns3:p>

Journal article

Chadeau-Hyam M, Eales O, Bodinier B, Wang H, Haw D, Whitaker M, Walters C, Jonnerby J, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Donnelly C, Elliott Pet al., 2021, REACT-1 round 15 final report: Increased breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infections among adults who had received two doses of vaccine, but booster doses and first doses in children are providing important protection

Background: It has been nearly a year since the first vaccinations against SARS-CoV-2were delivered in England. The third wave of COVID-19 in England began in May 2021 asthe Delta variant began to outcompete and largely replace other strains. The REal-timeAssessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) series of community surveys forSARS-CoV-2 infection has provided insights into transmission dynamics since May 2020.Round 15 of the REACT-1 study was carried out from 19 October to 5 November 2021.Methods: We estimated prevalence of SARS-CoV2 infection and used multiple logisticregression to analyse associations between SARS-CoV-2 infection in England anddemographic and other risk factors, based on RT-PCR results from self-administered throatand nose swabs in over 100,000 participants. We estimated (single-dose) vaccineeffectiveness among children aged 12 to 17 years, and among adults comparedswab-positivity in people who had received a third (booster) dose with those who hadreceived two vaccine doses. We used splines to analyse time trends in swab-positivity.Results: During mid-October to early-November 2021, weighted prevalence was 1.57%(1.48%, 1.66%) compared to 0.83% (0.76%, 0.89%) in September 2021 (round 14).Weighted prevalence increased between rounds 14 and 15 across most age groups(including older ages, 65 years and over) and regions, with average reproduction numberacross rounds of R=1.09 (1.08, 1.11). During round 15, there was a fall in prevalence from amaximum around 20-21 October, with an R of 0.76 (0.70, 0.83), reflecting falls in prevalenceat ages 17 years and below and 18 to 54 years. School-aged children had the highestweighted prevalence of infection: 4.95% (4.39%, 5.58%) in those aged 5 to 12 years and5.21% (4.61%, 5.87%) in those aged 13 to 17 years. In multiple logistic regression, age, sex,key worker status and presence of one or more children in the home were associated withswab positivity. There was evidence of heterogeneity between rounds in

Working paper

Chadeau-Hyam M, Eales O, Bodinier B, Wang H, Haw D, Whitaker M, Walters C, Atchison C, Diggle P, Page A, Ashby D, Barclay W, Taylor G, Cooke G, Ward H, Darzi A, Donnelly C, Elliott Pet al., 2021, REACT-1 round 15 interim report: Exponential rise in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England from end September 2021 followed by dip during October 2021

Background: The third wave of COVID-19 in England coincided with the rapid spread of theDelta variant of SARS-CoV-2 from the end of May 2021. Case incidence data from thenational testing programme (Pillar 2) in England may be affected by changes in testingbehaviour and other biases. Community surveys may provide important contextualinformation to inform policy and the public health response.Methods: We estimated patterns of community prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection inEngland using RT-PCR swab-positivity, demographic and other risk factor data from round15 (interim) of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study(round 15a, carried out from 19 to 29 October 2021). We compared these findings with thosefrom round 14 (9 to 27 September 2021).Results: During mid- to late-October 2021 (round 15a) weighted prevalence was 1.72%(1.61%, 1.84%) compared to 0.83% (0.76%, 0.89%) in September 2021 (round 14). Theoverall reproduction number (R) from round 14 to round 15a was 1.12 (1.11, 1.14) withincreases in prevalence over this period (September to October) across age groups andregions except Yorkshire and The Humber. However, within round 15a (mid- to late-October)there was evidence of a fall in prevalence with R of 0.76 (0.65, 0.88). The highest weightedprevalence was observed among children aged 5 to 12 years at 5.85% (5.10%, 6.70%) and13 to 17 years at 5.75% (5.02%, 6.57%). At regional level, there was an almost four-foldincrease in weighted prevalence in South West from round 14 at 0.59% (0.43%,0.80%) toround 15a at 2.18% (1.84%, 2.58%), with highest smoothed prevalence at subregional levelalso found in South West in round 15a. Age, sex, key worker status, and presence ofchildren in the home jointly contributed to the risk of swab-positivity. Among the 126sequenced positive swabs obtained up until 23 October, all were Delta variant; 13 (10.3%)were identified as the AY.4.2 sub-lineage.Discussion: We observed the highest overall prevalence of swab-p

Working paper

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