387 results found
Elliott P, Whitaker M, Tang D, et al., 2023, Design and implementation of a national SARS-CoV-2 monitoring programme in England: REACT-1 Study, American Journal of Public Health, ISSN: 0090-0036
Data System. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) Study was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care in England to provide reliable and timely estimates of prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection by time, person and place.Data Collection/Processing. The data were obtained by writing to named individuals aged 5 years and above in random cross-sections of the population of England, using the National Health Service (NHS) list of patients registered with a general practitioner (>99% coverage) as sampling frame. Data were collected 2-3 weekly approximately every month across 19distinct rounds of data collection from May 1, 2020 to March 31, 2022.Data Analysis/Dissemination. The data and study materials are widely disseminated via the study website, preprints, publications in peer-reviewed journals and the media. Data tabulations suitably anonymised to protect participant confidentiality are available on request to the study’s Data Access Committee.Implications. The study provided inter alia real-time data on SARS-CoV-2 prevalence over time, by area, and by socio-demographic variables; estimates of vaccine effectiveness; symptom profiles and detected emergence of new variants based on viral genome sequencing.
Smith C, Smith E, Chiu C, et al., 2023, The Challenge Non-Typhoidal Salmonella (CHANTS) Consortium: Development of a non-typhoidal Salmonella controlled human infection model: Report from a consultation group workshop, 05 July 2022, London, UK, Wellcome Open Research, Vol: 8, Pages: 111-111
<ns4:p>Invasive non-typhoidal <ns4:italic>Salmonella</ns4:italic> disease (iNTS) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality globally, particularly as a cause of bloodstream infection in children and immunocompromised adults in sub-Saharan Africa. Vaccines to prevent non-typhoidal<ns4:italic> Salmonella</ns4:italic> (NTS) would represent a valuable public health tool in this setting to avert cases and prevent expansion of antimicrobial resistance. Several NTS and combination typhoidal-NTS vaccine candidates are in early-stage development, although the pathway to licensure is unclear due to challenges in conducting large phase III field trials.</ns4:p><ns4:p> </ns4:p><ns4:p> Controlled human infection models (CHIM) present an opportunity to accelerate vaccine development for a range of enteric pathogens. Several recent typhoidal <ns4:italic>Salmonella</ns4:italic> CHIMs have been conducted safely and have played pivotal roles in progressing vaccine candidates to pre-qualification and licensure. The Challenge Non-Typhoidal <ns4:italic>Salmonella</ns4:italic> (CHANTS) consortium has been formed with funding from the Wellcome Trust, to deliver the first NTS CHIM, which can act as a platform for future vaccine evaluation.</ns4:p><ns4:p> </ns4:p><ns4:p> This paper reports the conclusions of a consultation group workshop convened with key stakeholders. The aims of this meeting were to: (1) define the rationale for an NTS CHIM (2) map the NTS vaccine pipeline (3) refine study design and (4) establish potential future use cases.</ns4:p>
Atchison C, Whitaker M, Donnelly C, et al., 2023, Characteristics and predictors of persistent symptoms post COVID-19 in children and young people: a large community cross-sectional study in England, Archives of Disease in Childhood, ISSN: 0003-9888
Objective: To estimate the prevalence of, and associated risk factors for, persistent symptoms post-COVID-19 among children aged 5–17 years in England.Design: Serial cross-sectional study.Setting: Rounds 10–19 (March 2021 to March 2022) of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 study (monthly cross-sectional surveys of random samples of the population in England).Study population: Children aged 5–17 years in the community.Predictors: Age, sex, ethnicity, presence of a pre-existing health condition, index of multiple deprivation, COVID-19 vaccination status and dominant UK circulating SARS-CoV-2 variant at time of symptom onset.Main outcome measures: Prevalence of persistent symptoms, reported as those lasting ≥3 months post-COVID-19.Results: Overall, 4.4% (95% CI 3.7 to 5.1) of 3173 5–11 year-olds and 13.3% (95% CI 12.5 to 14.1) of 6886 12–17 year-olds with prior symptomatic infection reported at least one symptom lasting ≥3 months post-COVID-19, of whom 13.5% (95% CI 8.4 to 20.9) and 10.9% (95% CI 9.0 to 13.2), respectively, reported their ability to carry out day-to-day activities was reduced ‘a lot’ due to their symptoms. The most common symptoms among participants with persistent symptoms were persistent coughing (27.4%) and headaches (25.4%) in children aged 5–11 years and loss or change of sense of smell (52.2%) and taste (40.7%) in participants aged 12–17 years. Higher age and having a pre-existing health condition were associated with higher odds of reporting persistent symptoms.Conclusions: One in 23 5–11 year-olds and one in eight 12–17 year-olds post-COVID-19 report persistent symptoms lasting ≥3 months, of which one in nine report a large impact on performing day-to-day activities.
Siggins MK, Davies K, Fellows R, et al., 2023, Alternative pathway dysregulation in tissues drives sustained complement activation and predicts outcome across the disease course in COVID-19, Immunology, Vol: 168, Pages: 473-492, ISSN: 0019-2805
Complement, a critical defence against pathogens, has been implicated as a driver of pathology in COVID-19. Complement activation products are detected in plasma and tissues and complement blockade considered for therapy. To delineate roles of complement in immunopathogenesis, we undertook the largest comprehensive study of complement in an COVID-19 to date, a comprehensive profiling of 16 complement biomarkers, including key components, regulators and activation products, in 966 plasma samples from 682 hospitalised COVID-19 patients collected across the hospitalisation period as part of the UK ISARIC4C study. Unsupervised clustering of complement biomarkers mapped to disease severity and supervised machine learning identified marker sets in early samples that predicted peak severity. Compared to heathy controls, complement proteins and activation products (Ba, iC3b, terminal complement complex) were significantly altered in COVID-19 admission samples in all severity groups. Elevated alternative pathway activation markers (Ba and iC3b) and decreased alternative pathway regulator (properdin) in admission samples associated with more severe disease and risk of death. Levels of most complement biomarkers were reduced in severe disease, consistent with consumption and tissue deposition. Latent class mixed modelling and cumulative incidence analysis identified the trajectory of increase of Ba to be a strong predictor of peak COVID-19 disease severity and death. The data demonstrate that early-onset, uncontrolled activation of complement, driven by sustained and progressive amplification through the alternative pathway amplification loop is a ubiquitous feature of COVID-19, further exacerbated in severe disease. These findings provide novel insights into COVID-19 immunopathogenesis and inform strategies for therapeutic intervention.
Atchison C, Moshe M, Brown J, et al., 2023, Validity of self-testing at home with rapid SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection by lateral flow immunoassay, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Vol: 76, Pages: 658-666, 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.
Stafford A, Rimmer S, Gilchrist M, et al., 2023, Use of cidofovir in a patient with severe mpox and uncontrolled HIV infection., Lancet Infect Dis
A 48-year-old man with poorly controlled HIV presented with severe human monkeypox virus (hMPXV) infection, having completed 2 weeks of tecovirimat at another hospital. He had painful, ulcerating skin lesions on most of his body and oropharyngeal cavity, with subsequent Ludwig's angina requiring repeated surgical interventions. Despite commencing a second, prolonged course of tecovirimat, he did not objectively improve, and new lesions were still noted at day 24. Discussion at the UK National Health Service England High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network recommended the use of 3% topical and then intravenous cidofovir, which was given at 5 mg/kg; the patient made a noticeable improvement after the first intravenous dose. He received further intravenous doses at 7 days and 21 days after the dose and was discharged at day 52. Cidofovir is not licensed for use in treatment of hMPXV infection. Data for cidofovir use in hMPXV are restricted to studies in animals. Four other documented cases of cidofovir use against hMPXV have been reported in the USA in 2022, but we present its first use in the UK. The scarcity of studies into the use of cidofovir in this condition clearly shows the need for robust studies to assess efficacy, optimum dosage, timing, and route of administration.
Baltas I, Sturdy A, Kavallieros K, et al., 2023, Diabetes mellitus is not a predictor of poor TB treatment outcomes., Int J Tuberc Lung Dis, Vol: 27, Pages: 140-145
OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether diabetes mellitus (DM) influences TB treatment outcomes.METHODS: This was a retrospective observational cohort study of all notified TB cases from a large London TB centre over a 5-year period. WHO criteria were used to define TB treatment outcomes.RESULTS: The prevalence of DM at TB treatment initiation was 15% (126/838). Most patients (83.3%, 105/126) were on hypoglycaemic treatment and well-controlled (median glycated haemoglobin 53.5 mmol/mol). DM patients were older, more likely to be of Asian ethnicity and had a higher pre-treatment weight. Time from presentation to treatment initiation was longer (median 87.5 vs. 63 days; P < 0.001), while they were significantly more comorbid (median Charlson Comorbidity Index 3 vs. 0; P < 0.001). Overall, favourable treatment outcomes were recorded for 89.5% of patients (87.7% vs. 89.8% for DM and non-DM patients respectively, P = 0.52). In multivariable analysis, DM was not associated with unfavourable TB treatment outcomes (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.23-1.04, P = 0.06). Independent predictors of unfavourable outcome included age, cavitation, chronic neurological disease and malignant neoplasm.CONCLUSIONS: In a well-resourced setting, with predominantly well-controlled DM patients on treatment, DM was not an independent predictor of unfavourable TB treatment outcomes.
Piggott T, Moja L, Akl EA, et al., 2023, Decision criteria for selecting essential medicines and their connection to guidelines: an interpretive descriptive qualitative interview study., J Clin Epidemiol, Vol: 154, Pages: 146-155
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The World Health Organization Model List of Essential Medicines has led to at least 137 national lists. Essential medicines should be grounded in evidence-based guideline recommendations and explicit decision criteria. Essential medicines should be available, accessible, affordable, and the supporting evidence should be accompanied by a rating of the certainty one can place in it. Our objectives were to identify criteria and considerations that should be addressed in moving from a guideline recommendation regarding a medicine to the decision of whether to add, maintain, or remove a medicine from an essential medicines list. We also seek to explore opportunities to improve organizational processes to support evidence-based health decision-making more broadly. METHODS: We conducted a qualitative study with semistructured interviews of key informant stakeholders in the development and use of guidelines and essential medicine lists (EMLs). We used an interpretive descriptive analysis approach and thematic analysis of interview transcripts in NVIVO v12. RESULTS: We interviewed 16 key informants working at national and global levels across all WHO regions. We identified five themes: three descriptive/explanatory themes 1) EMLs and guidelines, the same, but different; 2) EMLs can drive price reductions and improve affordability and access; 3) Time lag and disconnect between guidelines and EMLs; and two prescriptive themes 4) An "evidence pipeline" could improve coordination between guidelines and EMLs; 5) Facilitating the link between the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (WHO EML) and national EMLs could increase alignment. CONCLUSION: We found significant overlap and opportunities for alignment between guideline and essential medicine decision processes. This finding presents opportunities for guideline and EML developers to enhance strategies for collaboration. Future research should assess and evaluate these strategies in practi
Liu Z, Alexander J, LIN K, et al., 2023, Infliximab and tofacitinib attenuate neutralizing antibody responses against SARS-CoV-2 ancestral and Omicron variants in IBD patients following 3 doses of COVID-19 vaccine, Gastroenterology, Vol: 164, Pages: 300-303.e3, ISSN: 0016-5085
Eales O, Page AJ, Tang SN, et al., 2023, The use of representative community samples to assess SARS-CoV-2 lineage competition: Alpha outcompetes Beta and wild-type in England from January to March 2021., Microb Genom, Vol: 9
Genomic surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 lineages informs our understanding of possible future changes in transmissibility and vaccine efficacy and will be a high priority for public health for the foreseeable future. However, small changes in the frequency of one lineage over another are often difficult to interpret because surveillance samples are obtained using a variety of methods all of which are known to contain biases. As a case study, using an approach which is largely free of biases, we here describe lineage dynamics and phylogenetic relationships of the Alpha and Beta variant in England during the first 3 months of 2021 using sequences obtained from a random community sample who provided a throat and nose swab for rt-PCR as part of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study. Overall, diversity decreased during the first quarter of 2021, with the Alpha variant (first identified in Kent) becoming predominant, driven by a reproduction number 0.3 higher than for the prior wild-type. During January, positive samples were more likely to be Alpha in those aged 18 to 54 years old. Although individuals infected with the Alpha variant were no more likely to report one or more classic COVID-19 symptoms compared to those infected with wild-type, they were more likely to be antibody-positive 6 weeks after infection. Further, viral load was higher in those infected with the Alpha variant as measured by cycle threshold (Ct) values. The presence of infections with non-imported Beta variant (first identified in South Africa) during January, but not during February or March, suggests initial establishment in the community followed by fade-out. However, this occurred during a period of stringent social distancing. These results highlight how sequence data from representative community surveys such as REACT-1 can augment routine genomic surveillance during periods of lineage diversity.
Cooper E, Lound A, Atchison CJ, et al., 2023, Awareness and perceptions of Long COVID among people in the REACT programme: early insights from a pilot interview study, PLoS One, Vol: 18, ISSN: 1932-6203
BACKGROUND: Long COVID is a patient-made term describing new or persistent symptoms experienced following SARS-CoV-2 infection. The Real-time Assessment of Community Transmission-Long COVID (REACT-LC) study aims to understand variation in experiences following infection, and to identify biological, social, and environmental factors associated with Long COVID. We undertook a pilot interview study to inform the design, recruitment approach, and topic guide for the REACT-LC qualitative study. We sought to gain initial insights into the experience and attribution of new or persistent symptoms and the awareness or perceived applicability of the term Long COVID. METHODS: People were invited to REACT-LC assessment centres if they had taken part in REACT, a random community-based prevalence study, and had a documented history of SARS-CoV-2 infection. We invited people from REACT-LC assessment centres who had reported experiencing persistent symptoms for more than 12 weeks to take part in an interview. We conducted face to face and online semi-structured interviews which were transcribed and analysed using Thematic Analysis. RESULTS: We interviewed 13 participants (6 female, 7 male, median age 31). Participants reported a wide variation in both new and persistent symptoms which were often fluctuating or unpredictable in nature. Some participants were confident about the link between their persistent symptoms and COVID-19; however, others were unclear about the underlying cause of symptoms or felt that the impact of public health measures (such as lockdowns) played a role. We found differences in awareness and perceived applicability of the term Long COVID. CONCLUSION: This pilot has informed the design, recruitment approach and topic guide for our qualitative study. It offers preliminary insights into the varied experiences of people living with persistent symptoms including differences in symptom attribution and perceived applicability of the term Long COVID. This variation
Sy A, McCabe L, Hudson E, et al., 2023, Utility of a buccal swab point-of-care test for the IFNL4 genotype in the era of direct acting antivirals for hepatitis C virus., PLoS One, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 1932-6203
BACKGROUND: The CC genotype of the IFNL4 gene is known to be associated with increased Hepatitis C (HCV) cure rates with interferon-based therapy and may contribute to cure with direct acting antivirals. The Genedrive® IFNL4 is a CE marked Point of Care (PoC) molecular diagnostic test, designed for in vitro diagnostic use to provide rapid, real-time detection of IFNL4 genotype status for SNP rs12979860. METHODS: 120 Participants were consented to a substudy comparing IFNL4 genotyping results from a buccal swab analysed on the Genedrive® platform with results generated using the Affymetix UK Biobank array considered to be the gold standard. RESULTS: Buccal swabs were taken from 120 participants for PoC IFNL4 testing and a whole blood sample for genetic sequencing. Whole blood genotyping vs. buccal swab PoC testing identified 40 (33%), 65 (54%), and 15 (13%) had CC, CT and TT IFNL4 genotype respectively. The Buccal swab PoC identified 38 (32%) CC, 64 (53%) CT and 18 (15%) TT IFNL4 genotype respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of the buccal swab test to detect CC vs non-CC was 90% (95% CI 76-97%) and 98% (95% CI 91-100%) respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The buccal swab test was better at correctly identifying non-CC genotypes than CC genotypes. The high specificity of the Genedrive® assay prevents CT/TT genotypes being mistaken for CC, and could avoid patients being identified as potentially 'good responders' to interferon-based therapy.
Flower B, Hung LM, Mccabe L, et al., 2023, Efficacy of ultra-short, response-guided sofosbuvir and daclatasvir therapy for hepatitis C in a single-arm mechanistic pilot study., eLife, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-30, ISSN: 2050-084X
BACKGROUND: World Health Organization has called for research into predictive factors for selecting persons who could be successfully treated with shorter durations of direct-acting antiviral (DAA) therapy for hepatitis C. We evaluated early virological response as a means of shortening treatment and explored host, viral and pharmacokinetic contributors to treatment outcome. METHODS: Duration of sofosbuvir and daclatasvir (SOF/DCV) was determined according to day 2 (D2) virologic response for HCV genotype (gt) 1- or 6-infected adults in Vietnam with mild liver disease. Participants received 4- or 8-week treatment according to whether D2 HCV RNA was above or below 500 IU/ml (standard duration is 12 weeks). Primary endpoint was sustained virological response (SVR12). Those failing therapy were retreated with 12 weeks SOF/DCV. Host IFNL4 genotype and viral sequencing was performed at baseline, with repeat viral sequencing if virological rebound was observed. Levels of SOF, its inactive metabolite GS-331007 and DCV were measured on days 0 and 28. RESULTS: Of 52 adults enrolled, 34 received 4 weeks SOF/DCV, 17 got 8 weeks and 1 withdrew. SVR12 was achieved in 21/34 (62%) treated for 4 weeks, and 17/17 (100%) treated for 8 weeks. Overall, 38/51 (75%) were cured with first-line treatment (mean duration 37 days). Despite a high prevalence of putative NS5A-inhibitor resistance-associated substitutions (RASs), all first-line treatment failures cured after retreatment (13/13). We found no evidence treatment failure was associated with host IFNL4 genotype, viral subtype, baseline RAS, SOF or DCV levels. CONCLUSIONS: Shortened SOF/DCV therapy, with retreatment if needed, reduces DAA use in patients with mild liver disease, while maintaining high cure rates. D2 virologic response alone does not adequately predict SVR12 with 4-week treatment. FUNDING: Funded by the Medical Research Council (Grant MR/P025064/1) and The Global Challenges Research 70 Fund (Wellcome Trust Grant 206/29
Rimmer S, Barnacle J, Gibani M, et al., 2023, The clinical presentation of monkeypox: a retrospective case-control study of patients with possible or probable monkeypox in a West London cohort, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol: 126, Pages: 48-53, ISSN: 1201-9712
Objectives: Since May 2022, cases of human monkeypox virus (hMPXV) with human-to-human cross-transmission have significantly increased in non-endemic countries. Our aim was to characterise diagnostic features of patients with confirmed and possible monkeypox to guide future risk stratification, and to describe a virtual care model.Methods: We performed a retrospective case-control study of 140 patients assessed and screened for suspected monkeypox; on hMPXV PCR testing, 70 were confirmed positive and 70 negative. Data were compared to generate odds ratios of demographic and clinical features.Results: Positive patients were predominantly cis-male (99%) and self-identified as gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) (94%). Lymphadenopathy at presentation was associated with a higher likelihood of a positive result (OR 7.69 [95% CI 3.58, 16.51]). Positive patients were more likely to have a rash affecting the genital (OR 5.38 [95% CI 2.57, 11.23]) or buttocks/perianal region (OR 3.79 [1.70, 8.45]) compared with negative controls. 79% of patients engaged with virtual ward follow-up.Conclusions: These data can inform a risk-based approach to management of suspected monkeypox in GBMSM populations. Lymphadenopathy at presentation and the location of the rash were more associated with a positive hMPXV result. Health authorities can consider a virtual ward approach in the hMPXV outbreak.
Liew F, Talwar S, Cross A, et al., 2023, SARS-CoV-2-specific nasal IgA wanes 9 months after hospitalisation with COVID-19 and is not induced by subsequent vaccination, EBioMedicine, Vol: 87, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2352-3964
Background:Most studies of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 focus on circulating antibody, giving limited insights into mucosal defences that prevent viral replication and onward transmission. We studied nasal and plasma antibody responses one year after hospitalisation for COVID-19, including a period when SARS-CoV-2 vaccination was introduced.Methods:In this follow up study, plasma and nasosorption samples were prospectively collected from 446 adults hospitalised for COVID-19 between February 2020 and March 2021 via the ISARIC4C and PHOSP-COVID consortia. IgA and IgG responses to NP and S of ancestral SARS-CoV-2, Delta and Omicron (BA.1) variants were measured by electrochemiluminescence and compared with plasma neutralisation data.Findings:Strong and consistent nasal anti-NP and anti-S IgA responses were demonstrated, which remained elevated for nine months (p < 0.0001). Nasal and plasma anti-S IgG remained elevated for at least 12 months (p < 0.0001) with plasma neutralising titres that were raised against all variants compared to controls (p < 0.0001). Of 323 with complete data, 307 were vaccinated between 6 and 12 months; coinciding with rises in nasal and plasma IgA and IgG anti-S titres for all SARS-CoV-2 variants, although the change in nasal IgA was minimal (1.46-fold change after 10 months, p = 0.011) and the median remained below the positive threshold determined by pre-pandemic controls. Samples 12 months after admission showed no association between nasal IgA and plasma IgG anti-S responses (R = 0.05, p = 0.18), indicating that nasal IgA responses are distinct from those in plasma and minimally boosted by vaccination.Interpretation:The decline in nasal IgA responses 9 months after infection and minimal impact of subsequent vaccination may explain the lack of long-lasting nasal defence against reinfection and the limited effects of vaccination on transmission. These findings highlight the need to develop vaccines that enhance nasal immunity.Funding:This
Fink DL, Callaby H, Luintel A, et al., 2022, Clinical features and management of individuals admitted to hospital with monkeypox and associated complications across the UK: a retrospective cohort study., Lancet Infectious Diseases, ISSN: 1473-3099
BACKGROUND: The scale of the 2022 global mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) outbreak has been unprecedented. In less than 6 months, non-endemic countries have reported more than 67 000 cases of a disease that had previously been rare outside of Africa. Mortality has been reported as rare but hospital admission has been relatively common. We aimed to describe the clinical and laboratory characteristics and outcomes of individuals admitted to hospital with mpox and associated complications, including tecovirimat recipients. METHODS: In this cohort study, we undertook retrospective review of electronic clinical records and pathology data for all individuals admitted between May 6, and Aug 3, 2022, to 16 hospitals from the Specialist and High Consequence Infectious Diseases Network for Monkeypox. The hospitals were located in ten cities in England and Northern Ireland. Inclusion criteria were clinical signs consistent with mpox and MPXV DNA detected from at least one clinical sample by PCR testing. Patients admitted solely for isolation purposes were excluded from the study. Key outcomes included admission indication, complications (including pain, secondary infection, and mortality) and use of antibiotic and anti-viral treatments. Routine biochemistry, haematology, microbiology, and virology data were also collected. Outcomes were assessed in all patients with available data. FINDINGS: 156 individuals were admitted to hospital with complicated mpox during the study period. 153 (98%) were male and three (2%) were female, with a median age of 35 years (IQR 30-44). Gender data were collected from electronic patient records, which encompassed full formal review of clincian notes. The prespecified options for data collection for gender were male, female, trans, non-binary, or unknown. 105 (71%) of 148 participants with available ethnicity data were of White ethnicity and 47 (30%) of 155 were living with HIV with a median CD4 count of 510 cells per mm3 (IQR 349-828).
Lucey O, Acana S, Olupot-Olupot P, et al., 2022, High false discovery rate of the Architect anti-HCV screening test in blood donors in Uganda and evaluation of an algorithm for confirmatory testing, Vox Sanguinis: international journal of transfusion medicine, Vol: 117, Pages: 1360-1367, ISSN: 0042-9007
Background and Objectives:Adequate supplies of donor blood remains a major challenge in sub-Saharan Africa. This is exacerbated by lack of confirmatory testing for transfusion transmitted infections by Blood Transfusion Services (BTS) leading to significant blood disposal owing to putatively high seroprevalence rates amongst Ugandan blood donors. We aimed to ascertain the false discoveryrate of the Architect anti-HCV screening assay, categorise screen-reactive samples into 3 groups: presumed false-positive, active and past infection, and develop an algorithm for confirmatory testing.Materials and Methods:470 screen-reactive HCV blood donations were re-tested using the Architect anti-HCV assay, an alternative antibody test (SD biosensor) and a core antigen test. Sample-to-cut-off (S/CO) ratios and pre-analytical factors (centrifugation speed, haemolysis check, time between collection and testing) were recorded. Based on S/CO ratio evaluation, we propose a testing algorithm to guide supplemental tests.Results:The false discovery rate of the Architect anti-HCV assay was 0.84 as 395/470 (84%) screen-reactive samples had no evidence of HCV infection (SD biosensor and core antigen negative) (presumed false-positive). 38/470 (8.1%) were antigenaemic and 32/470 (6.8%) had evidence of past infection.The median S/CO ratios of the presumed false-positive and active infection samples were 1.8 and 17.3 respectively. The positive predictive value of HCV positivity in samples with ratios above 12 was 91.8%. On re-testing, 104/470 (22.1%) samples became negative.Conclusion:The Architect anti-HCV assay has a very high false discovery rate in Ugandan BTSs leading to excessive blood disposal. Pre-analytical factors likely contribute to this. Introduction of confirmatory testing using an algorithm based on S/CO ratio evaluation could limit unnecessary blood wastage and donor deferral.
Rafferty H, Cann A, Daunt A, et al., 2022, Changing patterns of clinical presentation of COVID-19 in hospital admissions: With, or because of, COVID?, J Infect, Vol: 85, Pages: e181-e183
Eales O, Wang H, Haw D, et al., 2022, Trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence during England’s roadmap out of lockdown, January to July 2021, PLoS Computational Biology, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-16, 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.
Whitaker M, Elliott J, Bodinier B, et al., 2022, Variant-specific symptoms of COVID-19 in a study of 1,542,510 adults in England, Nature Communications, Vol: 13, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2041-1723
Infection with SARS-CoV-2 virus is associated with a wide range of symptoms. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission -1 (REACT-1) study monitored the spread and clinical manifestation of SARS-CoV-2 among random samples of the population in England from 1 May 2020 to 31 March 2022. We show changing symptom profiles associated with the different variants over that period, with lower reporting of loss of sense of smell or taste for Omicron compared to previous variants, and higher reporting of cold-like and influenza-like symptoms, controlling for vaccination status. Contrary to the perception that recent variants have become successively milder, Omicron BA.2 was associated with reporting more symptoms, with greater disruption to daily activities, than BA.1. With restrictions lifted and routine testing limited in many countries, monitoring the changing symptom profiles associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection and effects on daily activities will become increasingly important.
Vink E, Davis C, MacLean A, et al., 2022, Viral coinfections in hospitalized Coronavirus disease 2019 patients recruited to the international severe acute respiratory and emerging infections consortium WHO clinical characterisation protocol UK study, Open Forum Infectious Diseases, Vol: 9, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2328-8957
BackgroundWe conducted this study to assess the prevalence of viral coinfection in a well characterized cohort of hospitalized coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and to investigate the impact of coinfection on disease severity.MethodsMultiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction testing for endemic respiratory viruses was performed on upper respiratory tract samples from 1002 patients with COVID-19, aged <1 year to 102 years old, recruited to the International Severe Acute Respiratory and Emerging Infections Consortium WHO Clinical Characterisation Protocol UK study. Comprehensive demographic, clinical, and outcome data were collected prospectively up to 28 days post discharge.ResultsA coinfecting virus was detected in 20 (2.0%) participants. Multivariable analysis revealed no significant risk factors for coinfection, although this may be due to rarity of coinfection. Likewise, ordinal logistic regression analysis did not demonstrate a significant association between coinfection and increased disease severity.ConclusionsViral coinfection was rare among hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the United Kingdom during the first 18 months of the pandemic. With unbiased prospective sampling, we found no evidence of an association between viral coinfection and disease severity. Public health interventions disrupted normal seasonal transmission of respiratory viruses; relaxation of these measures mean it will be important to monitor the prevalence and impact of respiratory viral coinfections going forward.
Mosscrop L, Watber P, Elliot P, et al., 2022, Evaluation of the impact of pre-analytical conditions on sample stability for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, Journal of Virological Methods, Vol: 309, Pages: 1-5, ISSN: 0166-0934
Demand for accurate SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics is high. Most samples in the UK are collected in the community and rely on the postal service for delivery to the laboratories. The current recommendation remains that swabs should be collected in Viral Transport Media (VTM) and transported with a cold chain to the laboratory for RNA extraction and RT-qPCR. This is not always possible. We aimed to test the stability of SARS-CoV-2 RNA subjected to different pre-analytical conditions. Swabs were dipped into PBS containing cultured SARS-CoV-2 and placed in either a dry tube or a tube containing either normal saline or VTM. The tubes were then stored at different temperatures (20–50 °C) for variable periods (8 h to 5 days). Samples were tested by RT-qPCR targeting SARS-CoV-2 E gene. VTM outperformed swabs in saline and dry swabs in all conditions. Samples in VTM were stable, independent of a cold chain, for 5 days, with a maximum increase in cycle threshold (Ct) of 1.34 when held at 40 °C. Using normal saline as the transport media resulted in a loss of sensitivity (increased Ct) over time and with increasing temperature (up to 7.8 cycles compared to VTM). SARS-CoV-2 was not detected in 3/9 samples in normal saline when tested after 120 h incubation. Transportation of samples in VTM provides a high level of confidence in the results despite the potential for considerable, uncontrolled variation in temperature and longer transportation periods. False negative results may be seen after 96 h in saline and viral loads will appear lower.
Alexander J, Liu Z, Munoz Sandoval D, et al., 2022, COVID-19 vaccine-induced antibody and T cell responses in immunosuppressed patients with inflammatory bowel disease after the third vaccine dose: a multicentre, prospective, case-control study, The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology, Vol: 7, Pages: 1005-1015, ISSN: 2468-1253
Background:COVID-19 vaccine-induced antibody responses are reduced in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) taking anti-TNF or tofacitinib after two vaccine doses. We sought to determine whether immunosuppressive treatments were associated with reduced antibody and T cell responses after a third vaccine dose.Methods:352 adults (72 healthy controls and 280 IBD) were sampled 28-49 days after a third dose of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. IBD medications studied included thiopurines (n=65), infliximab (n=46), thiopurine/infliximab combination therapy (n=49), ustekinumab (n=44), vedolizumab (n=50) or tofacitinib (n=26). SARS-CoV-2 spike antibody binding and T cell responses were measured. Findings:Geometric mean [geometric SD] anti-S1 RBD antibody concentrations increased in all groups following a third dose, but were significantly lower in patients treated with infliximab (2736.8 U/mL [4.3]; P<0.0001), infliximab and thiopurine combination (1818.3 U/mL [6.7]; P<0.0001) and tofacitinib (8071.5 U/mL [3.1]; P=0.0018) compared to controls (16774.2 U/ml [2.6]). There were no significant differences in anti-S1 RBD antibody concentrations between control subjects and thiopurine (12019.7 U/mL [2.2]; P=0.099), ustekinumab (11089.3 U/mL [2.8]; P=0.060), nor vedolizumab treated patients (13564.9 U/mL [2.4]; P=0.27). In multivariable modelling, lower anti-S1 RBD antibody concentrations were independently associated with infliximab (Geometric mean ratio 0.15, 95% CI 0.11-0.21, P<0.0001), tofacitinib (0.52, 95% CI 0.31-0.87, P=0.012) and thiopurine (0.69, 95% CI 0.51-0.95, P=0.021), but not with ustekinumab (0.64, 95% CI 0.39-1.06, P=0.083), or vedolizumab (0.84, 95% CI 0.54-1.30, P=0.43). Previous SARS-CoV-2 infection (1.58, 95% CI 1.22-2.05, P=0.00056) and older age (0.88, 95% CI 0.80-0.97, P=0.0073) were independently associated with higher and lower anti-S1 antibody concentrations respectively. Antigen specific T cell responses were similar in all groups, except for reci
Eales O, Haw D, Wang H, et al., 2022, Quantifying changes in the IFR and IHR over 23 months of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in England
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>The relationship between prevalence of infection and severe outcomes such as hospitalisation and death changed over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study estimated swab positivity in England approximately monthly from May 2020 to 31 March 2022. This period covers widespread circulation of the original strain, the emergence of the Alpha, Delta and Omicron variants and the rollout of England’s mass vaccination campaign.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>Here, we explore this changing relationship between prevalence of swab positivity and the infection fatality rate (IFR) and infection hospitalisation rate (IHR) over 23 months of the pandemic in England, using publicly available data for the daily number of deaths and hospitalisations, REACT-1 swab positivity data, time-delay models and Bayesian P-spline models. We analyse data for all age groups together, as well as in two sub-groups: those aged 65 and over and those aged 64 and under.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>During 2020, we estimated the IFR to be 0.67% and the IHR to be 2.6%. By late-2021/early-2022 the IFR and IHR had both decreased to 0.097% and 0.76% respectively. Continuous estimates of the IFR and IHR of the virus were observed to increase during the periods of Alpha and Delta’s emergence. During periods of vaccination rollout, and the emergence of the Omicron variant, the IFR and IHR of the virus decreased. During 2020, we estimated a time-lag of 19 days between hospitalisation and swab positivity, and 26 days between deaths and swab positivity. By late-2021/early-2022 these time-lags had decreased to 7 days for hospitalisations, and 18 days for deaths.</jats:
Chadeau-Hyam M, Tang D, Eales O, et 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.
Raya RP, Curtis H, Kulasegaram R, et al., 2022, The British HIV Association national clinical audit 2021: Management of HIV and hepatitis C coinfection, HIV MEDICINE, ISSN: 1464-2662
Eales O, Ainslie KEC, Walters CE, et 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.
Elliott P, Eales O, Bodinier B, et 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.
Eales O, Martins LDO, Page AJ, et 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’.
Eales O, Wang H, Bodinier B, et 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.
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