Imperial College London

Dr Juliette Unwin

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

Imperial College Research Fellow
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 3946h.unwin

 
 
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Location

 

UG1247 Praed StreetSt Mary's Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

66 results found

Imai N, Gaythorpe K, Bhatia S, Mangal T, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Unwin H, Jauneikaite E, Ferguson NMet al., 2022, COVID-19 in Japan, January – March 2020: insights from the first three months of the epidemic, BMC Infectious Diseases, ISSN: 1471-2334

Journal article

Unwin HJT, Hillis S, Cluver L, Flaxman S, Goldman PS, Butchart A, Bachman G, Rawlings L, Donnelly CA, Ratmann O, Green P, Nelson CA, Blenkinsop A, Bhatt S, Desmond C, Villaveces A, Sherr Let al., 2022, Global, regional, and national minimum estimates of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death, by age and family circumstance up to Oct 31, 2021: an updated modelling study, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2352-4642

BACKGROUND: In the 6 months following our estimates from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, the proliferation of new coronavirus variants, updated mortality data, and disparities in vaccine access increased the amount of children experiencing COVID-19-associated orphanhood. To inform responses, we aimed to model the increases in numbers of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death, as well as the cumulative orphanhood age-group distribution and circumstance (maternal or paternal orphanhood). METHODS: We used updated excess mortality and fertility data to model increases in minimum estimates of COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver deaths from our original study period of March 1, 2020-April 30, 2021, to include the new period of May 1-Oct 31, 2021, for 21 countries. Orphanhood was defined as the death of one or both parents; primary caregiver loss included parental death or the death of one or both custodial grandparents; and secondary caregiver loss included co-residing grandparents or kin. We used logistic regression and further incorporated a fixed effect for western European countries into our previous model to avoid over-predicting caregiver loss in that region. For the entire 20-month period, we grouped children by age (0-4 years, 5-9 years, and 10-17 years) and maternal or paternal orphanhood, using fertility contributions, and we modelled global and regional extrapolations of numbers of orphans. 95% credible intervals (CrIs) are given for all estimates. FINDINGS: The number of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death is estimated to have increased by 90·0% (95% CrI 89·7-90·4) from April 30 to Oct 31, 2021, from 2 737 300 (95% CrI 1 976 100-2 987 000) to 5 200 300 (3 619 400-5 731 400). Between March 1, 2020, and Oct 31, 2021, 491 300 (95% CrI 485 100-497 900) children

Journal article

Okell L, Brazeau NF, Verity R, Jenks S, Fu H, Whittaker C, Winskill P, Dorigatti I, Walker P, Riley S, Schnekenberg RP, Hoeltgebaum H, Mellan TA, Mishra S, Unwin H, Watson O, Cucunuba Z, Baguelin M, Whittles L, Bhatt S, Ghani A, Ferguson Net al., 2022, Estimating the COVID-19 infection fatality ratio accounting for seroreversion using statistical modelling, Communications Medicine, ISSN: 2730-664X

Background: The infection fatality ratio (IFR) is a key statistic for estimating the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and has been continuously debated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The age-specific IFR can be quantified using antibody surveys to estimate total infections, but requires consideration of delay-distributions from time from infection to seroconversion, time to death, and time to seroreversion (i.e. antibody waning) alongside serologic test sensitivity and specificity. Previous IFR estimates have not fully propagated uncertainty or accounted for these potential biases, particularly seroreversion. Methods: We built a Bayesian statistical model that incorporates these factors and applied this model to simulated data and 10 serologic studies from different countries. Results: We demonstrate that seroreversion becomes a crucial factor as time accrues but is less important during first-wave, short-term dynamics. We additionally show that disaggregating surveys by regions with higher versus lower disease burden can inform serologic test specificity estimates. The overall IFR in each setting was estimated at 0.49 -2.53%.Conclusion: We developed a robust statistical framework to account for full uncertainties in the parameters determining IFR. We provide code for others to apply these methods to further datasets and future epidemics.

Journal article

Imai N, Gaythorpe KAM, Bhatia S, Mangal TD, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Unwin HJT, Jauneikaite E, Ferguson NMet al., 2022, COVID-19 in Japan: insights from the first three months of the epidemic, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

BackgroundUnderstanding the characteristics and natural history of novel pathogens is crucial to inform successful control measures. Japan was one of the first affected countries in the COVID-19 pandemic reporting their first case on 14 January 2020. Interventions including airport screening, contact tracing, and cluster investigations were quickly implemented. Here we present insights from the first 3 months of the epidemic in Japan based on detailed case data. MethodsWe conducted descriptive analyses based on information systematically extracted from individual case reports from 13 January to 31 March 2020 including patient demographics, date of report and symptom onset, symptom progression, travel history, and contact type. We analysed symptom progression and estimated the time-varying reproduction number, Rt, correcting for epidemic growth using an established Bayesian framework. Key delays and the age-specific probability of transmission were estimated using data on exposures and transmission pairs. ResultsThe corrected fitted mean onset-to-reporting delay after the peak was 4 days (standard deviation: ±2 days). Early transmission was driven primarily by returning travellers with Rt peaking at 2.4 (95%CrI:1.6, 3.3) nationally. In the final week of the trusted period, Rt accounting for importations diverged from overall Rt at 1.1 (95% CrI: 1.0, 1.2) compared to 1.5 (95% CrI: 1.3, 1.6) respectively. Household (39.0%) and workplace (11.6%) exposures were the most frequently reported potential source of infection. The estimated probability of transmission was assortative by age. Across all age groups, cases most frequently onset with cough, fever, and fatigue. There were no reported cases of patients <20 years old developing pneumonia or severe respiratory symptoms.ConclusionsInformation collected in the early phases of an outbreak are important in characterising any novel pathogen. Timely recognition of key symptoms and high-risk settings for transmi

Working paper

Unwin HJT, Smith ES, Churcher TS, Ghani ACet al., 2022, Quantifying the direct and indirect protection provided by insecticide treated bed nets against malaria

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Long lasting insecticide treated mosquito nets (LLINs) provide both direct and indirect protection against bites from mosquitoes potentially transmitting malaria. Direct personal protection is provided to net users given both the net’s physical barrier and its insecticidal action. Indirect mass protection for the community is afforded through reduced infectious bites per person annually (entomological inoculation rate, EIR). Quantifying these protective effects can help strategize options for net interventions, particularly as insecticide-resistant mosquitoes spread.</jats:p><jats:p>These types of protection are inherently linked, rendering it impossible to empirically quantify the contribution of each to the overall ‘community effect’, instead we investigate this with a modelling framework and compare model predictions to trends with Demographic Health Survey (DHS) data.</jats:p><jats:p>Our modelling exercise predicts that in a situation with an EIR of 100, the reduction in EIR from an untreated net used by 80% of the population is 52% [95% CI: 12% - 84%] for users and 21% [95% CI: 0% - 57%] for non-users. Due to the impact of the insecticide, the reduction in EIR for LLINs is 89% [95% CI: 67% - 98%] for users and 74% [95% CI: 48% - 92%] for non-users, but this protection reduces as insecticide resistance in mosquitoes increases. Modelled trends in the difference in protection between users and non-users across endemicity and net usage levels are consistent with DHS data (2000-2018).</jats:p><jats:p>This study supports the concept of a community effect from LLINs, highlights the value of blocking and killing mosquitoes for community protection. Achieving high LLIN usage is always preferential, but there remains protection to non-users as the number of people using nets increases.</jats:p>

Journal article

Unwin HJ, Hillis S, Cluver L, Flaxman S, Goldman P, Butchart A, Bachman G, Rawlings L, Donnelly C, Ratmann O, Green P, Nelson C, Blenkinsop A, Bhatt S, Desmond C, Villaveces A, Sherr Let al., 2022, More than 5.2 million children affected by global surges in COVID-associated orphanhood and caregiver death: new evidence for national responses, The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, ISSN: 2352-4642

Background: In the past six months, proliferation of new coronavirus variants, updated mortality data, and disparities in vaccine access have increased estimates of children experiencing COVID-19-associated orphanhood. To inform responses, we modelled increases in numbers of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death; and cumulative orphanhood age-group distribution and circumstance (maternal/paternal).Methods: We used updated excess mortality and fertility data to model increases in minimum estimates of COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver deaths between May 1,2021 — October 31, 2021, for 21 countries. Using yearly fertility contributions, we grouped children by age (0-4, 5-9, 10-17), maternal/paternal orphanhood, and modelled global and regional extrapolations. Findings: The number of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death increased by 90% from April 30 to October 31, 2021: from 2,737,300 [95% CrI 1,976,100- 2,987,000] to 5,209,000 [95% CrI 3,751,400-5,826,300]. From March 1, 2020 - October 31, 2021, 491,900 [95% CrI 485,800 - 498,300] children ages 0-4, 737,700 [95% 727,600 - 747,100] children 5-9, and 2,149,100 [95% CrI 2,123,400 - 2,176,800] children 10-17 experienced COVID associated parental death. In each age-group/region, paternal orphanhood prevalence exceeded maternal orphanhood for children 0-4, 11.5% vs. 3.1%, children 5-9, 17.0% vs. 4.8%, and children 10-17, 48.0% vs. 15.6% respectively.Interpretation: Our findings show that numbers of children affected by COVID-associated orphanhood almost doubled in 6 months compared to the first 14 months of the pandemic with 5.0 million COVID-19 deaths and 5.2 million children having lost a parent or caregiver over the entire 20-month period. We provide data on children’s ages and circumstances, to support response planning for children globally.

Journal article

Hillis S, Blenkinsop A, Villaveces A, Annor F, Liburd L, Massetti G, Demissie Z, Mercy J, Nelson C, Cluver L, Flaxman S, Sherr L, Donnelly C, Ratmann O, Unwin Jet al., 2021, COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death in the United States, Pediatrics, Vol: 148, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 0031-4005

Background: Most COVID-19 deaths occur among adults, not children, and attention has focused on mitigating COVID-19 burden among adults. However, a tragic consequence of adult deaths is that high numbers of children might lose their parents and caregivers to COVID-19-associated deaths.Methods: We quantified COVID-19-associated caregiver loss and orphanhood in the US and for each state using fertility and excess and COVID-19 mortality data. We assessed burden and rates of COVID-19-associated orphanhood and deaths of custodial and co-residing grandparents, overall and by race/ethnicity. We further examined variations in COVID-19-associated orphanhood by race/ethnicity for each state. Results: We found that from April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, over 140,000 children in the US experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver. The risk of such loss was 1.1 to 4.5 times higher among children of racial and ethnic minorities, compared to Non-Hispanic White children. The highest burden of COVID-19-associated death of parents and caregivers occurred in Southern border states for Hispanic children, Southeastern states for Black children, and in states with tribal areas for American Indian/Alaska Native populations.Conclusions: We found substantial disparities in distributions of COVID-19-associated death of parents and caregivers across racial and ethnic groups. Children losing caregivers to COVID-19 need care and safe, stable, and nurturing families with economic support, quality childcare and evidence-based parenting support programs. There is an urgent need to mount an evidence-based comprehensive response focused on those children at greatest risk, in the states most affected.

Journal article

Unwin H, Mwandigha L, Winskill P, Ghani A, Hogan Aet al., 2021, Analysis of the potential for a malaria vaccine to reduce gaps in malaria intervention coverage, Malaria Journal, Vol: 20, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 1475-2875

BackgroundThe RTS,S/AS01 malaria vaccine is currently being evaluated in a cluster-randomized pilot implementation programme in three African countries. This study seeks to identify whether vaccination could reach additional children who are at risk from malaria but do not currently have access to, or use, core malaria interventions.MethodsUsing data from household surveys, the overlap between malaria intervention coverage and childhood vaccination (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis dose 3, DTP3) uptake in 20 African countries with at least one first administrative level unit with Plasmodium falciparum parasite prevalence greater than 10% was calculated. Multilevel logistic regression was used to explore patterns of overlap by demographic and socioeconomic variables. The public health impact of delivering RTS,S/AS01 to those children who do not use an insecticide-treated net (ITN), but who received the DTP3 vaccine, was also estimated.ResultsUptake of DTP3 was higher than malaria intervention coverage in most countries. Overall, 34% of children did not use ITNs and received DTP3, while 35% of children used ITNs and received DTP3, although this breakdown varied by country. It was estimated that there are 33 million children in these 20 countries who do not use an ITN. Of these, 23 million (70%) received the DTP3 vaccine. Vaccinating those 23 million children who receive DTP3 but do not use an ITN could avert up to an estimated 9.7 million (range 8.5–10.8 million) clinical malaria cases each year, assuming all children who receive DTP3 are administered all four RTS,S doses. An additional 10.8 million (9.5–12.0 million) cases could be averted by vaccinating those 24 million children who receive the DTP3 vaccine and use an ITN. Children who had access to or used an ITN were 9–13% more likely to reside in rural areas compared to those who had neither intervention regardless of vaccination status. Mothers’ education status was a strong predictor of inte

Journal article

Pan Y, Zhang L, Unwin H, Skibniewskid MJet al., 2021, Discovering spatial-temporal patterns via complex networks in investigating COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Sustainable Cities and Society, ISSN: 2210-6707

A novel approach combining time series analysis and complex network theory is proposed to deeply explore characteristics of the COVID-19 pandemic in some parts of the United States (US). It merges as a new way to provide a systematic view and complementary information of COVID-19 progression in the US, enabling evidence-based responses towards pandemic intervention and prevention. To begin with, the Principal Component Analysis (PCA) varimax is adopted to fuse observed time-series data about the pandemic evolution in each state across the US. Then, relationships between the pandemic progress of two individual states are measured by different synchrony metrics, which can then be mapped into networks under unique topological characteristics. Lastly, the hidden knowledge in the established networks can be revealed from different perspectives by network structure measurement, community detection, and online random forest, which helps to inform data-driven decisions for battling the pandemic. It has been found that states gathered in the same community by diffusion entropy reducer (DER) are prone to be geographically close and share a similar pattern and tendency of COVID-19 evolution. Social factors regarding the political party, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and population density are possible to be significantly associated with the two detected communities within a constructed network. Moreover, the cluster-specific predictor based on online random forest and sliding window is proven useful in dynamically capturing and predicting the epidemiological trends for each community, which can reach the highest R square of 0.887.

Journal article

Bhatia S, Parag K, Wardle J, Imai N, Elsland SV, Lassmann B, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Jauneikaite E, Unwin HJ, Riley S, Ferguson N, Donnelly C, Cori A, Nouvellet Pet al., 2021, Global predictions of short- to medium-term COVID-19 transmission trends : a retrospective assessment

<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title> <jats:p>From 8th March to 29th November 2020, we produced weekly estimates of SARS-CoV-2 transmissibility and forecasts of deaths due to COVID-19 for 81 countries with evidence of sustained transmission. We also developed a novel heuristic to combine weekly estimates of transmissibility to produce forecasts over a 4-week horizon. We evaluated the robustness of the forecasts using relative error, coverage probability, and comparisons with null models. During the 39-week period covered by this study, both the short- and medium-term forecasts captured well the epidemic trajectory across different waves of COVID-19 infections with small relative errors over the forecast horizon. The model was well calibrated with 56.3\% and 45.6\% of the observations lying in the 50\% Credible Interval in 1-week and 4-week ahead forecasts respectively. We could accurately characterise the overall phase of the epidemic up to 4-weeks ahead in 84.9\% of country-days. The medium-term forecasts can be used in conjunction with the short-term forecasts of COVID-19 mortality as a useful planning tool as countries continue to relax public health measures.</jats:p>

Journal article

Dorigatti I, Lavezzo E, Manuto L, Ciavarella C, Pacenti M, Boldrin C, Cattai M, Saluzzo F, Franchin E, Del Vecchio C, Caldart F, Castelli G, Nicoletti M, Nieddu E, Salvadoretti E, Labella B, Fava L, Guglielmo S, Fascina M, Grazioli M, Alvisi G, Vanuzzo MC, Zupo T, Calandrin R, Lisi V, Rossi L, Castagliuolo I, Merigliano S, Unwin HJT, Plebani M, Padoan A, Brazzale AR, Toppo S, Ferguson NM, Donnelly CA, Crisanti Aet al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 antibody dynamics and transmission from community-wide serological testing in the Italian municipality of Vo' (vol 12, 4383, 2021), NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 12

Journal article

Mishra S, Scott JA, Laydon DJ, Flaxman S, Gandy A, Mellan TA, Unwin HJT, Vollmer M, Coupland H, Ratmann O, Monod M, Zhu HH, Cori A, Gaythorpe KAM, Whittles LK, Whittaker C, Donnelly CA, Ferguson NM, Bhatt Set al., 2021, Comparing the responses of the UK, Sweden and Denmark to COVID-19 using counterfactual modelling, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2045-2322

The UK and Sweden have among the worst per-capita COVID-19 mortality in Europe. Sweden stands out for its greater reliance on voluntary, rather than mandatory, control measures. We explore how the timing and effectiveness of control measures in the UK, Sweden and Denmark shaped COVID-19 mortality in each country, using a counterfactual assessment: what would the impact have been, had each country adopted the others’ policies? Using a Bayesian semi-mechanistic model without prior assumptions on the mechanism or effectiveness of interventions, we estimate the time-varying reproduction number for the UK, Sweden and Denmark from daily mortality data. We use two approaches to evaluate counterfactuals which transpose the transmission profile from one country onto another, in each country’s first wave from 13th March (when stringent interventions began) until 1st July 2020. UK mortality would have approximately doubled had Swedish policy been adopted, while Swedish mortality would have more than halved had Sweden adopted UK or Danish strategies. Danish policies were most effective, although differences between the UK and Denmark were significant for one counterfactual approach only. Our analysis shows that small changes in the timing or effectiveness of interventions have disproportionately large effects on total mortality within a rapidly growing epidemic.

Journal article

Olney A, Smith J, Sen S, Thomas F, Unwin Het al., 2021, Estimating the effect of social distancing Interventions on COVID-19 in the United States, American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 190, Pages: 1504-1509, ISSN: 0002-9262

Since its global emergence in 2020, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused multiple epidemics in the United States. When medical treatments for the virus were still emerging and a vaccine was not yet available, state and local governments sought to limit its spread by enacting various social-distancing interventions, such as school closures and lockdowns; however, the effectiveness of these interventions was unknown. We applied an established, semimechanistic Bayesian hierarchical model of these interventions to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 from Europe to the United States, using case fatalities from February 29, 2020, up to April 25, 2020, when some states began reversing their interventions. We estimated the effects of interventions across all states, contrasted the estimated reproduction numbers before and after lockdown for each state, and contrasted the predicted number of future fatalities with the actual number of fatalities as a check of the model’s validity. Overall, school closures and lockdowns were the only interventions modeled that had a reliable impact on the time-varying reproduction number, and lockdown appears to have played a key role in reducing that number to below 1.0. We conclude that reversal of lockdown without implementation of additional, equally effective interventions will enable continued, sustained transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States.

Journal article

Mishra S, Mindermann S, Sharma M, Whittaker C, Mellan TA, Wilton T, Klapsa D, Mate R, Fritzsche M, Zambon M, Ahuja J, Howes A, Miscouridou X, Nason GP, Ratmann O, Semenova E, Leech G, Sandkuehler JF, Rogers-Smith C, Vollmer M, Unwin HJT, Gal Y, Chand M, Gandy A, Martin J, Volz E, Ferguson NM, Bhatt S, Brauner JM, Flaxman Set al., 2021, Changing composition of SARS-CoV-2 lineages and rise of Delta variant in England, ECLINICALMEDICINE, Vol: 39

Journal article

Hillis S, Unwin H, Chen Y, Cluver L, Sherr L, Goldman P, Ratmann O, Donnelly C, Bhatt S, Villaveces A, Butchart A, Bachman G, Rawlings L, Green P, Nelson C, Flaxman Set al., 2021, Global minimum estimates of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and deaths of caregivers: a modelling study, The Lancet, Vol: 398, Pages: 391-402, ISSN: 0140-6736

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic response has focused on prevention, detection, and response. Beyond morbidity and mortality, pandemics carry secondary impacts, such as children orphaned or bereft of their caregivers. Such children often face adverse consequences, including poverty, abuse, and institutionalization. We provide estimates for the magnitude of this problem resulting from COVID-19 and describe the need for resource allocation.Methods: We use mortality and fertility data to model minimum estimates and rates of COVID-19-associated orphanhood (death of 1 or both parents) and deaths of custodial and co-residing grandparents for 21 countries. We use these estimates to model global extrapolations for the number of children experiencing COVID-19-associated deaths of parents and grandparents ages 60-84.Results: Globally, from March 1, 2020-March 31, 2021, we estimate 974,000 children experienced death of primary caregivers, including parents or custodial grandparents; >1.3 million experienced death of primary caregivers and co-residing grandparents (or kin). Countries with rates of primary caregiver deaths >1/1000 children included Peru, South Africa, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, I.R. Iran, U.S.A., and Russia (range, 1.0-8.5/1000). Numbers of children orphaned exceeded numbers of deaths among those aged 15 – 44; 2 – 5 times more children had deceased fathers than deceased mothers. Conclusions: Orphanhood and caregiver deaths are a hidden pandemic resulting from COVID-19-associated deaths. Accelerating equitable vaccine delivery is key to prevention. Psychosocial and economic support can help families nurture children bereft of caregivers and help ensure institutionalization is avoided. These data demonstrate the need for an additional pillar of our response: prevent, detect, respond, and care for children.

Journal article

Dorigatti I, Lavezzo E, Manuto L, Ciavarella C, Pacenti M, Boldrin C, Cattai M, Saluzzo F, Franchin E, Del Vecchio C, Caldart F, Castelli G, Nicoletti M, Nieddu E, Salvadoretti E, Labella B, Fava L, Guglielmo S, Gascina M, Grazioli M, Alvisi G, Vanuzzo MC, Zupo T, Calandrin R, Lisi V, Rossi L, Castagliuolo I, Merigliano S, Unwin J, Plebani M, Padoan A, Brazzale AR, Toppo S, Ferguson N, Donnelly C, Crisanti Aet al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 antibody dynamics and transmission from community-wide serological testing in the Italian municipality of Vo’, Nature Communications, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2041-1723

In February and March 2020, two mass swab testing campaigns were conducted in Vo’, Italy. In May 2020, we tested 86% of the Vo’ population with three immuno-assays detecting antibodies against the spike and nucleocapsid antigens, a neutralisation assay and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Subjects testing positive to PCR in February/March or a serological assay in May were tested again in November. Here we report on the results of the analysis of the May and November surveys. We estimate a seroprevalence of 3.5% (95% Credible Interval (CrI): 2.8%-4.3%) in May. In November, 98.8% (95% Confidence Interval (CI): 93.7%-100.0%) of sera which tested positive in May still reacted against at least one antigen; 18.6% (95%CI:11.0%-28.5%) showed an increase of antibody or neutralisation reactivity from May. Analysis of the serostatus of the members of 1,118 households indicates a 26.0% (95%CrI:17.2%-36.9%) Susceptible-Infectious Transmission Probability. Contact tracing had limited impact on epidemic suppression.

Journal article

Routledge I, Unwin HJT, Bhatt S, 2021, Inference of malaria reproduction numbers in three elimination settings by combining temporal data and distance metrics, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2045-2322

Journal article

Gaythorpe K, Bhatia S, Mangal T, Unwin H, Imai N, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Walters C, Jauneikaite E, Bayley H, Kont M, Mousa A, Whittles L, Riley S, Ferguson Net al., 2021, Children’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review of early surveillance data on susceptibility, severity, and transmissibility, Scientific Reports, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-14, ISSN: 2045-2322

Background: SARS-CoV-2 infections have been reported in all age groups including infants, children, and adolescents. However, the role of children in the COVID-19 pandemic is still uncertain. This systematic review of early studies synthesises evidence on the susceptibility of children to SARS-CoV-2 infection, the severity and clinical outcomes in children with SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2 by children in the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods and findings: A systematic literature review was conducted in PubMed. Reviewers extracted data from relevant, peer-reviewed studies published up to July 4th 2020 during the first wave of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak using a standardised form and assessed quality using the NIH Quality Assessment Tool for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies. For studies included in the meta-analysis, we used a random effects model to calculate pooled estimates of the proportion of children considered asymptomatic or in a severe or critical state. We identified 2,775 potential studies of which 128 studies met our inclusion criteria; data were extracted from 99, which were then quality assessed. Finally, 29 studies were considered for the meta-analysis that included information of symptoms and/or severity, these were further assessed based on patient recruitment. Our pooled estimate of the proportion of test positive children who were asymptomatic was 21.1% (95% CI: 14.0 - 28.1%), based on 13 included studies, and the proportion of children with severe or critical symptoms was 3.8% (95% CI: 1.5 - 6.0%), based on 14 included studies. We did not identify any studies designed to assess transmissibility in children and found that susceptibility to infection in children was highly variable across studies.Conclusions: Children’s susceptibility to infection and onward transmissibility relative to adults is still unclear and varied widely between studies. However, it is evident that most children e

Journal article

Smith TP, Flaxman S, Gallinat AS, Kinosian SP, Stemkovski M, Unwin HJT, Watson OJ, Whittaker C, Cattarino L, Dorigatti I, Tristem M, Pearse WDet al., 2021, Temperature and population density influence SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the absence of nonpharmaceutical interventions, PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Vol: 118, ISSN: 0027-8424

Journal article

Mishra S, Mindermann S, Sharma M, Whittaker C, Mellan T, Wilton T, Klapsa D, Mate R, Fritzsche M, Zambon M, Ahuja J, Howes A, Miscouridou X, Nason G, Ratmann O, Leech G, Fabienne Sandkühler J, Rogers-Smith C, Vollmer M, Unwin H, Gal Y, Chand M, Gandy A, Martin J, Volz E, Ferguson N, Bhatt S, Brauner J, Flaxman Set al., 2021, Report 44: Recent trends in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in England, Report 44: Recent trends in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in England, Publisher: Imperial College London, 44

Since its emergence in Autumn 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 rapidly became the dominant lineage across much of Europe. Simultaneously, several other VOCs were identified globally. Unlike B.1.1.7, some of these VOCs possess mutations thought to confer partial immune escape. Understanding when, whether, and how these additional VOCs pose a threat in settings where B.1.1.7 is currently dominant is vital. This is particularly true for England, which has high coverage from vaccines that are likely more protective against B.1.1.7 than some other VOCs. We examine trends in B.1.1.7’s prevalence in London and other English regions using passive-case detection PCR data, cross-sectional community infection surveys, genomic surveillance, and wastewater monitoring. Our results suggest shifts in the composition of SARS-CoV-2 lineages driving transmission in England between March and April 2021. Local transmission of non-B.1.1.7 VOCs may be increasing; this warrants urgent further investigation.

Report

Mishra S, Mindermann S, Sharma M, Whittaker C, Mellan T, Wilton T, Klapsa D, Mate R, Fritzsche M, Zambon M, Ahuja J, Howes A, Miscouridou X, Nason G, Ratmann O, Leech G, Fabienne Sandkühler J, Rogers-Smith C, Vollmer M, Unwin H, Gal Y, Chand M, Gandy A, Martin J, Volz E, Ferguson N, Bhatt S, Brauner J, Flaxman Set al., 2021, Report 44: Recent trends in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in England, Report 44: Recent trends in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern in England, Publisher: Imperial College London, 44

Since its emergence in Autumn 2020, the SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.1.7 rapidly became the dominant lineage across much of Europe. Simultaneously, several other VOCs were identified globally. Unlike B.1.1.7, some of these VOCs possess mutations thought to confer partial immune escape. Understanding when, whether, and how these additional VOCs pose a threat in settings where B.1.1.7 is currently dominant is vital. This is particularly true for England, which has high coverage from vaccines that are likely more protective against B.1.1.7 than some other VOCs. We examine trends in B.1.1.7’s prevalence in London and other English regions using passive-case detection PCR data, cross-sectional community infection surveys, genomic surveillance, and wastewater monitoring. Our results suggest shifts in the composition of SARS-CoV-2 lineages driving transmission in England between March and April 2021. Local transmission of non-B.1.1.7 VOCs may be increasing; this warrants urgent further investigation.

Report

Dorigatti I, Lavezzo E, Manuto L, Ciavarella C, Pacenti M, Boldrin C, Cattai M, Saluzzo F, Franchin E, Del Vecchio C, Caldart F, Castelli G, Nicoletti M, Nieddu E, Salvadoretti E, Labella B, Fava L, Guglielmo S, Fascina M, Alvisi G, Vanuzzo MC, Zupo T, Calandrin R, Lisi V, Rossi L, Castigliuolo I, Merigliano S, Unwin HJT, Plebani M, Padoan A, Brazzale AR, Toppo S, Ferguson NM, Donnelly C, Crisanti Aet al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 antibody dynamics, within-household transmission and the impact of contact tracing from community-wide serological testing in the Italian Municipality of Vo’, Publisher: Elsevier BV

Background: In February and Mach 2020, two mass swab testing campaigns conducted in Vo’, Italy demonstrated the extent of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and the feasibility of epidemic suppression.Methods: We tested 86% of the Vo’ population (2,602 subjects) in May with three immuno-assays detecting antibodies against the spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) antigens, a neutralisation assay and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Subjects testing positive to PCR in February/March or a serological assay in May were tested again in November.Findings: Combining the results obtained with the three assays, we estimate a seroprevalence of 3.5% (95% Credible Interval (CrI) 2.8%-4.3%) in May. In November, all assays showed a reduction in antibody titres, though 98.8% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 93.7%-100.0%) of sera still reacted against at least one antigen. Conversely, 18.6% (95% CI 11.0%-28.5%) showed a marked increase of antibody or viral neutralisation reactivity between May and November, linked to documented or likely re-exposures. We found significant differences in the magnitude and persistence of the antibody response by age group but not by symptom occurrence, hospitalisation, or sex. Analysis of the serostatus of 1,118 households indicated a 27.3% (95% CrI 19.2%-34.6%) probability of SARS-CoV-2 transmission among household members and that 81.8% (95% CrI 55.9%-95.2%) of transmission could be attributed to 20% of infections. Contact tracing correctly identified 44% of the infected subjects and had limited impact on the epidemic.Interpretation: We find evidence of antibody persistence up to nine months post infection. Different assays provided significantly different seroprevalence estimates, making it challenging to compare seroprevalence estimates globally. Due to the high population susceptibility and the limited impact of contact tracing, rigorous testing and improvements in contact tracing are essential to control SARS-CoV-2.Funding: Veneto Region, Med

Working paper

Watson O, Alhaffar M, Mehchy Z, Whittaker C, Akil Z, Brazeau N, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Hamlet A, Thompson H, Baguelin M, Fitzjohn R, Knock E, Lees J, Whittles L, Mellan T, Winskill P, COVID-19 Response Team IC, Howard N, Clapham H, Checchi F, Ferguson N, Ghani A, Walker P, Beals Eet al., 2021, Leveraging community mortality indicators to infer COVID-19 mortality and transmission dynamics in Damascus, Syria, Nature Communications, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2041-1723

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial mortality worldwide. However, to date, countries in the Middle East and Africa have reported considerably lower mortality rates than in Europe and the Americas. Motivated by reports of an overwhelmed health system, we estimate the likely under-ascertainment of COVID-19 mortality in Damascus, Syria. Using all-cause mortality data, we fit a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission to reported mortality, estimating that 1.25% of COVID-19 deaths (sensitivity range 1.00% – 3.00%) have been reported as of 2 September 2020. By 2 September, we estimate that 4,380 (95% CI: 3,250 – 5,550) COVID-19 deaths in Damascus may have been missed, with 39.0% (95% CI: 32.5% – 45.0%) of the population in Damascus estimated to have been infected. Accounting for under-ascertainment corroborates reports of exceeded hospital bed capacity and is validated by community-uploaded obituary notifications, which confirm extensive unreported mortality in Damascus.

Journal article

Unwin HJT, Routledge I, Flaxman S, Rizoiu M-A, Lai S, Cohen J, Weiss DJ, Mishra S, Bhatt Set al., 2021, Using Hawkes Processes to model imported and local malaria cases in near-elimination settings, PLOS COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, Vol: 17, ISSN: 1553-734X

Journal article

Unwin HJT, Cori A, Imai N, Gaythorpe KAM, Bhatia S, Cattarino L, Donnelly CA, Ferguson NM, Baguelin Met al., 2021, Using next generation matrices to estimate the proportion of infections that are not detected in an outbreak

<jats:p>Contact tracing, where exposed individuals are followed up to break ongoing transmission chains, is a key pillar of outbreak response for infectious disease outbreaks. Unfortunately, these systems are not fully effective, and infections can still go undetected as people may not remember all their contacts or contacts may not be traced successfully. A large proportion of undetected infections suggests poor contact tracing and surveillance systems, which could be a potential area of improvement for a disease response. In this paper, we present a method for estimating the proportion of infections that are not detected during an outbreak. Our method uses next generation matrices that are parameterized by linked contact tracing data and case line-lists. We validate the method using simulated data from an individual-based model and then investigate two case studies: the proportion of undetected infections in the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in New Zealand during 2020 and the Ebola epidemic in Guinea during 2014. We estimate that only 5.26% of SARS-CoV-2 infections were not detected in New Zealand during 2020 (95% credible interval: 0.243 – 16.0%) but depending on assumptions 39.0% or 37.7% of Ebola infections were not detected in Guinea (95% credible intervals: 1.69 – 87.0% or 1.7 – 80.9%).</jats:p>

Journal article

Nouvellet P, Bhatia S, Cori A, Ainslie K, Baguelin M, Bhatt S, Boonyasiri A, Brazeau N, Cattarino L, Cooper L, Coupland H, Cucunuba Perez Z, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Dighe A, Djaafara A, Dorigatti I, Eales O, van Elsland S, NASCIMENTO F, Fitzjohn R, Gaythorpe K, Geidelberg L, green W, Hamlet A, Hauck K, Hinsley W, Imai N, Jeffrey, Jeffrey B, Knock E, Laydon D, Lees J, Mangal T, Mellan T, Nedjati Gilani G, Parag K, Pons Salort M, Ragonnet-Cronin M, Riley S, Unwin H, Verity R, Vollmer M, Volz E, Walker P, Walters C, Wang H, Watson O, Whittaker C, Whittles L, Xi X, Ferguson N, Donnelly Cet al., 2021, Reduction in mobility and COVID-19 transmission, Nature Communications, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2041-1723

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries have sought to control SARS-CoV-2 transmission by restricting population movement through social distancing interventions, thus reducing the number of contacts.Mobility data represent an important proxy measure of social distancing, and here, we characterise the relationship between transmission and mobility for 52 countries around the world.Transmission significantly decreased with the initial reduction in mobility in 73% of the countries analysed, but we found evidence of decoupling of transmission and mobility following the relaxation of strict control measures for 80% of countries. For the majority of countries, mobility explained a substantial proportion of the variation in transmissibility (median adjusted R-squared: 48%, interquartile range - IQR - across countries [27-77%]). Where a change in the relationship occurred, predictive ability decreased after the relaxation; from a median adjusted R-squared of 74% (IQR across countries [49-91%]) pre-relaxation, to a median adjusted R-squared of 30% (IQR across countries [12-48%]) post-relaxation.In countries with a clear relationship between mobility and transmission both before and after strict control measures were relaxed, mobility was associated with lower transmission rates after control measures were relaxed indicating that the beneficial effects of ongoing social distancing behaviours were substantial.

Journal article

Fu H, Wang H, Xi X, Boonyasiri A, Wang Y, Hinsley W, Fraser KJ, McCabe R, Olivera Mesa D, Skarp J, Ledda A, Dewé T, Dighe A, Winskill P, van Elsland SL, Ainslie KEC, Baguelin M, Bhatt S, Boyd O, Brazeau NF, Cattarino L, Charles G, Coupland H, Cucunubá ZM, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Donnelly CA, Dorigatti I, Eales OD, Fitzjohn RG, Flaxman S, Gaythorpe KAM, Ghani AC, Green WD, Hamlet A, Hauck K, Haw DJ, Jeffrey B, Laydon DJ, Lees JA, Mellan T, Mishra S, Nedjati Gilani G, Nouvellet P, Okell L, Parag KV, Ragonnet-Cronin M, Riley S, Schmit N, Thompson HA, Unwin HJT, Verity R, Vollmer MAC, Volz E, Walker PGT, Walters CE, Waston OJ, Whittaker C, Whittles LK, Imai N, Bhatia S, Ferguson NMet al., 2021, A database for the epidemic trends and control measures during the first wave of COVID-19 in mainland China, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol: 102, Pages: 463-471, ISSN: 1201-9712

Objectives: This data collation effort aims to provide a comprehensive database to describe the epidemic trends and responses during the first wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)across main provinces in China. Methods: From mid-January to March 2020, we extracted publicly available data on the spread and control of COVID-19 from 31 provincial health authorities and major media outlets in mainland China. Based on these data, we conducted a descriptive analysis of the epidemics in the six most-affected provinces. Results: School closures, travel restrictions, community-level lockdown, and contact tracing were introduced concurrently around late January but subsequent epidemic trends were different across provinces. Compared to Hubei, the other five most-affected provinces reported a lower crude case fatality ratio and proportion of critical and severe hospitalised cases. From March 2020, as local transmission of COVID-19 declined, switching the focus of measures to testing and quarantine of inbound travellers could help to sustain the control of the epidemic. Conclusions: Aggregated indicators of case notifications and severity distributions are essential for monitoring an epidemic. A publicly available database with these indicators and information on control measures provides useful source for exploring further research and policy planning for response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Journal article

Unwin H, Mishra S, Bradley V, Gandy A, Mellan T, Coupland H, Ish-Horowicz J, Vollmer M, Whittaker C, Filippi S, Xi X, Monod M, Ratmann O, Hutchinson M, Valka F, Zhu H, Hawryluk I, Milton P, Ainslie K, Baguelin M, Boonyasiri A, Brazeau N, Cattarino L, Cucunuba Z, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Dorigatti I, Eales O, Eaton J, van Elsland S, Fitzjohn R, Gaythorpe K, Green W, Hinsley W, Jeffrey B, Knock E, Laydon D, Lees J, Nedjati-Gilani G, Nouvellet P, Okell L, Parag K, Siveroni I, Thompson H, Walker P, Walters C, Watson O, Whittles L, Ghani A, Ferguson N, Riley S, Donnelly C, Bhatt S, Flaxman Set al., 2020, State-level tracking of COVID-19 in the United States, Nature Communications, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2041-1723

As of 1st June 2020, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 104,232 confirmed or probable COVID-19-related deaths in the US. This was more than twice the number of deaths reported in the next most severely impacted country. We jointly model the US epidemic at the state-level, using publicly available deathdata within a Bayesian hierarchical semi-mechanistic framework. For each state, we estimate the number of individuals that have been infected, the number of individuals that are currently infectious and the time-varying reproduction number (the average number of secondary infections caused by an infected person). We use changes in mobility to capture the impact that non-pharmaceutical interventions and other behaviour changes have on therate of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. We estimate thatRtwas only below one in 23 states on 1st June. We also estimate that 3.7% [3.4%-4.0%] of the total population of the US had been infected, with wide variation between states, and approximately 0.01% of the population was infectious. We demonstrate good 3 week model forecasts of deaths with low error and good coverage of our credible intervals.

Journal article

Grassly NC, Pons-Salort M, Parker EPK, White PJ, Ferguson NM, Imperial College COVID-19 Response Teamet al., 2020, Comparison of molecular testing strategies for COVID-19 control: a mathematical modelling study, Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol: 20, Pages: 1381-1389, ISSN: 1473-3099

BACKGROUND: WHO has called for increased testing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but countries have taken different approaches and the effectiveness of alternative strategies is unknown. We aimed to investigate the potential impact of different testing and isolation strategies on transmission of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). METHODS: We developed a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission based on infectiousness and PCR test sensitivity over time since infection. We estimated the reduction in the effective reproduction number (R) achieved by testing and isolating symptomatic individuals, regular screening of high-risk groups irrespective of symptoms, and quarantine of contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases identified through test-and-trace protocols. The expected effectiveness of different testing strategies was defined as the percentage reduction in R. We reviewed data on the performance of antibody tests reported by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics and examined their implications for the use of so-called immunity passports. FINDINGS: If all individuals with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 self-isolated and self-isolation was 100% effective in reducing onwards transmission, self-isolation of symptomatic individuals would result in a reduction in R of 47% (95% uncertainty interval [UI] 32-55). PCR testing to identify SARS-CoV-2 infection soon after symptom onset could reduce the number of individuals needing to self-isolate, but would also reduce the effectiveness of self-isolation (around 10% would be false negatives). Weekly screening of health-care workers and other high-risk groups irrespective of symptoms by use of PCR testing is estimated to reduce their contribution to SARS-CoV-2 transmission by 23% (95% UI 16-40), on top of reductions achieved by self-isolation following symptoms, assuming results are available at 24 h. The effectiveness of test and trace depends strongly on coverage and the timelines

Journal article

Thompson H, Imai N, Dighe A, Ainslie K, Baguelin M, Bhatia S, Bhatt S, Boonyasiri A, Boyd O, Brazeau N, Cattarino L, Cooper L, Coupland H, Cucunuba Z, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Djaafara B, Dorigatti I, van Elsland S, Fitzjohn R, Fu H, Gaythorpe K, Green W, Hallett T, Hamlet A, Haw D, Hayes S, Hinsley W, Jeffrey B, Knock E, Laydon D, Lees J, Mangal T, Mellan T, Mishra S, Mousa A, Nedjati-Gilani G, Nouvellet P, Okell L, Parag K, Ragonnet-Cronin M, Riley S, Unwin H, Verity R, Vollmer M, Volz E, Walker P, Walters C, Wang H, Wang Y, Watson O, Whittaker C, Whittles L, Winskill P, Xi X, Donnelly C, Ferguson Net al., 2020, SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence on repatriation flights from Wuhan City, China, Journal of Travel Medicine, Vol: 27, Pages: 1-3, ISSN: 1195-1982

We estimated SARS-CoV-2 infection prevalence in cohorts of repatriated citizens from Wuhan to be 0.44% (95% CI: 0.19%–1.03%). Although not representative of the wider population we believe these estimates are helpful in providing a conservative estimate of infection prevalence in Wuhan City, China, in the absence of large-scale population testing early in the epidemic.

Journal article

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