98 results found
Galizzi M, Lau K, Miraldo M, et al., 2022, Bandwagoning, free-riding and heterogeneity in influenza vaccine decisions: an online experiment, Health Economics, ISSN: 1057-9230
‘Nudge’-based social norms messages conveying high population influenza vaccination coverage levels can encourage vaccination due to bandwagoning effects but also discourage vaccination due to free-riding effects on low risk of infection, making their impact on vaccination uptake ambiguous.We develop a theoretical framework to capture heterogeneity around vaccination behaviors, and empirically measure the causal effects of different messages about vaccination coverage rates on four self-reported and behavioral vaccination intention measures. In an online experiment, N = 1,365 UK adults are randomly assigned to one of seven treatment groups with different messages about their social environment’s coverage rate (varied between 10% and 95%), or a control group with no message. We find that treated groups have significantly greater vaccination intention than the control. Treatment effects increase with the coverage rate up to a 75% level, consistent with a bandwagoning effect. For coverage rates above 75%, the treatment effects, albeit still positive, stop increasing and remain flat (or even decline). Our results suggest that, at higher coverage rates, free-riding behavior may partially crowd out bandwagoning effects of coverage rates messages. We also find significant heterogeneity of these effects depending on the invidual perceptions of risks of infection and of the coverage rates.
Soe KM, Hauck K, Jiamton S, et al., 2022, The cost of community outreach HIV interventions: a case study in Thailand., BMC Public Health, Vol: 22
BACKGROUND: There was an estimated 440,000 people living with HIV in Thailand in 2018. New cases are declining rapidly thanks to successful prevention programs and scaling up of anti-retroviral therapy (ART). Thailand aims to achieve its commitment to end the HIV epidemic by 2030 and implemented a cascade of HIV interventions through the Reach-Recruit-Test-Treat-Retain (RRTTR) program. METHODS: This study focused on community outreach HIV interventions implemented by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) under the RRTTR program in 27 provinces. We calculated unit cost per person reached for HIV interventions targeted at key-affected populations (KAPs) including men who have sex with men/ transgender (MSM/TG), male sex workers (MSW), female sex workers (FSW), people who inject drugs (PWID) and migrants (MW). We studied program key outputs, costs, and unit costs in variations across different HIV interventions and geographic locations in Thailand. We used these estimates to determine costs of HIV interventions and evaluate economies of scale. RESULTS: The interventions for migrants in Samut Sakhon was the least costly with a unit cost of 21.6 USD per person to receive services, followed by interventions for migrants in Samut Prakan 23.2 USD per person reached, MSM/TG in Pratum Thani 26.5USD per person reached, MSM/TG in Nonthaburi 26.6 USD per person reached and, MSM/TG in Chon Buri with 26.7 USD per person. The interventions yielded higher efficiency in large metropolitan and surrounding provinces. Harm reduction programs were the costliest compare with other interventions. There was association between unit cost and scale of among interventions indicating the presence of economies scale. Implementing HIV and TB interventions jointly increased efficiency for both cases. CONCLUSION: This study suggested that unit cost of community outreach HIV and TB interventions led by CSOs will decrease as they are scaled up. Further studies are suggested to follow up with the
Limbada M, Macleod D, Situmbeko V, et al., 2022, Rates of viral suppression in a cohort of people with stable HIV from two community models of ART delivery versus facility-based HIV care in Lusaka, Zambia: a cluster-randomised, non-inferiority trial nested in the HPTN 071 (PopART) trial., Lancet HIV, Vol: 9, Pages: e13-e23
BACKGROUND: Non-facility-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) delivery for people with stable HIV might increase sustainable ART coverage in low-income and middle-income countries. Within the HPTN 071 (PopART) trial, two interventions, home-based delivery (HBD) and adherence clubs (AC), which included groups of 15-30 participants who met at a communal venue, were compared with standard of care (SoC). In this trial we looked at the effectiveness and feasibility of these alternative models of care. Specifically, this trial aimed to assess whether these models of care had similar virological suppression to that of SoC 12 months after enrolment. METHODS: This was a three-arm, cluster-randomised, non-inferiority trial, done in two urban communities in Lusaka, Zambia included in the HPTN 071 trial. The two communities were split into zones, which were randomly assigned (1:1:1) to the three treatment strategies: 35 zones to the SoC group, 35 zones to the HBD group, and 34 zones to the AC group. ART and adherence support were delivered once every 3 months at home for the HBD group, in groups of 15-30 people in the AC group, or in the clinic for the SoC group. Adults with HIV who were receiving first-line ART for at least 6 months, virally suppressed using national HIV guidelines in the last 12 months, had no other health conditions requiring the clinicians attention, live in the study catchment area, and provided written informed consent, were eligible for inclusion. The primary endpoint was viral suppression at 12 months (with a 6 month final measurement window [ie, 9-15 months]), defined as less than 1000 HIV RNA copies per mL, with a non-inferiority margin of 5%. FINDINGS: Between May 5 and Dec 19, 2017, 9900 individuals were screened for inclusion, of whom 2489 (25·1%) participants were enrolled into the trial: 781 (31%) in the SoC group, 852 (34%) in the HBD group, and 856 (34%) in the AC group. A higher proportion of participants had viral load measurements in th
Vollmer MAC, Radhakrishnan S, Kont MD, et al., 2021, The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patterns of attendance at emergency departments in two large London hospitals: an observational study, BMC Health Services Research, Vol: 21, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 1472-6963
Background Hospitals in England have undergone considerable change to address the surgein demand imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of this on emergencydepartment (ED) attendances is unknown, especially for non-COVID-19 related emergencies.Methods This analysis is an observational study of ED attendances at the Imperial CollegeHealthcare NHS Trust (ICHNT). We calibrated auto-regressive integrated moving averagetime-series models of ED attendances using historic (2015-2019) data. Forecasted trendswere compared to present year ICHNT data for the period between March 12, 2020 (whenEngland implemented the first COVID-19 public health measure) and May 31, 2020. Wecompared ICHTN trends with publicly available regional and national data. Lastly, wecompared hospital admissions made via the ED and in-hospital mortality at ICHNT duringthe present year to the historic 5-year average.Results ED attendances at ICHNT decreased by 35% during the period after the firstlockdown was imposed on March 12, 2020 and before May 31, 2020, reflecting broadertrends seen for ED attendances across all England regions, which fell by approximately 50%for the same time frame. For ICHNT, the decrease in attendances was mainly amongst thoseaged <65 years and those arriving by their own means (e.g. personal or public transport) andnot correlated with any of the spatial dependencies analysed such as increasing distance frompostcode of residence to the hospital. Emergency admissions of patients without COVID-19after March 12, 2020 fell by 48%; we did not observe a significant change to the crudemortality risk in patients without COVID-19 (RR 1.13, 95%CI 0.94-1.37, p=0.19).Conclusions Our study findings reflect broader trends seen across England and give anindication how emergency healthcare seeking has drastically changed. At ICHNT, we findthat a larger proportion arrived by ambulance and that hospitalisation outcomes of patientswithout COVID-19 did not differ from previous years. The ext
Davis K, Muzariri K, Mangenah C, et al., 2021, Modelling the interaction between depression and HIV incidence in Manicaland, East Zimbabwe, Fast Track Cities 2021
Skarp J, Downey LE, Ohrnberger JWE, et al., 2021, A systematic review of the costs relating to non-pharmaceutical interventions against infectious disease outbreaks, Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Vol: 19, Pages: 673-697, ISSN: 1175-5652
BackgroundNon-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) are the cornerstone of infectious disease outbreak response in the absence of effective pharmaceutical interventions. Outbreak strategies often involve combinations of NPIs that may change according to disease prevalence and population response. Little is known about how costly each NPI is to implement. This information is essential to inform policy decisions for outbreak response.ObjectiveTo address this gap in existing literature, we conducted a systematic review on outbreak costing and simulation studies related to a number of NPI strategies, including isolating infected individuals, contact tracing and quarantine, and school closures.MethodsOur search covered the MEDLINE and EMBASE databases, studies published between 1990 and 24 March 2020 were included. We included studies containing cost data for our NPIs of interest in pandemic, epidemic, and outbreak response scenarios.ResultsWe identified 61 relevant studies. There was substantial heterogeneity in the cost components recorded for NPIs in outbreak costing studies. The direct costs of NPIs for which costing studies existed therefore also ranged widely: isolating infected individuals per case: 141.18-1042.68 USD 2020, tracing and quarantine of contacts per contact: 40.73-93.59 USD 2020 , social distancing: 33.76-167.92 USD 2020, personal protection and hygiene: 0.15-895.60 USD 2020. ConclusionWhile there are gaps and heterogeneity in available cost data, the findings of this review and the collated cost database serve as an important resource for evidence-based decision-making for estimating costs pertaining to NPI implementation in future outbreak response policies.
DAeth J, Ghosal S, Grimm F, et al., 2021, Optimal national prioritization policies for hospital care during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Nature Computational Science, Vol: 1, Pages: 521-531, ISSN: 2662-8457
In response to unprecedent surges in the demand for hospital care during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, health systems have prioritized COVID patients to life-saving hospital care to the detriment of other patients. In contrast to these ad hoc policies, we develop a linear programming framework to optimally schedule elective procedures and allocate hospital beds among all planned and emergency patients to minimize years of life lost. Leveraging a large dataset of administrative patient medical records, we apply our framework to the National Health System in England and show that an extra 50,750-5,891,608 years of life can be gained in comparison to prioritization policies that reflect those implemented during the pandemic. Significant health gains are observed for neoplasms, diseases of the digestive system, and injuries & poisoning. Our open-source framework provides a computationally efficient approximation of a large-scale discrete optimization problem that can be applied globally to support national-level care prioritization policies.
Ohrnberger J, Segal A, Forchini G, et al., 2021, The impact of a COVID-19 lockdown on work productivity under good and poor compliance, European Journal of Public Health, Vol: 31, Pages: 1009-1015, ISSN: 1101-1262
BackgroundIn response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments across the globe have imposed strict social distancing measures. Public compliance to such measures is essential for their success yet the economic consequences of compliance are unknown. This is the first study to analyse the effects of good compliance compared to poor compliance to a COVID-19 suppression strategy (i.e. lockdown) on work productivity. MethodsWe estimate the differences in work productivity comparing a scenario of good compliance with one of poor compliance to the UK government COVID-19 suppression strategy. We use projections of the impact of the UK suppression strategy on mortality and morbidity from an individual-based epidemiological model combined with an economic model representative of the labour force in Wales and England. ResultsWe find that productivity effects of good compliance significantly exceed those of poor compliance and increase with the duration of the lockdown. After three months of the lockdown, work productivity in good compliance is £398.58 million higher compared with that of poor compliance. 75% of the differences is explained by productivity effects due to morbidity and non-health reasons and 25% attributed to avoided losses due to pre-mature mortality.ConclusionGood compliance to social distancing measures exceeds positive economic effects, in addition to health benefits. This is an important finding for current economic and health policy. It highlights the importance to set clear guidelines for the public, to build trust and support for the rules and if necessary, to enforce good compliance to social distancing measures.
Viljoen L, Mainga T, Casper R, et al., 2021, Community-based health workers implementing universal access to HIV testing and treatment: lessons from South Africa and Zambia-HPTN 071 (PopART), HEALTH POLICY AND PLANNING, Vol: 36, Pages: 881-890, ISSN: 0268-1080
McCabe R, Kont M, Schmit N, et al., 2021, Modelling ICU capacity under different epidemiological scenarios of the COVID-19 pandemic in three western European countries, International Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 50, Pages: 753-767, ISSN: 0300-5771
Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed enormous strain on intensive care units (ICUs) in Europe. Ensuring access to care, irrespective of COVID-19 status, in winter 2020/21 is essential.Methods: An integrated model of hospital capacity planning and epidemiological projections of COVID-19 patients is used to estimate the demand for and resultant spare capacity of ICU beds, staff, and ventilators under different epidemic scenarios in France, Germany, and Italy across the 2020/21 winter period. The effect of implementing lockdowns triggered by different numbers of COVID-19 patients in ICU under varying levels of effectiveness is examined, using a ‘dual-demand’ (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) patient model.Results: Without sufficient mitigation, we estimate that COVID-19 ICU patient numbers will exceed those seen in the first peak, resulting in substantial capacity deficits, with beds being consistently found to be the most constrained resource. Reactive lockdowns could lead to large improvements in ICU capacity during the winter season, with pressure being most effectively alleviated when lockdown is triggered early and sustained under a higher level of suppression. The success of such interventions also depends on baseline bed numbers and average non-COVID-19 patient occupancy.Conclusions: Reductions in capacity deficits under different scenarios must be weighed against the feasibility and drawbacks of further lockdowns. Careful, continuous decision-making by national policymakers will be required across the winter period 2020/21.
Hogan AB, Winskill P, Watson OJ, et al., 2021, Within-country age-based prioritisation, global allocation, and public health impact of a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2: a mathematical modelling analysis, Vaccine, Vol: 39, Pages: 2995-3006, ISSN: 0264-410X
The worldwide endeavour to develop safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines has been extraordinary, and vaccination is now underway in many countries. However, the doses available in 2021 are likely to be limited. We extended a mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission across different country settings to evaluate the public health impact of potential vaccines using WHO-developed target product profiles. We identified optimal vaccine allocation strategies within- and between-countries to maximise averted deaths under constraints on dose supply. We found that the health impact of SARS-CoV-2 vaccination depends on the cumulative population-level infection incidence when vaccination begins, the duration of natural immunity, the trajectory of the epidemic prior to vaccination, and the level of healthcare available to effectively treat those with disease. Within a country we find that for a limited supply (doses for <20% of the population) the optimal strategy is to target the elderly. However, with a larger supply, if vaccination can occur while other interventions are maintained, the optimal strategy switches to targeting key transmitters to indirectly protect the vulnerable. As supply increases, vaccines that reduce or block infection have a greater impact than those that prevent disease alone due to the indirect protection provided to high-risk groups. Given a 2 billion global dose supply in 2021, we find that a strategy in which doses are allocated to countries proportional to population size is close to optimal in averting deaths and aligns with the ethical principles agreed in pandemic preparedness planning.
Thomas R, Probert W, Sauter R, et al., 2021, Cost and cost-effectiveness of a universal HIV testing and treatment intervention in Zambia and South Africa: evidence and projections from the HPTN 071 (PopART) trial, The Lancet Global Health, Vol: 9, Pages: e668-e680, ISSN: 2214-109X
BackgroundThe HPTN 071 (PopART) trial showed that a combination HIV prevention package including universal HIV testing and treatment (UTT) reduced population-level incidence of HIV compared with standard care. However, evidence is scarce on the costs and cost-effectiveness of such an intervention.MethodsUsing an individual-based model, we simulated the PopART intervention and standard care with antiretroviral therapy (ART) provided according to national guidelines for the 21 trial communities in Zambia and South Africa (for all individuals aged >14 years), with model parameters and primary cost data collected during the PopART trial and from published sources. Two intervention scenarios were modelled: annual rounds of PopART from 2014 to 2030 (PopART 2014–30; as the UNAIDS Fast-Track target year) and three rounds of PopART throughout the trial intervention period (PopART 2014–17). For each country, we calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) as the cost per disability-adjusted life-year (DALY) and cost per HIV infection averted. Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves were used to indicate the probability of PopART being cost-effective compared with standard care at different thresholds of cost per DALY averted. We also assessed budget impact by projecting undiscounted costs of the intervention compared with standard care up to 2030.FindingsDuring 2014–17, the mean cost per person per year of delivering home-based HIV counselling and testing, linkage to care, promotion of ART adherence, and voluntary medical male circumcision via community HIV care providers for the simulated population was US$6·53 (SD 0·29) in Zambia and US$7·93 (0·16) in South Africa. In the PopART 2014–30 scenario, median ICERs for PopART delivered annually until 2030 were $2111 (95% credible interval [CrI] 1827–2462) per HIV infection averted in Zambia and $3248 (2472–3963) per HIV infection averted in South Afric
Christen P, D'Aeth J, Lochen A, et al., 2021, The J-IDEA pandemic planner: a framework for implementing hospital provision interventions during the COVID-19 pandemic, Medical Care, Vol: 59, Pages: 371-378, ISSN: 0025-7079
Background : Planning for extreme surges in demand for hospital care of patientsrequiring urgent life-saving treatment for COVID-19, whilst retaining capacity for otheremergency conditions, is one of the most challenging tasks faced by healthcareproviders and policymakers during the pandemic. Health systems must be wellpreparedto cope with large and sudden changes in demand by implementinginterventions to ensure adequate access to care. We developed the first planning toolfor the COVID-19 pandemic to account for how hospital provision interventions (suchas cancelling elective surgery, setting up field hospitals, or hiring retired staff) will affectthe capacity of hospitals to provide life-saving care.Methods : We conducted a review of interventions implemented or considered in 12 European countries in March-April 2020, an evaluation of their impact on capacity, anda review of key parameters in the care of COVID-19 patients. This information wasused to develop a planner capable of estimating the impact of specific interventions ondoctors, nurses, beds and respiratory support equipment. We applied this to ascenario-based case study of one intervention, the set-up of field hospitals in England,under varying levels of COVID-19 patients.Results : The J-IDEA pandemic planner is a hospital planning tool that allows hospitaladministrators, policymakers and other decision-makers to calculate the amount ofcapacity in terms of beds, staff and crucial medical equipment obtained byimplementing the interventions. Flexible assumptions on baseline capacity, the numberof hospitalisations, staff-to-beds ratios, and staff absences due to COVID-19 make theplanner adaptable to multiple settings. The results of the case study show that whilefield hospitals alleviate the burden on the number of beds available, this intervention isfutile unless the deficit of critical care nurses is addressed first.Discussion : The tool supports decision-makers in delivering a fast and effectiveresponse to
Hauck K, Gheorghe A, Quirk E, 2021, A systematic examination of international funding flows for Ebola virus and Zika virus outbreaks 2014 - 2019: donors, recipients and funding purposes, BMJ Global Health, Vol: 6, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2059-7908
Introduction: There has been no systematic comparison of how the policy response to past infectious disease outbreaks and epidemics was funded. This study aims to collate and analyse funding for the Ebola epidemic and Zika outbreak between 2014 and 2019 in order to understand the shortcomings in funding reporting and suggest improvements.Methods: Data were collected via a literature review and analysis of financial reporting databases, including both amounts donated and received. Funding information from three financial databases was analysed: Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation’s Development Assistance for Health database, the Georgetown Infectious Disease Atlas and the United Nations Financial Tracking Service. A systematic literature search strategy was devised and applied to seven databases: MEDLINE, EMBASE, HMIC, Global Health, Scopus, Web of Science and EconLit. Funding information was extracted from articles meeting the eligibility criteria and measures were taken to avoid double counting. Funding was collated, then amounts and purposes were compared within, and between, data sources.Results: Large differences between funding reported by different data sources, and variations in format and methodology, made it difficult to arrive at precise estimates of funding amounts and purpose. Total disbursements reported by the databases ranged from $2.5 to $3.2 billion for Ebola and $150–$180 million for Zika. Total funding reported in the literature is greater than reported in databases, suggesting that databases may either miss funding, or that literature sources overreport. Databases and literature disagreed on the main purpose of funding for socioeconomic recovery versus outbreak response. One of the few consistent findings across data sources and diseases is that the USA was the largest donor.Conclusion: Implementation of several recommendations would enable more effective mapping and deployment of outbreak funding for response activities relati
Lau K, Dorigatti I, Miraldo M, et al., 2021, SARIMA-modelled greater severity and mortality during the 2010/11 post-pandemic influenza season compared to the 2009 H1N1 pandemic in English hospitals, International Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol: 105, Pages: 161-171, ISSN: 1201-9712
ObjectiveThe COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the need for understanding pathways to healthcare demand, morbidity, and mortality of pandemic patients. We estimate H1N1 (1) hospitalization rates, (2) severity rates (length of stay, ventilation, pneumonia, and death) of those hospitalized, (3) mortality rates, and (4) time lags between infections and hospitalizations during the pandemic (June 2009 to March 2010) and post-pandemic influenza season (November 2010 to February 2011) in England.MethodsEstimates of H1N1 infections from a dynamic transmission model are combined with hospitalizations and severity using time series econometric analyses of administrative patient-level hospital data.ResultsHospitalization rates were 34% higher and severity rates of those hospitalized were 20%–90% higher in the post-pandemic period than the pandemic. Adults (45–64-years-old) had the highest ventilation and pneumonia hospitalization rates. Hospitalizations did not lag infection during the pandemic for the young (<24-years-old) but lagged by one or more weeks for all ages in the post-pandemic period.DiscussionThe post-pandemic flu season exhibited heightened H1N1 severity, long after the pandemic was declared over. Policymakers should remain vigilant even after pandemics seem to have subsided. Analysis of administrative hospital data and epidemiological modelling estimates can provide valuable insights to inform responses to COVID-19 and future influenza and other disease pandemics.
Olivera Mesa D, Hogan A, Watson O, et al., 2021, Report 43: Quantifying the impact of vaccine hesitancy in prolonging the need for Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions to control the COVID-19 pandemic
Vaccine hesitancy – a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite availability 1 – has the potential to threaten the successful roll-out of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines globally 2 . Here, we evaluate the potential impact of vaccine hesitancy on the control of the pandemic and the relaxation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) by combining an epidemiological model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission 3 with data on vaccine hesitancy from population surveys. Our findings suggest that the mortality over a 2-year period could be up to 8 times higher in countries with high vaccine hesitancy compared to an ideal vaccination uptake if NPIs are relaxed. Alternatively, high vaccine hesitancy could prolong the need for NPIs to remain in place. Addressing vaccine hesitancy with behavioural interventions is therefore an important priority in the control of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singh S, Shaikh M, Hauck K, et al., 2021, Impacts of introducing and lifting nonpharmaceutical interventions on COVID-19 daily growth rate and compliance in the United States, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, Vol: 118, ISSN: 0027-8424
We evaluate the impacts of implementing and lifting nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in US counties on the daily growth rate of COVID-19 cases and compliance, measured through the percentage of devices staying home, and evaluate whether introducing and lifting NPIs protecting selective populations is an effective strategy. We use difference-in-differences methods, leveraging on daily county-level data and exploit the staggered introduction and lifting of policies across counties over time. We also assess heterogenous impacts due to counties’ population characteristics, namely ethnicity and household income. Results show that introducing NPIs led to a reduction in cases through the percentage of devices staying home. When counties lifted NPIs, they benefited from reduced mobility outside of the home during the lockdown, but only for a short period. In the long term, counties experienced diminished health and mobility gains accrued from previously implemented policies. Notably, we find heterogenous impacts due to population characteristics implying that measures can mitigate the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 on marginalized populations and find that selectively targeting populations may not be effective.
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.
Middleton P, Perez-Guzman PN, Cheng A, et al., 2021, Characteristics and outcomes of clinically diagnosed RT-PCR swab negative COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study, Scientific Reports, Vol: 11, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 2045-2322
Patients with strong clinical features of COVID-19 with negative real time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) SARS-CoV-2 testing are not currently included in official statistics. The scale, characteristics and clinical relevance of this group are not well described. We performed a retrospective cohort study in two large London hospitals to characterize the demographic, clinical, and hospitalization outcome characteristics of swab-negative clinical COVID-19 patients. We found 1 in 5 patients with a negative swab and clinical suspicion of COVID-19 received a clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 within clinical documentation, discharge summary or death certificate. We compared this group to a similar swab positive cohort and found similar demographic composition, symptomology and laboratory findings. Swab-negative clinical COVID-19 patients had better outcomes, with shorter length of hospital stay, reduced need for >60% supplementary oxygen and reduced mortality. Patients with strong clinical features of COVID-19 that are swab-negative are a common clinical challenge. Health systems must recognize and plan for the management of swab-negative patients in their COVID-19 clinical management, infection control policies and epidemiological assessments.
Fu H, Wang H, Xi X, et 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.
D'Aeth J, Ghosal S, Grimm F, et al., 2020, Report 40: Optimal scheduling rules for elective care to minimize years of life lost during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic: an application to England
SummaryCountries have deployed a wide range of policies to prioritize patients to hospital care to address unprecedent surges in demand during the course of the pandemic. Those policies included postponing planned hospital care for non-emergency cases and rationing critical care.We develop a model to optimally schedule elective hospitalizations and allocate hospital general and critical care beds to planned and emergency patients in England during the pandemic. We apply the model to NHS England data and show that optimized scheduling leads to lower years of life lost and costs than policies that reflect those implemented in England during the pandemic. Overall across all disease areas the model enables an extra 50,750 - 5,891,608 years of life gained when compared to standard policies, depending on the scenarios. Especially large gains in years of life are seen for neoplasms, diseases of the digestive system, and injuries & poisoning.
McCabe R, Kont M, Schmit N, et al., 2020, Report 36: Modelling ICU capacity under different epidemiological scenarios of the COVID-19 pandemic in three western European countries
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has placed enormous strain on healthcare systems, particularly intensive care units (ICUs), with COVID-19 patient care being a key concern of healthcare system planning for winter 2020/21. Ensuring that all patients who require intensive care, irrespective of COVID-19 status, can access it during this time is essential. This study uses an integrated model of hospital capacity planning and epidemiological projections of COVID-19 patients to estimate the spare capacity of key ICU resources under different epidemic scenarios in France, Germany and Italy across the winter period of 2020/21. In particular, we examine the effect of implementing suppression strategies of varying effectiveness, triggered by different numbers of COVID-19 patients in ICU. The use of a ‘dual-demand’ (COVID-19 and non-COVID-19) patient model and the consideration of multiple ICU resources that determine capacity (beds, doctors, nurses and ventilators) and the interdependencies between them, provides a detailed insight into potential capacity constraints this winter. Without sufficient mitigation, we estimate that COVID-19 ICU patient numbers will exceed those seen in the first peak, resulting in substantial capacity deficits, with beds being consistently found to be the most constrained resource across countries. Lockdowns triggered based on ICU capacity could lead to large improvements in spare capacity during the winter season, with pressure being most effectively alleviated when lockdown is triggered early and implemented at a higher level of suppression. In many cases, maximum deficits are reduced to lower levels which can then be managed by expanding supply-side hospital capacity, to ensure that all patients can receive treatment. The success of such interventions also depends on baseline ICU bed numbers and average non-COVID-19 patient occupancy. We find that lockdowns of longer duration reduce the total number of days in defic
Haw D, Christen P, Forchini G, et al., 2020, DAEDALUS: An economic-epidemiological model to optimize economic activity while containing the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic
Haw D, Forchini G, Christen P, et al., 2020, Report 35: How can we keep schools and universities open? Differentiating closures by economic sector to optimize social and economic activity while containing SARS-CoV-2 transmission
There is a trade-off between the education sector and other economic sectors in the control of SARS-Cov-2 transmission. Here we integrate a dynamic model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission with a 63-sector economic model reflecting sectoral heterogeneity in transmission and economic interdependence between sectors. We identify COVID-19 control strategies which optimize economic production while keeping schools and universities operational and constraining infections such that emergency hospital capacity is not exceeded. The model estimates an economic gain of between £163bn and £205bn for the United Kingdom compared to a blanket lockdown of non-essential activity over six months, depending on hospital capacity. Sectors identified as potential priorities for closure are contact-intensive and/or less economically productive.
Daunt A, Perez-Guzman PN, Cafferkey J, et al., 2020, Factors associated with reattendance to emergency services following COVID-19 hospitalization, Journal of Medical Virology, Vol: 93, Pages: 1250-1252, ISSN: 0146-6615
Schafer R, Thomas R, Robertson L, et al., 2020, Spillover HIV prevention effects of a cash transfer trial in East Zimbabwe: evidence from a cluster-randomised trial and general-population survey, BMC Public Health, Vol: 20, ISSN: 1471-2458
BackgroundBenefits of cash transfers (CTs) for HIV prevention have been demonstrated largely in purposively designed trials, commonly focusing on young women. It is less clear if CT interventions not designed for HIV prevention can have HIV-specific effects, including adverse effects. The cluster-randomised Manicaland Cash Transfer Trial (2010–11) evaluated effects of CTs on children’s (2–17 years) development in eastern Zimbabwe. We evaluated whether this CT intervention with no HIV-specific objectives had unintended HIV prevention spillover effects (externalities).MethodsData on 2909 individuals (15–54 years) living in trial households were taken from a general-population survey, conducted simultaneously in the same communities as the Manicaland Trial. Average treatment effects (ATEs) of CTs on sexual behaviour (any recent sex, condom use, multiple partners) and secondary outcomes (mental distress, school enrolment, and alcohol/cigarette/drug consumption) were estimated using mixed-effects logistic regressions (random effects for study site and intervention cluster), by sex and age group (15–29; 30–54 years). Outcomes were also evaluated with a larger synthetic comparison group created through propensity score matching.ResultsCTs did not affect sexual debut but reduced having any recent sex (past 30 days) among young males (ATE: − 11.7 percentage points [PP] [95% confidence interval: -26.0PP, 2.61PP]) and females (− 5.68PP [− 15.7PP, 4.34PP]), with similar but less uncertain estimates when compared against the synthetic comparison group (males: -9.68PP [− 13.1PP, − 6.30PP]; females: -8.77PP [− 16.3PP, − 1.23PP]). There were no effects among older individuals. Young (but not older) males receiving CTs reported increased multiple partnerships (8.49PP [− 5.40PP, 22.4PP]; synthetic comparison: 10.3PP (1
McCabe R, Schmit N, Christen P, et al., 2020, Adapting hospital capacity to meet changing demands during the COVID-19 pandemic, BMC Medicine, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 1741-7015
BackgroundTo calculate hospital surge capacity, achieved via hospital provision interventions implemented for the emergency treatment of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and other patients through March to May 2020; to evaluate the conditions for admitting patients for elective surgery under varying admission levels of COVID-19 patients.MethodsWe analysed National Health Service (NHS) datasets and literature reviews to estimate hospital care capacity before the pandemic (pre-pandemic baseline) and to quantify the impact of interventions (cancellation of elective surgery, field hospitals, use of private hospitals, deployment of former medical staff and deployment of newly qualified medical staff) for treatment of adult COVID-19 patients, focusing on general and acute (G&A) and critical care (CC) beds, staff and ventilators.ResultsNHS England would not have had sufficient capacity to treat all COVID-19 and other patients in March and April 2020 without the hospital provision interventions, which alleviated significant shortfalls in CC nurses, CC and G&A beds and CC junior doctors. All elective surgery can be conducted at normal pre-pandemic levels provided the other interventions are sustained, but only if the daily number of COVID-19 patients occupying CC beds is not greater than 1550 in the whole of England. If the other interventions are not maintained, then elective surgery can only be conducted if the number of COVID-19 patients occupying CC beds is not greater than 320. However, there is greater national capacity to treat G&A patients: without interventions, it takes almost 10,000 G&A COVID-19 patients before any G&A elective patients would be unable to be accommodated.ConclusionsUnless COVID-19 hospitalisations drop to low levels, there is a continued need to enhance critical care capacity in England with field hospitals, use of private hospitals or deployment of former and newly qualified medical staff to allow some or all elective surge
Daunt A, Perez-Guzman PN, Liew F, et al., 2020, Validity of the UK early access to medicines scheme criteria for Remdesivir use in patients with COVID-19 disease, Journal of Infection, Vol: 81, Pages: 666-668, ISSN: 0163-4453
Hogan A, Winskill P, Watson O, et al., 2020, Report 33: Modelling the allocation and impact of a COVID-19 vaccine
Several SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidates are now in late-stage trials, with efficacy and safety results expected by the end of 2020. Even under optimistic scenarios for manufacture and delivery, the doses available in 2021 are likely to be limited. Here we identify optimal vaccine allocation strategies within and between countries to maximise health (avert deaths) under constraints on dose supply. We extended an existing mathematical model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission across different country settings to model the public health impact of potential vaccines, using a range of target product profiles developed by the World Health Organization. We show that as supply increases, vaccines that reduce or block infection – and thus transmission – in addition to preventing disease have a greater impact than those that prevent disease alone, due to the indirect protection provided to high-risk groups. We further demonstrate that the health impact of vaccination will depend on the cumulative infection incidence in the population when vaccination begins, the duration of any naturally acquired immunity, the likely trajectory of the epidemic in 2021 and the level of healthcare available to effectively treat those with disease. Within a country, we find that for a limited supply (doses for <20% of the population) the optimal strategy is to target the elderly and other high-risk groups. However, if a larger supply is available, the optimal strategy switches to targeting key transmitters (i.e. the working age population and potentially children) to indirectly protect the elderly and vulnerable. Given the likely global dose supply in 2021 (2 billion doses with a two-dose vaccine), we find that a strategy in which doses are allocated to countries in proportion to their population size is close to optimal in averting deaths. Such a strategy also aligns with the ethical principles agreed in pandemic preparedness planning.
van Elsland S, Watson O, Alhaffar M, et al., 2020, Report 31: Estimating the burden of COVID-19 in Damascus, Syria: an analysis of novel data sources to infer mortality under-ascertainment
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in substantial mortality worldwide. However, to date, countries in the Middle East and Africa have reported substantially lower mortality rates than in Europe and the Americas. One hypothesis is that these countries have been ‘spared’, but another is that deaths have been under-ascertained (deaths that have been unreported due to any number of reasons, for instance due to limited testing capacity). However, the scale of under-ascertainment is difficult to assess with currently available data. In this analysis, we estimate the potential under-ascertainment of COVID-19 mortality in Damascus, Syria, where all-cause mortality data has been reported between 25th July and 1st August. We fit a mathematical model of COVID-19 transmission to reported COVID-19 deaths in Damascus since the beginning of the pandemic and compare the model-predicted deaths to reported excess deaths. Exploring a range of different assumptions about under-ascertainment, we estimate that only 1.25% of deaths (sensitivity range 1% - 3%) due to COVID-19 are reported in Damascus. Accounting for under-ascertainment also corroborates local reports of exceeded hospital bed capacity. To validate the epidemic dynamics inferred, we leverage community-uploaded obituary certificates as an alternative data source, which confirms extensive mortality under-ascertainment in Damascus between July and August. This level of under-ascertainment suggests that Damascus is at a much later stage in its epidemic than suggested by surveillance reports, which have repo. We estimate that 4,340 (95% CI: 3,250 - 5,540) deaths due to COVID-19 in Damascus may have been missed as of 2nd September 2020. Given that Damascus is likely to have the most robust surveillance in Syria, these findings suggest that other regions of the country could have experienced similar or worse mortality rates due to COVID-19.
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