688 results found
Riley S, Haw D, Walters C, et al., 2021, REACT-1 round 11 report: low prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the community prior to the third step of the English roadmap out of lockdown
BackgroundNational epidemic dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 infections are being driven by: the degree of recent indoor mixing (both social and workplace), vaccine coverage, intrinsic properties of the circulating lineages, and prior history of infection (via natural immunity). In England, infections, hospitalisations and deaths fell during the first two steps of the “roadmap” for exiting the third national lockdown. The third step of the roadmap in England takes place on 17 May 2021.MethodsWe report the most recent findings on community infections from the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study in which a swab is obtained from a representative cross-sectional sample of the population in England and tested using PCR. Round 11 of REACT-1 commenced self-administered swab-collection on 15 April 2021 and completed collections on 3 May 2021. We compare the results of REACT-1 round 11 to round 10, in which swabs were collected from 11 to 30 March 2021.ResultsBetween rounds 10 and 11, prevalence of swab-positivity dropped by 50% in England from 0.20% (0.17%, 0.23%) to 0.10% (0.08%, 0.13%), with a corresponding R estimate of 0.90 (0.87, 0.94). Rates of swab-positivity fell in the 55 to 64 year old group from 0.17% (0.12%, 0.25%) in round 10 to 0.06% (0.04%, 0.11%) in round 11. Prevalence in round 11 was higher in the 25 to 34 year old group at 0.21% (0.12%, 0.38%) than in the 55 to 64 year olds and also higher in participants of Asian ethnicity at 0.31% (0.16%, 0.60%) compared with white participants at 0.09% (0.07%, 0.11%). Based on sequence data for positive samples for which a lineage could be identified, we estimate that 92.3% (75.9%, 97.9%, n=24) of infections were from the B.1.1.7 lineage compared to 7.7% (2.1%, 24.1%, n=2) from the B.1.617.2 lineage. Both samples from the B.1.617.2 lineage were detected in London from participants not reporting travel in the previous two weeks. Also, allowing for suitable lag periods, the prior close alig
Eales O, Page AJ, Tang S, et al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 lineage dynamics in England from January to March 2021 inferred from representative community samples
Genomic surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 lineages informs our understanding of possible future changes in transmissibility and vaccine efficacy. However, small changes in the frequency of one lineage over another are often difficult to interpret because surveillance samples are obtained from a variety of sources. Here, we describe lineage dynamics and phylogenetic relationships using sequences obtained from a random community sample who provided a throat and nose swab for rt-PCR during the first three months of 2021 as part of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study. Overall, diversity decreased during the first quarter of 2021, with the B.1.1.7 lineage (first identified in Kent) predominant, driven by a 0.3 unit higher reproduction number over the prior wild type. During January, positive samples were more likely B.1.1.7 in younger and middle-aged adults (aged 18 to 54) than in other age groups. Although individuals infected with the B.1.1.7 lineage were no more likely to report one or more classic COVID-19 symptoms compared to those infected with wild type, they were more likely to be antibody positive 6 weeks after infection. Viral load was higher in B.1.1.7 infection as measured by cycle threshold (Ct) values, but did not account for the increased rate of testing positive for antibodies. The presence of infections with non-imported B.1.351 lineage (first identified in South Africa) during January, but not during February or March, suggests initial establishment in the community followed by fade-out. However, this occurred during a period of stringent social distancing and targeted public health interventions and does not immediately imply similar lineages could not become established in the future. Sequence data from representative community surveys such as REACT-1 can augment routine genomic surveillance.
Evangelou E, Suzuki H, Bai W, et al., 2021, Alcohol consumption in the general population is associated with structural changes in multiple organ systems., eLife, ISSN: 2050-084X
Ward H, Cooke GS, Atchison C, et al., 2021, Prevalence of antibody positivity to SARS-CoV-2 following the first peak of infection in England: Serial cross-sectional studies of 365,000 adults, The Lancet Regional Health - Europe, Vol: 4, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 2666-7762
BackgroundThe time-concentrated nature of the first wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in England in March and April 2020 provides a natural experiment to measure changes in antibody positivity at the population level before onset of the second wave and initiation of the vaccination programme.MethodsThree cross-sectional national surveys with non-overlapping random samples of the population in England undertaken between late June and September 2020 (REACT-2 study). 365,104 adults completed questionnaires and self-administered lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) tests for IgG against SARS-CoV-2.FindingsOverall, 17,576 people had detectable antibodies, a prevalence of 4.9% (95% confidence intervals 4.9, 5.0) when adjusted for test characteristics and weighted to the adult population of England. The prevalence declined from 6.0% (5.8, 6.1), to 4.8% (4.7, 5.0) and 4.4% (4.3, 4.5), over the three rounds of the study a difference of -26.5% (-29.0, -23.8). The highest prevalence and smallest overall decline in positivity was in the youngest age group (18-24 years) at -14.9% (-21.6, -8.1), and lowest prevalence and largest decline in the oldest group (>74 years) at -39.0% (-50.8, -27.2). The decline from June to September 2020 was largest in those who did not report a history of COVID-19 at -64.0% (-75.6, -52.3), compared to -22.3% (-27.0, -17.7) in those with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed on PCR.InterpretationA large proportion of the population remained susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection in England based on naturally acquired immunity from the first wave. Widespread vaccination is needed to confer immunity and control the epidemic at population level.FundingThis work was funded by the Department of Health and Social Care in England.
Davies B, Parkes BL, Bennett J, et al., 2021, Community factors and excess mortality in first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic
<jats:p>Risk factors for increased risk of death from Coronavirus Disease 19 (COVID-19) have been identified<jats:sup>1,2</jats:sup> but less is known on characteristics that make communities resilient or vulnerable to the mortality impacts of the pandemic. We applied a two-stage Bayesian spatial model to quantify inequalities in excess mortality at the community level during the first wave of the pandemic in England. We used geocoded data on all deaths in people aged 40 years and older during March-May 2020 compared with 2015-2019 in 6,791 local communities. Here we show that communities with an increased risk of excess mortality had a high density of care homes, and/or high proportion of residents on income support, living in overcrowded homes and/or high percent of people with a non-White ethnicity (including Black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups). Conversely, after accounting for other community characteristics, we found no association between population density or air pollution and excess mortality. Overall, the social and environmental variables accounted for around 15% of the variation in mortality at community level. Effective and timely public health and healthcare measures that target the communities at greatest risk are urgently needed if England and other industrialised countries are to avoid further widening of inequalities in mortality patterns during the second wave.</jats:p>
Riley S, Ainslie KEC, Eales O, et al., 2021, Resurgence of SARS-CoV-2: detection by community viral surveillance., Science
Surveillance of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic has mainly relied on case reporting which is biased by health service performance, test availability and test-seeking behaviors. We report a community-wide national representative surveillance program in England involving self-administered swab results from 594,000 individuals tested for SARS-CoV-2, regardless of symptoms, from May to beginning of September 2020. The epidemic declined between May and July 2020 but then increased gradually from mid-August, accelerating into early September 2020 at the start of the second wave. When compared to cases detected through routine surveillance, we report here a longer period of decline and a younger age distribution. Representative community sampling for SARS-CoV-2 can substantially improve situational awareness and feed into the public health response even at low prevalence.
Riley S, Atchison C, Ashby D, et al., 2021, REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) of SARS-CoV-2 virus: Study protocol, Wellcome Open Research, Vol: 5, Pages: 200-200
<ns4:p><ns4:bold>Background:</ns4:bold> England, UK has one of the highest rates of confirmed COVID-19 mortality globally. Until recently, testing for the SARS-CoV-2 virus focused mainly on healthcare and care home settings. As such, there is far less understanding of community transmission.</ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Protocol:</ns4:bold> The REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission (REACT) programme is a major programme of home testing for COVID-19 to track progress of the infection in the community.</ns4:p><ns4:p> REACT-1 involves cross-sectional surveys of viral detection (virological swab for RT-PCR) tests in repeated samples of 100,000 to 150,000 randomly selected individuals across England. This examines how widely the virus has spread and how many people are currently infected. The age range is 5 years and above. Individuals are sampled from the England NHS patient list.</ns4:p><ns4:p> REACT-2 is a series of five sub-studies towards establishing the seroprevalence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in England as an indicator of historical infection. The main study (study 5) uses the same design and sampling approach as REACT-1 using a self-administered lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) test for IgG antibodies in repeated samples of 100,000 to 200,000 adults aged 18 years and above. To inform study 5, studies 1-4 evaluate performance characteristics of SARS-CoV-2 LFIAs (study 1) and different aspects of feasibility, usability and application of LFIAs for home-based testing in different populations (studies 2-4).</ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Ethics and dissemination: </ns4:bold>The study has ethical approval. Results are reported using STROBE guidelines and disseminated through reports to public health bodies, presentations at scientific meetings and open access publications.</ns4:p><ns4:p> <ns4:bold>Conclusions: </ns4:bold>This study provides robust estimat
Riley S, Eales O, Haw D, et al., 2021, REACT-1 round 10 report: Level prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 swab-positivity in England during third national lockdown in March 2021
BackgroundIn England, hospitalisations and deaths due to SARS-CoV-2 have been falling consistentlysince January 2021 during the third national lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic. The firstsignificant relaxation of that lockdown occurred on 8 March when schools reopened.MethodsThe REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-1 (REACT-1) study augmentsroutine surveillance data for England by measuring swab-positivity for SARS-CoV-2 in thecommunity. The current round, round 10, collected swabs from 11 to 30 March 2021 and iscompared here to round 9, in which swabs were collected from 4 to 23 February 2021.ResultsDuring round 10, we estimated an R number of 1.00 (95% confidence interval 0.81, 1.21).Between rounds 9 and 10 we estimated national prevalence has dropped by ~60% from0.49% (0.44%, 0.55%) in February to 0.20% (0.17%, 0.23%) in March. There weresubstantial falls in weighted regional prevalence: in South East from 0.36% (0.29%, 0.44%)in round 9 to 0.07% (0.04%, 0.12%) in round 10; London from 0.60% (0.48%, 0.76%) to0.16% (0.10%, 0.26%); East of England from 0.47% (0.36%, 0.60%) to 0.15% (0.10%,0.24%); East Midlands from 0.59% (0.45%, 0.77%) to 0.19% (0.13%, 0.28%); and NorthWest from 0.69% (0.54%, 0.88%) to 0.31% (0.21%, 0.45%). Areas of apparent higherprevalence remain in parts of the North West, and Yorkshire and The Humber. The highestprevalence in March was found among school-aged children 5 to 12 years at 0.41% (0.27%,0.62%), compared with the lowest in those aged 65 to 74 and 75 and over at 0.09% (0.05%,0.16%). The close approximation between prevalence of infections and deaths (suitablylagged) is diverging, suggesting that infections may have resulted in fewer hospitalisationsand deaths since the start of widespread vaccination.ConclusionWe report a sharp decline in prevalence of infections between February and March 2021.We did not observe an increase in the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 following the reopening ofschools in England, although the decline of p
Griffin J, Albaloul A, Kopytek A, et al., 2021, Effect of ultraprocessed food intake on cardiometabolic risk is mediated by diet quality: a cross-sectional study, BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, ISSN: 2516-5542
Objective To examine the effect of the consumption of ultraprocessed food on diet quality, and cardiometabolic risk (CMR) in an occupational cohort.Design Cross-sectional.Setting Occupational cohort.Participants 53 163 British police force employees enrolled (2004–2012) into the Airwave Health Monitoring Study. A total of 28 forces across the UK agreed to participate. 9009 participants with available 7-day diet record data and complete co-variate data are reported in this study.Main outcome measures A CMR and Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension score were treated as continuous variables and used to generate measures of cardiometabolic health and diet quality. Secondary outcome measures include percentage of energy from fat, saturated fat, carbohydrate, protein and non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES) and fibre grams per 1000 kcal of energy intake.Results In this cohort, 58.3%±11.6 of total energy intake was derived from ultraprocessed (NOVA 4) foods. Ultraprocessed food intake was negatively correlated with diet quality (r=−0.32, p<0.001), fibre (r=−0.20, p<0.001) and protein (r = −0.40, p<0.001) and positively correlated with fat (r=0.18, p<0.001), saturated fat (r=0.14, p<0.001) and nmes (r=0.10, p<0.001) intake . Multivariable analysis suggests a positive association between ultraprocessed food (NOVA 4) consumption and CMR. However, this main effect was no longer observed after adjustment for diet quality (p=0.209). Findings from mediation analysis indicate that the effect of ultraprocessed food (NOVA 4) intake on CMR is mediated by diet quality (p<0.001).Conclusions Ultraprocessed food consumption is associated with a deterioration in diet quality and positively associated with CMR, although this association is mediated by and dependent on the quality of the diet. The negative impact of ultraprocessed food consumption on diet quality needs to be addressed and controlled studies are needed to fully comprehend wh
Yang JJ, Tzoulaki I, Karaman I, et al., 2021, Circulating Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) in Association with Diet and Cardiometabolic Biomarkers: An International Pooled Analysis, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, ISSN: 0002-9165
Background: Trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), a diet-derived, gut microbial-host co-metabolite, has been linked to cardiometabolic diseases. However, the relationships remain unclear between diet, TMAO, and cardiometabolic health in general populations from different regions and ethnicities. Objective: To examine associations of circulating TMAO with dietary and cardiometabolic factors in a pooled analysis of 16 population-based studies from the US, Europe, and Asia.Design: Included were 32,166 adults (16,269 White, 13,293 Asian, 1,247 Hispanic/Latino, and 1,236 Black) without cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, or inflammatory bowel disease. Linear regression coefficients (β) were computed for standardized TMAO with harmonized variables. Study-specific results were combined by random-effects meta-analysis. False discovery rate<0.10 was considered significant. Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, circulating TMAO was associated with intakes of animal protein and saturated fat (β=0.124 and 0.058, respectively, for 5%-energy increase) and with shellfish, total fish, eggs, and red meat (β=0.370, 0.151, 0.081, and 0.056, respectively, for 1-serving/day increase). Plant protein and nuts showed inverse associations (β=-0.126 for 5%-energy increase from plant protein and -0.123 for 1-serving/day of nuts). Although the animal protein-TMAO association was consistent across populations, fish and shellfish associations were stronger among Asians (β=0.285 and 0.578), and egg and red meat associations were more prominent among Americans (β=0.153 and 0.093). Besides, circulating TMAO was positively associated with creatinine (β=0.131 per standard deviation increase in log-TMAO), homocysteine (β=0.065), insulin (β=0.048), HbA1c (β=0.048), and glucose (β=0.023), while inversely associated with HDL-cholesterol (β=-0.047) and blood pressure (β=-0.030). Each TMAO-biomarker association
Malik R, Georgakis MK, Vujkovic M, et al., 2021, Relationship Between Blood Pressure and Incident Cardiovascular Disease, Hypertension, ISSN: 0194-911X
<jats:p>Observational studies exploring whether there is a nonlinear effect of blood pressure on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk are hindered by confounding. This limitation can be overcome by leveraging randomly allocated genetic variants in nonlinear Mendelian randomization analyses. Based on their association with blood pressure traits in a genome-wide association study of 299 024 European ancestry individuals, we selected 253 genetic variants to proxy the effect of modifying systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Considering the outcomes of incident coronary artery disease, stroke and the combined outcome of CVD, linear and nonlinear Mendelian randomization analyses were performed on 255 714 European ancestry participants without a history of CVD or antihypertensive medication use. There was no evidence favoring nonlinear relationships of genetically proxied systolic and diastolic blood pressure with the cardiovascular outcomes over linear relationships. For every 10-mm Hg increase in genetically proxied systolic blood pressure, risk of incident CVD increased by 49% (hazard ratio, 1.49 [95% CI, 1.38–1.61]), with similar estimates obtained for coronary artery disease (hazard ratio, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.38–1.63]) and stroke (hazard ratio, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.22–1.70]). Genetically proxied blood pressure had a similar relationship with CVD in men and women. These findings provide evidence to support that even for individuals who do not have elevated blood pressure, public health interventions achieving persistent blood pressure reduction will be of considerable benefit in the primary prevention of CVD.</jats:p>
Malik R, Georgakis MK, Vujkovic M, et al., 2021, Relationship between blood pressure and incident cardiovascular disease. Linear and non-linear Mendelian randomization analyses, Hypertension, ISSN: 0194-911X
Observational studies exploring whether there is a nonlinear effect of blood pressure on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk are hindered by confounding. This limitation can be overcome by leveraging randomly allocated genetic variants in nonlinear Mendelian randomization analyses. Based on their association with blood pressure traits in a genome-wide association study of 299 024 European ancestry individuals, we selected 253 genetic variants to proxy the effect of modifying systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Considering the outcomes of incident coronary artery disease, stroke and the combined outcome of CVD, linear and nonlinear Mendelian randomization analyses were performed on 255 714 European ancestry participants without a history of CVD or antihypertensive medication use. There was no evidence favoring nonlinear relationships of genetically proxied systolic and diastolic blood pressure with the cardiovascular outcomes over linear relationships. For every 10-mm Hg increase in genetically proxied systolic blood pressure, risk of incident CVD increased by 49% (hazard ratio, 1.49 [95% CI, 1.38–1.61]), with similar estimates obtained for coronary artery disease (hazard ratio, 1.50 [95% CI, 1.38–1.63]) and stroke (hazard ratio, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.22–1.70]). Genetically proxied blood pressure had a similar relationship with CVD in men and women. These findings provide evidence to support that even for individuals who do not have elevated blood pressure, public health interventions achieving persistent blood pressure reduction will be of considerable benefit in the primary prevention of CVD.
Karabegović I, Dehghan A, Elliott P, et al., 2021, Epigenome-wide association meta-analysis of DNA methylation with coffee and tea consumption., Nature Communications, ISSN: 2041-1723
Surendran P, Feofanova EV, Lahrouchi N, et al., 2021, Discovery of rare variants associated with blood pressure regulation through meta-analysis of 1.3 million individuals (vol 52, pg 1314, 2020), Nature Genetics, Pages: 1-2, ISSN: 1061-4036
NCD Risk Factor Collaboration NCD-RisC, Iurilli N, 2021, Heterogeneous contributions of change in population distribution of body-mass index to change in obesity and underweight, eLife, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2050-084X
From 1985 to 2016, the prevalence of underweight decreased, and that of obesity and severe obesity increased, in most regions, with significant variation in the magnitude of these changes across regions. We investigated how much change in mean body mass index (BMI) explains changes in the prevalence of underweight, obesity, and severe obesity in different regions using data from 2896 population-based studies with 187 million participants. Changes in the prevalence of underweight and total obesity, and to a lesser extent severe obesity, are largely driven by shifts in the distribution of BMI, with smaller contributions from changes in the shape of the distribution. In East and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, the underweight tail of the BMI distribution was left behind as the distribution shifted. There is a need for policies that address all forms of malnutrition by making healthy foods accessible and affordable, while restricting unhealthy foods through fiscal and regulatory restrictions.
Riley S, Wang H, Eales O, et al., 2021, REACT-1 round 9 final report: Continued but slowing decline of prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 during national lockdown in England in February 2021
BackgroundEngland will start to exit its third national lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemicon 8th March 2021, with safe effective vaccines being rolled out rapidly against abackground of emerging transmissible and immunologically novel variants of SARS-CoV-2.A subsequent increase in community prevalence of infection could delay further relaxation oflockdown if vaccine uptake and efficacy are not sufficiently high to prevent increasedpressure on healthcare services.MethodsThe PCR self-swab arm of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission Study(REACT-1) estimates community prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England based onrandom cross-sections of the population ages five and over. Here, we present results fromthe complete round 9 of REACT-1 comprising round 9a in which swabs were collected from4th to 12th February 2021 and round 9b from 13th to 23rd February 2021. We also comparethe results of REACT-1 round 9 to round 8, in which swabs were collected mainly from 6thJanuary to 22nd January 2021.ResultsOut of 165,456 results for round 9 overall, 689 were positive. Overall weighted prevalence ofinfection in the community in England was 0.49% (0.44%, 0.55%), representing a fall of overone third from round 8. However the rate of decline of the epidemic has slowed from 15 (13,17) days, estimated for the period from the end of round 8 to the start of round 9, to 31 daysestimated using data from round 9 alone (lower confidence limit 17 days). When comparinground 9a to 9b there were apparent falls in four regions, no apparent change in one regionand apparent rises in four regions, including London where there was a suggestion ofsub-regional heterogeneity in growth and decline. Smoothed prevalence maps suggest largecontiguous areas of growth and decline that do not align with administrative regions.Prevalence fell by 50% or more across all age groups in round 9 compared to round 8, withprevalence (round 9) ranging from 0.21% in those aged 65 and over to 0
Moshe M, Daunt A, Flower B, et al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 lateral flow assays for possible use in national covid-19 seroprevalence surveys (REACT2): diagnostic accuracy study, BMJ: British Medical Journal, Vol: 372, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 0959-535X
Objective: To evaluate the performance of new lateral flow immunoassays (LFIAs) suitable for use in a national COVID-19 seroprevalence programme (REACT2).Design: Laboratory sensitivity and specificity analyses were performed for seven LFIAs on a minimum of 200 sera from individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, and 500 pre-pandemic sera respectively. Three LFIAs were found to have a laboratory sensitivity superior to the finger-prick sensitivity of the LFIA currently used in REACT2 seroprevalence studies (84%). These LFIAs were then further evaluated through finger-prick testing on participants with confirmed previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. Two LFIAs (Surescreen, Panbio) were evaluated in clinics in June-July, 2020, and a third LFIA (AbC-19) in September, 2020. A Spike protein enzyme-linked immunoassay (S-ELISA) and hybrid double antigen binding assay (DABA) were used as laboratory reference standards.Setting: Laboratory analyses were performed at Imperial College, London and University facilities in London, UK. Research clinics for finger-prick sampling were run in two affiliated NHS trusts.Participants: Sensitivity analysis on sera were performed on 320 stored samples from previous participants in the REACT2 programme with confirmed previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. Specificity analysis was performed using 1000 pre-pandemic sera. 100 new participants with confirmed previous SARS-CoV-2 infection attended study clinics for finger-prick testing.Main outcome measures: The accuracy of LFIAs in detecting IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in comparison to two in-house ELISAs.Results: The sensitivity of seven new LFIAs using sera varied between 69% and 100% (vs S-ELISA/hybrid DABA). Specificity using sera varied between 99.6% and 100%. Sensitivity on finger-prick testing for Panbio, Surescreen and AbC-19 was 77% (CI 61.4 to 88.2), 86% (CI 72.7 to 94.8) and 69% (CI 53.8 to 81.3) respectively vs S-ELISA/hybrid DABA. Sensitivity for sera from matched clinical samples performe
Elliott J, Bodinier B, Whitaker M, et al., 2021, COVID-19 mortality in the UK Biobank cohort: revisiting and evaluating risk factors, European Journal of Epidemiology, Vol: 36, Pages: 299-309, ISSN: 0393-2990
Background: Most studies of severe/fatal COVID-19 risk have used routine/hospitalisation data without detailed pre-morbid characterisation. Using the community-based UK Biobank ohort, we investigate risk factors for COVID-19 mortality in comparison withnon-COVID-19mortality.MethodsWe investigated demographic, social (education, income, housing, employment), lifestyle (smoking, drinking, body mass index), biological (lipids, cystatin C, vitamin D), medical (comorbidities, medications) and environmental (air pollution) data from UK Biobank (N=473,550) in relation to 459 COVID-19 and 2,626 non-COVID-19 deaths to 21 September 2020. We used univariate, multivariable and penalised regression models. Results: Age (OR=2.76[2.18-3.49]per S.D. [8.1 years], p=2.6x10-17), male sex (OR=1.47[1.26-1.73], p=1.3x10-6) and Black versus White ethnicity (OR=1.21[1.12-1.29], p=3.0x10-7) were independently associated with and jointly explanatory of (area under receiver operating characteristic curve, AUC=0.79) increased risk of COVID-19 mortality. In multivariable regression, alongside demographic covariates, being a healthcare worker, current smoker, having cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and oral steroid use at enrolment were independently associated with COVID-19 mortality. Penalised regression models selected income, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, cystatin C, and oral steroid use as jointly contributing to COVID-19 mortality risk; Black ethnicity, hypertension and oral steroid use contributed to COVID-19 but not non-COVID-19 mortality. Conclusions: Age, male sex and Black ethnicity, as well as comorbidities and oral steroid use at enrolment were associated with increased risk of COVID-19 death. Our results suggest that previously reported associations of COVID-19 mortality with body mass index, low vitamin D, air pollutants
Ward H, Cooke G, Whitaker M, et al., 2021, REACT-2 Round 5: increasing prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies demonstrate impact of the second wave and of vaccine roll-out in England
BackgroundEngland has experienced high rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the COVID-19 pandemic, affecting in particular minority ethnic groups and more deprived communities. A vaccination programme began in England in December 2020, with priority given to administering thefirst dose to the largest number of older individuals, healthcare and care home workers.MethodsA cross-sectional community survey in England undertaken between 26 January and 8 February 2021 as the fifth round of the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) programme. Participants completed questionnaires, including demographic details and clinical and COVID-19 vaccination histories, and self-administered a lateral flowimmunoassay (LFIA) test to detect IgG against SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. There were sufficient numbers of participants to analyse antibody positivity after 21 days from vaccination with the PfizerBioNTech but not the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine which was introduced slightly later.ResultsThe survey comprised 172,099 people, with valid IgG antibody results from 155,172. The overall prevalence of antibodies (weighted to be representative of the population of England and adjusted for test sensitivity and specificity) in England was 13.9% (95% CI 13.7, 14.1) overall, 37.9% (37.2, 38.7) in vaccinated and 9.8% (9.6, 10.0) in unvaccinated people.The prevalence of antibodies (weighted) in unvaccinated people was highest in London at 16.9% (16.3, 17.5), and higher in people of Black (22.4%, 20.8, 24.1) and Asian (20.0%, 19.0, 21.0) ethnicity compared to white (8.5%, 8.3, 8.7) people. The uptake of vaccination by age was highest in those aged 80 years or older (93.5%). Vaccine confidence was high with 92.0% (91.9, 92.1) of people saying that they had accepted or intended to accept the offer.Vaccine confidence varied by age and ethnicity, with lower confidence in young people and those of Black ethnicity. Particular concerns were identified around pregnancy, fertility and alle
Aikaterini I, Emmanuel M, Karaman I, et al., 2021, Metabolic phenotyping and cardiovascular disease: Overview of evidence from epidemiological settings, Heart, ISSN: 1355-6037
Metabolomics, the comprehensive measurement of low-molecular-weight molecules in biological fluids used for metabolic phenotyping, has emerged as a promising tool to better understand pathways underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD) and to improve cardiovascular risk stratification. Here, we present the main methodologies for metabolic phenotyping, the methodological steps to analyse these data in epidemiological settings and the associated challenges. We discuss evidence from epidemiological studies linking metabolites to coronary heart disease and stroke. These studies indicate the systemic nature of CVD and identify associated metabolic pathways such as gut microbial cometabolism, branched-chain amino acids, glycerophospholipid and cholesterol metabolism, as well as activation of inflammatory processes. Integration of metabolomic with genomic data can provide new evidence for involved biochemical pathways and potential for causality using Mendelian randomisation. The clinical utility of metabolic biomarkers for cardiovascular risk stratification in healthy individuals has not yet been established. As sample sizes with high-dimensional molecular data increase in epidemiological settings, integration of metabolomic data across studies and platforms with other molecular data will lead to new understanding of the metabolic processes underlying CVD and contribute to identification of potentially novel preventive and pharmacological targets. Metabolic phenotyping offers a powerful tool in the characterisation of the molecular signatures of CVD, paving the way to new mechanistic understanding and therapies, as well as improving risk prediction of CVD patients. However, there are still challenges to face in order to contribute to clinically important improvements in CVD.
Riley S, Walters C, Wang H, et al., 2021, REACT-1 round 9 interim report: downward trend of SARS-CoV-2 in England in February 2021 but still at high prevalence
Background and Methods: England entered its third national lockdown of the COVID-19pandemic on 6th January 2021 with the aim of reducing the daily number of deaths andpressure on healthcare services. The real-time assessment of community transmission study(REACT-1) obtains throat and nose swabs from randomly selected people in England inorder to describe patterns of SARS-CoV-2 prevalence. Here, we report data from round 9aof REACT-1 for swabs collected between 4th and 13th February 2021.Results: Out of 85,473 tested-swabs, 378 were positive. Overall weighted prevalence ofinfection in the community in England was 0.51%, a fall of more than two thirds since our lastreport (round 8) in January 2021 when 1.57% of people tested positive. We estimate ahalving time of 14.6 days and a reproduction number R of 0.72, based on the difference inprevalence between the end of round 8 and the beginning of round 9. Although prevalencefell in all nine regions of England over the same period, there was greater uncertainty in thetrend for North West, North East, and Yorkshire and The Humber. Prevalence fellsubstantially across all age groups with highest prevalence among 18- to 24-year olds at0.89% (0.47%, 1.67%) and those aged 5 to12 years at 0.86% (0.60%, 1.24%). Largehousehold size, living in a deprived neighbourhood, and Asian ethnicity were all associatedwith increased prevalence. Healthcare and care home workers were more likely to testpositive compared to other workers.Conclusions: There is a strong decline in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in England among thegeneral population five to six weeks into lockdown, but prevalence remains high: at levelssimilar to those observed in late September 2020. Also, the number of COVID-19 cases inhospitals is higher than at the peak of the first wave in April 2020. The effects of easing ofsocial distancing when we transition out of lockdown need to be closely monitored to avoid aresurgence in infections and renewed pressure on health services.
Elliott J, Whitaker M, Bodinier B, et al., 2021, Symptom reporting in over 1 million people: community detection of COVID-19
Control of the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic requires rapid identification and isolation of infectedindividuals and their contacts. Community testing in England (Pillar 2) by polymerase chainreaction (PCR) is reserved for those reporting at least one of four ‘classic’ COVID-19 symptoms(loss or change of sense of smell, loss or change of sense of taste, fever, new continuous cough). 1Detection of positive cases in the community might be improved by including additionalsymptoms and their combinations. We used data from the REal-time Assessment of CommunityTransmission-1 (REACT-1) study to investigate symptom profiles for PCR positivity at differentages. Among rounds 2–7 (June to December 2020), an age-stratified, variable selection approachstably selected chills (all ages), headache (5–17 years), appetite loss (18–54 and 55+ years) andmuscle aches (18–54 years) as jointly and positively predictive of PCR positivity together withthe classic four symptoms. Between round 7 (November to December 2020) and round 8(January 2021) when new variant B.1.1.7 predominated, only loss or change of sense of smell(more predictive in round 7) and (borderline) new persistent cough (more predictive in round 8)differed between cases. At any level of PCR testing, triage based on the symptoms identifiedhere would result in more cases detected than the current approach .
Ward H, Atchison C, Whitaker M, et al., 2021, SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in England following the first peak of the pandemic., Nature Communications, Vol: 12, Pages: 1-8, ISSN: 2041-1723
England has experienced a large outbreak of SARS-CoV-2, disproportionately affecting people from disadvantaged and ethnic minority communities. It is unclear how much of this excess is due to differences in exposure associated with structural inequalities. Here we report from the REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) national study of over 100,000 people. After adjusting for test characteristics and re-weighting to the population, overall antibody prevalence is 6.0% (95% CI: 5.8-6.1). An estimated 3.4 million people had developed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 by mid-July 2020. Prevalence is two- to three-fold higher among health and care workers compared with non-essential workers, and in people of Black or South Asian than white ethnicity, while age- and sex-specific infection fatality ratios are similar across ethnicities. Our results indicate that higher hospitalisation and mortality from COVID-19 in minority ethnic groups may reflect higher rates of infection rather than differential experience of disease or care.
Pazoki R, Elliott J, Evangelou E, et al., 2021, Genetic analysis in European ancestry individuals identifies 517 loci associated with liver enzymes, Nature Communications, ISSN: 2041-1723
Serum concentration of hepatic enzymes are linked to liver dysfunction, metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. We perform genetic analysis on serum levels of alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) using data on 437,438 UK Biobank participants. Replication in 315,572 individuals from European descent from the Million Veteran Program, Rotterdam Study and Lifeline study confirms 517 liver enzyme SNPs. Genetic risk score analysis using the identified SNPs is strongly associated with serum activity of liver enzymes in two independent European descent studies (The Airwave Health Monitoring study and the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966). Gene-set enrichment analysis using the identified SNPs highlights involvement in liver development and function, lipid metabolism, insulin resistance, and vascular formation. Mendelian randomization analysis shows association of liver enzyme variants with coronary heart disease and ischemic stroke. Genetic risk score for elevated serum activity of liver enzymes is associated with higher fat percentage of body, trunk, and liver and body mass index. Our study highlights the role of molecular pathways regulated by the liver in metabolic disorders and cardiovascular disease.
Gill D, Cameron AC, Burgess S, et al., 2021, Urate, blood pressure and cardiovascular disease: evidence from Mendelian randomization and meta-analysis of clinical trials, Hypertension, Vol: 77, Pages: 383-392, ISSN: 0194-911X
Serum urate has been implicated in hypertension and cardiovascular disease, but it is not known whether it is exerting a causal effect. To investigate this, we performed Mendelian randomization analysis using data from UK Biobank, Million Veterans Program and genome-wide association study consortia, and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. The main Mendelian randomization analyses showed that every 1-SD increase in genetically predicted serum urate was associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (odds ratio, 1.19 [95% CI, 1.10–1.30]; P=4×10−5), peripheral artery disease (1.12 [95% CI, 1.03–1.21]; P=9×10−3), and stroke (1.11 [95% CI, 1.05–1.18]; P=2×10−4). In Mendelian randomization mediation analyses, elevated blood pressure was estimated to mediate approximately one-third of the effect of urate on cardiovascular disease risk. Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed a favorable effect of urate-lowering treatment on systolic blood pressure (mean difference, −2.55 mm Hg [95% CI, −4.06 to −1.05]; P=1×10−3) and major adverse cardiovascular events in those with previous cardiovascular disease (odds ratio, 0.40 [95% CI, 0.22–0.73]; P=3×10−3) but no significant effect on major adverse cardiovascular events in all individuals (odds ratio, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.44–1.03]; P=0.07). In summary, these Mendelian randomization and clinical trial data support an effect of higher serum urate on increasing blood pressure, which may mediate a consequent effect on cardiovascular disease risk. High-quality trials are necessary to provide definitive evidence on the specific clinical contexts where urate lowering may be of cardiovascular benefit.
Riley S, Eales O, Walters C, et al., 2021, REACT-1 round 8 final report: high average prevalence with regional heterogeneity of trends in SARS-CoV-2 infection in the community in England during January 2021
In early January 2021, England entered its third national lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce numbers of deaths and pressure on healthcare services, while rapidly rolling out vaccination to healthcare workers and those most at risk of severe disease and death. REACT-1 is a survey of SARS-CoV-2 prevalence in the community in England, based on repeated cross-sectional samples of the population. Between 6th and 22nd January 2021, out of 167,642 results, 2,282 were positive giving a weighted national prevalence of infection of 1.57% (95% CI, 1.49%, 1.66%). The R number nationally over this period was estimated at 0.98 (0.92, 1.04). Prevalence remained high throughout, but with suggestion of a decline at the end of the study period. The average national trend masked regional heterogeneity, with robustly decreasing prevalence in one region (South West) and increasing prevalence in another (East Midlands). Overall prevalence at regional level was highest in London at 2.83% (2.53%, 3.16%). Although prevalence nationally was highest in the low-risk 18 to 24 year old group at 2.44% (1.96%, 3.03%), it was also high in those over 65 years who are most at risk, at 0.93% (0.82%, 1.05%). Large household size, living in a deprived neighbourhood, and Black and Asian ethnicity were all associated with higher levels of infections compared to smaller households, less deprived neighbourhoods and other ethnicities. Healthcare and care home workers, and other key workers, were more likely to test positive compared to other workers. If sustained lower prevalence is not achieved rapidly in England, pressure on healthcare services and numbers of COVID-19 deaths will remain unacceptably high.
Ware J, Tadros R, Francis C, et al., 2021, Shared genetic pathways contribute to risk of hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathies with opposite directions of effect, Nature Genetics, Vol: 53, Pages: 128-134, ISSN: 1061-4036
The heart muscle diseases hypertrophic (HCM) and dilated (DCM) cardiomyopathies are leading causes of sudden death and heart failure in young otherwise healthy individuals. We conducted genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and multi-trait analyses in HCM (1,733 cases), DCM (5,521 cases), and nine left ventricular (LV) traits in 19,260 UK Biobank participants with structurally-normal hearts. We identified 16 loci associated with HCM, 13 with DCM, and 23 with LV traits. We show strong genetic correlations between LV traits and cardiomyopathies, with opposing effects in HCM and DCM. Two-sample Mendelian randomization supports a causal association linking increased contractility with HCM risk. A polygenic risk score (PRS) explains a significant portion of phenotypic variability in carriers of HCM-causing rare variants. Our findings thus provide evidence that PRS may account for variability in Mendelian diseases. More broadly, we provide insights into how genetic pathways may lead to distinct disorders through opposing genetic effects.
Riley S, Wang H, Eales O, et al., 2021, REACT-1 round 8 interim report: SARS-CoV-2 prevalence during the initial stages of the third national lockdown in England, Publisher: Imperial College London
BackgroundHigh prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in many northern hemisphere populations is causingextreme pressure on healthcare services and leading to high numbers of fatalities. Eventhough safe and effective vaccines are being deployed in many populations, the majority ofthose most at-risk of severe COVID-19 will not be protected until late spring, even incountries already at a more advanced stage of vaccine deployment.MethodsThe REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission study-1 (REACT-1) obtains throatand nose swabs from between 120,000 and 180,000 people in the community in England atapproximately monthly intervals. Round 8a of REACT-1 mainly covers a period from 6thJanuary 2021 to 15th January 2021. Swabs are tested for SARS-CoV-2 virus and patterns ofswab-positivity are described over time, space and with respect to individual characteristics.We compare swab-positivity prevalence from REACT-1 with mobility data based on the GPSlocations of individuals using the Facebook mobile phone app. We also compare resultsfrom round 8a with those from round 7 in which swabs were collected from 13th Novemberto 24th November (round 7a) and 25th November to 3rd December 2020 (round 7b).ResultsIn round 8a, we found 1,962 positives from 142,909 swabs giving a weighted prevalence of1.58% (95% CI, 1.49%, 1.68%). Using a constant growth model, we found no strongevidence for either growth or decay averaged across the period; rather, based on data froma limited number of days, prevalence may have started to rise at the end of round 8a.Facebook mobility data showed a marked decrease in activity at the end of December 2020,followed by a rise at the start of the working year in January 2021. Between round 7b andround 8a, prevalence increased in all adult age groups, more than doubling to 0.94%(0.83%, 1.07%) in those aged 65 and over. Large household size, living in a deprivedneighbourhood, and Black and Asian ethnicity were all associated with increasedprevalence. Both healthcare
Evangelou E, Suzuki H, Bai W, et al., 2021, Alcohol consumption is associated with structural changes in various organ systems: A population-based study in UK Biobank
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with damage to various organs, but its multi-organ effects have not been characterised across the usual range of alcohol drinking in a large general population sample. We assessed global effects of alcohol consumption on quantitative magnetic resonance imaging phenotypic measures of the brain, heart, aorta and liver of UK-Biobank participants who reported drinking alcohol. We found a monotonic association of higher alcohol consumption with lower normalised brain volume across the range of alcohol intakes (–1.7×10<jats:sup>−3</jats:sup>±0.76×10<jats:sup>−3</jats:sup> per doubling of alcohol consumption, <jats:italic>P</jats:italic>=3.0×10<jats:sup>−14</jats:sup>). Alcohol consumption also was associated directly with measures of left ventricular mass index and left ventricular and atrial volume indices. Liver fat increased by a mean of 0.15% per doubling of alcohol consumption. Our results imply that there is not a “safe threshold” below which there are no toxic effects of alcohol. Current public health guidelines concerning alcohol consumption may need to be revisited.</jats:p>
Aljuraiban G, Chan Q, Gibson R, et al., 2021, Association between plant-based diets and blood pressure in the INTERMAP study, BMJ Nutrition, Prevention & Health, Vol: 3, Pages: 133-142, ISSN: 2516-5542
Background Plant-based diets are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases; however, little is known how the healthiness of the diet may be associated with blood pressure (BP). We aimed to modify three plant -based diet indices: overall plant-based diet index (PDI), healthy PDI (hPDI), and unhealthy PDI (uPDI) according to country-specific dietary guidelines to enable use across populations with diverse dietary patterns – and assessed their associations with BP.Design We used cross-sectional data including 4,680 men and women ages 40–59y in Japan, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States from the INTERnational study on MAcro/micronutrients and blood Pressure (INTERMAP). During four visits, eight BP measurements, and four 24-h dietary recalls were collected. Multivariable regression coefficients were estimated, pooled, weighted, and adjusted extensively for lifestyle/dietary confounders.Results Modified PDI was not associated with BP. Consumption of hPDI higher by 1SD was inversely associated with systolic (-0.82 mm Hg;95% CI:-1.32,-0.49) and diastolic BP (-0.49 mm Hg; 95% CI:-0.91, -0.28). In contrast, consumption of an uPDI was directly associated with systolic (0.77 mm Hg;95% CI:0.30,1.20). Significant associations between hPDI with BP were attenuated with separate adjustment for vegetables and whole grains; associations between uPDI and BP were attenuated after adjustment for refined grains, sugar-sweetened beverages, and meat.Conclusion An hPDI is associated with lower BP while a uPDI is adversely related to BP. Plant-based diets rich in vegetables and whole grains and limited in refined grains, sugar-sweetened beverages, and total meat may contribute to these associations. In addition to current guidelines, the nutritional quality of consumed plant foods is as important as limiting animal-based components.
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