Imperial College London

DrRobertVerity

Faculty of MedicineSchool of Public Health

MRC Research Fellow
 
 
 
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Contact

 

+44 (0)20 7594 3946r.verity Website

 
 
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Location

 

UG12Praed StreetSt Mary's Campus

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Summary

 

Publications

Publication Type
Year
to

91 results found

de Cesare M, Mwenda M, Jeffreys AE, Chirwa J, Drakeley C, Schneider K, Mambwe B, Glanz K, Ntalla C, Carrasquilla M, Portugal S, Verity RJ, Bailey JA, Ghinai I, Busby GB, Hamainza B, Hawela M, Bridges DJ, Hendry JAet al., 2024, Flexible and cost-effective genomic surveillance of P. falciparum malaria with targeted nanopore sequencing., Nat Commun, Vol: 15

Genomic surveillance of Plasmodium falciparum malaria can provide policy-relevant information about antimalarial drug resistance, diagnostic test failure, and the evolution of vaccine targets. Yet the large and low complexity genome of P. falciparum complicates the development of genomic methods, while resource constraints in malaria endemic regions can limit their deployment. Here, we demonstrate an approach for targeted nanopore sequencing of P. falciparum from dried blood spots (DBS) that enables cost-effective genomic surveillance of malaria in low-resource settings. We release software that facilitates flexible design of amplicon sequencing panels and use this software to design two target panels for P. falciparum. The panels generate 3-4 kbp reads for eight and sixteen targets respectively, covering key drug-resistance associated genes, diagnostic test antigens, polymorphic markers and the vaccine target csp. We validate our approach on mock and field samples, demonstrating robust sequencing coverage, accurate variant calls within coding sequences, the ability to explore P. falciparum within-sample diversity and to detect deletions underlying rapid diagnostic test failure.

Journal article

Connelly SV, Brazeau NF, Msellem M, Ngasala BE, Aydemir Ö, Goel V, Niaré K, Giesbrecht DJ, Popkin-Hall ZR, Hennelly CM, Park Z, Moormann AM, Ong'echa JM, Verity R, Mohammed S, Shija SJ, Mhamilawa LE, Morris U, Mårtensson A, Lin JT, Björkman A, Juliano JJ, Bailey JAet al., 2024, Strong isolation by distance and evidence of population microstructure reflect ongoing Plasmodium falciparum transmission in Zanzibar., medRxiv

The Zanzibar archipelago of Tanzania has become a low-transmission area for Plasmodium falciparum. Despite being considered an area of pre-elimination for years, achieving elimination has been difficult, likely due to a combination of imported infections from mainland Tanzania, and continued local transmission. To shed light on these sources of transmission, we applied highly multiplexed genotyping utilizing molecular inversion probes to characterize the genetic relatedness of 282 P. falciparum isolates collected across Zanzibar and in Bagamoyo District on the coastal mainland from 2016-2018. Overall, parasite populations on the coastal mainland and Zanzibar archipelago remain highly related. However, parasite isolates from Zanzibar exhibit population microstructure due to rapid decay of parasite relatedness over very short distances. This, along with highly related pairs within shehias , suggests ongoing low level local transmission. We also identified highly related parasites across shehias that reflect human mobility on the main island of Unguja and identified a cluster of highly related parasites, suggestive of an outbreak, in the Micheweni district on Pemba island. Parasites in asymptomatic infections demonstrated higher complexity of infection than those in symptomatic infections, but have similar core genomes. Our data support importation as a main source of genetic diversity and contribution to the parasite population on Zanzibar, but they also show local outbreak clusters where targeted interventions are essential to block local transmission. These results highlight the need for preventive measures against imported malaria and enhanced control measures in areas that remain receptive for malaria reemergence due to susceptible hosts and competent vectors.

Journal article

Perez-Guzman PN, Knock E, Imai N, Rawson T, Elmaci Y, Alcada J, Whittles LK, Thekke Kanapram D, Sonabend R, Gaythorpe KAM, Hinsley W, FitzJohn RG, Volz E, Verity R, Ferguson NM, Cori A, Baguelin Met al., 2023, Author Correction: Epidemiological drivers of transmissibility and severity of SARS-CoV-2 in England., Nat Commun, Vol: 14

Journal article

Mayor A, Ishengoma DS, Proctor JL, Verity Ret al., 2023, Sampling for malaria molecular surveillance., Trends Parasitol, Vol: 39, Pages: 954-968

Strategic use of Plasmodium falciparum genetic variation has great potential to inform public health actions for malaria control and elimination. Malaria molecular surveillance (MMS) begins with a strategy to identify and collect parasite samples, guided by public-health priorities. In this review we discuss sampling design practices for MMS and point out epidemiological, biological, and statistical factors that need to be considered. We present examples for different use cases, including detecting emergence and spread of rare variants, establishing transmission sources and inferring changes in malaria transmission intensity. This review will potentially guide the collection of samples and data, serve as a starting point for further methodological innovation, and enhance utilization of MMS to support malaria elimination.

Journal article

Perez Guzman PN, Knock ES, Imai N, Rawson T, Elmaci Y, Alcada J, Whittles LK, Thekke Kanapram D, Sonabend R, Gaythorpe KAM, Hinsley W, Fitzjohn RG, Volz E, Verity R, Ferguson NM, Cori A, Baguelin Met al., 2023, Epidemiological drivers of transmissibility and severity of SARS-CoV-2 in England, Nature Communications, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 2041-1723

As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic progressed, distinct variants emerged and dominated in England. These variants, Wildtype, Alpha, Delta, and Omicron were characterized by variations in transmissibility and severity. We used a robust mathematical model and Bayesian inference framework to analyse epidemiological surveillance data from England. We quantified the impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), therapeutics, and vaccination on virus transmission and severity. Each successive variant had a higher intrinsic transmissibility. Omicron (BA.1) had the highest basic reproduction number at 8.3 (95% credible interval (CrI) 7.7-8.8). Varying levels of NPIs were crucial in controlling virus transmission until population immunity accumulated. Immune escape properties of Omicron decreased effective levels of immunity in the population by a third. Furthermore, in contrast to previous studies, we found Alpha had the highest basic infection fatality ratio (2.9%, 95% CrI 2.7-3.2), followed by Delta (2.2%, 95% CrI 2.0–2.4), Wildtype (1.2%, 95% CrI 1.1–1.2), and Omicron (0.7%, 95% CrI 0.6-0.8). Our findings highlight the importance of continued surveillance. Long-term strategies for monitoring and maintaining effective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 are critical to inform the role of NPIs to effectively manage future variants with potentially higher intrinsic transmissibility and severe outcomes.

Journal article

Paschalidis A, Watson O, Aydemir O, Verity R, Bailey Jet al., 2023, <i>coiaf</i>: Directly estimating complexity of infection with allele frequencies, PLOS COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, Vol: 19, ISSN: 1553-734X

Journal article

Okell L, Brazeau NF, Verity R, Jenks S, Fu H, Whittaker C, Winskill P, Dorigatti I, Walker P, Riley S, Schnekenberg RP, Hoeltgebaum H, Mellan TA, Mishra S, Unwin H, Watson O, Cucunuba Z, Baguelin M, Whittles L, Bhatt S, Ghani A, Ferguson Net al., 2022, Estimating the COVID-19 infection fatality ratio accounting for seroreversion using statistical modelling, Communications Medicine, Vol: 2, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2730-664X

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

Journal article

Pons-Salort M, John J, Watson OJ, Brazeau NF, Verity R, Kang G, Grassly NCet al., 2022, Reassessing reported deaths and estimated infection attack rate during the first 6 months of the COVID-19 epidemic, Delhi, India., Emerging Infectious Diseases, Vol: 28, ISSN: 1080-6040

India reported >10 million coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and 149,000 deaths in 2020. To reassess reported deaths and estimate incidence rates during the first 6 months of the epidemic, we used a severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 transmission model fit to data from 3 serosurveys in Delhi and time-series documentation of reported deaths. We estimated 48.7% (95% credible interval 22.1%-76.8%) cumulative infection in the population through the end of September 2020. Using an age-adjusted overall infection fatality ratio based on age-specific estimates from mostly high-income countries, we estimated that just 15.0% (95% credible interval 9.3%-34.0%) of COVID-19 deaths had been reported, indicating either substantial underreporting or lower age-specific infection-fatality ratios in India than in high-income countries. Despite the estimated high attack rate, additional epidemic waves occurred in late 2020 and April-May 2021. Future dynamics will depend on the duration of natural and vaccine-induced immunity and their effectiveness against new variants.

Journal article

Paschalidis A, Watson OJ, Verity RJ, Bailey JAet al., 2021, COMPLEXITY OF INFECTION ESTIMATION WITH ALLELE FREQUENCIES, Publisher: AMER SOC TROP MED & HYGIENE, Pages: 216-216, ISSN: 0002-9637

Conference paper

Knock ES, Whittles LK, Lees JA, Perez-Guzman PN, Verity R, FitzJohn RG, Gaythorpe KAM, Imai N, Hinsley W, Okell LC, Rosello A, Kantas N, Walters CE, Bhatia S, Watson OJ, Whittaker C, Cattarino L, Boonyasiri A, Djaafara BA, Fraser K, Fu H, Wang H, Xi X, Donnelly CA, Jauneikaite E, Laydon DJ, White PJ, Ghani AC, Ferguson NM, Cori A, Baguelin Met al., 2021, Key epidemiological drivers and impact of interventions in the 2020 SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England, Science Translational Medicine, Vol: 13, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 1946-6234

We fitted a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in care homes and the community to regional surveillance data for England. Compared with other approaches, our model provides a synthesis of multiple surveillance data streams into a single coherent modelling framework allowing transmission and severity to be disentangled from features of the surveillance system. Of the control measures implemented, only national lockdown brought the reproduction number (Rteff ) below 1 consistently; if introduced one week earlier it could have reduced deaths in the first wave from an estimated 48,600 to 25,600 (95% credible interval [95%CrI]: 15,900-38,400). The infection fatality ratio decreased from 1.00% (95%CrI: 0.85%-1.21%) to 0.79% (95%CrI: 0.63%-0.99%), suggesting improved clinical care. The infection fatality ratio was higher in the elderly residing in care homes (23.3%, 95%CrI: 14.7%-35.2%) than those residing in the community (7.9%, 95%CrI: 5.9%-10.3%). On 2nd December 2020 England was still far from herd immunity, with regional cumulative infection incidence between 7.6% (95%CrI: 5.4%-10.2%) and 22.3% (95%CrI: 19.4%-25.4%) of the population. Therefore, any vaccination campaign will need to achieve high coverage and a high degree of protection in vaccinated individuals to allow non-pharmaceutical interventions to be lifted without a resurgence of transmission.

Journal article

Brazeau NF, Mitchell CL, Morgan AP, Deutsch-Feldman M, Watson OJ, Thwai KL, Gelabert P, van Dorp L, Keeler CY, Waltmann A, Emch M, Gartner V, Redelings B, Wray GA, Mwandagalirwa MK, Tshefu AK, Likwela JL, Edwards JK, Verity R, Parr JB, Meshnick SR, Juliano JJet al., 2021, The epidemiology of <i>Plasmodium vivax</i> among adults in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, Vol: 12

Journal article

Stevens MCA, Faulkner SC, Wilke ABB, Beier JC, Vasquez C, Petrie WD, Fry H, Nichols RA, Verity R, Le Comber SCet al., 2021, Spatially clustered count data provide more efficient search strategies in invasion biology and disease control, ECOLOGICAL APPLICATIONS, Vol: 31, ISSN: 1051-0761

Journal article

Djaafara A, Whittaker C, Watson OJ, Verity R, Brazeau N, Widyastuti, Oktavia D, Adrian V, Salama N, Bhatia S, Nouvellet P, Sherrard-Smith E, Churcher T, Surendra H, Lina RN, Ekawati LL, Lestari KD, Andrianto A, Thwaites G, Baird JK, Ghani A, Elyazar IRF, Walker Pet al., 2021, Using syndromic measures of mortality to capture the dynamics of COVID-19 in Java, Indonesia in the context of vaccination roll-out, BMC Medicine, Vol: 19, ISSN: 1741-7015

Background: As in many countries, quantifying COVID-19 spread in Indonesia remains challenging due to testing limitations. In Java, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were implemented throughout 2020. However, as a vaccination campaign launches, cases and deaths are rising across the island. Methods: We used modelling to explore the extent to which data on burials in Jakarta using strict COVID-19 protocols (C19P) provide additional insight into the transmissibility of the disease, epidemic trajectory, and the impact of NPIs. We assess how implementation of NPIs in early 2021 will shape the epidemic during the period of likely vaccine roll-out. Results: C19P burial data in Jakarta suggest a death toll approximately 3.3 times higher than reported. Transmission estimates using these data suggest earlier, larger, and more sustained impact of NPIs. Measures to reduce sub-national spread, particularly during Ramadan, substantially mitigated spread to more vulnerable rural areas. Given current trajectory, daily cases and deaths are likely to increase in most regions as the vaccine is rolled-out. Transmission may peak in early 2021 in Jakarta if current levels of control are maintained. However, relaxation of control measures is likely to lead to a subsequent resurgence in the absence of an effective vaccination campaign. Conclusions: Syndromic measures of mortality provide a more complete picture of COVID-19 severity upon which to base decision-making. The high potential impact of the vaccine in Java is attributable to reductions in transmission to date and dependent on these being maintained. Increases in control in the relatively short-term will likely yield large, synergistic increases in vaccine impact.

Journal article

Hogan AB, Winskill P, Watson OJ, Walker PGT, Whittaker C, Baguelin M, Brazeau NF, Charles GD, Gaythorpe KAM, Hamlet A, Knock E, Laydon DJ, Lees JA, Løchen A, Verity R, Whittles LK, Muhib F, Hauck K, Ferguson NM, Ghani ACet 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.

Journal article

Aygin DT, Cox LA, Faulkner SC, Stevens MCA, Verity R, Le Comber SCet al., 2021, Double cross: geographic profiling of V-2 impact sites, JOURNAL OF SPATIAL SCIENCE, Vol: 66, Pages: 183-194, ISSN: 1449-8596

Journal article

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

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

Journal article

Akala HM, Watson OJ, Mitei KK, Juma DW, Verity R, Ingasia LA, Opot BH, Okath RO, Chemwor GC, Juma JA, Mwakio EW, Brazeau N, Cheruiyot AC, Yeda RA, Maraka MN, Okello CO, Kateete DP, Managbanag JR, Andagalu B, Ogutu BR, Kamau Eet al., 2021, <i>Plasmodium</i> interspecies interactions during a period of increasing prevalence of <i>Plasmodium ovale</i> in symptomatic individuals seeking treatment: an observational study, LANCET MICROBE, Vol: 2, Pages: E141-E150

Journal article

Stevens M, Verity R, 2021, Michael-Stevens-27/silverblaze: First Release

First release of this geographic profiling software for R. Users can specify a range of models for inferring spatial foci based on count data via a Bayesian finite mixture model.

Software

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

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

Journal article

Moser KA, Madebe RA, Aydemir O, Chiduo MG, Mandara CI, Rumisha SF, Chaky F, Denton M, Marsh PW, Verity R, Watson OJ, Ngasala B, Mkude S, Molteni F, Njau R, Warsame M, Mandike R, Kabanywanyi AM, Mahende MK, Kamugisha E, Ahmed M, Kavishe RA, Greer G, Kitojo CA, Reaves EJ, Mlunde L, Bishanga D, Mohamed A, Juliano JJ, Ishengoma DS, Bailey JAet al., 2021, Describing the current status of <i>Plasmodium falciparum</i> population structure and drug resistance within mainland Tanzania using molecular inversion probes, MOLECULAR ECOLOGY, Vol: 30, Pages: 100-113, ISSN: 0962-1083

Journal article

Verity R, Okell L, Dorigatti I, Winskill P, Whittaker C, Walker P, Donnelly C, Ferguson N, Ghani Aet al., 2021, COVID-19 and the difficulty of inferring epidemiological parameters from clinical data Reply, LANCET INFECTIOUS DISEASES, Vol: 21, Pages: 28-28, ISSN: 1473-3099

Journal article

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

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

Journal article

Knock E, Whittles L, Lees J, Perez Guzman P, Verity R, Fitzjohn R, Gaythorpe K, Imai N, Hinsley W, Okell L, Rosello A, Kantas N, Walters C, Bhatia S, Watson O, Whittaker C, Cattarino L, Boonyasiri A, Djaafara A, Fraser K, Fu H, Wang H, Xi X, Donnelly C, Jauneikaite E, Laydon D, White P, Ghani A, Ferguson N, Cori A, Baguelin Met al., 2020, Report 41: The 2020 SARS-CoV-2 epidemic in England: key epidemiological drivers and impact of interventions

England has been severely affected by COVID-19. We fitted a model of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in care homes and the community to regional 2020 surveillance data. Only national lockdown brought the reproduction number below 1 consistently; introduced one week earlier in the first wave it could have reduced mortality by 23,300 deaths on average. The mean infection fatality ratio was initially ~1.3% across all regions except London and halved following clinical care improvements. The infection fatality ratio was two-fold lower throughout in London, even when adjusting for demographics. The infection fatality ratio in care homes was 2.5-times that in the elderly in the community. Population-level infection-induced immunity in England is still far from herd immunity, with regional mean cumulative attack rates ranging between 4.4% and 15.8%.

Report

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

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

Journal article

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

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

Journal article

Okell LC, Verity R, Katzourakis A, Volz EM, Watson OJ, Mishra S, Walker P, Whittaker C, Donnelly CA, Riley S, Ghani AC, Gandy A, Flaxman S, Ferguson NM, Bhatt Set al., 2020, Host or pathogen-related factors in COVID-19 severity? Reply, LANCET, Vol: 396, Pages: 1397-1397, ISSN: 0140-6736

Journal article

Brazeau N, Verity R, Jenks S, Fu H, Whittaker C, Winskill P, Dorigatti I, Walker P, Riley S, Schnekenberg RP, Heltgebaum H, Mellan T, Mishra S, Unwin H, Watson O, Cucunuba Perez Z, Baguelin M, Whittles L, Bhatt S, Ghani A, Ferguson N, Okell Let al., 2020, Report 34: COVID-19 infection fatality ratio: estimates from seroprevalence

The infection fatality ratio (IFR) is a key statistic for estimating the burden of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and has been continuously debated throughout the current pandemic. Previous estimates have relied on data early in the epidemic, or have not fully accounted for uncertainty in serological test characteristics and delays from onset of infection to seroconversion, death, and antibody waning. After screening 175 studies, we identified 10 representative antibody surveys to obtain updated estimates of the IFR using a modelling framework that addresses the limitations listed above. We inferred serological test specificity from regional variation within serosurveys, which is critical for correctly estimating the cumulative proportion infected when seroprevalence is still low. We find that age-specific IFRs follow an approximately log-linear pattern, with the risk of death doubling approximately every eight years of age. Using these age-specific estimates, we estimate the overall IFR in a typical low-income country, with a population structure skewed towards younger individuals, to be 0.23% (0.14-0.42 95% prediction interval range). In contrast, in a typical high income country, with a greater concentration of elderly individuals, we estimate the overall IFR to be 1.15% (0.78-1.79 95% prediction interval range). We show that accounting for seroreversion, the waning of antibodies leading to a negative serological result, can slightly reduce the IFR among serosurveys conducted several months after the first wave of the outbreak, such as Italy. In contrast, uncertainty in test false positive rates combined with low seroprevalence in some surveys can reconcile apparently low crude fatality ratios with the IFR in other countries. Unbiased estimates of the IFR continue to be critical to policymakers to inform key response decisions. It will be important to continue to monitor the IFR as new treatments are introduced. The code for reproducing these results are av

Report

Dighe A, Cattarino L, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Skarp J, Imai N, Bhatia S, Gaythorpe K, Ainslie K, Baguelin M, Bhatt S, Boonyasiri A, Brazeau N, Cooper L, Coupland H, Cucunuba Perez Z, Dorigatti I, Eales O, van Elsland S, Fitzjohn R, Green W, Haw D, Hinsley W, Knock E, Laydon D, Mellan T, Mishra S, Nedjati Gilani G, Nouvellet P, Pons Salort M, Thompson H, Unwin H, Verity R, Vollmer M, Walters C, Watson O, Whittaker C, Whittles L, Ghani A, Donnelly C, Ferguson N, Riley Set al., 2020, Response to COVID-19 in South Korea and implications for lifting stringent interventions, BMC Medicine, Vol: 18, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 1741-7015

Background After experiencing a sharp growth in COVID-19 cases early in the pandemic, South Korea rapidly controlled transmission while implementing less stringent national social distancing measures than countries in Europe and the US. This has led to substantial interest in their “test, trace, isolate” strategy. However, it is important to understand the epidemiological peculiarities of South Korea’s outbreak and characterise their response before attempting to emulate these measures elsewhere.MethodsWe systematically extracted numbers of suspected cases tested, PCR-confirmed cases, deaths, isolated confirmed cases, and numbers of confirmed cases with an identified epidemiological link from publicly available data. We estimated the time-varying reproduction number, Rt, using an established Bayesian framework, and reviewed the package of interventions implemented by South Korea using our extracted data, plus published literature and government sources. Results We estimated that after the initial rapid growth in cases, Rt dropped below one in early April before increasing to a maximum of 1.94 (95%CrI; 1.64-2.27) in May following outbreaks in Seoul Metropolitan Region. By mid-June Rt was back below one where it remained until the end of our study (July 13th). Despite less stringent “lockdown” measures, strong social distancing measures were implemented in high incidence areas and studies measured a considerable national decrease in movement in late-February. Testing capacity was swiftly increased, and protocols were in place to isolate suspected and confirmed cases quickly however we could not estimate the delay to isolation using our data. Accounting for just 10% of cases, individual case-based contact-tracing picked up a relatively minor proportion of total cases, with cluster investigations accounting for 66%. ConclusionsWhilst early adoption of testing and contact-tracing are likely to be important for South Korea’s successf

Journal article

Djaafara BA, Whittaker C, Watson OJ, Verity R, Brazeau NF, Widyastuti W, Oktavia D, Adrian V, Salama N, Bhatia S, Nouvellet P, Sherrard-Smith E, Churcher TS, Surendra H, Lina RN, Ekawati LL, Lestari KD, Andrianto A, Thwaites G, Baird JK, Ghani AC, Elyazar IRF, Walker PGTet al., 2020, Quantifying the dynamics of COVID-19 burden and impact of interventions in Java, Indonesia

<jats:title>ABSTRACT</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>As in many countries, quantifying COVID-19 spread in Indonesia remains challenging due to testing limitations. In Java, non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) were implemented throughout 2020. However, as a vaccination campaign launches, cases and deaths are rising across the island.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>We used modelling to explore the extent to which data on burials in Jakarta using strict COVID-19 protocols (C19P) provide additional insight into the transmissibility of the disease, epidemic trajectory, and the impact of NPIs. We assess how implementation of NPIs in early 2021 will shape the epidemic during the period of likely vaccine roll-out.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>C19P burial data in Jakarta suggest a death toll approximately 3.3 times higher than reported. Transmission estimates using these data suggest earlier, larger, and more sustained impact of NPIs. Measures to reduce sub-national spread, particularly during Ramadan, substantially mitigated spread to more vulnerable rural areas. Given current trajectory, daily cases and deaths are likely to increase in most regions as the vaccine is rolled-out. Transmission may peak in early 2021 in Jakarta if current levels of control are maintained. However, relaxation of control measures is likely to lead to a subsequent resurgence in the absence of an effective vaccination campaign.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusion</jats:title><jats:p>Syndromic measures of mortality provide a more complete picture of COVID-19 severity upon which to base decision-making. The high potential impact of the vaccine in Java is attributable to reductions in transmission to date and dependent on these be

Journal article

Ainslie K, Walters C, Fu H, Bhatia S, Wang H, Xi X, Baguelin M, Bhatt S, Boonyasiri A, Boyd O, Cattarino L, Ciavarella C, Cucunuba Z, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, Dighe A, Dorigatti I, van Elsland S, FitzJohn R, Gaythorpe K, Ghani A, Green W, Hamlet A, Hinsley W, Imai N, Jorgensen D, Knock E, Laydon D, Nedjati-Gilani G, Okell L, Siveroni I, Thompson H, Unwin J, Verity R, Vollmer M, Walker P, Wang Y, Watson O, Whittaker C, Winskill P, Donnelly C, Ferguson N, Riley Set al., 2020, Evidence of initial success for China exiting COVID-19 social distancing policy after achieving containment, Wellcome Open Research, ISSN: 2398-502X

Background : The COVID-19 epidemic was declared a Global Pandemic by WHO on 11 March 2020. By 24 March 2020, over 440,000 cases and almost 20,000 deaths had been reported worldwide. In response to the fast-growing epidemic, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei, China imposed strict social distancing in Wuhan on 23 January 2020 followed closely by similar measures in other provinces. These interventions have impacted economic productivity in China, and the ability of the Chinese economy to resume without restarting the epidemic was not clear. Methods : Using daily reported cases from mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, we estimated transmissibility over time and compared it to daily within-city movement, as a proxy for economic activity. Results : Initially, within-city movement and transmission were very strongly correlated in the five mainland provinces most affected by the epidemic and Beijing. However, that correlation decreased rapidly after the initial sharp fall in transmissibility. In general, towards the end of the study period, the correlation was no longer apparent, despite substantial increases in within-city movement. A similar analysis for Hong Kong shows that intermediate levels of local activity were maintained while avoiding a large outbreak. At the very end of the study period, when China began to experience the re-introduction of a small number of cases from Europe and the United States, there is an apparent up-tick in transmission. Conclusions: Although these results do not preclude future substantial increases in incidence, they suggest that after very intense social distancing (which resulted in containment), China successfully exited its lockdown to some degree. Elsewhere, movement data are being used as proxies for economic activity to assess the impact of interventions. The results presented here illustrate how the eventual decorrelation between transmission and movement is likely a key feature of successful COVID-19 exit strategies.

Journal article

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