202 results found
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.
Kwok KO, Wei WI, Huang Y, et al., 2021, Evolving Epidemiological Characteristics of COVID-19 in Hong Kong From January to August 2020: Retrospective Study., J Med Internet Res, Vol: 23
BACKGROUND: COVID-19 has plagued the globe, with multiple SARS-CoV-2 clusters hinting at its evolving epidemiology. Since the disease course is governed by important epidemiological parameters, including containment delays (time between symptom onset and mandatory isolation) and serial intervals (time between symptom onsets of infector-infectee pairs), understanding their temporal changes helps to guide interventions. OBJECTIVE: This study aims to characterize the epidemiology of the first two epidemic waves of COVID-19 in Hong Kong by doing the following: (1) estimating the containment delays, serial intervals, effective reproductive number (Rt), and proportion of asymptomatic cases; (2) identifying factors associated with the temporal changes of the containment delays and serial intervals; and (3) depicting COVID-19 transmission by age assortativity and types of social settings. METHODS: We retrieved the official case series and the Apple mobility data of Hong Kong from January-August 2020. The empirical containment delays and serial intervals were fitted to theoretical distributions, and factors associated with their temporal changes were quantified in terms of percentage contribution (the percentage change in the predicted outcome from multivariable regression models relative to a predefined comparator). Rt was estimated with the best fitted distribution for serial intervals. RESULTS: The two epidemic waves were characterized by imported cases and clusters of local cases, respectively. Rt peaked at 2.39 (wave 1) and 3.04 (wave 2). The proportion of asymptomatic cases decreased from 34.9% (0-9 years) to 12.9% (≥80 years). Log-normal distribution best fitted the 1574 containment delays (mean 5.18 [SD 3.04] days) and the 558 serial intervals (17 negative; mean 4.74 [SD 4.24] days). Containment delays decreased with involvement in a cluster (percentage contribution: 10.08%-20.73%) and case detection in the public health care sector (percentage contribution: 27.56
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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
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.
Riley S, Walters C, Wang H, et al., 2020, REACT-1 round 7 updated report: regional heterogeneity in changes in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the second national COVID-19 lockdown in England, REACT-1 round 7 updated report: regional heterogeneity in changes in prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection during the second national COVID-19 lockdown in England, London, Publisher: Imperial College London
BackgroundEngland exited a four-week second national lockdown on 2nd December 2020 initiated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior results showed that prevalence dropped during the first half of lockdown, with greater reductions in higher-prevalence northern regions.MethodsREACT-1 is a series of community surveys of SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR swab-positivity in England, designed to monitor the spread of the epidemic and thus increase situational awareness. Round 7 of REACT-1 commenced swab-collection on 13th November 2020. A prior interim report included data from 13th to 24th November 2020 for 105,122 participants. Here, we report data for the entire round with swab results obtained up to 3rd December 2020.ResultsBetween 13th November and 3rd December (round 7) there were 1,299 positive swabs out of 168,181 giving a weighted prevalence of 0.94% (95% CI 0.87%, 1.01%) or 94 per 10,000 people infected in the community in England. This compares with a prevalence of 1.30% (1.21%, 1.39%) from 16th October to 2nd November 2020 (round 6), a decline of 28%. Prevalence during the latter half of round 7 was 0.91% (95% CI, 0.81%, 1.03%) compared with 0.96% (0.87%, 1.05%) in the first half. The national R number in round 7 was estimated at 0.96 (0.88, 1.03) with a decline in prevalence observed during the first half of this period no longer apparent during the second half at the end of lockdown. During round 7 there was a marked fall in prevalence in West Midlands, a levelling off in some regions and a rise in London. R numbers at regional level ranged from 0.60 (0.41, 0.80) in West Midlands up to 1.27 (1.04, 1.54) in London, where prevalence was highest in the east and south-east of the city. Nationally, between 13th November and 3rd December, the highest prevalence was in school-aged children especially at ages 13-17 years at 2.04% (1.69%, 2.46%), or approximately 1 in 50.ConclusionBetween the previous round and round 7 (during lockdown), there was a fall in prevalence of SARS-C
Unwin H, Mishra S, Bradley V, et 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.
Riley S, Eales O, Walters C, et al., 2020, REACT-1 round 7 interim report: fall in prevalence of swab-positivity in England during national lockdown, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Background The second wave of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in England has been characterized by high growth and prevalence in the North with lower prevalence in the South. High prevalence was first observed at younger adult ages before spreading out to school-aged children and older adults. Local tiered interventions were in place up to 5th November 2020 at which time a second national lockdown was implemented.Methods REACT-1 is a repeated cross-sectional survey of SARS-CoV-2 swab-positivity in random samples of the population of England. The current period of data collection (round 7) commenced on 13th November 2020 and we report interim results here for swabs collected up to and including 24th November 2020. Because there were two distinct periods of growth during the previous round 6, here we compare results from round 7 (mainly) with the second half of round 6, which obtained swabs between 26th October and 2nd November 2020. We report prevalence both unweighted and reweighted to be representative of the population of England. We describe trends in unweighted prevalence with daily growth rates, doubling times, reproduction numbers (R) and splines. We estimated odds ratios for swab-positivity using mutually-adjusted multivariable logistic regression models.Results We found 821 positives from 105,123 swabs giving an unweighted prevalence of 0.78% (95% CI, 0.73%, 0.84%) and a weighted prevalence of 0.96% (0.87%, 1.05%). The weighted prevalence estimate was ∼30% lower than that of 1.32% (1.20%, 1.45%) obtained in the second half of round 6. This decrease corresponds to a halving time of 37 (30, 47) days and an R number of 0.88 (0.86, 0.91). Using only data from the most recent period, we estimate an R number of 0.71 (0.54, 0.90). A spline fit to prevalence showed a rise shortly after the previous period of data collection followed by a fall coinciding with the start of lockdown. The national trends were driven mainly by reductions in higher-prevalence northern regi
Thompson H, Imai N, Dighe A, et 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.
Yan AWC, Zhou J, Beauchemin CAA, et al., 2020, Quantifying mechanistic traits of influenza viral dynamics using in vitro data., Epidemics: the journal of infectious disease dynamics, Vol: 33, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1755-4365
When analysing in vitro data, growth kinetics of influenza virus strains are often compared by computing their growth rates, which are sometimes used as proxies for fitness. However, analogous to mathematical models for epidemics, the growth rate can be defined as a function of mechanistic traits: the basic reproduction number (the average number of cells each infected cell infects) and the mean generation time (the average length of a replication cycle). Fitting a model to previously published and newly generated data from experiments in human lung cells, we compared estimates of growth rate, reproduction number and generation time for six influenza A strains. Of four strains in previously published data, A/Canada/RV733/2003 (seasonal H1N1) had the lowest basic reproduction number, followed by A/Mexico/INDRE4487/2009 (pandemic H1N1), then A/Indonesia/05/2005 (spill-over H5N1) and A/Anhui/1/2013 (spill-over H7N9). This ordering of strains was preserved for both generation time and growth rate, suggesting a positive biological correlation between these quantities which have not been previously observed. We further investigated these potential correlations using data from reassortant viruses with different internal proteins (from A/England/195/2009 (pandemic H1N1) and A/Turkey/05/2005 (H5N1)), and the same surface proteins (from A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (lab-adapted H1N1)). Similar correlations between traits were observed for these viruses, confirming our initial findings and suggesting that these patterns were related to the degree of human adaptation of internal genes. Also, the model predicted that strains with a smaller basic reproduction number, shorter generation time and slower growth rate underwent more replication cycles by the time of peak viral load, potentially accumulating mutations more quickly. These results illustrate the utility of mathematical models in inferring traits driving observed differences in in vitro growth of influenza strains.
Riley S, Ainslie K, Eales O, et al., 2020, REACT-1 round 6 updated report: high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 swab positivity with reduced rate of growth in England at the start of November 2020
BackgroundEngland is now in the midst of its second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple regions of the country are at high infection prevalence and all areas experienced rapid recent growth of the epidemic during October 2020.MethodsREACT-1 is a series of community surveys of SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR swab-positivity in England designed to monitor the spread of the epidemic and thus increase situational awareness. Round 6 of REACT-1 commenced swab-collection on 16th October. A prior interim report included data from 16th to 25th October for 85,971 participants. Here, we report data for the entire round on 160,175 participants with swab results obtained up to 2nd November 2020.ResultsOverall weighted prevalence of infection in the community in England was 1.3% or 130 people per 10,000 infected, up from 60 people per 10,000 in the round 5 report (18th September to 5th October 2020), doubling every 24 days on average since the prior round. The corresponding R number was estimated to be 1.2. Prevalence of infection was highest in North West (2.4%, up from 1.2% ), followed by Yorkshire and The Humber (2.3% up from 0.84%), West Midlands (1.6% up from 0.60%), North East (1.5% up from 1.1%), East Midlands (1.3% up from 0.56%), London (0.97%, up from 0.54%), South West (0.80% up from 0.33%), South East (0.69% up from 0.29%), and East of England (0.69% up from 0.30%). Rapid growth in the South observed in the first half of round 6 was no longer apparent in the second half of round 6. We also observed a decline in prevalence in Yorkshire and The Humber during this period. Comparing the first and second halves of round 6, there was a suggestion of decline in weighted prevalence in participants aged 5 to 12 years and in those aged 25 to 44 years. While prevalence remained high, in the second half of round 6 there was suggestion of a slight fall then rise that was seen nationally and also separately in both the North and the South.ConclusionThe impact of the second national lockdown
Riley S, Ainslie KEC, Eales O, et al., 2020, High prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 swab positivity and increasing R number in England during October 2020: REACT-1 round 6 interim report, Publisher: medRxiv
Background REACT-1 measures prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in representative samples of the population in England using PCR testing from self-administered nose and throat swabs. Here we report interim results for round 6 of observations for swabs collected from the 16th to 25th October 2020 inclusive. Methods REACT-1 round 6 aims to collect data and swab results from 160,000 people aged 5 and above. Here we report results from the first 86,000 individuals. We estimate prevalence of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, reproduction numbers (R) and temporal trends using exponential growth or decay models. Prevalence estimates are presented both unweighted and weighted to be representative of the population of England, accounting for response rate, region, deprivation and ethnicity. We compare these interim results with data from round 5, based on swabs collected from 18th September to 5th October 2020 inclusive. Results Overall prevalence of infection in the community in England was 1.28% or 128 people per 10,000, up from 60 per 10,000 in the previous round. Infections were doubling every 9.0 (6.1, 18) days with a national reproduction number (R) estimated at 1.56 (1.27, 1.88) compared to 1.16 (1.05, 1.27) in the previous round. Prevalence of infection was highest in Yorkshire and The Humber at 2.72% (2.12%, 3.50%), up from 0.84% (0.60%, 1.17%), and the North West at 2.27% (1.90%, 2.72%), up from 1.21% (1.01%, 1.46%), and lowest in South East at 0.55% (0.45%, 0.68%), up from 0.29% (0.23%, 0.37%). Clustering of cases was more prevalent in Lancashire, Manchester, Liverpool and West Yorkshire, West Midlands and East Midlands. Interim estimates of R were above 2 in the South East, East of England, London and South West, but with wide confidence intervals. Nationally, prevalence increased across all age groups with the greatest increase in those aged 55-64 at 1.20% (0.99%, 1.46%), up 3-fold from 0.37% (0.30%, 0.46%). In those aged over 65, prevalence was 0.81% (0.58%, 0
Okell LC, Verity R, Katzourakis A, et al., 2020, Host or pathogen-related factors in COVID-19 severity? Reply, LANCET, Vol: 396, Pages: 1397-1397, ISSN: 0140-6736
Quandelacy TM, Cummings DAT, Jiang CQ, et al., 2020, Using serological measures to estimate influenza incidence in the presence of secular trends in exposure and immuno-modulation of antibody response, INFLUENZA AND OTHER RESPIRATORY VIRUSES, Vol: 15, Pages: 235-244, ISSN: 1750-2640
Riley S, Ainslie KEC, Eales O, et al., 2020, High and increasing prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 swab positivity in England during end September beginning October 2020: REACT-1 round 5 updated report, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>REACT-1 is quantifying prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among random samples of the population in England based on PCR testing of self-administered nose and throat swabs. Here we report results from the fifth round of observations for swabs collected from the 18th September to 5th October 2020. This report updates and should be read alongside our round 5 interim report.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>Representative samples of the population aged 5 years and over in England with sample size ranging from 120,000 to 175,000 people at each round. Prevalence of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection, estimation of reproduction number (R) and time trends between and within rounds using exponential growth or decay models.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Results</jats:title><jats:p>175,000 volunteers tested across England between 18th September and 5th October. Findings show a national prevalence of 0.60% (95% confidence interval 0.55%, 0.71%) and doubling of the virus every 29 (17, 84) days in England corresponding to an estimated national R of 1.16 (1.05, 1.27). These results correspond to 1 in 170 people currently swab-positive for the virus and approximately 45,000 new infections each day. At regional level, the highest prevalence is in the North West, Yorkshire and The Humber and the North East with strongest regional growth in North West, Yorkshire and The Humber and West Midlands.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Conclusion</jats:title><jats:p>Rapid growth has led to high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 virus in England, with highest rates in the North of England. Prevalence has increased in all age groups, including those at highest risk. Improved compliance with existing policy and, as necessar
Dighe A, Cattarino L, Cuomo-Dannenburg G, et 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
Riley S, Ainslie KEC, Eales O, et al., 2020, High prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 swab positivity in England during September 2020: interim report of round 5 of REACT-1 study, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press
Background REACT-1 is a community survey of PCR confirmed swab-positivity for SARS-CoV-2 among random samples of the population in England. This interim report includes data from the fifth round of data collection currently underway for swabs sampled from the 18th to 26th September 2020.Methods Repeated cross-sectional surveys of random samples of the population aged 5 years and over in England with sample size ranging from 120,000 to 160,000 people in each round of data collection. Collection of self-administered nose and throat swab for PCR and questionnaire data. Prevalence of swab-positivity by round and by demographic variables including age, sex, region, ethnicity. Estimation of reproduction number (R) between and within rounds, and time trends using exponential growth or decay model. Assessment of geographical clustering based on boundary-free spatial model.Results Over the 9 days for which data are available, we find 363 positives from 84,610 samples giving a weighted prevalence to date of 0.55% (0.47%, 0.64%) in round 5. This implies that 411,000 (351,000, 478,000) people in England are virus-positive under the assumption that the swab assay is 75% sensitive. Using data from the most recent two rounds, we estimate a doubling time of 10.6 (9.4, 12.0) days covering the period 20th August to 26th September, corresponding to a reproduction number R of 1.47 (1.40, 1.53). Using data only from round 5 we estimate a reproduction number of 1.06 (0.74, 1.46) with probability of 63% that R is greater than 1. Between rounds 4 and 5 there was a marked increase in unweighted prevalence at all ages. In the most recent data, prevalence was highest in the 18 to 24 yrs age group at 0.96% (0.68%, 1.36%). At 65+ yrs prevalence increased 7-fold between rounds 4 and 5 from 0.04% (0.03%, 0.07%) to 0.29% (0.23%, 0.37%). Prevalence increased in all regions between rounds 4 and 5, giving the highest unweighted prevalence in round 5 in the North West at 0.86% (0.69%, 1.06%). In Lond
Riley S, Ainslie KEC, Eales O, et al., 2020, Resurgence of SARS-CoV-2 in England: detection by community antigen surveillance, Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
<jats:title>Summary</jats:title><jats:sec><jats:title>Background</jats:title><jats:p>Based on cases and deaths, transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in England peaked in late March and early April 2020 and then declined until the end of June. Since the start of July, cases have increased, while deaths have continued to decrease.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Methods</jats:title><jats:p>We report results from 594,000 swabs tested for SARS-CoV-2 virus obtained from a representative sample of people in England over four rounds collected regardless of symptoms, starting in May 2020 and finishing at the beginning of September 2020. Swabs for the most recent two rounds were taken between 24th July and 11th August and for round 4 between 22nd August and 7th September. We estimate weighted overall prevalence, doubling times between and within rounds and associated reproduction numbers. We obtained unweighted prevalence estimates by sub-groups: age, sex, region, ethnicity, key worker status, household size, for which we also estimated odds of infection. We identified clusters of swab-positive participants who were closer, on average, to other swab-positive participants than would be expected.</jats:p></jats:sec><jats:sec><jats:title>Findings</jats:title><jats:p>Over all four rounds of the study, we found that 72% (67%, 76%) of swab-positive individuals were asymptomatic at the time of swab and in the week prior. The epidemic declined between rounds 1 and 2, and rounds 2 and 3. However, the epidemic was increasing between rounds 3 and 4, with a doubling time of 17 (13, 23) days corresponding to an R value of 1.3 (1.2, 1.4). When analysing round 3 alone, we found that the epidemic had started to grow again with 93% probability. Using only the most recent round 4 data, we estimated a doubling time of 7.7 (5.5, 12.7) days, corresponding to an R value of 1.7 (1.4, 2.0). Cy
Haw DJ, Read JM, Pung RM, et al., 2020, Strong spatial embedding of social networks generates non-standard epidemic dynamics independent of degree distribution and clustering, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, Vol: 117, Pages: 23636-23642, ISSN: 0027-8424
Some directly transmitted human pathogens such as influenza and measles generate sustained exponential growth in incidence, and have a high peak incidence consistent with the rapid depletion of susceptible individuals. Many do not. While a prolonged exponential phase typically arises in traditional disease-dynamic models,current quantitative descriptions of non-standard epidemic profiles are either abstract, phenomenological or rely on highly skewed off-spring distributions in network models. Here, we create large socio-spatial networks to represent contact behaviour using human population density data, a previously developed fitting algorithm, and gravity-like mobility kernels. We define a basic reproductive number R0 for this system analogous to that used for compartmental mod-els. Controlling for R0, we then explore networks with a household-workplace structure in which between-household contacts can be formed with varying degrees of spatial correlation, determined by a single parameter from the gravity-like kernel. By varying this single parameter and simulating epidemic spread, we are able to identify how more frequent local movement can lead to strong spatial cor-relation and thus induce sub-exponential outbreak dynamics with lower, later epidemic peaks. Also, the ratio of peak height to finalsize was much smaller when movement was highly spatially correlated. We investigate the topological properties of our networks via a generalized clustering coefficient that extends beyond immediate neighbourhoods, identifying very strong correlations between 4th order clustering and non-standard epidemic dynamics. Our results motivate the joint observation of incidence and socio-spatial human behaviour during epidemics that exhibit non-standard incidence pat-terns.
Lavezzo E, Franchin E, Ciavarella C, et al., 2020, Suppression of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the Italian municipality of Vo'., Nature, Vol: 584, Pages: 425-429, ISSN: 0028-0836
On the 21st of February 2020 a resident of the municipality of Vo', a small town near Padua, died of pneumonia due to SARS-CoV-2 infection1. This was the first COVID-19 death detected in Italy since the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, Hubei province2. In response, the regional authorities imposed the lockdown of the whole municipality for 14 days3. We collected information on the demography, clinical presentation, hospitalization, contact network and presence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in nasopharyngeal swabs for 85.9% and 71.5% of the population of Vo' at two consecutive time points. On the first survey, which was conducted around the time the town lockdown started, we found a prevalence of infection of 2.6% (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.1-3.3%). On the second survey, which was conducted at the end of the lockdown, we found a prevalence of 1.2% (95% Confidence Interval (CI) 0.8-1.8%). Notably, 42.5% (95% CI 31.5-54.6%) of the confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections detected across the two surveys were asymptomatic (i.e. did not have symptoms at the time of swab testing and did not develop symptoms afterwards). The mean serial interval was 7.2 days (95% CI 5.9-9.6). We found no statistically significant difference in the viral load of symptomatic versus asymptomatic infections (p-values 0.62 and 0.74 for E and RdRp genes, respectively, Exact Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test). This study sheds new light on the frequency of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, their infectivity (as measured by the viral load) and provides new insights into its transmission dynamics and the efficacy of the implemented control measures.
Ward H, Atchison C, Whitaker M, et al., 2020, Antibody prevalence for SARS-CoV-2 in England following first peak of the pandemic: REACT2 study in 100,000 adults, Publisher: bioRxiv
Background England, UK has experienced a large outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 infection. As in USA and elsewhere, disadvantaged communities have been disproportionately affected. Methods National REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) seroprevalence study using self-administered lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) test for IgG among a random population sample of 100,000 adults over 18 years in England, 20 June to 13 July 2020. Results Completed questionnaires were available for 109,076 participants, yielding 5,544 IgG positive results and adjusted (for test performance), re-weighted (for sampling) prevalence of 6.0% (95% CI: 5.8, 6.1). Highest prevalence was in London (13.0% [12.3, 13.6]), among people of Black or Asian (mainly South Asian) ethnicity (17.3% [15.8, 19.1] and 11.9% [11.0, 12.8] respectively) and those aged 18-24 years (7.9% [7.3, 8.5]). Care home workers with client-facing roles had adjusted odds ratio of 3.1 (2.5, 3.8) compared with non-essential workers. One third (32.2%, [31.0-33.4]) of antibody positive individuals reported no symptoms. Among symptomatic cases, the majority (78.8%) reported symptoms during the peak of the epidemic in England in March (31.3%) and April (47.5%) 2020. We estimate that 3.36 million (3.21, 3.51) people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in England to end June 2020, with an overall infection fatality ratio of 0.90% (0.86, 0.94). Conclusion The pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England disproportionately affected ethnic minority groups and health and care home workers. The higher risk of infection in these groups may explain, at least in part, their increased risk of hospitalisation and mortality from COVID-19.
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