Background: Viral sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has been used for outbreak investigation, but there is limited evidence supporting routine use for infection prevention and control (IPC) within hospital settings.
Methods: We conducted a prospective non-randomised trial of sequencing at 14 acute UK hospital trusts. Sites each had a 4-week baseline data-collection period, followed by intervention periods comprising 8 weeks of 'rapid' (<48h) and 4 weeks of 'longer-turnaround' (5-10 day) sequencing using a sequence reporting tool (SRT). Data were collected on all hospital onset COVID-19 infections (HOCIs; detected ≥48h from admission). The impact of the sequencing intervention on IPC knowledge and actions, and on incidence of probable/definite hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) was evaluated.
Results: A total of 2170 HOCI cases were recorded from October 2020-April 2021, corresponding to a period of extreme strain on the health service, with sequence reports returned for 650/1320 (49.2%) during intervention phases. We did not detect a statistically significant change in weekly incidence of HAIs in longer-turnaround (incidence rate ratio 1.60, 95%CI 0.85-3.01; P=0.14) or rapid (0.85, 0.48-1.50; P=0.54) intervention phases compared to baseline phase. However, IPC practice was changed in 7.8% and 7.4% of all HOCI cases in rapid and longer-turnaround phases, respectively, and 17.2% and 11.6% of cases where the report was returned. In a 'per-protocol' sensitivity analysis there was an impact on IPC actions in 20.7% of HOCI cases when the SRT report was returned within 5 days. Capacity to respond effectively to insights from sequencing was breached in most sites by the volume of cases and limited resources.
Conclusion: While we did not demonstrate a direct impact of sequencing on the incidence of nosocomial transmission, our results suggest that sequencing can inform IPC response to HOCIs, particularly when returned within 5 days.
Funding: COG-UK is supported by funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) part of UK Research & Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) [grant code: MC_PC_19027], and Genome Research Limited, operating as the Wellcome Sanger Institute.
Clinical trial number: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT04405934.
A fully anonymised version of the dataset generated and analysed for this study is available on the UCL Research Data Repository (https://doi.org/10.5522/04/20769637.v1).
COG-UK hospital-onset COVID-19 infection study datasetUCL Research Data Repository, doi.org/10.5522/04/20769637.v1.
- Judith Breuer
- Judith Breuer
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Human subjects: Ethical approval for the study was granted by NHS HRA (REC 20/EE/0118). The need for consent from individual participants was waived because the study involved a hospital-level intervention that did not directly affect the clinical management of individual participants once diagnosed with a SARS-COV-2 infection.
- Marc J Bonten, University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands
- Received: March 11, 2022
- Accepted: August 25, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: September 13, 2022 (version 1)
© 2022, Stirrup et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Background: The COVID-19 situation in Brazil is complex due to large differences in the shape and size of regional epidemics. Understanding these patterns is crucial to understand future outbreaks of SARS-CoV-2 or other respiratory pathogens in the country.
Methods: We tested 97,950 blood donation samples for IgG antibodies from March 2020 to March 2021 in eight of Brazil’s most populous cities. Residential postal codes were used to obtain representative samples. Weekly age- and sex- specific seroprevalence was estimated by correcting the crude seroprevalence by test sensitivity, specificity and antibody waning.
Results: The inferred attack rate of SARS-CoV-2 in December 2020, before the Gamma VOC was dominant, ranged from 19.3% (95% CrI 17.5% - 21.2%) in Curitiba to 75.0% (95% CrI 70.8% - 80.3%) in Manaus. Seroprevalence was consistently smaller in women and donors older than 55 years. The age-specific infection fatality rate (IFR) differed between cities and consistently increased with age. The infection hospitalisation rate (IHR) increased significantly during the Gamma-dominated second wave in Manaus, suggesting increased morbidity of the Gamma VOC compared to previous variants circulating in Manaus. The higher disease penetrance associated with the health system's collapse increased the overall IFR by a minimum factor of 2.91 (95% CrI 2.43 - 3.53).
Conclusions: These results highlight the utility of blood donor serosurveillance to track epidemic maturity and demonstrate demographic and spatial heterogeneity in SARS-CoV-2 spread.
Funding: This work was supported by Itaú Unibanco 'Todos pela Saude' program; FAPESP (grants 18/14389-0, 2019/21585-0); Wellcome Trust and Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellowship 204311/Z/16/Z; the Gates Foundation (INV- 034540 and INV-034652); REDS-IV-P (grant HHSN268201100007I); the UK Medical Research Council (MR/S0195/1, MR/V038109/1); CAPES; CNPq (304714/2018-6); Fundação Faculdade de Medicina; Programa Inova Fiocruz-CE/Funcap - Edital 01/2020 Number: FIO-0167-00065.01.00/20 SPU Nº06531047/2020; JBS - Fazer o bem faz bem.
There is increasing awareness throughout biomedical science that many results do not withstand the trials of repeat investigation. The growing abundance of medical literature has only increased the urgent need for tools to gauge the robustness and trustworthiness of published science. Dichotomous outcome designs are vital in randomized clinical trials, cohort studies, and observational data for ascertaining differences between experimental and control arms. It has however been shown with tools like the fragility index (FI) that many ostensibly impactful results fail to materialise when even small numbers of patients or subjects in either the control or experimental arms are recoded from event to non-event. Critics of this metric counter that there is no objective means to determine a meaningful FI. As currently used, FI is not multi-dimensional and is computationally expensive. In this work a conceptually similar geometrical approach is introduced, the ellipse of insignificance (EOI). This method yields precise deterministic values for the degree of manipulation or miscoding that can be tolerated simultaneously in both control and experimental arms, allowing for the derivation of objective measures of experimental robustness. More than this, the tool is intimately connected with sensitivity and specificity of the event / non-event tests, and is readily combined with knowledge of test parameters to reject unsound results. The method is outlined here, with illustrative clinical examples.