Recent Submissions

  • Cannabinoids in rheumatology: Friend, foe or a bystander?

    Jain, Nibha; Moorthy, Arumugam (2022-06)
    Objectives: Cannabinoids have gained popularity recently with special emphasis on their use for chronic pain. Although NICE guidelines advise against their usage for management of chronic pain, almost all rheumatologists encounter a few patients in their daily practice who either use them or are curious about them. We reviewed the mechanism of action of cannabinoids, current knowledge about their role in rheumatology and potential drug interactions with common drugs used in Rheumatology. We attempted to answer the question "If cannabinoids are friend, foe or just a mere bystander?" Methods: We adhered to a search strategy for writing narrative reviews as per available guidelines. We searched PubMed with the search terms "Cannabinoids", "Rheumatology" and "Chronic pain" for published articles and retrieved 613 articles. The abstracts and titles of these articles were screened to identify relevant studies focusing on mechanism of actions, adverse effects and drug interactions. We also availed the services of a musculoskeletal librarian. Results: Despite the NHS guidelines against the usage of cannabinoids and associated significant stigma, cannabinoids are increasingly used for the management of pain in rheumatology without prescription. Cannabinoids act through two major receptors CB1 and CB2, which are important modulators of the stress response with potential analgesic effects. Their role in various rheumatological diseases including Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoarthritis and Fibromyalgia have been explored with some benefits. However, in addition to the adverse effects, cannabinoids also have some potential interactions with common drugs used in rheumatology, which many users are unaware of. Conclusion: While the current studies and patient reported outcomes suggest cannabinoids to be a "friend" of rheumatology, their adverse events and drug interactions prove to be a "Foe". We were unable to arrive at a definite answer for our question posed, however on the balance of probabilities we can conclude cannabinoids to be a "foe". Under these circumstances, a disease and drug focussed research is need of the hour to answer the unresolved question.
  • An update on the considerations for patients with rheumatic disease being treated with rituximab during the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential drug treatment strategies

    Moorthy, Arumugam
    Introduction: Over the last two decades, rituximab has become an increasingly popular drug in the treatment of a wide range of rheumatic diseases. However, with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians face challenges in weighing risk against benefit in its use. Areas covered: A review of existing data was performed to examine the relationship between rituximab use, morbidity and mortality from COVID-19, and vaccine efficacy in patients with rheumatic diseases, aiming to guide clinicians in continued use of the medication and consider the direction of future research. A literature review was performed through a search of the PubMed database, using the terms ((SARS-CoV-2) OR (COVID-19)) AND (rituximab) AND (rheumatic), which generated an initial 55 results, with relevant articles then selected for inclusion. Expert opinion: In order to safeguard patients with an ongoing need for rituximab therapy, vaccination remains the primary concern. A target of performing booster doses 6 months after last rituximab dose is a reasonable estimate, which may be made more precise by use of B cell counts, although primary immunization should not be delayed. In those patients who remain seronegative, the use of newer antivirals and broadly neutralizing antibody infusions may help provide further safeguards.
  • Giant cell arteritis with normal inflammatory markers

    Habib, Mohammad Bilal; Riaz, Afifa (2022-07)
  • Healing of ExcisionAl wounds on Lower legs by Secondary intention (HEALS) cohort study. Part 2: feasibility data from a multicentre prospective observational cohort study to inform a future randomized controlled trial

    Veitch, David (2022-10)
    Background: Compression therapy is considered beneficial for postsurgical lower leg wound healing by secondary intention; however, there is a lack of supportive evidence. To plan a randomized controlled trial (RCT), suitable data are needed. Aim: To determine the feasibility of recruitment and estimate recruitment rate; to understand the standard postoperative wound management pathway; to determine uptake of optional additional clinic visits for healing confirmation; and to explore patient acceptability of compression bandaging and plan a future RCT. Methods: Participant recruitment was performed from secondary care dermatology clinics, during a period of 22 months. Inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years, planned excision of keratinocyte cancer on the lower leg with healing by secondary intention and an ankle-brachial pressure index of ≥ 0.8. Exclusion criteria were planned primary closure/graft or flap; inability to receive, comply with or tolerate high compression; planned compression; or suspected melanoma. Patients were followed up weekly (maximum 6 months) in secondary care clinics and/or by telephone. Information was collected on healthcare resource use, unplanned compression, wound healing and an optional clinic visit to confirm healing. Results: This study recruited 58 patients from 9 secondary care dermatology clinics over 22 months. Mean recruitment/centre/month was 0.8 (range 0.1-2.3). Four centres had dedicated Research Nurse support. The analysis population (n = 53) had weekly follow-up assessments. Standard care clinical contacts were: general practitioner (7 visits; 1.2%), community nurse (169; 28.5%), practice nurse visits (189; 31.8%) and dermatology clinic visits (138; 23.2%). Participants whose wounds healed (34 of 45; 75.6%) attended an optional clinic visit. Conclusion: Data were obtained to inform a future RCT. Recruitment rates were found to be higher in centres with dedicated research support. People would be willing to take part in a trial and attend a confirmation of healing visit.
  • Healing of ExcisionAl wounds on Lower legs by Secondary intention (HEALS) cohort study. Part 1: a multicentre prospective observational cohort study in patients without planned compression

    Veitch, David (2022-10)
    Background: There is no agreed treatment pathway following excision of keratinocyte cancer (KC). Compression therapy is considered beneficial for secondary intention healing on the lower leg; however, there is a lack of supportive evidence. To plan a randomized controlled trial (RCT), suitable data are needed. We report a multicentre prospective observational cohort study in this patient population with the intention of informing a future trial design. Aim: To estimate the time to healing in wounds healing by secondary intention without planned postoperative compression, following excision of KC on the lower leg; to characterize the patient population, including factors affecting healing; and to assess the incidence of complications. Methods: This was a multicentre prospective observational cohort study. Inclusion criteria were age ≥ 18 years with planned excision of KC on the lower leg and healing by secondary intention, an ankle-brachial pressure index (ABPI) of ≥ 0.8; and written informed consent. Exclusion criteria included planned excision with primary closure, skin graft or flap; compression therapy for another indication; planned compression; inability of patient to receive, comply with or tolerate high compression; or a suspected diagnosis other than KC. Results: This study recruited 58 patients from 9 secondary care dermatology clinics. In the analysis population (n = 53), mean age was 81 years (range 25-97 years), median time to healing was 81 days (95% CI 73-92) and 45 patients (84.9%) had healing of the wound at the 6-month follow-up. The healing prognostic factors were wound parameters and ABPI. Wound infections occurred in 16 participants (30.2%). Four patients (7.5%) were admitted to hospital; three because of an infection and one because of a fall. Conclusions: The collected data have informed the RCT preparation. A relatively high proportion (7.5-15%) of unhealed wounds, infection and hospital admissions demonstrate the need for clearly establishing potentially effective treatments to improve outcomes for this population.
  • A review of the evidence for Mohs micrographic surgery. Part 2: basal cell carcinoma

    Veitch, David; Wernham, Aaron (2022-10)
    Mohs micrographic surgery (MMS) is considered the gold-standard treatment for basal cell carcinoma (BCC) particularly for sites with a high-risk of incomplete excision such as the central face, for tumours with an aggressive growth pattern and consequent unpredictable subclinical extension and for recurrent tumours. However, the process is more time-consuming than for standard excision (SE), and the magnitude of benefit is uncertain. This article aims to provide a more complete picture of current evidence, including a review of cosmetic outcomes, tissue-sparing ability and cost-effectiveness of MMS. Although robust evidence is lacking, there is a large volume of observational data supporting a low recurrence rate after MMS. The risk of incomplete excision and higher recurrence rate of standard excision favours the use of MMS at high-risk sites. There is some low-certainty evidence that MMS results in a smaller defect size compared with SE, and that incomplete excision with SE results in larger defects. Larger defects may affect cosmetic outcome but there is no direct evidence that MMS improves cosmetic outcome compared with SE. There is conflicting evidence regarding the cost of MMS compared with SE, as some studies consider MMS less expensive than SE and others consider it more expensive, which may reflect the healthcare setting. A multicentre 10-year randomized controlled trial comparing MMS and SE in the treatment of high-risk BCC would be desirable, but is unlikely to be feasible or ethical. Collection of robust registry data capturing both MMS and SE outcomes would provide additional long-term outcomes.
  • A review of Mohs micrographic surgery for skin cancer. Part 3: Squamous cell carcinoma

    Veitch, David; Wernham, Aaron (2022-10)
    This review presents and discusses the evidence for MMS to treat cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC). The MEDLINE, Embase and Cochrane databases were searched; 39 papers were identified for recurrence and 2 papers for cost-effectiveness. We included all clinical trials and observational studies, including retrospective reports, and excluded editorials and systematic reviews or meta-analyses. We categorized the evidence under the following headings: tumour recurrence, specific site outcomes (ear, lip, scalp and periocular), cSCC with perineural invasion, and cost-effectiveness. Although there are many observational studies indicating the potential benefits of MMS in the management of certain cSCCs, no randomized controlled trials (RCT) were identified. The evidence from comparitor studies suggests that MMS has a lower recurrence rate than that of other treatments for cSCC, including standard excision. Many studies identified were single-armed, but did demonstrate a low to very low recurrence rate of cSCC following MMS. A single recent study suggests MMS for intermediate cSCC is highly cost-effective compared with wide local excision when all-in costs are considered. Since the overall quality of included studies was mixed and highly heterogeneous, further methodologically robust studies with comparator arms or comprehensive long-term registry data would be valuable. It would be ideal to employ a definitive multicentre RCT but given the evidence to date and multiple advantages to MMS, the lack of clinical equipoise makes this difficult to justify. Comparison with current modalities would likely not be ethical/achievable on a like-for-like basis given MMS provides 100% margin assessment, enables histological clearance prior to reconstruction, and minimizes the removal of uninvolved tissue.
  • Immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 variants after two and three doses of vaccine in B-cell malignancies: UK PROSECO study

    Ahearne, Matthew (2022-05)
    Patients with hematological malignancies are at increased risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes due to compromised immune responses, but the insights of these studies have been compromised due to intrinsic limitations in study design. Here we present the PROSECO prospective observational study ( NCT04858568 ) on 457 patients with lymphoma that received two or three COVID-19 vaccine doses. We show undetectable humoral responses following two vaccine doses in 52% of patients undergoing active anticancer treatment. Moreover, 60% of patients on anti-CD20 therapy had undetectable antibodies following full vaccination within 12 months of receiving their anticancer therapy. However, 70% of individuals with indolent B-cell lymphoma displayed improved antibody responses following booster vaccination. Notably, 63% of all patients displayed antigen-specific T-cell responses, which increased after a third dose irrespective of their cancer treatment status. Our results emphasize the urgency of careful monitoring of COVID-19-specific immune responses to guide vaccination schemes in these vulnerable populations.
  • Normative wrist-worn accelerometer values for self-paced walking and running: a walk in the park

    Davies, Melanie (2022-01)
    This study aimed to a) determine whether wrist acceleration varies by accelerometer brand, wear location, and age for self-paced "slow", "normal" and "brisk" walking; b) develop normative acceleration values for self-paced walking and running for adults. One-hundred-and-three adults (40-79 years) completed self-paced "slow", "normal" and "brisk" walks, while wearing three accelerometers (GENEActiv, Axivity, ActiGraph) on each wrist. A sub-sample (n = 22) completed a self-paced run. Generalized estimating equations established differences by accelerometer brand, wrist, and age-group (walking only, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79 years) for self-paced walking and running. Brand*wrist interactions showed ActiGraph dominant wrist values were ~10% lower than GENEActiv/Axivity values for walking and running, and non-dominant ActiGraph values were ~5% lower for running only (p < 0.001). Acceleration during brisk walking was lower in those aged 70-79 (p < 0.05). Normative acceleration values (non-dominant wrist, all brands; dominant wrist GENEActiv/Axivity) for slow and normal walking were 140 mg and 210 mg. Brisk walking, values were 350 mg in those aged 40-69 years, but 270 mg in those aged 70-79 years. Accelerations >600 mg approximated running. These values facilitate user-friendly interpretation of accelerometer-determined physical activity in large cohort and epidemiological datasets.
  • Safety, immunogenicity, and reactogenicity of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccines given as fourth-dose boosters following two doses of ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 or BNT162b2 and a third dose of BNT162b2 (COV-BOOST): a multicentre, blinded, phase 2, randomised trial

    Palfreeman, Adrian; Pan, Daniel
    Background: Some high-income countries have deployed fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccines, but the clinical need, effectiveness, timing, and dose of a fourth dose remain uncertain. We aimed to investigate the safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity of fourth-dose boosters against COVID-19. Methods: The COV-BOOST trial is a multicentre, blinded, phase 2, randomised controlled trial of seven COVID-19 vaccines given as third-dose boosters at 18 sites in the UK. This sub-study enrolled participants who had received BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) as their third dose in COV-BOOST and randomly assigned them (1:1) to receive a fourth dose of either BNT162b2 (30 μg in 0·30 mL; full dose) or mRNA-1273 (Moderna; 50 μg in 0·25 mL; half dose) via intramuscular injection into the upper arm. The computer-generated randomisation list was created by the study statisticians with random block sizes of two or four. Participants and all study staff not delivering the vaccines were masked to treatment allocation. The coprimary outcomes were safety and reactogenicity, and immunogenicity (anti-spike protein IgG titres by ELISA and cellular immune response by ELISpot). We compared immunogenicity at 28 days after the third dose versus 14 days after the fourth dose and at day 0 versus day 14 relative to the fourth dose. Safety and reactogenicity were assessed in the per-protocol population, which comprised all participants who received a fourth-dose booster regardless of their SARS-CoV-2 serostatus. Immunogenicity was primarily analysed in a modified intention-to-treat population comprising seronegative participants who had received a fourth-dose booster and had available endpoint data. This trial is registered with ISRCTN, 73765130, and is ongoing. Findings: Between Jan 11 and Jan 25, 2022, 166 participants were screened, randomly assigned, and received either full-dose BNT162b2 (n=83) or half-dose mRNA-1273 (n=83) as a fourth dose. The median age of these participants was 70·1 years (IQR 51·6-77·5) and 86 (52%) of 166 participants were female and 80 (48%) were male. The median interval between the third and fourth doses was 208·5 days (IQR 203·3-214·8). Pain was the most common local solicited adverse event and fatigue was the most common systemic solicited adverse event after BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273 booster doses. None of three serious adverse events reported after a fourth dose with BNT162b2 were related to the study vaccine. In the BNT162b2 group, geometric mean anti-spike protein IgG concentration at day 28 after the third dose was 23 325 ELISA laboratory units (ELU)/mL (95% CI 20 030-27 162), which increased to 37 460 ELU/mL (31 996-43 857) at day 14 after the fourth dose, representing a significant fold change (geometric mean 1·59, 95% CI 1·41-1·78). There was a significant increase in geometric mean anti-spike protein IgG concentration from 28 days after the third dose (25 317 ELU/mL, 95% CI 20 996-30 528) to 14 days after a fourth dose of mRNA-1273 (54 936 ELU/mL, 46 826-64 452), with a geometric mean fold change of 2·19 (1·90-2·52). The fold changes in anti-spike protein IgG titres from before (day 0) to after (day 14) the fourth dose were 12·19 (95% CI 10·37-14·32) and 15·90 (12·92-19·58) in the BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 groups, respectively. T-cell responses were also boosted after the fourth dose (eg, the fold changes for the wild-type variant from before to after the fourth dose were 7·32 [95% CI 3·24-16·54] in the BNT162b2 group and 6·22 [3·90-9·92] in the mRNA-1273 group). Interpretation: Fourth-dose COVID-19 mRNA booster vaccines are well tolerated and boost cellular and humoral immunity. Peak responses after the fourth dose were similar to, and possibly better than, peak responses after the third dose.
  • Risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection in a multiethnic cohort of United Kingdom healthcare workers (UK-REACH): A cross-sectional analysis

    Martin, Christopher; Pan, Daniel; Carr, Sue; Nazareth, Joshua; Pareek, Manish; Simpson, Sandra
    Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs), particularly those from ethnic minority groups, have been shown to be at disproportionately higher risk of infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) compared to the general population. However, there is insufficient evidence on how demographic and occupational factors influence infection risk among ethnic minority HCWs. Methods and findings: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis using data from the baseline questionnaire of the United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity and Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) cohort study, administered between December 2020 and March 2021. We used logistic regression to examine associations of demographic, household, and occupational risk factors with SARS-CoV-2 infection (defined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), serology, or suspected COVID-19) in a diverse group of HCWs. The primary exposure of interest was self-reported ethnicity. Among 10,772 HCWs who worked during the first UK national lockdown in March 2020, the median age was 45 (interquartile range [IQR] 35 to 54), 75.1% were female and 29.6% were from ethnic minority groups. A total of 2,496 (23.2%) reported previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. The fully adjusted model contained the following dependent variables: demographic factors (age, sex, ethnicity, migration status, deprivation, religiosity), household factors (living with key workers, shared spaces in accommodation, number of people in household), health factors (presence/absence of diabetes or immunosuppression, smoking history, shielding status, SARS-CoV-2 vaccination status), the extent of social mixing outside of the household, and occupational factors (job role, the area in which a participant worked, use of public transport to work, exposure to confirmed suspected COVID-19 patients, personal protective equipment [PPE] access, aerosol generating procedure exposure, night shift pattern, and the UK region of workplace). After adjustment, demographic and household factors associated with increased odds of infection included younger age, living with other key workers, and higher religiosity. Important occupational risk factors associated with increased odds of infection included attending to a higher number of COVID-19 positive patients (aOR 2.59, 95% CI 2.11 to 3.18 for ≥21 patients per week versus none), working in a nursing or midwifery role (1.30, 1.11 to 1.53, compared to doctors), reporting a lack of access to PPE (1.29, 1.17 to 1.43), and working in an ambulance (2.00, 1.56 to 2.58) or hospital inpatient setting (1.55, 1.38 to 1.75). Those who worked in intensive care units were less likely to have been infected (0.76, 0.64 to 0.92) than those who did not. Black HCWs were more likely to have been infected than their White colleagues, an effect which attenuated after adjustment for other known risk factors. This study is limited by self-selection bias and the cross sectional nature of the study means we cannot infer the direction of causality. Conclusions: We identified key sociodemographic and occupational risk factors associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection among UK HCWs, and have determined factors that might contribute to a disproportionate odds of infection in HCWs from Black ethnic groups. These findings demonstrate the importance of social and occupational factors in driving ethnic disparities in COVID-19 outcomes, and should inform policies, including targeted vaccination strategies and risk assessments aimed at protecting HCWs in future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Persistence of immunogenicity after seven COVID-19 vaccines given as third dose boosters following two doses of ChAdOx1 nCov-19 or BNT162b2 in the UK: Three month analyses of the COV-BOOST trial

    Palfreeman, Adrian; Pan, Daniel (2022-06)
    Objectives: To evaluate the persistence of immunogenicity three months after third dose boosters. Methods: COV-BOOST is a multicentre, randomised, controlled, phase 2 trial of seven COVID-19 vaccines used as a third booster dose. The analysis was conducted using all randomised participants who were SARS-CoV-2 naïve during the study. Results: Amongst the 2883 participants randomised, there were 2422 SARS-CoV-2 naïve participants until D84 visit included in the analysis with median age of 70 (IQR: 30-94) years. In the participants who had two initial doses of ChAdOx1 nCov-19 (Oxford-AstraZeneca; hereafter referred to as ChAd), schedules using mRNA vaccines as third dose have the highest anti-spike IgG at D84 (e.g. geometric mean concentration of 8674 ELU/ml (95% CI: 7461-10,085) following ChAd/ChAd/BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNtech, hearafter referred to as BNT)). However, in people who had two initial doses of BNT there was no significant difference at D84 in people given ChAd versus BNT (geometric mean ratio (GMR) of 0.95 (95%CI: 0.78, 1.15). Also, people given Ad26.COV2.S (Janssen; hereafter referred to as Ad26) as a third dose had significantly higher anti-spike IgG at D84 than BNT (GMR of 1.20, 95%CI: 1.01,1.43). Responses at D84 between people who received BNT (15 μg) or BNT (30 μg) after ChAd/ChAd or BNT/BNT were similar, with anti-spike IgG GMRs of half-BNT (15 μg) versus BNT (30 μg) ranging between 0.74-0.86. The decay rate of cellular responses were similar between all the vaccine schedules and doses. Conclusions: 84 days after a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine the decay rates of humoral response were different between vaccines. Adenoviral vector vaccine anti-spike IgG concentrations at D84 following BNT/BNT initial doses were similar to or even higher than for a three dose (BNT/BNT/BNT) schedule. Half dose BNT immune responses were similar to full dose responses. While high antibody tires are desirable in situations of high transmission of new variants of concern, the maintenance of immune responses that confer long-lasting protection against severe disease or death is also of critical importance. Policymakers may also consider adenoviral vector, fractional dose of mRNA, or other non-mRNA vaccines as third doses.
  • Tuberculosis incidence in country of origin is a key determinant of the risk of active tuberculosis in people living with HIV: Data from a 30-year observational cohort study

    Dillon, Helen; White, Helena; Hefford, Phillip; Wiselka, Martin; Pareek, Manish
    Introduction: People living with HIV (PLWH) are at high risk of active tuberculosis (TB) but this risk in the era of antiretroviral treatment (ART) remains unclear. It is critical to identify the groups who should be prioritised for latent TB (LTBI) screening. In this study we identified the risk factors associated with developing incident TB disease, by analysing a 30-year observational cohort. Methods: We evaluated PLWH in Leicester, UK, between 1983 and 2017 to ascertain those who developed active TB and the timing of this in relation to HIV diagnosis; whether before, concurrently with, or more than 3 months after the diagnosis of HIV (incident TB). Predictors of incident TB were ascertained using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: In all, 325 out of 2158 (15.1%) PLWH under care had had active TB; 64/325 (19.7%) prior to HIV diagnosis, 161/325 (49.5%) concurrently with/within 3 months of HIV diagnosis and 100/325 (30.8%) had incident TB. Incident TB risk was 4.57/1000 person-years. Increased TB incidence in the country of birth was associated with an increased risk of developing incident TB [50-149/100 000 population, adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) = 3.10, 95% CI: 0.94-10.20; 150-249/100 000 population, AHR = 7.14, 95% CI: 3.46-14.74; 250-349/100 000 population, AHR = 5.90, 95% CI: 2.32-14.99; ≥ 350/100 000 population, AHR = 3.96, 95% CI: 1.39-11.26]. Conclusions: Tuberculosis risk remains high among PLWH and is related to TB incidence in the country of birth. Further work is required to determine whether specific groups of PLWH should be targeted for programmatic LTBI screening, and whether it will result in high uptake and completion of chemoprophylaxis and is cost-effective for widespread implementation.
  • Access to personal protective equipment in healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom: results from a nationwide cohort study (UK-REACH)

    Martin, Christopher; Pan, Daniel; Nazareth, Joshua; Carr, Sue; Pareek, Manish; Simpson, Sandra
    Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at high risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Effective use of personal protective equipment (PPE) reduces this risk. We sought to determine the prevalence and predictors of self-reported access to appropriate PPE (aPPE) for HCWs in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods: We conducted cross sectional analyses using data from a nationwide questionnaire-based cohort study administered between December 2020-February 2021. The outcome was a binary measure of self-reported aPPE (access all of the time vs access most of the time or less frequently) at two timepoints: the first national lockdown in the UK in March 2020 (primary analysis) and at the time of questionnaire response (secondary analysis). Results: Ten thousand five hundred eight HCWs were included in the primary analysis, and 12,252 in the secondary analysis. 35.2% of HCWs reported aPPE at all times in the primary analysis; 83.9% reported aPPE at all times in the secondary analysis. In the primary analysis, after adjustment (for age, sex, ethnicity, migration status, occupation, aerosol generating procedure exposure, work sector and region, working hours, night shift frequency and trust in employing organisation), older HCWs and those working in Intensive Care Units were more likely to report aPPE at all times. Asian HCWs (aOR:0.77, 95%CI 0.67-0.89 [vs White]), those in allied health professional and dental roles (vs those in medical roles), and those who saw a higher number of COVID-19 patients compared to those who saw none (≥ 21 patients/week 0.74, 0.61-0.90) were less likely to report aPPE at all times. Those who trusted their employing organisation to deal with concerns about unsafe clinical practice, compared to those who did not, were twice as likely to report aPPE at all times. Significant predictors were largely unchanged in the secondary analysis. Conclusions: Only a third of HCWs in the UK reported aPPE at all times during the first lockdown and that aPPE had improved later in the pandemic. We also identified key determinants of aPPE during the first UK lockdown, which have mostly persisted since lockdown was eased. These findings have important implications for the safe delivery of healthcare during the pandemic.
  • BSACI 2021 guideline for the management of egg allergy

    Ball, Heidi
    This guideline advises on the management of patients with egg allergy. Most commonly egg allergy presents in infancy, with a prevalence of approximately 2% in children and 0.1% in adults. A clear clinical history will confirm the diagnosis in most cases. Investigation by measuring egg-specific IgE (by skin prick testing or specific IgE assay) is useful in moderate-severe cases or where there is diagnostic uncertainty. Following an acute allergic reaction, egg avoidance advice should be provided. Egg allergy usually resolves, and reintroduction can be achieved at home if reactions have been mild and there is no asthma. Patients with a history of severe reactions or asthma should have reintroduction guided by a specialist. All children with egg allergy should receive the MMR vaccine. Most adults and children with egg allergy can receive the influenza vaccine in primary care, unless they have had anaphylaxis to egg requiring intensive care support. Yellow Fever vaccines should only be considered in egg-allergic patients under the guidance of an allergy specialist. This guideline was prepared by the Standards of Care Committee (SOCC) of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) and is intended for allergists and others with a special interest in allergy. The recommendations are evidence based. Where evidence was lacking, consensus was reached by the panel of specialists on the committee. The document encompasses epidemiology, risk factors, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis and co-morbid associations.
  • No cases of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection among healthcare staff in a city under lockdown restrictions: lessons to inform 'Operation Moonshot'

    Martin, Christopher; Jenkins, David; Patel, Prashanth; Goss, Charles; Price, Arthur; Barton, Linda; Gupta, Pankaj; Zaccardi, Francesco; Brunskill, Nigel; Haldar, Pranab; et al.
    Background Leicester was the first city in the UK to have ‘local lockdown’ measures imposed in response to high community rates of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission. As part of this response, a directive was issued by NHS England to offer testing of asymptomatic healthcare workers (HCWs) at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Methods Between 20 July and 14 August 2020, we invited all HCWs at UHL to attend for SARS-CoV-2 testing by nucleic acid amplification (NAAT). We combined the result of this assay with demographic information from the electronic staff record. Results A total of 1150 staff (~8% of the workforce) volunteered. The median age was 46 years (IQR 34–55), 972 (84.5%) were female; 234 (20.4%) were of South Asian and 58 (5.0%) of Black ethnicity; 564 (49.0%) were nurses/healthcare assistants. We found no cases of asymptomatic infection. In comparison, average community test positivity rate in Leicester city was 2.6%. Conclusions Within the context of local lockdowns due to high community transmission rates, voluntary testing of asymptomatic staff has low uptake and low yield and thus its premise and cost-effectiveness should be re-considered.

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