Recent Submissions

  • Accreditation of antimicrobial stewardship programmes: addressing a global need to tackle antimicrobial resistance

    Jenkins, David (2024-02-01)
    Accreditation of healthcare services provides quality assurance of hospital practice to support safe and effective care for patients. Accreditation programmes focused on antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) have been developed in high-income countries (HIC) and recently the WHO has developed a toolkit to support AMS practice in low and middle-income (LMIC) countries. BSAC has developed their Global Antimicrobial Stewardship Accreditation Scheme (GAMSAS) for hospitals based on globally applicable standards. GAMSAS aims to support healthcare organizations to build measurable AMS programmes and to support spread of best practice. GAMSAS involves a desktop assessment by BSAC experts followed by a hospital visit to gather further insight into how a hospital's AMS programme operates. A final report of compliance with the GAMSAS standards and a recommendation about accreditation at one of three levels is formally approved at a GAMSAS panel meeting involving well-established global experts in AMS. The BSAC GAMSAS team reflect on progress during the first year and ambitions for future spread.
  • A qualitative study exploring healthcare workers' lived experiences of the impacts of COVID-19 policies and guidelines on maternal and reproductive healthcare services in the United Kingdom

    Pareek, Manish (2023-11-08)
    Introduction: During the COVID-19 pandemic, pregnant women were regarded as vulnerable to poor health outcomes if infected with the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus. To protect the United Kingdom's (UK) National Health Service (NHS) and pregnant patients, strict infection control policies and regulations were implemented. This study aimed to understand the impact of the COVID-19 policies and guidelines on maternal and reproductive health services during the pandemic from the experiences of healthcare workers (HCWs) caring for these patients. Methods: This qualitative study involved HCWs from the United Kingdom Research study into Ethnicity and COVID-19 outcomes in Healthcare workers (UK-REACH) project. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were conducted online or by telephone with 44 diverse HCWs. Transcripts were thematically analyzed following Braun and Clarke's principles of qualitative analysis. Results: Three key themes were identified during analysis. First, infection control policies impacted appointment availability, resulting in many cancellations and delays to treatment. Telemedicine was also used extensively to reduce risks from face-to-face consultations, disadvantaging patients from minoritized ethnicities. Secondly, staff shortages and redeployments reduced availability of consultations, appointments, and sonography scans. Finally, staff and patients reported challenges accessing timely, reliable and accurate information and guidance. Conclusions: COVID-19 demonstrated how a global health crisis can impact maternal and reproductive health services, leading to reduced service quality and surgical delays due to staff redeployment policies. Our findings underscore the implications of policy and future health crises preparedness. This includes tailored infection control policies, addressing elective surgery backlogs early and improved dissemination of relevant vaccine information.
  • Association between ethnicity and migration status with the prevalence of single and multiple long-term conditions in UK healthcare worker

    Ekezie, Winifred; Martin, Christopher A; Nazareth, Joshua; Pan, Daniel; Pareek, Manish; Sze, Shirley (2023-11-30)
    Background: Healthcare workers' (HCW) well-being has a direct effect on patient care. However, little is known about the prevalence and patterns of long-term medical conditions in HCWs, especially those from ethnic minorities. This study evaluated the burden of multiple long-term conditions (MLTCs), i.e. the presence of two or more single long-term conditions (LTCs), among HCWs in the United Kingdom (UK) and variation by ethnicity and migration status. Methods: We used baseline data from the UK-REACH cohort study collected December 2020-March 2021. We used multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for demographic, occupational and lifestyle factors to examine the relationship between self-reported LTCs/MLTCs and ethnicity, migration status and time since migration to the UK. Results: Of 12,100 included HCWs, with a median age of 45 years (IQR: 34-54), 27% were overseas-born, and 30% were from non-White ethnic groups (19% Asian, 4% Black, 4% Mixed, 2% Other). The most common self-reported LTCs were anxiety (14.9%), asthma (12.2%), depression (10.7%), hypertension (8.7%) and diabetes (4.0%). Mental health conditions were more prevalent among UK-born than overseas-born HCWs for all ethnic groups (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) using White UK-born as the reference group each time: White overseas-born 0.77, 95%CI 0.66-0.95 for anxiety). Diabetes and hypertension were more common among Asian (e.g. Asian overseas, diabetes aOR 2.97, 95%CI 2.30-3.83) and Black (e.g. Black UK-born, hypertension aOR 1.77, 95%CI 1.05-2.99) groups than White UK-born. After adjustment for age, sex and deprivation, the odds of reporting MLTCs were lower in most ethnic minority groups and lowest for those born overseas, compared to White UK-born (e.g. White overseas-born, aOR 0.68, 95%CI 0.55-0.83; Asian overseas-born aOR 0.75, 95%CI 0.62-0.90; Black overseas-born aOR 0.52, 95%CI 0.36-0.74). The odds of MLTCs in overseas-born HCWs were equivalent to the UK-born population in those who had settled in the UK for ≥ 20 years (aOR 1.14, 95%CI 0.94-1.37). Conclusions: Among UK HCWs, the prevalence of common LTCs and odds of reporting MLTCs varied by ethnicity and migrant status. The lower odds of MLTCs in migrant HCWs reverted to the odds of MLTCs in UK-born HCWs over time. Further research on this population should include longitudinal studies with linkage to healthcare records. Interventions should be co-developed with HCWs from different ethnic and migrant groups focussed upon patterns of conditions prevalent in specific HCW subgroups to reduce the overall burden of LTCs/MLTCs.
  • Screening for tuberculosis infection and effectiveness of preventive treatment among people with HIV in low-incidence settings

    Pareek, Manish (2024-02)
    Objective: To determine the yield of screening for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) among people with HIV (PWH) in low tuberculosis (TB) incidence countries (<10 TB cases per 100 000 persons). Design: A systematic review and meta-analysis were performed to assess prevalence and predictive factors of LTBI, rate of TB progression, effect of TB preventive treatment (TPT), and numbers needed to screen (NNS). Methods: PubMed and Cochrane Library were searched for studies reporting primary data, excluding studies on active or paediatric TB. We extracted LTBI cases, odds ratios, and TB incidences; pooled estimates using a random-effects model; and used the Newcastle-Ottawa scale for bias. Results: In 51 studies with 65 930 PWH, 12% [95% confidence interval (CI) 10-14] had a positive LTBI test, which was strongly associated with origin from a TB-endemic country [odds ratio (OR) 4.7] and exposure to TB (OR 2.9). Without TPT (10 629 PWH), TB incidence was 28/1000 person-years (PY; 95% CI 12-45) for LTBI-test positive versus 4/1000 PY (95% CI 0-7) for LTBI-test-negative individuals. Among 625 PWH (1644 PY) receiving TPT, 15 developed TB (6/1000 PY). An estimated 20 LTBI-positive individuals would need TPT to prevent one case of TB, and numbers NNS to detect LTBI or prevent active TB varied according to a-priori risk of LTBI. Conclusion: The relatively high prevalence of LTBI among PWH and the strong correlation with origin from a TB-endemic country support risk-stratified LTBI screening strategies for PWH in low-incidence countries and treating those who test positive.
  • Pathways to ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 health outcomes in the United Kingdom: A systematic map

    Divall, Pip; Sze, Shirley; Pan, Daniel; Pareek, Manish (2023-07)
    Background: Marked ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 infection and its consequences have been documented. The aim of this paper is to identify the range and nature of evidence on potential pathways which lead to ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 related health outcomes in the United Kingdom (UK). Methods: We searched six bibliographic and five grey literature databases from 1st December 2019 to 23rd February 2022 for research on pathways to ethnic inequalities in COVID-19 health outcomes in the UK. Meta-data were extracted and coded, using a framework informed by a logic model. Open Science Framework Registration: DOI 10.17605/OSF.IO/HZRB7. Results: The search returned 10,728 records after excluding duplicates, with 123 included (83% peer-reviewed). Mortality was the most common outcome investigated (N = 79), followed by infection (N = 52). The majority of studies were quantitative (N = 93, 75%), with four qualitative studies (3%), seven academic narrative reviews (6%), nine third sector reports (7%) and five government reports (4%), and four systematic reviews or meta-analyses (3%). There were 78 studies which examined comorbidities as a pathway to mortality, infection, and severe disease. Socioeconomic inequalities (N = 67) were also commonly investigated, with considerable research into neighbourhood infrastructure (N = 38) and occupational risk (N = 28). Few studies examined barriers to healthcare (N = 6) and consequences of infection control measures (N = 10). Only 11% of eligible studies theorised racism to be a driver of inequalities and 10% (typically government/third sector reports and qualitative studies) explored this as a pathway. Conclusion: This systematic map identified knowledge clusters that may be amenable to subsequent systematic reviews, and critical gaps in the evidence-base requiring additional primary research. Most studies do not incorporate or conceptualise racism as the fundamental cause of ethnic inequalities and therefore the contribution to literature and policy is limited.
  • Investigating the impact of financial concerns on symptoms of depression in UK healthcare workers: data from the UK-REACH nationwide cohort study

    Martin, Christopher A; Batson, Megan; Pan, Daniel; Pareek, Manish (2023-07-12)
    Background: Exploration of the association between financial concerns and depression in UK healthcare workers (HCWs) is paramount given the current 'cost of living crisis', ongoing strike action and recruitment/retention problems in the National Health Service. Aims: To assess the impact of financial concerns on the risk of depression in HCWs, how these concerns have changed over time and what factors might predict financial concerns. Method: We used longitudinal survey data from a UK-wide cohort of HCWs to determine whether financial concerns at baseline (December 2020 to March 2021) were associated with depression (measured with the Public Health Questionnaire-2) at follow-up (June to October 2022). We used logistic regression to examine the association between financial concerns and depression, and ordinal logistic regression to establish predictors of developing financial concerns. Results: A total of 3521 HCWs were included. Those concerned about their financial situation at baseline had higher odds of developing depressive symptoms at follow-up. Financial concerns increased in 43.8% of HCWs and decreased in 9%. Those in nursing, midwifery and other nursing roles had over twice the odds of developing financial concerns compared with those in medical roles. Conclusions: Financial concerns are increasing in prevalence and predict the later development of depressive symptoms in UK HCWs. Those in nursing, midwifery and other allied nursing roles may have been disproportionately affected. Our results are concerning given the potential effects on sickness absence and staff retention. Policy makers should act to alleviate financial concerns to reduce the impact this may have on a discontent workforce plagued by understaffing.
  • Four key problems that will need to be addressed during the next pandemic

    Pan, Daniel; Tang, Julian (29/09/2023)
    In June 2023, the UK began official hearings for its independent investigation into pandemic preparedness. Thus far, the inquiry has been told that planning has been wholly inadequate and that a future outbreak is inevitable. We present here four key problems that contributed to significant morbidity and mortality during the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic over the past 3 years in the UK - and which will contribute to excess morbidity and mortality in the next outbreak. First, there was misunderstanding about what procedures were deemed as aerosol generating. Aerosol transmission has always been a component of respiratory viruses; however, no specific aerosol-generating procedures are required to transmit any respiratory pathogens over long distances. Second, policy-makers were too binary in their answers to the public in terms of questions about severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This meant that, as evidence evolved and different conclusions were drawn, the public lost faith in both the UK Government and science. Third, public health guidance did not take into account that certain groups would be impacted differentially by public health guidelines and instead used a one-size-fits-all approach to non-pharmaceutical interventions. Finally, there was worsening of existing inequalities, especially in ethnic minority groups, that resulted in excessive numbers within certain cohorts becoming infected.
  • COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis in mechanically ventilated patients: a prospective, multicentre UK study

    Jenkins, David; Yusuff, Hakeem (01/09/2023)
    Background: Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is a complication of severe COVID-19, with regional variation in reported incidence and mortality. We describe the incidence, risk factors and mortality associated with COVID-19-associated pulmonary aspergillosis (CAPA) in a prospective, multicentre UK cohort. Methods: From March 2020 to March 2021, 266 mechanically ventilated adults with COVID-19 were enrolled across 5 UK hospital intensive care units (ICUs). CAPA was defined using European Confederation for Medical Mycology and the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology criteria and fungal diagnostics performed on respiratory and serum samples. Results: Twenty-nine of 266 patients (10.9%) had probable CAPA, 14 (5.2%) possible CAPA and none proven CAPA. Probable CAPA was diagnosed a median of 9 (IQR 7-16) days after ICU admission. Factors associated with probable CAPA after multivariable logistic regression were cumulative steroid dose given within 28 days prior to ICU admission (adjusted OR (aOR) 1.16; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.43 per 100 mg prednisolone-equivalent), receipt of an interleukin (IL)-6 inhibitor (aOR 2.79; 95% CI 1.22 to 6.48) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (aOR 4.78; 95% CI 1.13 to 18.13). Mortality in patients with probable CAPA was 55%, vs 46% in those without. After adjustment for immortal time bias, CAPA was associated with an increased risk of 90-day mortality (HR 1.85; 95% CI 1.07 to 3.19); however, this association did not remain statistically significant after further adjustment for confounders (adjusted HR 1.57; 95% CI 0.88 to 2.80). There was no difference in mortality between patients with CAPA prescribed antifungals (9 of 17; 53%) and those who were not (7 of 12; 58%) (p=0.77). Interpretation: In this first prospective UK study, probable CAPA was associated with corticosteroid use, receipt of IL-6 inhibitors and pre-existing COPD. CAPA did not impact mortality following adjustment for prognostic variables.
  • Face mask sampling (FMS) for tuberculosis shows lower diagnostic sensitivity than sputum sampling in Guinea

    Barer, Michael R; Williams, Caroline (2023-09-07)
    Background: Pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB) diagnosis relies on sputum examination, a challenge in sputum-scarce patients. Alternative non-invasive sampling methods such as face mask sampling (FMS) have been proposed. Objective: To evaluate the value of FMS for PTB diagnosis by assessing its agreement with sputum samples processed by GeneXpert MTB/RIF (Ultra)(Xpert) testing, and describe FMS sensitivity and specificity. Methods: This was a prospective study conducted at the Carrière TB clinic in Guinea. Presumptive TB patients willing to participate were asked to wear a surgical mask containing a polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) strip for thirty minutes. Subsequently, two spot sputum samples were collected, of which one was processed by microscopy on site and the other by Xpert in Guinea's National Reference Laboratory of Mycobacteriology (LNRM). The first 30 FMS were processed at the Supranational Reference Laboratory in Antwerp, Belgium, and the following 118 FMS in the LNRM. Results: One hundred fifty patients participated, of whom 148 had valid results for both mask and sputum. Sputum smear microscopy was positive for 47 (31.8%) patients while sputum-Xpert detected MTB in 54 (36.5%) patients. Among the 54 patients testing sputum-Xpert positive, 26 (48.1%) yielded a positive FMS-Xpert result, while four sputum-Xpert negative patients tested positive for FMS and 90 patients were Xpert-negative for both sputum and mask samples, suggesting a moderate level of agreement (k-value of 0.47). The overall mask sensitivity was 48.1%, with 95.7% specificity. Conclusion: In our setting, Xpert testing on FMS did not yield a high level of agreement to sputum sample.
  • Duration of type 2 diabetes and incidence of cancer: an observational study in England

    Zaccardi, Francesco; Brown, Karen; Davies, Melanie (2023-08-28)
    Objective: To investigate the association between duration of type 2 diabetes and cancer incidence. Research design and methods: In the Clinical Practice Research Datalink database, we identified 130,764 individuals with type 2 diabetes aged ≥35 years at diagnosis who were linked to hospital and mortality records. We used sex-stratified Royston-Parmar models with two time scales to estimate incidence rates of all cancers, the four commonest cancers in the United Kingdom (colorectal, lung, prostate, breast), and the obesity-related cancers (e.g., liver, ovary) between 1 January 1998 and 14 January 2019, by age and diabetes duration. Results: During 1,089,923 person-years, 18,977 incident cancers occurred. At the same age, rates of all cancers in men and women did not vary across durations ranging from diagnosis to 20 years; conversely, for any duration, there was a strong, positive association between age and cancer rates. In men, the rate ratio (95% CI) comparing 20 with 5 years of duration was 1.18 (0.82-1.69) at 60 years of age and 0.90 (0.75-1.08) at 80 years; corresponding ratios in women were 1.07 (0.71-1.63) and 0.84 (0.66-1.05). This pattern was observed also for the four commonest cancers. For obesity-related cancers, although rates were generally higher in individuals with a higher BMI, there was no association with duration at any level of BMI. Conclusions: In this study, we did not find evidence of an association between duration of type 2 diabetes and risk of cancer, with the higher risk observed for longer durations related to ageing.
  • COVID-19 contact tracing experience at a tertiary healthcare center in saudi arabia

    Muhammad, Javeed (2023-07-15)
    Introduction As of May 2023, the end of the pandemic, the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases reached more than 841,000 cases. Healthcare workers (HCWs) especially have been at the frontline during this pandemic and are at a higher chance of contracting COVID-19. Approximately half of all high-risk exposures were to healthcare personnel with COVID-19. While several tools for contact tracing were developed for the general public, contact tracing for infectious diseases in the healthcare setting is limited, and global testing of HCWs, or in-hospital digital tracing, is not performed in most facilities. The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC) collaborated with the Infection Control and Health Information Technology Affairs (HITA) to create an automated COVID-19 contact tracing tool specifically for HCWs who worked at the institute. This study aims to describe the contact tracing experience at KFSH&RC. Methods A retrospective study was conducted to describe the use of an automated tool that was developed to assist in the contact tracing process and that was to be used by KFSH&RC employees who had been in contact with a COVID-19-positive individual. This tool is utilized for the early identification of possible COVID-19 cases and risk stratification of the exposed individuals. The tool can be accessed through the KFSH&RC website; it also collects information about the COVID-19 exposure rate among the different departments such as administration, capital projects/facilities, and healthcare at a tertiary care hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Results The tool has been utilized 7,353 times by contact cases. Approximately 7% of those tested later developed a COVID-19 infection. When assessing the positivity rates per department, The Environmental Services Department had the highest positivity rate of 28.21%, followed by Health Information Technology and Analytics (HITA), and then the Central Transportation Department. Conclusion This study acts as the first of its kind to describe the successful use of the healthcare contact tracing system in one of Saudi Arabia's largest hospitals (KFSH&RC) and describe the infection trends in different departments of the hospital. Through the tracing system, the departments with the highest COVID-19 infection occurrences at the hospital were identified in a timely manner, and safety protocols were implemented.
  • Pulling the plug on a pseudomonas outbreak: ancillary equipment as vectors of infection

    Veater, James; Manning, Claire; Mellon, John; Collins, Elizabeth; Jenkins, David (2023-08-08)
    Objectives: Outbreaks of infection related to flexible endoscopes are well described. However, flexible endoscopy also requires the use of ancillary equipment such as irrigation plugs. These are potential vectors of infection but are infrequently highlighted in the literature. We report a cystoscopy associated outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from contaminated irrigation plugs, in a UK tertiary care centre. Methods: Laboratory, clinical, and decontamination unit records were reviewed, and audits of the decontamination unit were performed. The flexible cystoscopes and irrigation plugs were assessed for contamination. Retrospective and prospective case finding was performed utilising the microbiology laboratory information management system. Available P.aeruginosa isolates underwent Variable Nucleotide Tandem Repeat (VNTR) typing. Confirmed cases were defined as P.aeruginosa infection with an identical VNTR profile to an outbreak strain. Results: Three strains of P.aeruginosa were isolated from five irrigation plugs, but none of the flexible cystoscopes. No acquired resistance mechanisms were detected. Fifteen confirmed infections occurred, including bacteraemia, septic arthritis and urinary tract infection. While failure of decontamination likely occurred because the plugs were not dismantled prior to reprocessing, the manufacturer's reprocessing instructions were also incompatible with standard UK practice. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) were informed. A field safety notice was issued, and the manufacturer issued updated reprocessing instructions. Conclusions: Ancillary equipment are important vectors for infection, and should be considered during outbreakinvestigations. Users should review the manufacturer's instructions for reprocessing ancillary equipment to ensure they are compatible with available procedures.
  • 2021/22 and 2022/23 Post-pandemic bronchiolitis seasons in two major italian cities: a prospective study

    Roland, Damian (2023-06-20)
    Objectives: Bronchiolitis remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children under 24 months. During the first year of the pandemic, non-pharmacological interventions resulted in a significant reduction of bronchiolitis cases. Early in 2021, a rebound of bronchiolitis was reported with a description of out-of-season outbreaks. In this study, we prospectively evaluated the impact of bronchiolitis in two Italian University centers located in different geographical areas, aiming to compare two post-pandemic bronchiolitis seasons (2021/22 and 2022/23) in terms of severity, outcomes, microbiology and temporal distribution. Methods: This was a bicentric prospective observational cohort study. All consecutive children under 24 months of age assessed in the participating institutions during the specified seasons and receiving a clinical diagnosis of bronchiolitis were included. Results: A total of 900 patients were enrolled. Patients in the second season were globally younger and had comorbidities less often. Temporal distribution changed between the two seasons. Of the patients, 56% were tested for RSV; 60% of these was positive. Patients with RSV were globally younger (3.5 months vs. 4.9, p < 0.001), more often had a need for any kind of respiratory and fluid support and more often needed ward or PICU admission. At the end of the ED visit, 430 patients were discharged home, 372 (41.3%) were admitted to an inpatient ward and 46 (5.1%) to a pediatric intensive care unit. Conclusions: The 2022/23 post-COVID bronchiolitis was mostly similar to that of 2021/22, and was in line with pre-pandemic expectations.
  • Saddle pulmonary embolism in the setting of COVID-19 infection: A systematic review of case reports and case series

    Choudry, Hassan (2023-06-01)
    Saddle pulmonary embolism (SPE) is a rare type of pulmonary embolism that can lead to hemodynamic compromise causing sudden deaths. Due to a dearth of large prospective studies in this area, little is known regarding the epidemiology, and prognosis and factors affecting the latter for COVID-19-associated SPE. We aimed to describe COVID-19-associated SPE and quantify and compare mortality and factors affecting mortality among the cases. We included a total of 25 publications with a total of 35 cases. The average age was 45 ± 16.3 years with 11 females and 24 males. Dyspnoea (82.5%), orthopnoea (43.5%), and cough (43.5%) were the most common symptoms, and obstructive shock was present in five (21.7%) patients. The average reported oxygen (O2) saturation was 85.8% ± 11.9 mm Hg. Hypertension (26.1%), diabetes (21.7%), and deep vein thrombosis (21.7%) were the most commonly reported comorbidities. Right heart strain was recognized in seven (30%) patients on electroencephalogram (S1QIIITIII) and 12 (52.2%) patients on echocardiogram. Anticoagulation, thrombolysis, and percutaneous intervention were tried in 21 (91.3%), 13 (56.5%), and 6 (26.1%) cases, respectively. Despite the aggressive management, 2 of 25 (8.7%) patients died in our smaller case report cohort. We conclude that despite aggressive management modalities, the mortality of SPE remains high in COVID-19.
  • Ethnic differences in cellular and humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination in UK healthcare workers: a cross-sectional analysis

    Martin, Christopher; Nazareth, Joshua; Pan, Daniel; Ahmed, Aleem; Bandi, Srini; George, Nisha; Gohar, Marjan; Mangwani, Jitendra; Moorthy, Arumugam; Renals, Valerie; et al. (2023-04-04)
    Background: Few studies have compared SARS-CoV-2 vaccine immunogenicity by ethnic group. We sought to establish whether cellular and humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination differ according to ethnicity in UK Healthcare workers (HCWs). Methods: In this cross-sectional analysis, we used baseline data from two immunological cohort studies conducted in HCWs in Leicester, UK. Blood samples were collected between March 3, and September 16, 2021. We excluded HCW who had not received two doses of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine at the time of sampling and those who had serological evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. Outcome measures were SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific total antibody titre, neutralising antibody titre and ELISpot count. We compared our outcome measures by ethnic group using univariable (t tests and rank-sum tests depending on distribution) and multivariable (linear regression for antibody titres and negative binomial regression for ELISpot counts) tests. Multivariable analyses were adjusted for age, sex, vaccine type, length of interval between vaccine doses and time between vaccine administration and sample collection and expressed as adjusted geometric mean ratios (aGMRs) or adjusted incidence rate ratios (aIRRs). To assess differences in the early immune response to vaccination we also conducted analyses in a subcohort who provided samples between 14 and 50 days after their second dose of vaccine. Findings: The total number of HCWs in each analysis were 401 for anti-spike antibody titres, 345 for neutralising antibody titres and 191 for ELISpot. Overall, 25.4% (19.7% South Asian and 5.7% Black/Mixed/Other) were from ethnic minority groups. In analyses including the whole cohort, neutralising antibody titres were higher in South Asian HCWs than White HCWs (aGMR 1.47, 95% CI [1.06-2.06], P = 0.02) as were T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 S1 peptides (aIRR 1.75, 95% CI [1.05-2.89], P = 0.03). In a subcohort sampled between 14 and 50 days after second vaccine dose, SARS-CoV-2 spike-specific antibody and neutralising antibody geometric mean titre (GMT) was higher in South Asian HCWs compared to White HCWs (9616 binding antibody units (BAU)/ml, 95% CI [7178-12,852] vs 5888 BAU/ml [5023-6902], P = 0.008 and 2851 95% CI [1811-4487] vs 1199 [984-1462], P < 0.001 respectively), increments which persisted after adjustment (aGMR 1.26, 95% CI [1.01-1.58], P = 0.04 and aGMR 2.01, 95% CI [1.34-3.01], P = 0.001). SARS-CoV-2 ELISpot responses to S1 and whole spike peptides (S1 + S2 response) were higher in HCWs from South Asian ethnic groups than those from White groups (S1: aIRR 2.33, 95% CI [1.09-4.94], P = 0.03; spike: aIRR, 2.04, 95% CI [1.02-4.08]). Interpretation: This study provides evidence that, in an infection naïve cohort, humoral and cellular immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 vaccination are stronger in South Asian HCWs than White HCWs. These differences are most clearly seen in the early period following vaccination. Further research is required to understand the underlying mechanisms, whether differences persist with further exposure to vaccine or virus, and the potential impact on vaccine effectiveness. Funding: DIRECT and BELIEVE have received funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) through the COVID-19 National Core Studies Immunity (NCSi) programme (MC_PC_20060).
  • Inflammatory response in confirmed non-diabetic foot and ankle infections: A case series with normal inflammatory markers

    Ahmed, Amr Hassan; Ahmed, Shah; Barakat, Ahmed; Mangwani, Jitendra; White, Helena (2023-03-18)
    Background: The distinction between foot and ankle wound healing complications as opposed to infection is crucial for the appropriate and efficacious allocation of antibiotic therapy. Multiple reports have focused on the diagnostic accuracy of different inflammatory markers, however, mainly in the diabetic population. Aim: To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of white cell count (WCC) and C-reactive protein (CRP) as diagnostic tools for this distinction in the non-diabetic cohort. Methods: Data was reviewed from a prospectively maintained Infectious Diseases Unit database of 216 patients admitted at Leicester University Hospitals-United Kingdom with musculoskeletal infections over the period between July 2014 and February 2020 (68 mo). All patients with confirmed diagnosis of diabetes were excluded while only those with confirmed microbiological or clinical diagnosis of foot or ankle infection were included in our study. For the included patients, we retrospectively retrieved the inflammatory markers (WCCs and CRP) at the time of presentation. Values of CRP 0-10 mg/L and WCC 4.0-11.0 × 109/L were considered normal. Results: After exclusion of patients with confirmed diabetes, 25 patients with confirmed foot or ankle infections were included. All infections were confirmed microbiologically with positive intra-operative culture results. 7 (28%) patients with osteomyelitis (OM) of the foot, 11 (44%) with OM of the ankle, 5 (20%) with ankle septic arthritis and 2 (8%) patients with post-surgical wound infection were identified. Previous bony surgery was identified in 13 (52%) patients, either a corrective osteotomy or an open reduction and internal fixation for a foot or ankle fracture with the infection developing on top of the existing metalwork. 21 (84%) patients did have raised inflammatory markers while 4 (16%) patients failed to mount an inflammatory response even with subsequent debridement and removal of metal work. CRP sensitivity was 84%, while WCC sensitivity was only 28%. Conclusion: CRP has a relatively good sensitivity in the diagnosis of foot and ankle infections in non-diabetic patients, whereas WCC is a poor inflammatory marker in the detection of such cases. In presence of clinically high level of suspicion of foot or ankle infection, a normal CRP should not rule out the diagnosis of OM.
  • Determinants of recovery from post-COVID-19 dyspnoea: analysis of UK prospective cohorts of hospitalised COVID-19 patients and community-based controls

    Harris, Victoria; Houchen-Wolloff, Linzy; Evans, Rachael (2023-04-28)
    Background: The risk factors for recovery from COVID-19 dyspnoea are poorly understood. We investigated determinants of recovery from dyspnoea in adults with COVID-19 and compared these to determinants of recovery from non-COVID-19 dyspnoea. Methods: We used data from two prospective cohort studies: PHOSP-COVID (patients hospitalised between March 2020 and April 2021 with COVID-19) and COVIDENCE UK (community cohort studied over the same time period). PHOSP-COVID data were collected during hospitalisation and at 5-month and 1-year follow-up visits. COVIDENCE UK data were obtained through baseline and monthly online questionnaires. Dyspnoea was measured in both cohorts with the Medical Research Council Dyspnoea Scale. We used multivariable logistic regression to identify determinants associated with a reduction in dyspnoea between 5-month and 1-year follow-up. Findings: We included 990 PHOSP-COVID and 3309 COVIDENCE UK participants. We observed higher odds of improvement between 5-month and 1-year follow-up among PHOSP-COVID participants who were younger (odds ratio 1.02 per year, 95% CI 1.01-1.03), male (1.54, 1.16-2.04), neither obese nor severely obese (1.82, 1.06-3.13 and 4.19, 2.14-8.19, respectively), had no pre-existing anxiety or depression (1.56, 1.09-2.22) or cardiovascular disease (1.33, 1.00-1.79), and shorter hospital admission (1.01 per day, 1.00-1.02). Similar associations were found in those recovering from non-COVID-19 dyspnoea, excluding age (and length of hospital admission). Interpretation: Factors associated with dyspnoea recovery at 1-year post-discharge among patients hospitalised with COVID-19 were similar to those among community controls without COVID-19. Funding: PHOSP-COVID is supported by a grant from the MRC-UK Research and Innovation and the Department of Health and Social Care through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) rapid response panel to tackle COVID-19. The views expressed in the publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the National Health Service (NHS), the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.COVIDENCE UK is supported by the UK Research and Innovation, the National Institute for Health Research, and Barts Charity. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the funders.

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