Most downloaded biology preprints, since beginning of last month
105,004 results found. For more information, click each entry to expand.
205,562 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Background: Reports of waning vaccine-induced immunity against COVID-19 have begun to surface. With that, the comparable long-term protection conferred by previous infection with SARS-CoV-2 remains unclear. Methods: We conducted a retrospective observational study comparing three groups: (1)SARS-CoV-2-naive individuals who received a two-dose regimen of the BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine, (2)previously infected individuals who have not been vaccinated, and (3)previously infected and single dose vaccinated individuals. Three multivariate logistic regression models were applied. In all models we evaluated four outcomes: SARS-CoV-2 infection, symptomatic disease, COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. The follow-up period of June 1 to August 14, 2021, when the Delta variant was dominant in Israel. Results: SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinees had a 13.06-fold (95% CI, 8.08 to 21.11) increased risk for breakthrough infection with the Delta variant compared to those previously infected, when the first event (infection or vaccination) occurred during January and February of 2021. The increased risk was significant (P<0.001) for symptomatic disease as well. When allowing the infection to occur at any time before vaccination (from March 2020 to February 2021), evidence of waning natural immunity was demonstrated, though SARS-CoV-2 naive vaccinees had a 5.96-fold (95% CI, 4.85 to 7.33) increased risk for breakthrough infection and a 7.13-fold (95% CI, 5.51 to 9.21) increased risk for symptomatic disease. SARS-CoV-2-naive vaccinees were also at a greater risk for COVID-19-related-hospitalizations compared to those that were previously infected. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that natural immunity confers longer lasting and stronger protection against infection, symptomatic disease and hospitalization caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, compared to the BNT162b2 two-dose vaccine-induced immunity. Individuals who were both previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 and given a single dose of the vaccine gained additional protection against the Delta variant.
142,610 downloads medRxiv public and global health
Importance: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has become a leading barrier to increasing the US vaccination rate. Objective: To evaluate time trends in COVID-19 vaccine intent during the US vaccine rollout, and identify key factors related to and self-reported reasons for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy in May 2021. Design, Participants and Setting: A COVID-19 survey was offered to US adult Facebook users in several languages yielding 5,088,772 qualifying responses from January 6 to May 31, 2021. Data was aggregated by month. Survey weights matched the sample to the age, gender, and state profile of the US population. Exposure: Demographics, geographic factors, political/COVID-19 environment, health status, beliefs, and behaviors. Main Outcome Measures: "If a vaccine to prevent COVID-19 were offered to you today, would you choose to get vaccinated." Hesitant was defined as responding, probably or definitely would not choose to get vaccinated (versus probably or definitely would, or already vaccinated). Results: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy decreased by one-third from 25.4% (95%CI 25.3-25.5) in January to 16.6% (95%CI, 16.4-16.7) in May, with relatively large decreases among participants with Black, Pacific Islander or Hispanic race/ethnicity and [≤]high school education. Independent risk factors for vaccine hesitancy in May (N=525,644) included younger age, non-Asian race, <4 year college degree, living in a more rural county, living in a county with higher Trump vote share in the 2020 election, lack of worry about COVID-19, working outside the home, never intentionally avoiding contact with others, and no past-year flu vaccine. Differences in hesitancy by race/ethnicity varied by age (e.g., Black adults more hesitant than White adults <35 years old, but less hesitant among adults >=45 years old), and vice versa. Almost half of vaccine hesitant respondents reported fear of side effects (49.2% [95%CI, 48.7-49.7]) and not trusting the COVID-19 vaccine (48.4% [95%CI, 48.0-48.9]); over one-third reported not trusting the government, not needing the vaccine, and waiting to see if safe. Reasons differed by degree of vaccine intent and by race/ethnicity. Conclusion: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy varied by demographics, geography, beliefs, and behaviors, indicating a need for a range of messaging and policy options to target high-hesitancy groups.
113,390 downloads medRxiv epidemiology
The short-term effectiveness of a two-dose regimen of the BioNTech/Pfizer mRNA BNT162b2 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine was widely demonstrated. However, long term effectiveness is still unknown. A nationwide vaccination campaign was initiated early in Israel, allowing for a real-world evaluation of the interaction between protection and time-from-vaccine. The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant became the dominant strain in Israel in June 2021, as Israel is currently experiencing a new surge of cases. Leveraging the centralized computerized database of Maccabi Healthcare Services (MHS), we assessed the correlation between time-from-vaccine and incidence of breakthrough infection. We found that the risk for infection was significantly higher for early vaccinees compared to those vaccinated later. This preliminary finding should prompt further investigagions into long-term protection against different strains, and prospective clinical trials to examine the effect of a booster vaccine against breakthrough infection.
57,850 downloads medRxiv epidemiology
Objectives: Establishing the rate of post-vaccination cardiac myocarditis in the 12-15 and 16-17-year-old population in the context of their COVID-19 hospitalization risk is critical for developing a vaccination recommendation framework that balances harms with benefits for this patient demographic. Design, Setting and Participants: Using the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), this retrospective epidemiological assessment reviewed reports filed between January 1, 2021, and June 18, 2021, among adolescents ages 12-17 who received mRNA vaccination against COVID-19. Symptom search criteria included the words myocarditis, pericarditis, and myopericarditis to identify children with evidence of cardiac injury. The word troponin was a required element in the laboratory findings. Inclusion criteria were aligned with the CDC working case definition for probable myocarditis. Stratified cardiac adverse event (CAE) rates were reported for age, sex and vaccination dose number. A harm-benefit analysis was conducted using existing literature on COVID-19-related hospitalization risks in this demographic. Main outcome measures: 1) Stratified rates of mRNA vaccine-related myocarditis in adolescents age 12-15 and 16-17; and 2) harm-benefit analysis of vaccine-related CAEs in relation to COVID-19 hospitalization risk. Results: A total of 257 CAEs were identified. Rates per million following dose 2 among males were 162.2 (ages 12-15) and 94.0 (ages 16-17); among females, rates were 13.0 and 13.4 per million, respectively. For boys 12-15 without medical comorbidities receiving their second mRNA vaccination dose, the rate of CAE is 3.7-6.1 times higher than their 120-day COVID-19 hospitalization risk as of August 21, 2021 (7-day hospitalizations 1.5/100k population) and 2.6-4.3-fold higher at times of high weekly hospitalization risk (2.1/100k), such as during January 2021. For boys 16-17 without medical comorbidities, the rate of CAE is currently 2.1-3.5 times higher than their 120-day COVID-19 hospitalization risk, and 1.5-2.5 times higher at times of high weekly COVID-19 hospitalization. Conclusions: Post-vaccination CAE rate was highest in young boys aged 12-15 following dose two. For boys 12-17 without medical comorbidities, the likelihood of post vaccination dose two CAE is 162.2 and 94.0/million respectively. This incidence exceeds their expected 120-day COVID-19 hospitalization rate at both moderate (August 21, 2021 rates) and high COVID-19 hospitalization incidence. Further research into the severity and long-term sequelae of post-vaccination CAE is warranted. Quantification of the benefits of the second vaccination dose and vaccination in addition to natural immunity in this demographic may be indicated to minimize harm.
55,428 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Po Ying Chia, Sean Ong, Calvin J Chiew, Li Wei Ang, Jean-marc Gilbert Chavatte, Tze Minn Mak, Lin Cui, Shirin Kalimuddin, Wan Ni Chia, Chee Wah Tan, Louis Yi Ann Chai, Seow Yen Tan, Shuwei Zheng, Raymong Tzer Pin Lin, Linfa Wang, Yee-Sin Leo, Vernon J. Lee, David Chien Lye, Barnaby Edward Young
Objectives Highly effective vaccines against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been developed but variants of concerns (VOCs) with mutations in the spike protein are worrisome, especially B.1.617.2 (Delta) which has rapidly spread across the world. We aim to study if vaccination alters virological and serological kinetics in breakthrough infections. Methods We conducted a multi-centre retrospective cohort study of patients in Singapore who had received a licensed mRNA vaccine and been admitted to hospital with B.1.617.2 SARS-CoV-2 infection. We compared the clinical features, virological and serological kinetics (anti-nucleocapsid, anti-spike and surrogate virus neutralization titres) between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Results Of 218 individuals with B.1.617.2 infection, 84 had received a mRNA vaccine of which 71 were fully vaccinated, 130 were unvaccinated and 4 received a non-mRNA. Despite significantly older age in the vaccine breakthrough group, the odds of severe COVID-19 requiring oxygen supplementation was significantly lower following vaccination (adjusted odds ratio 0.07 95%CI: 0.015-0.335, p=0.001). PCR cycle threshold (Ct) values were similar between both vaccinated and unvaccinated groups at diagnosis, but viral loads decreased faster in vaccinated individuals. Early, robust boosting of anti-spike protein antibodies was observed in vaccinated patients, however, these titers were significantly lower against B.1.617.2 as compared with the wildtype vaccine strain. Conclusion The mRNA vaccines are highly effective at preventing symptomatic and severe COVID-19 associated with B.1.617.2 infection. Vaccination is associated with faster decline in viral RNA load and a robust serological response. Vaccination remains a key strategy for control of COVID-19 pandemic.
47,472 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Background: There are good reasons to expect natural infection to provide protection against future infection with SARS-CoV-2. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the necessity of COVID-19 vaccination in persons previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. Methods: Employees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System working in Ohio on Dec 16, 2020, the day COVID-19 vaccination was started, were included. Any subject who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 at least 42 days earlier was considered previously infected. One was considered vaccinated 14 days after receipt of the second dose of a SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccine. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection over the next four months, among previously infected subjects who received the vaccine, was compared with those of previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated, previously uninfected subjects who received the vaccine, and previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated. Results: Among the 52238 included employees, 1220 (47%) of 2579 previously infected subjects received the vaccine, compared with 29461 (59%) of 49659 not previously infected. The cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection did not differ among previously infected unvaccinated subjects, previously infected subjects who were vaccinated, and previously uninfected subjects who were vaccinated, and was much lower than that of previously uninfected subjects who remained unvaccinated. Not one of the 1359 previously infected subjects who remained unvaccinated had a SARS-CoV-2 infection over the duration of the study. Conclusion: Individuals who have had SARS-CoV-2 infection are unlikely to benefit from COVID-19 vaccination, and vaccines can be safely prioritized to those who have not been infected before.
44,383 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Background: Scientists have so far been unable to determine the reason for the low number of COVID-19 cases in Africa. Objective: To evaluate the impact of ivermectin interventions for onchocerciasis on the morbidity, mortality, recovery, and fatality rates caused by COVID-19. Method: A retrospective statistical analysis study of the impact of ivermectin against COVID-19 between the 31 onchocerciasis-endemic countries using the community-directed treatment with ivermectin (CDTI) and the non-endemic 22 countries in Africa. The morbidity, mortality, recovery rate, and fatality rate caused by COVID-19 were calculated from the WHO situation report in Africa. We investigated the onchocerciasis endemic 31 countries and the non-endemic 22 countries. Statistical comparisons used by the Welch test of them in the two groups were made. Results: The morbidity and mortality were statistically significantly less in the 31 countries using CDTI. The recovery and fatality rates were not statistically significant difference. The average life expectancy was statistically significantly higher in the non-endemic countries. Conclusions: The morbidity and mortality in the onchocerciasis endemic countries are lesser than those in the non-endemic ones. The community-directed onchocerciasis treatment with ivermectin is the most reasonable explanation for the decrease in morbidity and fatality rate in Africa. In areas where ivermectin is distributed to and used by the entire population, it leads to a significant reduction in mortality.
30,715 downloads medRxiv public and global health
Sharifa Nasreen, Hannah Chung, Siyi He, Kevin A. Brown, Jonathan B Gubbay, Sarah A Buchan, Deshayne B Fell, Peter C Austin, Kevin L Schwartz, Maria E. Sundaram, Andrew Calzavara, Branson Chen, Mina Tadrous, Kumanan Wilson, Sarah E. Wilson, Jeffrey C Kwong
Background: SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) are more transmissible and have the potential for increased disease severity and decreased vaccine effectiveness. We sought to estimate the effectiveness of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech), mRNA-1273 (Moderna), and ChAdOx1 (AstraZeneca) vaccines against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection and severe outcomes (COVID-19 hospitalization or death) caused by the Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), and Delta (B.1.617.2) VOCs during December 2020 to May 2021. Methods: We conducted a test-negative design study using linked population-wide vaccination, laboratory testing, and health administrative databases in Ontario, Canada. Findings: Against symptomatic infection caused by Alpha, vaccine effectiveness with partial vaccination ([≥]14 days after dose 1) was higher for mRNA-1273 (83%) than BNT162b2 (66%) and ChAdOx1 (64%), and full vaccination ([≥]7 days after dose 2) increased vaccine effectiveness for BNT162b2 (89%) and mRNA-1273 (92%). Protection against symptomatic infection caused by Beta/Gamma was also higher with partial vaccination for mRNA-1273 (77%) than BNT162b2 (60%) and ChAdOx1 (48%), and full vaccination increased effectiveness for BNT162b2 (84%). Against Delta, vaccine effectiveness after partial vaccination tended to be lower compared to Alpha for mRNA-1273 (72% vs. 83%) and BNT162b2 (56% vs. 66%), but was similar to Alpha for ChAdOx1 (67% vs. 64%). Full vaccination with BNT162b2 increased protection against Delta (87%) to levels comparable to Alpha (89%) and Beta/Gamma (84%). Vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization or death caused by all VOCs was generally higher than for symptomatic infection after partial vaccination for all three vaccines. Interpretation: Our findings suggest that even a single dose of these 3 vaccines provide substantial protection against these 4 VOCs, and 2 doses likely provide higher protection. Jurisdictions facing vaccine supply constraints might consider delaying second doses to more rapidly achieve greater overall population protection.
30,418 downloads medRxiv epidemiology
Worldwide shortage of vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 infection while the pandemic is still uncontrolled leads many states to the dilemma whether or not to vaccinate previously infected persons. Understanding the level of protection of previous infection compared to that of vaccination is critical for policy making. We analyze an updated individual-level database of the entire population of Israel to assess the protection efficacy of both prior infection and vaccination in preventing subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection, hospitalization with COVID-19, severe disease, and death due to COVID-19. Vaccination was highly effective with overall estimated efficacy for documented infection of 92.8% (CI: [92.6, 93.0]); hospitalization 94.2% (CI: [93.6, 94.7]); severe illness 94.4% (CI: [93.6, 95.0]); and death 93.7% (CI: [92.5, 94.7]). Similarly, the overall estimated level of protection from prior SARS-CoV-2 infection for documented infection is 94.8% (CI: [94.4, 95.1]); hospitalization 94.1% (CI: [91.9, 95.7]); and severe illness 96.4% (CI: [92.5, 98.3]). Our results question the need to vaccinate previously-infected individuals.
22,137 downloads medRxiv epidemiology
OBJECTIVETo evaluate the relative risk of COVID-19 death in people <65 years old versus older individuals in the general population, to provide estimates of absolute risk of COVID-19 death at the population level, and to understand what proportion of COVID-19 deaths occur in non-elderly people without underlying diseases in epicenters of the pandemic. ELIGIBLE DATACountries and US states or major cities with at least 250 COVID-19 deaths as of 4/4/2020 and with information available on death counts according to age strata, allowing to calculate the number of deaths in people with age <65. Data were available for Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland, as well as Louisiana, Michigan, Washington states and New York City as of April 4, 2020. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURESProportion of COVID-19 deaths that occur in people <65 years old; relative risk of COVID-19 death in people <65 versus [≥]65 years old; absolute risk of death in people <65 and in those [≥]80 years old in the general population as of 4/4/2020; absolute death risk expressed as equivalent of death risk from driving a motor vehicle. RESULTSIndividuals with age <65 account for 5%-9% of all COVID-19 deaths in the 8 European epicenters, and approach 30% in three US hotbed locations. People <65 years old had 34- to 73-fold lower risk than those [≥]65 years old in the European countries and 13- to 15-fold lower risk in New York City, Louisiana and Michigan. The absolute risk of COVID-19 death ranged from 1.7 per million for people <65 years old in Germany to 79 per million in New York City. The absolute risk of COVID-19 death for people [≥]80 years old ranged from approximately 1 in 6,000 in Germany to 1 in 420 in Spain. The COVID-19 death risk in people <65 years old during the period of fatalities from the epidemic was equivalent to the death risk from driving between 9 miles per day (Germany) and 415 miles per day (New York City). People <65 years old and not having any underlying predisposing conditions accounted for only 0.3%, 0.7%, and 1.8% of all COVID-19 deaths in Netherlands, Italy, and New York City. CONCLUSIONSPeople <65 years old have very small risks of COVID-19 death even in the hotbeds of the pandemic and deaths for people <65 years without underlying predisposing conditions are remarkably uncommon. Strategies focusing specifically on protecting high-risk elderly individuals should be considered in managing the pandemic.
20,600 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Peter B Gilbert, David C. Montefiori, Adrian McDermott, Youyi Fong, David C. Benkeser, Weiping Deng, Honghong Zhou, Christopher R Houchens, Karen Martins, Lakshmi Jayashankar, Flora Castellino, Britta Flach, Bob C Lin, Sarah O'Connell, Charlene McDanal, Amanda Eaton, Marcella Sarzotti-Kelsoe, Yiwen Lu, Chenchen Yu, Bhavesh Borate, Lars W. P. van der Laan, Nima Hejazi, Chuong Huynh, Jacqueline Miller, Hana M. El Sahly, Lindsey R. Baden, Mira Baron, Luis De La Cruz, Cynthia Gay, Spyros Kalams, Colleen F Kelley, Mark Kutner, Michele P. Andrasik, James G. Kublin, Lawrence Corey, Kathleen M. Neuzil, Lindsay N. Carpp, Rolando Pajon, Dean Follmann, Ruben O. Donis, Richard A. Koup, Immune Assays Team, Moderna, Inc. Team, Coronavirus Vaccine Prevention Network (CoVPN)/Coronavirus Efficacy (COVE) Team, United States Government (USG)/CoVPN Biostatistics Team
BackgroundIn the Coronavirus Efficacy (COVE) trial, estimated mRNA-1273 vaccine efficacy against coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) was 94%. SARS-CoV-2 antibody measurements were assessed as correlates of COVID-19 risk and as correlates of protection. MethodsThrough case-cohort sampling, participants were selected for measurement of four serum antibody markers at Day 1 (first dose), Day 29 (second dose), and Day 57: IgG binding antibodies (bAbs) to Spike, bAbs to Spike receptor-binding domain (RBD), and 50% and 80% inhibitory dilution pseudovirus neutralizing antibody titers calibrated to the WHO International Standard (cID50 and cID80). Participants with no evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection were included. Cox regression assessed in vaccine recipients the association of each Day 29 or 57 serologic marker with COVID-19 through 126 or 100 days of follow-up, respectively, adjusting for risk factors. ResultsDay 57 Spike IgG, RBD IgG, cID50, and cID80 neutralization levels were each inversely correlated with risk of COVID-19: hazard ratios 0.66 (95% CI 0.50, 0.88; p=0.005); 0.57 (0.40, 0.82; p=0.002); 0.42 (0.27, 0.65; p<0.001); 0.35 (0.20, 0.61; p<0.001) per 10-fold increase in marker level, respectively, multiplicity adjusted P-values 0.003-0.010. Results were similar for Day 29 markers (multiplicity adjusted P-values <0.001-0.003). For vaccine recipients with Day 57 reciprocal cID50 neutralization titers that were undetectable (<2.42), 100, or 1000, respectively, cumulative incidence of COVID-19 through 100 days post Day 57 was 0.030 (0.010, 0.093), 0.0056 (0.0039, 0.0080), and 0.0023 (0.0013, 0.0036). For vaccine recipients at these titer levels, respectively, vaccine efficacy was 50.8% (- 51.2, 83.0%), 90.7% (86.7, 93.6%), and 96.1% (94.0, 97.8%). Causal mediation analysis estimated that the proportion of vaccine efficacy mediated through Day 29 cID50 titer was 68.5% (58.5, 78.4%). ConclusionsBinding and neutralizing antibodies correlated with COVID-19 risk and vaccine efficacy and likely have utility in predicting mRNA-1273 vaccine efficacy against COVID-19. Trial registration numberCOVE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04470427
20,382 downloads medRxiv epidemiology
Fiona P. Havers, Huong Pham, Christopher A. Taylor, Michael Whitaker, Kadam Patel, Onika Anglin, Anita K Kambhampati, Jennifer Milucky, Elizabeth Zell, Shua J. Chai, Pam Daily Kirley, Nisha B. Alden, Isaac Armistead, Kimberly Yousey-Hindes, James Meek, Kyle P. Openo, Evan J. Anderson, Libby Reeg, Alexander Kohrman, Ruth Lynfield, Kathryn Como-Sabetti, Elizabeth M. Davis, Cory Cline, Alison Muse, Grant Barney, Sophrena Bushey, Christina B. Felsen, Laurie M. Billing, Eli Shiltz, Melissa Sutton, Nasreen Abdullah, H. Keipp Talbot, William Schaffner, Mary Hill, Andrea George, Bhavini Patel Murthy, Meredith McMorrow
Background: As of August 21, 2021, >60% of the U.S. population aged [≥]18 years were fully vaccinated with vaccines highly effective in preventing hospitalization due to Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19). Infection despite full vaccination (vaccine breakthrough) has been reported, but characteristics of those with vaccine breakthrough resulting in hospitalization and relative rates of hospitalization in unvaccinated and vaccinated persons are not well described, including during late June and July 2021 when the highly transmissible Delta variant predominated. Methods: From January 1-June 30, 2021, cases defined as adults aged [≥]18 years with laboratory-confirmed Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection were identified from >250 acute care hospitals in the population-based COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET). Through chart review for sampled cases, we examine characteristics associated with vaccination breakthrough. From January 24-July 24, 2021, state immunization information system data linked to both >37,000 cases representative cases and the defined surveillance catchment area population were used to compare weekly hospitalization rates in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. Unweighted case counts and weighted percentages are presented. Results: From January 1 - June 30, 2021, fully vaccinated cases increased from 1 (0.01%) to 321 (16.1%) per month. Among 4,732 sampled cases, fully vaccinated persons admitted with COVID-19 were older compared with unvaccinated persons (median age 73 years [Interquartile Range (IQR) 65-80] v. 59 years [IQR 48-70]; p<0.001), more likely to have 3 or more underlying medical conditions (201 (70.8%) v. 2,305 (56.1%), respectively; p<0.001) and be residents of long-term care facilities [37 (14.5%) v. 146 (5.5%), respectively; p<0.001]. From January 24 - July 24, 2021, cumulative hospitalization rates were 17 times higher in unvaccinated persons compared with vaccinated persons (423 cases per 100,000 population v. 26 per 100,000 population, respectively); rate ratios were 23, 22 and 13 for those aged 18-49, 50-64, and [≥]65 years respectively. For June 27 - July 24, hospitalization rates were [≥]10 times higher in unvaccinated persons compared with vaccinated persons for all age groups across all weeks. Conclusion: Population-based hospitalization rates show that unvaccinated adults aged [≥]18 years are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized compared with vaccinated adults. Rates are far higher in unvaccinated persons in all adult age groups, including during a period when the Delta variant was the predominant strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Vaccines continue to play a critical role in preventing serious COVID-19 illness and remain highly effective in preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations.
20,382 downloads medRxiv epidemiology
Hiam Chemaitelly, Patrick Tang, Mohammad Rubayet Hasan, Sawsan AlMukdad, HADI M. YASSINE, Fatiha Benslimane, Hebah A. Al Khatib, Peter Coyle, Houssein H. Ayoub, Zaina Al Kanaani, Einas Al Kuwari, Andrew Jeremijenko, Anvar Hassan Kaleeckal, Ali Nizar Latif, Riyazuddin Mohammad Shaik, Hanan F. Abdul Rahim, Gheyath Nasrallah, Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari, Hamad Eid Al Romaihi, Adeel A Butt, Mohamed H. Al-Thani, Abdullatif Al Khal, Roberto Bertollini, Laith J Abu-Raddad
BACKGROUND: Waning of vaccine protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 disease is a concern. This study investigated persistence of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) vaccine effectiveness against infection and disease in Qatar, where the Beta and Delta variants have dominated incidence and PCR testing is done at a mass scale. METHODS: A matched test-negative, case-control study design was used to estimate vaccine effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 infection and against any severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 disease, between January 1, 2021 to August 15, 2021. RESULTS: Estimated BNT162b2 effectiveness against any infection, asymptomatic or symptomatic, was negligible for the first two weeks after the first dose, increased to 36.5% (95% CI: 33.1-39.8) in the third week after the first dose, and reached its peak at 72.1% (95% CI: 70.9-73.2) in the first five weeks after the second dose. Effectiveness declined gradually thereafter, with the decline accelerating [≥]15 weeks after the second dose, reaching diminished levels of protection by the 20th week. Effectiveness against symptomatic infection was higher than against asymptomatic infection, but still waned in the same fashion. Effectiveness against any severe, critical, or fatal disease increased rapidly to 67.7% (95% CI: 59.1-74.7) by the third week after the first dose, and reached 95.4% (95% CI: 93.4-96.9) in the first five weeks after the second dose, where it persisted at about this level for six months. CONCLUSIONS: BNT162b2-induced protection against infection appears to wane rapidly after its peak right after the second dose, but it persists at a robust level against hospitalization and death for at least six months following the second dose.
16,862 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Stephen J. Thomas, Edson D Moreira, Nicholas Kitchin, Judith Absalon, Alejandra Gurtman, Stephen Lockhart, John L Perez, Gonzalo Pérez Marc, Fernando P. Polack, Cristiano Zerbini, Ruth Bailey, Kena A. Swanson, Xia Xu, Satrajit Roychoudhury, Kenneth Koury, Salim Bouguermouh, Warren V. Kalina, David Cooper, Robert W Frenck, Laura L. Hammitt, Özlem Türeci, Haylene Nell, Axel Schaefer, Serhat Ünal, Qi Yang, Paul Liberator, Dina B Tresnan, Susan Mather, Philip R. Dormitzer, Uğur Şahin, William C. Gruber, Kathrin U. Jansen, C4591001 Clinical Trial Group
Background: BNT162b2 is a lipid nanoparticle-formulated, nucleoside-modified RNA vaccine encoding a prefusion-stabilized, membrane-anchored SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein. BNT162b2 is highly efficacious against COVID-19 and is currently authorized for emergency use or conditional approval worldwide. At the time of authorization, data beyond 2 months post-vaccination were unavailable. Methods: In an ongoing, placebo-controlled, observer-blinded, multinational, pivotal efficacy study, 44,165 [≥]16-year-old participants and 2,264 12-15-year-old participants were randomized to receive 2 doses, 21 days apart, of 30 g BNT162b2 or placebo. Study endpoints reported here are vaccine efficacy (VE) against laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 and safety data, both up to 6 months post-vaccination. Results: BNT162b2 continued to be safe and well tolerated. Few participants had adverse events leading to study withdrawal. VE against COVID-19 was 91% (95% CI 89.0-93.2) through up to 6 months of follow-up, among evaluable participants and irrespective of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. VE of 86%-100% was seen across countries and in populations with diverse characteristics of age, sex, race/ethnicity, and COVID-19 risk factors in participants without evidence of previous SARS-CoV-2 infection. VE against severe disease was 97% % (95% CI 80.3-99.9). In South Africa, where the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, B.1.351 (beta), was predominant, 100% (95% CI 53.5, 100.0) VE was observed. Conclusion: With up to 6 months of follow-up and despite a gradually declining trend in vaccine efficacy, BNT162b2 had a favorable safety profile and was highly efficacious in preventing COVID-19. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04368728)
15,168 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Cathrine Scheepers, Josie Everatt, Daniel G. Amoako, Anele Mnguni, Arshad Ismail, Boitshoko Mahlangu, Constantinos Kurt Wibmer, Eduan Wilkinson, Houriiyah Tegally, James Emmanuel San, Jennifer Giandhari, Noxolo Ntuli, Sureshnee Pillay, Thabo Mohale, Yeshnee Naidoo, Zamantungwa Khumalo, Zinhle Makatini, Network for Genomic Surveillance South Africa (NGS-SA), Alex Sigal, Carolyn Williamson, Florette Treurnicht, Koleka Mlisana, Marietje Venter, Nei-yuan Hsiao, Nicole Wolter, Nokukhanya Msomi, Richard Lessells, Tongai Maponga, Wolfgang Preiser, Penny L Moore, Anne von Gottberg, Tulio de Oliveira, Jinal N. Bhiman
SARS-CoV-2 variants of interest have been associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Ongoing SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance world-wide has improved our ability to rapidly identify such variants. Here we report the identification of a potential variant of interest assigned to the PANGO lineage C.1.2. This lineage was first identified in May 2021 and evolved from C.1, one of the lineages that dominated the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa and was last detected in January 2021. C.1.2 has since been detected across the majority of the provinces in South Africa and in seven other countries spanning Africa, Europe, Asia and Oceania. The emergence of C.1.2 was associated with an increased substitution rate, as was previously observed with the emergence of the Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants of concern (VOCs). C.1.2 contains multiple substitutions (R190S, D215G, N484K, N501Y, H655Y and T859N) and deletions (Y144del, L242-A243del) within the spike protein, which have been observed in other VOCs and are associated with increased transmissibility and reduced neutralization sensitivity. Of greater concern is the accumulation of additional mutations (C136F, Y449H and N679K) which are also likely to impact neutralization sensitivity or furin cleavage and therefore replicative fitness. While the phenotypic characteristics and epidemiology of C.1.2 are being defined, it is important to highlight this lineage given its concerning constellations of mutations.
13,250 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
F. Konstantin Föhse, Büsranur Geckin, Gijs Overheul, Josephine van de Maat, Gizem Kilic, Ozlem Bulut, Helga Dijkstra, Heidi Lemmers, S. Andrei Sarlea, Maartje Reijnders, Jacobien Hoogerwerf, Jaap ten Oever, Elles Simonetti, Frank L van de Veerdonk, Leo A.B. Joosten, Bart L. Haagmans, Reinout van Crevel, Yang Li, Ronald P. van Rij, Corine GeurtsvanKessel, Marien I. de Jonge, Jorge Domínguez-Andrés, Mihai G. Netea
The mRNA-based BNT162b2 vaccine from Pfizer/BioNTech was the first registered COVID-19 vaccine and has been shown to be up to 95% effective in preventing SARS-CoV-2 infections. Little is known about the broad effects of the new class of mRNA vaccines, especially whether they have combined effects on innate and adaptive immune responses. Here we confirmed that BNT162b2 vaccination of healthy individuals induced effective humoral and cellular immunity against several SARS-CoV-2 variants. Interestingly, however, the BNT162b2 vaccine also modulated the production of inflammatory cytokines by innate immune cells upon stimulation with both specific (SARS-CoV-2) and non-specific (viral, fungal and bacterial) stimuli. The response of innate immune cells to TLR4 and TLR7/8 ligands was lower after BNT162b2 vaccination, while fungi-induced cytokine responses were stronger. In conclusion, the mRNA BNT162b2 vaccine induces complex functional reprogramming of innate immune responses, which should be considered in the development and use of this new class of vaccines.
12,154 downloads medRxiv infectious diseases
Kasen K Riemersma, Brittany E Grogan, Amanda Kita-Yarbro, Peter Halfmann, Anna Kocharian, Kelsey R Florek, Ryan Westergaard, Allen Bateman, Gunnar E Jeppson, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, David H O'Connor, Thomas C Friedrich, Katarina M Grande
SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.617.2 (delta) is associated with higher viral loads  and increased transmissibility relative to other variants, as well as partial escape from polyclonal and monoclonal antibodies . The emergence of the delta variant has been associated with increasing case counts and test-positivity rates, indicative of rapid community spread. Since early July 2021, SARS-CoV-2 cases in the United States have increased coincident with delta SARS-CoV-2 becoming the predominant lineage nationwide . Understanding how and why the virus is spreading in settings where there is high vaccine coverage has important public health implications. It is particularly important to assess whether vaccinated individuals who become infected can transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. In Wisconsin, a large local contract laboratory provides SARS-CoV-2 testing for multiple local health departments, providing a single standard source of data using the same assay to measure virus burdens in test-positive cases. This includes providing high-volume testing in Dane County, a county with extremely high vaccine coverage. These PCR-based tests provide semi-quantitative information about the viral load, or amount of SARS-CoV-2 RNA, in respiratory specimens. Here we use this viral load data to compare the amount of SARS-CoV-2 present in test-positive specimens from people who self-report their vaccine status and date of final immunization, during a period in which the delta variant became the predominant circulating variant in Wisconsin. We find no difference in viral loads when comparing unvaccinated individuals to those who have vaccine "breakthrough" infections. Furthermore, individuals with vaccine breakthrough infections frequently test positive with viral loads consistent with the ability to shed infectious viruses. Our results, while preliminary, suggest that if vaccinated individuals become infected with the delta variant, they may be sources of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to others.
11,763 downloads bioRxiv immunology
The SARS-CoV-2 lambda variant (lineage C.37) was designated by the World Health Organization as a variant of interest and is currently increasing in prevalence in South American and other countries. The lambda spike protein contains novel mutations within the receptor binding domain (L452Q and F490S) that may contribute to its increased transmissibility and could result in susceptibility to re-infection or a reduction in protection provided by current vaccines. In this study, the infectivity and susceptibility of viruses with the lambda variant spike protein to neutralization by convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited antibodies was tested. Virus with the lambda spike had higher infectivity and was neutralized by convalescent sera and vaccine-elicited antibodies with a relatively minor 2.3-3.3-fold decrease in titer on average. The virus was neutralized by the Regeneron therapeutic monoclonal antibody cocktail with no loss of titer. The results suggest that vaccines in current use will remain protective against the lambda variant and that monoclonal antibody therapy will remain effective.
11,379 downloads medRxiv epidemiology
Patrick Tang, Mohammad Rubayet Hasan, Hiam Chemaitelly, HADI M. YASSINE, Fatiha Benslimane, Hebah A. Al Khatib, Sawsan AlMukdad, Peter Coyle, Houssein H. Ayoub, Zaina Al Kanaani, Einas Al Kuwari, Andrew Jeremijenko, Anvar Hassan Kaleeckal, Ali Nizar Latif, Riyazuddin Mohammad Shaik, Hanan F. Abdul Rahim, Gheyath Nasrallah, Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari, Hamad Eid Al Romaihi, Adeel A Butt, Mohamed H. Al-Thani, Abdullatif Al Khal, Roberto Bertollini, Laith J Abu-Raddad
The SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant of concern is expanding globally. Here, we assess real-world effectiveness of the BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) and mRNA-1273 (Moderna) vaccines against this variant in the population of Qatar, using a matched test-negative, case-control study design. BNT162b2 effectiveness against any Delta infection, symptomatic or asymptomatic, was 64.2% (95% CI: 38.1-80.1%) [≥]14 days after the first dose and before the second dose, but was only 53.5% (95% CI: 43.9-61.4%) [≥]14 days after the second dose, in a population in which a large proportion of fully vaccinated persons received their second dose several months earlier. Corresponding effectiveness measures for mRNA-1273 were 79.0% (95% CI: 58.9-90.1%) and 84.8% (95% CI: 75.9-90.8%), respectively. Effectiveness against any severe, critical, or fatal COVID-19 disease due to Delta was 89.7% (95% CI: 61.0-98.1%) for BNT162b2 and 100.0% (95% CI: 41.2-100.0%) for mRNA-1273, [≥]14 days after the second dose. Both BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 are highly effective in preventing Delta hospitalization and death, but less so in preventing infection, particularly for BNT162b2.
11,175 downloads bioRxiv microbiology
Yafei Liu, Noriko Arase, Jun-ichi Kishikawa, Mika Hirose, Songling Li, Asa Tada, Sumiko Matsuoka, Akemi Arakawa, Kanako Akamatsu, Chikako Ono, Hui Jin, Kazuki Kishida, Wataru Nakai, Masako Kohyama, Atsushi Nakagawa, Yoshiaki Yamagishi, Hironori Nakagami, Atsushi Kumanogoh, Yoshiharu Matsuura, Daron M Standley, Takayuki Kato, Masato Okada, Manabu Fujimoto, Hisashi Arase
mRNA-based vaccines provide effective protection against most common SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, identifying likely breakthrough variants is critical for future vaccine development. Here, we found that the Delta variant completely escaped from anti-N-terminal domain (NTD) neutralizing antibodies, while increasing responsiveness to anti-NTD infectivity-enhancing antibodies. Although Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2-immune sera neutralized the Delta variant, when four common mutations were introduced into the receptor binding domain (RBD) of the Delta variant (Delta 4+), some BNT162b2-immune sera lost neutralizing activity and enhanced the infectivity. Unique mutations in the Delta NTD were involved in the enhanced infectivity by the BNT162b2-immune sera. Sera of mice immunized by Delta spike, but not wild-type spike, consistently neutralized the Delta 4+ variant without enhancing infectivity. Given the fact that a Delta variant with three similar RBD mutations has already emerged according to the GISAID database, it is necessary to develop vaccines that protect against such complete breakthrough variants.
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