213 research outputs found

    Investigation of hospital discharge cases and SARS-CoV-2 introduction into Lothian care homes

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    Background The first epidemic wave of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Scotland resulted in high case numbers and mortality in care homes. In Lothian, over one-third of care homes reported an outbreak, while there was limited testing of hospital patients discharged to care homes. Aim To investigate patients discharged from hospitals as a source of SARS-CoV-2 introduction into care homes during the first epidemic wave. Methods A clinical review was performed for all patients discharges from hospitals to care homes from 1st March 2020 to 31st May 2020. Episodes were ruled out based on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) test history, clinical assessment at discharge, whole-genome sequencing (WGS) data and an infectious period of 14 days. Clinical samples were processed for WGS, and consensus genomes generated were used for analysis using Cluster Investigation and Virus Epidemiological Tool software. Patient timelines were obtained using electronic hospital records. Findings In total, 787 patients discharged from hospitals to care homes were identified. Of these, 776 (99%) were ruled out for subsequent introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into care homes. However, for 10 episodes, the results were inconclusive as there was low genomic diversity in consensus genomes or no sequencing data were available. Only one discharge episode had a genomic, time and location link to positive cases during hospital admission, leading to 10 positive cases in their care home. Conclusion The majority of patients discharged from hospitals were ruled out for introduction of SARS-CoV-2 into care homes, highlighting the importance of screening all new admissions when faced with a novel emerging virus and no available vaccine

    Early Life Exposure to Human Milk Oligosaccharides Reduces Allergic Response in a Murine Asthma Model

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    Background. Studies suggest that early-life gut microbiota composition and intestinal short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are linked to future asthma susceptibility. Furthermore, infancy offers a critical time window to modulate the microbiota and associated metabolites through diet-microbe interactions to promote infant health. Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), nondigestible carbohydrates abundant in breast milk, are prebiotics selectively metabolized by gut microbiota that consequently modify microbiome composition and SCFA production. Methods. Using a house dust mite mouse model of allergy, we investigated the impacts of early oral treatment of pups with biologically relevant doses of 2′-fucosyllactose (2′-FL) and 6′-sialyllactose (6′-SL), two of the most abundant HMOs in human milk, in amelioration of allergic airway disease severity. Results. We found that administration of 2′-FL and 6′-SL during early life reduced lung histopathology scores, circulating IgE, cytokine levels, and inflammatory cell infiltration, all hallmark symptoms of allergic asthma. HMO supplementation also increased the relative abundance of intestinal Bacteroidetes and Clostridia, known SCFA producers within the gut. Indeed, we detected increased SCFA concentrations in both the intestine and blood of adult mice who received HMOs prior to weaning. Conclusion. We propose a model in which orally administered HMOs delivered during early life shift the microbiota toward increased production of SCFAs, which dampens the allergic immune responses behind allergy and asthma. Overall, these data suggest the potential for HMO supplementation to protect infants against asthma development later in life, with possible benefits against additional atopic diseases such as eczema and food allergies

    A consensus protocol for the recovery of mercury methylation genes from metagenomes

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    Mercury (Hg) methylation genes (hgcAB) mediate the formation of the toxic methylmercury and have been identified from diverse environments, including freshwater and marine ecosystems, Arctic permafrost, forest and paddy soils, coal-ash amended sediments, chlor-alkali plants discharges and geothermal springs. Here we present the first attempt at a standardized protocol for the detection, identification and quantification of hgc genes from metagenomes. Our Hg-cycling microorganisms in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (Hg-MATE) database, a catalogue of hgc genes, provides the most accurate information to date on the taxonomic identity and functional/metabolic attributes of microorganisms responsible for Hg methylation in the environment. Furthermore, we introduce "marky-coco", a ready-to-use bioinformatic pipeline based on de novo single-metagenome assembly, for easy and accurate characterization of hgc genes from environmental samples. We compared the recovery of hgc genes from environmental metagenomes using the marky-coco pipeline with an approach based on coassembly of multiple metagenomes. Our data show similar efficiency in both approaches for most environments except those with high diversity (i.e., paddy soils) for which a coassembly approach was preferred. Finally, we discuss the definition of true hgc genes and methods to normalize hgc gene counts from metagenomes

    Impact of Educational Messages on Patient Acceptance of Male Medical Students in OB-GYN Encounters

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    Medical student education in obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) is an essential part of training and involves direct patient care experiences (APGO, 2012a\; Harrell et al., 1993). However, for male students difficulties in obtaining patient permission to participate in OB-GYN encounters can be a significant barrier to gaining this training (Higham & Steer, 2004\; O'Flynn & Rhymer, 2002\; Tang & Skye, 2009). One study suggests that at least some patients who initially refuse student participation can be influenced to change their minds through provision of education about students' technical skills and training (Fortier, Hahn, Trueman, and Reid, 2006). Thus, our primary aim was to evaluate whether an educational message that focused on student training in communication and empathic skills would be more effective at increasing patient acceptance than one focused on students' technical training and skills as this type of message may address patient concerns regarding interacting with male students specifically. Participants were 593 college women who were asked to accept a male medical student into a hypothetical well-woman examination. Women who refused were randomly assigned to receive one of the two messages and then asked again to accept participation. Results indicated that both intervention messages were equally efficacious at increasing acceptance with 45% who received the empathic qualifications intervention message accepting participation as did 49% who received the educational qualifications intervention, [chi]² (1, N = 181) = 0.3, p = .58. Also, women who initially refused participation were more likely to report a preference for a female provider (65.2% versus 34.7%), [chi]² (3, N = 593) = 51.59, p < .001. Results supported that for women who refused participation, issues related to the student's gender, discomfort with student involvement in a sensitive exam, as well as privacy concerns were influential in their decision. Additionally, findings supported that providing information about either the communication and empathic skills or the technical skills and medical knowledge of students led a sizable percentage of initial refusers to allow participation. Clinicians should therefore provide information about the empathic and educational qualifications of medical students when asking for acceptance of medical students

    A consensus protocol for the recovery of mercury methylation genes from metagenomes

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    Mercury (Hg) methylation genes (hgcAB) mediate the formation of the toxic methylmercury and have been identified from diverse environments, including freshwater and marine ecosystems, Arctic permafrost, forest and paddy soils, coal-ash amended sediments, chlor-alkali plants discharges and geothermal springs. Here we present the first attempt at a standardized protocol for the detection, identification and quantification of hgc genes from metagenomes. Our Hg-cycling microorganisms in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (Hg-MATE) database, a catalogue of hgc genes, provides the most accurate information to date on the taxonomic identity and functional/metabolic attributes of microorganisms responsible for Hg methylation in the environment. Furthermore, we introduce "marky-coco", a ready-to-use bioinformatic pipeline based on de novo single-metagenome assembly, for easy and accurate characterization of hgc genes from environmental samples. We compared the recovery of hgc genes from environmental metagenomes using the marky-coco pipeline with an approach based on coassembly of multiple metagenomes. Our data show similar efficiency in both approaches for most environments except those with high diversity (i.e., paddy soils) for which a coassembly approach was preferred. Finally, we discuss the definition of true hgc genes and methods to normalize hgc gene counts from metagenomes

    Efficacy and safety of two neutralising monoclonal antibody therapies, sotrovimab and BRII-196 plus BRII-198, for adults hospitalised with COVID-19 (TICO): a randomised controlled trial

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    We aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of two neutralising monoclonal antibody therapies (sotrovimab [Vir Biotechnology and GlaxoSmithKline] and BRII-196 plus BRII-198 [Brii Biosciences]) for adults admitted to hospital for COVID-19 (hereafter referred to as hospitalised) with COVID-19. In this multinational, double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, clinical trial (Therapeutics for Inpatients with COVID-19 [TICO]), adults (aged ‚Č•18 years) hospitalised with COVID-19 at 43 hospitals in the USA, Denmark, Switzerland, and Poland were recruited. Patients were eligible if they had laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 symptoms for up to 12 days. Using a web-based application, participants were randomly assigned (2:1:2:1), stratified by trial site pharmacy, to sotrovimab 500 mg, matching placebo for sotrovimab, BRII-196 1000 mg plus BRII-198 1000 mg, or matching placebo for BRII-196 plus BRII-198, in addition to standard of care. Each study product was administered as a single dose given intravenously over 60 min. The concurrent placebo groups were pooled for analyses. The primary outcome was time to sustained clinical recovery, defined as discharge from the hospital to home and remaining at home for 14 consecutive days, up to day 90 after randomisation. Interim futility analyses were based on two seven-category ordinal outcome scales on day 5 that measured pulmonary status and extrapulmonary complications of COVID-19. The safety outcome was a composite of death, serious adverse events, incident organ failure, and serious coinfection up to day 90 after randomisation. Efficacy and safety outcomes were assessed in the modified intention-to-treat population, defined as all patients randomly assigned to treatment who started the study infusion. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT04501978. Between Dec 16, 2020, and March 1, 2021, 546 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to sotrovimab (n=184), BRII-196 plus BRII-198 (n=183), or placebo (n=179), of whom 536 received part or all of their assigned study drug (sotrovimab n=182, BRII-196 plus BRII-198 n=176, or placebo n=178; median age of 60 years [IQR 50‚Äď72], 228 [43%] patients were female and 308 [57%] were male). At this point, enrolment was halted on the basis of the interim futility analysis. At day 5, neither the sotrovimab group nor the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group had significantly higher odds of more favourable outcomes than the placebo group on either the pulmonary scale (adjusted odds ratio sotrovimab 1¬∑07 [95% CI 0¬∑74‚Äď1¬∑56]; BRII-196 plus BRII-198 0¬∑98 [95% CI 0¬∑67‚Äď1¬∑43]) or the pulmonary-plus complications scale (sotrovimab 1¬∑08 [0¬∑74‚Äď1¬∑58]; BRII-196 plus BRII-198 1¬∑00 [0¬∑68‚Äď1¬∑46]). By day 90, sustained clinical recovery was seen in 151 (85%) patients in the placebo group compared with 160 (88%) in the sotrovimab group (adjusted rate ratio 1¬∑12 [95% CI 0¬∑91‚Äď1¬∑37]) and 155 (88%) in the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group (1¬∑08 [0¬∑88‚Äď1¬∑32]). The composite safety outcome up to day 90 was met by 48 (27%) patients in the placebo group, 42 (23%) in the sotrovimab group, and 45 (26%) in the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group. 13 (7%) patients in the placebo group, 14 (8%) in the sotrovimab group, and 15 (9%) in the BRII-196 plus BRII-198 group died up to day 90. Neither sotrovimab nor BRII-196 plus BRII-198 showed efficacy for improving clinical outcomes among adults hospitalised with COVID-19. US National Institutes of Health and Operation Warp Spee

    COVID-19 due to the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant compared to B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant of SARS-CoV-2: a prospective observational cohort study

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    The Delta (B.1.617.2) variant was the predominant UK circulating SARS-CoV-2 strain between May and December 2021. How Delta infection compares with previous variants is unknown. This prospective observational cohort study assessed symptomatic adults participating in the app-based COVID Symptom Study who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 from May 26 to July 1, 2021 (Delta overwhelmingly the predominant circulating UK variant), compared (1:1, age- and sex-matched) with individuals presenting from December 28, 2020 to May 6, 2021 (Alpha (B.1.1.7) the predominant variant). We assessed illness (symptoms, duration, presentation to hospital) during Alpha- and Delta-predominant timeframes; and transmission, reinfection, and vaccine effectiveness during the Delta-predominant period. 3581 individuals (aged 18 to 100 years) from each timeframe were assessed. The seven most frequent symptoms were common to both variants. Within the first 28 days of illness, some symptoms were more common with Delta versus Alpha infection (including fever, sore throat, and headache) and some vice versa (dyspnoea). Symptom burden in the first week was higher with Delta versus Alpha infection; however, the odds of any given symptom lasting‚ÄČ‚Č•‚ÄČ7 days was either lower or unchanged. Illness duration‚ÄČ‚Č•‚ÄČ28 days was lower with Delta versus Alpha infection, though unchanged in unvaccinated individuals. Hospitalisation for COVID-19 was unchanged. The Delta variant appeared more (1.49) transmissible than Alpha. Re-infections were low in all UK regions. Vaccination markedly reduced the risk of Delta infection (by 69-84%). We conclude that COVID-19 from Delta or Alpha infections is similar. The Delta variant is more transmissible than Alpha; however, current vaccines showed good efficacy against disease. This research framework can be useful for future comparisons with new emerging variants

    A consensus protocol for the recovery of mercury methylation genes from metagenomes

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    International audienceMercury (Hg) methylation genes (hgcAB) mediate the formation of the toxic methylmercury and have been identified from diverse environments, including freshwater and marine ecosystems, Arctic permafrost, forest and paddy soils, coal-ash amended sediments, chlor-alkali plants discharges and geothermal springs. Here we present the first attempt at a standardized protocol for the detection, identification and quantification of hgc genes from metagenomes. Our Hg-cycling microorganisms in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems (Hg-MATE) database, a catalogue of hgc genes, provides the most accurate information to date on the taxonomic identity and functional/metabolic attributes of microorganisms responsible for Hg methylation in the environment. Furthermore, we introduce ‚Äúmarky-coco‚ÄĚ, a ready-to-use bioinformatic pipeline based on de novo single-metagenome assembly, for easy and accurate characterization of hgc genes from environmental samples. We compared the recovery of hgc genes from environmental metagenomes using the marky-coco pipeline with an approach based on coassembly of multiple metagenomes. Our data show similar efficiency in both approaches for most environments except those with high diversity (i.e., paddy soils) for which a coassembly approach was preferred. Finally, we discuss the definition of true hgc genes and methods to normalize hgc gene counts from metagenomes

    Genomic epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 in a university outbreak setting and implications for public health planning

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    AbstractWhole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 has occurred at an unprecedented scale, and can be exploited for characterising outbreak risks at the fine-scale needed to inform control strategies. One setting at continued risk of COVID-19 outbreaks are higher education institutions, associated with student movements at the start of term, close living conditions within residential halls, and high social contact rates. Here we analysed SARS-CoV-2 whole genome sequences in combination with epidemiological data to investigate a large cluster of student cases associated with University of Glasgow accommodation in autumn 2020, Scotland. We identified 519 student cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection associated with this large cluster through contact tracing data, with 30% sequencing coverage for further analysis. We estimated at least 11 independent introductions of SARS-CoV-2 into the student population, with four comprising the majority of detected cases and consistent with separate outbreaks. These four outbreaks were curtailed within a week following implementation of control measures. The impact of student infections on the local community was short-term despite an underlying increase in community infections. Our study highlights the need for context-specific information in the formation of public health policy for higher educational settings.</jats:p
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