- Children make up nearly 21% of new COVID-19 cases
Children are making up a growing share of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S., accounting for nearly 21% last week. About 88,500 new pediatric COVID-19 cases were reported between April 8-15, according to the latest weekly report from the AAP and Children’s Hospital Association. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 3.63 million children have tested positive, making up about 13.6% of all cases. At least 297 children have died of COVID-19, about 0.06% of all deaths. About 0.01% of children diagnosed with COVID-19 have died. At least 14,849 children have been hospitalized, about 2% of all hospitalizations. Roughly 0.8% of children with COVID-19 have been hospitalized.
- Antibody Response to 2-Dose SARS-CoV-2 mRNA Vaccine Series in Solid Organ Transplant Recipients
In contrast to immunocompetent participants in vaccine trials, a low proportion (17%) of solid organ transplant recipients mounted a positive antibody response to the first dose of SARS-CoV-2 messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, with those receiving anti–metabolite maintenance immunosuppression less likely to respond. In this study, authors assessed antibody response after the second dose. In this study of the humoral response to 2 doses of mRNA SARS-CoV-2 vaccine among solid organ transplant recipients, the majority had detectable antibody responses after the second dose, although participants without a response after dose 1 had generally low antibody levels. Poor humoral response was persistently associated with use of antimetabolite immunosuppression. Although no threshold has been established for protective immunity, antibody levels were well below that which has been observed in immunocompetent vaccinees.
- Tocilizumab in patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 (RECOVERY): a randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial
In this study, authors aimed to evaluate the effects of tocilizumab in adult patients admitted to hospital with COVID-19 with both hypoxia and systemic inflammation. This randomised, controlled, open-label, platform trial (Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy [RECOVERY]), is assessing several possible treatments in patients hospitalised with COVID-19 in the UK. Those trial participants with hypoxia (oxygen saturation <92% on air or requiring oxygen therapy) and evidence of systemic inflammation (C-reactive protein ≥75 mg/L) were eligible for random assignment in a 1:1 ratio to usual standard of care alone versus usual standard of care plus tocilizumab at a dose of 400 mg–800 mg (depending on weight) given intravenously. A second dose could be given 12–24 h later if the patient's condition had not improved. The primary outcome was 28-day mortality, assessed in the intention-to-treat population. Between April 23, 2020, and Jan 24, 2021, 4116 adults of 21 550 patients enrolled into the RECOVERY trial were included in the assessment of tocilizumab, including 3385 (82%) patients receiving systemic corticosteroids. Overall, 621 (31%) of the 2022 patients allocated tocilizumab and 729 (35%) of the 2094 patients allocated to usual care died within 28 days (rate ratio 0·85; 95% CI 0·76–0·94; p=0·0028). Consistent results were seen in all prespecified subgroups of patients, including those receiving systemic corticosteroids. Patients allocated to tocilizumab were more likely to be discharged from hospital within 28 days (57% vs 50%; rate ratio 1·22; 1·12–1·33; p<0·0001). Among those not receiving invasive mechanical ventilation at baseline, patients allocated tocilizumab were less likely to reach the composite endpoint of invasive mechanical ventilation or death (35% vs 42%; risk ratio 0·84; 95% CI 0·77–0·92; p<0·0001). In hospitalised COVID-19 patients with hypoxia and systemic inflammation, tocilizumab improved survival and other clinical outcomes. These benefits were seen regardless of the amount of respiratory support and were additional to the benefits of systemic corticosteroids.
- Performance Evaluation of Serial SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Testing During a Nursing Home Outbreak
To address high COVID-19 burden in U.S. nursing homes, rapid SARS-CoV-2 antigen tests have been widely distributed in those facilities. However, performance data are lacking, especially in asymptomatic people. Objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing when used for facility-wide testing during a nursing home outbreak. A prospective evaluation involving 3 facility-wide rounds of testing where paired respiratory specimens were collected to evaluate the performance of the BinaxNOW antigen test compared with virus culture and real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Early and late infection were defined using changes in RT-PCR cycle threshold values and prior test results. Setting was a nursing home with an ongoing SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. 532 paired specimens collected from 234 available residents and staff. Percentage of positive agreement (PPA) and percentage of negative agreement (PNA) for BinaxNOW compared with RT-PCR and virus culture. BinaxNOW PPA with virus culture, used for detection of replication-competent virus, was 95%. However, the overall PPA of antigen testing with RT-PCR was 69%, and PNA was 98%. When only the first positive test result was analyzed for each participant, PPA of antigen testing with RT-PCR was 82% among 45 symptomatic people and 52% among 343 asymptomatic people. Compared with RT-PCR and virus culture, the BinaxNOW test performed well in early infection (86% and 95%, respectively) and poorly in late infection (51% and no recovered virus, respectively). Despite lower positive agreement compared with RT-PCR, antigen test positivity had higher agreement with shedding of replication-competent virus. These results suggest that antigen testing could be a useful tool to rapidly identify contagious people at risk for transmitting SARS-CoV-2 during nascent outbreaks and help reduce COVID-19 burden in nursing homes.
- Modeling of Future COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths, by Vaccination Rates and Nonpharmaceutical Intervention Scenarios — United States, April–September 2021
Increases in COVID-19 cases in March and early April occurred despite a large-scale vaccination program. Increases coincided with the spread of SARS-CoV-2 variants and relaxation of nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs). Data from six models indicate that with high vaccination coverage and moderate NPI adherence, hospitalizations and deaths will likely remain low nationally, with a sharp decline in cases projected by July 2021. Lower NPI adherence could lead to substantial increases in severe COVID-19 outcomes, even with improved vaccination coverage. High vaccination coverage and compliance with NPIs are essential to control COVID-19 and prevent surges in hospitalizations and deaths in the coming months.