Recent Submissions

  • A prospective surveillance study to determine the prevalence of 16S rRNA methyltransferase-producing Gram-negative bacteria in the UK.

    Taylor, Emma; Bal, Abhijit M; Balakrishnan, Indran; Brown, Nicholas M; Burns, Phillipa; Clark, Marilyn; Diggle, Mathew; Donaldson, Hugo; Eltringham, Ian; Folb, Jonathan; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2021-08)
    Objectives: To determine the prevalence of 16S rRNA methyltransferase- (16S RMTase-) producing Gram-negative bacteria in patients in the UK and to identify potential risk factors for their acquisition. Methods: A 6 month prospective surveillance study was conducted from 1 May to 31 October 2016, wherein 14 hospital laboratories submitted Acinetobacter baumannii, Enterobacterales and Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates that displayed high-level amikacin resistance according to their testing methods, e.g. no zone of inhibition with amikacin discs. Isolates were linked to patient travel history, medical care abroad, and previous antibiotic exposure using a surveillance questionnaire. In the reference laboratory, isolates confirmed to grow on Mueller-Hinton agar supplemented with 256 mg/L amikacin were screened by PCR for 16S RMTase genes armA, rmtA-rmtH and npmA, and carbapenemase genes (blaKPC, blaNDM, blaOXA-48-like and blaVIM). STs and total antibiotic resistance gene complement were determined via WGS. Prevalence was determined using denominators for each bacterial species provided by participating hospital laboratories. Results: Eighty-four isolates (44.7%), among 188 submitted isolates, exhibited high-level amikacin resistance (MIC >256 mg/L), and 79 (94.0%) of these harboured 16S RMTase genes. armA (54.4%, 43/79) was the most common, followed by rmtB (17.7%, 14/79), rmtF (13.9%, 11/79), rmtC (12.7%, 10/79) and armA + rmtF (1.3%, 1/79). The overall period prevalence of 16S RMTase-producing Gram-negative bacteria was 0.1% (79/71 063). Potential risk factors identified through multivariate statistical analysis included being male and polymyxin use. Conclusions: The UK prevalence of 16S RMTase-producing Gram-negative bacteria is low, but continued surveillance is needed to monitor their spread and inform intervention strategies.
  • Whole-genome sequencing enhances existing pathogen and antimicrobial-resistance surveillance schemes within a neonatal unit.

    Price, Vivien; Dunn, Steven J; Moran, Robert A; Swindells, Jonathan; McNally, Alan; Swindells, Jonathan; Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust; Medical and Dental; University of Birmingham; Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust (Microbiology Society, 2022-06)
    In some neonatal units, the screening of isolates for antimicrobial-resistant organisms is a matter of routine, with theoretical benefits including the prevention or early detection of outbreaks. This study sought to use whole-genome sequencing (WGS) retrospectively to characterize the genomic epidemiology of Gram-negative organisms obtained from a screening programme in a 32-bed unit providing intensive, high-dependency and special care at City Hospital, Birmingham, UK, identifying occult transmission events and clinically important antimicrobial-resistance (AMR) genes. WGS was performed for 155 isolates collected from rectal and umbilical screening swabs over a 2 month period from 44 individual neonates. Genomic epidemiological analysis showed possible transmission events involving Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Klebsiella oxytoca and Klebsiella pneumoniae not detected by routine screening, with eight putative clusters involving different individuals identified. Within phylogenetic clusters, the relatedness of organisms - as determined by the abundance of SNPs - varied widely, indicating that a variety of transmission routes may be implicated. While clinically important AMR genes were not present in the putative transmission clusters, our observation of suspected interspecies horizontal transfer of blaCTX-M-15 within individuals highlights the potential for their spread between organisms as well as individuals in this environment, with implications for surveillance. Our data show that WGS may reveal occult Gram-negative transmission events, demonstrating the potential of sequencing-based surveillance systems for nosocomial pathogens. Challenges remain in understanding how to utilize WGS surveillance to maximum effect in real-world settings.
  • Implementation of novel and conventional outbreak control measures in managing COVID-19 outbreaks in a large UK prison.

    Coleman, Paul C; Pailing, Adam; Roy, Anjana; O'Moore, Éamonn; Chandan, Joht Singh; Lumby, Victoria; Newton, Paul; Taylor, Anna; Robinson, Esther; Swindells, Jonathon; et al. (BMC, 2022-04-07)
    Background: Outbreak control measures during COVID-19 outbreaks in a large UK prison consisted of standard (e.g., self-isolation) and novel measures, including establishment of: (i) reverse cohorting units for accommodating new prison admissions; (ii) protective isolation unit for isolating symptomatic prisoners, and (iii) a shielding unit to protect medically vulnerable prisoners. Methods: Single-centre prospective longitudinal study (outbreak control study), implementing novel and traditional outbreak control measures to prevent a SARS-COV-2 outbreak. The prison held 977 prisoners and employed 910 staff at that start of the outbreak. Results: 120 probable and 25 confirmed cases among prisoners and staff were recorded between March and June 2020 during the first outbreak. Over 50% of initial cases among prisoners were on the two wings associated with the index case. During the second outbreak, 182 confirmed cases were recorded after probable reintroduction from a staff member. Widespread testing identified 145 asymptomatic prisoners, 16.9% of the total prisoner cases. The cohorting units prevented re-infection from new prison admissions and the shielding unit had no COVID-19 infections linked to either outbreak. Conclusions: Identifying and isolating infected prisoners, cohorting new admissions and shielding vulnerable individuals helped prevent uncontrollable spread of SARS-COV-2. These novel and cost-effective approaches can be implemented in correctional facilities globally.
  • Effectiveness of rapid SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing in supporting infection control for hospital-onset COVID-19 infection: Multicentre, prospective study.

    Stirrup, Oliver; Blackstone, James; Mapp, Fiona; MacNeil, Alyson; Panca, Monica; Holmes, Alison; Machin, Nicholas; Shin, Gee Yen; Mahungu, Tabitha; Saeed, Kordo; et al. (eLife Sciences Publications, 2022-09-13)
    A total of 2170 HOCI cases were recorded from October 2020 to April 2021, corresponding to a period of extreme strain on the health service, with sequence reports returned for 650/1320 (49.2%) during intervention phases. We did not detect a statistically significant change in weekly incidence of HAIs in longer-turnaround (incidence rate ratio 1.60, 95% CI 0.85-3.01; p=0.14) or rapid (0.85, 0.48-1.50; p=0.54) intervention phases compared to baseline phase. However, IPC practice was changed in 7.8 and 7.4% of all HOCI cases in rapid and longer-turnaround phases, respectively, and 17.2 and 11.6% of cases where the report was returned. In a 'per-protocol' sensitivity analysis, there was an impact on IPC actions in 20.7% of HOCI cases when the SRT report was returned within 5 days. Capacity to respond effectively to insights from sequencing was breached in most sites by the volume of cases and limited resources.
  • Effect of a test-and-treat approach to vitamin D supplementation on risk of all cause acute respiratory tract infection and covid-19: phase 3 randomised controlled trial (CORONAVIT).

    Jolliffe, David A; Holt, Hayley; Greenig, Matthew; Talaei, Mohammad; Perdek, Natalia; Pfeffer, Paul; Vivaldi, Giulia; Maltby, Sheena; Symons, Jane; Barlow, Nicola L; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2022-09-07)
    Objective: To determine the effect of population level implementation of a test-and-treat approach to correction of suboptimal vitamin D status (25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) <75 nmol/L) on risk of all cause acute respiratory tract infection and covid 19. Design: Phase 3 open label randomised controlled trial. Setting: United Kingdom. Participants: 6200 people aged ≥16 years who were not taking vitamin D supplements at baseline. Interventions: Offer of a postal finger prick test of blood 25(OH)D concentration with provision of a six month supply of lower dose vitamin D (800 IU/day, n=1550) or higher dose vitamin D (3200 IU/day, n=1550) to those with blood 25(OH)D concentration <75 nmol/L, compared with no offer of testing or supplementation (n=3100). Follow-up was for six months. Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the proportion of participants with at least one swab test or doctor confirmed acute respiratory tract infection of any cause. A secondary outcome was the proportion of participants with swab test confirmed covid-19. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios and associated 95% confidence intervals. The primary analysis was conducted by intention to treat. Results: Of 3100 participants offered a vitamin D test, 2958 (95.4%) accepted and 2674 (86.3%) had 25(OH)D concentrations <75 nmol/L and received vitamin D supplements (n=1328 lower dose, n=1346 higher dose). Compared with 136/2949 (4.6%) participants in the no offer group, at least one acute respiratory tract infection of any cause occurred in 87/1515 (5.7%) in the lower dose group (odds ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval 0.96 to 1.66) and 76/1515 (5.0%) in the higher dose group (1.09, 0.82 to 1.46). Compared with 78/2949 (2.6%) participants in the no offer group, 55/1515 (3.6%) developed covid-19 in the lower dose group (1.39, 0.98 to 1.97) and 45/1515 (3.0%) in the higher dose group (1.13, 0.78 to 1.63). Conclusions: Among people aged 16 years and older with a high baseline prevalence of suboptimal vitamin D status, implementation of a population level test-and-treat approach to vitamin D supplementation was not associated with a reduction in risk of all cause acute respiratory tract infection or covid-19.
  • Adalimumab and Infliximab Impair SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Responses: Results from a Therapeutic Drug Monitoring Study in 11 422 Biologic-Treated Patients.

    Chanchlani, Neil; Lin, Simeng; Chee, Desmond; Hamilton, Benjamin; Nice, Rachel; Arkir, Zehra; Bewshea, Claire; Cipriano, Bessie; Derikx, Lauranne A A P; Dunlop, Allan; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2022-03-14)
    Background and aims: Infliximab attenuates serological responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection. Whether this is a class effect, or if anti-tumour necrosis factor [anti-TNF] level influences serological responses, remains unknown. Methods: Seroprevalence and the magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibody responses were measured in surplus serum from 11 422 (53.3% [6084] male; median age 36.8 years) patients with immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, stored at six therapeutic drug monitoring laboratories between January 29 and September 30, 2020. Data were linked to nationally held SARS-CoV-2 PCR results to July 11, 2021. Results: Rates of PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection were similar across treatment groups. Seroprevalence rates were lower in infliximab- and adalimumab- than vedolizumab-treated patients (infliximab: 3.0% [178/5893], adalimumab: 3.0% [152/5074], vedolizumab: 6.7% [25/375], p = 0.003). The magnitude of SARS-CoV-2 reactivity was similar in infliximab- vs adalimumab-treated patients (median 4.30 cut-off index [COI] [1.94-9.96] vs 5.02 [2.18-18.70], p = 0.164), but higher in vedolizumab-treated patients (median 21.60 COI [4.39-68.10, p < 0.004). Compared to patients with detectable infliximab and adalimumab drug levels, patients with undetectable drug levels [<0.8 mg/L] were more likely to be seropositive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. One-third of patients who had PCR testing prior to antibody testing failed to seroconvert, all were treated with anti-TNF. Subsequent positive PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 was seen in 7.9% [12/152] of patients after a median time of 183.5 days [129.8-235.3], without differences between drugs. Conclusion: Anti-TNF treatment is associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid seroprevalence and antibody reactivity when compared to vedolizumab-treated patients. Higher seropositivity rates in patients with undetectable anti-TNF levels support a causal relationship, although confounding factors, such as combination therapy with a immunomodulator, may have influenced the results.