Blood test surveys crucial to estimate Covid spread in Australia, experts say

1/19/2022 7:40:00 PM

Blood test surveys crucial to estimate Covid spread in Australia, experts say

Health, Coronavirus

Blood test surveys crucial to estimate Covid spread in Australia, experts say

With direct testing overwhelmed by Omicron, seroprevalence surveys may be the best bet for understanding how many people are catching Covid

Wed 19 Jan 2022 16.Coronavirus It has also begun a legal challenge against the COVID pass scheme in England, and is urging the UK government to scrap the English scheme by the end of January.Doctors caring for patients suffering with Covid will soon be able to predict who is most likely to die, thanks to a new blood test which has been developed.Tue 18 Jan 2022 03.

30 GMT Last modified on Wed 19 Jan 2022 16.31 GMT As the number of Covid cases in Australia has become impossible to accurately determine using test and case numbers alone, epidemiologists say it is crucial to undertake population-wide surveys to understand both current levels of infection and cumulative past infections. "We're calling on the Welsh government to disclose the documents and advice they say they're relying on to impose the COVID pass scheme on people in Wales. John Kaldor, a professor of epidemiology at UNSW’s Kirby Institute, and his colleagues at other organisations conducted seroprevalence surveys in 2020 and 2021. Professor Florian Kurth, of Charite University Hospital, Berlin, said: "The clinical picture of Covid-19 is exceptionally diverse - ranging from asymptomatic to very serious disease and death. They are hoping to conduct repeat surveys this year to better understand the spread of the Omicron outbreak. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player 6:58 Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood: COVID passports for big indoor events are 'illogical' "The reluctance to be transparent now even extends to an unwillingness to consent to Big Brother Watch publishing the legal papers from its own claim, presumably because they quote from correspondence that attempts to justify the scheme. “Antibodies can fade, but people probably have some detectable antibodies at least six months after infection,” he said. The NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet, lamented the new record, saying it was a “very difficult day”.

Read more “We are hoping to conduct some repeat surveys during the course of this year, but there are a range of approvals we need first. Mandatory COVID IDs are a disproportionate intrusion of medical privacy, an erosion of freedom and a threat to equality. "Interestingly, the plasma levels of all the proteins had been found to be altered by Covid-19 before, depending on the severity of the disease.” Serology testing involves taking a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies against the Covid virus. The presence of the antibodies indicates a person has been previously infected, vaccinated or both." A Welsh government spokesperson said:"The COVID pass has been introduced as one measure - among many - to help keep businesses open while also helping to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS. By taking a large enough number of blood samples from a diverse cross-section of people, this data can be extrapolated to provide a snapshot of the percentage of a population who have been infected and have some immunity. The researchers analysed levels of 321 proteins in blood samples taken at 349 time points from 50 individuals being treated in Germany and Austria. Kaldor said it would also be important to follow the UK and conduct regular random household surveys to ask people about their recent symptoms, and to undertake home swab testing. As we know, the longer large numbers of people are close together, especially indoors, the greater the risk of transmission. She urged people to get their booster shot, saying authorities’ efforts to slow the spread of the virus were to allow people to get their third jab.

This would also detect asymptomatic cases and provide a clearer understanding of current infections. Fiona Russell, a professor of paediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Melbourne, said seroprevalence studies cannot be done “overnight” and there were particular challenges in collecting a representative sample in Australia. We continue to support businesses that are required by law to ask for a COVID pass with a range of advice and guidance. The method described in PLOS Digital Health may also be useful in testing whether a treatment changes the projected trajectory of an individual patient. “There’s practical, logistical and feasibility issues around having a representative sample. For example, making sure you include people who live in regional areas, and then getting consent, collecting their blood … To do all of that you need funding,” she said. “It takes time, but it can and must be done. He added: “It would be excellent if there were any testing system that could harden up prognosis and give real data on how serious this could be for that particular individual. “While the health system is under pressure, we are currently tracking better than the best case scenario.

” Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning Sign up to receive the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning In the meantime, Russell believes states with widespread Covid cases, including Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales should conduct mini “rapid” seroprevalence surveys. “It would involve examining blood that has already been taken and stored, for example from people who might have come into hospital for an operation, or had their blood taken for another reason,” Russell said. “You could do it by postcode, or by age, to get a quick look at what is happening in a certain age group or area.” Seroprevalence surveys can help estimate the level of immunity in a population, but are different to determining the incidence of the virus – that is, the rate of new cases of the virus being detected each day or week. Read more When Australia had low case numbers and widely available and accessible testing with fast results, it was easier to estimate with higher confidence the number of people with an active case of the virus at any one time. Three of the deaths were people in their 70s, eight in their 80s, four in their 90s and one person who was over 100 years old.

While cases are always underestimated – even during small outbreaks – the sheer number of people now unable to be tested, asymptomatic people, or tests never being analysed in the laboratory due to lengthy delays from the time of collection means overall test numbers and positive cases from those tests are less accurate in understanding incidence in the population. Nonetheless, Kaldor said efforts were being made to provide estimates of incidence by using a mixture of data, surveys of testing behaviour, and modelling tools. Key pieces of information will be the proportion of people undertaking rapid antigen tests and actually reporting their results. “The epidemiological and modelling community is working on methods to make adjustments to correct for levels of testing in different parts of the population, and how to do that is still an area of discussion,” he said. Topics . The state also saw a jump in hospital admissions, with 819 people currently being treated for the virus, compared to 702 cases on Monday.

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Wed 19 Jan 2022 16.Coronavirus It has also begun a legal challenge against the COVID pass scheme in England, and is urging the UK government to scrap the English scheme by the end of January.Doctors caring for patients suffering with Covid will soon be able to predict who is most likely to die, thanks to a new blood test which has been developed.Tue 18 Jan 2022 03.

30 GMT Last modified on Wed 19 Jan 2022 16.31 GMT As the number of Covid cases in Australia has become impossible to accurately determine using test and case numbers alone, epidemiologists say it is crucial to undertake population-wide surveys to understand both current levels of infection and cumulative past infections. "We're calling on the Welsh government to disclose the documents and advice they say they're relying on to impose the COVID pass scheme on people in Wales. John Kaldor, a professor of epidemiology at UNSW’s Kirby Institute, and his colleagues at other organisations conducted seroprevalence surveys in 2020 and 2021. Professor Florian Kurth, of Charite University Hospital, Berlin, said: "The clinical picture of Covid-19 is exceptionally diverse - ranging from asymptomatic to very serious disease and death. They are hoping to conduct repeat surveys this year to better understand the spread of the Omicron outbreak. Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player 6:58 Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood: COVID passports for big indoor events are 'illogical' "The reluctance to be transparent now even extends to an unwillingness to consent to Big Brother Watch publishing the legal papers from its own claim, presumably because they quote from correspondence that attempts to justify the scheme. “Antibodies can fade, but people probably have some detectable antibodies at least six months after infection,” he said. The NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet, lamented the new record, saying it was a “very difficult day”.

Read more “We are hoping to conduct some repeat surveys during the course of this year, but there are a range of approvals we need first. Mandatory COVID IDs are a disproportionate intrusion of medical privacy, an erosion of freedom and a threat to equality. "Interestingly, the plasma levels of all the proteins had been found to be altered by Covid-19 before, depending on the severity of the disease.” Serology testing involves taking a sample of a person’s blood to look for antibodies against the Covid virus. The presence of the antibodies indicates a person has been previously infected, vaccinated or both." A Welsh government spokesperson said:"The COVID pass has been introduced as one measure - among many - to help keep businesses open while also helping to control the spread of the virus and protect the NHS. By taking a large enough number of blood samples from a diverse cross-section of people, this data can be extrapolated to provide a snapshot of the percentage of a population who have been infected and have some immunity. The researchers analysed levels of 321 proteins in blood samples taken at 349 time points from 50 individuals being treated in Germany and Austria. Kaldor said it would also be important to follow the UK and conduct regular random household surveys to ask people about their recent symptoms, and to undertake home swab testing. As we know, the longer large numbers of people are close together, especially indoors, the greater the risk of transmission. She urged people to get their booster shot, saying authorities’ efforts to slow the spread of the virus were to allow people to get their third jab.

This would also detect asymptomatic cases and provide a clearer understanding of current infections. Fiona Russell, a professor of paediatrics and epidemiology at the University of Melbourne, said seroprevalence studies cannot be done “overnight” and there were particular challenges in collecting a representative sample in Australia. We continue to support businesses that are required by law to ask for a COVID pass with a range of advice and guidance. The method described in PLOS Digital Health may also be useful in testing whether a treatment changes the projected trajectory of an individual patient. “There’s practical, logistical and feasibility issues around having a representative sample. For example, making sure you include people who live in regional areas, and then getting consent, collecting their blood … To do all of that you need funding,” she said. “It takes time, but it can and must be done. He added: “It would be excellent if there were any testing system that could harden up prognosis and give real data on how serious this could be for that particular individual. “While the health system is under pressure, we are currently tracking better than the best case scenario.

” Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning Sign up to receive the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning In the meantime, Russell believes states with widespread Covid cases, including Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales should conduct mini “rapid” seroprevalence surveys. “It would involve examining blood that has already been taken and stored, for example from people who might have come into hospital for an operation, or had their blood taken for another reason,” Russell said. “You could do it by postcode, or by age, to get a quick look at what is happening in a certain age group or area.” Seroprevalence surveys can help estimate the level of immunity in a population, but are different to determining the incidence of the virus – that is, the rate of new cases of the virus being detected each day or week. Read more When Australia had low case numbers and widely available and accessible testing with fast results, it was easier to estimate with higher confidence the number of people with an active case of the virus at any one time. Three of the deaths were people in their 70s, eight in their 80s, four in their 90s and one person who was over 100 years old.

While cases are always underestimated – even during small outbreaks – the sheer number of people now unable to be tested, asymptomatic people, or tests never being analysed in the laboratory due to lengthy delays from the time of collection means overall test numbers and positive cases from those tests are less accurate in understanding incidence in the population. Nonetheless, Kaldor said efforts were being made to provide estimates of incidence by using a mixture of data, surveys of testing behaviour, and modelling tools. Key pieces of information will be the proportion of people undertaking rapid antigen tests and actually reporting their results. “The epidemiological and modelling community is working on methods to make adjustments to correct for levels of testing in different parts of the population, and how to do that is still an area of discussion,” he said. Topics . The state also saw a jump in hospital admissions, with 819 people currently being treated for the virus, compared to 702 cases on Monday.