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Ana Paula Muterle Varela, , , , Fernando Hayashi Sant’Anna, , Letícia Garay Martins, Adriana Seixas,
Published: 30 July 2021
Abstract:
Background Genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 is paramount for understanding viral dynamics, contributing to disease control. This study analyzed SARS-CoV-2 genomic diversity in Rio Grande do Sul (RS), Brazil, including the first case of each Regional Health Coordination and cases from three epidemic peaks. Methods Ninety SARS-CoV-2 genomes from RS were sequenced and analyzed against SARS-CoV-2 datasets available in GISAID for phylogenetic inference and mutation analysis. Results SARS-CoV-2 lineages among the first cases in RS were B.1 (33.3%), B.1.1.28 (26.7%), B.1.1 (13.3%), B.1.1.33 (10.0%), and A (6.7%), evidencing SARS-CoV-2 introduction by both international origin and community-driven transmission. We found predominance of B.1.1.33 (50.0%) and B.1.1.28 (35.0%) during the first epidemic peak (July–August, 2020), emergence of P.2 (55.6%) in the second peak (November–December, 2020), and massive spread of P.1 and related sequences (78.4%), such as P.1-like-II, P.1.1 and P.1.2 in the third peak (February–April, 2021). Eighteen novel mutation combinations were found among P.1 genomes, and 22 different spike mutations and/or deletions among P.1 and related sequences. Conclusions This study shows the dispersion of SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Southern Brazil, and describes SARS-CoV-2 diversity during three epidemic peaks, highlighting the spread of P.1 and the high genetic diversity of currently circulating lineages. Genomic monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 is essential to guide health authorities’ decisions to control COVID-19 in Brazil. Summary Ninety SARS-CoV-2 genomes from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, were sequenced, including the first cases from 15 State Health Coordination regions and samples from three epidemic peaks. Phylogenomic inferences showed SARS-CoV-2 lineages spread, revealing its genomic diversity.
Published: 23 July 2021
by MDPI
Life, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/life11080734

Abstract:
Novel therapies for the treatment of COVID-19 are continuing to emerge as the SARS-Cov-2 pandemic progresses. PCR remains the standard benchmark for initial diagnosis of COVID-19 infection, while advances in immunological profiling are guiding clinical treatment. The SARS-Cov-2 virus has undergone multiple mutations since its emergence in 2019, resulting in changes in virulence that have impacted on disease severity globally. The emergence of more virulent variants of SARS-Cov-2 remains challenging for effective disease control during this pandemic. Major variants identified to date include B.1.1.7, B.1.351; P.1; B.1.617.2; B.1.427; P.2; P.3; B.1.525; and C.37. Globally, large unvaccinated populations increase the risk of more and more variants arising. With successive waves of COVID-19 emerging, strategies that mitigate against community transmission need to be implemented, including increased vaccination coverage. For treatment, convalescent plasma therapy, successfully deployed during recent Ebola outbreaks and for H1N1 influenza, can increase survival rates and improve host responses to viral challenge. Convalescent plasma is rich with cytokines (IL-1β, IL-2, IL-6, IL-17, and IL-8), CCL2, and TNFα, neutralizing antibodies, and clotting factors essential for the management of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Clinical trials can inform and guide treatment policy, leading to mainstream adoption of convalescent therapy. This review examines the limited number of clinical trials published, to date that have deployed this therapy and explores clinical trials in progress for the treatment of COVID-19.
Matt D.T. Hitchings, Otavio T. Ranzani, Murilo Dorion, Tatiana Lang D’Agostini, Regiane Cardoso de Paula, Olivia Ferreira Pereira de Paula, Edlaine Faria De Moura Villela, Mario Sergio Scaramuzzini Torres, Silvano Barbosa de Oliveira, Wade Schulz, et al.
Published: 22 July 2021
Abstract:
Background A two-dose regimen of ChAdOx1 coronavirus disease 19 (Covid-19) vaccine with an inter-dose interval of three months has been implemented in many countries with restricted vaccine supply. However, there is limited evidence for the effectiveness of ChAdOx1 by dose in elderly populations in countries with high prevalence of the Gamma variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Methods We conducted a test-negative case-control study to estimate the effectiveness of ChAdOx1 vaccine in adults aged 60 years or older during a Gamma-variant-associated epidemic in São Paulo state, Brazil, between 17 January and 2 July 2021. Cases and matched test-negative controls were individuals, identified from surveillance databases, who experienced an acute respiratory illness and underwent SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate the effectiveness by dose against RT-PCR-confirmed Covid-19, Covid-19 hospitalization, and Covid-19-related death. Results 61,164 individuals were selected into matched case-control pairs. Starting ≥28 days after the first dose, adjusted effectiveness of a single dose of ChAdOx1 was 33.4% (95% CI, 26.4 to 39.7) against Covid-19, 55.1% (95% CI, 46.6 to 62.2) against hospitalization, and 61.8% (95% CI, 48.9 to 71.4) against death. Starting ≥14 days after the second dose, the adjusted effectiveness of the two-dose schedule was 77.9% (95% CI, 69.2 to 84.2) against Covid-19, 87.6% (95% CI, 78.2 to 92.9) against hospitalization, and 93.6% (95% CI, 81.9 to 97.7) against death. Conclusions Completion of the ChAdOx1 vaccine schedule afforded significantly increased protection over a single dose against mild and severe Covid-19 outcomes in elderly individuals during widespread Gamma variant transmission.
, Alessandra P Lamarca, , Liliane Cavalcante, Douglas Terra Machado, Yasmmin Martins, Otávio Brustolini, , , Reinaldo Bellini Gonçalves, et al.
Published: 22 July 2021
Abstract:
In the present study, we provide a retrospective genomic epidemiology analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We gathered publicly available data from GISAD and sequenced more 1,927 new genomes sampled periodically from March 2021 to June 2021 from 91 out of the 92 cities of the state. Our results showed that the pandemic was characterized by three different phases driven by a successive replacement of lineages. All stages occurred in distinct mortality and mobility contexts, with higher evidence of social distancing measures being observed in early pandemic and relaxed in the last two phases. Interestingly, we noticed that viral supercarriers accounted for the overwhelming majority of the circulating virus (> 90%) among symptomatic individuals in the state. Moreover, SARS-CoV-2 genomic surveillance also revealed the emergence and spread of two new variants (P.5 and P.1.2) firstly reported in this study. Altogether, our findings provided important lessons learned from the different epidemiological aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 dynamic in the state of Rio de Janeiro that have a strong potential to shape future decisions aiming to improve public health management and understanding mechanisms underlying virus dispersion.
Mauro De Medeiros Oliveira, , Andreia Akemi Suzukawa, Irina Nastassja Riediger, Maria Do Carmo Debur, Guilherme Becker, , , Eduardo Balsanelli, Valter Antônio de Baura, et al.
Published: 15 July 2021
Abstract:
We report a genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 lineages circulating in Paraná, Southern Brazil, from March 2020 to April 2021. Our analysis, based on 333 genomes, revealed that the first variants detected in the state of Paraná in March 2020 were the B.1.1.33 and B.1.1.28 variants. The variants B.1.1.28 and B.1.1.33 were predominant throughout 2020 until the introduction of the variant P.2 in August 2020 and a variant of concern (VOC), P.1, in January 2021. Phylogenetic analyses of the SARS-CoV-2 genomes that were previously classified as the VOC P.1 lineage by PANGO showed that some genomes from February to April 2021 branched in a monophyletic clade and that these samples grouped together with genomes recently described with the lineage P.1-like-II. An extended phylogenetic analysis, including SARS-CoV-2 genomes from all over Brazil, showed that the P.1-like-II lineage appears at a high frequency in the southern region of the country. The P.1-like-II lineage genomes share some, but not all, defining mutations of the VOC P.1. For instance, it has the previously described ORF1a:D2980H and N:P383 L unique mutations and the newly detected ORF1a:P1213 L and ORF1b:K2340N mutations. Additionally, a new mutation (E661D) in the spike (S) protein has been identified in nearly 10% of the genomes classified as the VOC P.1 from Paraná in March and April 2021. We also report the identification of the S:W152C mutation in one genome from Paraná, classified as the N.10 variant. Finally, we analyzed the correlation between the lineage and the P.1 variant frequency, age group (patients younger or older than 60 years old) and the clinical data of 86 cases from the state of Paraná. This analysis does not support an association between the P.1 variant prevalence and COVID-19 severity or age strata. Our results provided a reliable picture of the evolution of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in the state of Paraná characterized by the dominance of the P.1 strain, as well as a high frequencies of the P.1-like-II lineage and the S:E661D mutations. Epidemiological and genomic surveillance efforts should be continued to unveil the biological relevance of the novel mutations detected in the VOC P.1 in Paraná.
Published: 13 July 2021
Abstract:
Since its emergence in late 2019, the diffusion of SARS-CoV-2 is associated with the evolution of its viral genome1,2. The co-occurrence of specific amino acid changes, collectively named ‘virus variant’, requires scrutiny (as variants may hugely impact the agent’s transmission, pathogenesis, or antigenicity); variant evolution is studied using phylogenetics3–6. Yet, never has this problem been tackled by digging into data with ad hoc analysis techniques. Here we show that the emergence of variants can in fact be traced through data-driven methods, further capitalizing on the value of large collections of SARS-CoV-2 sequences. For all countries with sufficient data, we compute weekly counts of amino acid changes, unveil time-varying clusters of changes with similar – rapidly growing – dynamics, and then follow their evolution. Our method succeeds in timely associating clusters to variants of interest/concern, provided their change composition is well characterized. This allows us to detect variants’ emergence, rise, peak, and eventual decline under competitive pressure of another variant. Our early warning system, exclusively relying on deposited sequences, shows the power of big data in this context, and concurs to calling for the wide spreading of public SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing for improved surveillance and control of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Natalia Rego, Tamara Fernández-Calero, Ighor Arantes, Verónica Noya, Daiana Mir, Mariana Brandes, Juan Zanetti, Mailen Arleo, Emiliano Pereira, Tania Possi, et al.
Published: 7 July 2021
Abstract:
During the first nine months of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Uruguay successfully kept it under control, even when our previous studies support a recurrent viral flux across the Uruguayan-Brazilian border that sourced several local outbreaks in Uruguay. However, towards the end of 2020, a remarkable exponential growth was observed and the TETRIS strategy was lost. Here, we aimed to understand the factors that fueled SARS-CoV-2 viral dynamics during the first epidemic wave in the country. We recovered 84 whole viral genomes from patients diagnosed between November, 2020 and February, 2021 in Rocha, a sentinel eastern Uruguayan department bordering Brazil. The lineage B.1.1.28 was the most prevalent in Rocha during November-December 2020, P.2 became the dominant one during January-February 2021, while the first P.1 sequences corresponds to February, 2021. The lineage replacement process agrees with that observed in several Brazilian states, including Rio Grande do Sul (RS). We observed a one to three month delay between the appearance of P.2 and P.1 in RS and their subsequent detection in Rocha. The phylogenetic analysis detected two B.1.1.28 and one P.2 main Uruguayan SARS-CoV-2 clades, introduced from the southern and southeastern Brazilian regions into Rocha between early November and mid December, 2020. One synonymous mutation distinguishes the sequences of the main B.1.1.28 clade in Rocha from those widely distributed in RS. The minor B.1.1.28 cluster, distinguished by several mutations, harbours non-synonymous changes in the Spike protein: Q675H and Q677H, so far not concurrently reported. The convergent appearance of S:Q677H in different viral lineages and its proximity to the S1/S2 cleavage site raise concerns about its functional relevance. The observed S:E484K-VOI P.2 partial replacement of previously circulating lineages in Rocha might have increased transmissibility as suggested by the significant decrease in Ct values. Our study emphasizes the impact of Brazilian SARS-CoV-2 epidemics in Uruguay and the need of reinforcing real-time genomic surveillance on specific Uruguayan border locations, as one of the key elements for achieving long-term COVID-19 epidemic control.
, , Diana Mariani, Alice Laschuk Herlinger, Francine Bittencourt Schiffler, Átila Duque Rossi, Isabela De Carvalho Leitão, Thamiris dos Santos Miranda, Matheus Augusto Calvano Cosentino, Marcelo Calado de Paula Tôrres, et al.
Published: 6 July 2021
Abstract:
The emergence and widespread circulation of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) or interest (VOI) imposes an enhanced threat to global public health. In Brazil, one of the countries most severely impacted throughout the pandemic, a complex dynamics involving variants co-circulation and turnover events has been recorded with the emergence and spread of VOC Gamma in Manaus in late 2020. In this context, we present a genomic epidemiology investigation based on samples collected between December 2020 and May 2021 in the second major Brazilian metropolis, Rio de Janeiro. By sequencing 244 novel genomes through all epidemiological weeks in this period, we were able to document the introduction and rapid dissemination of VOC Gamma in the city, driving the rise of the third local epidemic wave. Molecular clock analysis indicates this variant has circulated locally since the first weeks of 2021 and only seven weeks were necessary for it to achieve a frequency above 70%, consistent with rates of growth observed in Manaus and other states. Moreover, a Bayesian phylogeographic reconstruction indicates VOC Gamma spread throughout Brazil between December 2020 and January 2021, and that it was introduced in Rio de Janeiro through at least 13 events coming from nearly all regions of the country. Comparative analysis of RT-qPCR cycle threshold (Ct) values provides further evidence that VOC Gamma induces higher viral loads (N1 target; mean reduction of Ct: 2.7, 95% CI = ±0.7). This analysis corroborates the previously proposed mechanistic basis for this variant enhanced transmissibility and distinguished epidemiological behavior. Our results document the evolution of VOC Gamma and provide independent assessment of scenarios previously studied in Manaus, therefore contributing to the better understanding of the epidemiological dynamics currently being surveyed in other Brazilian regions.
Published: 6 July 2021
by MDPI
Biomolecules, Volume 11; doi:10.3390/biom11070993

Abstract:
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is the etiological agent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, which has been a topic of major concern for global human health. The challenge to restrain the COVID-19 pandemic is further compounded by the emergence of several SARS-CoV-2 variants viz. B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P1 (Gamma) and B.1.617.2 (Delta), which show increased transmissibility and resistance towards vaccines and therapies. Importantly, there is convincing evidence of increased susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection among individuals with dysregulated immune response and comorbidities. Herein, we provide a comprehensive perspective regarding vulnerability of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with underlying medical comorbidities. We discuss ongoing vaccine (mRNA, protein-based, viral vector-based, etc.) and therapeutic (monoclonal antibodies, small molecules, plasma therapy, etc.) modalities designed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic. We also discuss in detail, the challenges posed by different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) identified across the globe and their effects on therapeutic and prophylactic interventions.
, , Mario Sergio Scaramuzzini Torres, Silvano Barbosa de Oliveira, Maria Almiron, Rodrigo Said, Ryan Borg, Wade L. Schulz, Roberto Dias de Oliveira, Patricia Vieira da Silva, et al.
The Lancet Regional Health - Americas; doi:10.1016/j.lana.2021.100025

Abstract:
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant, Gamma, emerged in the city of Manaus in late 2020 during a large resurgence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and has spread throughout Brazil. The effectiveness of vaccines in settings with widespread Gamma variant transmission has not been reported. We performed a matched test-negative case-control study to estimate the effectiveness of an inactivated vaccine, CoronaVac, in healthcare workers (HCWs) in Manaus, where the Gamma variant accounted for 86% of genotyped SARS-CoV-2 samples at the peak of its epidemic. We performed an early analysis of effectiveness following administration of at least one vaccine dose and an analysis of effectiveness of the two-dose schedule. The primary outcome was symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. For the early at-least-one-dose and two-dose analyses the study population was, respectively, 53,176 and 53,153 HCWs residing in Manaus and aged 18 years or older, with complete information on age, residence, and vaccination status. Among 53,153 HCWs eligible for the two-dose analysis, 47,170 (89%) received at least one dose of CoronaVac and 2,656 individuals (5%) underwent RT-PCR testing from 19 January, 2021 to 13 April, 2021. Of 3,195 RT-PCR tests, 885 (28%) were positive. 393 and 418 case-control pairs were selected for the early and two-dose analyses, respectively, matched on calendar time, age, and neighbourhood. Among those who had received both vaccine doses before the RT-PCR sample collection date, the average time from second dose to sample collection date was 14 days (IQR 7-24). In the early analysis, vaccination with at least one dose was associated with a 0.50-fold reduction (adjusted vaccine effectiveness (VE), 49.6%, 95% CI 11.3 to 71.4) in the odds of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection during the period 14 days or more after receiving the first dose. However, we estimated low effectiveness (adjusted VE 36.8%, 95% CI -54.9 to 74.2) of the two-dose schedule against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection during the period 14 days or more after receiving the second dose. A finding that vaccinated individuals were much more likely to be infected than unvaccinated individuals in the period 0-13 days after first dose (aOR 2.11, 95% CI 1.36-3.27) suggests that unmeasured confounding led to downward bias in the vaccine effectiveness estimate. Evidence from this test-negative study of the effectiveness of CoronaVac was mixed, and likely affected by bias in this setting. Administration of at least one vaccine dose showed effectiveness against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in the setting of epidemic Gamma variant transmission. However, the low estimated effectiveness of the two-dose schedule underscores the need to maintain non-pharmaceutical interventions while vaccination campaigns with CoronaVac are being implemented. Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz); Municipal Health Secretary of Manaus; Fundação de Vigilância em Saúde do Amazonas
Fernando Hayashi Sant’Anna, Ana Paula Muterle Varela, , Juliana Comerlato, Carolina Baldisserotto Comerlato, Vinicius Serafini Roglio, Gerson Fernando Mendes Pereira, Flávia Moreno, Adriana Seixas,
Emerging Microbes & Infections pp 1-32; doi:10.1080/22221751.2021.1949948

Abstract:
In this study, we analyzed 340 whole genomes of SARS-CoV-2, which were sampled between April and November 2020 in 33 cities of Rio Grande do Sul, South Brazil. We demonstrated the circulation of two novel emergent lineages, VUI-NP13L and VUI-NP13L-like, and five major lineages that had already been assigned (B.1.1.33, B.1.1.28, P.2, B.1.91, B.1.195). P.2 and VUI-NP13L demonstrated a massive spread in October 2020. Constant and consistent genomic surveillance is crucial to identify newly emerging SARS-CoV-2 lineages in Brazil and to guide decision making in the Brazilian Public Healthcare System.
Published: 1 June 2021
One Health, Volume 13, pp 100287-100287; doi:10.1016/j.onehlt.2021.100287

Abstract:
The worldwide spread of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has caused the most severe public health crisis since the 1918 Spanish influenza pandemic. After the introduction of public health interventions aimed at reducing the number of COVID-19 cases, many countries across the world obtained success at containing the fast spread of SARS-CoV-2 during the first wave of the pandemic. However, the SARS-CoV-2 has resurged in many countries causing a even more devastating second wave. Brazil is one the most affected countries and currently is facing one of the worst public health crises in its history. Here, we discuss the unprecedented challenges faced by the Brazilian public health system in the midst of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly regarding the collapse of the Brazilian health system and the emergence of new variants of concern (VOCs). Finally, we suggest some insights using a one health approach that will help the country to face and overcome the current COVID-19 crisis.
Otavio T. Ranzani, Matt D.T. Hitchings, Murilo Dorion, Tatiana Lang D’Agostini, Regiane Cardoso de Paula, Olivia Ferreira Pereira de Paula, Edlaine Faria De Moura Villela, Mario Sergio Scaramuzzini Torres, Silvano Barbosa de Oliveira, , et al.
Published: 21 May 2021
Abstract:
Objective To estimate the effectiveness of the inactivated whole-virus vaccine, CoronaVac, against symptomatic COVID-19 in the elderly population of São Paulo State, Brazil during widespread circulation of the Gamma variant. Design Test negative case-control study. Setting Health-care facilities in São Paulo State, Brazil. Participants 43,774 adults aged 70 years or older who were residents of São Paulo State and underwent SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR testing from January 17 to April 29, 2021. 26,433 cases with symptomatic COVID-19 and 17,622 symptomatic, test negative controls were selected into 7,950 matched pairs, according to age, sex, self-reported race, municipality of residence, prior COVID-19 status and date of RT-PCR testing. Intervention Vaccination with a two-dose regimen of CoronaVac. Main outcome measures RT-PCR confirmed symptomatic COVID-19 and COVID-19 associated hospitalizations and deaths. Results Adjusted vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic COVID-19 was 18.2% (95% CI, 0.0 to 33.2) in the period 0-13 days after the second dose and 41.6% (95% CI, 26.9 to 53.3) in the period ≥14 days after the second dose. Adjusted vaccine effectiveness against hospitalisations was 59.0% (95% CI, 44.2 to 69.8) and against deaths was 71.4% (95% CI, 53.7 to 82.3) in the period ≥14 days after the second dose. Vaccine effectiveness ≥14 days after the second dose declined with increasing age for the three outcomes, and among individuals aged 70-74 years it was 61.8% (95% CI, 34.8 to 77.7) against symptomatic disease, 80.1% (95% CI, 55.7 to 91.0) against hospitalisations and 86.0% (95% CI, 50.4 to 96.1) against deaths. Conclusions Vaccination with CoronaVac was associated with a reduction in symptomatic COVID-19, hospitalisations and deaths in adults aged 70 years or older in a setting with extensive Gamma variant transmission. However, significant protection was not observed until completion of the two-dose regimen, and vaccine effectiveness declined with increasing age amongst this elderly population. Summary boxes What is already known on this topic Randomised controlled trials (RCT) have yielded varying estimates (51 to 84%) for the effectiveness of the inactivated whole-virus vaccine, CoronaVac, against symptomatic COVID-19. Current evidence is limited on whether CoronaVac is effective against severe disease or death caused by the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern, Gamma, or in the setting of extensive Gamma variant circulation. More evidence is needed for the real-world effectiveness of CoronaVac and other inactivated vaccines among elderly individuals, a population that was underrepresented in RCTs of these vaccines. What this study adds A two-dose regimen of CoronaVac provides significant protection against symptomatic COVID-19, hospitalisations and deaths among adults ≥70 years of age in the setting of widespread Gamma variant transmission. Significant protection did not occur until ≥14 days after administration of the second dose of CoronaVac. The effectiveness of CoronaVac declines with increasing age in the elderly population.
Matt D.T. Hitchings, Otavio T. Ranzani, Mario Sergio Scaramuzzini Torres, Silvano Barbosa de Oliveira, Maria Almiron, Rodrigo Said, Ryan Borg, Wade L. Schulz, Roberto Dias de Oliveira, Patricia Vieira da Silva, et al.
Published: 7 April 2021
Abstract:
Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant, Gamma, emerged in the city of Manaus in late 2020 during a large resurgence of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and has spread throughout Brazil. The effectiveness of vaccines in settings with widespread Gamma variant transmission has not been reported. Methods We performed a matched test-negative case-control study to estimate the effectiveness of an inactivated vaccine, CoronaVac, in healthcare workers (HCWs) in Manaus, where the Gamma variant accounted for 86% of genotyped SARS-CoV-2 samples at the peak of its epidemic. We performed an early analysis of effectiveness following administration of at least one vaccine dose and an analysis of effectiveness of the two-dose schedule. The primary outcome was symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Findings For the early at-least-one-dose and two-dose analyses the study population was, respectively, 53,176 and 53,153 HCWs residing in Manaus and aged 18 years or older, with complete information on age, residence, and vaccination status. Among 53,153 HCWs eligible for the two-dose analysis, 47,170 (89%) received at least one dose of CoronaVac and 2,656 individuals (5%) underwent RT-PCR testing from 19 January, 2021 to 13 April, 2021. Of 3,195 RT-PCR tests, 885 (28%) were positive. 393 and 418 case- control pairs were selected for the early and two-dose analyses, respectively, matched on calendar time, age, and neighbourhood. Among those who had received both vaccine doses before the RT-PCR sample collection date, the average time from second dose to sample collection date was 14 days (IQR 7-24). In the early analysis, vaccination with at least one dose was associated with a 0.50-fold reduction (adjusted vaccine effectiveness (VE), 49.6%, 95% CI 11.3 to 71.4) in the odds of symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection during the period 14 days or more after receiving the first dose. However, we estimated low effectiveness (adjusted VE 36.8%, 95% CI -54.9 to 74.2) of the two-dose schedule against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection during the period 14 days or more after receiving the second dose. A finding that vaccinated individuals were much more likely to be infected than unvaccinated individuals in the period 0-13 days after first dose (aOR 2.11, 95% CI 1.36-3.27) suggests that unmeasured confounding led to downward bias in the vaccine effectiveness estimate. Interpretation Evidence from this test-negative study of the effectiveness of CoronaVac was mixed, and likely affected by bias in this setting. Administration of at least one vaccine dose showed effectiveness against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in the setting of epidemic Gamma variant transmission. However, the low estimated effectiveness of the two-dose schedule underscores the need to maintain non-pharmaceutical interventions while vaccination campaigns with CoronaVac are being implemented. Funding Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Fiocruz); Municipal Health Secretary of Manaus Research in Context Evidence before this study We searched PubMed for articles published from inception of the pandemic until April 3, 2021, with no language restrictions, using the search terms “P.1” AND “vaccine” AND “SARS-CoV-2”. Additionally, we searched for “CoronaVac” AND “SARS-CoV-2”. Early studies have found plasma from convalescent COVID-19 patients and sera from vaccinated individuals have reduced neutralisation of the SARS-CoV-2 variant, Gamma or P.1, compared with strains isolated earlier in the pandemic. Pfizer BNT162b2 mRNA, Oxford-AstraZeneca ChAdOx1, and CoronaVac are the only vaccines for which such data has been published to date. No studies reported effectiveness of any vaccine on reducing the risk of infection or disease among individuals exposed to P.1 or in settings of high P.1 transmission. Added value of this study This study finds that vaccination with CoronaVac was 49.4% (95% CI 13.2 to 71.9) effective at preventing COVID-19 in a setting with likely high prevalence of the Gamma Variant of Concern. However, an analysis of effectiveness by dose was underpowered and failed to find significant effectiveness of the two-dose schedule of CoronaVac (estimated VE 37.1%, 95% CI -53.3 to 74.2). Implications of all the available evidence These findings are suggestive for the effectiveness of CoronaVac in healthcare workers in the setting of widespread P.1 transmission but must be strengthened by observational studies in other settings and populations. Based on this evidence, there is a need to implement sustained non-pharmaceutical interventions even as vaccination campaigns continue.
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