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Increased Risk of Hospitalisation Associated with Infection with SARS-CoV-2 Lineage B.1.1.7 in Denmark
16 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2021More...
Background: The more infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus lineage B.1.1.7, rapidly spread in Europe after December 2020, and a concern of B.1.1.7 causing more severe disease has been raised. Denmark has one of Europe´s highest capacities per capita of SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT PCR) test and whole genome sequencing (WGS). We used national health register-data to explore whether B.1.1.7 increases the risk of COVID-19 hospitalisation.
Methods and Findings: In an observational cohort study we included all SARS-CoV-2 RT PCR test-positive individuals in Denmark sampled between the 1st January and until the 9th February, 2021, identified in the national COVID-19 surveillance system. The surveillance system includes national individual RT PCR test results and viral WGS analyses and data from national health registers including COVID-19 related hospital admissions defined as first admission within 14 days of the test-positive swab. The odds ratio (OR) of admission according to infection with B.1.1.7, vs other co-existing lineages, was calculated in a logistic regression model adjusted for sex, age, period, follow-up time less than 14 days, region, and comorbidities. A total of 35,887 test-positive individuals were identified, 23,057 (64%) had WGS performed, of whom 18,499 (80%) resulted in a viral genome and a total of 2,155 of these were lineage B.1.1.7. The proportion of individuals with B.1.1.7 increased from 4% in early January to 45% in early February. Among the individuals with viral genome data, B.1.1.7 was associated with a crude OR of admission of 0.87 (95%CI, 0.72-1.05) and an adjusted OR of 1.64 (95%CI, 1.32-2.04) based on 128 admissions after B.1.1.7 infection and 1,107 admissions after infection with other lineages. The adjusted OR was increased in all strata of age and calendar time - the two most important confounders of the crude OR.
Conclusions: Infection with lineage B.1.1.7 was associated with an increased risk of hospitalisation compared with other lineages. This finding may have serious public health impact in countries with spread of B.1.1.7 and can support hospital preparedness and modelling of projected impact of the epidemic.
Funding Statement: The authors received no specific funding for this work.
Declaration of Interests: The authors declare that they have no competing interest.
Ethics Approval Statement: This study was conducted on administrative register data. According to Danish law, ethics approval is not needed for such research.
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