Assessment of Mortality and Hospital Admissions Associated with Confirmed Infection with SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern VOC-202012/01 (B.1.1.7) a Matched Cohort and Time-to-Event Analysis
28 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 11, 2021
Background: The emergence of VOC202012/01 in England, known as B.1.1.7 or informally as the ‘UK variant’, has coincided with rapid increases in the number of PCR-confirmed positive cases in areas where the variant has been concentrated.
Methods: To assess whether infection with SARS-CoV-2 variant VOC202012/01 is associated with more severe clinical outcomes compared to wild-type infection, genomically sequenced and confirmed variant and wild-type cases were linked to routine healthcare and surveillance datasets. Two statistical analyses were conducted to compare the risk of hospital admission and death within 28 days of test between variant and wild-type cases: a case-control study and an adjusted Cox proportional hazards model. Differences in severity of disease were assessed by comparing hospital admission and mortality, including length of hospitalisation and time to death.
Results: Of 63,609 genomically sequenced COVID-19 cases tested in England between October and December 2020 6,038 were variant cases. In the matched cohort analysis 2,821 variant cases were matched to 2,821 to wild-type cases. In the time to event analysis we observed a 34% increased risk in hospitalisation associated with the variant compared to wild-type cases, however, no significant difference in the risk of mortality was observed.
Conclusion: We found evidence of increased risk of hospitalisation after adjusting for key confounders, suggesting increase infection severity associated with this variant. Follow-up studies are needed to assess potential longer-term differences in the clinical outcomes of people infected with the VOC-202012/01 variant.
Note: Funding Statement: UKRI (project grant MR/V038109/1), Centre funding (MR/R015600/1) from the Medical Research Council and DfID, NIHR (Health Protection Research Unit for Modelling and Health Economics and project.
Declaration of Interests: There is no competing interest declaration for all authors but Prof Neil Furguson would like to acknowledge the following funders: “UKRI (project grant MR/V038109/1), Centre funding (MR/R015600/1) from the Medical Research Council and DfID, NIHR (Health Protection Research Unit for Modelling and Health Economics and project grant PR-OD-1017-20002).”
Ethics Approval Statement: The PHE Research Support and Governance Office exempted this study from full ethical review. The research was classified as surveillance undertaken as part of PHE’s legal responsibility to monitor COVID-19 and was found to be fully compliant with all current regulatory requirements.
Keywords: COVID-19, Epidemiology, VOC202012/01
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