As CoVICIS enters its third year of implementation, the CoVICIS study teams continue conducting cutting edge research in Europe and sub-Saharan Africa on SARS-CoV-2 and its implications for infectious disease, key populations and possible future pandemics. CoVICIS team members attend monthly calls with the United Cohorts network of EU funded cohort studies where partners share the latest research and brainstorm solutions to overcome research challenges and finding ways to improve results through collaboration.

Here are some recently published findings from the EuCare consortium.

In-hospital mortality during the wild-type, alpha, delta, and omicron SARS-CoV-2 waves: a multinational cohort study in the EuCARE project. 

Investigating outcomes of hospitalised COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic is crucial to understand the impact of different SARS-CoV-2 variants. Researchers compared 28-day in-hospital mortality of Wild-type, Alpha, Delta, and Omicron variant infections, as well as variation of risk by age group. 

They conducted a cohort study of 38,585 patients ≥18 years from nine countries. Variant was classified based on sequenced viruses or from national public metadata. Mortality was compared using the cumulative incidence function and subdistribution hazard ratios (SHR) adjusted for age, sex, calendar time, and comorbidities. Mortality incidence decreased cumulatively throughout the study period; this seems to reflect a combined effect of immunity from vaccinations and previous infections, although differences in virulence between SARS-CoV-2 variants may also have contributed.

Serological screening in a large-scale municipal survey in Cascais, Portugal, during the first waves of the COVID-19 pandemic: lessons for future pandemic preparedness efforts

Understanding how to involve different population groups in municipal pandemic response is important for planning and preparing for future pandemics. In Cascais (Portugal), serological testing combined with a comprehensive socio-demographic, clinical and behavioral questionnaire was offered to residents between May 2020 and beginning of 2021. 

This study analyzed the factors associated with adherence to this municipal initiative, as well as the sociodemographic profile and chronic diseases clinical correlates associated to seropositivity. This was a cross-sectional study with non-probabilistic sampling. Data from 19,608 participants (9.2% of Cascais residents) showed that groups with lower adherence were men, the youngest and the oldest age groups, individuals with lower levels of education and unemployed/inactive. Significant predictors of a reactive (positive) serological test were younger age, being employed or a student, and living in larger households. Individuals with chronic diseases generally showed lower seroprevalence. The groups with low adherence to this voluntary study, as well as the socio-economic contexts identified as more at risk of viral transmission, may be targeted in future pandemic situations. We also found that the individuals with chronic diseases, perceiving higher risk of serious illness, adopted protective behaviors that limited infection rates, revealing that health education on preventive measures was effective for these patients.