Publications by authors named "K Peariasamy"

11 Publications

Serology surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among healthcare workers in COVID-19 designated facilities in Malaysia.

Lancet Reg Health West Pac 2021 Apr 21;9:100123. Epub 2021 Mar 21.

Institute for Clinical Research, National Institutes of Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia.

Background: Asymptomatic severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections are well documented. Healthcare workers (HCW) are at increased risk of infection due to occupational exposure to infected patients. We aim to determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among HCW who did not come to medical attention.

Methods: We prospectively recruited 400 HCW from the National Public Health Laboratory and two COVID-19 designated public hospitals in Klang Valley, Malaysia between 13/4/2020 and 12/5/2020. Quota sampling was used to ensure representativeness of HCW involved in direct and indirect patient care. All participants answered a self-administered questionnaire and blood samples were taken to test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies by surrogate virus neutralization test.

Findings: The study population comprised 154 (38.5%) nurses, 103 (25.8%) medical doctors, 47 (11.8%) laboratory technologists and others (23.9%). A majority (68.9%) reported exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the past month within their respective workplaces. Adherence to personal protection equipment (PPE) guidelines and hand hygiene were good, ranging from 91-100% compliance. None (95% CI: 0, 0.0095) of the participants had SARS-CoV-2 antibodies detected, despite 182 (45.5%) reporting some symptoms one month prior to study recruitment. One hundred and fifteen (29%) of participants claimed to have had contact with known COVID-19 persons outside of their workplace.

Interpretation: Zero seroprevalence among HCW suggests a low incidence of undiagnosed COVID-19 infection in our healthcare setting during the first local wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection. The occupational risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission within healthcare facilities can be prevented by adherence to infection control measures and appropriate use of PPE.
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April 2021

Clinical characteristics and risk factors for severe COVID-19 infections in Malaysia: A nationwide observational study.

Lancet Reg Health West Pac 2020 Nov 17;4:100055. Epub 2020 Nov 17.

Digital Health Research and Innovation Unit, Institute for Clinical Research, Malaysia.

Background: COVID-19 emerged as a major public health outbreak in late 2019. Malaysia reported its first imported case on 25th January 2020, and adopted a policy of extensive contact tracing and hospitalising of all cases. We describe the clinical characteristics of COVID-19 cases nationwide and determine the risk factors associated with disease severity.

Method: Clinical records of all RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 cases aged ≥12 years admitted to 18 designated hospitals in Malaysia between 1st February and 30th May 2020 with complete outcomes were retrieved. Epidemiological history, co-morbidities, clinical features, investigations, management and complications were captured using REDCap database. Variables were compared between mild and severe diseases. Univariate and multivariate regression were used to identify determinants for disease severity.

Findings: The sample comprised of 5889 cases (median age 34 years, male 71.7%). Majority were mild (92%), and 3.3% required intensive care, with 80% admitted within the first five days. Older age (≥51 years), underlying chronic kidney disease and chronic pulmonary disease, fever, cough, diarrhoea, breathlessness, tachypnoea, abnormal chest radiographs and high serum CRP (≥5 mg/dL) on admission were significant determinants for severity (<0.05). The case fatality rate was 1.2%, and the three commonest complications were liver injuries (6.7%), kidney injuries (4%), and acute respiratory distress syndrome (2.3%).

Interpretations: Lower case fatality rate was possibly contributed by young cases with mild diseases and early hospitalisation. Abnormal chest radiographic findings in elderly with tachypnoea require close monitoring in the first five days to detect early deterioration.
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November 2020

Development of a reverse transcription recombinase polymerase amplification assay for rapid and direct visual detection of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2).

PLoS One 2021 6;16(1):e0245164. Epub 2021 Jan 6.

Institute for Clinical Research (ICR), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Rapid diagnosis is an important intervention in managing the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak. Real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) remains the primary means for diagnosing the new virus strain but it is time consuming and costly. Recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) is an isothermal amplification assay that does not require a PCR machine. It is an affordable, rapid, and simple assay. In this study, we developed and optimized a sensitive reverse transcription (RT)-RPA assay for the rapid detection of SARS-CoV-2 using SYBR Green I and/or lateral flow (LF) strip. The analytical sensitivity and specificity of the RT-RPA assay were tested by using 10-fold serial diluted synthetic RNA and genomic RNA of similar viruses, respectively. Clinical sensitivity and specificity of the RT-RPA assay were carried out using 78 positive and 35 negative nasopharyngeal samples. The detection limit of both RPA and RT-qPCR assays was 7.659 and 5 copies/μL RNA, respectively with no cross reactivity with other viruses. The clinical sensitivity and specificity of RT-RPA were 98% and 100%, respectively. Our study showed that RT-RPA represents a viable alternative to RT-qPCR for the detection of SARS-CoV-2, especially in areas with limited infrastructure.
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January 2021

Tracking the early depleting transmission dynamics of COVID-19 with a time-varying SIR model.

Sci Rep 2020 12 10;10(1):21721. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

Ministry of Health Malaysia, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

The susceptible-infectious-removed (SIR) model offers the simplest framework to study transmission dynamics of COVID-19, however, it does not factor in its early depleting trend observed during a lockdown. We modified the SIR model to specifically simulate the early depleting transmission dynamics of COVID-19 to better predict its temporal trend in Malaysia. The classical SIR model was fitted to observed total (I total), active (I) and removed (R) cases of COVID-19 before lockdown to estimate the basic reproduction number. Next, the model was modified with a partial time-varying force of infection, given by a proportionally depleting transmission coefficient, [Formula: see text] and a fractional term, z. The modified SIR model was then fitted to observed data over 6 weeks during the lockdown. Model fitting and projection were validated using the mean absolute percent error (MAPE). The transmission dynamics of COVID-19 was interrupted immediately by the lockdown. The modified SIR model projected the depleting temporal trends with lowest MAPE for I total, followed by I, I daily and R. During lockdown, the dynamics of COVID-19 depleted at a rate of 4.7% each day with a decreased capacity of 40%. For 7-day and 14-day projections, the modified SIR model accurately predicted I total, I and R. The depleting transmission dynamics for COVID-19 during lockdown can be accurately captured by time-varying SIR model. Projection generated based on observed data is useful for future planning and control of COVID-19.
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December 2020