To FFP or not to FFP: variation in national guidelines on respiratory protection during the COVID-19 pandemic

Probably the most contentious aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic has been PPE for staff. And within that, the most contentious aspect of PPE has been respiratory protection when caring for patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19: to FFP or not to FFP? I have been involved in a review of international guidelines to identify variation and track the changes in the guidelines over time. Things have changed as evidence has emerged, but international guidelines still disagree on where and when FFP respirators should be worn when caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The review also tracked variation and changes in recommendations about what should be considered an AGP.

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Hospital-onset COVID-19 (HOCI): a systematic review

As we get into gear to prepare for the next epidemic wave of COVID-19 affecting healthcare providers (hoping that it will not come), it’s a good time to review where we have got to with the surveillance of healthcare-associated COVID-19. Colleagues at Imperial have just published a systematic review of the latest literature on this important issue. Whilst uncertainties remain about surveillance definitions and exactly what “healthcare-associated COVID-19 infection” is, the message is clear that healthcare-providers must have in place clear and rapid systems for identifying healthcare-associated COVID-19 to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in healthcare facilities.

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B.1.617.2: an update

PHE released the latest epidemiological summary of the B.1.617.2 VOC (aka “the variant that was first identified in India”) a few days ago. Evidence is emerging rapidly, and the datasets are far from conclusive. But it now seems clear that B.1.617.2 is more transmissible, causes no more hospitalisation or mortality, and vaccine effectiveness is slightly reduced when compared with other variants.

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The role of ventilation in preventing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2

I gave a talk at the Sussex Infection Prevention Development Week yesterday on ventilation and preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2. I learnt a lot in putting together the talk, so thought I’d share my slides (here) and some of the key points. Ventilation is a crucial way to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (and other respiratory viruses), and I hope that improved ventilation in health and social care settings will be one of the good things to come out of this pandemic.

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The role of IPC, vaccination, and OTC distribution in AMR

I had the privilege of chairing a session in the BSAC Spring Conference webinars yesterday about the role of IPC, vaccination, and OTC distribution in AMR. The session had a talk from Professor Andreas Voss on IPC as a cornerstone of successful stewardship, Dr Elizabeth Klemm on prevention through vaccination, and Dr Abdul Ghafur on community pharmacy and the challenge of over-the-counter (OTC) distribution.

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A plea to stay away from work if you’re ill

I have a confession. A few years ago I came to work when I was ill. Not desperately ill – but clammy-stay-in-bed-didn’t-want-to-ride-my-bike ill. Ill enough to stay away from work. But I was really busy and had loads to do. Working from home wasn’t really an option back then – you know, in the days when meetings were mainly face-to-face. Sure, you could dial in. But people often forgot you were there and couldn’t really hear you properly when you said something. So, I came to work. It was just before Christmas. And my gift to my office-sharer was a really nasty respiratory virus for Christmas.

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