4 February 2022
At the beginning of 2022, the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has not stopped yet. Despite high vaccination coverage, the number of positive cases has reached a record level. In addition, a new SARS-CoV-2 variant has emerged (Omicron variant) with a higher infection rate compared to previous variants. Both of these aspects may have a significant effect on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 within households. However, the extent of that effect has not yet been quantified. Therefore, a new study to analyse the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 infections within households was launched in January 2022.
By restarting the household study, RECOVER will be able to compare the transmission from the “old” unvaccinated households with the current situation, where the majority of the adults and, to a lesser extent, the children are vaccinated and other variants circulate within the household. In this follow-up study, a more intensive sampling is planned to better understand the transmission early on. The study is designed as a prospective observational cohort study of households with a confirmed SARS-Cov-2 infection in one of the household members. Households are enrolled as soon as possible following identification of the index case and followed for 4-6 weeks. The focus will be on transmission of the new omicron variant in families with children <18 years of age in a mainly vaccinated population. In the fourth week of January 2022, 52 households were already included in the study.
This new study is a synergistic collaboration between the RECOVER consortium and the VERDI consortium. Both projects are funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 research framework. LAB-Net will act as the central laboratory network for this study. Involved from the early start of the study, LAB-Net prepares study specifications, sample collection kits and information brochures to make sure all study samples will be collected in a standardised way.
LAB-Net maintains an extensive pan-European network of microbiology laboratories. The objective is supporting antibacterial drug development via various clinical trials. The overall objective of LAB-Net is to establish, train, and maintain a high-quality geographically representative European laboratory network. The network consists of routine diagnostic laboratories, specialized research microbiology laboratories, and a central coordinating laboratory at the University of Antwerp.
Verdi is a project that prioritizes women and children in the research on new coronavirus variants of concern. Through a multidisciplinary global network, we want to improve the understanding of the epidemiology, transmission, disease progression and treatment of variants of SARS-CoV-2 among children and pregnant women, to inform public health strategies.