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      Seroprevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 virus in Northern Serbia (Vojvodina): A four consecutive sentinel population-based survey study

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          Abstract

          Background

          Monitoring changes of seroprevalence over time is important at the beginning and during of COVID-19 outbreak to anticipate its dynamics and plan an adequate public health response.

          Methods

          We conducted a repeated cross-sectional investigation among asymptomatic outpatient subjects and covered 0.1% of total population of Northern Serbia (Autonomous Province of Vojvodina). Each participant was tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using an immunochromatographic qualitative test (point-of-care rapid test). In the last round of survey IgG antibodies targeting the S1 subunit of the spike protein and the nucleocapsid protein of SARS-CoV-2 virus were assessed.

          Results

          During the four rounds of survey (between the end of April and the end of September), anti-SARS-CoV-2 seropositivities based on immunochromatographic test results were 2.60% (95% CI 1.80–3.63), 3.93% (95% CI 2.85–5.28), 6.11% (95% CI 4.72–7.77) and 14.60% (95% 12.51–16.89), respectively. After adjusting with results obtained from the Line immunoassay test, the estimated overall seroprevalence increased to 16.67% (95% CI 14.45–19.08) corresponding to 322,033 infections in total by the end of September 2020 in Vojvodina’s population. Throughout the course of the study, for every RT-PCR confirmed case of COVID-19, there were 39–87 additional infections in Vojvodina. No significant difference (p>0.05) in SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity regarding gender and between age subgroups was observed over the course of the survey.

          Conclusions

          The population prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies implies much more widespread infection in Vojvodina than indicated by the number of confirmed cases. However, our results suggest that the population of Vojvodina has not reached a desirable level of protection from SARS-CoV-2 virus by the end of September 2020.

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          Most cited references29

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          Antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in patients with COVID-19

          We report acute antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 in 285 patients with COVID-19. Within 19 days after symptom onset, 100% of patients tested positive for antiviral immunoglobulin-G (IgG). Seroconversion for IgG and IgM occurred simultaneously or sequentially. Both IgG and IgM titers plateaued within 6 days after seroconversion. Serological testing may be helpful for the diagnosis of suspected patients with negative RT-PCR results and for the identification of asymptomatic infections.
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            Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in Spain (ENE-COVID): a nationwide, population-based seroepidemiological study

            Summary Background Spain is one of the European countries most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Serological surveys are a valuable tool to assess the extent of the epidemic, given the existence of asymptomatic cases and little access to diagnostic tests. This nationwide population-based study aims to estimate the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Spain at national and regional level. Methods 35 883 households were selected from municipal rolls using two-stage random sampling stratified by province and municipality size, with all residents invited to participate. From April 27 to May 11, 2020, 61 075 participants (75·1% of all contacted individuals within selected households) answered a questionnaire on history of symptoms compatible with COVID-19 and risk factors, received a point-of-care antibody test, and, if agreed, donated a blood sample for additional testing with a chemiluminescent microparticle immunoassay. Prevalences of IgG antibodies were adjusted using sampling weights and post-stratification to allow for differences in non-response rates based on age group, sex, and census-tract income. Using results for both tests, we calculated a seroprevalence range maximising either specificity (positive for both tests) or sensitivity (positive for either test). Findings Seroprevalence was 5·0% (95% CI 4·7–5·4) by the point-of-care test and 4·6% (4·3–5·0) by immunoassay, with a specificity–sensitivity range of 3·7% (3·3–4·0; both tests positive) to 6·2% (5·8–6·6; either test positive), with no differences by sex and lower seroprevalence in children younger than 10 years ( 10%) and lower in coastal areas (<3%). Seroprevalence among 195 participants with positive PCR more than 14 days before the study visit ranged from 87·6% (81·1–92·1; both tests positive) to 91·8% (86·3–95·3; either test positive). In 7273 individuals with anosmia or at least three symptoms, seroprevalence ranged from 15·3% (13·8–16·8) to 19·3% (17·7–21·0). Around a third of seropositive participants were asymptomatic, ranging from 21·9% (19·1–24·9) to 35·8% (33·1–38·5). Only 19·5% (16·3–23·2) of symptomatic participants who were seropositive by both the point-of-care test and immunoassay reported a previous PCR test. Interpretation The majority of the Spanish population is seronegative to SARS-CoV-2 infection, even in hotspot areas. Most PCR-confirmed cases have detectable antibodies, but a substantial proportion of people with symptoms compatible with COVID-19 did not have a PCR test and at least a third of infections determined by serology were asymptomatic. These results emphasise the need for maintaining public health measures to avoid a new epidemic wave. Funding Spanish Ministry of Health, Institute of Health Carlos III, and Spanish National Health System.
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              Seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in Geneva, Switzerland (SEROCoV-POP): a population-based study

              Summary Background Assessing the burden of COVID-19 on the basis of medically attended case numbers is suboptimal given its reliance on testing strategy, changing case definitions, and disease presentation. Population-based serosurveys measuring anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (anti-SARS-CoV-2) antibodies provide one method for estimating infection rates and monitoring the progression of the epidemic. Here, we estimate weekly seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the population of Geneva, Switzerland, during the epidemic. Methods The SEROCoV-POP study is a population-based study of former participants of the Bus Santé study and their household members. We planned a series of 12 consecutive weekly serosurveys among randomly selected participants from a previous population-representative survey, and their household members aged 5 years and older. We tested each participant for anti-SARS-CoV-2-IgG antibodies using a commercially available ELISA. We estimated seroprevalence using a Bayesian logistic regression model taking into account test performance and adjusting for the age and sex of Geneva's population. Here we present results from the first 5 weeks of the study. Findings Between April 6 and May 9, 2020, we enrolled 2766 participants from 1339 households, with a demographic distribution similar to that of the canton of Geneva. In the first week, we estimated a seroprevalence of 4·8% (95% CI 2·4–8·0, n=341). The estimate increased to 8·5% (5·9–11·4, n=469) in the second week, to 10·9% (7·9–14·4, n=577) in the third week, 6·6% (4·3–9·4, n=604) in the fourth week, and 10·8% (8·2–13·9, n=775) in the fifth week. Individuals aged 5–9 years (relative risk [RR] 0·32 [95% CI 0·11–0·63]) and those older than 65 years (RR 0·50 [0·28–0·78]) had a significantly lower risk of being seropositive than those aged 20–49 years. After accounting for the time to seroconversion, we estimated that for every reported confirmed case, there were 11·6 infections in the community. Interpretation These results suggest that most of the population of Geneva remained uninfected during this wave of the pandemic, despite the high prevalence of COVID-19 in the region (5000 reported clinical cases over <2·5 months in the population of half a million people). Assuming that the presence of IgG antibodies is associated with immunity, these results highlight that the epidemic is far from coming to an end by means of fewer susceptible people in the population. Further, a significantly lower seroprevalence was observed for children aged 5–9 years and adults older than 65 years, compared with those aged 10–64 years. These results will inform countries considering the easing of restrictions aimed at curbing transmission. Funding Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, Swiss School of Public Health (Corona Immunitas research program), Fondation de Bienfaisance du Groupe Pictet, Fondation Ancrage, Fondation Privée des Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, and Center for Emerging Viral Diseases.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: MethodologyRole: ResourcesRole: ValidationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: MethodologyRole: Supervision
                Role: Data curationRole: Formal analysisRole: InvestigationRole: ResourcesRole: ValidationRole: Visualization
                Role: ConceptualizationRole: VisualizationRole: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Writing – original draftRole: Writing – review & editing
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                9 July 2021
                2021
                9 July 2021
                : 16
                : 7
                : e0254516
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia
                [2 ] Institute of Public Health of Vojvodina, Novi Sad, Serbia
                [3 ] Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia
                University of Zambia, ZAMBIA
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6923-189X
                Article
                PONE-D-21-00866
                10.1371/journal.pone.0254516
                8270141
                34242377
                77656568-211a-4f58-b3fc-32a438b5ed14
                © 2021 Ristić et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                : 9 January 2021
                : 28 June 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Pages: 15
                Funding
                The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The authors received no specific funding for this work.
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