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EClinicalMedicine ; 41: 101172, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1474488


BACKGROUND: By the end of July 2021 Zimbabwe, has reported over 100,000 SARS-CoV-2 infections. The true number of SARS-CoV-2 infections is likely to be much higher. We conducted a seroprevalence survey to estimate the prevalence of past SARS-CoV-2 in three high-density communities in Harare, Zimbabwe before and after the second wave of SARS-CoV-2. METHODS: Between November 2020 and April 2021 we conducted a cross-sectional study of randomly selected households in three high-density communities (Budiriro, Highfield and Mbare) in Harare. Consenting participants answered a questionnaire and a dried blood spot sample was taken. Samples were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibodies using the Roche e801 platform. FINDINGS: A total of 2340 individuals participated in the study. SARS-CoV-2 antibody results were available for 70·1% (620/885) and 73·1% (1530/2093) of eligible participants in 2020 and 2021. The median age was 22 (IQR 10-37) years and 978 (45·5%) were men. SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence was 19·0% (95% CI 15·1-23·5%) in 2020 and 53·0% (95% CI 49·6-56·4) in 2021. The prevalence ratio was 2·47 (95% CI 1·94-3·15) comparing 2020 with 2021 after adjusting for age, sex, and community. Almost half of all participants who tested positive reported no symptoms in the preceding six months. INTERPRETATION: Following the second wave, one in two people had been infected with SARS-CoV-2 suggesting high levels of community transmission. Our results suggest that 184,800 (172,900-196,700) SARS-CoV-2 infections occurred in these three communities alone, greatly exceeding the reported number of cases for the whole city. Further seroprevalence surveys are needed to understand transmission during the current third wave despite high prevalence of past infections. FUNDING: GCRF, Government of Canada, Wellcome Trust, Bavarian State Ministry of Sciences, Research, and the Arts.