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Infect Dis (Lond) ; 54(9): 666-676, 2022 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1868223


BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated the need to rapidly make public health decisions. We systematically evaluated SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity to understand local COVID-19 epidemiology and support evidence-based public health decision making. METHODS: Residual blood samples were collected for SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD) IgG testing over a 1-5 day period monthly from 26 February 2021-9 July 2021 from six clinical laboratories across the province of Alberta, Canada. Monthly crude and adjusted (for age and gender) seropositivity were calculated. Results were linked to provincial administrative, laboratory, and vaccine databases. RESULTS: 60,632 individual blood samples were tested. Vaccination data were available for 98.8% of samples. Adjusted RBD IgG positivity rose from 11.9% (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.9-12.0%) in March 2021 to 70.2% (95% CI 70.2-70.3%) in July 2021 (p < .0001). Seropositivity rose from 9.4% (95% CI 9.3-9.4%) in March 2021 to 20.2% (95% CI 20.1-20.2%) in July 2021 in unvaccinated Albertans. Unvaccinated seropositive individuals were from geographic areas with significantly (p < .001) lower median household income, lower proportion of married/common-law relationships, larger average household size and higher proportions of visible minorities compared to seronegative unvaccinated individuals. In July 2021, the age groups with the lowest and highest seropositivity in unvaccinated Albertans were those ≥80 years (12.0%, 95% CI 5.3-18.6%) and 20-29 years (24.2%, 95% CI 19.6-28.8%), respectively. Of seropositive unvaccinated individuals, 50.2% (95% CI 45.9-54.5%) had no record of prior SARS-CoV-2 molecular testing. CONCLUSIONS: Longitudinal surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 seropositivity with data linkage is valuable for decision-making during the pandemic.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Aged, 80 and over , Alberta/epidemiology , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Pandemics , Vaccination
Microbiol Spectr ; 9(1): e0029121, 2021 09 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1361970


We systematically evaluated SARS-CoV-2 IgG positivity in a provincial cohort to understand the local epidemiology of COVID-19 and support evidence-based public health decisions. Residual blood samples were collected for serology testing over 5-day periods monthly from June 2020 to January 2021 from six clinical laboratories across the province of Alberta, Canada. A total of 93,993 individual patient samples were tested with a SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibody assay with positives confirmed using a spike antibody assay. Population-adjusted SARS-CoV-2 IgG seropositivity was 0.92% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.91 to 0.93%) shortly after the first COVID-19 wave in June 2020, increasing to 4.63% (95% CI: 4.61 to 4.65%) amid the second wave in January 2021. There was no significant difference in seropositivity between males and females (1.39% versus 1.27%; P = 0.11). Ages with highest seropositivity were 0 to 9 years (2.71%, 95% CI: 1.64 to 3.78%) followed by 20 to 29 years (1.58%, 95% CI: 1.12 to 2.04%), with the lowest rates seen in those aged 70 to 79 (0.79%, 95% CI: 0.65 to 0.93%) and >80 (0.78%, 95% CI: 0.60 to 0.97%). Compared to the seronegative group, seropositive patients inhabited geographic areas with lower household income ($87,500 versus $97,500; P < 0.001), larger household sizes, and higher proportions of people with education levels of secondary school or lower, as well as immigrants and visible minority groups (all P < 0.05). A total of 53.7% of seropositive individuals were potentially undetected cases with no prior positive COVID-19 nucleic acid test (NAAT). Antibodies were detectable in some patients up to 9 months post positive NAAT result. This seroprevalence study will continue to inform public health decisions by identifying at-risk demographics and geographical areas. IMPORTANCE Using SARS-CoV-2 serology testing, we assessed the proportion of people in Alberta, Canada (population 4.4 million) positive for COVID-19 antibodies, indicating previous infection, during the first two waves of the COVID-19 pandemic (prior to vaccination programs). Linking these results with sociodemographic population data provides valuable information as to which groups of the population are more likely to have been infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus to help facilitate public health decision-making and interventions. We also compared seropositivity data with previous COVID-19 molecular testing results. Absence of antibody and molecular testing were highly correlated (95% negative concordance). Positive antibody correlation with a previous positive molecular test was low, suggesting the possibility of mild/asymptomatic infection or other reasons leading individuals from seeking medical attention. Our data highlight that the true estimate of population prevalence of COVID-19 is likely best informed by combining data from both serology and molecular testing.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/immunology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Alberta , Asymptomatic Infections/epidemiology , COVID-19/prevention & control , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Male , Middle Aged , Molecular Diagnostic Techniques , Prevalence , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Social Class , Young Adult
J Clin Microbiol ; 58(10)2020 09 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-646227


Coronavirus disease (COVID) serological tests are essential to determine the overall seroprevalence of a population and to facilitate exposure estimates within that population. We performed a head-to-head assessment of enzyme immunoassays (EIAs) and point-of-care lateral flow assays (POCTs) to detect severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies. Demographics, symptoms, comorbidities, treatment, and mortality of patients whose sera were used were also reviewed. Six EIAs (Abbott, Affinity, Bio-Rad, DiaSorin, Euroimmun, and Roche) and six POCTs (BTNX, Biolidics, Deep Blue, Genrui, Getein BioTech, and Innovita) were evaluated for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in known COVID-19-infected individuals. Sensitivity of EIAs ranged from 50 to 100%, with only four assays having overall sensitivities of >95% after 21 days after symptom onset. Notably, cross-reactivity with other respiratory viruses (parainfluenza virus [PIV-4] [n = 5], human metapneumovirus [hMPV] [n = 3], rhinovirus/enterovirus [n = 1], CoV-229E [n = 2], CoV-NL63 [n = 2], and CoV-OC43 [n = 2]) was observed; however, overall specificity of EIAs was good (92 to 100%; all but one assay had specificity above 95%). POCTs were 0 to 100% sensitive >21 days after onset, with specificity ranging from 96 to 100%. However, many POCTs had faint banding and were often difficult to interpret. Serology assays can detect SARS-CoV-2 antibodies as early as 10 days after symptom onset. Serology assays vary in their sensitivity based on the marker (IgA/IgM versus IgG versus total) and by manufacturer; however, overall only 4 EIAs and 4 POCTs had sensitivities of >95% >21 days after symptom onset. Cross-reactivity with other seasonal coronaviruses is of concern. Serology assays should not be used for the diagnosis of acute infection but rather in carefully designed serosurveys to facilitate understanding of seroprevalence in a population and to identify previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Antibodies, Viral/blood , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , Betacoronavirus/immunology , COVID-19 Testing , Clinical Laboratory Techniques , Coronavirus Infections/blood , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Cross Reactions , Female , Humans , Immunoenzyme Techniques , Male , Middle Aged , Point-of-Care Systems , SARS-CoV-2 , Sensitivity and Specificity , Seroepidemiologic Studies , Serologic Tests , Time Factors