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Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20219030


Although the COVID-19 pandemic peaked in March/April 2020 in France, the prevalence of infection is barely known. Herein, we assessed using high-throughput methods the serological response against the SARS-CoV-2 virus of 1847 participants working in one institution in Paris. In May-July 2020, 11% (95% CI: 9.7-12.6) of serums were positive for IgG against the SARS-CoV-2 N and S proteins and 9.5% (CI:8.2-11.0) were pseudo-neutralizer. The prevalence of immunization was 11.6% (CI:10.2-13.2) considering positivity in at least one assays. In 5% (CI:3.9-7.1) of RT-qPCR positive individuals, no systemic IgGs were detected. Among immune individuals, 21% had been asymptomatic. Anosmia and ageusia occurred in 52% of the IgG-positive individuals and in 3% of the negative ones. In contrast, 30% of the anosmia-ageusia cases were seronegative suggesting that the true prevalence of infection may reach 16.6%. In sera obtained 4-8 weeks after the first sampling anti-N and anti-S IgG titers and pseudo-neutralization activity declined by 31%, 17% and 53%, respectively with half-life of 35, 87 and 28 days, respectively. The population studied is representative of active workers in Paris. The short lifespan of the serological systemic responses suggests an underestimation the true prevalence of infection.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20213116


BackgroundAssessment of cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections is critical for monitoring the course and the extent of the epidemic. As asymptomatic or mild cases were typically not captured by surveillance data in France, we implemented nationwide serological surveillance. We present estimates for prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the French population and the proportion of infected individuals who developed potentially protective neutralizing antibodies throughout the first epidemic wave. MethodsWe performed serial cross-sectional sampling of residual sera over three periods: prior to (9-15 March), during (6-12 April) and following (11-17 May) a nationwide lockdown. Each sample was tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies targeting the Nucleoprotein and Spike using two Luciferase-Linked ImmunoSorbent Assays, and for neutralising antibodies using a pseudo-neutralisation assay. We fitted a general linear mixed model of seropositivity in a Bayesian framework to derive prevalence estimates stratified by age, sex and region. FindingsIn total, sera from 11 021 individuals were analysed. Nationwide seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was estimated at 0.41% [0.05-0.88] mid-March, 4.14% [3.31-4.99] mid-April and 4.93% [4.02-5.89] mid-May. Approximately 70% of seropositive individuals had detectable neutralising antibodies. Seroprevalence was higher in regions where circulation occurred earlier and was more intense. Seroprevalence was lowest in children under 10 years of age (2.72% [1.10-4.87]). InterpretationSeroprevalence estimates confirm that the nationwide lockdown substantially curbed transmission and that the vast majority of the French population remains susceptible to SARS-CoV-2. Low seroprevalence in school age children suggests limited susceptibility and/or transmissibility in this age group. Our results show a clear picture of the progression of the first epidemic wave and provide a framework to inform the ongoing public health response as viral transmission is picking up again in France and globally. FundingSante publique France.

Preprint in English | medRxiv | ID: ppmedrxiv-20207795


BackgroundA nationwide lockdown was implemented in France on 17 March 2020 to control the COVID-19 pandemic. People living in precarious conditions were relocated by the authorities to emergency shelters, hotels and large venues. Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) then intervened to provide medical care in several of these locations in Paris and in Seine-Saint-Denis, one of its suburbs, between March and June 2020. A seroprevalence survey was conducted to assess the level of exposure to COVID-19 among the population living in the sites. To our knowledge, this is the first assessment of the impact of the pandemic on populations living in insecure conditions in Europe. MethodsWe conducted a cross-sectional seroprevalence study in the food distribution sites, emergency shelters and workers residences supported by MSF in Paris and Seine-Saint-Denis, to determine the extent of COVID-19 exposure as determined by SARS-CoV2 antibody seropositivity. The detection of SARS-COV2 antibodies in serum was performed at the Institut Pasteur of Paris using two LuLISA (Luciferase-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) assays and a Pseudo Neutralization Test. A questionnaire covering sociodemographic characteristics, living conditions, adherence to sanitary recommendations and symptom manifestations was also completed. We describe here the seroprevalence site by site and identify the risk factors for seropositivity using a multivariable logistic regression model with site random effects. We also investigated associations between seropositivity and symptoms eventually reported. FindingsOverall, 426/818 individuals tested positive in the 14 sites investigated. Seroprevalence varied significantly with the type of site (chi2 p<0.001). It was highest at 88.7% (95%CI 81.8-93.2) among individuals living in workers residences, followed by 50.5% (95%CI 46.3-54.7) in emergency shelters and 27.8 % (95%CI 20.8-35.7) among individuals recruited from the food distribution sites. Seroprevalence also varied significantly between sites of the same type. Among other risk factors, the odds for seropositivity were higher among individuals living in crowded sites (medium: adj. OR 2.7, 95%CI 1.5-5.1, p=0.001; high: adj. OR 3.4, 95%CI 1.7-6.9, p<0.001) compared with individuals from low crowding sites and among those who reported transit accommodation in a gymnasium before the lockdown (adj. OR 3.1, 95%CI 1.2-8.1, p=0.023). More than two-thirds of the seropositive individuals (68.3%; 95%CI 64.2-72.2) did not report any symptoms during the recall period. InterpretationThe results demonstrate rather high exposure to SARS-COV-2 with important variations between study sites. Living in crowded conditions was identified as the most important explanatory factor for differences in levels of exposure. This study describes the key factors which determine the risk of exposure and illustrates the importance of identifying populations at high risk of exposure in order to orient and adapt prevention and control strategies to their specific needs.