SARS-CoV-2 Sero-Prevalence among General Population and Healthcare Workers in India, December 2020 - January 2021
25 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021 Last revised: 31 Mar 2021
Date Written: March 23, 2021
Background: Repeated cross-sectional serosurveys in the same geographic area establish the trend of the evolving pandemic. We present the findings of the third round of a national serosurvey to estimate the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection among the general population and health care workers of India.
Methods: We conducted the third population-based serosurvey between Dec 18, 2020 and Jan 6, 2021 in the same 700 villages or wards from 70 districts in 21 states across India, which were selected for the first and second serosurveys. We enrolled from each district, at least 400 individuals aged ≥ 10 years from general population and 100 HCWs from sub-district level public health facilities. Serum samples from general population were tested for the presence of IgG antibodies against nucleocapsid (N) and spike protein (S1-RBD) of SARS-CoV-2 using the Abbott and Siemens assays respectively, whereas sera from HCWs were tested for anti-S1-RBD. For general population, sera positive for either of the antibodies were considered positive, while sera positive for anti-S1-RBD were considered as positive for HCW. Weighted seroprevalence estimates were adjusted for sensitivity and specificity of respective assays.
Findings: Of the 28,598 sera from general population, 4585 (16%) had IgG antibodies against N, 6647 (23.2%) against S1-RBD and 7436 (26%) against either. The weighted and assay characteristic adjusted seroprevalence against either of the antibodies was 24.1 (95%CI: 23.0% to 25.3%). Seroprevalence was lower in rural areas (21.4%, 95% CI: 20.3% to 22.6%) compared to urban non-slum (29.4%, 95% CI: 26.9% - 32.1%) and slum areas (34.6%, 95% CI: 31.0% to 38.3%). Among 7385 HCWs, the seroprevalence of anti-S1-RBD IgG antibodies was 25.6% (95% CI: 23.5% to 27.8%).
Interpretation: Nearly one in four individuals aged 10 years or older from general population as well as HCWs were exposed to SARS-CoV-2 by December 2020 amounting to 271 million infections in India.
Note: Funding Statement: Indian Council of Medical Research.
Declaration of Interests: All authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form at www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf and declare no competing interests.
Ethics Approval Statement: The project was approved by Institutional Human Ethics Committee at ICMR-National Institute of Epidemiology.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19, IgG, Seroprevalence, India
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