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SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence During the First and Second Pandemic Waves in Canada
30 Pages Posted: 12 Aug 2021More...
Background: The prevalence of infection in Canada’s COVID-19 viral waves, the predictors of infection, and the durability of antibody responses to infection remain undocumented.
Methods: We organized serial online surveys of a representative group of Canadian adults about their COVID experience in the first (n=19 994; April-July 2020) and second viral wave (n=14 621; October 2020-March 2021). We paired these with IgG analysis of SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in self-collected dried blood spots after the first (n=8967) and second (n=7102) waves.
Findings: Canada’s cumulative seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 among unvaccinated adults rose from ~2% after the first wave to 7% after the second. The seropositivity pattern was heterogeneous demographically and geographically during the first wave, but more homogeneous by the second (except in the four Atlantic Provinces, cumulative seroprevalence ~3%). Seroprevalence among visible minorities rose sharply from about 2% to >8% from the first to second wave. About a quarter of those reporting COVID symptoms during the second wave were seropositive, and in both waves the odds ratio (OR) of seropositivity for COVID symptoms exceeded six. About one-fifth of seropositives reported no symptoms. Of 134 seropositive adults in the first wave who were retested after the second, 83% (111) remained seropositive at least seven months later. Current smokers and people with a history of diabetes had lower ORs of infection. We calculated the absolute numbers of seropositive adults nationwide, which nearly quadrupled from 0.57 million to 1.90 million, with the largest increases among older adults. Infection fatality rates fell from 3.7 to 2.6/1000 infections, most notably at older ages.
Interpretation: Canada’s COVID pandemic grew substantially between the first and second viral waves. Home-based DBS collection offers a practicable way to document evolving demographic and geographic patterns and to assess the levels and durability of population immunity, including from SARS-CoV-2 vaccination.
Funding: Pfizer Global Medical, Unity Health Foundation, and the Canadian COVID-19 Immunity Task Force.
Declaration of Interest: None to declare.
Ethical Approval: The Ab-C study was approved by the Unity Health Toronto Ethics Review Board.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation