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Seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to SARS-coronavirus in asymptomatic or subclinical population groups

  • G. M. LEUNG (a1) (a2), W. W. LIM (a3), L.-M. HO (a1), T.-H. LAM (a1), A. C. GHANI (a4), C. A. DONNELLY (a4), C. FRASER (a4), S. RILEY (a4), N. M. FERGUSON (a4), R. M. ANDERSON (a4) and A. J. HEDLEY (a1)...

Abstract

We systematically reviewed the current understanding of human population immunity against SARS-CoV in different groups, settings and geography. Our meta-analysis, which included all identified studies except those on wild animal handlers, yielded an overall seroprevalence of 0·10% [95% confidence interval (CI) 0·02–0·18]. Health-care workers and others who had close contact with SARS patients had a slightly higher degree of seroconversion (0·23%, 95% CI 0·02–0·45) compared to healthy blood donors, others from the general community or non-SARS patients recruited from the health-care setting (0·16%, 95% CI 0–0·37). When analysed by the two broad classes of testing procedures, it is clear that serial confirmatory test protocols resulted in a much lower estimate (0·050%, 95% CI 0–0·15) than single test protocols (0·20%, 95% CI 0·06–0·34). Potential epidemiological and laboratory pitfalls are also discussed as they may give rise to false or inconsistent results in measuring the seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, 21 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China. (Email: gmleung@hkucc.hk)

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