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To determine the changes in severe acute respiratory coronavirus virus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) serologic status and SARS-CoV-2 infection rates in healthcare workers (HCWs) over 6-months of follow-up.
Prospective cohort study.
Setting and participants:
HCWs in the Chicago area.
Cohort participants were recruited in May and June 2020 for baseline serology testing (Abbott anti-nucleocapsid IgG) and were then invited for follow-up serology testing 6 months later. Participants completed monthly online surveys that assessed demographics, medical history, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and exposures to SARS-CoV-2. The electronic medical record was used to identify SARS-CoV-2 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) positivity during follow-up. Serologic conversion and SARS-CoV-2 infection or possible reinfection rates (cases per 10,000 person days) by antibody status at baseline and follow-up were assessed.
In total, 6,510 HCWs were followed for a total of 1,285,395 person days (median follow-up, 216 days). For participants who had baseline and follow-up serology checked, 285 (6.1%) of the 4,681 seronegative participants at baseline seroconverted to positive at follow-up; 138 (48%) of the 263 who were seropositive at baseline were seronegative at follow-up. When analyzed by baseline serostatus alone, 519 (8.4%) of 6,194 baseline seronegative participants had a positive PCR after baseline serology testing (4.25 per 10,000 person days). Of 316 participants who were seropositive at baseline, 8 (2.5%) met criteria for possible SARS-CoV-2 reinfection (ie, PCR positive >90 days after baseline serology) during follow-up, a rate of 1.27 per 10,000 days at risk. The adjusted rate ratio for possible reinfection in baseline seropositive compared to infection in baseline seronegative participants was 0.26 (95% confidence interval, 0.13–0.53).
Seropositivity in HCWs is associated with moderate protection from future SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Within the Biostatistics, Epidemiology, and Research Design (BERD) component of the Northwestern University Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, we created a mentoring program to complement training provided by the associated Multidisciplinary Career Development Program (KL2). Called Research design Analysis Methods Program (RAMP) Mentors, the program provides each KL2 scholar with individualized, hands-on mentoring in biostatistics, epidemiology, informatics, and related fields, with the goal of building multidisciplinary research teams. From 2015 to 2019, RAMP Mentors paired 8 KL2 scholars with 16 individually selected mentors. Mentors had funded/protected time to meet at least monthly with their scholar to provide advice and instruction on methods for ongoing research, including incorporating novel techniques. RAMP Mentors has been evaluated through focus groups and surveys. KL2 scholars reported high satisfaction with RAMP Mentors and confidence in their ability to establish and maintain methodologic collaborations. Compared with other Northwestern University K awardees, KL2 scholars reported higher confidence in obtaining research funding, including subsequent K or R awards, and selecting appropriate, up-to-date research methods. RAMP Mentors is a promising partnership between a BERD group and KL2 program, promoting methodologic education and building multidisciplinary research teams for junior investigators pursuing clinical and translational research.
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