SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in Sierra Leone, March 2021: a cross-sectional, nationally representative, age-stratified serosurvey
AuthorBarrie, Mohamed Bailor
Kelly, J. Daniel
Kanu, Joseph Sam
Goldberg, Sarah A.
Vandi, Mohamed A.
Richardson, Eugene T.
SubjectPublic and global health
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/6997
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AbstractBackground: As of 26 March 2021, the Africa CDC had reported 4,159,055 cases of COVID-19 and 111,357 deaths among the 55 African Union Member States; however, no country has published a nationally representative serosurvey as of May 2021. Such data are vital for understanding the pandemic’s progression on the continent, evaluating containment measures, and policy planning. Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional, nationally representative, age-stratified serosurvey in Sierra Leone in March 2021 by randomly selecting 120 Enumeration Areas throughout the country and 10 randomly selected households in each of these. One to two persons per selected household were interviewed to collect information on socio-demographics, symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, exposure history to laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases, and history of COVID-19 illness. Capillary blood was collected by fingerstick, and blood samples were tested using the Hangzhou Biotest Biotech RightSign COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette. Total seroprevalence was was estimated after applying sampling weights. Findings: The overall weighted seroprevalence was 2.6% (95% CI 1.9-3.4). This is 43 times higher than the reported number of cases. Rural seropositivity was 1.8% (95% CI 1.0-2.5), and urban seropositivity was 4.2% (95% CI 2.6-5.7). Interpretation: Although overall seroprevalence was low compared to countries in Europe and the Americas (suggesting relatively successful containment in Sierra Leone), our findings indicate enormous underreporting of active cases. This has ramifications for the country’s third wave (which started in June 2021), where the average number of daily reported cases was 87 by the end of the month—this could potentially be on the order of 3,700 actual infections, calling for stronger containment measures in a country with only 0.2% of people fully vaccinated. It may also reflect significant underreporting of incidence and mortality across the continent. Funding: This study was supported by NIAID K08 AI139361, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, and the Africa CDC.
CitationSARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence in Sierra Leone, March 2021: a cross-sectional, nationally representative, age-stratified serosurvey; Mohamed Bailor Barrie, Sulaiman Lakoh, J. Daniel Kelly, Joseph Sam Kanu, James Squire, Zikan Koroma, Silleh Bah, Osman Sankoh, Abdulai Brima, Rashid Ansumana, Sarah A. Goldberg, Smit Chitre, Chidinma Osuagwu, Justin Maeda, Bernard Barekye, Tamuno-Wari Numbere, Mohammed Abdulaziz, Anthony Mounts, Curtis Blanton, Tushar Singh, Mohamed Samai, Mohamed A. Vandi, Eugene T. Richardson, medRxiv 2021.06.27.21259271; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.06.27.21259271
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