Population-based seroprevalence surveys of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody: An up-to-date review

Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Dec;101:314-322. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.10.011. Epub 2020 Oct 9.


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the causative agent of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has led to a global pandemic. However, the majority of currently available data are restricted to laboratory-confirmed cases for symptomatic patients, and the SARS-CoV-2 infection can manifest as an asymptomatic or mild disease. Therefore, the true extent of the burden of COVID-19 may be underestimated. Improved serological detection of specific antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 could help estimate the true numbers of infections. This article comprehensively reviews the associated literature and provides updated information regarding the seroprevalence of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody. The seroprevalence can vary across different sites and the seroprevalence can increase with time during longitudinal follow-up. Although healthcare workers (HCWs), especially those caring for COVID-19 patients, are considered as a high-risk group, the seroprevalence in HCWs wearing adequate personal protective equipment is thought to be no higher than that in other groups. With regard to sex, no statistically significant difference has been found between male and female subjects. Some, but not all, studies have shown that children have a lower risk than other age groups. Finally, seroprevalence can vary according to different populations, such as pregnant women and hemodialysis patients; however, limited studies have examined these associations. Furthermore, the continued surveillance of seroprevalence is warranted to estimate and monitor the growing burden of COVID-19.

Keywords: Antibody; COVID-19; Population-based survey; SARS-CoV-2; Seroprevalence.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology
  • COVID-19 / blood*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Antibodies, Viral