Limited Specificity of Serologic Tests for SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Detection, Benin

Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Jan;27(1):233-237. doi: 10.3201/eid2701.203281. Epub 2020 Dec 1.


We used commercially available ELISAs to test 68 samples from coronavirus disease cases and prepandemic controls from Benin. We noted <25% false-positive results among controls, likely due to unspecific immune responses elicited by acute malaria. Serologic tests must be carefully evaluated to assess coronavirus disease spread and immunity in tropical regions.

Keywords: Benin; COVID-19; SARS; SARS-CoV-2; West Africa; coronavirus; coronavirus disease; malaria; parasites; respiratory infections; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; viruses; zoonoses.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Benin
  • COVID-19 / blood
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Serologic Tests*


  • Antibodies, Viral