Prevalence and Longevity of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies Among Health Care Workers

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2021 Jan 17;8(2):ofab015. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofab015. eCollection 2021 Feb.


Background: Understanding severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 antibody prevalence in a spectrum of health care workers (HCWs) may provide benchmarks of susceptibility, help us understand risk stratification, and support enactment of better health policies and procedures.

Methods: Blood serum was sampled at enrollment and 8-week follow-up from HCWs (n = 3458) and from community first responders (n = 226) for immunoglobulin G (IgG) analyses. Demographics, job duties, location, and coronavirus disease 2019-related information were collected.

Results: The observed IgG antibody prevalence was 0.93% and 2.58% at enrollment (May/June) and 8-week follow-up (July/August), respectively, for HCWs, and 5.31% and 4.35% for first responders. For HCWs, significant differences (P < .05) between negative and positive at initial assessment were found for age, race, fever, and loss of smell, and at 8-week follow-up for age, race, and all symptoms. Antibody positivity persisted at least 8 weeks in all positive HCWs.

Conclusions: We found considerably lower antibody prevalence among HCWs compared with other published studies. While rigorous safety process measures instituted in our workplace and heightened awareness at and outside of the workplace among our HCWs may have contributed to our findings, the significant discrepancy from our community prevalence warrants further studies on other contributing factors.

Keywords: COVID-19; IgG; SARS-CoV-2; antibody; first responders; health care workers; immunity; longevity; prevalence.