Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies and risk factors in health care workers at an academic medical center in Boston, Massachusetts

Sci Rep. 2021 May 6;11(1):9694. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89107-5.


Healthcare workers (HCWs) are at an increased risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), a novel virus that causes Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). We aim to assess the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG among healthcare workers and compare risk-factors between seropositive and seronegative HCWs. In this observational study, serum samples were collected from HCWs between July 13th to 26th, 2020 at Boston Medical Center (BMC). Samples were subsequently tested for SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody using the Abbott SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay. Participants also answered a questionnaire capturing data on demographics, history of COVID-19 symptoms, occupation, infection prevention and control measures. Overall, 95 of 1743 (5.5%) participants tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 IgG. Of these, 1.8% of the participants had mild or no COVID-19 symptoms and did not require a diagnostic test. Seropositivity was not associated with gender, occupation, hand hygiene and personal protective equipment (PPE) practices amongst HCWs. However, lack of physical distancing among health care workers in work areas and break room was associated with seropositivity (p = 0.05, p = 0.003, respectively). The majority of the HCWs are negative for SARS-CoV-2 IgG. This data highlights the need to promote infection prevention measures, and the importance of distance amongst co-workers to help mitigate infection rates.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Boston / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / blood
  • COVID-19 / diagnosis
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology*
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • COVID-19 Testing
  • Female
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / isolation & purification
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G