Large variation in anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody prevalence among essential workers in Geneva, Switzerland

Nat Commun. 2021 Jun 8;12(1):3455. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-23796-4.


Limited data exist on SARS-CoV-2 infection rates across sectors and occupations, hindering our ability to make rational policy, including vaccination prioritization, to protect workers and limit SARS-CoV-2 spread. Here, we present results from our SEROCoV-WORK + study, a serosurvey of workers recruited after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Geneva, Switzerland. We tested workers (May 18-September 18, 2020) from 16 sectors and 32 occupations for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies. Of 10,513 participants, 1026 (9.8%) tested positive. The seropositivity rate ranged from 4.2% in the media sector to 14.3% in the nursing home sector. We found considerable within-sector variability: nursing home (0%-31.4%), homecare (3.9%-12.6%), healthcare (0%-23.5%), public administration (2.6%-24.6%), and public security (0%-16.7%). Seropositivity rates also varied across occupations, from 15.0% among kitchen staff and 14.4% among nurses, to 5.4% among domestic care workers and 2.8% among journalists. Our findings show that seropositivity rates varied widely across sectors, between facilities within sectors, and across occupations, reflecting a higher exposure in certain sectors and occupations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Sample Size
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G