Development of at-home sample collection logistics for large-scale seroprevalence studies

PLoS One. 2021 Nov 4;16(11):e0258516. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0258516. eCollection 2021.


Background: Serological studies rely on the recruitment of representative cohorts; however, such efforts are specially complicated by the conditions surrounding the COVID19 pandemic.

Methods: We aimed to design and implement a fully remote methodology for conducting safe serological surveys that also allow for the engagement of representative study populations.

Results: This design was well-received and effective. 2,066 participants ≥18 years old were enrolled, reflecting the ethnic and racial composition of Massachusetts. >70% of them reported being satisfied/extremely satisfied with the online enrollment and at-home self-collection of blood samples. While 18.6% reported some discomfort experienced with the collection process, 72.2% stated that they would be willing to test weekly if enrolled in a long-term study.

Conclusions: High engagement and positive feedback from participants, as well as the quality of self-collected specimens, point to the usefulness of this fully remote, self-collection-based study design for future safer and efficient population-level serological surveys.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • COVID-19 / blood*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Research Design
  • SARS-CoV-2 / pathogenicity*
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies*
  • Specimen Handling*
  • Young Adult