Specchio-COVID19 cohort study: a longitudinal follow-up of SARS-CoV-2 serosurvey participants in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland

BMJ Open. 2022 Jan 31;12(1):e055515. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-055515.


Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has affected billions of people around the world both directly through the infection itself and indirectly through its economic, social and sanitary impact. Collecting data over time is essential for the understanding of the disease spread, the incidence of COVID-19-like symptoms, the level and dynamics of immunity, as well as the long-term impact of the pandemic. The objective of the study was to set up a longitudinal follow-up of adult participants of serosurveys carried out in the canton of Geneva, Switzerland, during the COVID-19 pandemic. This follow-up aims at monitoring COVID-19 related symptoms and SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion, as well as the overall impact of the pandemic on several dimensions of health and on socioeconomic factors over a period of at least 2 years.

Methods and analysis: Serosurvey participants were invited to create an account on the dedicated digital platform Specchio-COVID19 (https://www.specchio-covid19.ch/). On registration, an initial questionnaire assessed sociodemographic and lifestyle characteristics (including housing conditions, physical activity, diet, alcohol and tobacco consumption), anthropometry, general health and experience related to COVID-19 (symptoms, COVID-19 test results, quarantines, hospitalisations). Weekly, participants were invited to fill in a short questionnaire with updates on self-reported COVID-19-compatible symptoms, SARS-CoV-2 infection testing and vaccination. A more detailed questionnaire about mental health, well-being, risk perception and changes in working conditions was proposed monthly. Supplementary questionnaires were proposed at regular intervals to assess more in depth the impact of the pandemic on physical and mental health, vaccination adherence, healthcare consumption and changes in health behaviours. At baseline, serology testing allowed to assess the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection among the general population and subgroups of workers. Additionally, seropositive participants and a sample of randomly selected participants were invited for serologic testing at regular intervals in order to monitor both the seropersistance of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and the seroprevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the population of the canton of Geneva.

Ethics and dissemination: The study was approved by the Cantonal Research Ethics Commission of Geneva, Switzerland (CCER Project ID 2020-00881). Results will be disseminated in a variety of ways, via the Specchio-COVID-19 platform, social media posts, press releases and through regular scientific dissemination methods (open-access articles, conferences).

Keywords: COVID-19; epidemiology; public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Switzerland / epidemiology