Mission, Organization, and Future Direction of the Serological Sciences Network for COVID-19 (SeroNet) Epidemiologic Cohort Studies

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2022 Apr 27;9(6):ofac171. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofac171. eCollection 2022 Jun.


Background: Global efforts are needed to elucidate the epidemiology of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the underlying cause of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including seroprevalence, risk factors, and long-term sequelae, as well as immune responses after vaccination across populations and the social dimensions of prevention and treatment strategies.

Methods: In the United States, the National Cancer Institute in partnership with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, established the SARS-CoV-2 Serological Sciences Network (SeroNet) as the nation's largest coordinated effort to study coronavirus disease 2019. The network comprises multidisciplinary researchers bridging gaps and fostering collaborations among immunologists, epidemiologists, virologists, clinicians and clinical laboratories, social and behavioral scientists, policymakers, data scientists, and community members. In total, 49 institutions form the SeroNet consortium to study individuals with cancer, autoimmune disease, inflammatory bowel diseases, cardiovascular diseases, human immunodeficiency virus, transplant recipients, as well as otherwise healthy pregnant women, children, college students, and high-risk occupational workers (including healthcare workers and first responders).

Results: Several studies focus on underrepresented populations, including ethnic minorities and rural communities. To support integrative data analyses across SeroNet studies, efforts are underway to define common data elements for standardized serology measurements, cellular and molecular assays, self-reported data, treatment, and clinical outcomes.

Conclusions: In this paper, we discuss the overarching framework for SeroNet epidemiology studies, critical research questions under investigation, and data accessibility for the worldwide scientific community. Lessons learned will help inform preparedness and responsiveness to future emerging diseases.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; SeroNet; cohort; epidemiology; serosurveillance.