Large Diffusion of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 After the Successive Epidemiological Waves, Including Omicron, in Guinea and Cameroon: Implications for Vaccine Strategies

Open Forum Infect Dis. 2023 Apr 20;10(5):ofad216. doi: 10.1093/ofid/ofad216. eCollection 2023 May.


Background: We aimed to estimate the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seroprevalence among the general population in Conakry, Guinea and Yaounde, Cameroon after the coronavirus disease 2019 Omicron wave.

Methods: We conducted population-based, age-stratified seroprevalence surveys in Conakry and Yaounde (May and June 2022). We collected demographic and epidemiologic information and dried blood spot samples that were tested for SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies using recombinant nucleocapsid and spike proteins with Luminex technology.

Results: Samples were obtained from 1386 and 1425 participants in Guinea and Cameroon, respectively. The overall age-standardized SARS-CoV-2 IgG seroprevalence against spike and nucleocapsid proteins was 71.57% (95% confidence interval [CI], 67.48%-75.33%) in Guinea and 74.71% (95% CI, 71.99%-77.25%) in Cameroon. Seroprevalence increased significantly with age categories. Female participants were more likely than male participants to be seropositive. The seroprevalence in unvaccinated participants was 69.6% (95% CI, 65.5%-73.41%) in Guinea and 74.8% (95% CI, 72.04%-77.38%) in Cameroon. In multivariate analysis, only age, sex, and education were independently associated with seropositivity.

Conclusions: These findings show a high community transmission after the different epidemiological waves including Omicron, especially among people aged >40 years. In addition, our results suggest that the spread of SARS-CoV-2 has been underestimated as a significant proportion of the population has already contracted the virus and that vaccine strategies should focus on vulnerable populations.

Keywords: Cameroon; Guinea; SARS-CoV-2; population-based survey; seroprevalence.