Impact of baseline SARS-CoV-2 antibody status on syndromic surveillance and the risk of subsequent COVID-19-a prospective multicenter cohort study
Journal Paper/Review - Oct 14, 2021
Kohler Philipp, Wiggli Benedikt, Besold Ulrike, Kuster Stefan, McGeer Allison, Risch Lorenz, Friedl Andree, Schlegel Matthias, Vernazza Pietro, Vuichard-Gysin Danielle, Stocker Reto, Ruetti Markus, Güsewell Sabine, Seneghini Marco, Egger Thomas, Leal Onicio, Brucher Angela, Lemmenmeier Eva, Möller J Carsten, Rieder Philip, Kahlert Christian
In a prospective healthcare worker (HCW) cohort, we assessed the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection according to baseline serostatus.
Baseline serologies were performed among HCW from 23 Swiss healthcare institutions between June and September 2020, before the second COVID-19 wave. Participants answered weekly electronic questionnaires covering information about nasopharyngeal swabs (PCR/rapid antigen tests) and symptoms compatible with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Screening of symptomatic staff by nasopharyngeal swabs was routinely performed in participating facilities. We compared numbers of positive nasopharyngeal tests and occurrence of COVID-19 symptoms between HCW with and without anti-nucleocapsid antibodies.
A total of 4812 HCW participated, wherein 144 (3%) were seropositive at baseline. We analyzed 107,807 questionnaires with a median follow-up of 7.9 months. Median number of answered questionnaires was similar (24 vs. 23 per person, P = 0.83) between those with and without positive baseline serology. Among 2712 HCW with ≥ 1 SARS-CoV-2 test during follow-up, 3/67 (4.5%) seropositive individuals reported a positive result (one of whom asymptomatic), compared to 547/2645 (20.7%) seronegative participants, 12 of whom asymptomatic (risk ratio [RR] 0.22; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.07 to 0.66). Seropositive HCWs less frequently reported impaired olfaction/taste (6/144, 4.2% vs. 588/4674, 12.6%, RR 0.33, 95% CI 0.15-0.73), chills (19/144, 13.2% vs. 1040/4674, 22.3%, RR 0.59, 95% CI 0.39-0.90), and limb/muscle pain (28/144, 19.4% vs. 1335/4674, 28.6%, RR 0.68 95% CI 0.49-0.95). Impaired olfaction/taste and limb/muscle pain also discriminated best between positive and negative SARS-CoV-2 results.
Having SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid antibodies provides almost 80% protection against SARS-CoV-2 re-infection for a period of at least 8 months.