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Understanding the Challenges and Uncertainties of Seroprevalence Studies for SARS-CoV-2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 04 27; 18(9)IJ

Abstract

SARS-CoV-2 continues to widely circulate in populations globally. Underdetection is acknowledged and is problematic when attempting to capture the true prevalence. Seroprevalence studies, where blood samples from a population sample are tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that react to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, are a common method for estimating the proportion of people previously infected with the virus in a given population. However, obtaining reliable estimates from seroprevalence studies is challenging for a number of reasons, and the uncertainty in the results is often overlooked by scientists, policy makers, and the media. This paper reviews the methodological issues that arise in designing these studies, and the main sources of uncertainty that affect the results. We discuss the choice of study population, recruitment of subjects, uncertainty surrounding the accuracy of antibody tests, and the relationship between antibodies and infection over time. Understanding these issues can help the reader to interpret and critically evaluate the results of seroprevalence studies.

Authors+Show Affiliations

National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, St James's Hospital, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland. Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Dublin, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland.National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, St James's Hospital, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland. Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Dublin, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland.Health Research Institute and MACSI, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX Limerick, Ireland.National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, St James's Hospital, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland. Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Dublin, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland.National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, St James's Hospital, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland. Health Research Institute and MACSI, University of Limerick, V94 T9PX Limerick, Ireland.National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, St James's Hospital, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland. Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Dublin, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland.National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics, St James's Hospital, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland. Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Dublin, D08 HD53 Dublin, Ireland.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

33925518

Citation

McConnell, David, et al. "Understanding the Challenges and Uncertainties of Seroprevalence Studies for SARS-CoV-2." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 9, 2021.
McConnell D, Hickey C, Bargary N, et al. Understanding the Challenges and Uncertainties of Seroprevalence Studies for SARS-CoV-2. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021;18(9).
McConnell, D., Hickey, C., Bargary, N., Trela-Larsen, L., Walsh, C., Barry, M., & Adams, R. (2021). Understanding the Challenges and Uncertainties of Seroprevalence Studies for SARS-CoV-2. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(9). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18094640
McConnell D, et al. Understanding the Challenges and Uncertainties of Seroprevalence Studies for SARS-CoV-2. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 04 27;18(9) PubMed PMID: 33925518.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Understanding the Challenges and Uncertainties of Seroprevalence Studies for SARS-CoV-2. AU - McConnell,David, AU - Hickey,Conor, AU - Bargary,Norma, AU - Trela-Larsen,Lea, AU - Walsh,Cathal, AU - Barry,Michael, AU - Adams,Roisin, Y1 - 2021/04/27/ PY - 2021/04/09/received PY - 2021/04/23/revised PY - 2021/04/24/accepted PY - 2021/4/30/entrez PY - 2021/5/1/pubmed PY - 2021/5/5/medline KW - COVID-19 KW - SARS-CoV-2 KW - antibody testing KW - coronavirus KW - seroprevalence JF - International journal of environmental research and public health JO - Int J Environ Res Public Health VL - 18 IS - 9 N2 - SARS-CoV-2 continues to widely circulate in populations globally. Underdetection is acknowledged and is problematic when attempting to capture the true prevalence. Seroprevalence studies, where blood samples from a population sample are tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that react to the SARS-CoV-2 virus, are a common method for estimating the proportion of people previously infected with the virus in a given population. However, obtaining reliable estimates from seroprevalence studies is challenging for a number of reasons, and the uncertainty in the results is often overlooked by scientists, policy makers, and the media. This paper reviews the methodological issues that arise in designing these studies, and the main sources of uncertainty that affect the results. We discuss the choice of study population, recruitment of subjects, uncertainty surrounding the accuracy of antibody tests, and the relationship between antibodies and infection over time. Understanding these issues can help the reader to interpret and critically evaluate the results of seroprevalence studies. SN - 1660-4601 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/33925518/Understanding_the_Challenges_and_Uncertainties_of_Seroprevalence_Studies_for_SARS_CoV_2_ L2 - https://www.mdpi.com/resolver?pii=ijerph18094640 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -