SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in the urban population of Qatar: An analysis of antibody testing on a sample of 112,941 individuals
Peter V. Coyle,
Mohamed Ali Ben Hadj Kacem,
Naema Hassan Abdulla Al Molawi,
Reham Awni El Kahlout,
Zaina Al Kanaani,
Abdullatif Al Khal,
Einas Al Kuwari,
Adeel A Butt,
Anvar Hassan Kaleeckal,
Ali Nizar Latif,
Riyazuddin Mohammad Shaik,
Hanan F. Abdul Rahim,
HADI M. YASSINE,
Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari,
Hamad Eid Al Romaihi,
Mohamed H. Al-Thani,
Laith J Abu-Raddad
Posted 06 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.05.21249247
Posted 06 Jan 2021
BackgroundQatar has experienced a large SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. Our first objective was to assess the proportion of the urban population that has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, by measuring the prevalence of detectable antibodies. Our second objective was to identify predictors for infection and for having higher antibody titers. MethodsResidual blood specimens from individuals receiving routine and other clinical care between May 12-September 9, 2020 were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Associations with seropositivity and higher antibody titers were identified through regression analyses. Probability weights were applied in deriving the epidemiological measures. ResultsWe tested 112,941 individuals ([~]10% of Qatars urban population), of whom 51.6% were men and 66.0% were 20-49 years of age. Seropositivity was 13.3% (95% CI: 13.1-13.6%) and was significantly associated with sex, age, nationality, clinical-care type, and testing date. The proportion with higher antibody titers varied by age, nationality, clinical-care type, and testing date. There was a strong correlation between higher antibody titers and seroprevalence in each nationality, with a Pearson correlation coefficient of 0.85 (95% CI: 0.47-0.96), suggesting that higher antibody titers may indicate repeated exposure to the virus. The percentage of antibody-positive persons with prior PCR-confirmed diagnosis was 47.1% (95% CI: 46.1-48.2%), severity rate was 3.9% (95% CI: 3.7-4.2%), criticality rate was 1.3% (95% CI: 1.1-1.4%), and fatality rate was 0.3% (95% CI: 0.2-0.3%). ConclusionsFewer than two in every 10 individuals in Qatars urban population had detectable antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 between May 12-September 9, 2020, suggesting that this population is still far from the herd immunity threshold and at risk from a subsequent epidemic wave.
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