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Associations of SARS-CoV-2 serum IgG with occupation and demographics of military personnel

By Joseph Zell, Carolina Lucas, Jon Klein, Akiko Iwasaki, Martin Slade, Jian Liu, Adam V Wisnewski, Carrie Redlich

Posted 23 Apr 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.21.21255881

Background: Countries across the globe have mobilized their armed forces in response to COVID-19, placing them at increased risk for viral exposure. Humoral responses to SARS-CoV-2 among military personnel serve as biomarkers of infection and provide a basis for disease surveillance and recognition of work-related risk factors. Methods: Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were used to measure SARS-CoV-2 spike antigen-specific IgG in serum obtained from N=995 US National Guard soldiers between April-June 2020. Occupational information, e.g. military operating specialty (MOS) codes, and demographic data were obtained via questionnaire. Plaque assays with live SARS-CoV-2 were used to assess serum neutralizing capacity for limited subjects (N=12). Results: The SARS-CoV-2 IgG seropositivity rate among the study population was 10.3% and significantly associated with occupation and demographics. Odds ratios were highest for those working in MOS 2T-Transportation (3.6; 95% CI 0.7-18) and 92F-Fuel specialist/ground and aircraft (6.8; 95% CI 1.5-30), as well as black race (2.2; 95% CI 1.2-4.1), household size >6 (2.5; 95% CI 1.3-4.6) and known COVID-19 exposure (2.0; 95% CI 1.2-3.3). Seropositivity tracked along major interstate highways and clustered near the international airport and the New York City border. SARS-CoV-2 spike IgG+ serum exhibited low to moderate SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing capacity with IC50s ranging from 1:15 to 1:280. In limited follow-up testing SARS-CoV-2 serum IgG levels remained elevated up to 7 months. Conclusions: The data highlight increased SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence among National Guard vs. the local civilian population in association with transportation-related occupations and specific demographics.

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