A prospective study of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection among individuals involved in academic research under limited operations during the COVID-19 pandemic Public Deposited

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  • Pettifor, Audrey
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • DiPrete, Bethany L.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Shook-Sa, Bonnie E.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Biostatistics
  • Premkumar, Lakshmanane
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Kuczynski, Kriste
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Social Medicine
  • Dittmer, Dirk
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Aiello, Allison
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Wallet, Shannon
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Maile, Robert
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Tan, Joyce
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Genetics
  • Jadi, Ramesh
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Pluta, Linda
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • de Silva, Aravinda M.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Department of Microbiology and Immunology
  • Weber, David J.
    • Affiliation: Gillings School of Global Public Health, Department of Epidemiology
  • Kim, Min
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
  • Seña, Arlene C.
    • Affiliation: School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
  • Jones, Corbin D.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology
Abstract
  • Background Early in the pandemic, transmission risk from asymptomatic infection was unclear, making it imperative to monitor infection in workplace settings. Further, data on SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence within university populations has been limited. Methods We performed a longitudinal study of University research employees on campus July-December 2020. We conducted questionnaires on COVID-19 risk factors, RT-PCR testing, and SARS-CoV-2 serology using an in-house spike RBD assay, laboratory-based Spike NTD assay, and standard nucleocapsid platform assay. We estimated prevalence and cumulative incidence of seroconversion with 95% confidence intervals using the inverse of the Kaplan-Meier estimator. Results 910 individuals were included in this analysis. At baseline, 6.2% (95% CI 4.29–8.19) were seropositive using the spike RBD assay; four (0.4%) were seropositive using the nucleocapsid assay, and 44 (4.8%) using the Spike NTD assay. Cumulative incidence was 3.61% (95% CI: 2.04–5.16). Six asymptomatic individuals had positive RT-PCR results. Conclusions Prevalence and incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections were low; however, differences in target antigens of serological tests provided different estimates. Future research on appropriate methods of serological testing in unvaccinated and vaccinated populations is needed. Frequent RT-PCR testing of asymptomatic individuals is required to detect acute infections, and repeated serosurveys are beneficial for monitoring subclinical infection.
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  • Article
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  • In Copyright
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  • Attribution 4.0 International
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  • PLOS ONE
Journal volume
  • 17
Journal issue
  • 4
Page start
  • e0267353
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  • English
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  • 1932-6203
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