Antibody prevalence for SARS-CoV-2 in England following first peak of the pandemic: REACT2 study in 100,000 adults

Abstract

Background England, UK has experienced a large outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 infection. As in USA and elsewhere, disadvantaged communities have been disproportionately affected. Methods National REal-time Assessment of Community Transmission-2 (REACT-2) seroprevalence study using self-administered lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) test for IgG among a random population sample of 100,000 adults over 18 years in England, 20 June to 13 July 2020. Results Completed questionnaires were available for 109,076 participants, yielding 5,544 IgG positive results and adjusted (for test performance), re-weighted (for sampling) prevalence of 6.0% (95% CI: 5.8, 6.1). Highest prevalence was in London (13.0% [12.3, 13.6]), among people of Black or Asian (mainly South Asian) ethnicity (17.3% [15.8, 19.1] and 11.9% [11.0, 12.8] respectively) and those aged 18-24 years (7.9% [7.3, 8.5]). Care home workers with client-facing roles had adjusted odds ratio of 3.1 (2.5, 3.8) compared with non-essential workers. One third (32.2%, [31.0-33.4]) of antibody positive individuals reported no symptoms. Among symptomatic cases, the majority (78.8%) reported symptoms during the peak of the epidemic in England in March (31.3%) and April (47.5%) 2020. We estimate that 3.36 million (3.21, 3.51) people have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 in England to end June 2020, with an overall infection fatality ratio of 0.90% (0.86, 0.94). Conclusion The pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 infection in England disproportionately affected ethnic minority groups and health and care home workers. The higher risk of infection in these groups may explain, at least in part, their increased risk of hospitalisation and mortality from COVID-19.

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