Abstract Research of SARS-CoV-2 has so far largely focused on symptomatic cases. The STAAB-COVID study therefore examined the seroprevalence of COVID-19 in the general population and the psychosocial effects of the pandemic.
Methods: From June-October 2020, a sub-study was conducted within the “Characteristics and Course of Heart Failure Stages A-B and Determinants of Progression (STAAB)” cohort study. 4,860 study participants identified from a representative age-stratified sample of Würzburg residents were asked to provide a blood sample and to fill in a questionnaire. All participants also received an offer to take part in a point prevalence assessment (nasal swab taken from the participant at the beginning of November 2020).
Results: A total of 3,034 subjects took part in the STAAB-COVID program (response rate 62%). Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were detected in 33 participants (1.1%; 95% confidence interval 0.7–1.5%). Higher values on the GAD-7 anxiety scale were associated with lower rates of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies (Odds Ratio=0.78 for each+1 point in GAD-7; 95% confidence interval 0.65–0.95). Within this rather anxious group of subjects, however, the rate of cancellation of medical appointments was also increased (Odds Ratio=1.13 for each+1 point in GAD-7; 95% confidence interval 1.10–1.16). An acute infection was detected in six of a total of 2,451 participants in the point prevalence assessment (0.24%; 95% confidence interval 0.09–0.53%).
Conclusion: Between the first and second COVID-19 waves in Germany, we found a low level of SARS-CoV-2 contamination in the city of Würzburg. A more anxious personality was associated with a lower seroprevalence. Conducting the study was largely facilitated by the existing cohort study.