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Seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 antibodies during the third wave of coronavirus disease in the Seoul metropolitan area of Korea

 Kyuhyun Yoon  ;  Jayeun Kim  ;  Kyong Ran Peck  ;  Hyun Soo Kim  ;  Hyukmin Lee  ;  Yoo-Sung Hwang  ;  Soon Young Lee  ;  Sung-Il Cho  ;  Hun Jae Lee  ;  Yeongyeong Kim  ;  Brian Byoungguk Kim  ;  June-Woo Lee  ;  Ah-Ra Kim  ;  HyeonNam Do  ;  Dong-Hyun Kim 
 EPIDEMIOLOGY AND HEALTH, Vol.44 : e2022085, 2022-09 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Asymptomatic ; Coronavirus disease ; Cumulative incidence ; Seroprevalence ; Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
Objectives: After the third wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), by mid-February 2021, approximately 0.16% of the population was confirmed positive, which appeared to be one of the lowest rates worldwide at that time. However, asymptomatic transmission poses a challenge for COVID-19 surveillance. Therefore, a community-based serosurvey of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection was conducted to understand the effectiveness of Korea's strong containment strategy.

Methods: We collected 5,002 residual sera samples from January 30 to March 3, 2021 from 265 medical facilities in Seoul, 346 in Kyunggi-do' and 57 in Incheon. Among them, 60 samples from tertiary institutions were excluded. We defined the sub-regions according to the addresses of the medical facilities where the specimens were collected. Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 was used for the screening test, and positivity was confirmed using the SARS-CoV-2 sVNT Kit. Prevalence was estimated using sampling weight and the Wilson score interval for a binomial proportion with a 95% confidence interval.

Results: Among the 4,942 specimens, 32 and 25 tested positive for COVID-19 in the screening and confirmatory tests, respectively. The overall crude prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibody was 0.51%. The population-adjusted overall prevalence was 0.55% in women and 0.38% in men. The region-specific estimation was 0.67% and 0.30% in Gyeonggi-do and Seoul, respectively. No positive cases were detected in Incheon.

Conclusion: The proportion of undetected cases in South Korea remains low. Therefore, an infection control strategy with exhaustive tracing and widespread pre-emptive testing appears to be effective in containing the spread of the virus in the community.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Laboratory Medicine (진단검사의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Lee, Hyuk Min(이혁민) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8523-4126
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