Frontiers in Medicine | 2021
Disparities of SARS-CoV-2 Nucleoprotein-Specific IgG in Healthcare Workers in East London, UK
Introduction: SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection serves as an important diagnostic marker for past SARS-CoV-2 infection and is essential to determine the spread of COVID-19, monitor potential COVID-19 long-term effects, and to evaluate possible protection from reinfection. A study was conducted across three hospital sites in a large central London NHS Trust in the UK, to evaluate the prevalence and duration of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody positivity in healthcare workers. Methods: A matrix equivalence study consisting of 228 participants was undertaken to evaluate the Abbott Panbio™ COVID-19 IgG/IgM rapid test device. Subsequently, 2001 evaluable healthcare workers (HCW), representing a diverse population, were enrolled in a HCW study between June and August 2020. A plasma sample from each HCW was evaluated using the Abbott Panbio™ COVID-19 IgG/IgM rapid test device, with confirmation of IgG-positive results by the Abbott ArchitectTM SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay. 545 participants, of whom 399 were antibody positive at enrolment, were followed up at 3 months. Results: The Panbio™ COVID-19 IgG/IgM rapid test device demonstrated a high concordance with laboratory tests. SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were detected in 506 participants (25.3%) at enrolment, with a higher prevalence in COVID-19 frontline (28.3%) than non-frontline (19.9%) staff. At follow-up, 274/399 antibody positive participants (68.7%) retained antibodies; 4/146 participants negative at enrolment (2.7%) had seroconverted. Non-white ethnicity, older age, hypertension and COVID-19 symptoms were independent predictors of higher antibody levels (OR 1.881, 2.422–3.034, 2.128, and 1.869 respectively), based on Architect™ index quartiles; participants in the first three categories also showed a greater antibody persistence at 3 months. Conclusion: The SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid IgG positivity rate among healthcare staff was high, declining by 31.3% during the 3-month follow-up interval. Interestingly, the IgG-positive participants with certain risk factors for severe COVID-19 illness (older age, Black or Asian Ethnicity hypertension) demonstrated greater persistence over time when compared to the IgG-positive participants without these risk factors.