Sociodemographic disparities in COVID-19 seroprevalence across England in the Oxford RCGP primary care sentinel network

Heather Whitaker*, Ruby S.M. Tsang, Elizabeth Button, Nick Andrews, Rachel Byford, Ray Borrow, F. D.Richard Hobbs, Tim Brooks, Gary Howsam, Kevin Brown, Jack Macartney, Charlotte Gower, Cecilia Okusi, Jacqueline Hewson, Julian Sherlock, Ezra Linley, Manasa Tripathy, Ashley D. Otter, John Williams, Simon TongeSimon de Lusignan, Gayatri Amirthalingam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: To monitor changes in seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in populations over time and between different demographic groups. 

Methods: A subset of practices in the Oxford-Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Research and Surveillance Centre (RSC) sentinel network provided serum samples, collected when volunteer patients had routine blood tests. We tested these samples for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies using Abbott (Chicago, USA), Roche (Basel, Switzerland) and/or Euroimmun (Luebeck, Germany) assays, and linked the results to the patients’ primary care computerised medical records. We report seropositivity by region and age group, and additionally examined the effects of gender, ethnicity, deprivation, rurality, shielding recommendation and smoking status. 

Results: We estimated seropositivity from patients aged 18-100 years old, which ranged from 4.1% (95% CI 3.1–5.3%) to 8.9% (95% CI 7.8–10.2%) across the different assays and time periods. We found higher Euroimmun seropositivity in younger age groups, people of Black and Asian ethnicity (compared to white), major conurbations, and non-smokers. We did not observe any significant effect by region, gender, deprivation, or shielding recommendation. 

Conclusions: Our results suggest that prior to the vaccination programme, most of the population remained unexposed to SARS-CoV-2.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)814-824
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infection
Volume84
Issue number6
Early online date9 Apr 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: Public Health England.

EL, ST, RB report the Public Health England Vaccine Evaluation Unit performs contract research on behalf of GSK, Sanofi and Pfizer which is outside the submitted work.

Prof Lusignan reports and through his University he has had grants not directly relating to this work from AstraZeneca, GSK, Pfizer, Sanofi, Seqirus and Takeda for vaccine related research and membership of advisory boards for AstraZeneca, Sanofi and Seqirus.

Open Access: Free to read, but no Open Access licence.

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The British Infection Association.

Citation: Heather Whitaker, Ruby S.M. Tsang, Elizabeth Button, Nick Andrews, Rachel Byford, Ray Borrow, F.D. Richard Hobbs, Tim Brooks, Gary Howsam, Kevin Brown, Jack Macartney, Charlotte Gower, Cecilia Okusi, Jacqueline Hewson, Julian Sherlock, Ezra Linley, Manasa Tripathy, Ashley D. Otter, John Williams, Simon Tonge, Simon de Lusignan, Gayatri Amirthalingam, Sociodemographic disparities in COVID-19 seroprevalence across England in the Oxford RCGP primary care sentinel network, Journal of Infection, Volume 84, Issue 6, 2022, Pages 814-824,
ISSN 0163-4453

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jinf.2022.04.016.

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Serology
  • Survey
  • demographics
  • primary care
  • seroprevalence

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