By Craig Hicks
Seroprevalence is defined as “the number of persons in a population who test positive for a specific disease based on serology (blood serum) specimens.”
In our ongoing battle with COVID-19, the best thing we can do is gather as much information as possible, and the correlation between people who contract COVID-19 and the symptoms they experience is an extremely important part of this battle.
The Western Cape Blood Service and SANBS have both undertaken seroprevalence studies with both our staff and selected donors. It began with what is known as a small capacity assay, which involves very few samples, and thereafter we applied for approval from South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) to use the high throughput assay which would allow for multiple sample testing. Once this was approved, we were able to extend the testing to our donor base and this is currently underway. We will be using randomly selected blood clinics and randomly selected donors to perform these tests, all for the cause of gathering more information in our fight against COVID-19.
So, what are we looking for? Well, primarily to see how many people in the sample group have developed COVID-19 by testing for COVID-19 antibodies in the blood. This information on its own will help in statistical analysis of the prevalence of COVID-19, but the main purpose of the study is to determine how many people seemed to contract COVID-19 without knowing about it and/or displaying any symptoms.
Participation in this study is completely voluntary and donors and staff can withdraw at any time without any consequences. All information and participant results will also remain strictly confidential. Should you be interested in more information about this, please feel free to read more on our website: https://www.wcbs.org.za/blood-donation/becoming-a-donor/covid-19-and-blood-donation-faqs/sars-cov-2-seroprevalence/
Stay safe out there, folks, and let’s beat this thing together!