SARS-CoV-2 serological tests are used to assess the infection seroprevalence within a population. This study aims at assessing potential  biases in estimating infection prevalence amongst healthcare workers (HCWs) when different diagnostic criteria are considered. A multi-site cross-sectional study was carried out in April-September 2020 amongst 1.367 Italian HCWs. SARS-CoV-2 prevalence was assessed using three diagnostic criteria: RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal swab (NPS), Point-Of-Care fingerprick serological test (POCT) result, and COVID-19 clinical pathognomonic presentation. A logistic regression model was used to estimate the probability of POCT positive result in relation to the time since infection (RT-PCR positivity). Among 1.367 HCWs, 69.2% were working in COVID-19 units. Statistically significant differences in age, role and gender were observed between COVID-19/non-COVID-19 units. Prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection varied according to the criterion considered: 6.7% for POCT, 8.1% for RTPCR, 10.0% for either POCT or RT-PCR, 9.6% for  infection pathognomonic clinical presentation and 17.6% when at least one of the previous criteria was present. The probability of POCT positive result decreased by 1.1% every 10 days from the infection. This study highlights potential biases in estimating SARS-CoV-2 point-prevalence data according to the criteria used. Although informative on infection susceptibility and herd immunity level, POCT serological tests are not the best predictors of previous COVID-19 infections for public health monitoring programs.

Fuente: Epidemiology & Infection