COVID-19 seroprevalence after the first UK wave of the pandemic and its association with the physical and mental wellbeing of secondary care healthcare workers

Sonika Sethi, Natasha Manuelpillai, Anandadeep Mandal, Olivia Simpson, Hana Morrissey, Patrick Ball, Hayley Sharrod-Cole, Clare Ford, Anna C. Whittaker, Mark Drayson, Adam Race, James Bateman, Supratik Basu, James Cotton

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Objectives: To determine the seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome-coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody status amongst healthcare workers (HCWs) working through the first wave of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020. To examine the association of seroprevalence and self-reported COVID-19 symptoms with occupation, sex, and ethnicity; and how these factors were associated with physical and mental wellbeing. Design: Single-centre cohort study. Setting: Large public hospital in the United Kingdom. Intervention: All HCWs who had been tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin (Ig) G nucleocapsid antibody in summer 2020 were asked to complete an electronic survey focusing on their physical and mental health in Winter 2020–21. This survey was comprised of the Short Form 12v2, Physical Component Summary (PCS), Mental Component Summary (MCS), and Generalised Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD-7) questionnaires.Results: 7604/9781 (77.7%) HCWs were antibody tested, of which 1082 completed the full survey. Antibody testing was conducted between 17/06/20–30/07/20, during which time our seroprevalence rate was 28% (299/1082). Of those self-reporting COVID-19 symptoms, 51% (201/395) were antibody positive. Antibody-positive participants had lower PCS scores (p = 0.016), indicating poorer physical health. Lower PCS scores were also found in those deemed high risk for COVID-19 by their GP (p = 0.001), and those aged >44 years (p = 0.009). Antibody-negative participants had lower MCS scores (p = 0.044), indicating poorer mental health. Those who self-reported COVID-19 symptoms had lower PCS scores (p=<0.001) than those with no symptoms. Lower MCS scores were found in women (p = 0.001), Caucasians (p = 0.018), non-clinicians (p = 0.001), and those aged <44 years (p = 0.009). Significantly higher GAD-7 anxiety scores were evident in staff aged <44 years (p = 0.023), and those with self-reported COVID symptoms (p = 0.031). Doctors had lower GAD-7 anxiety scores (p = 0.009). Conclusion: Self-reported symptoms did not correlate with seroprevalence; data surrounding this can be useful for future workforce planning. Interventions are needed to reduce the mental and physical burden of the pandemic on HCWs. Further work is needed to identify which particular HCWs may require further support, to ensure well-being and effective patient care.Trial registration: Sponsor Protocol number - 2020COV112, number -NCT04527432.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100492
Number of pages9
JournalBrain, Behavior, and Immunity - Health
Early online date06 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


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