1- Title: An exploratory survey of COVID-19 humoral immunity among Egyptian general population and healthcare workers
Principal investigator: Prof. Engy El-Ghitany
Co-investigators: Prof. Fahmy Charl, Prof. Azza Farghaly, Prof. Mona Hashish, Dr. Eman Omran, Dr. Shehata Farag
Funding agency: Science, Technology & Innovation Funding Authority, project no. (43834) 2020
Duration: 9 months

 

The global health COVID-19 pandemic is spreading at an alarming rate. The range of clinical presentations of COVID -19 varies from asymptomatic to severe respiratory distress syndrome or even death. Due to the unidentified number of asymptomatic viral-shedding and pauci- symptomatic people in the community, the total number of infections is uncertain. The currently used diagnostic confirmatory test for COVID-19 is the real –time RT-PCR. Serological testing of IgG antibodies has not been sufficiently evaluated yet. Antibodies to the virus could reveal the true extent of the pandemic and help scientists answer basic questions about COVID -19 natural history and real burden. Serological survey at the community level would measure the herd immunity level and subsequently entails decision makers what actions may actually be working to slow its spread. It is thought that countries where immune people are viewed as a resource early by decision makers are expected to perform comparatively better overtime than the others.The global health COVID-9 pandemic is spreading at an alarming rate. The range of clinical presentations of COVID -19 varies from asymptomatic to severe respiratory distress syndrome or even death. Due to the unidentified number of asymptomatic viral-shedding and pauci- symptomatic people in the community, the total number of infections is uncertain. The currently used diagnostic confirmatory test for COVID-19 is the real –time RT-PCR. Serological testing of IgG antibodies has not been sufficiently evaluated yet. Antibodies to the virus could reveal the true extent of the pandemic and help scientists answer basic questions about COVID -19 natural history and real burden. Serological survey at the community level would measure the herd immunity level and subsequently entails decision makers what actions may actually be working to slow its spread. It is thought that countries where immune people are viewed as a resource early by decision makers are expected to perform comparatively better overtime than the others.Therefore, this exploratory survey will be conducted over a period of 9 months aiming to study seroprevalence of IgG antibodies to COVID19 among a total of 2000 apparently healthy general population recruited from three different governorates representing Upper and Lower Egypt and frontier governorates with reference to ministry of health case load report, as well as among 500 healthcare workers who had previous contact with confirmed COVID19 patients. A predesigned questionnaire (one for the general population and another one for healthcare workers) will be used to collect data concerning socio-demographic, behavioral, clinical and others data related to COVID-19. IgG antibodies will be detected in serum using ELISA technique. Data will be analyzed and interpreted using appropriate statistical methods. The results of this study are expected to reflect an estimation of the COVID-19 herd immunity level among Egyptian population as well as reveal the real burden of infection by identifying the proportion of the population that have got the disease at a subclinical/mild or were not identified by the current active surveillance method. Eventually, this would guide public health measures and policies showing where the epidemic is heading, to informatively take the right decisions when it is safe to lift shelter-in-place restrictions and how far away we are from “herd immunity” when the epidemic eventually starts to go to an end.