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Prevalence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2-specific Antibodies in German Blood Donors during the COVID-19 Pandemic by Stefan Runkel, Frank Kowalzik, Stephan Gehring, Julia Winter, Caine L. Grandt, Manuela Marron, Susanne Seifert-Hitzler, Walter E. Hitzler

Background: Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory infection caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). While RT-PCR assays are used routinely to diagnose active COVID-19, serological testing offers a means of identifying individuals who previously experienced asymptomatic infections, as well as those who experienced symptomatic infections but no longer carry the virus.
Methods: The presence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG-positive antibodies in the sera of 673 blood donors residing in south-western Germany before and 3,880 donors after the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic was determined and confirmed using two highly sensitive serological tests.
Results: Approximately 0.40% of the donors assessed during the COVID-19 pandemic possessed SARS-CoV-2 IgG-positive antibodies, decidedly fewer than the percentage of SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals determined by real-time RT-PCR nationwide.
Conclusions: These findings confirm the efficacy serological testing in identifying asymptomatic COVID-19 patients.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2020.200915