SeroCoV Africa: cross-sectional study to survey SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence.

In sub-Saharan Africa, important epidemiologic parameters and infection dynamics of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 remain largely unknown. For example, there are few population-based estimates of seroprevalence.

Earlier projections assumed that up to 70 million Africans:would become infected with SARS-COV-2 by June 2020 and that more than 3 million would die. Instead, "only" 2.1 million COVID-19 infections and just under 50,000 deaths were recorded - on a continent of 1.3 billion people. However, testing capabilities and financial resources are limited, and there is too little expertise. It is possible that the number of cases is actually higher.

In addition, the population is much younger than in industrialized countries. This may have led to a milder course of the pandemic on the continent: There were fewer severe courses and deaths. However, the actual proportion of infected people, including those who had no symptoms or did not need medical treatment, is still unknown.

Serological tests that identify antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 allow conclusions to be drawn about acquired immunity resulting from past exposure to the virus. Seroprevalence, or the presence of these antibodies, can provide important information on the "level of infection" in a given country and support planned vaccination campaigns. In this project, we are determining seroprevalence in three African countries (Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Madagascar). We also collect data on protective measures prescribed and implemented and calculate the economic consequences of Corona-related lockdown.

Scientific lead: Nicole Gilberger (Struck)

Contributing scientists: Eva Lorenz, Aurélia Souares, Christina Deschermeier, Ben Rushton.

Team Germany: Jenny Kettenbeil, Wibke Loag, Christa Ehmen, Dino Schachten, Anna Ginsbach, Sayed Alhashimi.

Team Ghana: John Amuasi, Anthony Afum-Adjei Awuah, Christian Obirikorang, Oumou Maiga-Ascofaré, Kwaku Duah, Nana Almoustapha, Evans Ahadu

Team Burkina: Ali Sié, Boubacar Coulibaly, Thierry Ouedraogo, Valentin Boudo

Team Madagascar: Daniela Fusco, Rivo Rakotoarivelo, Dominik Benke, Yannick Heppner, Raphael Rakotozandrindrainy, Zaraniaina Tahiry Rasolojaona, Leonard Gunga, Jeanmarc Kutz