SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in pregnant women in Kilifi, Kenya from March 2020 to March 2022

Angela Koech, Geoffrey Omuse, Alex G. Mugo, Isaac G. Mwaniki, Joseph M. Mutunga, Moses W. Mukhanya, Onesmus Wanje, Grace M. Mwashigadi, Geoffrey G. Katana, Rachel Craik, Peter von Dadelszen, Kirsty Le Doare, Marleen Temmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Seroprevalence studies are an alternative approach to estimating the extent of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and the evolution of the pandemic in different geographical settings. We aimed to determine the SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence from March 2020 to March 2022 in a rural and urban setting in Kilifi County, Kenya. Methods: We obtained representative random samples of stored serum from a pregnancy cohort study for the period March 2020 to March 2022 and tested for antibodies against the spike protein using a qualitative SARS-CoV-2 ELISA kit (Wantai, total antibodies). All positive samples were retested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid antibodies (Euroimmun, ELISA kits, NCP, qualitative, IgG) and anti-spike protein antibodies (Euroimmun, ELISA kits, QuantiVac; quantitative, IgG). Results: A total of 2,495 (of 4,703 available) samples were tested. There was an overall trend of increasing seropositivity from a low of 0% [95% CI 0–0.06] in March 2020 to a high of 89.4% [95% CI 83.36–93.82] in Feb 2022. Of the Wantai test-positive samples, 59.7% [95% CI 57.06–62.34] tested positive by the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 NCP test and 37.4% [95% CI 34.83–40.04] tested positive by the Euroimmun anti-SARS-CoV-2 QuantiVac test. No differences were observed between the urban and rural hospital but villages adjacent to the major highway traversing the study area had a higher seroprevalence. Conclusion: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence rose rapidly, with most of the population exposed to SARS-CoV-2 within 23 months of the first cases. The high cumulative seroprevalence suggests greater population exposure to SARS-CoV-2 than that reported from surveillance data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1292932
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • COVID-19
  • Kenya
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibodies
  • pregnancy
  • seroprevalence


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