ObjectivesTo define the seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in blood donors (referred to the first lockdown area (Lodi Red-Zone) of the Lombardy region and in a contiguous area that was not included in the first lockdown); to define the agreement between a commercial serological assay and a reference microneutralization assay; and to evaluate the persistence of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies in a cohort of blood donors.
MethodsBlood donors referred to the first lockdown area in Lombardy Region and the neighbouring area were analysed for SARS-CoV-2 IgG-specific antibodies during the period 18 March to 24 June 2020. Serum samples were analysed using both a chemiluminescent immunoassay (LIAISON® SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 IgG, DiaSorin) for the quantitative characterization of SARS-CoV-2 anti-S1 and anti-S2 IgG antibodies and a neutralizing antibodies (NT-Abs) assay.
ResultsIn the period from 18 March to 24 June, 1922 blood donors were tested for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG showing a prevalence of 378/1922 (19.7%). A subgroup of 1139 blood donors were tested in parallel with a SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay and a microneutralization assay showing a prevalence of 22.2% and 21.6%, respectively. SARS-CoV-2 IgG quantification was correlated with NT-Abs titres. In 78.2% of participants the NT-Abs titre was maintained, but in 15.8% it decreased by one four-fold dilution and in 6.0% it increased by one four-fold dilution.
ConclusionsThe duration of immunity of SARS-CoV-2 is crucial for the course of the pandemic and for this reason the monitoring of NT Abs is important. Despite a stable NT-Abs titre being observed in the majority of blood donors, our findings need to be validated in a long-term period of follow up.