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The COVID-19 pandemic has put healthcare workers (HCW) at significant risk. Presence of antibodies can confirm prior severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection.


This study investigates the prevalence of IgA and IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in HCW.


Performance of IgA and IgG antibody ELISA assays were initially evaluated in positive and negative SARS-CoV-2 serum samples. IgA and IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were measured in 428 asymptomatic HCW. We assessed the risk of two groups: HCW with high exposure risk outside work (HROW) residing in areas where COVID-19 was endemic (n = 162) and HCW with high exposure risk at work (HRAW) in a COVID-19 intensive care unit (ICU) (n = 97).


Sensitivities of 80% and 81.2% and specificities of 97.2% and 98% were observed for IgA and IgG antibodies, respectively. Of the 428 HCW, three were positive for IgG and 27 for IgA. Only 3/27 (11%) IgA-positive HCW had IgG antibodies compared with 50/62 (81%) in a group of previous SARS-CoV-2-PCR-positive individuals. Consecutive samples from IgA-positive HCW demonstrated IgA persistence 18–83 days in 12/20 samples and IgG seroconversion in 1/20 samples. IgA antibodies were present in 8.6% of HROW and 2% of HRAW.


SARS-CoV-2 exposure may lead to asymptomatic transient IgA response without IgG seroconversion. The significance of these findings needs further study. Out of work exposure is a possible risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection in HCW and infection in HCW can be controlled if adequate protective equipment is implemented.


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