Estimated seroprevalence of Coronavirus Infectious Disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a critical evidence for a better evaluation of the virus spread and monitoring the progress of COVID-19 pandemic in a population. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence has been reported in specific regions, but an extensive nationwide study has not been reported. Here, we report a nationwide study to determine the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in the population of KSA during the pandemic, using serum samples from healthy blood donors, non-COVID patients and healthcare workers (HCWs) in six different regions of the kingdom, with addition samples from COVID-19 patients.
A total of 11,703 serum samples were collected from different regions of the KSA including; 5395 samples from residual healthy blood donors (D); 5877 samples from non-COVID patients collected through residual sera at clinical biochemistry labs from non-COVID patients (P); and 400 samples from consented HCWs. To determine the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2, all serum samples, in addition to positive control sera from RT-PCR confirmed COVID-19 patients, were subjected to in-house ELISA with a sample pooling strategy, which was further validated by testing individual samples that make up some of the pools, with a statistical estimation method to report seroprevalence estimates.
Overall (combining D and P groups) seroprevalence estimate was around 11% in Saudi Arabia; and was 5.1% (Riyadh), 1.5% (Jazan), 18.4% (Qassim), 20.8% (Hail), 14.7% (ER; Alahsa), and 18.8% in Makkah. Makkah samples were only D group and had a rate of 24.4% and 12.8% in the cities of Makkah and Jeddah, respectively. The seroprevalence in Saudi Arabia across the sampled areas would be 12 times the reported COVID-19 infection rate. Among HCWs, 7.5% (4.95-10.16 CI 95%) had reactive antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 without reporting any previously confirmed infection. This was higher in HCWs with hypertension. The study also presents the demographics and prevalence of co-morbidities in HCWs and subset of non-COVID-19 population.
Our study estimates the overall national serological prevalence of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia to be 11%, with an apparent disparity between regions. This indicates the prevalence of asymptomatic or mild unreported COVID-19 cases.

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