Original Research

The COVID-19 wave was already here: High seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among staff and students in a Cameroon University

Andrillene Laure Deutou Wondeu, Beatrice Metchum Talom, Giulia Linardos, Barnes Tanetsop Ngoumo, Aïchatou Bello, Aurele Marc Ndassi Soufo, Aimé Cesaire Momo, Christian Doll, Alaric Talom Tamuedjoun, Jules-Roger Kiuate, Giulia Cappelli, Cristina Russo, Carlo Federico Perno, Hyppolite K. Tchidjou, Lucia Scaramella, Andrea Galgani
Journal of Public Health in Africa | Vol 14, No 1 | a268 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4081/jphia.2023.2242 | © 2024 Andrillene Laure Deutou Wondeu, Beatrice Metchum Talom, Giulia Linardos, Barnes Tanetsop Ngoumo, Aïchatou Bello, Aurele Marc Ndassi Soufo, Aimé Cesaire Momo, Christian Doll, Alaric Talom Tamuedjoun, Jules-Roger Kiuate, Giulia Cappelli, Cristina Russo, Carlo Federico Perno, Hyppolite K. Tchidjou, Lucia Scaramella, Andrea Galgani | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 April 2024 | Published: 27 January 2023

About the author(s)

Andrillene Laure Deutou Wondeu, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon; Department of Biology and Interdipartimental Center for Comparative Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy
Beatrice Metchum Talom, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun
Giulia Linardos, Hospital for Children “Bambino Gesù”, Rome, Italy
Barnes Tanetsop Ngoumo, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon
Aïchatou Bello, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon
Aurele Marc Ndassi Soufo, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon
Aimé Cesaire Momo, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon
Christian Doll, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon; Department of Trauma-, Hand- and Reconstructive Surgery, University Hospital Jena, Jena, Germany; Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Corporate Member of Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany
Alaric Talom Tamuedjoun, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon
Jules-Roger Kiuate, Laboratory of molecular biology and immunopathology, Evangelical University of Cameroon, Mbouo-Bandjoun, Cameroon
Giulia Cappelli, Institute for Biological Systems, National Research Council, Rome, Italy
Cristina Russo, Hospital for Children “Bambino Gesù”, Rome, Italy
Carlo Federico Perno, Hospital for Children “Bambino Gesù”, Rome, Italy
Hyppolite K. Tchidjou, Department of Pediatric Emergency, Amiens University Medical Center, Amiens, France
Lucia Scaramella, Unit of Food Biotechnology, Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Lazio e della Toscana “M.Aleandri”, Rome, Italy
Andrea Galgani, Department of Biology and Interdipartimental Center for Comparative Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

Abstract

Background: Seroprevalence studies, to estimate the proportion of people that has been infected by SARS-CoV-2 are importance in African countries, where incidence is among the lowest in the world.

Objective: This study aimed at evaluating the exposure to SARS-CoV-2 within a university setting of Cameroon.

Methods: A cross-sectional study performed in December 2020 - December 2021, among students and staffs of the Evangelical University of Cameroon. COVID-19 antigen rapid detection test (RDT) was performed using Standard Q Biosensor, and one year after SARS-CoV-2 antibody-test was performed within the same population using RDT and chemiluminescence immunoassay (CLIA).

Results: 106 participants were enrolled (80% students), female sex was the most represented. Positivity to SARS-CoV-2 was 0.0% based on antigen RDTs. The seroprevalence of SARSCoV- 2 antibodies was estimated at 73.6% (95% CI. 64.5-81.0) for IgG and 1.9% (95% CI. 0.2-6.8) for IgM/IgG with RDTs, and 91.9% (95% CI. 84.7-96.4) for anti-nucleocapsid with CLIA. 95.3% (101) reported having developed at least one of the known COVID-19 symptoms (cough and headache being the most common). 90.3% (28) of people who experienced at least one of these symptoms developed IgG antibodies. 40.6% (43) of participants took natural herbs, whereas 55.7% (59) took conventional drugs. The most used herb was Zingiber officinale, while the most used drugs were antibiotics.

Conclusion: In this Cameroonian University community, SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence is high, with a greater detection using advanced serological assays. This indicates a wide viral exposure, and the need to adequate control measures especially for those experiencing any related COVID-19 symptoms.


Keywords

SARS-CoV-2; antibodies; seroprevalence; University of Cameroon; anti-N protein

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Crossref Citations

1. Serological surveillance reveals a high exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and altered immune response among COVID-19 unvaccinated Cameroonian individuals
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