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Authors:Stadlbauer et al.  

Journal/ Pre-Print:medRxiv 

Tags: Clinical, Diagnostics 

Research Highlights

  1. SARS-COV2 seropositive samples were identified in individuals before the first official case was reported in New York City.  

  1. The infection fatality rate is estimated to lie at ~0.7(February 2020 – April 2020).  

  1. The two -step assay utilised to probe seropositivity shows a sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 100%.  


This retrospective study utilizes a specific and sensitive two – step assay to asses SARS-COV2 seropositivity in over 5000 individuals within a window of three months (February-April 2020) in New York City. By not only probing the serum of a “high-risk” group of emergency room and hospitalised patients, but also from individuals on routine clinic appointments (OBY/GYN or oncology units) they optimise infection fatality rate calculations by mimicking a general public.  

Impact for SARS-CoV2/COVID19 research efforts  

Others: Determine SARS-COV2 infection rates within a defined, geographical population.  

Over 5000 samples were retrospectively analysed to determine the true infection rate of SARS-COV2.  

Study Type  

  • Clinical Cohort study (e.g. drug trials) 

  • Patient Case study 

Strengths and limitations of the paper 

Novelty: A retrospective study showing SARS-COV2 seropositive samples found at earlier timepoints than first official reports in New York City  

Standing in the field:By utilising a specific two step assay and examining a wide range of the population during the onset of the pandemic, this study helps understand the true infection and infection fatality rate of a defined population in retrospect. There are no controversies to any other studies to my knowledge.  

Appropriate statistics: Yes (please to be counterchecked)  

Viral model used:- 

Translatability: The calculation of a true infection rate within a wide range of individuals will aid in understanding the dynamics of the virus spread and communal immunity. This will in turn directly influence human social and economic habits and shapgovernment guidelines.  

Main limitations:  

  • The screening group resembling the general population were largely individuals with the knowledge of potential susceptibility (pregnant, pre-malignancies) and therefore possibly shielded themselves in particular from environmental influences. Their SARS-COV2 seropositivity levels therefore does not necessarily mimic that of the general public that might be exposed to a greater extent.