Sero-prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia


  • Berhanu Nega
  • Adamu Addissie
  • Gemechis Mamo
  • Negussie Deyessa
  • Tamrat Abebe
  • Abdulnasir Abagero
  • Wondimu Ayele
  • Workeabeba Abebe
  • Tewodros Haile
  • Rahel Argaw
  • Wondwossen Amogne
  • Ayele Belachew
  • Zelalem Desalegn
  • Brhanu Teka
  • Eva Kantelhardt
  • Mesfin Wossen
  • Saro Abdella
  • Getachew Tollera
  • Lia Tadesse


AbstractBackground: Anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests are increasingly used for sero-epidemiological purposes to provide a better understanding of the extent of the infection in the community, and to monitor the progression of the COVID-19 epidemic. A sero-prevalence study was conducted to estimate prior infections with SARS-CoV-2 in Addis Ababa.Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from April 23 to 28, 2020 among 301 randomly selected residents of Addis Ababa; sub-city health offices, health facilities and health extension workers were contacted, to obtain a population profile and to conduct the random selection of study participants. Participants were selected, who had not been in direct contact with people who had contracted COVID-19, to maintain consistency among the study population. Interviews on socio demographic and behavioural risk factors, followed by serological tests were performed for SARS-CoV-2 IgM, and IgG antibodies, using the COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette. Based on the manufacturer information, the test has a sensitivity of 87·9% and specificity of 100% for lgM; and a sensitivity of 97·2% and specificity of 100% for IgG. A Polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test was also done on combined nasopharyngeal and oropharengeal swabs.Findings: The unadjusted antibody-based crude SARS-CoV-2 prevalence was 7·6% and the adjusted (weighted average) SARS-CoV-2 prevalence was estimated at 8·8% (95% CI 5·5%-11·6%) for the study population. Higher sero-prevalence were observed for males (9.0%), age below 50 years (8.2%), students and unemployed (15.6%), as well as those with primary education (12.1%), educated above high school (37·9%), non- smokers (78·7%), with no history of regular alcohol (53·8%), no chat (70·8%), and no shisha use (94·7%). According to the findings, a significantly higher number of individuals had been infected in Addis Ababa as compared to what was being detected and reported by the RT-PCR test, which is suggestive of community transmission. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2021; 35(4) 367-374]Keyword: Sero-prevalence, Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, SARS-CoV-2, Antibody Testing




How to Cite

Berhanu Nega, Adamu Addissie, Gemechis Mamo, Negussie Deyessa, Tamrat Abebe, Abdulnasir Abagero, Wondimu Ayele, Workeabeba Abebe, Tewodros Haile, Rahel Argaw, Wondwossen Amogne, Ayele Belachew, Zelalem Desalegn, Brhanu Teka, Eva Kantelhardt, Mesfin Wossen, Saro Abdella, Getachew Tollera, & Lia Tadesse. (2021). Sero-prevalence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 35(4). Retrieved from



Original Articles