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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 205-211

A cross-sectional study on the seroprevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody in patients with cancer from central Kerala

1 Department of Oncology, Believers Church Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Believers Church Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala, India
3 Department of Gastroenterology, Believers Church Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala, India
4 Department of Microbiology, Believers Church Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Sangeetha Merrin Varghese
Cherical House, Channanikadu P.O - 686 533, Kottayam, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/crst.crst_289_21

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Background: Patients with cancer are vulnerable to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Given the rising number of COVID-19 cases and relaxation of stringent COVID-19 protocols, assessment of the level of protective immunity to COVID-19 in patients with cancer has assumed importance. Objectives: Our primary objective was to evaluate the seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies in patients with cancer. Materials and Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on 100 patients with solid tumors attending our Oncology Department at the Believers Church Medical College, Kerala, India, between December 2020 and June 2021. Seroprevalence was assessed using the VITROS® Anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG test (Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Rochester, NY, USA). Additionally, we assessed the factors associated with seropositivity and collected data regarding the general experience of patients with cancer during the pandemic. Results: The median age of the participants was 62 years (IQR, 53 - 69.8); 52 (52%) were males. The seroprevalence of the SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies was 11% (95% CI, 4.8–17.1). Age < 50 years was the only factor that was significantly associated with a higher rate of COVID-19 antibodies (77% vs 8.9% in patients ≥ 50 years; P = 0.007), and sex, smoking, and the use of alcohol did not show any association. The majority (77/100, 77%) of the patients were worried about contracting COVID-19 infection; some even deferred cancer-directed treatment because of the fear of visiting health care settings. Conclusion: Low seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibodies in unvaccinated patients with cancer is a matter of concern as it indicates that many of these patients are still vulnerable to infection. There is an urgent need to continue implementing strict safety measures in oncology centers and to encourage widespread COVID-19 vaccination to prevent the uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 among patients with cancer. (Funded by the institution, Believers Church Medical College, Kerala)

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