Serosurveillance studies in Ireland


Several serosurveillance studies have been carried out in Ireland since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ‘Study to Investigate COVID-19 Infection in People Living in Ireland (SCOPI)’ and ‘Prevalence of Antibodies to COVID-19 in Irish Healthcare Workers (PRECISE)’ are two such studies that examined the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies in the general population and in healthcare workers respectively.    

Study to investigate COVID-19 Infection in People Living in Ireland (SCOPI)

What was the purpose of the study?

The main aim of the SCOPI study, which was the first of its kind in Ireland, was to find out how widely COVID-19 had spread and what age groups were affected. The results of the study supported public health professionals in making decisions about how to control the spread of the virus.

How was the study carried out?

The SCOPI study took place between 15 June and 16 July, 2020. It was co-ordinated by the Health Protection Surveillance Centre and carried out by the Health Service Executive and National Virus Reference Laboratory. Over 5,000 invitations to take part in the study were sent to a representative sample of people aged between 12 – 69 in Dublin, an area with a high incidence rate of COVID-19, and Sligo, an area with a low incidence rate. Participants who agreed to take part were asked to:

  • Answer a short questionnaire (pdf) over the phone
  • Provide a blood sample at a local centre

Blood samples were then tested in the National Virus Reference Laboratory.


In all, 1,733 people completed a questionnaire and provided a blood sample in the SCOPI study. Of those, 33 people were found to have COVID-19 antibodies. This was 3.1% of participants from Dublin, and 0.6% of participants from Sligo. Based on the representative nature of the sample tested, it was estimated that during the study period, 1.7% of people between the ages of 12 and 69 living in Ireland had COVID-19 antibodies. At that stage of the pandemic, this was roughly 3 times more than the number of confirmed cases in this age group.

Find out more about the results, or read the full report here (pdf).

Prevalence of antibodies to COVID-19 in Irish Healthcare Workers

The PRECISE Study looks at the seroprevalence of COVID-19 in healthcare workers in two Irish hospitals. For further information, please click here.