SCOPI COVID-19 antibody research project

The Study to Investigate COVID-19 Infection in People Living in Ireland (SCOPI) took place between 15 June and 16 July 2020. The results of the study have now been published. This study, the first of its kind in Ireland, measured antibodies to COVID-19 in a representative sample of 1,733 persons aged 12 to 69 years in Sligo and Dublin. The study found that 3.1% (28/913) of participants in Dublin had antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, indicating previous infection. In Sligo, 0.6% (5/820) of participants had antibodies. The estimated national prevalence rate was 1.7%, suggesting that over 59,000 people between the age of 12 and 69 years had previous COVID-19 infection. This is 3 times higher than the number of cases reported through COVID-19 PCR testing. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of participants with antibodies had symptoms in keeping with the national COVID-19 case definition (at least one of the following: fever, sudden onset cough, shortness of breath, loss of smell, loss of taste). One third (33%) of those with antibodies reported loss of sense of smell and/or taste. See here for the study questionnaire.

The low national prevalence rate found in this study indicates that very few people have been exposed to the virus, and there is still a very high risk of community transmission if the current Public Health measures are not continued. Therefore, it is necessary to continue good hygiene practices and social distancing, and to follow the advice of the government and public health officials.

More information on the study design and results of SCOPI for the general public is available at: https://www.hse.ie/scopi