Stanford Center for Biomedical Informatics Research RESEARCH COLLOQUIUM “Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 specific antibodies”


Jay Bhattacharya, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Stanford Health Policy

Eran Bendavid, MS, MD, Associate Professor, Stanford Health Policy

Thursday May 14th, 2020 12:00 to 1:00 pm
Live Stream :


Understanding the extent of the COVID-19 epidemic requires estimating the prevalence of antibodies to specific to SARS-CoV-2 in the population.  Over the last month, numerous studies of seroprevalence have been conducted in localities around the world.  These studies have transformed our understanding of the nature of SARS-CoV-2 infection and of the epidemic.  Based on the results of seroprevalences studies, we now understand that the epidemic has spread far more widely throughout the population than can be gleaned from case reports alone. The studies indicate that, depending on the locality, for every identified case somewhere between 10 and 500 people have been infected without being identified by health care systems as having the virus.  We now know that COVID-19 has a wide range of clinical presentations from completely without symptoms, to mild cold-like symptoms, ranging up to a deadly viral pneumonia.  The vast majority of cases cause either no symptoms or only mild symptoms and patients recover. We now know that the infection fatality rate from the virus ranges between 1 death per 1000 cases to 5 deaths per 1000 cases, with higher number pertaining to localities with older or otherwise at-risk populations. These numbers are orders of magnitude less than the death rate announced by the WHO of 34 per 1000 cases in March of this year.