Lower SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence among Cancer Patients in Sub-Saharan Africa

For Yue Tso, Salum J. Lidenge, John R. Ngowi, Phoebe B. Peña, Ashley A. Clegg, Owen Ngalamika, Chacha J. Mwita, Julius Mwaiselage, Charles Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Despite the high COVID-19 morbidity and mortality rates across the world, the reported rates in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), which has a higher burden of other infectious diseases and overwhelmed healthcare systems, remain relatively low. This study aims to better understand the potential factors that contribute to this phenomenon, especially among cancer patients who are considered as a high-risk group for developing severe COVID-19. Methods: Plasma samples collected during the COVID-19 pandemic from SARS-CoV-2 unvaccinated cancer and potential blood donor populations were analyzed for SARS-CoV-2 (spike and nucleocapsid proteins) antibodies by an immunofluorescence assay. The relationships between SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalences and study variables were determined using a logistic regression analysis. Results: High seroprevalence against the SARS-CoV-2 spike and nucleocapsid proteins were found among the SARS-CoV-2 unvaccinated COVID-19 pandemic populations in SSA. However, the cancer patients demonstrated a lower seroprevalence compared to potential blood donors. There was also an association between mild COVID-19 symptoms with prior tuberculosis vaccination among cancer patients. Conclusion: Cancer patients in SSA tend to have a relatively lower SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence compared to potential blood donors recruited from the same geographic locations during the COVID-19 pandemic. More study is required to determine its cause and potential impact on SARS-CoV-2 vaccination among cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4428
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • cancer
  • seroprevalence
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • tuberculosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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