Longitudinal COVID-19 Surveillance and Characterization in the Workplace with Public Health and Diagnostic Endpoints

Manjula Gunawardana, Jessica Breslin, John M. Cortez, Sofia Rivera, Simon Webster, F. Javier Ibarrondo, Otto O. Yang, Richard B. Pyles, Christina M. Ramirez, Amy P. Adler, Peter A. Anton, Marc M. Baum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Public health practices and high vaccination rates currently represent the primary interventions for managing the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We initiated a clinical study based on frequent, longitudinal workplace disease surveillance to control severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission among employees and their household members. We hypothesized that the study would reduce the economic burden and loss of productivity of both individuals and small businesses resulting from standard isolation methods, while providing new insights into virus-host dynamics. Study participants (27 employees and 27 household members) consented to provide frequent nasal or oral swab samples that were analyzed by reverse transcription-quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) for SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Two study participants were found to be infected by SARS-CoV-2 during the study. One subject, a household member, was SARS-CoV-2 RNA positive for at least 71 days and had quantifiable serum virus-specific antibody concentrations for over 1 year. One unrelated employee becamepositive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA over the course of the study but remained asymptomatic, with low associated viral RNA copy numbers, no detectable serum IgM and IgG concentrations, and IgA concentrations that decayed rapidly (half-life: 1.3 days). A COVID-19 infection model was used to predict that without surveillance intervention, up to 7 employees (95% confidence interval [CI]=3 to 10) would have become infected, with at most 1 of them requiring hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibodies
  • asymptomatic
  • long-term infection
  • serology
  • surveillance
  • workplace

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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