In June 2020, a seroprevalence study commenced in Ireland using antibody testing, to measure exposure to COVID-19 infection in a representative sample of the population in Dublin (high level of cases) and Sligo (low level of cases). A report on the overall findings of the study was published by the HPSC on its website on 21 August. It is called “Preliminary report of the results of the Study to Investigate COVID-19 Infection in People Living in Ireland (SCOPI): A national seroprevalence study, June-July 2020”.
Amongst its findings at that time, it stated that :
“…we estimate that 59,500 people in Ireland aged between 12 and 69 years of age have been infected with SARS-CoV-2. This is 3.0 times higher than the number of confirmed cases aged 12-69 years notified in Ireland“.
It went on to state that the vast majority of people living in Ireland are unlikely to have been infected with SARS-CoV-2 by the time of the study, and are therefore still susceptible to infection. This highlights the continued importance of public health measures, including physical distancing, respiratory etiquette, hand hygiene and the use of face coverings, until a vaccine for COVID-19 is universally available.
There are no immediate plans for a further such study, although NPHET will keep the matter under review.