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Observed SARS-CoV-2 infections and deaths are low in tropical Africa raising questions about the extent of transmission. We measured SARS-CoV-2 IgG by ELISA in 9,922 blood donors across Kenya and adjusted for sampling bias and test performance. By 1st September 2020, 577 COVID-19 deaths were observed nationwide and seroprevalence was 9.1% (95%CI 7.6-10.8%). Seroprevalence in Nairobi was 22.7% (18.0-27.7%). Although most people remained susceptible, SARS-CoV-2 had spread widely in Kenya with apparently low associated mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature communications

Publication Date





KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, Kilifi, Kenya.


Humans, Immunoglobulin G, Antibodies, Viral, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Prevalence, Bayes Theorem, Seroepidemiologic Studies, Adolescent, Adult, Middle Aged, Kenya, Female, Male, Young Adult, Epidemics, Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus, COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2