Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR&D Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection in skilled nursing facility residents.

White EM, Saade EA, Yang X, Canaday DH, Blackman C, Santostefano CM, Nanda A, Feifer RA, Mor V, Rudolph JL, Gravenstein S. SARS-CoV-2 antibody detection in skilled nursing facility residents. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2021 Jul 1; 69(7):1722-1728.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


OBJECTIVE: To describe the frequency and timing of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody detection in a convenience sample of skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents with and without confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. DESIGN: Retrospective analysis of SNF electronic health records. SETTING: Qualitative SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results were available from 81 SNFs in 16 states. PARTICIPANTS: Six hundred and sixty nine SNF residents who underwent both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antibody testing for SARS-CoV-2. MEASUREMENTS: Presence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies following the first positive PCR test for confirmed cases, or first PCR test for non-cases. RESULTS: Among 397 residents with PCR-confirmed infection, antibodies were detected in 4 of 7 (57.1%) tested within 7-14?days of their first positive PCR test; in 44 of 47 (93.6%) tested within 15-30?days; in 182 of 219 (83.1%) tested within 31-60?days; and in 110 of 124 (88.7%) tested after 60?days. Among 272 PCR negative residents, antibodies were detected in 2 of 9 (22.2%) tested within 7-14?days of their first PCR test; in 41 of 81 (50.6%) tested within 15-30?days; in 65 of 148 (43.9%) tested within 31-60?days; and in 9 of 34 (26.5%) tested after 60?days. No significant differences in baseline resident characteristics or symptoms were observed between those with versus without antibodies. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that vulnerable older adults can mount an antibody response to SARS-CoV-2, and that antibodies are most likely to be detected within 15-30?days of diagnosis. That antibodies were detected in a large proportion of residents with no confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection highlights the complexity of identifying who is infected in real time. Frequent surveillance and diagnostic testing based on low thresholds of clinical suspicion for symptoms and/or exposure will remain critical to inform strategies designed to mitigate outbreaks in SNFs while community SARS-CoV-2 prevalence remains high.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.