June 11, 2020

Anesthesiologists’, intensive care providers’ exposure to COVID-19 and development of antibodies

By: Judy Mathias
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Editor's Note

Within 6 to 8 weeks of the COVID-19-outbreak, a small proportion of anesthesiologists and intensive care providers reported COVID-19 symptoms after a work-related exposure, and fewer had detectable COVID-19 antibodies, this study finds.

Of 105 anesthesiologists and intensive care providers at New York City’s Columbia University Irving Medical Center responding to a survey, 58% reported at least one work-related exposure, and 54% of the exposures were high risk. Of those exposed, 26.2% reported having COVID-19-like symptoms.


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COVID-19 antibodies were detected in 12.1% of respondents, with no difference between respondents with or without a work-related exposure. Compared with antibody negative respondents, antibody positive respondents were more likely to use New York City subways to commute to work

COVID-19 antibodies appear to be associated with community/environmental transmission rather than secondary work-related exposure during high-risk procedures, the authors say.

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