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Towards Bayesian evaluation of seroprevalence studies
* 1, 2 , 2, 3 , 2, 4 , 2, 5 , 2, 4
1  Olomouc University Social Health Institute, Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic
2  The Center for Bayesian Inference 4BIN,
3  Immunology Laboratory GENNET, Prague, Czech Republic
4  Dpt. Of Mathematical Analysis and Application of Mathematics, Faculty of Science, Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic
5  Dpt. of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic


Bayes’ Theorem represents a mathematical formalization of the common sense. What we know about the world today is what we knew yesterday plus what the data told us. The lack of understanding of this concept is the source of many errors and wrong judgements in the current COVID-19 pandemic. In this contribution, we show how to use the framework of Bayesian inference to produce a reasonable estimate of seroprevalence from studies that use a single binary test. Bayes’ Theorem sometimes produces results that seem counter-intuitive at first sight. It is important to realize that the reality may be different from its image represented by test results. The extent to which these two worlds differ depends on the performance of the test (i.e. its sensitivity and specificity),and the prevalence of the tested condition.

Keywords: Bayesian; seroprevalence; antibodies; false positive; SARS-CoV-2; COVID-19