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Prevalence of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in Wuhan -implications for the ability to produce long-lasting protective antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

By Tao Liu, Sanyun Wu, Huangheng Tao, Guang Zeng, Fuling Zhou, Fangjian Guo, Xinghuan Wang

Posted 16 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.13.20130252

Background It is to be determined whether people infected with SARS-CoV-2 will develop long-term immunity against SARS-CoV-2 and retain long-lasting protective antibodies after the infection is resolved. This study was to explore to explore the outcomes of IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in four groups of individuals in Wuhan, China. Methods We included the following four groups of individuals who received both COVID-19 IgM/IgG tests and RT-PCR tests for SARS-CoV-2 from February 29, 2020 to April 29, 2020: 1470 hospitalized patients with COVID-19 from Leishenshan Hospital, Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University, and Wuhan No. 7 Hospital, 3832 healthcare providers without COVID-19 diagnosis, 19555 general workers, and 1616 other patients to be admitted to the hospital (N=26473). COVID-19 patients who received IgM/IgG tests <21 days after symptom onset were excluded. Results IgG prevalence was 89.8% (95% CI 88.2-91.3%) in COVID-19 patients, 4.0% (95% CI 3.4-4.7%) in healthcare providers, 4.6 (95% CI 4.3-4.9 %) in general workers, and 1.0% in other patients (p all <0.001 for comparisons with COVID-19 patients). IgG prevalence increased significantly by age among healthcare workers and general workers. Prevalence of IgM antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 was 31.4% in COVID-19 patients, 1.5% in healthcare providers, 1.3% in general workers, and 0.2% in other patients. Conclusions Very few healthcare providers had IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, though a significant proportion of them had been infected with the virus. After SARS-CoV-2 infection, people are unlikely to produce long-lasting protective antibodies against this virus.

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