SARS-CoV-2 reinfection in a cohort of 43,000 antibody-positive individuals followed for up to 35 weeks
Laith J Abu-Raddad,
Joel A Malek,
Ayeda A Ahmed,
Yasmin A. Mohamoud,
Houssein H. Ayoub,
Zaina Al Kanaani,
Einas Al Kuwari,
Adeel A Butt,
Anvar Hassan Kaleeckal,
Ali Nizar Latif,
Riyazuddin Mohammad Shaik,
Hanan F. Abdul Rahim,
HADI M. YASSINE,
Mohamed Ghaith Al Kuwari,
Hamad Eid Al Romaihi,
Mohamed H. Al-Thani,
Abdullatif Al Khal,
Posted 15 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.15.21249731
Posted 15 Jan 2021
Background: Reinfection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has been documented, raising public health concerns. Risk and incidence rate of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection were assessed in a large cohort of antibody-positive persons in Qatar. Methods: All SARS-CoV-2 antibody-positive persons with a PCR-positive swab [≥]14 days after the first-positive antibody test were individually investigated for evidence of reinfection. Viral genome sequencing was conducted for paired viral specimens to confirm reinfection. Incidence of reinfection was compared to incidence of infection in the complement cohort of those antibody-negative. Results: Among 43,044 anti-SARS-CoV-2 positive persons who were followed for a median of 16.3 weeks (range: 0-34.6), 314 individuals (0.7%) had at least one PCR positive swab [≥]14 days after the first-positive antibody test. Of these individuals, 129 (41.1%) had supporting epidemiological evidence for reinfection. Reinfection was next investigated using viral genome sequencing. Applying the viral-genome-sequencing confirmation rate, the risk of reinfection was estimated at 0.10% (95% CI: 0.08-0.11%). The incidence rate of reinfection was estimated at 0.66 per 10,000 person-weeks (95% CI: 0.56-0.78). Incidence rate of reinfection versus month of follow-up did not show any evidence of waning of immunity for over seven months of follow-up. Meanwhile, in the complement cohort of 149,923 antibody-negative persons followed for a median of 17.0 weeks (range: 0-45.6), risk of infection was estimated at 2.15% (95% CI: 2.08-2.22%) and incidence rate of infection was estimated at 13.69 per 10,000 person-weeks (95% CI: 13.22-14.14). Efficacy of natural infection against reinfection was estimated at 95.2% (95% CI: 94.1-96.0%). Reinfections were less severe than primary infections. Only one reinfection was severe, two were moderate, and none were critical or fatal. Most reinfections (66.7%) were diagnosed incidentally through random or routine testing, or through contact tracing. Conclusions: Reinfection is rare. Natural infection appears to elicit strong protection against reinfection with an efficacy ~95% for at least seven months.
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