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Durability of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies from Natural Infection in Children and Adolescents

By Sarah E Messiah, Frances A Brito, Harold W Kohl, Stacia M DeSantis, Melissa A Valerio-Shewmaker, Jessica A Ross, Ashaf Yaseen, Steven H Kelder, Shiming Zhang, Onyinye S Omega-Njemnobi, Michael O Gonzalez, Leqing Wu, Eric A. Boerwinkle, David Lakey, Jennifer A Shuford, Stephen Pont

Posted 24 Nov 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.11.21.21266484

Background. Recent data suggest the SARS-CoV-2 Delta (B.1.617.2) variant is more transmissible among children compared to the Alpha (B.1.1.7) variant. The true incidence and longitudinal presence of antibody response to SARS-CoV-2 infection is not known, however. We provided estimates of antibody response using Texas Coronavirus Antibody REsponse Survey (Texas CARES) data, a prospective population-based seroprevalence project designed to assess antibody status over time among the general population throughout the state. Methods. In October 2020 Texas CARES began enrolling adults (aged 20-80 years) and children (aged 5-19 years). Participants were offered a series of three SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests over 6-8 months, or every 2-3 months that includes the immunoassay for detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein (Roche N-test). Descriptive characteristics and COVID-19 infection-related symptom status was determined by questionnaire at the time of enrollment and prior to each successive blood draw. This analysis included participants ages 5-to-19 years old who have completed all three antibody assessments. Results. From our sample (n=159; mean age 12.5 years, SD 3.6), 96% of those with evidence of nucleocapsid antibodies at baseline assessment continued to have antibodies > six months later (mean 7.0 months, SD 0.97). There was no difference in the presence of antibodies by symptom status (asymptotic versus symptomatic) or severity (mild-moderate versus severe), sex, age group, or body mass index group (underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obesity) over the three antibody measurement timepoints. Conclusions. These results suggest that infection-induced antibodies persist and thus may provide some protection against future infection for at least half a year. 57.9% of the sample were negative for infection-induced antibodies at their third measurement point, suggesting a significant proportion of children have still not acquired natural infection.

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