Long-Term Antibody Response to SARS-CoV-2 in Children


Almost 2 years into the pandemic and with vaccination of children significantly lagging behind adults, long-term pediatric humoral immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 are understudied. The C19.CHILD Hamburg (COVID-19 Child Health Investigation of Latent Disease) Study is a prospective cohort study designed to identify and follow up children and their household contacts infected in the early 2020 first wave of SARS-CoV-2. We screened 6113 children < 18 years by nasopharyngeal swab-PCR in a low-incidence setting after general lockdown, from May 11 to June 30, 2020. A total of 4657 participants underwent antibody testing. Positive tests were followed up by repeated PCR and serological testing of all household contacts over 6 months. In total, the study identified 67 seropositive children (1.44%); the median time after infection at first presentation was 83 days post-symptom onset (PSO). Follow-up of household contacts showed less than 100% seroprevalence in most families, with higher seroprevalence in families with adult index cases compared to pediatric index cases (OR 1.79, P = 0.047). Most importantly, children showed sustained seroconversion up to 9 months PSO, and serum antibody concentrations persistently surpassed adult levels (ratio serum IgG spike children vs. adults 90 days PSO 1.75, P < 0.001; 180 days 1.38, P = 0.01; 270 days 1.54, P = 0.001). In a low-incidence setting, SARS-CoV-2 infection and humoral immune response present distinct patterns in children including higher antibody levels, and lower seroprevalence in families with pediatric index cases. Children show long-term SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses. These findings are relevant to novel variants with increased disease burden in children, as well as for the planning of age-appropriate vaccination strategies.

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StatusVeröffentlicht - 01.2023

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© 2022. The Author(s).