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Immune Response to SARS-CoV-2 Infection Persists in Children

Ninety-six percent of those with evidence of nucleocapsid antibodies at baseline still had antibodies more than six months later

TUESDAY, March 29, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Most children and adolescents with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies following natural infection retain these antibodies for at least six months, according to research published online March 18 in Pediatrics.

Sarah E. Messiah, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston in Dallas, and colleagues examined the durability of SARS-CoV-2-specific natural immune responses in children using data from the Texas Coronavirus Antibody REsponse Survey, an ongoing prospective population-based seroprevalence project. Participants were offered a series of three SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests over six to eight months (or every two to three months), including the immunoassay for detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein. Data were included for a sample of 218 participants aged 5 to 19 years (mean age, 12.8 years).

The researchers found that 96 percent of those with evidence of nucleocapsid antibodies at baseline assessment (34.4 percent of the sample) had antibodies more than six months later (mean, 7.2 months). Seroconversion from positive to negative status occurred for two children between their first and second antibody tests and for none of the children between their second and third tests. Seroconversion from negative to positive occurred for 16 and nine children between their first and second antibody tests and second and third antibody tests, respectively. During the three antibody measurement timepoints, the presence of antibodies did not differ by symptom status or severity, sex, age group, or body mass index group.

“While our study is encouraging in that some amount of natural antibodies last at least six months in children, we still don’t know the absolute protection threshold,” Messiah said in a statement.

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