Prior infection by seasonal coronaviruses, as assessed by serology, does not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and disease in children, France, April to June 2020.Euro Surveill. 2021 04; 26(13)ES
BackgroundChildren have a low rate of COVID-19 and secondary severe multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) but present a high prevalence of symptomatic seasonal coronavirus infections.AimWe tested if prior infections by seasonal coronaviruses (HCoV) NL63, HKU1, 229E or OC43 as assessed by serology, provide cross-protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection.MethodsWe set a cross-sectional observational multicentric study in pauci- or asymptomatic children hospitalised in Paris during the first wave for reasons other than COVID (hospitalised children (HOS), n = 739) plus children presenting with MIS (n = 36). SARS-CoV-2 antibodies directed against the nucleoprotein (N) and S1 and S2 domains of the spike (S) proteins were monitored by an in-house luciferase immunoprecipitation system assay. We randomly selected 69 SARS-CoV-2-seropositive patients (including 15 with MIS) and 115 matched SARS-CoV-2-seronegative patients (controls (CTL)). We measured antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV as evidence for prior corresponding infections and assessed if SARS-CoV-2 prevalence of infection and levels of antibody responses were shaped by prior seasonal coronavirus infections.ResultsPrevalence of HCoV infections were similar in HOS, MIS and CTL groups. Antibody levels against HCoV were not significantly different in the three groups and were not related to the level of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in the HOS and MIS groups. SARS-CoV-2 antibody profiles were different between HOS and MIS children.ConclusionPrior infection by seasonal coronaviruses, as assessed by serology, does not interfere with SARS-CoV-2 infection and related MIS in children.