Seven-month kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and role of pre-existing antibodies to human coronaviruses.Nat Commun. 2021 08 06; 12(1):4740.NC
Unraveling the long-term kinetics of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and the individual characteristics influencing it, including the impact of pre-existing antibodies to human coronaviruses causing common cold (HCoVs), is essential to understand protective immunity to COVID-19 and devise effective surveillance strategies. IgM, IgA and IgG levels against six SARS-CoV-2 antigens and the nucleocapsid antigen of the four HCoV (229E, NL63, OC43 and HKU1) were quantified by Luminex, and antibody neutralization capacity was assessed by flow cytometry, in a cohort of health care workers followed up to 7 months (N = 578). Seroprevalence increases over time from 13.5% (month 0) and 15.6% (month 1) to 16.4% (month 6). Levels of antibodies, including those with neutralizing capacity, are stable over time, except IgG to nucleocapsid antigen and IgM levels that wane. After the peak response, anti-spike antibody levels increase from ~150 days post-symptom onset in all individuals (73% for IgG), in the absence of any evidence of re-exposure. IgG and IgA to HCoV are significantly higher in asymptomatic than symptomatic seropositive individuals. Thus, pre-existing cross-reactive HCoVs antibodies could have a protective effect against SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease.