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Serum HCoV-spike specific antibodies do not protect against subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection in children and adolescents

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Stephen Owens



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 The AuthorsSARS-CoV-2 infections in children are generally asymptomatic or mild and rarely progress to severe disease and hospitalization. Why this is so remains unclear. Here we explore the potential for protection due to pre-existing cross-reactive seasonal coronavirus antibodies and compare the rate of antibody decline for nucleocapsid and spike protein in serum and oral fluid against SARS-CoV-2 within the pediatric population. No differences in seasonal coronaviruses antibody concentrations were found at baseline between cases and controls, suggesting no protective effect from pre-existing immunity against seasonal coronaviruses. Antibodies against seasonal betacoronaviruses were boosted in response to SARS-CoV-2 infection. In serum, anti-nucleocapsid antibodies fell below the threshold of positivity more quickly than anti-spike protein antibodies. These findings add to our understanding of protection against infection with SARS-CoV-2 within the pediatric population, which is important when considering pediatric SARS-CoV-2 immunization policies.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ratcliffe H, Tiley KS, Longet S, Tonry C, Roarty C, Watson C, Amirthalingam G, Vichos I, Morey E, Douglas NL, Marinou S, Plested E, Aley PK, Galiza E, Faust SN, Hughes S, Murray C, Roderick MR, Shackley F, Oddie S, Lee TWR, Turner DPJ, Raman M, Owens S, Turner PJ, Cockerill H, Lopez Bernal J, Ijaz S, Poh J, Shute J, Linley E, Borrow R, Hoschler K, Brown KE, Carroll MW, Klenerman P, Dunachie SJ, Ramsay M, Voysey M, Waterfield T, Snape MD

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: iScience

Year: 2023

Volume: 26

Issue: 12

Print publication date: 15/12/2023

Online publication date: 21/11/2023

Acceptance date: 17/11/2023

Date deposited: 05/02/2024

ISSN (electronic): 2589-0042

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2023.108500


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Funder referenceFunder name
HSC R&D Division
NIHR PRP (PR-R17-0916-22001, CV220-036)
Public Health Agency Ref: COM/5596/20
the NIHR Clinical Research Network
the NIHR funded National Immunisation Schedule Evaluation Consortium (PR-R17-0916-22001)