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Front Immunol ; 13: 751705, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1686480


COVID-19 affects children to a lesser extent than adults but they can still get infected and transmit SARS-CoV-2 to their contacts. Field deployable non-invasive sensitive diagnostic techniques are needed to evaluate the infectivity dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in pediatric populations and guide public health interventions, particularly if this population is not fully vaccinated. We evaluated the utility of high-throughput Luminex assays to quantify saliva IgM, IgA and IgG antibodies against five SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) and nucleocapsid (N) antigens in a contacts and infectivity longitudinal study in 122 individuals (52 children and 70 adults). We compared saliva versus serum/plasma samples in infected children and adults diagnosed by weekly RT-PCR over 35 days (n=62), and those who consistently tested negative over the same follow up period (n=60), in the Summer of 2020 in Barcelona, Spain. Saliva antibody levels in SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR positive individuals were significantly higher than in negative individuals and correlated with those measured in sera/plasmas. Asymptomatic infected individuals had higher levels of anti-S IgG than symptomatic individuals, suggesting a protective anti-disease role for antibodies. Higher anti-S IgG and IgM levels in serum/plasma and saliva, respectively, in infected children compared to infected adults could also be related to stronger clinical immunity in them. Among infected children, males had higher levels of saliva IgG to N and RBD than females. Despite overall correlation, individual clustering analysis suggested that responses that may not be detected in blood could be patent in saliva, and vice versa. In conclusion, measurement of SARS-CoV-2-specific saliva antibodies should be considered as a complementary non-invasive assay to serum/plasma to determine COVID-19 prevalence and transmission in pediatric populations before and after vaccination campaigns.

Antibodies, Viral/analysis , COVID-19 Serological Testing/methods , COVID-19/diagnosis , Immunoassay/methods , Saliva , Adult , Child , Female , Humans , Immunoglobulin A/analysis , Immunoglobulin G/analysis , Immunoglobulin M/analysis , Male , SARS-CoV-2 , Spain
Clin Infect Dis ; 74(1): 66-73, 2022 01 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1633721


BACKGROUND: Understanding the role of children in severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission is critical to guide decision-making for schools in the pandemic. We aimed to describe the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 among children and adult staff in summer schools. METHODS: During July 2020, we prospectively recruited children and adult staff attending summer schools in Barcelona who had SARS-CoV-2 infection. Primary SARS-CoV-2 infections were identified through (1) a surveillance program in 22 summer schools of 1905 participants, involving weekly saliva sampling for SARS-CoV-2 reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) during 2-5 weeks; and (2) cases identified through the Catalonian Health Surveillance System of children diagnosed with SARS-CoV-2 infection by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR. All centers followed prevention protocols: bubble groups, handwashing, face masks, and conducting activities mostly outdoors. Contacts of a primary case within the same bubble were evaluated by nasopharyngeal RT-PCR. Secondary attack rates and the effective reproduction number in summer schools (Re*) were calculated. RESULTS: Among the >2000 repeatedly screened participants, 30 children and 9 adults were identified as primary cases. A total of 253 close contacts of these primary cases were studied (median, 9 [interquartile range, 5-10] for each primary case), among which 12 new cases (4.7%) were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The Re* was 0.3, whereas the contemporary rate in the general population from the same areas in Barcelona was 1.9. CONCLUSIONS: The transmission rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection among children attending school-like facilities under strict prevention measures was lower than that reported for the general population. This suggests that under preventive measures schools are unlikely amplifiers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission, supporting current recommendations for school opening.

COVID-19 , Adult , Child , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Schools , Spain/epidemiology
iScience ; 25(1): 103595, 2022 Jan 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1561439


It is unclear why COVID-19 ranges from asymptomatic to severe. When SARS-CoV-2 is detected, interferon (IFN) response is activated. When it is insufficient or delayed, it might lead to overproduction of cytokines and severe COVID-19. The aim was to compare cytokine and IFN patterns in children and adults with differing severity with SARS-CoV-2.It was a prospective, observational study, including 84 patients. Patients with moderate/severe disease had higher cytokines' values than patients with mild disease (p< 0.001).Two IFN genes were selected to build a decision tree for severity classification: SOCS1 (representative of the rest of the IFN genes) and CIITA (inverse correlation). Low values of CIITA and high values of SOCS1 indicated severe disease. This method correctly classified 33/38(86.8%) of children and 27/34 (79.4%) of adults. To conclude, patients with severe disease had an elevated cytokine pattern, which correlated with the IFN response, with low CIITA and high SOCS1 values.