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Nucleocapsid and spike antibody responses post virologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection: An observational analysis in the Virus Watch community cohort (preprint)
EuropePMC;
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-327349
ABSTRACT

Introduction:

Seroprevalence studies can provide a measure of cumulative incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection, but a better understanding of antibody dynamics following infection is needed to assess longevity of detectability. Infection is characterised by detection of spike (anti-S) and nucleocapsid (anti-N) antibodies, whereas vaccination only stimulates anti-S. Consequently, in the context of a highly vaccinated population, presence of anti-N can be used as a marker of previous infection but waning over time may limit its use.

Methods:

Adults aged 18 years and older, from households enrolled in the Virus Watch prospective community cohort study in England and Wales, provided monthly capillary blood samples which were tested for anti-S and anti-N. Participants self-reported vaccination dates and past medical history. Prior polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swabs were obtained through Second Generation Surveillance System (SGSS) linkage data. Primary outcome variables were seropositivity (antibodies at or above the manufacturer's cut-off for positivity) and total anti-N and anti-S levels after PCR confirmed infection. Outcomes were analysed by days since infection, self-reported demographic and clinical factors.

Results:

A total of 13,802 eligible individuals, median age 63, provided 58,770 capillary blood samples. 537 of these had a prior positive PCR confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection 0-269 days before the antibody sample date. 432 out of the 537 (80.44%) were anti-N positive and detection remained stable through-out follow-up. Median anti-N levels peaked between days 90 and 119 post PCR results and then began to decline. Logistic regression models, both univariable and multivariable, only showed higher odds of positive anti-N result between 0-269 days for 35-49 year olds, compared to 18-34 year olds. There is evidence of anti-N waning from 120 days onwards, with earlier waning for females and younger age categories.

Discussion:

Approximately 4 in 5 participants with prior PCR-confirmed infection were anti-N positive, and this remained stable through follow-up for at least 269 days. However, median antibody levels began to decline from about 120 days post-infection. This suggests that anti-N have around 80% sensitivity for identifying previous COVID-19 infection and that this sensitivity is maintained through 269 days of follow up.

Full text: Available Collection: Preprints Database: EuropePMC Type of study: Observational study / Prognostic study / Risk factors Topics: Vaccines Language: English Document Type: Preprint

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Full text: Available Collection: Preprints Database: EuropePMC Type of study: Observational study / Prognostic study / Risk factors Topics: Vaccines Language: English Document Type: Preprint