Antibody Response After SARS-CoV-2 Infection and Implications for Immunity : A Rapid Living Review : Annals of Internal Medicine : Vol 0, No 0
Revue de la littérature sur la #sérologie après une infection SARS-CoV-2 et les conséquences sur l’immunité
4-6% des infectés restent séronégatifs (11% des asymptomatiques). La présence d’anticorps semble donc corrélée à la présence de symptômes mais aussi à leur sévérité : aucune des personnes hospitalisées ne s’est révélée séronégative.
Les études sur les infections survenant après un test sérologique montrent que les séropositifs développent beaucoup moins d’infection par la suite ; mais la quasi-totalité des cas étudiés concernaient des personnes sans PCR préalable .
To synthesize evidence on the prevalence, levels, and durability of detectable antibodies after #SARS-CoV-2 infection and whether antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confer natural immunity.
Lack of an Antibody Response
Nearly all studies found that a certain proportion of patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by RT-PCR did not have detectable antibodies. For example, in an Icelandic seroprevalence study in which 489 recovered patients had antibody testing at 2 time points (once ≥3 weeks after diagnosis and again ≥1 month after that), 19 (4%) had negative results for 2 pan-Ig immunoassays (29). Few studies evaluated whether patient factors and illness severity were associated with this finding. An exception is a U.S. study of 2547 frontline health care workers and first responders, which found that about 6% of participants remained seronegative 14 to 90 days after symptom onset (50). This result was strongly associated with disease severity and presence of symptoms. Although 11% of 308 asymptomatic patients did not develop antibodies, none of the 79 patients hospitalized for COVID-19 were seronegative.
Role of Antibodies in Immunity Against Reinfection
Studies in this review primarily aimed to estimate seroprevalence and characterize the antibody response after SARS-CoV-2 infection and did not directly evaluate the association between antibodies and immunity. A retrospective study of 47 hospitalized patients in China with moderate to severe COVID-19 mentions a potential case of reinfection in 1 patient during the “convalescence stage” of the disease (77). Of note, the patient did not have detectable antibodies (either IgM or IgG) at follow-up 4 weeks after discharge, but the study does not provide more detail or describe how reinfection was determined. Otherwise, we did not identify any studies of persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection diagnosed via RT-PCR that directly linked the presence or absence of antibodies with incidence of reinfection. A Danish study is investigating immunity by following participants positive for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies at 1, 5, 10, and 20 years, but so far it has reported only initial antibody test results (35). Population seroprevalence studies, such as the Icelandic study discussed in the previous section, could provide insight into reinfection risk if study periods were extended and incidence of reinfection compared among participants with and without antibodies.
We note that, in several recent studies of adults with known positive or negative SARS-CoV-2 serologies, antibody presence is associated with protective immunity. A prospective study following 12 541 health care workers in the United Kingdom for up to 31 weeks found that anti-spike IgG seropositivity at baseline was associated with lower risk for subsequent positive results on RT-PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2 (223 of 11 364 vs. 2 of 1265; adjusted incidence rate ratio, 0.11) (83, 84). Only 37% (466 of 1265) of the seropositive workers had a prior RT-PCR–confirmed infection. Two small retrospective studies also suggest that prior SARS-CoV-2 infection, as measured by positive antibody results, is associated with reduced risk for reinfection (85, 86). One of these studies described a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak among attendees and staff at a summer school retreat (85). Among 152 participants, 76% (n = 116) had confirmed or presumed SARS-CoV-2 infection, whereas none of the 24 persons who had documented seropositive results in the 3 months before the retreat developed symptoms. In another study, 3 participants who had positive neutralizing antibody results (and negative results on RT-PCR testing for SARS-CoV-2) before departing on a fishing vessel did not subsequently test positive for SARS-CoV-2 despite an outbreak affecting 85% (104 of 122) of the onboard population (86).