Nucleocapsid and spike antibody responses following virologically confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection: an observational analysis in the Virus Watch community cohort

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  • Virus Watch Collaborative

Objectives: Seroprevalence studies can provide a measure of SARS-CoV-2 cumulative incidence, but a better understanding of spike and nucleocapsid (anti-N) antibody dynamics following infection is needed to assess the longevity of detectability. Methods: Adults aged ≥18 years, from households enrolled in the Virus Watch prospective community cohort study in England and Wales, provided monthly capillary blood samples, which were tested for spike antibody and anti-N. Participants self-reported vaccination dates and past medical history. Previous polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swabs were obtained through Second Generation Surveillance System linkage data. The primary outcome variables were seropositivity and total anti-N and spike antibody levels after PCR-confirmed infection. Results: A total of 13,802 eligible individuals provided 58,770 capillary blood samples. A total of 537 of these had a previous positive PCR-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection within 0-269 days of antibody sample date, among them 432 (80.45%) having a positive anti-N result. Median anti-N levels peaked between days 90 and 119 after PCR results and then began to decline. There is evidence of anti-N waning from 120 days onwards, with earlier waning for females and younger age categories. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that anti-N has around 80% sensitivity for identifying previous COVID-19 infection, and the duration of detectability is affected by sex and age.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Sider (fra-til)104-111
StatusUdgivet - 2022
Eksternt udgivetJa

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The research costs for the study have been supported by the MRC Grant Ref: MC_PC 19070 awarded to UCL on March 30, 2020 and MRC Grant Ref: MR/V028375/1 awarded on August 17, 2020. The study also received $15,000 of Facebook advertising credit to support a pilot social media recruitment campaign on August 18, 2020. The study also received funding from the United Kingdom Government Department of Health and Social Care's Vaccine Evaluation Program to provide monthly Thriva antibody tests to adult participants. This study was supported by the Wellcome Trust through a Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship to RA [206602].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s)

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