Longitudinal assessment of anti-SARS-CoV-2 immune responses for six months based on the clinical severity of COVID-19

J Infect Dis. 2021 Mar 4;jiab124. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiab124. Online ahead of print.


There is insufficient data on the longevity of immunity acquired following severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. We aimed to evaluate the duration of SARS-CoV-2-specific humoral and cellular immunity according to the clinical severity of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The study population comprised asymptomatic (n=14), symptomatic/non-pneumonic (n=42), and pneumonic (n=41) patients. The anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG and neutralizing antibody (NAb) titers lasted until six months after diagnosis, with positivity rates of 66.7% and 86.9%, respectively. Older age, prolonged viral shedding and accompanying pneumonia were more frequently found in patients with sustained humoral immunity. SARS-CoV-2 specific T-cell response was strongly observed in pneumonic patients and prominent in individuals with sustained humoral immunity. In conclusion, most (> 85%) patients carries NAb until six months after diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection, providing insights for establishing vaccination strategies against COVID-19.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; cellular immunity; humoral immunity; longevity.