Robust and durable serological response following pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection

Nat Commun. 2022 Jan 10;13(1):128. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27595-9.


The quality and persistence of children's humoral immune response following SARS-CoV-2 infection remains largely unknown but will be crucial to guide pediatric SARS-CoV-2 vaccination programs. Here, we examine 548 children and 717 adults within 328 households with at least one member with a previous laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. We assess serological response at 3-4 months and 11-12 months after infection using a bead-based multiplex immunoassay for 23 human coronavirus antigens including SARS-CoV-2 and its Variants of Concern (VOC) and endemic human coronaviruses (HCoVs), and additionally by three commercial SARS-CoV-2 antibody assays. Neutralization against wild type SARS-CoV-2 and the Delta VOC are analysed in a pseudotyped virus assay. Children, compared to adults, are five times more likely to be asymptomatic, and have higher specific antibody levels which persist longer (96.2% versus 82.9% still seropositive 11-12 months post infection). Of note, symptomatic and asymptomatic infections induce similar humoral responses in all age groups. SARS-CoV-2 infection occurs independent of HCoV serostatus. Neutralization responses of children and adults are similar, although neutralization is reduced for both against the Delta VOC. Overall, the long-term humoral immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection in children is of longer duration than in adults even after asymptomatic infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • COVID-19 / immunology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross Reactions / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / physiology
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology
  • Vaccination / methods


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2