Comparison of SARS-CoV-2 Antibodies and Six Immunoassays in Pediatric and Adult Patients 12 Weeks After COVID-19

Cureus. 2022 Feb 14;14(2):e22195. doi: 10.7759/cureus.22195. eCollection 2022 Feb.


Introduction Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)-specific humoral immune persistence has been proposed to be affected by patients' characteristics. Moreover, available conflicting assay results are needed to be settled through comparative research with defined clinical specimens. Methods This prospective study investigated SARS-CoV-2-specific antibodies among 43 adults and 34 children at a mean of 12 weeks after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms using six serological assays and compared their performance. We used two Euroimmun (Euroimmun, Luebeck, Germany), two automated Roche Elecsys (Basel, Switzerland), and two rapid immuno-chromatographic Ecotest (Matrix Diagnostics, Assure Tech. (Hangzhou) Co., L, China) assays to investigate SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Results The findings showed that the Roche Elecsys anti-S total test yielded the best positivity/sensitivity (children 94.1% and adults 93.0%; p = 0.877) while five immunoglobulin IgG targeting assays had similar positivity/sensitivity between children (88.2% to 94.1%) and adults (88.4% to 93.0%) (p > 0.05). Although IgM positivity was relatively low (p < 0.001), it was found in the majority of our pediatric and adult patients (67.6% and 86.0%, respectively; p = 0.098). SARS-CoV-2 S IgG titers were found to be higher among males in pediatric and adult groups compared to females (p = 0.027 and p = 0.041, respectively). Furthermore, we observed significantly higher antibody titers among pneumonia patients (p = 0.001). Conclusion Overall, we concluded SARS-CoV-2 antibody persistence over an average of 12 weeks after the onset of COVID-19 symptoms. While automated Roche Elecsys total antibody assays yielded the best sensitivity (> 90%) and five assays targeting IgG had acceptable performance. Patients with pneumonia and males have higher antibody titers. The effect of antibody persistence on re-infections should be monitored in longitudinal studies.

Keywords: adult; antibody persistence; covid-19; pediatric; sars-cov-2; serological assay.