Pre-Omicron seroprevalence, seroconversion, and seroreversion of infection-induced SARS-CoV-2 antibodies among a cohort of children and teenagers in Montréal, Canada

Int J Infect Dis. 2023 Jun;131:119-126. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2023.03.036. Epub 2023 Mar 23.


Objectives: To use serological testing to assess the pre-Omicron seroprevalence, seroconversion, and seroreversion of infection-induced SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in children and adolescents in Montréal, Canada.

Design: This analysis is from a prospective cohort study of children aged 2-17 years (at baseline) that included blood spots for antibody detection. The serostatus of participants was determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays using the receptor-binding domain from the spike protein and the nucleocapsid protein as antigens. We estimated seroprevalence, seroconversion rates, and the likelihood of seroreversion at 6 months and 1 year.

Results: The baseline (October 2020 to April 2021) seroprevalence was 5.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.8-7.1), which increased to 10.5% (May to September 2021) and 11.0% (November 2021 to March 2022) for the respective follow-ups (95% CI 8.6-12.7; 95% CI 8.8-13.5). The crude rate of seroconversion over the study period was 12.8 per 100 person-years (95% CI 11.0-14.7). The adjusted hazard rates of seroconversion by child characteristics showed higher rates in children who were female, whose parent identified as a racial or ethnic minority, and in households with incomes in the lowest tercile of our study population. The likelihood of remaining seropositive at 6 months was 68% (95% CI 60-77%) and dropped to 42% (95% CI 32-56%) at 1 year.

Conclusion: Serological studies continue to provide valuable contributions for infection prevalence estimates and help us better understand the dynamics of antibody levels after infection.

Keywords: Cohort; Pediatric; SARS-CoV-2; Seroconversion; Serology; Seroreversion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Ethnicity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Minority Groups
  • Prospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Seroconversion
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Antibodies, Viral