EBioMedicine. 2021 Sep ;71:103561. Epub 2021 Aug 27. PMID: 34455390
Evolution of antibody responses up to 13 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection and risk of reinfection.
BACKGROUND: Assessment of the kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies is essential in predicting risk of reinfection and durability of vaccine protection.METHODS: This is a prospective, monocentric, longitudinal, cohort clinical study. Healthcare workers (HCW) from Strasbourg University Hospital were enrolled between April 6th and May 7th, 2020 and followed up to 422 days. Serial serum samples were tested for antibodies against the Receptor Binding Domain (RBD) of the spike protein and nucleocapsid protein (N) to characterize the kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and the incidence of reinfection. Live-neutralization assays were performed for a subset of samples before and after vaccination to analyze sensitivity to SARS-CoV-2 variants.FINDINGS: A total of 4290 samples from 393 convalescent COVID-19 and 916 COVID-19 negative individuals were analyzed. In convalescent individuals, SARS-CoV-2 antibodies followed a triphasic kinetic model with half-lives at month (M) 11-13 of 283 days (95% CI 231-349) for anti-N and 725 days (95% CI 623-921) for anti-RBD IgG, which stabilized at a median of 1.54 log BAU/mL (95% CI 1.42-1.67). The incidence of SARS-CoV-2 infections was 12.22 and 0.40 per 100 person-years in COVID-19-negative and COVID-19-positive HCW, respectively, indicating a relative reduction in the incidence of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection of 96.7%. Live-virus neutralization assay revealed that after one year, variants D614G and B.1.1.7, but less so B.1.351, were sensitive to anti-RBD antibodies at 1.4 log BAU/mL, while IgG≥ 2.0 log BAU/mL strongly neutralized all three variants. These latter anti-RBD IgG titers were reached by all vaccinated HCW regardless of pre-vaccination IgG levels and type of vaccine.INTERPRETATION: Our study demonstrates a long-term persistence of anti-RBD antibodies that may reduce risk of reinfection. By significantly increasing cross-neutralizing antibody titers, a single-dose vaccination strengthens protection against variants. FUN1DING: None.