• Duration of SARS-CoV-2 sero-positivity in a large longitudinal sero-surveillance cohort: the COVID-19 Community Research Partnership

      Herrington, David M.; Sanders, John W.; Wierzba, Thomas F.; Alexander-Miller, Martha; Espeland, Mark; Bertoni, Alain G.; Mathews, Allison; Seals, Austin L.; Munawar, Iqra; Runyon, Michael S.; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-08-30)
      Background: Estimating population prevalence and incidence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection is essential to formulate public health recommendations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. However, interpreting estimates based on sero-surveillance requires an understanding of the duration of elevated antibodies following SARS-CoV-2 infection, especially in the large number of people with pauci-symptomatic or asymptomatic disease. Methods: We examined > 30,000 serology assays for SARS-CoV-2 specific IgG and IgM assays acquired longitudinally in 11,468 adults between April and November 2020 in the COVID-19 Community Research Partnership. Results: Among participants with serologic evidence for infection but few or no symptoms or clinical disease, roughly 50% sero-reverted in 30 days of their initial positive test. Sero-reversion occurred more quickly for IgM than IgG and for antibodies targeting nucleocapsid protein compared with spike proteins, but was not associated with age, sex, race/ethnicity, or healthcare worker status. Conclusions: The short duration of antibody response suggests that the true population prevalence of prior SARS-CoV-2 infection may be significantly higher than presumed based on earlier sero-surveillance studies. The impact of the large number of minimally symptomatic COVID-19 cases with only a brief antibody response on population immunity remains to be determined.