Serological Follow-Up Study Indicates High Seasonal Coronavirus Infection and Reinfection Rates in Early Childhood
Kolehmainen, P., Heroum, J., Jalkanen, P., Huttunen, M., Toivonen, L., Marjomäki, V., Waris, M., Smura, T., Kakkola, L., Tauriainen, S., Peltola, V., & Julkunen, I. (2022). Serological Follow-Up Study Indicates High Seasonal Coronavirus Infection and Reinfection Rates in Early Childhood. Microbiology Spectrum, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.01967-21
Published inMicrobiology Spectrum
© 2022 the Authors
Seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoVs) cause respiratory infections, especially in children. Currently, the knowledge on early childhood seasonal coronavirus infections and the duration of antibody levels following the first infections is limited. Here we analyzed serological follow-up samples to estimate the rate of primary infection and reinfection(s) caused by seasonal coronaviruses in early childhood. Serum specimens were collected from 140 children at ages of 13, 24, and 36 months (1, 2, and 3 years), and IgG antibody levels against recombinant HCoV nucleoproteins (N) were measured by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Altogether, 84% (118/140) of the children were seropositive for at least one seasonal coronavirus N by the age of 3 years. Cumulative seroprevalences for HCoVs 229E, HKU1, NL63, and OC43 increased by age, and they were 45%, 27%, 70%, and 44%, respectively, at the age of 3 years. Increased antibody levels between yearly samples indicated reinfections by 229E, NL63, and OC43 viruses in 20–48% of previously seropositive children by the age of 3 years. Antibody levels declined 54–73% or 31–77% during the year after seropositivity in children initially seropositive at 1 or 2 years of age, respectively, in case there was no reinfection. The correlation of 229E and NL63, and OC43 and HKU1 EIA results, suggested potential cross-reactivity between the N specific antibodies inside the coronavirus genera. The data shows that seasonal coronavirus infections and reinfections are common in early childhood and the antibody levels decline relatively rapidly. ...
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
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Additional information about fundingThis work was supported by the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation (grant numbers 3067-84b53 and 5360-cc2fc to I.J.), the Sigrid Juselius Foundation (to I.J. and L.K.), and the Medical Research Council of the Academy of Finland (grant numbers 337530 and 336410 to I.J.).
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