Persistent Antibody Responses Up to 18 Months After Mild Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Infection

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BACKGROUND: Humoral immunity to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) may wane rapidly in persons recovered from mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), but little is known about the longevity. METHODS: Serum samples were obtained 8, 12, and 18 months after infection from 20 patients with mild COVID-19. The binding activities of serum antibodies (immunoglobulin [Ig]A, IgG, and IgM) against SARS-CoV-2 antigens of the Wuhan-1 reference strain (wild-type) and the B.1.1.7, P.1, B.1.167.2, and B.1.1.529 variants were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Neutralizing antibody titers were measured using a cytopathic effect-based live virus neutralization assay. RESULTS: Serum IgA and IgG antibodies against spike or receptor-binding domain (RBD) protein of wild-type SARS-CoV-2 were detected for up to 18 months, and neutralizing antibodies persisted for 8 to 18 months after infection. However, any significant antibody responses against RBD proteins of SARS-CoV-2 variants were not observed, and median neutralizing antibody titers against the Delta variant at 8, 12, and 18 months were 8- to 11-fold lower than against wild-type viruses (P<.001). CONCLUSIONS: Humoral immunity persisted for up to 18 months after SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with mild COVID-19. However, humoral immune activity against more recently circulating variants was reduced in this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1230
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • neutralizing antibodies
  • serological response


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