COVID-19: Natural antibodies in children, adolescents can last for months

A new US study has found evidence that some children and adolescents previously infected with COVID-19 develop natural antibodies that can persist for months.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics and led by researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, looked at data from 218 children and adolescents aged 5 to 19 years. .

Participants were enrolled in the Texas Coronavirus Antibody Response Survey, or CARES, beginning in October 2020.

The survey aimed to determine antibody status over time, with volunteers providing three separate blood draws over a period of six to eight months.

Of the 218 study participants, 75 or 34.4% tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies after providing their first sample. Two participants went from positive to negative with their second antibody test, while the rest remained positive on the third measurement, resulting in approximately 97% continuing to have antibodies for about seven months after the first assessment.

“These findings are important because the information we collected from children infected with COVID-19 did not differ at all in terms of whether children were asymptomatic, the severity of their symptoms, when they were infected with the virus,” said Dr. -withdrawn, healthy weight or obese, or By sex. Everyone is the same,” said Sarah Messiah, the study’s corresponding author and professor of epidemiology, human genetics, and science. environmental studies at the University of Texas School of Public Health, said in a statement.

The samples were collected during circulation of the Delta and Omicron variants, the researchers said, and the findings do not include the impact of vaccine protection.

The proportion of participants vaccinated was 7.3% at the first measurement, 9.6% at the second, and 17.9% at the third.

Meanwhile, about 58% of the participants were negative for antibodies that cause the infection at the third and final measurement, which the study said means “a significant proportion of children are still immunocompromised”. with SARS-CoV-2 due to natural infection.”

Messiah said there has been a misunderstanding from some parents who believe their child is protected from COVID-19 and does not need the vaccine.

She added that the adult literature shows that natural infection and vaccine protection offer the best protection.

“Although our study is encouraging that some (of) natural antibodies persist for at least six months in children, we do not yet know the absolute threshold of protection,” Messiah said.

“We have a great tool at our disposal to give children the added protection of getting vaccinated, so if your child qualifies, take advantage of it.”

The study builds on similar research from a year ago, which found that children 10 years of age and younger make more antibodies in response to a coronavirus infection than teenagers and adults.

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