Naturally-acquired Immunity Dynamics against SARS-CoV-2 in Children and Adolescents

 View ORCID ProfileTal Patalon, Yaki Saciuk, Hanit Ohayon Hadad, Galit Perez, Asaf Peretz, Amir Ben-Tov,  View ORCID ProfileSivan Gazit

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.06.20.22276650

This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed

0000703207

Abstract

Objectives: There are paucity of studies examining naturally acquired immunity against SARS-CoV-2 in children and adolescents, though they are generally the last group to be afforded the vaccine, and a significant portion of them are still unvaccinated. This study examined the duration of protection conferred by a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection amongst children and adolescents. Design: A retrospective study, applying two complementary approaches: a matched test-negative case control design and a retrospective cohort design. Setting: Nationally centralized database of Maccabi Healthcare Services, an Israeli national health fund that covers 2.5 million people. Participants: The study population included between 293,743 and 458,959 individuals (depending on the model), 5-18 years of age, who were unvaccinated SARS-CoV-2 naive persons or unvaccinated convalescent patients. Main outcomes and measures: Analyses focused on the period of July 1 to December 13, 2021, a Delta-dominant period in Israel. We evaluated three SARS-CoV-2-related outcomes: (1) documented PCR confirmed infection or reinfection, (2) COVID-19 and (3) severe COVID-19. Results: Overall, children and adolescents who were previously infected acquired durable protection against reinfection (symptomatic or not) with SARS-CoV-2 for at least 18 months. Importantly, no COVID-19 related deaths were recorded in either the SARS-CoV-2 naive group or the previously infected group. Effectiveness of naturally-acquired immunity against a recurrent infection reached 89.2% (95% CI: 84.7%-92.4%) three to six months after first infection, mildly declining to 82.5% (95% CI, 79.1%-85.3%) nine months to one year after infection, then remaining rather steady for children and adolescents for up to 18 months, with a slight non-significant waning trend. Additionally, we found that ages 5-11 exhibited no significant waning of naturally acquired protection throughout the outcome period, whereas waning protection in the 12-18 age group was more prominent, but still mild. Conclusions: Children and adolescents who were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 remain protected against reinfection to a high degree for 18 months. Policy decision makers should consider when and if convalescent children and adolescents should be vaccinated. Nonetheless, further research is needed to examine naturally acquired immunity against emerging variants, including the Omicron.

Competing Interest Statement

The authors have declared no competing interest.

Funding Statement

There was no external funding for the research.

Author Declarations

I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.

Yes

The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

This study was approved by the MHS (Maccabi Healthcare Services) Institutional Review Board (IRB). Due to the retrospective design of the study, informed consent was waived by the IRB, and all identifying details of the participants were removed before computational analysis.

I confirm that all necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived, and that any patient/participant/sample identifiers included were not known to anyone (e.g., hospital staff, patients or participants themselves) outside the research group so cannot be used to identify individuals.

Yes

I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).

Yes

I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.

Yes

Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv

https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.06.20.22276650v1


New study from Italy details the lack of effectiveness of covid jabs in children aged 5-11.

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)01185-0/fulltext

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