Younger children develop higher effector antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection

Lisa Tomasi, Anais Thiriard, Leo Heyndrickx, Daphnée Georges, Sigi Van den Wijngaert, Véronique Olislagers, Shilpee Sharma, André Matagne, Margaret E Ackerman, Kevin K Ariën, Tessa Goetghebuer, Arnaud Marchant

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The basis of the less severe clinical presentation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in children as compared with adults remains incompletely understood. Studies have suggested that a more potent boosting of immunity to endemic common cold coronaviruses (HCoVs) may protect children.

METHODS: To test this hypothesis, we conducted a detailed analysis of antibodies induced by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in children aged 2 months to 14 years.

RESULTS: Younger children had higher titers of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD), S1 but not S2 domain, and total spike (S) protein, higher avidity RBD immunoglobulin G, and higher titers of neutralizing and complement-activating antibodies as compared with older children. In contrast, older children had higher titers of antibodies to HCoVs, which correlated with antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2 S2 domain but not with neutralizing or complement-activating antibodies.

CONCLUSIONS: These results reveal a unique capacity of young children to develop effector antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection independently of their immunity to HCoVs.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberofac554
JournalOpen Forum Infectious Diseases
Issue number11
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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