Affordable Access

Publisher Website

The SARS-CoV-2 antibody landscape is lower in magnitude for structural proteins, diversified for accessory proteins and stable long-term in children.

  • Hachim, Asmaa
  • Gu, Haogao
  • Kavian, Otared
  • Kwan, Mike Yw
  • Chan, Wai-Hung
  • Yau, Yat Sun
  • Chiu, Susan S
  • Tsang, Owen Ty
  • Hui, David Sc
  • Ma, Fionn
  • Lau, Eric Hy
  • Cheng, Samuel Ms
  • Poon, Leo Lm
  • Peiris, Js Malik
  • Valkenburg, Sophie A
  • Kavian, Niloufar
Published Article
medRxiv : the preprint server for health sciences
Publication Date
Jan 04, 2021
DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.03.21249180
PMID: 33655259


Children are less clinically affected by SARS-CoV-2 infection than adults with the majority of cases being mild or asymptomatic and the differences in infection outcomes are poorly understood. The kinetics, magnitude and landscape of the antibody response may impact the clinical severity and serological diagnosis of COVID-19. Thus, a comprehensive investigation of the antibody landscape in children and adults is needed. We tested 254 plasma from 122 children with symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections in Hong Kong up to 206 days post symptom onset, including 146 longitudinal samples from 58 children. Adult COVID-19 patients and pre-pandemic controls were included for comparison. We assessed antibodies to a 14-wide panel of SARS-CoV-2 structural and accessory proteins by Luciferase Immunoprecipitation System (LIPS). Children have lower levels of Spike and Nucleocapsid antibodies than adults, and their cumulative humoral response is more expanded to accessory proteins (NSP1 and Open Reading Frames (ORFs)). Sensitive serology using the three N, ORF3b, ORF8 antibodies can discriminate COVID-19 in children. Principal component analysis revealed distinct serological signatures in children and the highest contribution to variance were responses to non-structural proteins ORF3b, NSP1, ORF7a and ORF8. Longitudinal sampling revealed maintenance or increase of antibodies for at least 6 months, except for ORF7b antibodies which showed decline. It was interesting to note that children have higher antibody responses towards known IFN antagonists: ORF3b, ORF6 and ORF7a. The diversified SARS-CoV-2 antibody response in children may be an important factor in driving control of SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Report this publication


Seen <100 times