Sophie Valkenburg’s team sign with Leo Poon and Malik Peiris an important publication in Nature Communications revealing why children experience lower morbidity.
Abstract: The antibody response magnitude and kinetics may impact clinical severity, serological diagnosis and long-term protection of COVID-19, which may play a role in why children experience lower morbidity. We therefore tested samples from 122 children in Hong Kong with symptomatic (n = 78) and asymptomatic (n = 44) SARS-CoV-2 infections up to 200 days post infection, relative to 71 infected adults (symptomatic n = 61, and asymptomatic n = 10), and negative controls (n = 48). We assessed serum IgG antibodies to a 14-wide antigen panel of structural and accessory proteins by Luciferase Immuno-Precipitation System (LIPS) assay and circulating cytokines. Infected children have lower levels of Spike, Membrane, ORF3a, ORF7a, ORF7b antibodies, comparable ORF8 and elevated E-specific antibodies than adults. Combination of two unique antibody targets, ORF3d and ORF8, can accurately discriminate SARS-CoV-2 infection in children. Principal component analysis reveals distinct pediatric serological signatures, and the highest contribution to variance from adults are antibody responses to non-structural proteins ORF3d, NSP1, ORF3a and ORF8. From a diverse panel of cytokines that can modulate immune priming and relative inflammation, IL-8, MCP-1 and IL-6 correlate with the magnitude of pediatric antibody specificity and severity. Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 internal proteins may become an important sero surveillance tool of infection with the roll-out of vaccines in the pediatric population.
Comparison of antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2 structural proteins in children and in adults with COVID-19.