Background: The duration of immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is still uncertain, but it is of key clinical and epidemiological importance. Seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoV) have been circulating for longer and, therefore, may offer insights into the long-term dynamics of reinfection for such viruses. Methods: Combining historical seroprevalence data from five studies covering the four circulating HCoVs with an age-structured reverse catalytic model, we estimated the likely duration of seropositivity following seroconversion. Results: We estimated that antibody persistence lasted between 0.9 (95% Credible interval: 0.6 - 1.6) and 3.8 (95% CrI: 2.0 - 7.4) years. Furthermore, we found the force of infection in older children and adults (those over 8.5 [95% CrI: 7.5 - 9.9] years) to be higher compared with young children in the majority of studies. Conclusions: These estimates of endemic HCoV dynamics could provide an indication of the future long-term infection and reinfection patterns of SARS-CoV-2.

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Rees, E., Waterlow, N., Lowe, R. & Kucharski, A. 2021, 'Estimating the duration of seropositivity of human seasonal coronaviruses using seroprevalence studies', Wellcome Open Research, 6, article no: 138. https://doi.org/10.12688/wellcomeopenres.16701.1

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Last updated: 16 May 2024
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