Article Publish Status: FREE
Abstract Title:

Protective Immunity after Natural Infection with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) - Kentucky, USA, 2020.

Abstract Source:

Int J Infect Dis. 2021 Oct 11. Epub 2021 Oct 11. PMID: 34649001

Abstract Author(s):

Kevin B Spicer, Connor Glick, Alyson M Cavanaugh, Douglas Thoroughman

Article Affiliation:

Kevin B Spicer


BACKGROUND: As vaccine supply and access remain limited in many parts of the world, understanding the duration of protection from reinfection after natural infection is important.

METHODS: Distinct individuals testing positive and negative for SARS-CoV-2 between March 6, 2020, and August 31, 2020, in Kentucky, USA, were identified using the Kentucky National Electronic Disease Surveillance System. Individuals were followed for occurrence of a positive test for SARS-CoV-2 from 91 days after their initial test result through December 31, 2020. Protection from reinfection provided by a prior infection was calculated and additional analyses evaluated impact of age, sex, symptom status, long-term care facility connection, testing occurrence and frequency, and time from initial infection.

RESULTS: Protective effect from prior infection was 80.3% (95% CI, 78.2% - 82.2%) for those aged 20-59 years and 67.4% (95% CI, 62.8% - 71.4%) for those 60 years and older. At 30-day time periods through 270 days (with limited exceptions), protection was estimated to be greater than 75% for those aged 20-59 years and greater than 65% for those 60 years and older. Factors associated with repeat positive testing included a connection to a long-term care facility, duration of potential exposure, and absence of symptoms during initial infection.

CONCLUSIONS: Natural infection provides substantial and persistent immunologic protection for a period of several months for most individuals, although subpopulations may be at greater risk for repeat positive testing and potential poor outcomes associated with reinfection. These subgroups include individuals 60 years and older, residents and staff of long-term care facilities, and those who have mild or asymptomatic illness with initial infection. Continued emphasis on vaccination and infection prevention and control strategies remains critically important in reducing the risk for reinfection and associated severe outcomes for these groups.

Study Type : Human Study

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Sayer Ji
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