SARS-CoV-2 Spike-Binding Antibody Longevity and Protection from Reinfection with Antigenically Similar SARS-CoV-2 Variants

PARIS Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The PARIS (Protection Associated with Rapid Immunity to SARS-CoV-2) cohort follows health care workers with and without documented coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) since April 2020. We report our findings regarding severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike-binding antibody stability and protection from infection in the pre-variant era. We analyzed data from 400 health care workers (150 seropositive and 250 seronegative at enrollment) for a median of 84 days. The SARS-CoV-2 spike-binding antibody titers were highly variable with antibody levels decreasing over the first 3 months, followed by a relative stabilization. We found that both more advanced age (> 40 years) and female sex were associated with higher antibody levels (1.6-fold and 1.4-fold increases, respectively). Only six percent of the initially seropositive participants “seroreverted.” We documented a total of 11 new SARS-CoV-2 infections (10 naive participants and 1 previously infected participant without detectable antibodies; P < 0.01), indicating that spike antibodies limit the risk of reinfection. These observations, however, only apply to SARS-CoV-2 variants antigenically similar to the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 ones. In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2 antibody titers mounted upon infection are stable over several months and provide protection from infection with antigenically similar viruses. IMPORTANCE SARS-CoV-2 is the cause of one of the largest noninfluenza pandemics of this century. This exceptional public health crisis highlights the urgent need for better understanding of the correlates of protection from infection and severe COVID-19. We established the PARIS cohort to determine durability and effectiveness of SARS-CoV-2 immune responses. Here, we report on the kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 spike-binding antibody after SARS-CoV-2 infection as well as reinfection rates using data collected between April 2020 and August 2021. We found that antibody levels stabilized at individual steady state levels after an initial decrease with seroreversion being found in only 6% of the convalescent participants. SARS-CoV-2 infections only occurred in participants without detectable spike-binding antibodies, indicating significant protection from reinfection with antigenically similar viruses. Our data indicate the importance of spike-binding antibody titers in protection prior to vaccination and the wide circulation of antigenically diverse variants of concern.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • antibody durability
  • modeling
  • protection
  • spike-binding antibodies


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