A1 Journal article (refereed)
Serological Follow-Up Study Indicates High Seasonal Coronavirus Infection and Reinfection Rates in Early Childhood (2022)

Kolehmainen, P., Heroum, J., Jalkanen, P., Huttunen, M., Toivonen, L., Marjomäki, V., Waris, M., Smura, T., Kakkola, L., Tauriainen, S., Peltola, V., & Julkunen, I. (2022). Serological Follow-Up Study Indicates High Seasonal Coronavirus Infection and Reinfection Rates in Early Childhood. Microbiology Spectrum, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.01967-21

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kolehmainen, Pekka; Heroum, Jemna; Jalkanen, Pinja; Huttunen, Moona; Toivonen, Laura; Marjomäki, Varpu; Waris, Matti; Smura, Teemu; Kakkola, Laura; Tauriainen, Sisko; et al.

Journal or series: Microbiology Spectrum

eISSN: 2165-0497

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 28/04/2022

Volume: Early online

Publisher: American Society for Microbiology

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1128/spectrum.01967-21

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/81009


Seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoVs) cause respiratory infections, especially in children. Currently, the knowledge on early childhood seasonal coronavirus infections and the duration of antibody levels following the first infections is limited. Here we analyzed serological follow-up samples to estimate the rate of primary infection and reinfection(s) caused by seasonal coronaviruses in early childhood. Serum specimens were collected from 140 children at ages of 13, 24, and 36 months (1, 2, and 3 years), and IgG antibody levels against recombinant HCoV nucleoproteins (N) were measured by enzyme immunoassay (EIA). Altogether, 84% (118/140) of the children were seropositive for at least one seasonal coronavirus N by the age of 3 years. Cumulative seroprevalences for HCoVs 229E, HKU1, NL63, and OC43 increased by age, and they were 45%, 27%, 70%, and 44%, respectively, at the age of 3 years. Increased antibody levels between yearly samples indicated reinfections by 229E, NL63, and OC43 viruses in 20–48% of previously seropositive children by the age of 3 years. Antibody levels declined 54–73% or 31–77% during the year after seropositivity in children initially seropositive at 1 or 2 years of age, respectively, in case there was no reinfection. The correlation of 229E and NL63, and OC43 and HKU1 EIA results, suggested potential cross-reactivity between the N specific antibodies inside the coronavirus genera. The data shows that seasonal coronavirus infections and reinfections are common in early childhood and the antibody levels decline relatively rapidly.

Keywords: coronaviruses; communicable diseases; epidemics; respiratory tract diseases; children (age groups); serology; antibodies

Free keywords: 229E; HKU1; NL63; OC43; seasonal coronavirus; serology; respiratory infection; antibodies; enzyme immunoassay; children

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: No, publication in press

Preliminary JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-17-06 at 11:44