Transbound Emerg Dis. 2021 May 7. doi: 10.1111/tbed.14130. Online ahead of print.
Knowledge of the level and duration of protective immunity against SARS-CoV-2 after primary infection is of crucial importance for preventive approaches. Currently, there is a lack of evidence on the persistence of specific antibodies. We investigated the generation and maintenance of neutralizing antibodies of convalescent SARS-CoV-2-afflicted patients over a ten-month period post-primary infection using an immunofluorescence assay, a commercial chemiluminescent immunoassay and an in-house enzyme-linked neutralization assay. We present the successful application of an improved version of the plaque-reduction neutralization assay which can be analysed optometrically to simplify data interpretation. Based on the results of the enzyme-linked neutralization assay, neutralizing antibodies were maintained in 77.4% of convalescent individuals without relevant decay over ten months. Furthermore, a positive correlation between severity of infection and antibody titre was observed. In conclusion, SARS-CoV-2-afflicted individuals have been proven to be able to develop and maintain neutralizing antibodies over a period of ten months after primary infection. Findings suggest long-lasting presumably protective humoral immune responses after wild-type infection.