Background: Children have a lower rate of COVID-19, potentially related to cross-protective immunity conferred by seasonal coronaviruses (HCoVs). We tested if prior infections with seasonal coronaviruses impacted SARS-CoV-2 infections and related Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS). Methods: This cross-sectional observational study in Paris hospitals enrolled 739 pauci or asymptomatic children (HOS group) plus 36 children with suspected MIS (MIS group). Prevalence, antigen specificity and neutralizing capability of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies were tested. Antibody frequency and titres against Nucleocapsid (N) and Spike (S) of the four seasonal coronaviruses (NL63, HKU1, 229E, OC43) were measured in a subset of seropositive patients (54 SARS-CoV-2 (HOS-P subgroup) and 15 MIS (MIS-P subgroup)), and in 118 matched SARS-CoV-2 seronegative patients (CTL subgroup). Findings: SARS-CoV-2 mean prevalence rate in HOSP children was 11.7% from April 1 to June 1. Neutralizing antibodies were found in 55.6% of seropositive children, and their relative frequency increased with time (up to 100 % by mid-May). A majority of MIS children (25/36) were SARS-CoV-2 seropositive, of which all tested (n=15) had neutralizing antibodies. On average, seropositive MIS children had higher N and S1 SARS-CoV-2 titres as compared to HOS children. Patients from HOS-P, MIS-P, and CTL subgroups had a similar prevalence of antibodies against the four seasonal HCoVs (66.9 -100%). The level of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was not significantly different in children who had prior seasonal coronavirus infection. Interpretation: Prior infection with HCoVs does not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection and related MIS in children. Children develop neutralizing antibodies after SARS-CoV-2 infection.
medrxiv Subject Collection: Infectious Diseases