Association of SARS-CoV-2 Seropositive Antibody Test With Risk of Future Infection

Since the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in late 2019, limited research has shown that the majority of patients who clear their infections develop serum antibodies against the virus that last for at least several months1-6 but may decline over time.7 Although it has been speculated that the development of antibodies may be associated with a decreased risk of reinfection, the evidence for this hypothesis is limited and often anecdotal.8,9 Furthermore, documented reports of reinfection in patients with SARS-CoV-2 antibodies have raised the possibility that seropositivity might be associated with limited protection against different viral strains.10-14 Individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 may also shed viral RNA without producing live virus for 12 weeks or more after resolution of symptoms,15-20 making it challenging to distinguish reinfection from prolonged RNA shedding. As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues, understanding the role of serostatus on the potential for infection is critical, as it may drive choices of personal behavior and expectations about herd immunity. It might also help inform the challenging policy decisions surrounding the prioritization of vaccine supplies.