Serological identification of SARS-CoV-2 infections among children visiting a hospital during the initial Seattle outbreak

Adam S. Dingens, Katharine H.D. Crawford, Amanda Adler, Sarah L. Steele, Kirsten Lacombe, Rachel Eguia, Fatima Amanat, Alexandra C. Walls, Caitlin R. Wolf, Michael Murphy, Deleah Pettie, Lauren Carter, Xuan Qin, Neil P. King, David Veesler, Florian Krammer, Jane A. Dickerson, Helen Y. Chu, Janet A. Englund, Jesse D. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Children are strikingly underrepresented in COVID-19 case counts. In the United States, children represent 22% of the population but only 1.7% of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases as of April 2, 2020. One possibility is that symptom-based viral testing is less likely to identify infected children, since they often experience milder disease than adults. Here, to better assess the frequency of pediatric SARS-CoV-2 infection, we serologically screen 1,775 residual samples from Seattle Children’s Hospital collected from 1,076 children seeking medical care during March and April of 2020. Only one child was seropositive in March, but seven were seropositive in April for a period seroprevalence of ≈1%. Most seropositive children (6/8) were not suspected of having had COVID-19. The sera of seropositive children have neutralizing activity, including one that neutralized at a dilution > 1:18,000. Therefore, an increasing number of children seeking medical care were infected by SARS-CoV-2 during the early Seattle outbreak despite few positive viral tests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4378
JournalNature communications
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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