Severe COVID-19 appears rare in children. This is unexpected, especially in young infants, who are vulnerable to severe disease caused by other respiratory viruses. We evaluate convalescent immune responses in 4 infants under 3 months old with confirmed COVID-19 who presented with mild febrile illness, alongside their parents, and adult controls recovered from confirmed COVID-19. Although not statistically significant, compared to seropositive adults, infants have high serum levels of IgG and IgA to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, with a corresponding functional ability to block SARS-CoV-2 cellular entry. Infants also exhibit robust saliva anti-spike IgG and IgA responses. Spike-specific IFN-γ production by infant peripheral blood mononuclear cells appears restrained, but the frequency of spike-specific IFN-γ- and/or TNF-α-producing T cells is comparable between infants and adults. On principal-component analysis, infant immune responses appear distinct from their parents. Robust functional antibody responses alongside restrained IFN-γ production may help protect infants from severe COVID-19.
- Bristol BioDesign Institute
- T cell