During the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection in New Zealand a cohort of 78 PCR-confirmed COVID-19 cases was recruited in the Southern District Health Board region. Here we report on this unique cohort nearly 1-year after infection. There was no known community transmission in the region over the study period due to New Zealands elimination status at the time, nor had any participants received a COVID-19 vaccine. In the absence of re exposure, antibody reactivity to the viral spike protein, as well as neutralising antibodies to both the ancestral strain and the delta variant remained relatively stable between 8 and 11 months post-infection. This suggests long-lived antibody responses can be generated from a single natural infection event. However, given the risks of serious disease associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, vaccination is still strongly recommended.
Competing Interest Statement
The authors have declared no competing interest.
This study was funded by Southern Community Laboratories. This work was also funded in part by the School of Medicine Foundation (University of Auckland)
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This study was performed at Southern Community Laboratories, Dunedin, NZ, in conjunction with the Southern District Health Board (SDHB), WellSouth (the local primary healthcare organisation), University of Otago, the University of Auckland. Ethical approval for this project was obtained from the NZ Health and Disability Ethics (HDEC) Committee (20/NTB/101)
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Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv