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<h4>Background</h4>SARS-CoV-2 IgG antibody measurements can be used to estimate the proportion of a population exposed or infected and may be informative about the risk of future infection. Previous estimates of the duration of antibody responses vary.<h4>Methods</h4>We present 6 months of data from a longitudinal seroprevalence study of 3276 UK healthcare workers (HCWs). Serial measurements of SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid and anti-spike IgG were obtained. Interval censored survival analysis was used to investigate the duration of detectable responses. Additionally, Bayesian mixed linear models were used to investigate anti-nucleocapsid waning.<h4>Results</h4>Anti-spike IgG levels remained stably detected after a positive result, e.g., in 94% (95% credibility interval, CrI, 91-96%) of HCWs at 180 days. Anti-nucleocapsid IgG levels rose to a peak at 24 (95% credibility interval, CrI 19-31) days post first PCR-positive test, before beginning to fall. Considering 452 anti-nucleocapsid seropositive HCWs over a median of 121 days from their maximum positive IgG titre, the mean estimated antibody half-life was 85 (95%CrI, 81-90) days. Higher maximum observed anti-nucleocapsid titres were associated with longer estimated antibody half-lives. Increasing age, Asian ethnicity and prior self-reported symptoms were independently associated with higher maximum anti-nucleocapsid levels and increasing age and a positive PCR test undertaken for symptoms with longer anti-nucleocapsid half-lives.<h4>Conclusion</h4>SARS-CoV-2 anti-nucleocapsid antibodies wane within months, and faster in younger adults and those without symptoms. However, anti-spike IgG remains stably detected. Ongoing longitudinal studies are required to track the long-term duration of antibody levels and their association with immunity to SARS-CoV-2 reinfection.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

Publication Date



Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Oxford, UK.


Oxford University Hospitals Staff Testing Group