Introduction. To evaluate the decline of antibodies induced by SARS-CoV-2 infection, the individuals resident in 5 municipalities of the Autonomous Province of Trento, Northern Italy, who resulted IgG positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid (NC) in May 2020, were tested four months later.
Methods. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 NC antibodies were detected using the Abbott SARSCoV-2 IgG assay. Samples that gave a negative result were re-tested using the Liaison SARS-CoV-2 IgG assay to assess anti-spike (S) S1/S2 antibodies. The fifty-percent tissue culture infective dose (TCID50) neutralizing assay was performed on a subgroup of formerly positive sera. Statistical analysis was performed by STATA version 16.1 (STATA Corp., College Station, Texas, USA).
Results. Overall, 480 out of 1159 participants became seronegative for anti-NC IgG antibodies. Age above 70 years and cough were associated with persistent anti-NC IgG levels. Most anti-NC IgG negative sera were positive for anti-S IgG (77.9%). The neutralization assay showed high concordance with anti-S antibodies positivity.
Conclusion. In conclusion, a decline of anti-NC IgG values was recorded four months after the first evaluation. A high proportion of anti-NC seronegative individuals were positive for anti-spike IgG antibodies, which appear to persist longer and to better correlate with neutralization activity.