A systematic review of antibody mediated immunity to coronaviruses: kinetics, correlates of protection, and association with severity.


Many public health responses and modeled scenarios for COVID-19 outbreaks caused by SARS-CoV-2 assume that infection results in an immune response that protects individuals from future infections or illness for some amount of time. The presence or absence of protective immunity due to infection or vaccination (when available) will affect future transmission and illness severity. Here, we review the scientific literature on antibody immunity to coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2 as well as the related SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV and endemic human coronaviruses (HCoVs). We reviewed 2,452 abstracts and identified 491 manuscripts relevant to 5 areas of focus: 1) antibody kinetics, 2) correlates of protection, 3) immunopathogenesis, 4) antigenic diversity and cross-reactivity, and 5) population seroprevalence. While further studies of SARS-CoV-2 are necessary to determine immune responses, evidence from other coronaviruses can provide clues and guide future research.

MIDAS Network Members

Donald Burke

Distinguished University Professor of Health Science and Policy
University of Pittsburgh