Background: There is currently a pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. The intensity and duration of this first wave in the UK may be dependent on whether SARS-CoV-2 transmits more effectively in the winter than the summer and the UK Government response is partially built upon the assumption that those infected will develop immunity to reinfection in the short term. In this paper we examine evidence for seasonality and immunity to laboratoryconfirmed seasonal coronavirus (HCoV) from a prospective cohort study in England. Methods: In this analysis of the Flu Watch cohort, we examine seasonal trends for PCR-confirmed coronavirus infections (HCoVNL63, HCoV-OC43, and HCoV-229E) in all participants during winter seasons (2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009) and during the first wave of the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic (May-Sep 2009). We also included data from the pandemic and ‘post-pandemic’ winter seasons (2009-2010 and 2010-2011) to identify individuals with two confirmed HCoV infections and examine evidence for immunity against homologous reinfection. Results: We tested 1,104 swabs taken during respiratory illness and detected HCoV in 199 during the first four seasons.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Grant information: This study was supported by the Wellcome Trust through a Wellcome Clinical Research Career Development Fellowship to RA  and funding to The Flu Watch Study. The Flu Watch study received funding from the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the Wellcome Trust [G0600511, G0800767 and MC_U122785833]. S.B. is supported by an MRC doctoral studentship [MR/N013867/1]. DL is funded by the National Institute for Health Research [DRF-2018-11-ST2-016]. This paper presents independent research. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
© 2020. Aldridge RW et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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