Journal Articles

Publication Date



PLoS One


BACKGROUND: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection invokes variable immune responses and poses a risk of post-acute sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) symptoms; however, most data on natural history are derived from patients with severe infection. Further data are needed among patients with mild infection, who comprise most cases.

METHODS: The Dallas Fort-Worth (DFW) COVID-19 Prevalence Study included 21,597 community-dwelling adults (ages 18-89) who underwent COVID-19 PCR and anti-nucleocapsid antibody testing between July 2020 and March 2021. We invited participants with positive COVID-19 results (cases) and a subset with negative results (controls), matched on age, sex, race/ethnicity, and ZIP code, to complete a follow-up questionnaire for PASC symptoms and repeat anti-nucleocapsid testing, and anti-spike antibody testing between July and December 2021.

RESULTS: Of 3,917 adults invited to participate, 2260 (57.7%) completed the questionnaire- 1150 cases and 1110 controls. Persistent symptoms were reported in 21.1% of cases, with the most common being shortness of breath, fatigue, and loss of taste or smell. Among 292 cases with asymptomatic infection, >15% reported new fatigue and 8-10% reported new loss of taste/smell, myalgias, or headache. Median anti-nucleocapsid levels in cases decreased from 3.5U to 0.7U over a median follow-up of 8.6 months. Anti-spike antibody levels at 6-7 months post-vaccination in cases were similar to that of controls.

CONCLUSIONS: More than 1 in 5 patients with COVID-19 infection, including those with mild infection, reported persistent symptoms during follow-up. Both nucleocapsid and spike protein antibody levels decreased within six months following a COVID-19 infection and vaccination.


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Humans, Middle Aged, Young Adult, Ageusia, COVID-19, Disease Progression, Fatigue, Nucleocapsid, SARS-CoV-2, Male, Female

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