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Serologic cross-reactivity of SARS-CoV-2 with endemic and seasonal Betacoronaviruses

By Jennifer Hicks, Carleen Klumpp-Thomas, Heather Kalish, Anandakumar Shunmugavel, Jennifer Mehalko, John-Paul Denson, Kelly Snead, Matthew Drew, Kizzmekia Corbett, Barney S Graham, Matthew D. Hall, Dominic Esposito, Kaitlyn Sadtler

Posted 23 Jun 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.06.22.20137695

In order to properly understand the spread of SARS-CoV-2 infection and development of humoral immunity, researchers have evaluated the presence of serum antibodies of people worldwide experiencing the pandemic. These studies rely on the use of recombinant proteins from the viral genome in order to identify serum antibodies that recognize SARS-CoV-2 epitopes. Here, we discuss the cross-reactivity potential of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies with the full spike proteins of four other Betacoronaviruses that cause disease in humans, MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, HCoV-OC43, and HCoV-HKU1. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), we detected the potential cross-reactivity of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 towards the four other coronaviruses, with the strongest cross-recognition between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS /MERS-CoV antibodies, as expected based on sequence homology of their respective spike proteins. Further analysis of cross-reactivity could provide informative data that could lead to intelligently designed pan-coronavirus therapeutics or vaccines.

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