Research News

27 Mar 2020

Cross-reactive antibody response between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV infections by Chris Mok and Tomas Lyu

Chris Mok, Tomas Lyu and their team published with Malik Peiris, Leo Poon and fellow colleagues from SCRIPPS Research Institute, USA, their findings on antibody response of SARS-CoV-2 in bioRxiv

Cross-reactive antibody response between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV infections

Abstract: The World Health Organization has recently declared the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, as pandemic. There is currently a lack of knowledge in the antibody response elicited from SARS-CoV-2 infection. One major immunological question is concerning the antigenic differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. We address this question by using plasma from patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV, and plasma obtained from infected or immunized mice. Our results show that while cross-reactivity in antibody binding to the spike protein is common, cross-neutralization of the live viruses is rare, indicating the presence of non-neutralizing antibody response to conserved epitopes in the spike. Whether these non-neutralizing antibody responses will lead to antibody-dependent disease enhancement needs to be addressed in the future. Overall, this study not only addresses a fundamental question regarding the antigenicity differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV, but also has important implications in vaccine development.