Research News

18 Feb 2021

HKU-Pasteur In Best of Cell Reports 2020 List

Cell Reports anounced its Best of 2020 list, highlighting the jounrnal's major and most impactful publications of the past year. 

Amongst 12 publications, from axonal ribosomes to imaging of brain activity during human behavior, and from a Review article on microglia to new roles for p53 in cancer immunology, we can find Tomas Lv and Chris Mok's paper Cross-Reactive Antibody Response Between Sars-Cov-2 and Sars-Cov Infections.


The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic. There is currently a lack of knowledge about the antibody response elicited from SARS-CoV-2 infection. One major immunological question concerns antigenic differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. We address this question by analyzing plasma from patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV and from infected or immunized mice. Our results show that, although cross-reactivity in antibody binding to the spike protein is common, cross-neutralization of the live viruses may be rare, indicating the presence of a non-neutralizing antibody response to conserved epitopes in the spike. Whether such low or non-neutralizing antibody response leads to antibody-dependent disease enhancement needs to be addressed in the future. Overall, this study not only addresses a fundamental question regarding antigenicity differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV but also has implications for immunogen design and vaccine development.

10 Feb 2021

Cupric Oxide Coating That Rapidly Reduces Infection by SARS-CoV-2 via Solids

Leo Poon, Co-Director at HKU-Pasteur, and Alex Chin, Alex Chin, investigator in Professor Poon’s team, just published the new developments of their projects on surface coating conducted with Professor William Ducker of the Department of Engineering at Virginia Tech.

In this follow-up study, Prof. Ducker’s group has developed another copper-bearing coating containing cupric oxide (CuO) that targets to reduce the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 on a contaminated surface. 

The project resulted in the development of a porous and hydrophilic coating that can be coated on smooth surfaces such as glass. The hydrophilic property of the coating is long-lasting and allows efficient imbibition of a droplet to increase the surface area of contact. 

The coating could reduce the infectivity of SARS-CoV-2 by 99.9% in 1 hour, whereas control glass without coating required 2 days to achieve the same level of reduction in virus infectivity. The efficiency was even higher with a thicker coating that reduced the infectivity of the virus within 30 min. The team believe this coating can be applied to common touch surfaces to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission via indirect contact.

>>> Read the full publication: Cupric Oxide Coating That Rapidly Reduces Infection by SARS-CoV-2 via Solids