SARS-CoV-2: cross immunity due to harmless coronaviruses?
When one speaks of a coronavirus at the moment, the SARS-CoV-2 virus is usually meant, which causes COVID-19 and is responsible for the prevailing pandemic. But there are also other less dangerous coronaviruses that have been rampant for years. A research team has now investigated whether previous infections with harmless coronaviruses caused basic immunity for SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers from the American non-profit organization Translational Genomics Research Institute (Tgen) and Northern Arizona University have found antibodies in the blood of people affected by COVID-19 that indicate an involvement of earlier endemic coronaviruses. Such endemic coronaviruses are responsible, among other things, for seasonal colds. Antibodies to these less dangerous viruses could weaken the course of COVID-19. The research results were recently presented in the renowned journal “Cell Reports Medicine”.
Previous coronavirus illnesses could help with COVID-19
The latest study results suggest that in the event of a SARS-CoV-2 infection, the immune system can fall back on antibodies that were formed during previous coronavirus diseases. This could help those affected better fight COVID-19.
Common coronaviruses are spread around the world
The person has already come into contact with at least six other types of coronavirus. Four of these types of virus (Alphacoronavirus 229E, Alphacoronavirus NL63, Betacoronavirus OC43 and Betacoronavirus HKU1) are known as “common coronaviruses” and have been spread around the world for a long time.
The research team of the current study considers it possible that antibodies to previous coronavirus diseases could also act against SARS-CoV-2.
Some people might have some level of COVID-19 immunity
“Our results suggest that the COVID-19 virus can trigger an antibody response that was already present in humans before the current pandemic,” explains lead author Dr. John Altin. Some people could therefore have a certain basic immunity to SARS-CoV-2.
Mapping the immune response to coronaviruses
The data generated enabled a comprehensive characterization of the antibody response in people who were recently infected with SARS-CoV-2 compared to people who were only exposed to previous coronaviruses,” explains lead study author Dr. Jason Ladner.
Cross reactivity with SARS-CoV-2
By comparing reactivity patterns against the various coronaviruses, the researchers were able to show that the immune system in the event of a SARS-CoV-2 infection can fall back on antibodies that were formed during previous coronavirus infections. This cross-reactivity was detected at two points in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. With the spike protein, the coronavirus docks to human ACE-2 proteins, which makes it easier to penetrate the cells.
“Our results highlight places where the SARS-CoV-2 response appears to be influenced by previous coronavirus exposures,” describes Dr. Altin. This process has the potential to cause a broadly neutralizing antibody reaction.
Effect must be examined more closely
The effects of the cross-reactive antibodies on the course of COVID-19 must be examined in more detail in further studies. (vb)
Author and source information
This text complies with the requirements of specialist medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical professionals.
Diploma-Editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- TGEN-NAU STUDY RESULTS SHOW COVID-19 VIRUS TRIGGERS ANTIBODIES FROM PREVIOUS CORONAVIRUS INFECTIONS (veröffentlicht: 19.01.2021), tgen.org
- Jason T. Ladner, Sierra N. Henson, Annalee S. Boyle, et al.: Epitope-resolved profiling of the SARS-CoV-2 antibody response identifies cross-reactivity with endemic human coronaviruses; in: Cell Reports Medicine, 2021, cell.com
- Deutsches Ärzteblatt: SARS-CoV-2: Researchers discover cross-reactive antibodies to other coronaviruses (published: January 20, 2021), aerzteblatt.de
This article is for general guidance only and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. He can not substitute a visit at the doctor.