Cross-reactive Coronavirus Antibody Triggered during COVID-19 discovered

A new study conducted by researchers from Scrippes Research investigated how the immune system’s previous exposure to cold-causing coronaviruses impact immune response to COVID-19. In doing so, they discovered one cross-reactive coronavirus antibody that’s triggered during a COVID-19 infection. The findings will help in the pursuit of a vaccine or antibody treatment that works against most or all coronaviruses. By examining blood samples collected before the pandemic and comparing those with samples from people who had been sick with COVID-19, they were able to pinpoint antibody types that cross-reacted with benign coronaviruses as well SARS-CoV-2.

In later tests, the antibody also neutralized SARS-CoV-1, the coronavirus that causes SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. This type of cross-reactive antibody is likely produced by a memory B-cell that is initially exposed t a coronavirus that causes the common cold and is then recalled during a COVID-19 infection.

Memory B cells are an essential part of the immune system. They “remember” initial disease threats and can circulate in the bloodstream for decades, ready to be called back into action if the threat emerges again. These cells are responsible for producing targeted antibodies. The discovery may be an important step in the eventual development of a pan-coronavirus vaccine, which would be able to protect against potential coronaviruses that emerge in the future.

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