Antibodies from humans and mice previously infected by the SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2 may bind to the other virus, but does not kill it
HKU SPH researchers have investigated the antigenic differences between SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 by assessing the reactivity of antibodies in the blood of patients and mice previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV against the other virus in the laboratory. This work, published in Cell Reports, suggests that patients or mice included in the study that were previously infected with either virus had antibodies in their blood that would bind to the other virus. However, the researchers did not observe the neutralisation of the other virus (the coronavirus that the patient or mouse did not encounter) for most of the samples in tests conducted in the laboratory. This led the researchers to suggest that cross-reactive antibody-binding responses to another SARS coronavirus may be relatively common, but cross-neutralising responses may be rare. Further studies may be needed to determine whether these responses will protect patients from infections from a re-infection by a different SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV or SARS-CoV-2) in vivo despite a lack of in vitro evidence in the laboratory.
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