Research Highlights: COVID-19 Infection Can Boost Common Seasonal Human Coronavirus Antibodies

Scanning electron microscope image of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2 (blue), emerging from the surface of cells cultured in the lab. Image credit: NIAID-RML.

Research Highlights: COVID-19 Infection Can Boost Common Seasonal Human Coronavirus Antibodies

  • The COVID-19 virus has quickly spread within the human population.
  • The COVID-19 virus is a new type of coronavirus.
  • However, humans had been previously exposed to common seasonal human coronavirus before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Common human coronaviruses usually cause mild/moderate upper-respiratory tract diseases such as the common cold.[1]
  • Researchers quantified levels of antibodies induced by COVID-19 virus and antibodies induced by the common seasonal human coronavirus.
  • Samples were collected from 431 individuals before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Researchers then quantified pre-pandemic antibody levels from another group of 251 individuals who became infected with the COVID-19 virus.
  • Finally, both COVID-19 and common seasonal human coronavirus antibodies were measure in hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
  • Data show that most individuals possessed common seasonal human coronavirus antibodies before the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Researchers determined that about 20 percent of these individuals possessed non-neutralizing antibodies that cross-reacted with the COVID-19 virus spike and proteins.
  • The non-neutralizing antibodies do not seem to protect individual against the COVID-19 virus.
  • The non-neutralizing antibodies were boosted upon COVID-19 viral infection.



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