Experts from Northwestern University examined the plasma of those vaccinated against COVID-19 to assess the likelihood of cross-immunity with other coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-1, which caused an outbreak of SARS in 2003, seasonal OC43 causing symptoms the common cold, and the Merbecovirus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
The results showed that cross-reactive antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 could potentially protect against SARS-CoV-2, and to a lesser extent against seasonal coronavirus. The study also demonstrated that mice vaccinated against SARS are cross-immune to SARS-CoV-2.
“The reason is that SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2 are genetically similar, like cousins, while the common cold coronavirus is not so close to them,” the study authors said.
Another important finding was that seasonal coronavirus infections in the past can protect against infection with other coronaviruses. Note that earlier research disproved this attractive hypothesis. In an experiment by scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, cross-reactive antibodies did not reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection and did not reduce the severity of the disease.
According to the authors of the new study, the findings create a prospect for generic vaccines against some coronavirus families that may be useful in future epidemics.