Sunday, December 5, 2021

One coronavirus vaccine may protect against other coronaviruses

Northwestern Medicine scientists have shown for the first time that coronavirus vaccines and prior coronavirus infections can provide broad immunity against similar coronaviruses, reports Medical Xpress. The findings build a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines that could prove useful in the face of future epidemics. “Until our study, what hasn’t been clear is if you get exposed to one coronavirus, could you have cross-protection across other coronaviruses? And we showed that is the case,” said lead author Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster, assistant professor of microbiology-immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The study found that plasma from humans who had been vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 produced antibodies that were cross-reactive (provided protection) against SARS-CoV-1 and the common cold coronavirus (OC43). They also found that mice had cross-protection to other viruses as well. “As long as the coronavirus is greater than 70% related, the mice were protected,” Penaloza-MacMaster said. “If they were exposed to a very different family of coronaviruses, the vaccines might confer less protection.” The study concludes that there likely isn’t one universal coronavirus vaccine. “But we might end up with a generic vaccine for each of the main families of coronaviruses, for example a universal Sarbecovirus vaccine for SARS-CoV-1, SARS-CoV-2, and other SARS-related coronaviruses; or a universal Embecovirus for HCoV-OC43 and HKU1 that cause common colds.”

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