High seroreactivity against SARS-CoV-2 Spike epitopes in a pre SARS-CoV-2 cohort: implications for antibody testing and vaccine design
Palm, Kaia et al.
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Little is known about the quality of polyclonal antibody responses in COVID-19 patients, and how it correlates with disease severity or patients' prior exposure to other pathogens. The whole polyclonal antibody repertoire in a retrospective cohort of 538 individuals was mapped against SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) glycoprotein, the main target of antibody immune responses in SARS-CoV-2 infection. Bioinformatic predictions identified 15 major B cell epitopes for S of SARS-CoV-2. Several epitopes localised in RBD of S including those spanning the ACE2-binding site, the highly conserved cryptic epitope of the neutralizing antibody of SARS-CoV, and fusion/entry domains of HR1 and HR2 of S protein of SARS-CoV-2. Intriguingly, some of these epitopes have cross-reactivity to antigens of common pathogens, potentially affecting SARS-CoV-2 infection outcome. High level of anti-Spike SARS-CoV-2 seroreactivity in populations with no history of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 is of clinical relevance and could underpin better understanding of COVID-19 pathophysiology in different populations and provide a blueprint for design of effective vaccines and developing better strategies for antibody testing.