T-cell immunity of SARS-CoV: Implications for vaccine development against MERS-CoV

Antiviral Res. 2017 Jan:137:82-92. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2016.11.006. Epub 2016 Nov 11.


Over 12 years have elapsed since severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) triggered the first global alert for coronavirus infections. Virus transmission in humans was quickly halted by public health measures and human infections of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) have not been observed since. However, other coronaviruses still pose a continuous threat to human health, as exemplified by the recent emergence of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) in humans. The work on SARS-CoV widens our knowledge on the epidemiology, pathophysiology and immunology of coronaviruses and may shed light on MERS coronavirus (MERS-CoV). It has been confirmed that T-cell immunity plays an important role in recovery from SARS-CoV infection. Herein, we summarize T-cell immunological studies of SARS-CoV and discuss the potential cross-reactivity of the SARS-CoV-specific immunity against MERS-CoV, which may provide useful recommendations for the development of broad-spectrum vaccines against coronavirus infections.

Keywords: Cross-reactivity; Epitope; MERS-CoV; SARS-CoV; T-cell; Vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control
  • Coronavirus Infections / virology
  • Cross Reactions
  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte / immunology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus / immunology*
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / immunology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / prevention & control
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology*


  • Epitopes, T-Lymphocyte
  • Viral Vaccines