Lack of cross-neutralization by SARS patient sera towards SARS-CoV-2

Emerg Microbes Infect. 2020 Dec;9(1):900-902. doi: 10.1080/22221751.2020.1761267.


Despite initial findings indicating that SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2 are genetically related belonging to the same virus species and that the two viruses used the same entry receptor, angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2), our data demonstrated that there is no detectable cross-neutralization by SARS patient sera against SARS-CoV-2. We also found that there are significant levels of neutralizing antibodies in recovered SARS patients 9-17 years after initial infection. These findings will be of significant use in guiding the development of serologic tests, formulating convalescent plasma therapy strategies, and assessing the longevity of protective immunity for SARS-related coronaviruses in general as well as vaccine efficacy.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS; SARS-CoV-2; antibody; cross-neutralization.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology
  • Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies / immunology
  • COVID-19
  • COVID-19 Serotherapy
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology*
  • Coronavirus Infections / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunization, Passive / standards
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome / immunology*
  • Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus / immunology*
  • Time Factors
  • Viral Vaccines / standards


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies
  • Viral Vaccines

Grants and funding

This study was jointly supported by grants from the Singapore National Research Foundation (NRF2016NRF-NSFC002-013), and the National Medical Research Council of the Ministry of Health Singapore (CCGSFPOR20001, STPRG-FY19-001 and COVID19RF-003).