Four different endemic coronaviruses (eCoVs) are etiologic agents for the seasonal common cold, and these eCoVs share extensive sequence homology with human SARS coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Here, we show that individuals with, as compared with those without, a recent documented infection with eCoV were tested at greater frequency for respiratory infections but had a similar rate of SARS-CoV-2 acquisition. Importantly, the patients with a previously detected eCoV had less-severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) illness. Our observations suggest that preexisting immune responses against endemic human coronaviruses can mitigate disease manifestations from SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Keywords: Adaptive immunity; COVID-19; Cellular immune response.