Common childhood vaccines do not elicit a cross-reactive antibody response against SARS-CoV-2

PLoS One. 2020 Oct 28;15(10):e0241471. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241471. eCollection 2020.


Anecdotal evidence showed a negative correlation between Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccination and incidence of COVID-19. Incidence of the disease in children is much lower than in adults. It is hypothesized that BCG and other childhood vaccinations may provide some protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection through trained or adaptive immune responses. Here, we tested whether BCG, Pneumococcal, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccines provide cross-reactive neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in BALB/c mice. Results indicated that none of these vaccines provided antibodies capable of neutralizing SARS-CoV-2 up to seven weeks post vaccination. We conclude that if such vaccines have any role in COVID-19 immunity, this role is not antibody-mediated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Betacoronavirus / immunology*
  • COVID-19
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coronavirus Infections / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Cross Reactions
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Sera / immunology
  • Immunogenicity, Vaccine
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Pandemics / prevention & control*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / immunology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Vaccination
  • Vaccines / immunology*
  • Vaccines, Inactivated / immunology
  • Viral Vaccines / immunology
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immune Sera
  • Vaccines
  • Vaccines, Inactivated
  • Viral Vaccines

Grant support

This research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, US Department of Health and Human Services (under contract HHSN272201400006C).