Antibody Responses to SARS-CoV-2 Antigens in Humans and Animals

Vaccines (Basel). 2020 Nov 16;8(4):684. doi: 10.3390/vaccines8040684.


To optimize the public health response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), we must first understand the antibody response to individual proteins on the severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the antibody's cross reactivity to other coronaviruses. Using a panel of 37 convalescent COVID-19 human serum samples, we showed that the magnitude and specificity of responses varied across individuals, independent of their reactivity to seasonal human coronaviruses (HCoVs). These data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines will elicit primary humoral immune responses in naïve individuals and variable responses in those previously exposed to SARS-CoV-2. Unlike the limited cross-coronavirus reactivities in humans, serum samples from 96 dogs and 10 cats showed SARS-CoV-2 protein-specific responses focused on non-S1 proteins. The correlation of this response with those to other coronaviruses suggests that the antibodies are cross-reactive and generated to endemic viruses within these hosts, which must be considered in seroepidemiologic studies. We conclude that substantial variation in antibody generation against coronavirus proteins will influence interpretations of serologic data in the clinical and veterinary settings.

Keywords: COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; antibody; respiratory viruses; vaccine.