Immunoglobulin Y Specific for SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Subunits Effectively Neutralizes SARS-CoV-2 Infectivity and Ameliorates Disease Manifestations In Vivo

Biomedicines. 2022 Nov 1;10(11):2774. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines10112774.


(Background) The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) carries high infectivity and mortality. Efficient intervention strategies are urgently needed. Avian immunoglobulin Y (IgY) showed efficacy against viral infection whereas the in vivo efficacy remains unclear. (Methods) We immunized laying hens with S1, S1 receptor-binding domain (S1-RBD), or S2 subunits of the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein. After immunization, IgYs were collected and extracted from the egg yolks. The neutralization potential of IgYs was examined by the plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT). The bioutility of IgYs was examined in Syrian hamsters in vivo. (Results) IgYs exhibited typical banding patterns in SDS-PAGE and Western blot and were immunoreactive against S1, S1-RBD, and S2 subunits. The plaque reduction neutralization test (PRNT) showed that all purified IgYs potently neutralized different SARS-CoV-2 strains in vitro. In Syrian hamsters, the combination of IgYs for S1-RBD and S2 subunits administered before or after SARS-CoV-2 infection effectively restored body weight loss and reduced intrapulmonary lesions and the amount of immunoreactive N protein-positive cells, which were caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection. (Conclusions) Collectively, IgYs specific for S protein subunits effectively neutralized SARS-CoV-2 in vitro and in vivo and may serve as prophylactic or therapeutic antibodies in the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.

Keywords: immunoglobulin y; receptor-binding domain; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; spike protein; yolk.