SARS-CoV-2 is a novel betacoronavirus that caused coronavirus disease 2019 and has resulted in millions of deaths worldwide. Novel coronavirus infections in humans have steadily become more common. Understanding antibody responses to SARS-CoV-2, and identifying conserved, cross-reactive epitopes among coronavirus strains could inform the design of vaccines and therapeutics with broad application. Here, we determined that individuals with previous SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech BNT162b2 vaccine produced antibody responses that cross-reacted with related betacoronaviruses. Moreover, we designed a peptide-conjugate vaccine with a conserved SARS-CoV-2 S2 spike epitope, immunized mice and determined cross-reactive antibody binding to SARS-CoV-2 and other related coronaviruses. This conserved spike epitope also shared sequence homology to proteins in commensal gut microbiota and could prime immune responses in humans. Thus, SARS-CoV-2 conserved epitopes elicit cross-reactive immune responses to both related coronaviruses and host bacteria that could serve as future targets for broad coronavirus therapeutics and vaccines.

Fuente: Scientific Reports

Published: 20 April 2022