Cross-reactive Antibody Response between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV Infections

Huibin Lv, Nicholas C. Wu, Owen Tak Yin Tsang, Meng Yuan, Ranawaka A.P.M. Perera, Wai Shing Leung, Ray T.Y. So, Jacky Man Chun Chan, Garrick K. Yip, Thomas Shiu Hong Chik, Yiquan Wang, Chris Yau Chung Choi, Yihan Lin, Wilson W. Ng, Jincun Zhao, Leo L.M. Poon, J. S.Malik Peiris, Ian A. Wilson, Chris K.P. Mok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The World Health Organization has declared the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, a pandemic. There is currently a lack of knowledge about the antibody response elicited from SARS-CoV-2 infection. One major immunological question concerns antigenic differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV. We address this question by analyzing plasma from patients infected by SARS-CoV-2 or SARS-CoV and from infected or immunized mice. Our results show that, although cross-reactivity in antibody binding to the spike protein is common, cross-neutralization of the live viruses may be rare, indicating the presence of a non-neutralizing antibody response to conserved epitopes in the spike. Whether such low or non-neutralizing antibody response leads to antibody-dependent disease enhancement needs to be addressed in the future. Overall, this study not only addresses a fundamental question regarding antigenicity differences between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV but also has implications for immunogen design and vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107725
JournalCell Reports
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cross-reactive Antibody Response between SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV Infections'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this