The post-COVID-19 population has a high prevalence of cross-reactive antibodies to spikes from all Orthocoronavirinae genera

Gagandeep Singh, Anass Abbad, Giulio Kleiner, Komal Srivastava, Charles Gleason, Juan Manuel Carreño, Viviana Simon, Florian Krammer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Orthocoronavirinae subfamily is large comprising four highly divergent genera. Four seasonal coronaviruses were circulating in humans prior to the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Infection with these viruses induced antibody responses that are relatively narrow with little cross-reactivity to spike proteins of other coronaviruses. Here, we report that infection with and vaccination against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) induces broadly cross-reactive binding antibodies to spikes from a wide range of coronaviruses including members of the sarbecovirus subgenus, other betacoronaviruses including Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome coronavirus, and extending to alpha-, gamma-, and delta-coronavirus spikes. These data show that the coronavirus spike antibody landscape in humans has profoundly been changed and broadened as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. While we do not understand the functionality of these cross-reactive antibodies and their impact, there is the possibility that they may lead to enhanced resistance of the population to infection with newly emerging coronaviruses with pandemic potential. IMPORTANCE As demonstrated by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, coronaviruses pose a significantpandemic threat. Here, we show that coronavirus disease 2019 mRNA vaccination can induce significantlevels of cross-reactive antibodies against diverse coronavirus spike proteins. While these antibodies are binding antibodies that likely have little neutralization capacity and while their contribution to cross-protection is unclear, it is possible that they may play a role in protection from progression to severe disease with novel coronaviruses.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Antibodies
  • Cross-reactivity
  • Orthocoronavirinae
  • SARS-CoV-2 immunity


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