COV-IRT Member Preprint: Analysis of Serologic Cross-Reactivity Between Common Human Coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2 Using Coronavirus Antigen Microarray

COV-IRT member, Donald K. Milton, is a co-author on this paper.

This preprint was posted on March 25, 2020. 


The current practice for diagnosis of SARS-CoV-2 infection relies on PCR testing of nasopharyngeal or respiratory specimens in a symptomatic patient at high epidemiologic risk. This testing strategy likely underestimates the true prevalence of infection, creating the need for serologic methods to detect infections missed by the limited testing to date. Here, we describe the development of a coronavirus antigen microarray containing immunologically significant antigens from SARS-CoV-2, in addition to SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, common human coronavirus strains, and other common respiratory viruses. A preliminary study of human sera collected prior to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic demonstrates overall high IgG reactivity to common human coronaviruses and low IgG reactivity to epidemic coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2, with some cross-reactivity of conserved antigenic domains including S2 domain of spike protein and nucleocapsid protein. This array can be used to answer outstanding questions regarding SARS-CoV-2 infection, including whether baseline serology for other coronaviruses impacts disease course, how the antibody response to infection develops over time, and what antigens would be optimal for vaccine development.

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