COVID-19 vaccines and prior coronavirus infections can provide broad immunity against other, similar coronaviruses, according to a study.
The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, build a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines that could prove useful in the face of future epidemics.
“Until our study, what hasn’t been clear is if you get exposed to one coronavirus, could you have cross-protection across other coronaviruses? And we showed that is the case,” said study lead author Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster, assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, US.
The three main families of coronaviruses that cause human disease include Sarbecovirus, which includes the SARS-CoV-1 strain responsible for the 2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), as well as SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
The other two are Embecovirus, which includes OC43, often responsible for the common cold, and Merbecovirus, which is the virus responsible for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), first reported in 2012.