SARS-CoV-2 Infections May Trigger Antibody Responses Against
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All coronaviruses produce four primary structural proteins and multiple nonstructural proteins. However, the majority of antibody-based SARS-CoV-2 research has focused on the spike and nucleocapsid proteins. A study suggests that immune responses may develop against other proteins produced by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The efficacy of spike protein-based vaccines is variable and not everyone infected with SARS-CoV-2 produces detectable antibodies against the spike or nucleocapsid proteins. The expanded antibody-based options have the potential to play an important role in improving vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics, especially given the emergence of new variants.

Researchers mapped 79 "epitopes" – specific regions of the viral proteome that antibodies recognize and bind to. They also tested whether antibodies from previous exposures to coronaviruses might bind to any of the proteins in the six other known human coronavirus to identify cross-reactive epitopes. They found previously unknown, highly reactive B cell epitopes throughout the full array of proteins in SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses.

Although the authors did not directly profile variants of concern that have emerged since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, a comparison of the original SARS-CoV-2 genome with a few of the variants of concern identified numerous variations in regions that are at or within 3 amino acids of identified antibody binding epitopes.

According to the authors, “Our extensive profiling of epitope-level resolution antibody reactivity in COVID-19 convalescent subjects, confirmed by independent assays, provides new epitopes that could serve as important targets in the development of improved diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics against SARS-CoV-2, variants of concern, and dangerous human coronaviruses that may emerge in the future”.

Source:
https://journals.plos.org/plosbiology/article?id=10.1371/journal.pbio.3001265
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