Potential use of endemic human coronaviruses to stimulate immunity against pathogenic SARS-CoV-2 and its variants


Psychological Science

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While severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) causes significant morbidity and mortality in humans, there is a wide range of disease outcomes following virus exposures. Some individuals are asymptomatic while others develop complications within a few days after infection that can lead to fatalities in a smaller portion of the population. In the present study, we have analyzed the factors that may influence the outcome of post-SARS-CoV-2 infection. One factor that may influence virus control is pre-existing immunity conferred by an individual’s past exposures to endemic coronaviruses (eCOVIDs) which cause the common cold in humans and generally, most children are exposed to one of the four eCOVIDs before 2 years of age. Here, we have carried out protein sequence analyses to show the amino acid homologies between the four eCOVIDs (i.e. OC43, HKU1, 229E, and NL63) as well as examining the cross-reactive immune responses between SARS-CoV-2 and eCOVIDs by epidemiologic analyses. Our results show that the nations where continuous exposures to eCOVIDs are very high due to religious and traditional causes showed significantly lower cases and low mortality rates per 100,000. We hypothesize that in the areas of the globe where Muslims are in majority and due to religious practices are regularly exposed to eCOVIDs they show a significantly lower infection, as well as mortality rate, and that is due to pre-existing cross-immunity against SARS-CoV-2. This is due to cross-reactive antibodies and T-cells that recognize SARS-CoV-2 antigens. We also have reviewed the current literature that has also proposed that human infections with eCOVIDs impart protection against disease caused by subsequent exposure to SARS-CoV-2. We propose that a nasal spray vaccine consisting of selected genes of eCOVIDs would be beneficial against SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogenic coronaviruses.

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Libyan Journal of Medicine

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