In January 2020, a new coronavirus was identified as responsible for a pandemic acute respiratory syndrome. The virus demonstrated a high infectious capability and not-neglectable mortality in humans. However, similarly to previous SARS and MERS, the new disease COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 seemed to relatively spare children and younger adults. Some hypotheses have been proposed to explain the phenomenon, including lower ACE2 expression in children, cross-immunization from measles/rubella/mumps and BCG-vaccination, as well as the integrity of respiratory mucosa. Herein, we hypothesize that an additional mechanism might contribute to children’s relative protection from SARS-CoV-2, the cross-immunization conferred by previous exposures to other common respiratory coronaviruses. To support our hypothesis, we show a statistically significant similarity in genomic and protein sequences, including epitopes for B- and T-cell immunity, of SARS-CoV-2 and the other beta coronaviruses. Since these coronaviruses are highly diffused across pediatric populations, cross-reactive immunity might reasonably induce an at least partial protection from SARS-CoV-2 in children.

Cross-immunization against respiratory coronaviruses may protect children from SARS-CoV2: more than a simple hypothesis?

Malerba G.;Diani E.;Concia E.;Gibellini D.
2021-01-01

Abstract

In January 2020, a new coronavirus was identified as responsible for a pandemic acute respiratory syndrome. The virus demonstrated a high infectious capability and not-neglectable mortality in humans. However, similarly to previous SARS and MERS, the new disease COVID-19 caused by SARS-CoV-2 seemed to relatively spare children and younger adults. Some hypotheses have been proposed to explain the phenomenon, including lower ACE2 expression in children, cross-immunization from measles/rubella/mumps and BCG-vaccination, as well as the integrity of respiratory mucosa. Herein, we hypothesize that an additional mechanism might contribute to children’s relative protection from SARS-CoV-2, the cross-immunization conferred by previous exposures to other common respiratory coronaviruses. To support our hypothesis, we show a statistically significant similarity in genomic and protein sequences, including epitopes for B- and T-cell immunity, of SARS-CoV-2 and the other beta coronaviruses. Since these coronaviruses are highly diffused across pediatric populations, cross-reactive immunity might reasonably induce an at least partial protection from SARS-CoV-2 in children.
2021
SARS-CoV-2, coronaviruses, COVID-19, HCoV-OC43, cross-reactive immunity
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1035387
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