DOI: 10.3390/v16030448 ISSN: 1999-4915

Viral Epitope Scanning Reveals Correlation between Seasonal HCoVs and SARS-CoV-2 Antibody Responses among Cancer and Non-Cancer Patients

Salum J. Lidenge, Dicle Yalcin, Sydney J. Bennett, Owen Ngalamika, Brenda B. Kweyamba, Chacha J. Mwita, For Yue Tso, Julius Mwaiselage, John T. West, Charles Wood
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

Seasonal coronaviruses (HCoVs) are known to contribute to cross-reactive antibody (Ab) responses against SARS-CoV-2. While these responses are predictable due to the high homology between SARS-CoV-2 and other CoVs, the impact of these responses on susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection in cancer patients is unclear. To investigate the influence of prior HCoV infection on anti-SARS-CoV-2 Ab responses among COVID-19 asymptomatic individuals with cancer and controls without cancers, we utilized the VirScan technology in which phage immunoprecipitation and sequencing (PhIP-seq) of longitudinal plasma samples was performed to investigate high-resolution (i.e., epitope level) humoral CoV responses. Despite testing positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 Ab in the plasma, a majority of the participants were asymptomatic for COVID-19 with no prior history of COVID-19 diagnosis. Although the magnitudes of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 Ab responses were lower in individuals with Kaposi sarcoma (KS) compared to non-KS cancer individuals and those without cancer, the HCoV Ab repertoire was similar between individuals with and without cancer independent of age, sex, HIV status, and chemotherapy. The magnitudes of the anti-spike HCoV responses showed a strong positive association with those of the anti-SARS-CoV-2 spike in cancer patients, and only a weak association in non-cancer patients, suggesting that prior infection with HCoVs might play a role in limiting SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease severity.

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