COVID 19 vaccination activates antibodies targeting parts of virus spike protein
Could the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine reawaken previous antibody response and point the way to a universal coronavirus vaccine?
A new analysis of the antibody response to a COVID-19 vaccine suggests the immune system's history with other coronaviruses, including those behind the common cold, shapes the patient's response, according to a study published today in Cell Reports.
Led by scientists at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), part of City of Hope, and Northern Arizona University (NAU), a research team found that the vaccine generates antibodies that target regions of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein that are unique to the new virus, while also targeting regions of the protein that are shared or conserved among many coronaviruses.
These findings could help fine-tune the design of future vaccines or new monoclonal antibody treatments, perhaps leading to a universal coronavirus vaccine. Using a technology called PepSeq developed by the scientists, allowed the researchers to carefully map antibody responses and track them serially over 140 days in 21 people who received the Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. The technology matches individual peptides (the building blocks of proteins) with unique DNA tags. The tags allow scientists to pinpoint which peptides are being targeted by antibodies.
Before technologies like PepSeq, researchers had to measure the response of antibodies against one protein target at a time. PepSeq allowedthem to perform up to hundreds of thousands of measurements of antibodies against different parts of virus proteins all at the same time from the same sample.
PepSeq also helps scientists precisely map the antibody response to specific regions of a protein. This allowed to track the differences in antibody response between divergent and conserved regions of the SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein.
The theory is that there is actually memory from previous common cold coronavirus encounters, and when you get the vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the vaccine reawakens some of those memories. Then you see this early response which is basically just a rapid memory response to what you've already seen and With time, the immune system can reshape those responses more in the direction of the pandemic virus concluded the authors.
Reference: "COVID-19 vaccination activates antibodies targeting parts of virus spike protein shared between coronaviruses" NORTHERN ARIZONA UNIVERSITY; Cell Reports,2022.
B.Sc Life Sciences, M.Sc Biotechnology, B.Ed