Full Text:   <288>

Summary:  <92>

CLC number: 

On-line Access: 2022-06-08

Received: 2022-01-27

Revision Accepted: 2022-04-01

Crosschecked: 2022-06-08

Cited: 0

Clicked: 489

Citations:  Bibtex RefMan EndNote GB/T7714




-   Go to

Article info.
Open peer comments

Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B 2022 Vol.23 No.6 P.451-460


Seasonal coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2: effects of preexisting immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic

Author(s):  Gang WANG, Ze XIANG, Wei WANG, Zhi CHEN

Affiliation(s):  State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, National Clinical Research Center for Infectious Diseases, National Medical Center for Infectious Diseases, Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310003, China; more

Corresponding email(s):   zjuchenzhi@zju.edu.cn

Key Words:  Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Preexisting immunity, Seasonal coronaviruses, Vaccine

Gang WANG, Ze XIANG, Wei WANG, Zhi CHEN. Seasonal coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2: effects of preexisting immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic[J]. Journal of Zhejiang University Science B, 2022, 23(6): 451-460.

@article{title="Seasonal coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2: effects of preexisting immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic",
author="Gang WANG, Ze XIANG, Wei WANG, Zhi CHEN",
journal="Journal of Zhejiang University Science B",
publisher="Zhejiang University Press & Springer",

%0 Journal Article
%T Seasonal coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2: effects of preexisting immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic
%A Gang WANG
%J Journal of Zhejiang University SCIENCE B
%V 23
%N 6
%P 451-460
%@ 1673-1581
%D 2022
%I Zhejiang University Press & Springer
%DOI 10.1631/jzus.B2200049

T1 - Seasonal coronaviruses and SARS-CoV-2: effects of preexisting immunity during the COVID-19 pandemic
A1 - Gang WANG
A1 - Wei WANG
A1 - Zhi CHEN
J0 - Journal of Zhejiang University Science B
VL - 23
IS - 6
SP - 451
EP - 460
%@ 1673-1581
Y1 - 2022
PB - Zhejiang University Press & Springer
ER -
DOI - 10.1631/jzus.B2200049

Although the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic is still ongoing, vaccination rates are rising slowly and related treatments and drugs are being developed. At the same time, there is increasing evidence of preexisting immunity against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in humans, mainly consisting of preexisting antibodies and immune cells (including T cells and B cells). The presence of these antibodies is mainly due to the seasonal prevalence of four common coronavirus types, especially OC43 and HKU1. The accumulated relevant evidence has suggested that the target of antibodies is mainly the S2 subunit of S protein, followed by evolutionary conservative regions such as the nucleocapsid (N) protein. Additionally, preexisting memory T and B cells are also present in the population. Preexisting antibodies can help the body protect against SARS-CoV-2 infection, reduce the severity of COVID-19, and rapidly increase the immune response post-infection. These multiple effects can directly affect disease progression and even the likelihood of death in certain individuals. Besides the positive effects, preexisting immunity may also have negative consequences, such as antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE) and original antigenic sin (OAS), the prevalence of which needs to be further established. In the future, more research should be focused on evaluating the role of preexisting immunity in COVID-19 outcomes, adopting appropriate policies and strategies for fighting the pandemic, and vaccine development that considers preexisting immunity.




Darkslateblue:Affiliate; Royal Blue:Author; Turquoise:Article


[1]AndersonEM, GoodwinEC, VermaA, et al., 2021. Seasonal human coronavirus antibodies are boosted upon SARS-CoV-2 infection but not associated with protection. Cell, 184(7):1858-1864.e10.

[2]BonifaciusA, Tischer-ZimmermannS, DragonAC, et al., 2021. COVID-19 immune signatures reveal stable antiviral T cell function despite declining humoral responses. Immunity, 54(2):340-354.e6.

[3]BraunJ, LoyalL, FrentschM, et al., 2020. SARS-CoV-2-reactive T cells in healthy donors and patients with COVID-19. Nature, 587(7833):270-274.

[4]CaoWC, LiuW, ZhangPH, et al., 2007. Disappearance of antibodies to SARS-associated coronavirus after recovery. N Engl J Med, 357(11):1162-1163.

[5]DaiLP, GaoGF, 2021. Viral targets for vaccines against COVID-19. Nat Rev Immunol, 21(2):73-82.

[6]de AssisRR, JainA, NakajimaR, et al., 2021. Analysis of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies in COVID-19 convalescent blood using a coronavirus antigen microarray. Nat Commun, 12:6.

[7]de VriesRD, 2020. SARS-CoV-2-specific T-cells in unexposed humans: presence of cross-reactive memory cells does not equal protective immunity. Signal Transduct Tar Ther, 5:224.

[8]DongES, DuHR, GardnerL, 2020. An interactive web-based dashboard to track COVID-19 in real time. Lancet Infect Dis, 20(5):533-534.

[9]DoshiP, 2020. Covid-19: do many people have pre-existing immunity? BMJ, 370:m3563.

[10]FengBH, ZhangD, WangQ, et al., 2021. Effects of angiotensin II receptor blocker usage on viral load, antibody dynamics, and transcriptional characteristics among COVID-19 patients with hypertension. J Zhejiang Univ-Sci B (Biomed & Biotechnol), 22(4):330-340.

[11]FierzW, WalzB, 2020. Antibody dependent enhancement due to original antigenic sin and the development of SARS. Front Immunol, 11:1120.

[12]GreenbaumJA, KotturiMF, KimY, et al., 2009. Pre-existing immunity against swine-origin H1N1 influenza viruses in the general human population. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 106(48):20365-20370.

[13]GrifoniA, WeiskopfD, RamirezSI, et al., 2020. Targets of T cell responses to SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus in humans with COVID-19 disease and unexposed individuals. Cell, 181(7):1489-1501.e15.

[14]HuangCL, WangYM, LiXW, et al., 2020. Clinical features of patients infected with 2019 novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. Lancet, 395(10223):497-506.

[15]HuangY, YangC, XuXF, et al., 2020. Structural and functional properties of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein: potential antivirus drug development for COVID-19. Acta Pharmacol Sin, 41(9):1141-1149.

[16]JacksonCB, FarzanM, ChenB, et al., 2022. Mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 entry into cells. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, 23(1):3-20.

[17]JiaLQ, WengSF, WuJ, et al., 2022. Pre-existing antibodies targeting a linear epitope on SARS-CoV-2 S2 cross-reacted with commensal gut bacteria and shaped vaccine induced immunity. medRxiv, prepint.

[18]KaplonekP, WangCQ, BartschY, et al., 2021. Early cross-coronavirus reactive signatures of protective humoral immunity against COVID-19. bioRxiv, prepint.

[19]KingAMQ, AdamsMJ, CarstensEB, et al., 2011. Virus Taxonomy. Ninth Report of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. Elsevier, St. Louis, p.770-783.

[20]KisslerSM, TedijantoC, GoldsteinE, et al., 2020. Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period. Science, 368(6493):860-868.

[21]KnoopsK, KikkertM, van den WormSHE, et al., 2008. SARS-coronavirus replication is supported by a reticulovesicular network of modified endoplasmic reticulum. PLoS Biol, 6(9):e226.

[22]KupferschmidtK, 2021. New coronavirus variants could cause more reinfections, require updated vaccines. Science COVID-19 Report. https://www.‍science.‍org/content/article/new-coronavirus-variants-could-cause-more-reinfections-require-updated-vaccines [accessed on Jan. 15, 2021].

[23]LappSA, EdaraVV, LuA, et al., 2021. Original antigenic sin responses to Betacoronavirus spike proteins are observed in a mouse model, but are not apparent in children following SARS-CoV-2 infection. PLoS ONE, 16(8):e0256482.

[24]LauringAS, MalaniPN, 2021. Variants of SARS-CoV-2. JAMA, 326(9):880-880.

[25]le BertN, TanAT, KunasegaranK, et al., 2020. SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immunity in cases of COVID-19 and SARS, and uninfected controls. Nature, 584(7821):457-462.

[26]LeeWS, WheatleyAK, KentSJ, et al., 2020. Antibody-dependent enhancement and SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and therapies. Nat Microbiol, 5(10):1185-1191.

[27]LefkowitzEJ, DempseyDM, HendricksonRC, et al., 2018. Virus taxonomy: the database of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV). Nucl Acids Res, 46(D1):D708-D717.

[28]MajdoubiA, MichalskiC, O'ConnellSE, et al., 2021. A majority of uninfected adults show preexisting antibody reactivity against SARS-CoV-2. JCI Insight, 6(8):e146316.

[29]MilletJK, JaimesJA, WhittakerGR, 2021. Molecular diversity of coronavirus host cell entry receptors. FEMS Microbiol Rev, 45(3):fuaa057.

[30]Mveang NzogheA, EssonePN, LebouenyM, et al., 2021. Evidence and implications of pre-existing humoral cross-reactive immunity to SARS-CoV-2. Immun, Inflamm Dis, 9(1):128-133.

[31]NeteaMG, JoostenLAB, LatzE, et al., 2016. Trained immunity: a program of innate immune memory in health and disease. Science, 352(6284):aaf1098.

[32]NgKW, FaulknerN, CornishGH, et al., 2020. Preexisting and de novo humoral immunity to SARS-CoV-2 in humans. Science, 370(6522):1339-1343.

[33]NgOW, ChiaA, TanAT, et al., 2016. Memory T cell responses targeting the SARS coronavirus persist up to 11 years post-infection. Vaccine, 34(17):2008-2014.

[34]Nguyen-ContantP, EmbongAK, KanagaiahP, et al., 2020. S protein-reactive IgG and memory B cell production after human SARS-CoV-2 infection includes broad reactivity to the S2 subunit. mBio, 11(5):e01991-20.

[35]OrtegaN, RibesM, VidalM, et al., 2021. Seven-month kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and role of pre-existing antibodies to human coronaviruses. Nat Commun, 12:4740.

[36]SchulienI, KemmingJ, OberhardtV, et al., 2021. Characterization of pre-existing and induced SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8+ T cells. Nat Med, 27(1):78-85.

[37]SetteA, CrottyS, 2020. Pre-existing immunity to SARS-CoV-2: the knowns and unknowns. Nat Rev Immunol, 20(8):457-458.

[38]ShiY, WangG, CaiXP, et al., 2020. An overview of COVID-19. J Zhejiang Univ-Sci B (Biomed & Biotechnol), 21(5):343-360.

[39]SongG, HeWT, CallaghanS, et al., 2021. Cross-reactive serum and memory B-cell responses to spike protein in SARS-CoV-2 and endemic coronavirus infection. Nat Commun, 12:2938.

[40]SridharS, BegomS, BerminghamA, et al., 2013. Cellular immune correlates of protection against symptomatic pandemic influenza. Nat Med, 19(10):1305-1312.

[41]SuiZW, DaiXH, LuQB, et al., 2021. Viral dynamics and antibody responses in people with asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection. Signal Transduct Tar Ther, 6:181.

[42]VashishthaVM, 2021. Is ‘original antigenic sin’ complicating Indian vaccination drive against Covid-19? Hum Vacc Immunother, 17(10):3314-3315.

[43]WeiskopfD, SchmitzKS, RaadsenMP, et al., 2020. Phenotype and kinetics of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cells in COVID-19 patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome. Sci Immunol, 5(48):eabd2071.

[44]WilkinsonTM, LiCKF, ChuiCSC, et al., 2012. Preexisting influenza-specific CD4+ T cells correlate with disease protection against influenza challenge in humans. Nat Med, 18(2):274-280.

[45]WuF, ZhaoS, YuB, et al., 2020. A new coronavirus associated with human respiratory disease in China. Nature, 579(7798):265-269.

[46]ZhouP, YangXL, WangXG, et al., 2020. A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin. Nature, 579(7798):270-273.

Open peer comments: Debate/Discuss/Question/Opinion


Please provide your name, email address and a comment

Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE, 38 Zheda Road, Hangzhou 310027, China
Tel: +86-571-87952783; E-mail: cjzhang@zju.edu.cn
Copyright © 2000 - 2022 Journal of Zhejiang University-SCIENCE