Although Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccines have shown efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, it is unknown if coronavirus vaccines can also protect against other coronaviruses that may infect humans in the future. Here, we show that coronavirus vaccines elicit cross-protective immune responses against heterologous coronaviruses. In particular, we show that a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 1 (SARS-CoV-1) vaccine developed in 2004 and known to protect against SARS-CoV-1, confers robust heterologous protection against SARS-CoV-2 in mice. Similarly, prior coronavirus infections conferred heterologous protection against distinct coronaviruses. Cross-reactive immunity was also reported in Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients and humans who received SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, and transfer of plasma from these individuals into mice improved protection against coronavirus challenges. These findings provide the first demonstration that coronavirus vaccines (and prior coronavirus infections) can confer broad protection against heterologous coronaviruses, providing a rationale for universal coronavirus vaccines.
Tanushree Dangi, Nicole Palacio, Sarah Sanchez, Mincheol Park, Jake Class, Lavanya Visvabharathy, Thomas Ciucci, Igor J. Koralnik, Justin M. Richner, Pablo Penaloza-MacMaster