Potential Cross-Reactive Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 From Common Human Pathogens and Vaccines.Front Immunol. 2020; 11:586984.FI
The recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 causing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is particularly virulent in the elderly while children are largely spared. Here, we explored the potential role of cross-reactive immunity acquired from pediatric vaccinations and exposure to common human pathogens in the protection and pathology of COVID-19. To that end, we sought for peptide matches to SARS-CoV-2 (identity ≥ 80%, in at least eight residues) in the proteomes of 25 human pathogens and in vaccine antigens, and subsequently predicted their T and B cell reactivity to identify potential cross-reactive epitopes. We found that viruses subject to pediatric vaccinations do not contain cross-reactive epitopes with SARS-CoV-2, precluding that they can provide any general protection against COVID-19. Likewise, common viruses including rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, and several herpesviruses are also poor or null sources of cross-reactive immunity to SARS-CoV-2, discarding that immunological memory against these viruses can have any general protective or pathological role in COVID-19. In contrast, we found combination vaccines for treating diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis infectious diseases (DTP vaccine) to be significant sources of potential cross-reactive immunity to SARS-CoV-2. DTP cross-reactive epitopes with SARS-CoV-2 include numerous CD8 and CD4 T cell epitopes with broad population protection coverage and potentially neutralizing B cell epitopes in SARS-CoV-2 Spike protein. Worldwide, children receive several DTP vaccinations, including three-four doses the first year of life and one at 4-6 years of age. Moreover, a low antigenic Tdap dose is also given at ages 9-14. Thereby, children may well be protected from SARS-CoV-2 through cross-reactive immunity elicited by DTP vaccinations, supporting testing in the general population to prevent COVID-19.