Multifactorial seroprofiling dissects the contribution of pre-existing human coronaviruses responses to SARS-CoV-2 immunity

Determination of SARS-CoV-2 antibody responses in the context of pre-existing immunity to circulating human coronavirus (HCoV) is critical for understanding protective immunity. Here we perform a multifactorial analysis of SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV antibody responses in pre-pandemic (N = 825) and SARS-CoV-2-infected donors (N = 389) using a custom-designed multiplex ABCORA assay. ABCORA seroprofiling, when combined with computational modeling, enables accurate definition of SARS-CoV-2 seroconversion and prediction of neutralization activity, and reveals intriguing interrelations with HCoV immunity. Specifically, higher HCoV antibody levels in SARS-CoV-2-negative donors suggest that pre-existing HCoV immunity may provide protection against SARS-CoV-2 acquisition. In those infected, higher HCoV activity is associated with elevated SARS-CoV-2 responses, indicating cross-stimulation. Most importantly, HCoV immunity may impact disease severity, as patients with high HCoV reactivity are less likely to require hospitalization.

Collectively, our results suggest that HCoV immunity may promote rapid development of SARS-CoV-2-specific immunity, thereby underscoring the importance of exploring cross-protective responses for comprehensive coronavirus prevention.