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EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-296092

ABSTRACT

The recurrent outbreak of coronaviruses and variants underscores the need for broadly reactive antivirals and vaccines. Here, a novel broad-spectrum human antibody named 76E1 was isolated from a COVID-19 convalescent patient and showed broad neutralization activity against multiple α- and β-coronaviruses, including the SARS-CoV-2 variants and also exhibited the binding breath to peptides containing the epitope from γ- and δ- coronaviruses. 76E1 cross-protects mice from SARS-CoV-2 and HCoV-OC43 infection in both prophylactic and treatment models. The epitope including the fusion peptide and S2’ cleavage site recognized by 76E1 was significantly conserved among α-, β-, γ- and δ- coronaviruses. We uncovered a novel mechanism of antibody neutralization that the epitope of 76E1 was proportionally less exposed in the prefusion trimeric structure of spike protein but could be unmasked by binding to the receptor ACE2. Once the epitope exposed, 76E1 inhibited S2’ cleavage, thus blocked the membrane fusion process. Our data demonstrate a key epitope targeted by broadly-neutralizing antibodies and will guide next-generation epitope-based pan-coronavirus vaccine design.

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