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researchsquare; 2022.


Given that COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc around the world, it is imperative to search for a conserved region involved in viral infection so that effective vaccines can be developed to prevent the virus from rapid mutations. We have established a twelve-fragment library of recombinant proteins covering the entire region of spike protein of both SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV from E. coli. IgGs from murine antisera specifically against six spike protein fragments of SARS-CoV-2 were produced, purified, and characterized. We found that one specific IgG against the fusion process region, named COVID19-SF5, serologically cross-reacted with all twelve S-protein fragments. COVID19-SF5, with amino acid sequences from 880 to 1084, specifically bound to VERO-E6 and BEAS-2B cells, with Kd values of 449.1 ± 21.41 and 381.9 ± 31.53 nM, and IC50 values of 761.2 ± 28.2 nM and 862.4 ± 32.1 nM, respectively. In addition, COVID19-SF5 greatly enhanced binding of the full-length CHO cell-derived spike protein to the host cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Furthermore, COVID19-SF5 and its IgGs inhibited the infection of the host cells by pseudovirus. The combined data from our studies reveal that COVID19-SF5, a novel cell-binding fragment, may contain a common region(s) for mediating viral binding during infection. Our studies also provide valuable insights into how virus variants may evade host immune recognition. Significantly, the observation that the IgGs against COVID19-SF5 possesses a cross-reactivity to all other fragments of S protein suggests that it is possible to develop universal neutralizing monoclonal antibodies to curb rapid mutations of COVID-19.