The authors were interested in coronavirus cross-neutralising antibody responses. They mined the memory B cell repertoire of a convalescent SARS-CoV donor and identified 200 SARS-CoV-2 binding antibodies that targeted multiple conserved sites on the spike (S) protein. A large proportion of the non-neutralising antibodies identified had high levels of somatic hypermutation and were found to cross-react with circulating human CoVs. This suggests a degree of recall of pre-existing memory B cells (MBCs) elicited by prior HCoV infections. A number of the antibodies were found to also potently cross-neutralise SARS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and the bat SARS-like virus WIV1 by blocking receptor attachment and inducing S1 shedding. Therefore antibodies may be used for therapeutic interventions, and also suggest that a pan-sarbecovirus vaccine may be possible.
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