The development of prophylactic and therapeutic agents for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a current global health priority. Here, we investigated the presence of cross-neutralizing antibodies against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in dromedary camels that were Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) seropositive but MERS-CoV free. The tested 229 dromedaries had anti–MERS-CoV camel antibodies with variable cross-reactivity patterns against SARS-CoV-2 proteins, including the S trimer and M, N, and E proteins. Using SARS-CoV-2 competitive immunofluorescence immunoassays and pseudovirus neutralization assays, we found medium-to-high titers of cross-neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in these animals. Through linear B cell epitope mapping using phage immunoprecipitation sequencing and a SARS-CoV-2 peptide/proteome microarray, we identified a large repertoire of Betacoronavirus cross-reactive antibody specificities in these dromedaries and demonstrated that the SARS-CoV-2–specific VHH antibody repertoire is qualitatively diverse. This analysis revealed not only several SARS-CoV-2 epitopes that are highly immunogenic in humans, including a neutralizing epitope, but also epitopes exclusively targeted by camel antibodies. The identified SARS-CoV-2 cross-neutralizing camel antibodies are not proposed as a potential treatment for COVID-19. Rather, their presence in nonimmunized camels supports the development of SARS-CoV-2 hyperimmune camels, which could be a prominent source of therapeutic agents for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Lotfi Chouchane, Jean-Charles Grivel, Elmoubasher Abu Baker Abd Farag, Igor Pavlovski, Selma Maacha, Abbirami Sathappan, Hamad Eid Al-Romaihi, Sirin W.J. Abuaqel, Manar Mahmoud Ahmad Ata, Aouatef Ismail Chouchane, Sami Remadi, Najeeb Halabi, Arash Rafii, Mohammed H. Al-Thani, Nico Marr, Murugan Subramanian, Jingxuan Shan
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.