Lack of antibodies against seasonal coronavirus OC43 nucleocapsid protein identifies patients at risk of critical COVID-19


Aug 10, 2018

"Get a cold, don't get killed by Covid-19..."


• Does prior infection with seasonal human coronavirus OC43 protect against critical COVID-19?
• Findings: In an international multi-center study (four tertiary care referral centers) inpatients without anti-HCoV OC43 NP antibodies had an increased risk of critical disease (adjusted odds ratio 2.68 [95% CI 1.09 - 7.05]), higher than the risk by increased age or BMI, and lower than the risk by male sex. A risk stratification based on sex and OC43 serostatus was derived from this analysis.
• Meaning: Prior infections with seasonal HCoV OC43 have a protective effect against critical COVID-19.


Our results suggest that prior infections with seasonal human coronaviruses can protect against a severe course of COVID-19. Therefore, anti-OC43 antibodies should be measured for COVID-19 inpatients and considered as part of the risk assessment for each patient. Hence, we expect individuals tested negative for anti-OC43 antibodies to particularly benefit from vaccination against SARS-CoV-2, especially with other risk factors prevailing.
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