Cross-reactivity among the two diverse viruses is believed to originate from the concept of antibodies recognizing similar epitopes on the two viral surfaces. Cross-reactive antibody responses have been seen in previous variants of SARS and SARS-CoV-2, but little is known about the cross reactivity with other similar RNA viruses like HIV-1. In the present study, we examined the reactivity the SARS-CoV-2 directed antibodies, via spike, immunized mice sera and demonstrated whether they conferred any cross-reactive neutralization against HIV-1. Our findings show that SARS-CoV-2 spike immunized mice antibodies cross-react with the HIV-1 Env protein. Cross-neutralization among the two viruses is uncommon, suggesting the presence of a non-neutralizing antibody response to conserved epitopes amongst the two viruses. Our results indicate, that SARS-CoV-2 spike antibody cross reactivity is targeted towards the gp41 region of the HIV-1 Env (gp160) protein. Overall, our investigation not only answers a crucial question about the understanding of cross-reactive epitopes of antibodies generated in different viral infections, but also provides critical evidence for developing vaccine immunogens and novel treatment strategies with enhanced efficacy capable of recognising diverse pathogens with similar antigenic features.
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