Preprint Brief Report Version 2 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Possible Cross-Reactivity Between SARS-CoV-2 Proteins, CRM197 and Proteins in Pneumococcal Vaccines May Protect Against Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Disease and Death

Version 1 : Received: 6 July 2020 / Approved: 8 July 2020 / Online: 8 July 2020 (10:38:32 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 2 August 2020 / Approved: 4 August 2020 / Online: 4 August 2020 (10:19:23 CEST)
Version 3 : Received: 1 September 2020 / Approved: 4 September 2020 / Online: 4 September 2020 (10:45:26 CEST)

How to cite: Root-Bernstein, R. Possible Cross-Reactivity Between SARS-CoV-2 Proteins, CRM197 and Proteins in Pneumococcal Vaccines May Protect Against Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Disease and Death. Preprints 2020, 2020070141 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0141.v2). Root-Bernstein, R. Possible Cross-Reactivity Between SARS-CoV-2 Proteins, CRM197 and Proteins in Pneumococcal Vaccines May Protect Against Symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 Disease and Death. Preprints 2020, 2020070141 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202007.0141.v2).

Abstract

Various studies indicate that vaccination, especially with pneumococcal vaccines, protects against symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and death. This paper explores the possibility that pneumococcal vaccines in particular, but perhaps other vaccines as well, contain antigens that might be cross-reactive with SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Comparison of the glycosylation structures of SARS-CoV-2 with the polysaccharide structures of pneumococcal vaccines yielded no obvious similarities. However, while pneumococcal vaccines are primarily composed of capsular polysaccharides, some are conjugated to CRM197, a modified diphtheria toxin, and all contain about three percent protein contaminants, including the pneumococcal surface proteins PsaA, PspA and probably PspC. All of these proteins have very high degrees of similarity, using very stringent criteria, with several SARS-CoV-2 proteins including the spike protein, membrane protein and replicase 1a. CRM197 is also present in Hib and meningitis vaccines. Equivalent similarities were found at statistically significantly lower rates, or were completely absent, among the proteins in diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and poliovirus vaccines. Notably, PspA and PspC are highly antigenic and new pneumococcal vaccines based on them are currently in human clinical trials so that their effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 disease is easily testable.

Subject Areas

COVID-19; pneumococcal vaccine; vaccination; cross-reactivity; protection; molecular mimicry, CRM197, rubella vaccine

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 4 August 2020
Commenter: Robert Root-Bernstein
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: A more complete and in depth analysis of similarities between vaccines and SARS-CoV-2 proteins has been carried out with varying criteria of significance that permits a more complete understanding of how different vaccines compare with each other with regard to possible cross-reactivity and protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection. This more nuanced approach still identifies pneumococcal vaccines as the most protective but also identifies rubella vaccines as potentially protective as well. These results are interpreted in light of very recent data from Mayo Clinic regarding vaccine protection among 130,000 patients.
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