Exposure to avian coronavirus vaccines is associated with increased levels of SARS-CoV-2-cross-reactive antibodies

Ardicli Ö., CARLI K. T., Satitsuksanoa P., Dreher A., Cusini A., Hutter S., ...More

ALLERGY, vol.77, no.12, pp.3648-3662, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 77 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/all.15441
  • Journal Name: ALLERGY
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.3648-3662
  • Keywords: COVID-19, cross-reactivity, IBV, neutralization, SARS-CoV-2, INFECTIOUS-BRONCHITIS VIRUS, REPLICATION, COVID-19, S1
  • Bursa Uludag University Affiliated: Yes


Background Although avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and SARS-CoV-2 belong to different genera of the Coronaviridae family, exposure to IBV may result in the development of cross-reactive antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 due to homologous epitopes. We aimed to investigate whether antibody responses to IBV cross-react with SARS-CoV-2 in poultry farm personnel who are occupationally exposed to aerosolized IBV vaccines. Methods We analyzed sera from poultry farm personnel, COVID-19 patients, and pre-pandemic controls. IgG levels against the SARS-CoV-2 antigens S1, RBD, S2, and N and peptides corresponding to the SARS-CoV-2 ORF3a, N, and S proteins as well as whole virus antigens of the four major S1-genotypes 4/91, IS/1494/06, M41, and D274 of IBV were investigated by in-house ELISAs. Moreover, live-virus neutralization test (VNT) was performed. Results A subgroup of poultry farm personnel showed elevated levels of specific IgG for all tested SARS-CoV-2 antigens compared with pre-pandemic controls. Moreover, poultry farm personnel, COVID-19 patients, and pre-pandemic controls showed specific IgG antibodies against IBV strains. These antibody titers were higher in long-term vaccine implementers. We observed a strong correlation between IBV-specific IgG and SARS-CoV-2 S1-, RBD-, S2-, and N-specific IgG in poultry farm personnel compared with pre-pandemic controls and COVID-19 patients. However, no neutralization was observed for these cross-reactive antibodies from poultry farm personnel using the VNT. Conclusion We report here for the first time the detection of cross-reactive IgG antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 antigens in humans exposed to IBV vaccines. These findings may be useful for further studies on the adaptive immunity against COVID-19.