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A person is treated in hospital in Singapore during the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome. Credit: Paula Bronstein/Getty
People who were infected almost two decades ago with the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) generate a powerful antibody response after being vaccinated against COVID-19. Their immune systems can fight off multiple SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as related coronaviruses found in bats and pangolins.
The Singapore-based authors of a small study published today in The New England Journal of Medicine1 say the results offer hope that vaccines can be developed to protect against all new SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as other coronaviruses that have the potential to cause future pandemics.
The study is a “proof of concept that a pan-coronavirus vaccine in humans is possible”, says David Martinez, a viral immunologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “It’s a really unique and cool study, with the caveat that it didn’t include many patients.”