The recent COVID-19 pandemic poses a serious threat to global public health, thus there is an urgent need to define the molecular mechanisms involved in SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein-mediated virus entry that is essential for preventing and/or treating this emerging infectious disease. In this study, we examined the blocking activity of human COVID-19 convalescent plasma by cell–cell fusion assays using SARS-CoV-2-S-transfected 293 T as effector cells and ACE2-expressing 293 T as target cells. We demonstrate that the SARS-CoV-2 S protein exhibits a very high capacity for membrane fusion and is efficient in mediating virus fusion and entry into target cells. Importantly, we find that COVID-19 convalescent plasma with high titers of IgG neutralizing antibodies can block cell–cell fusion and virus entry by interfering with the SARS-CoV-2-S/ACE2 or SARS-CoV-S/ACE2 interactions. These findings suggest that COVID-19 convalescent plasma may not only inhibit SARS-CoV-2-S but also cross-neutralize SARS-CoV-S-mediated membrane fusion and virus entry, supporting its potential as a preventive and/or therapeutic agent against SARS-CoV-2 as well as other SARS-CoV infections.
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Wang, Ling; Zhao, Juan; Nguyen, Lam N.T.; Nguyen, Lam N.T.; Adkins, James L.; Schank, Madison; Khanal, Sushant; Dang, Xindi; Cao, Dechao; Thakuri, Bal K. C.; Lu, Zeyuan; Zhang, Jinyu; Zhang, Yi; Wu, Xiao Y.; El Gazzar, Mohamed; Ning, Shunbin; Moorman, Jonathan P.; and Yao, Zhi Q.. 2021. Blockade of SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein-Mediated Cell–Cell Fusion Using COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma. Scientific Reports. Vol.11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84840-3 PMID: 33692386