Atypical Antibody Dynamics During Human Coronavirus HKU1 Infections

Ferdyansyah Sechan, Marloes Grobben, Arthur W. D. Edridge, Maarten F. Jebbink, Katherine Loens, Margareta Ieven, Herman Goossens, Susan van Hemert-Glaubitz, Marit J. van Gils, Lia van der Hoek

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Human coronavirus HKU1 (HCoV-HKU1) is one of the four endemic coronaviruses. It has been suggested that there is a difference in incidence, with PCR-confirmed HCoV-NL63 and HCoV-OC43 infections occurring more commonly, whereas HCoV-HKU1 is the least seen. Lower incidence of HCoV-HKU1 infection has also been observed in serological studies. The current study aimed to investigate antibody dynamics during PCR-confirmed HCoV-HKU1 infections using serum collected during infection and 1 month later. We expressed a new HCoV-HKU1 antigen consisting of both the linker and carboxy-terminal domain of the viral nucleocapsid protein and implemented it in ELISA. We also applied a spike-based Luminex assay on serum samples from PCR-confirmed infections by the four endemic HCoVs. At least half of HCoV-HKU1-infected subjects consistently showed no antibody rise via either assay, and some subjects even exhibited substantial antibody decline. Investigation of self-reported symptoms revealed that HCoV-HKU1-infected subjects rated their illness milder than subjects infected by other HCoVs. In conclusion, HCoV-HKU1 infections reported in this study displayed atypical antibody dynamics and milder symptoms when compared to the other endemic HCoVs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number853410
Pages (from-to)853410
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Apr 2022


  • HCoV-229E
  • HCoV-HKU1
  • HCoV-NL63
  • HCoV-OC43
  • IgG response
  • endemic seasonal coronavirus
  • nucleocapsid protein
  • spike protein

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