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Coronavirus spike cross-reactive antibodies: Identification, action mechanisms and protective efficacy

This project is part of the overarching project 'ACZI – Innovative antibody-based strategies to combat future emergence of zoonotic viral infections'.


2019 – 2023

Group and collaboration

Dr. Berend-Jan Bosch, Dr. Xander de Haan, Prof. Frank van Kuppeveld, Prof. Andrea Grone, Dr. Esther Nolte ‘t Hoen, Dr. Christine Jansen – Dept. Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University
Dr. Bart Haagmans, Dr. Barry Rockx, Dr. Bas Oude Munnink, Prof. Ron Fouchier, Prof. Marion Koopmans – Dept. Viroscience, Erasmus MC

PhD student: Anna Mykytyn

Project description

Broadly reactive nanobodies targeting conserved sites on the coronavirus spike protein will be induced following a sequential immunization of camelids with heterologous spike proteins. In parallel, B-cells from MERS-CoV patients will be immortalized using Epstein Barr virus or a lentivirus transducing BCL6 and BCXL. As antigens, we will use trimeric spike ectodomains of related human-infecting betacoronaviruses (MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-HKU1), by means of expression methodology that we employed previously to solve prefusion spike structures of several coronaviruses. Nanobodies will be isolated using recently established techniques and purified nanobodies will be analyzed for their cross-reactivity against the spike proteins of a broad panel of coronaviruses.


  • Isolation of broadly reactive CoV spike antibodies
  • Characterization of broadly reactive antibodies
  • Protection efficacy of broad-range antibodies against coronaviruses

Disease Intervention Strategies is the overarching theme for more than 10 PhD tracks in NCOH projects to create new interdisciplinary, inter-thematic, and inter-institutional research collaborations.

PhD student interview

Interview: ‘We need to understand how zoonotic spill-over events occur’

Anna Mykytyn is developing new methods to study the way antibodies neutralize viruses to understand how viruses enter the body.