Various studies indicate that vaccination, especially with pneumococcal vaccines, protects against symptomatic cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection and death. This paper explores the possibility that pneumococcal vaccines in particular, but perhaps other vaccines as well, contain antigens that might be cross-reactive with SARS-CoV-2 antigens. Comparison of the glycosylation structures of SARS-CoV-2 with the polysaccharide structures of pneumococcal vaccines yielded no obvious similarities. However, while pneumococcal vaccines are primarily composed of capsular polysaccharides, some are conjugated to cross-reacting material CRM197, a modified diphtheria toxin, and all contain about three percent protein contaminants, including the pneumococcal surface proteins PsaA, PspA and probably PspC. All of these proteins have very high degrees of similarity, using very stringent criteria, with several SARS-CoV-2 proteins including the spike protein, membrane protein and replicase 1a. CRM197 is also present in Haemophilus influenzae type b
(Hib) and meningitis vaccines. Equivalent similarities were found at lower rates, or were completely absent, among the proteins in diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and poliovirus vaccines. Notably, PspA and PspC are highly antigenic and new pneumococcal vaccines based on them are currently in human clinical trials so that their effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2 disease is easily testable.
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