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Hyperimmunized Chickens Produce Neutralizing Antibodies against SARS-CoV-2

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The novel severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is responsible for the global COVID-19 pandemic. Effective interventions are urgently needed to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and likely require multiple strategies. Egg-extracted antibody therapies are a low-cost and scalable strategy to protect at-risk individuals from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Commercial laying hens were hyperimmunized against the SARS-CoV-2 S1 protein using three different S1 recombinant proteins and three different doses. Sera and egg yolk were collected at three and six weeks after the second immunization for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and plaque-reduction neutralization assay to determine antigen-specific antibody titers and neutralizing antibody titers, respectively. In this study we demonstrate that hens hyperimmunized against the SARS-CoV-2 recombinant S1 and receptor binding domain (RBD) proteins produced neutralizing antibodies against SARS-CoV-2. We further demonstrate that antibody production was dependent on the dose and type of antigen administered. Our data suggests that antibodies purified from the egg yolk of hyperimmunized hens can be used as immunoprophylaxis in humans at risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

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