Vineet D. Menachery1, Boyd L. Yount Jr1, Kari Debbink1,2, Sudhakar Agnihothram3, Lisa E. Gralinski1, Jessica A. Plante1, Rachel L. Graham1, Trevor Scobey1, Xing-Yi Ge8, Eric F. Donaldson1, Scott H. Randell4,5, Antonio Lanzavecchia6, Wayne A. Marasco7, Zhengli-Li Shi8, and Ralph S. Baric1,
The emergence of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)-CoV underscores the threat of cross-species transmission events leading to outbreaks in humans. In this study, we examine the disease potential for SARSlike CoVs currently circulating in Chinese horseshoe bat populations. Utilizing the SARS-CoV infectious clone, we generated and characterized a chimeric virus expressing the spike of bat coronavirus SHC014 in a mouse adapted SARS-CoV backbone. The results indicate that group 2b viruses encoding the SHC014 spike in a wild type backbone can efficiently utilize multiple ACE2 receptor orthologs, replicate efficiently in primary human airway cells, and achieve in vitro titers equivalent to epidemic strains of SARS-CoV. Additionally, in vivo experiments demonstrate replication of the chimeric virus in mouse lung with notable pathogenesis. Evaluation of available SARS-based immune-therapeutic and prophylactic modalities revealed poor efficacy; both monoclonal antibody and vaccine approaches failed to neutralize and protect from CoVs utilizing the novel spike protein. Importantly, based on these findings, we synthetically rederived an infectious full length SHC014 recombinant virus and demonstrate robust viral replication both in vitro and in vivo. Together, the work highlights a continued risk of SARS-CoV reemergence from viruses currently circulating in bat populations.