SARS-CoV-2 variant B.1.1.7 is susceptible to neutralizing antibodies elicited by ancestral spike vaccines

Cell Host Microbe. 2021 Apr 14;29(4):529-539.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2021.03.002. Epub 2021 Mar 5.


All current vaccines for COVID-19 utilize ancestral SARS-CoV-2 spike with the goal of generating protective neutralizing antibodies. The recent emergence and rapid spread of several SARS-CoV-2 variants carrying multiple spike mutations raise concerns about possible immune escape. One variant, first identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7, also called 20I/501Y.V1), contains eight spike mutations with potential to impact antibody therapy, vaccine efficacy, and risk of reinfection. Here, we show that B.1.1.7 remains sensitive to neutralization, albeit at moderately reduced levels (∼sim;2-fold), by serum samples from convalescent individuals and recipients of an mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273, Moderna) and a protein nanoparticle vaccine (NVX-CoV2373, Novavax). A subset of monoclonal antibodies to the receptor binding domain (RBD) of spike are less effective against the variant, while others are largely unaffected. These findings indicate that variant B.1.1.7 is unlikely to be a major concern for current vaccines or for an increased risk of reinfection.

Keywords: B.1.1.7; COVID-19; Moderna; Novavax; SARS-CoV-2 variants; monoclonal antibodies; neutralizing antibodies; vaccines.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing / immunology*
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • COVID-19 Vaccines / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neutralization Tests
  • SARS-CoV-2 / immunology*
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / immunology
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • NVX-CoV2373 adjuvated lipid nanoparticle
  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273