The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutations in the spike protein is raising concerns about the efficacy of infection- or vaccine-induced antibodies. We compared antibody binding and live virus neutralization of sera from naturally infected and Moderna-vaccinated individuals against two SARS-CoV-2 variants: B.1 containing the spike mutation D614G and the emerging B.1.351 variant containing additional spike mutations and deletions. Sera from acutely infected and convalescent COVID-19 patients exhibited a 3-fold reduction in binding antibody titers to the B.1.351 variant receptor-binding domain of the spike protein and a 3.5-fold reduction in neutralizing antibody titers against SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351 variant compared to the B.1 variant. Similar results were seen with sera from Moderna-vaccinated individuals. Despite reduced antibody titers against the B.1.351 variant, sera from infected and vaccinated individuals containing polyclonal antibodies to the spike protein could still neutralize SARS-CoV-2 B.1.351, suggesting that protective humoral immunity may be retained against this variant.
Keywords: SARS-CoV-2; emerging variants; humoral immunity; receptor-binding domain; vaccine; viral neutralization.
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