Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern evade humoral immune responses from infection and vaccination

medRxiv. 2021 Jun 1;2021.05.26.21257441. doi: 10.1101/2021.05.26.21257441. Preprint


Emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants pose a threat to human immunity induced by natural infection and vaccination. We assessed the recognition of three variants of concern (B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1) in cohorts of COVID-19 patients ranging in disease severity (n = 69) and recipients of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (n = 50). Spike binding and neutralization against all three VOC was substantially reduced in the majority of samples, with the largest 4-7-fold reduction in neutralization being observed against B.1.351. While hospitalized COVID-19 patients and vaccinees maintained sufficient neutralizing titers against all three VOC, 39% of non-hospitalized patients did not neutralize B.1.351. Moreover, monoclonal neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) show sharp reductions in their binding kinetics and neutralizing potential to B.1.351 and P.1, but not to B.1.1.7. These data have implications for the degree to which pre-existing immunity can protect against subsequent infection with VOC and informs policy makers of susceptibility to globally circulating SARS-CoV-2 VOC.

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  • Preprint