B.1.351 is the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variant most resistant to antibody neutralization. We demonstrate how the dose and number of immunizations influence protection. Nonhuman primates received two doses of 30 or 100 µg of Moderna's mRNA-1273 vaccine, a single immunization of 30 µg, or no vaccine. Two doses of 100 µg of mRNA-1273 induced 50% inhibitory reciprocal serum dilution neutralizing antibody titers against live SARS-CoV-2 p.Asp614Gly and B.1.351 of 3,300 and 240, respectively. Higher neutralizing responses against B.1.617.2 were also observed after two doses compared to a single dose. After challenge with B.1.351, there was ~4- to 5-log10 reduction of viral subgenomic RNA and low to undetectable replication in bronchoalveolar lavages in the two-dose vaccine groups, with a 1-log10 reduction in nasal swabs in the 100-µg group. These data establish that a two-dose regimen of mRNA-1273 will be critical for providing upper and lower airway protection against major variants of concern.
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