Characterizing SARS-CoV-2 evolution in specific geographies may help predict properties of the variants that come from these regions. We mapped neutralization of a SARS-CoV-2 strain that evolved over 6 months from ancestral virus in a person with advanced HIV disease in South Africa; this person was infected prior to emergence of the Beta and Delta variants. We longitudinally tracked the evolved virus and tested it against self-plasma and convalescent plasma from ancestral, Beta, and Delta infections. Early virus was similar to ancestral, but it evolved a multitude of mutations found in Omicron and other variants. It showed substantial but incomplete Pfizer BNT162b2 escape, weak neutralization by self-plasma, and despite pre-dating Delta, it also showed extensive escape of Delta infection-elicited neutralization. This example is consistent with the notion that SARS-CoV-2 evolving in individual immune-compromised hosts, including those with advanced HIV disease, may gain immune escape of vaccines and enhanced escape of Delta immunity, and this has implications for vaccine breakthrough and reinfections.
Keywords: Beta variant; Delta variant; HIV; SARS-CoV-2; advanced HIV disease; evolution; immune escape; neutralization; variants of concern.
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