All current vaccines for COVID-19 utilize ancestral wild type 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 501Y.V1 or 20I), contains eight Spike mutations with potential to impact antibody therapy, vaccine efficacy and risk of reinfection.

In thi paper just published on Cell Host & Microbe it’s shown that B.1.1.7 remains sensitive to neutralization, albeit at moderately reduced levels (~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

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