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Sci Transl Med ; 13(618): eabj2641, 2021 Nov 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1546435


Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants that result in increased transmissibility and partial evasion of neutralizing antibodies have recently emerged. Whether natural immunity induced by the original SARS-CoV-2 WA1/2020 strain protects against rechallenge with these SARS-CoV-2 variants remains a critical unresolved question. In this study, we show that natural immunity induced by the WA1/2020 strain leads to partial but incomplete protection against the SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 (alpha) and B.1.351 (beta) in rhesus macaques. We challenged rhesus macaques with B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 and showed that infection with these variants resulted in high viral replication in the upper and lower respiratory tract. We then infected rhesus macaques with the WA1/2020 strain and rechallenged them on day 35 with the WA1/2020, B.1.1.7, or B.1.351 variants. Natural immunity to WA1/2020 led to robust protection against rechallenge with WA1/2020 but only partial protection against rechallenge with B.1.351. An intermediate degree of protection was observed in rhesus macaques against rechallenge with B.1.1.7. These data demonstrate partial but incomplete protective efficacy of natural immunity induced by WA1/2020 against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Our findings have important implications for both vaccination and public health strategies in the context of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , Humans , Macaca mulatta , Reinfection
Nature ; 596(7872): 423-427, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1279884


The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that partially evade neutralizing antibodies poses a threat to the efficacy of current COVID-19 vaccines1,2. The Ad26.COV2.S vaccine expresses a stabilized spike protein from the WA1/2020 strain of SARS-CoV-2, and has recently demonstrated protective efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19 in humans in several geographical regions-including in South Africa, where 95% of sequenced viruses in cases of COVID-19 were the B.1.351 variant3. Here we show that Ad26.COV2.S elicits humoral and cellular immune responses that cross-react with the B.1.351 variant and protects against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Ad26.COV2.S induced lower binding and neutralizing antibodies against B.1.351 as compared to WA1/2020, but elicited comparable CD8 and CD4 T cell responses against the WA1/2020, B.1.351, B.1.1.7, P.1 and CAL.20C variants. B.1.351 infection of control rhesus macaques resulted in higher levels of virus replication in bronchoalveolar lavage and nasal swabs than did WA1/2020 infection. Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against both WA1/2020 and B.1.351, although we observed higher levels of virus in vaccinated macaques after B.1.351 challenge. These data demonstrate that Ad26.COV2.S provided robust protection against B.1.351 challenge in rhesus macaques. Our findings have important implications for vaccine control of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern.

COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , Immunity, Cellular , Immunity, Humoral , Macaca mulatta/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid/virology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/pathology , Female , Macaca mulatta/virology , Male , Nose/virology , SARS-CoV-2/growth & development , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Virus Replication