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J Infect ; 83(4): 467-472, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1328766


OBJECTIVES: The emergence of new variants of concern (VOCs) of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) around the world significantly complicated the exit from Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The aim of this study was to evaluate the serum neutralizing activity of three cohorts. METHODS: BNT162b2-elicited serum (N = 103), candidates as hyper-immune plasma donors (N = 90) and patients infected with the SARS-CoV-2 P1 variant (N = 22) were enrolled. Three strains of SARS-CoV-2 have been tested: 20A.EU1, B.1.1.7 (alpha) and P.1 (gamma). Neutralizing antibodies (NT-Abs) titers against SARS-CoV-2 were evaluated. RESULTS: B.1.1.7 and P.1 are less efficiently neutralized by convalescent wild-type infected serums if compared to 20A.EU1 strain (mean titer 1.6 and 6.7-fold lower respectively). BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited human sera show an equivalent neutralization potency on the B.1.1.7 but it is significantly lower for the P.1 variant (mean titer 3.3-fold lower). Convalescent P.1 patients are less protected from other SARS-CoV-2 strains with an important reduction of neutralizing antibodies against 20A.EU1 and B.1.1.7, about 12.2 and 10.9-fold, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: BNT162b2 vaccine confers immunity against all the tested VOCs, while previous SARS-CoV-2 infection may be less protective.

COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Antibodies, Viral , BNT162 Vaccine , COVID-19 Vaccines , Humans
Viruses ; 12(8)2020 07 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-670832


The aim of this study is the characterization and genomic tracing by phylogenetic analyses of 59 new SARS-CoV-2 Italian isolates obtained from patients attending clinical centres in North and Central Italy until the end of April 2020. All but one of the newly-characterized genomes belonged to the lineage B.1, the most frequently identified in European countries, including Italy. Only a single sequence was found to belong to lineage B. A mean of 6 nucleotide substitutions per viral genome was observed, without significant differences between synonymous and non-synonymous mutations, indicating genetic drift as a major source for virus evolution. tMRCA estimation confirmed the probable origin of the epidemic between the end of January and the beginning of February with a rapid increase in the number of infections between the end of February and mid-March. Since early February, an effective reproduction number (Re) greater than 1 was estimated, which then increased reaching the peak of 2.3 in early March, confirming the circulation of the virus before the first COVID-19 cases were documented. Continuous use of state-of-the-art methods for molecular surveillance is warranted to trace virus circulation and evolution and inform effective prevention and containment of future SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks.

Betacoronavirus/classification , Betacoronavirus/genetics , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Bayes Theorem , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , COVID-19 , Epidemiological Monitoring , Genome, Viral , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Likelihood Functions , Molecular Epidemiology , Molecular Typing , Mutation , Phylogeny , SARS-CoV-2 , Time Factors , Whole Genome Sequencing