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1.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-335252

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant first emerged as the BA.1 sub-lineage, with extensive escape from neutralizing immunity elicited by previous infection with other variants, vaccines, or combinations of both 1,2 . Two new sub-lineages, BA.4 and BA.5, are now emerging in South Africa with changes relative to BA.1, including L452R and F486V mutations in the spike receptor binding domain. We isolated live BA.4 and BA.5 viruses and tested them against neutralizing immunity elicited to BA.1 infection in participants who were Omicron/BA.1 infected but unvaccinated (n=24) and participants vaccinated with Pfizer BNT162b2 or Johnson and Johnson Ad26.CoV.2S with breakthrough Omicron/BA.1 infection (n=15). In unvaccinated individuals, FRNT 50 , the inverse of the dilution for 50% neutralization, declined from 275 for BA.1 to 36 for BA.4 and 37 for BA.5, a 7.6 and 7.5-fold drop, respectively. In vaccinated BA.1 breakthroughs, FRNT 50 declined from 507 for BA.1 to 158 for BA.4 (3.2-fold) and 198 for BA.5 (2.6-fold). Absolute BA.4 and BA.5 neutralization levels were about 5-fold higher in this group versus unvaccinated BA.1 infected participants. The observed escape of BA.4 and BA.5 from BA.1 elicited immunity is more moderate than of BA.1 against previous immunity 1,3 . However, the low absolute neutralization levels for BA.4 and BA.5, particularly in the unvaccinated group, are unlikely to protect well against symptomatic infection 4 .This may indicate that, based on neutralization escape, BA.4 and BA.5 have potential to result in a new infection wave.

2.
Nature ; 607(7918): 356-359, 2022 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1830078

ABSTRACT

The extent to which Omicron infection1-9, with or without previous vaccination, elicits protection against the previously dominant Delta (B.1.617.2) variant is unclear. Here we measured the neutralization capacity against variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 in 39 individuals in South Africa infected with the Omicron sublineage BA.1 starting at a median of 6 (interquartile range 3-9) days post symptom onset and continuing until last follow-up sample available, a median of 23 (interquartile range 19-27) days post symptoms to allow BA.1-elicited neutralizing immunity time to develop. Fifteen participants were vaccinated with Pfizer's BNT162b2 or Johnson & Johnson's Ad26.CoV2.S and had BA.1 breakthrough infections, and 24 were unvaccinated. BA.1 neutralization increased from a geometric mean 50% focus reduction neutralization test titre of 42 at enrolment to 575 at the last follow-up time point (13.6-fold) in vaccinated participants and from 46 to 272 (6.0-fold) in unvaccinated participants. Delta virus neutralization also increased, from 192 to 1,091 (5.7-fold) in vaccinated participants and from 28 to 91 (3.0-fold) in unvaccinated participants. At the last time point, unvaccinated individuals infected with BA.1 had low absolute levels of neutralization for the non-BA.1 viruses and 2.2-fold lower BA.1 neutralization, 12.0-fold lower Delta neutralization, 9.6-fold lower Beta variant neutralization, 17.9-fold lower ancestral virus neutralization and 4.8-fold lower Omicron sublineage BA.2 neutralization relative to vaccinated individuals infected with BA.1. These results indicate that hybrid immunity formed by vaccination and Omicron BA.1 infection should be protective against Delta and other variants. By contrast, infection with Omicron BA.1 alone offers limited cross-protection despite moderate enhancement.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing , Antibodies, Viral , COVID-19 Vaccines , COVID-19 , Cross Protection , SARS-CoV-2 , Vaccination , Ad26COVS1/immunology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , BNT162 Vaccine/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/prevention & control , COVID-19/virology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cross Protection/immunology , Humans , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccination/statistics & numerical data
3.
EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-333005

ABSTRACT

HIV infection has been identified as one of the major risk factors for severe COVID-19 disease, but the mechanisms underpinning this susceptability are still unclear. Here, we assessed the impact of HIV infection on the quality and epitope specificity of SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses in the first wave and second wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in South Africa. Flow cytometry was used to measure T cell responses following PBMC stimulation with SARS-CoV-2 peptide pools. Culture expansion was used to determine T cell immunodominance hierarchies and to assess potential SARS-CoV-2 escape from T cell recognition. HIV-seronegative individuals had significantly greater CD4 + and CD8 + T cell responses against the Spike protein compared to the viremic PLWH. Absolute CD4 count correlated positively with SARS-CoV-2 specific CD4 + and CD8 + T cell responses (CD4 r= 0.5, p=0.03;CD8 r=0.5, p=0.001), whereas T cell activation was negatively correlated with CD4 + T cell responses (CD4 r= −0.7, p=0.04). There was diminished T cell cross-recognition between the two waves, which was more pronounced in individuals with unsuppressed HIV infection. Importantly, we identify four mutations in the Beta variant that resulted in abrogation of T cell recognition. Together, we show that unsuppressed HIV infection markedly impairs T cell responses to SARS-Cov-2 infection and diminishes T cell cross-recognition. These findings may partly explain the increased susceptibility of PLWH to severe COVID-19 and also highlights their vulnerability to emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. One sentence summary Unsuppressed HIV infection is associated with muted SARS-CoV-2 T cell responses and poorer recognition of the Beta variant.

5.
Cell Host Microbe ; 30(2): 154-162.e5, 2022 02 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1708092

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/blood , HIV Infections/pathology , Immune Evasion/immunology , Immunogenicity, Vaccine/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adult , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/blood , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Female , HIV-1/immunology , Humans , Immunocompromised Host/immunology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , South Africa , Vaccination , Vero Cells
6.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1700901

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is limited understanding of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in African populations with a high burden of infectious disease comorbidities such as HIV. The kinetics, magnitude and duration of virus-specific antibodies and the underlying B cell responses in people living with HIV (PLWH) in sub-Saharan Africa have not been fully characterized. METHODS: We longitudinally followed SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and characterized SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-specific IgM, IgG and IgA antibodies weekly for a month, and then at 3 months post diagnosis. 7/30 (41.7%) were PLWH, 83% (25/30) of which were on ART and with full HIV suppression. Potency of convalescent plasma neutralization was determined using a live virus neutralization assay and antibody secreting cell population frequencies were determined by flow cytometry. RESULTS: Similar seroconversion rates, time to peak antibody titer, peak magnitude and durability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM, IgG, IgA, were observed in HIV uninfected and PLWH with complete HIV suppression on ART. In addition, similar neutralization potency against an isolate of SARS-CoV-2, circulating at the time of sampling in the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa was observed in both groups. Loss of IgA was significantly associated with age (p=0.023) and a previous diagnosis of TB (p=0.018). CONCLUSIONS: Similar antibody response kinetics and neutralization potency in HIV negative and PLWH on stable ART in an African setting suggests that COVID-19 natural infections may confer comparable antibody immunity in these groups. This provides hope that COVID-19 vaccines will be effective in PLWH on stable ART.

7.
PLoS Pathog ; 18(2): e1010248, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674026

ABSTRACT

Many SARS-CoV-2 variants have mutations at key sites targeted by antibodies. However, it is unknown if antibodies elicited by infection with these variants target the same or different regions of the viral spike as antibodies elicited by earlier viral isolates. Here we compare the specificities of polyclonal antibodies produced by humans infected with early 2020 isolates versus the B.1.351 variant of concern (also known as Beta or 20H/501Y.V2), which contains mutations in multiple key spike epitopes. The serum neutralizing activity of antibodies elicited by infection with both early 2020 viruses and B.1.351 is heavily focused on the spike receptor-binding domain (RBD). However, within the RBD, B.1.351-elicited antibodies are more focused on the "class 3" epitope spanning sites 443 to 452, and neutralization by these antibodies is notably less affected by mutations at residue 484. Our results show that SARS-CoV-2 variants can elicit polyclonal antibodies with different immunodominance hierarchies.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Antibody Formation/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/immunology , Antibodies, Monoclonal/pharmacology , Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , COVID-19/drug therapy , Epitopes/immunology , Humans , Immunization, Passive/methods , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
8.
Nature ; 603(7901): 488-492, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1661968

ABSTRACT

The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) has multiple spike protein mutations1,2 that contribute to viral escape from antibody neutralization3-6 and reduce vaccine protection from infection7,8. The extent to which other components of the adaptive response such as T cells may still target Omicron and contribute to protection from severe outcomes is unknown. Here we assessed the ability of T cells to react to Omicron spike protein in participants who were vaccinated with Ad26.CoV2.S or BNT162b2, or unvaccinated convalescent COVID-19 patients (n = 70). Between 70% and 80% of the CD4+ and CD8+ T cell response to spike was maintained across study groups. Moreover, the magnitude of Omicron cross-reactive T cells was similar for Beta (B.1.351) and Delta (B.1.617.2) variants, despite Omicron harbouring considerably more mutations. In patients who were hospitalized with Omicron infections (n = 19), there were comparable T cell responses to ancestral spike, nucleocapsid and membrane proteins to those in patients hospitalized in previous waves dominated by the ancestral, Beta or Delta variants (n = 49). Thus, despite extensive mutations and reduced susceptibility to neutralizing antibodies of Omicron, the majority of T cell responses induced by vaccination or infection cross-recognize the variant. It remains to be determined whether well-preserved T cell immunity to Omicron contributes to protection from severe COVID-19 and is linked to early clinical observations from South Africa and elsewhere9-12.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/virology , Cross Reactions/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , T-Lymphocytes/immunology , Adult , Aged , COVID-19 Vaccines/immunology , Convalescence , Hospitalization , Humans , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/classification
9.
Nature ; 602(7898): 654-656, 2022 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1616992

ABSTRACT

The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern Omicron (Pango lineage B.1.1.529), first identified in Botswana and South Africa, may compromise vaccine effectiveness and lead to re-infections1. Here we investigated Omicron escape from neutralization by antibodies from South African individuals vaccinated with Pfizer BNT162b2. We used blood samples taken soon after vaccination from individuals who were vaccinated and previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 or vaccinated with no evidence of previous infection. We isolated and sequence-confirmed live Omicron virus from an infected person and observed that Omicron requires the angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor to infect cells. We compared plasma neutralization of Omicron relative to an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain and found that neutralization of ancestral virus was much higher in infected and vaccinated individuals compared with the vaccinated-only participants. However, both groups showed a 22-fold reduction in vaccine-elicited neutralization by the Omicron variant. Participants who were vaccinated and had previously been infected exhibited residual neutralization of Omicron similar to the level of neutralization of the ancestral virus observed in the vaccination-only group. These data support the notion that reasonable protection against Omicron may be maintained using vaccination approaches.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Immune Evasion/immunology , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/metabolism , Animals , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/classification , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/immunology , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
10.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Dec 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566004

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: People living with HIV (PLWH) have been reported to have a higher risk of more severe Covid-19 disease and death. We assessed the ability of the Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine to elicit neutralizing activity against the Delta variant in PLWH relative to HIV-negative individuals. We also examined effects of HIV status and suppression on Delta neutralization response in SARS-CoV-2 infected unvaccinated participants. METHODS: We enrolled participants who vaccinated through the SISONKE South African clinical trial of the Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine in health care workers (HCW). PLWH in this group had well controlled HIV infection. We also enrolled unvaccinated participants previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. Neutralization capacity was assessed by a live virus neutralization assay of the Delta variant. RESULTS: Majority of Ad26.CoV2.S vaccinated HCW were previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. In this group, Delta variant neutralization was 9-fold higher compared to the infected only group and 26-fold higher relative to the vaccinated only group. No decrease in Delta variant neutralization was observed in PLWH relative to HIV-negative participants. In contrast, SARS-CoV-2 infected, unvaccinated PLWH showed 7-fold lower neutralization and a higher frequency of non-responders, with the highest frequency of non-responders in people with HIV viremia. Vaccinated only participants showed low neutralization capacity. CONCLUSIONS: The neutralization response of the Delta variant following Ad26.CoV2.S vaccination in PLWH with well controlled HIV was not inferior to HIV-negative participants, irrespective of past SARS-CoV-2 infection. In SARS-CoV-2 infected and non-vaccinated participants, HIV infection reduced the neutralization response to SARS-CoV-2, with the strongest reduction in HIV viremic individuals.

11.
EuropePMC; 2021.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-295139

ABSTRACT

Summary Background People living with HIV (PLWH) have been reported to have an increased risk of more severe COVID-19 disease outcome and an increased risk of death relative to HIV-uninfected individuals. Here we assessed the ability of the Johnson and Johnson Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine to elicit neutralizing antibodies to the Delta variant in PLWH relative to HIV-uninfected individuals. We also compared the neutralization after vaccination to neutralization elicited by SARS-CoV-2 infection only in HIV-uninfected, suppressed HIV PLWH, and PLWH with detectable HIV viremia. Methods We enrolled 26 PLWH and 73 HIV-uninfected participants from the SISONKE phase 3b open label South African clinical trial of the Ad26.CoV2.S vaccine in health care workers (HCW). Enrollment was a median 56 days (range 19-98 days) post-vaccination and PLWH in this group had well controlled HIV infection. We also enrolled unvaccinated participants previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. This group consisted of 34 PLWH and 28 HIV-uninfected individuals. 10 of the 34 (29%) SARS-CoV-2 infected only PLWH had detectable HIV viremia. We used records of a positive SARS-CoV-2 qPCR result, or when a positive result was absent, testing for SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid antibodies, to determine which vaccinated participants were SARS-CoV-2 infected prior to vaccination. Neutralization capacity was assessed using participant plasma in a live virus neutralization assay of the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant currently dominating infections in South Africa. This study was approved by the Biomedical Research Ethics Committee at the University of KwaZulu–Natal (reference BREC/00001275/2020). Findings The majority (68%) of Ad26.CoV2.S vaccinated HCW were found to be previously infected with SARS-CoV-2. In this group, Delta variant neutralization was 9-fold higher compared to the infected only group (GMT=306 versus 36, p<0.0001) and 26-fold higher relative to the vaccinated only group (GMT=12, p<0.0001). No significant difference in Delta variant neutralization capacity was observed in vaccinated and previously SARS-CoV-2 infected PLWH relative to vaccinated and previously SARS-CoV-2 infected, HIV-uninfected participants (GMT=307 for HIV-uninfected, 300 for PLWH, p=0.95). SARS-CoV-2 infected, unvaccinated PLWH showed 7-fold reduced neutralization of the Delta variant relative to HIV-uninfected participants (GMT=105 for HIV-uninfected, 15 for PLWH, p=0.001). There was a higher frequency of non-responders in PLWH relative to HIV-uninfected participants in the SARS-CoV-2 infected unvaccinated group (27% versus 0%, p=0.0029) and 60% of HIV viremic versus 13% of HIV suppressed PLWH were non-responders (p=0.0088). In contrast, the frequency of non-responders was low in the vaccinated/infected group, and similar between HIV-uninfected and PLWH. Vaccinated only participants showed a low neutralization of the Delta variant, with a stronger response in PLWH (GMT=6 for HIV-uninfected, 73 for PLWH, p=0.02). Interpretation The neutralization response of the Delta variant following Ad26.CoV2.S vaccination in PLWH with well controlled HIV was not inferior to HIV-uninfected study participants. In SARS-CoV-2 infected and non-vaccinated participants, the presence of HIV infection reduced the neutralization response to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and this effect was strongest in PLWH with detectable HIV viremia Funding South African Medical Research Council, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

12.
Elife ; 102021 10 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1450948

ABSTRACT

There are conflicting reports on the effects of HIV on COVID-19. Here, we analyzed disease severity and immune cell changes during and after SARS-CoV-2 infection in 236 participants from South Africa, of which 39% were people living with HIV (PLWH), during the first and second (Beta dominated) infection waves. The second wave had more PLWH requiring supplemental oxygen relative to HIV-negative participants. Higher disease severity was associated with low CD4 T cell counts and higher neutrophil to lymphocyte ratios (NLR). Yet, CD4 counts recovered and NLR stabilized after SARS-CoV-2 clearance in wave 2 infected PLWH, arguing for an interaction between SARS-CoV-2 and HIV infection leading to low CD4 and high NLR. The first infection wave, where severity in HIV negative and PLWH was similar, still showed some HIV modulation of SARS-CoV-2 immune responses. Therefore, HIV infection can synergize with the SARS-CoV-2 variant to change COVID-19 outcomes.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/immunology , HIV Infections/complications , HIV Infections/immunology , Immunity, Cellular , Severity of Illness Index , Adult , Aged , CD4 Lymphocyte Count , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , South Africa
13.
Clin Infect Dis ; 2021 Sep 02.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1393221

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: There is limited understanding of SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis in African populations with a high burden of infectious disease comorbidities such as HIV. The kinetics, magnitude and duration of virus-specific antibodies and the underlying B cell responses in people living with HIV (PLWH) in sub-Saharan Africa have not been fully characterized. METHODS: We longitudinally followed SARS-CoV-2 infected individuals in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and characterized SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain-specific IgM, IgG and IgA antibodies weekly for a month, and then at 3 months post diagnosis. 7/30 (41.7%) were PLWH, 83% (25/30) of which were on ART and with full HIV suppression. Potency of convalescent plasma neutralization was determined using a live virus neutralization assay and antibody secreting cell population frequencies were determined by flow cytometry. RESULTS: Similar seroconversion rates, time to peak antibody titer, peak magnitude and durability of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM, IgG, IgA, were observed in HIV uninfected and PLWH with complete HIV suppression on ART. In addition, similar neutralization potency against an isolate of SARS-CoV-2, circulating at the time of sampling in the first wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in South Africa was observed in both groups. Loss of IgA was significantly associated with age (p=0.023) and a previous diagnosis of TB (p=0.018). CONCLUSIONS: Similar antibody response kinetics and neutralization potency in HIV negative and PLWH on stable ART in an African setting suggests that COVID-19 natural infections may confer comparable antibody immunity in these groups. This provides hope that COVID-19 vaccines will be effective in PLWH on stable ART.

14.
JCI Insight ; 6(16)2021 08 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1369457

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 infects epithelial cells of the human gastrointestinal (GI) tract and causes related symptoms. HIV infection impairs gut homeostasis and is associated with an increased risk of COVID-19 fatality. To investigate the potential link between these observations, we analyzed single-cell transcriptional profiles and SARS-CoV-2 entry receptor expression across lymphoid and mucosal human tissue from chronically HIV-infected individuals and uninfected controls. Absorptive gut enterocytes displayed the highest coexpression of SARS-CoV-2 receptors ACE2, TMPRSS2, and TMPRSS4, of which ACE2 expression was associated with canonical interferon response and antiviral genes. Chronic treated HIV infection was associated with a clear antiviral response in gut enterocytes and, unexpectedly, with a substantial reduction of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 target cells. Gut tissue from SARS-CoV-2-infected individuals, however, showed abundant SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid protein in both the large and small intestine, including an HIV-coinfected individual. Thus, upregulation of antiviral response genes and downregulation of ACE2 and TMPRSS2 in the GI tract of HIV-infected individuals does not prevent SARS-CoV-2 infection in this compartment. The impact of these HIV-associated intestinal mucosal changes on SARS-CoV-2 infection dynamics, disease severity, and vaccine responses remains unclear and requires further investigation.


Subject(s)
Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2/analysis , HIV Infections/virology , Intestinal Mucosa/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Serine Endopeptidases/analysis , Adult , Chronic Disease , Female , Humans , Intestinal Mucosa/chemistry , Male , Middle Aged
15.
Nature ; 593(7857): 142-146, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1155700

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOC) have arisen independently at multiple locations1,2 and may reduce the efficacy of current vaccines that target the spike glycoprotein of SARS-CoV-23. Here, using a live-virus neutralization assay, we compared the neutralization of a non-VOC variant with the 501Y.V2 VOC (also known as B.1.351) using plasma collected from adults who were hospitalized with COVID-19 during the two waves of infection in South Africa, the second wave of which was dominated by infections with the 501Y.V2 variant. Sequencing demonstrated that infections of plasma donors from the first wave were with viruses that did not contain the mutations associated with 501Y.V2, except for one infection that contained the E484K substitution in the receptor-binding domain. The 501Y.V2 virus variant was effectively neutralized by plasma from individuals who were infected during the second wave. The first-wave virus variant was effectively neutralized by plasma from first-wave infections. However, the 501Y.V2 variant was poorly cross-neutralized by plasma from individuals with first-wave infections; the efficacy was reduced by 15.1-fold relative to neutralization of 501Y.V2 by plasma from individuals infected in the second wave. By contrast, cross-neutralization of first-wave virus variants using plasma from individuals with second-wave infections was more effective, showing only a 2.3-fold decrease relative to neutralization of first-wave virus variants by plasma from individuals infected in the first wave. Although we tested only one plasma sample from an individual infected with a SARS-CoV-2 variant with only the E484K substitution, this plasma sample potently neutralized both variants. The observed effective neutralization of first-wave virus by plasma from individuals infected with 501Y.V2 provides preliminary evidence that vaccines based on VOC sequences could retain activity against other circulating SARS-CoV-2 lineages.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Neutralizing/immunology , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , COVID-19/immunology , COVID-19/therapy , COVID-19/virology , Immune Evasion/immunology , Mutation , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Animals , Antibodies, Neutralizing/biosynthesis , Antibodies, Viral/biosynthesis , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cell Line , Chlorocebus aethiops , Humans , Immune Evasion/genetics , Immunization, Passive , Neutralization Tests , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , South Africa/epidemiology , Time Factors , Vero Cells
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