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Preprint in English | EMBASE | ID: ppcovidwho-326896

ABSTRACT

Numerous safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines have been developed that utilize various delivery technologies and engineering strategies. The influence of the SARS-CoV2 spike (S) glycoprotein conformation on antibody responses induced by vaccination or infection in humans remains unknown. To address this question, we compared plasma antibodies elicited by six globally-distributed vaccines or infection and observed markedly higher binding titers for vaccines encoding a prefusion-stabilized S relative to other groups. Prefusion S binding titers positively correlated with plasma neutralizing activity, indicating that physical stabilization of the prefusion conformation enhances protection against SARS-CoV-2. We show that almost all plasma neutralizing activity is directed to prefusion S, in particular the S1 subunit, and that variant cross-neutralization is mediated solely by RBD-specific antibodies. Our data provide a quantitative framework for guiding future S engineering efforts to develop vaccines with higher resilience to the emergence of variants and longer durability than current technologies.

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