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Comprehensive mapping of mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain that affect recognition by polyclonal human serum antibodies

By Allison J. Greaney, Andrea N. Loes, Katharine H.D. Crawford, Tyler N. Starr, Keara D Malone, Helen Y. Chu, Jesse Bloom

Posted 04 Jan 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.31.425021

The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 could impair recognition of the virus by human antibody-mediated immunity. To facilitate prospective surveillance for such evolution, we map how convalescent serum antibodies are impacted by all mutations to the spikes receptor-binding domain (RBD), the main target of serum neutralizing activity. Binding by polyclonal serum antibodies is affected by mutations in three main epitopes in the RBD, but there is substantial variation in the impact of mutations both among individuals and within the same individual over time. Despite this inter- and intra-person heterogeneity, the mutations that most reduce antibody binding usually occur at just a few sites in the RBDs receptor binding motif. The most important site is E484, where neutralization by some sera is reduced >10-fold by several mutations, including one in emerging viral lineages in South Africa and Brazil. Going forward, these serum escape maps can inform surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 evolution.

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