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Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 pseudovirus by BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited human sera

By Alexander Muik, Ann-Kathrin Wallisch, Bianca Saenger, Kena A. Swanson, Julia Muehl, Wei Chen, Hui Cai, Ritu Sarkar, Oezlem Tuereci, Philip R. Dormitzer, Ugur Sahin

Posted 19 Jan 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.18.426984

Recently, a new SARS-CoV-2 lineage called B.1.1.7 has emerged in the United Kingdom that was reported to spread more efficiently than other strains. This variant has an unusually large number of mutations with 10 amino acid changes in the spike protein, raising concerns that its recognition by neutralizing antibodies may be affected. Here, we investigated SARS-CoV-2-S pseudoviruses bearing either the Wuhan reference strain or the B.1.1.7 lineage spike protein with sera of 16 participants in a previously reported trial with the mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine BNT162b2. The immune sera had equivalent neutralizing titers to both variants. These data, together with the combined immunity involving humoral and cellular effectors induced by this vaccine, make it unlikely that the B.1.1.7 lineage will escape BNT162b2-mediated protection.

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