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Naturally-acquired immunity in Syrian Golden Hamsters provides protection from re-exposure to emerging heterosubtypic SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 and B.1.351

By Jordan J Clark, Parul Sharma, Eleanor Bentley, Adam C Harding, Anja Kipar, Megan Neary, Helen Box, Grant L Hughes, Edward I Patterson, Jo Sharp, Tulio de Oliveira, Alex Sigal, Julian Alexander Hiscox, William S James, Miles W Carroll, Andrew Owen, James P Stewart

Posted 10 Mar 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.10.434447

The ability of acquired immune responses against SARS-CoV-2 to protect after subsequent exposure to emerging variants of concern (VOC) such as B1.1.7 and B1.351 is currently of high significance. Here, we use a hamster model of COVID-19 to show that prior infection with a strain representative of the original circulating lineage B of SARS-CoV-2 induces protection from clinical signs upon subsequent challenge with either B1.1.7 or B1.351 viruses, which recently emerged in the UK and South Africa, respectively. The results indicate that these emergent VOC may be unlikely to cause disease in individuals that are already immune due to prior infection, and this has positive implications for overall levels of infection and COVID-19 disease.

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