Local emergence and decline of a SARS-CoV-2 variant with mutations L452R and N501Y in the spike protein
Nayara Trevisan Doimo de Azevedo,
Katharina Laurence Jost,
Posted 29 Apr 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.27.21254849
Posted 29 Apr 2021
Variants of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are replacing the initial wild-type strain, jeopardizing current efforts to contain the pandemic. Amino acid exchanges in the spike protein are of particular concern as they can render the virus more transmissible or reduce vaccine efficacy. Here, we conducted whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV 2 positive samples from the Rhine-Neckar district in Germany during January-March 2021. We detected a total of 166 samples positive for a variant with a distinct mutational pattern in the spike gene comprising L18F, L452R, N501Y, A653V, H655Y, D796Y and G1219V with a later gain of A222V. This variant was designated A.27.RN according to its phylogenetic clade classification. It emerged in parallel with the B.1.1.7 variant, increased to >50% of all SARS-CoV-2 variants by week five. Subsequently it decreased to <10% of all variants by calendar week eight when B.1.1.7 had become the dominant strain. Antibodies induced by BNT162b2 vaccination neutralized A.27.RN but with a two-to-threefold reduced efficacy as compared to the wild-type and B.1.1.7 strains. These observations strongly argue for continuous and comprehensive monitoring of SARS CoV 2 evolution on a population level.
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