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The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants with mutations in major neutralizing antibody-binding sites can affect humoral immunity induced by infection or vaccination (1-6). We analysed the development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibody and T cell responses in previously infected (recovered) or uninfected (naive) individuals that received mRNA vaccines to SARS-CoV-2. While previously infected individuals sustained higher antibody titers than uninfected individuals post-vaccination, the latter reached comparable levels of neutralization responses to the ancestral strain than previously infected individuals 7 days after the second vaccine dose. T cell activation markers measured upon spike or nucleocapsid peptide in vitro stimulation showed a progressive increase after vaccination in the time-points analysed. Comprehensive analysis of plasma neutralization using 16 authentic isolates of distinct locally circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants revealed a range of reduction in the neutralization capacity associated with specific mutations in the spike gene: lineages with E484K and N501Y/T (e.g., B.1.351 and P.1) had the greatest reduction, followed by lineages with L452R (e.g., B.1.617.2) or with E484K (without N501Y/T). While both groups retained neutralization capacity against all variants, plasma from previously infected vaccinated individuals displayed overall better neutralization capacity when compared to plasma from uninfected individuals that also received two vaccine doses, pointing to vaccine boosters as a relevant future strategy to alleviate the impact of emerging variants on antibody neutralizing activity.

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