SARS-CoV-2 spike variants exhibit differential infectivity and neutralization resistance to convalescent or post-vaccination sera.Cell Host Microbe. 2021 04 14; 29(4):522-528.e2.CH
Toward eradicating the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccines that induce high humoral and cellular immune responses are essential. However, SARS-CoV-2 variants have begun to emerge and raise concerns, as they may potentially compromise vaccine efficiency. Here, we monitored neutralization potency of convalescent or Pfizer-BTN162b2 post-vaccination sera against pseudoviruses displaying spike proteins derived from wild-type SARS-CoV-2, or its UK-B.1.1.7 and SA-B.1.351 variants. Compared to convalescent sera, vaccination induces high titers of neutralizing antibodies, which exhibit efficient neutralization potential against pseudovirus carrying wild-type SARS-CoV-2. However, while wild-type and UK-N501Y pseudoviruses were similarly neutralized, those displaying SA-N501Y/K417N/E484K spike mutations moderately resist neutralization. Contribution of single or combined spike mutations to neutralization and infectivity were monitored, highlighting mechanisms by which viral infectivity and neutralization resistance are enhanced by N501Y or E484K/K417N mutations. Our study validates the importance of the Pfizer vaccine but raises concerns regarding its efficacy against specific SARS-CoV-2 circulating variants.