bioRxIV ~ May 10, 2021 ~ Venkata-Viswanadh Edara, et al.
Infection and vaccine-induced neutralizing antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.1 variant
SARS-CoV-2 has caused a devastating global pandemic. The recent emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants that are less sensitive to neutralization by convalescent sera or vaccine-induced neutralizing antibody responses has raised concerns. A second wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections in India is leading to the expansion of SARS-CoV-2 variants. The B.1.617.1 variant has rapidly spread throughout India and to several countries throughout the world. In this study, using a live virus assay, we describe the neutralizing antibody response to the B.1.617.1 variant in serum from infected and vaccinated individuals. We found that the B.1.617.1 variant is 6.8-fold more resistant to neutralization by sera from COVID-19 convalescent and Moderna and Pfizer vaccinated individuals. Despite this, a majority of the sera from convalescent individuals and all sera from vaccinated individuals were still able to neutralize the B.1.617.1 variant. This suggests that protective immunity by the mRNA vaccines tested here are likely retained against the B.1.617.1 variant. As the B.1.617.1 variant continues to evolve, it will be important to monitor how additional mutations within the spike impact antibody resistance, viral transmission and vaccine efficacy.