JOURNAL ARTICLE

Escape from neutralizing antibodies by SARS-CoV-2 spike protein variants

Yiska Weisblum, Fabian Schmidt, Fengwen Zhang, Justin DaSilva, Daniel Poston, Julio Cc Lorenzi, Frauke Muecksch, Magdalena Rutkowska, Hans-Heinrich Hoffmann, Eleftherios Michailidis, Christian Gaebler, Marianna Agudelo, Alice Cho, Zijun Wang, Anna Gazumyan, Melissa Cipolla, Larry Luchsinger, Christopher D Hillyer, Marina Caskey, Davide F Robbiani, Charles M Rice, Michel C Nussenzweig, Theodora Hatziioannou, Paul D Bieniasz
ELife 2020 October 28, 9
33112236
Neutralizing antibodies elicited by prior infection or vaccination are likely to be key for future protection of individuals and populations against SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, passively administered antibodies are among the most promising therapeutic and prophylactic anti-SARS-CoV-2 agents. However, the degree to which SARS-CoV-2 will adapt to evade neutralizing antibodies is unclear. Using a recombinant chimeric VSV/SARS-CoV-2 reporter virus, we show that functional SARS-CoV-2 S protein variants with mutations in the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and N-terminal domain that confer resistance to monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma can be readily selected. Notably, SARS-CoV-2 S variants that resist commonly elicited neutralizing antibodies are now present at low frequencies in circulating SARS-CoV-2 populations. Finally, the emergence of antibody-resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants that might limit the therapeutic usefulness of monoclonal antibodies can be mitigated by the use of antibody combinations that target distinct neutralizing epitopes.

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