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Vaccination with SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern protects mice from challenge with wild-type virus

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Strohmeier, Shirin 
Meade, Philip S. 
Dambrauskas, Nicholas 
Mühlemann, Barbara  ORCID logo


Vaccines against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) have been highly efficient in protecting against Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the emergence of viral variants that are more transmissible and, in some cases, escape from neutralizing antibody responses has raised concerns. Here, we evaluated recombinant protein spike antigens derived from wild-type SARS-CoV-2 and from variants B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1 for their immunogenicity and protective effect in vivo against challenge with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 in the mouse model. All proteins induced high neutralizing antibodies against the respective viruses but also induced high cross-neutralizing antibody responses. The decline in neutralizing titers between variants was moderate, with B.1.1.7-vaccinated animals having a maximum fold reduction of 4.8 against B.1.351 virus. P.1 induced the most cross-reactive antibody responses but was also the least immunogenic in terms of homologous neutralization titers. However, all antigens protected from challenge with wild-type SARS-CoV-2 in a mouse model.


Funder: jpb foundation; funder-id:

Funder: open philanthropy project


Research Article, Biology and life sciences, Medicine and health sciences, Research and analysis methods

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PLOS Biology

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Public Library of Science
national institute of allergy and infectious diseases (HHSN272201400008C)