Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness

January 20, 2021

MRNA Vaccine-Elicited Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and Circulating Variants



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[Pre-print, not peer-reviewed] Among 20 volunteers who received either the Moderna (mRNA-1273) or Pfizer-BioNTech (BNT162b2) vaccines, high levels of antibody titers were observed 8 weeks after the second vaccine injection, with neutralizing activity and relative numbers of receptor binding domain (RBD)-specific memory B cells equivalent to those of individuals who recovered from natural infection. Activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants encoding E484K (first identified in South Africa) or N501Y (UK) or the K417N:E484K:N501Y combination was reduced by a small but significant margin. Neutralization by 14 of the 17 most potent monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) was reduced or abolished by these mutations. The authors suggest that monoclonal antibodies in clinical use should be tested against newly arising variants, and that mRNA vaccines may need to be updated periodically.

Wang et al. (Jan 19, 2021). MRNA Vaccine-Elicited Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 and Circulating Variants. BioRxiv.