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BackgroundMutations accrued by SARS-CoV-2 lineage P.1-first detected in Brazil in early January, 2021-include amino acid changes in the receptor-binding domain of the viral spike protein that also are reported in other variants of concern, including B.1.1.7 and B.1.351. We aimed to investigate whether isolates of wild-type P.1 lineage SARS-CoV-2 can escape from neutralising antibodies generated by a polyclonal immune response.MethodsWe did an immunological study to assess the neutralising effects of antibodies on lineage P.1 and lineage B isolates of SARS-CoV-2, using plasma samples from patients previously infected with or vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Two specimens (P.1/28 and P.1/30) containing SARS-CoV-2 lineage P.1 (as confirmed by viral genome sequencing) were obtained from nasopharyngeal and bronchoalveolar lavage samples collected from patients in Manaus, Brazil, and compared against an isolate of SARS-CoV-2 lineage B (SARS.CoV2/SP02.2020) recovered from a patient in Brazil in February, 2020. Isolates were incubated with plasma samples from 21 blood donors who had previously had COVID-19 and from a total of 53 recipients of the chemically inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccine CoronaVac: 18 individuals after receipt of a single dose and an additional 20 individuals (38 in total) after receipt of two doses (collected 17-38 days after the most recent dose); and 15 individuals who received two doses during the phase 3 trial of the vaccine (collected 134-230 days after the second dose). Antibody neutralisation of P.1/28, P.1/30, and B isolates by plasma samples were compared in terms of median virus neutralisation titre (VNT50, defined as the reciprocal value of the sample dilution that showed 50% protection against cytopathic effects).FindingsIn terms of VNT50, plasma from individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 had an 8·6 times lower neutralising capacity against the P.1 isolates (median VNT50 30 [IQR <20-45] for P.1/28 and 30 [<20-40] for P.1/30) than against the lineage B isolate (260 [160-400]), with a binominal model showing significant reductions in lineage P.1 isolates compared with the lineage B isolate (p≤0·0001). Efficient neutralisation of P.1 isolates was not seen with plasma samples collected from individuals vaccinated with a first dose of CoronaVac 20-23 days earlier (VNT50s below the limit of detection [<20] for most plasma samples), a second dose 17-38 days earlier (median VNT50 24 [IQR <20-25] for P.1/28 and 28 [<20-25] for P.1/30), or a second dose 134-260 days earlier (all VNT50s below limit of detection). Median VNT50s against the lineage B isolate were 20 (IQR 20-30) after a first dose of CoronaVac 20-23 days earlier, 75 (<20-263) after a second dose 17-38 days earlier, and 20 (<20-30) after a second dose 134-260 days earlier. In plasma collected 17-38 days after a second dose of CoronaVac, neutralising capacity against both P.1 isolates was significantly decreased (p=0·0051 for P.1/28 and p=0·0336 for P.1/30) compared with that against the lineage B isolate. All data were corroborated by results obtained through plaque reduction neutralisation tests.InterpretationSARS-CoV-2 lineage P.1 might escape neutralisation by antibodies generated in response to polyclonal stimulation against previously circulating variants of SARS-CoV-2. Continuous genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 combined with antibody neutralisation assays could help to guide national immunisation programmes.FundingSão Paulo Research Foundation, Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and Funding Authority for Studies, Medical Research Council, National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, National Institutes of Health.TranslationFor the Portuguese translation of the abstract see Supplementary Materials section.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/s2666-5247(21)00129-4

Type

Journal article

Journal

The Lancet. Microbe

Publication Date

08/07/2021

Addresses

Virology Research Centre, Ribeirão Preto Medical School, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, Brazil.