Published: 20 September 2021
ABSTRACT – The number and variability of the neutralizing epitopes targeted by polyclonal antibodies in SARS-CoV-2 convalescent and vaccinated individuals are key determinants of neutralization breadth and the genetic barrier to viral escape. Using HIV-1 pseudotypes and plasma-selection experiments with vesicular stomatitis virus/SARS-CoV-2 chimeras, we show that multiple neutralizing epitopes, within and outside the receptor binding domain (RBD), are variably targeted by human polyclonal antibodies. Antibody targets coincide with spike sequences that are enriched for diversity in natural SARS-CoV-2 populations. By combining plasma-selected spike substitutions, we generated synthetic ‘polymutant’ spike protein pseudotypes that resisted polyclonal antibody neutralization to a similar degree as circulating variants of concern (VOC). By aggregating VOC-associated and antibody-selected spike substitutions into a single polymutant spike protein, we show that 20 naturally occurring mutations in SARS-CoV-2 spike are sufficient to generate pseudotypes with near-complete resistance to the polyclonal neutralizing antibodies generated by convalescents or mRNA vaccine recipients. Strikingly, however, plasma from individuals who had been infected and subsequently received mRNA vaccination, neutralized pseudotypes bearing this highly resistant SARS-CoV-2 polymutant spike, or diverse sarbecovirus spike proteins. Thus, optimally elicited human polyclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 should be resilient to substantial future SARS-CoV-2 variation and may confer protection against potential future sarbecovirus pandemics.
Comment: All this medical research jargon is like trying to read Latin after having laid off it for fifty years. Still, what I gather is that these researchers created a kind of super-covid from the worst strains of existing covid variants. Isn’t that what “gain of function” is all about? It’s not biowarfare. It’s virological and immunological research. Still, let’s hope none of that escapes from the NYC lab where they created it over a year ago.
They then tested antibodies created from a natural Covid-19 infection and antibodies created by someone with an mRNA vaccine against this “gain of function” super strain of Covid-19. The super Covid was resistant to both types of antibodies. However, antibodies from someone who both was infected and recovered from a Covid-19 infection AND received an mRNA vaccination defeated the super strain of Covid-19. Makes me think that those who get vaccinated and are unlucky enough to get a mild infection anyway may actually be pretty damned lucky.
This is good info to know for whatever may hit us next. And something is bound to hit us whether it be more Covid strains or some new virus. I’m sure there’s more details in the actual study, but the abstract is all I got. I’m glad this research continues. Again, it isn’t biowarfare research. It’s research to defend against this and future pandemics. I’d like to see what our present experimental monoclonal antibodies do against this super Covid as well as any other possible treatments out there, including ivermectin, even though this is probably limited to in vitro testing. At least I hope it was limited to in vitro, otherwise it sounds like an “Island of Dr. Moreau” situation.
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