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Transmission, infectivity, and neutralization of a spike L452R SARS-CoV-2 variant

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  • Transmission, infectivity, and neutralization of a spike L452R SARS-CoV-2 variant

    NOTE: Publication History
    Accepted: April 15, 2021
    Received in revised form: April 2, 2021
    Received: March 3, 2021

    Published: April 20, 2021

    Xianding Deng, Miguel A. Garcia-Knight, Mir M. Khalid, Venice Servellita, Candace Wang, Mary Kate Morris, Alicia Sotomayor-Gonza?lez, Dustin R. Glasner, Kevin
    R. Reyes, Amelia S. Gliwa, Nikitha P. Reddy, Claudia Sanchez San Martin, Scot Federman, Jing Cheng, Joanna Balcerek, Jordan Taylor, Jessica A. Streithorst, Steve Miller, Bharath Sreekumar, Pei-Yi Chen, Ursula Schulze-Gahmen, Taha Y. Taha, Jennifer Hayashi, Camille R. Simoneau, G. Renuka Kumar, Sarah McMahon, Peter V. Lidsky, Yinghong Xiao, Peera Hemarajata, Nicole M. Green, Alex Espinosa, Chantha Kath, Monica Haw, John Bell, Jill K. Hacker, Carl Hanson, Debra A. Wadford, Carlos Anaya, Donna Ferguson, Phillip A. Frankino, Haridha Shivram, Liana F. Lareau, Stacia K. Wyman, Melanie Ott, Raul Andino, Charles Y. Chiu


    We identified an emerging SARS-CoV-2 variant by viral whole-genome sequencing of 2,172 nasal/nasopharyngeal swab samples from 44 counties in California, a state in the Western United States. Named B.1.427/B.1.429 to denote its 2 lineages, the variant emerged in May 2020 and increased from 0% to >50% of sequenced cases from September 2020 to January 2021, showing 18.6-24% increased transmissibility relative to wild-type circulating strains. The variant carries 3 mutations in the spike protein, including an L452R substitution. We found 2-fold increased B.1.427/B.1.429 viral shedding in vivo and increased L452R pseudovirus infection of cell cultures and lung organoids, albeit decreased relative to pseudoviruses carrying the N501Y mutation common to variants B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and P.1. Antibody neutralization assays revealed 4.0 to 6.7-fold and 2.0-fold decreases in neutralizing titers from convalescent patients and vaccine recipients, respectively. The increased prevalence of a more transmissible variant in California exhibiting decreased antibody neutralization warrants further investigation.