Coronavirus Research Updates: Mutations Allow Virus to Elude Antibodies
Published:29 Jul.2020    Source:Nature

Mutations in SARS-CoV-2 might help the virus to thwart potent immune molecules. The blood of many people who recover from COVID-19 contains immune-system molecules called neutralizing antibodies that disable particles of the new coronavirus. Most such antibodies recognize the new coronavirus’s spike protein, which the virus uses to infect cells. Researchers hope that these molecules can be used as therapies, and can be elicited by vaccines.


Theodora Hatziioannou and Paul Bieniasz at the Rockefeller University in New York City and their colleagues engineered a version of the vesicular stomatitis virus, which infects livestock, to make the spike protein. They then grew the virus in the presence of neutralizing antibodies (Y. Weisblum et al. Preprint at bioRxiv; 2020). The spike protein in the engineered viruses acquired mutations that allowed the viruses to escape recognition by a range of neutralizing antibodies.