Italian Scientists Create Live SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Escape Variant

Variants spread rapidly through populations and become the dominant strains, at least locally. There has been an enormous effort to understand the extent, function, and epidemiological consequences of these variants. In the past few months, genome sequencing efforts isolated many SARS-CoV-2 variants throughout the world. Other variants were isolated in laboratories using monoclonal antibodies or pseudotyped viruses, which are virus particles whose envelope proteins can be dictated by researchers to measure antiviral compounds and antibody responses.

Rino Rappuoli and his team of Italian researchers took this one step further. The study, conducted by the Monoclonal Antibody Discovery Lab, among others, aimed to investigate the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 in the immune population. As opposed to many in vitro studies where mutations are artificially created, Rappuoli and his team co-incubated live virus with a highly neutralizing plasma from a patient infected with the wild-type.

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© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.