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Antibody cocktail to SARS-CoV-2 spike protein prevents rapid mutational escape seen with individual antibodies

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Science  15 Jun 2020:
eabd0831
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd0831

Abstract

Antibodies targeting the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 present a promising approach to combat the COVID19 pandemic; however, concerns remain that mutations can yield antibody resistance. We investigate the development of resistance against four antibodies to the spike protein that potently neutralize SARS-CoV-2, individually as well as when combined into cocktails. These antibodies remain effective against spike variants that have arisen in the human population. However, novel spike mutants rapidly appeared following in vitro passaging in the presence of individual antibodies, resulting in loss of neutralization; such escape also occurred with combinations of antibodies binding diverse but overlapping regions of the spike protein. Importantly, escape mutants were not generated following treatment with a non-competing antibody cocktail.

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