Development of antibody resistance in emerging mutant strains of SARS CoV-2: Impediment for COVID-19 vaccines

Narasimha M. Beeraka, Olga Sukocheva, Elena Lukina, Junqi Liu, Ruitai Fan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2), a highly infectious agent associated with unprecedented morbidity and mortality. A failure to stop growth of COVID-19-linked morbidity rates is caused by SARS-CoV-2 mutations and the emergence of new highly virulent SARS-CoV-2 strains. Several acquired SARS-CoV-2 mutations reflect viral adaptations to host immune defence. Mutations in the virus Spike-protein were associated with the lowered effectiveness of current preventive therapies, including vaccines. Recent in vitro studies detected diminished neutralisation capacity of vaccine-induced antibodies, which are targeted to bind Spike receptor-binding and N-terminal domains in the emerging strains. Lower than expected inhibitory activity of antibodies was reported against viruses with E484K Spike mutation, including B.1.1.7 (UK), P.1 (Brazil), B.1.351 (South African), and new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) with E484A mutation. The vaccine effectiveness is yet to be examined against new mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2 originating in Europe, Nigeria, Brazil, South Africa, and India. To prevent the loss of anti-viral protection in vivo, often defined as antibody resistance, it is required to target highly conserved viral sequences (including Spike protein) and enhance the potency of antibody cocktails. In this review, we assess the reported mutation-acquiring potential of coronaviruses and compare efficacies of current COVID-19 vaccines against 'parent' and 'mutant' strains of SARS-CoV-2 (Kappa (B.1.617.1), Delta (B.1.617.2), and Omicron (B.1.1.529)).
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2346
Number of pages21
JournalReviews in Medical Virology
Issue number5
Early online date13 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • antibody resistance
  • COVID-19
  • mutant variants of concerns
  • SARS-CoV-2 strains
  • vaccine


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