NEW DELHI: With immune escape variants of coronavirus causing global concern, Indian experts have come up with a repository of SARS-CoV-2 immune escape variants encompassing a total of 532 variants accounting for 146 unique variants tested against 75 antibodies and patient convalescent plasma. The resource by experts from the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology andAcademy of Scientific and Innovative Research enables the user to gain access to an extensive annotation of SARS-CoV-2 escape mutations which would contribute to exploring and understanding the underlying mechanisms of immune response against the pathogen.
According to authors, the lack of a systematic effort to compile genetic variants in SARS-CoV-2 associated with immune escape motivated us to compile the information in a relevant, searchable and accessible format. “We compiled a total of 532 entries from 19 recent publications which studied SARS-CoV-2variants and their effect on immune escape. This encompassed a total of 146 unique variants spanning spike protein, ORF1ab and ORF3.
The compiled list was associated with 75 unique SARSCoV- 2 antibodies and patient polyclonal sera,” said the authors. “With evidence emerging on genetic variants in SARS-CoV-2 associated with resistance to monoclonal antibodies and convalescent plasma using in-vitro assays have provided a unique insight into the structural and functional mechanisms whereby the pathogen could evolve and evade antibodies. These insights could have enormous implications in efficacy of vaccines currently being used as well as under trials.”
Genetic variants in the SARS-CoV-2 genome and evidence suggesting association with immune escape were systematically catalogued by authors. A significant number of variants were associated with escape or resistance to a range of neutralizing and monoclonal antibodies, while a small subset were associated with resistance to convalescent plasma. The data was compiled by manual curation of literature available from peer-reviewed publications and preprints and comprehending the evidence mentioned in the articles.