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MDPI, Life, 5(11), p. 375, 2021

DOI: 10.3390/life11050375



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Temporal Dominance of B.1.1.7 over B.1.354 SARS-CoV-2 Variant: A Hypothesis Based on Areas of Variant Co-Circulation

This paper is made freely available by the publisher.
This paper is made freely available by the publisher.

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Some emergent SARS-CoV-2 variants raise concerns due to their altered biological properties. For both B.1.1.7 and B.1351 variants, named as variants of concern (VOC), increased transmissibility was reported, whereas B.1.351 was more resistant to multiple monoclonal antibodies (mAbs), as well as convalescent and vaccination sera. To test this hypothesis, we examined the proportion of VOC over time across different geographic areas where the two VOC, B.1.1.7 and B.1.351, co-circulate. Our comparative analysis was based on the number of SARS-CoV-2 sequences on GISAID database. We report that B.1.1.7 dominates over B.1.351 in geographic areas where both variants co-circulate and the B.1.1.7 was the first variant introduced in the population. The only areas where B.1.351 was detected at higher proportion were South Africa and Mayotte in Africa, where this strain was associated with increased community transmission before the detection of B.1.1.7. The dominance of B.1.1.7 over B.1.351 could be important since B.1.351 was more resistant to certain mAbs, as well as heterologous convalescent and vaccination sera, thus suggesting that it may be transmitted more effectively in people with pre-existing immunity to other VOC. This scenario would lessen the effectiveness of vaccine and urge the need to update them with new strains.