Authors: Scheepers C, Everatt J, Amoako DG, Tegally H, Wibmer CK, Mnguni A, Ismail A, Mahlangu B, Lambson BE, Martin DP, Wilkinson E, San JE, Giandhari J, Manamela N, Ntuli N, Kgagudi P, Cele S, Richardson SI, Pillay S, Mohale T, Ramphal U, Naidoo Y, Khumalo ZT, Kwatra G, Gray G, Bekker LG, Madhi SA, Baillie V, Van Voorhis WC, Treurnicht FK, Venter M, Mlisana K, Wolter N, Sigal A, Williamson C, Hsiao NY, Msomi N, Maponga T, Preiser W, Makatini Z, Lessells R, Moore PL, de Oliveira T, von Gottberg A, Bhiman JN
Global genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 has identified variants associated with increased transmissibility, neutralization resistance and disease severity. Here we report the emergence of the PANGO lineage C.1.2, detected at low prevalence in South Africa and eleven other countries. The initial C.1.2 detection is associated with a high substitution rate, and includes changes within the spike protein that have been associated with increased transmissibility or reduced neutralization sensitivity in SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern or variants of interest. Like Beta and Delta, C.1.2 shows significantly reduced neutralization sensitivity to plasma from vaccinees and individuals infected with the ancestral D614G virus. In contrast, convalescent donors infected with either Beta or Delta show high plasma neutralization against C.1.2. These functional data suggest that vaccine efficacy against C.1.2 will be equivalent to Beta and Delta, and that prior infection with either Beta or Delta will likely offer protection against C.1.2.