mRNA-1273 and Ad26.COV2.S vaccines protect against the B.1.621 variant of SARS-CoV-2

Tamarand L. Darling, Baoling Ying, Bradley Whitener, Laura A. VanBlargan, Traci L. Bricker, Chieh Yu Liang, Astha Joshi, Gayan Bamunuarachchi, Kuljeet Seehra, Aaron J. Schmitz, Peter J. Halfmann, Yoshihiro Kawaoka, Sayda M. Elbashir, Darin K. Edwards, Larissa B. Thackray, Michael S. Diamond, Adrianus C.M. Boon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Since the emergence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in 2019, viral variants with greater transmissibility or immune-evasion properties have arisen, which could jeopardize recently deployed vaccine- and antibody-based countermeasures. Methods: Here, we evaluated in mice and hamsters the efficacy of a pre-clinical version of the Moderna mRNA vaccine (mRNA-1273) and the Johnson & Johnson recombinant adenoviral-vectored vaccine (Ad26.COV2.S) against the B.1.621 (Mu) variant of SARS-CoV-2, which contains spike mutations T95I, Y144S, Y145N, R346K, E484K, N501Y, D614G, P681H, and D950N. Findings: Immunization of 129S2 and K18-human ACE2 transgenic mice with the mRNA-1273 vaccine protected against weight loss, lung infection, and lung pathology after challenge with the B.1.621 or WA1/2020 N501Y/D614G SARS-CoV-2 strain. Similarly, immunization of 129S2 mice and Syrian hamsters with a high dose of Ad26.COV2.S reduced lung infection after B.1.621 virus challenge. Conclusions: Thus, immunity induced by the mRNA-1273 or Ad26.COV2.S vaccine can protect against the B.1.621 variant of SARS-CoV-2 in multiple animal models. Funding: This study was supported by the NIH (R01 AI157155 and U01 AI151810), NIAID Centers of Excellence for Influenza Research and Response [CEIRR] contracts 75N93021C00014 and 75N93021C00016, and the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Centers [CIVIC] contract 75N93019C00051. It was also supported, in part, by the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Center for Research on Influenza Pathogenesis (HHSN272201400008C) and the Japan Program for Infectious Diseases Research and Infrastructure (JP21wm0125002) from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-324.e6
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 13 2022


  • Ad26.COV2.S
  • Pre-clinical research
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Syrian hamster
  • in vivo vaccine efficacy studies
  • mRNA-1273
  • mouse


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