Congratulations to Felix on his paper on impaired humoral immunity to BQ.1.1 in convalescent and vaccinated patients

Impaired humoral immunity to BQ.1.1 in convalescent and vaccinated patients

Felix Dewald , Martin Pirkl, Martha Paluschinski, Joachim Kühn, Carina Elsner, Bianca Schulte, Jacqueline Knüfer, Elvin Ahmadov, Maike Schlotz, Göksu Oral, Michael Bernhard, Mark Michael, Maura Luxenburger, Marcel Andrée, Marc Tim Hennies, Wali Hafezi, Marlin Maybrit Müller, Philipp Kümpers, Joachim Risse, Clemens Kill, Randi Katrin Manegold, Ute von Frantzki  9, Enrico Richter, Dorian Emmert, Werner O Monzon-Posadas, Ingo Gräff, Monika Kogej, Antonia Büning, Maximilian Baum, Finn Teipel, Babak Mochtarzadeh, Martin Wolff, Henning Gruell, Veronica Di Cristanziano, Volker Burst, Hendrik Streeck, Ulf Dittmer, Stephan Ludwig, Jörg Timm, Florian Klein 

Nat Commun. 2023 May 19;14(1):2835. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-38127-y.

Determining SARS-CoV-2 immunity is critical to assess COVID-19 risk and the need for prevention and mitigation strategies. We measured SARS-CoV-2 Spike/Nucleocapsid seroprevalence and serum neutralizing activity against Wu01, BA.4/5 and BQ.1.1 in a convenience sample of 1,411 patients receiving medical treatment in the emergency departments of five university hospitals in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, in August/September 2022. 62% reported underlying medical conditions and 67.7% were vaccinated according to German COVID-19 vaccination recommendations (13.9% fully vaccinated, 54.3% one booster, 23.4% two boosters). We detected Spike-IgG in 95.6%, Nucleocapsid-IgG in 24.0%, and neutralization against Wu01, BA.4/5 and BQ.1.1 in 94.4%, 85.0%, and 73.8% of participants, respectively. Neutralization against BA.4/5 and BQ.1.1 was 5.6- and 23.4-fold lower compared to Wu01. Accuracy of S-IgG detection for determination of neutralizing activity against BQ.1.1 was reduced substantially.  We explored previous vaccinations and infections as correlates of BQ.1.1 neutralization using multivariable and Bayesian network analyses. Given a rather moderate adherence to COVID-19 vaccination recommendations, this analysis highlights the need to improve vaccine-uptake to reduce the COVID-19 risk of immune evasive variants.

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