Congratulations to Henning for his studies on different SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineages

SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sublineages exhibit distinct antibody escape patterns


SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing antibodies play a critical role in COVID-19 prevention and treatment but are challenged by viral evolution and the emergence of novel escape variants. Importantly, the recently identified Omicron sublineages BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/5 are rapidly becoming predominant in various countries. By determining polyclonal serum activity of 50 convalescent or vaccinated individuals against BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4/5, we reveal a further reduction in BA.4/5 susceptibility to vaccinee sera. Most notably, delineation of sensitivity to an extended 163-antibody panel demonstrates pronounced antigenic differences with distinct escape patterns among Omicron sublineages. Antigenic distance and/or higher resistance may therefore favor immune-escape-mediated BA.4/5 expansion after the first Omicron wave. Finally, while most clinical-stage monoclonal antibodies are inactive against Omicron sublineages, we identify promising antibodies with high pan-SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing potency. Our study provides a detailed understanding of Omicron-sublineage antibody escape that can inform on effective strategies against COVID-19.

Keywords: BA.2.12.1; BA.4; BA.5; COVID-19; Omicron; SARS-CoV-2; immune escape; neutralizing antibodies; resistance; sublineages.

Neutralisation sensitivity of the SARS-CoV-2 omicron BA.2.75 sublineage