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BA.2 and BA.5 omicron differ immunologically from both BA.1 omicron and pre-omicron variants.

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Rössler, Annika 
Knabl, Ludwig 
Schäfer, Helena 
Wilks, Samuel H 


Several studies have shown that SARS-CoV-2 BA.1 omicron is an immune escape variant. Meanwhile, however, omicron BA.2 and BA.5 became dominant in many countries and replaced BA.1. As both have several mutations compared to BA.1, we analyzed whether BA.2 and BA.5 show further immune escape relative to BA.1. Here, we characterized neutralization profiles against the BA.2 and BA.5 omicron sub-variants in plasma samples from individuals with different history of exposures to infection/vaccination and found that unvaccinated individuals after a single exposure to BA.2 had limited cross-neutralizing antibodies to pre-omicron variants and to BA.1. Consequently, our antigenic map including all Variants of Concern and BA.1, BA.2 and BA.5 omicron sub-variants, showed that all omicron sub-variants are distinct to pre-omicron variants, but that the three omicron variants are also antigenically distinct from each other. The antibody landscapes illustrate that cross-neutralizing antibodies against the current antigenic space, as described in our maps, are generated only after three or more exposures to antigenically close variants but also after two exposures to antigenically distant variants. Here, we describe the antigenic space inhabited by the relevant SARS-CoV-2 variants, the understanding of which will have important implications for further vaccine strain adaptations.



Article, /692/308/174, /692/699/1785, /631/250/255/2514, /631/326/596/4130, /631/326/596/2558, /13, /13/1, article

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Nat Commun

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
EC | Horizon 2020 Framework Programme (EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation H2020) (101016174)
Austrian Science Fund (Fonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung) (P35159-B)
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) (75N93021C00014)