Reduced Neutralization of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant by Vaccine Sera and monoclonal antibodies

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Abstract

Due to numerous mutations in the spike protein, the SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern Omicron (B.1.1.529) raises serious concerns since it may significantly limit the antibody-mediated neutralization and increase the risk of reinfections. While a rapid increase in the number of cases is being reported worldwide, until now there has been uncertainty about the efficacy of vaccinations and monoclonal antibodies. Our in vitro findings using authentic SARS-CoV-2 variants indicate that in contrast to the currently circulating Delta variant, the neutralization efficacy of vaccine-elicited sera against Omicron was severely reduced highlighting T-cell mediated immunity as essential barrier to prevent severe COVID-19. Since SARS-CoV-2 Omicron was resistant to casirivimab and imdevimab genotyping of SARS-CoV-2 may be needed before initiating mAb treatment. Variant-specific vaccines and mAb agents may be required to treat Omicron and other emerging variants of concern.

Competing Interest Statement

S.C. was a member of a clinical advisory board for Biontech. T.W. received speaker and consultancy fees from Gilead Sciences, Merck Sharp Dome, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals. All other authors declare no conflict of interest.

Funding Statement

This study has been performed with the support of the Goethe-Corona-Fund of the Goethe University Frankfurt (MW) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (COVIDready; grant 02WRS1621C (MW). We are thankful for the numerous donations to the Goethe-Corona-Fund and the support of our SARS-CoV-2 research.

Author Declarations

I confirm all relevant ethical guidelines have been followed, and any necessary IRB and/or ethics committee approvals have been obtained.

Yes

The details of the IRB/oversight body that provided approval or exemption for the research described are given below:

The study was conducted according to the guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki, and approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Medicine at Goethe University Frankfurt (2021-201, 20-864 and 250719).

I confirm that all necessary patient/participant consent has been obtained and the appropriate institutional forms have been archived, and that any patient/participant/sample identifiers included were not known to anyone (e.g., hospital staff, patients or participants themselves) outside the research group so cannot be used to identify individuals.

Yes

I understand that all clinical trials and any other prospective interventional studies must be registered with an ICMJE-approved registry, such as ClinicalTrials.gov. I confirm that any such study reported in the manuscript has been registered and the trial registration ID is provided (note: if posting a prospective study registered retrospectively, please provide a statement in the trial ID field explaining why the study was not registered in advance).

Yes

I have followed all appropriate research reporting guidelines and uploaded the relevant EQUATOR Network research reporting checklist(s) and other pertinent material as supplementary files, if applicable.

Yes

Paper in collection COVID-19 SARS-CoV-2 preprints from medRxiv and bioRxiv



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