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Omicron extensively but incompletely escapes Pfizer BNT162b2 neutralization

Cele, Sandile; Jackson, Laurelle; Khoury, David S; Khan, Khadija; Moyo-Gwete, Thandeka; Tegally, Houriiyah; San, James Emmanuel; ... Sigal, Alex; + view all (2022) Omicron extensively but incompletely escapes Pfizer BNT162b2 neutralization. Nature , 602 (7898) pp. 654-656. 10.1038/s41586-021-04387-1. Green open access

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Abstract

The emergence of Omicron (Pango lineage B.1.1.529), first identified in Botswana and South Africa, may compromise vaccine effectiveness and lead to re-infections1. We investigated whether Omicron escapes antibody neutralization in South Africans vaccinated with Pfizer BNT162b2. We also investigated if Omicron requires the ACE2 receptor to infect cells. We isolated and sequence confirmed live Omicron virus from an infected person in South Africa and compared plasma neutralization of Omicron relative to an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 strain, observing that Omicron still required ACE2 to infect. For neutralization, blood samples were taken soon after vaccination from participants who were vaccinated and previously infected or vaccinated with no evidence of previous infection. Neutralization of ancestral virus was much higher in infected and vaccinated versus vaccinated only participants but both groups showed a 22-fold escape from vaccine elicited neutralization by the Omicron variant. However, in the previously infected and vaccinated group, the level of residual neutralization of Omicron was similar to the level of neutralization of ancestral virus observed in the vaccination only group. These data support the notion that, provided high neutralization capacity is elicited by vaccination/boosting approaches, reasonable effectiveness against Omicron may be maintained.

Type: Article
Title: Omicron extensively but incompletely escapes Pfizer BNT162b2 neutralization
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41586-021-04387-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-04387-1
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 Springer Nature Limited. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Infection and Immunity
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10145203
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