Omicron-B.1.1.529 leads to widespread escape from neutralizing antibody responses



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This research has not been peer-reviewed, and has been posted on pre-print repository bioRxiv. This is a preliminary report that should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behaviour, or be reported in news media as established information.


On the 24th November 2021 the sequence of a new SARS CoV-2 viral isolate spreading rapidly in Southern Africa was announced, containing far more mutations in Spike (S) than previously reported variants. Neutralization titres of Omicron by sera from vaccinees and convalescent subjects infected with early pandemic as well as Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta are substantially reduced or fail to neutralize. Titres against Omicron are boosted by third vaccine doses and are high in cases both vaccinated and infected by Delta. Mutations in Omicron knock out or substantially reduce neutralization by most of a large panel of potent monoclonal antibodies and antibodies under commercial development. Omicron S has structural changes from earlier viruses, combining mutations conferring tight binding to ACE2 to unleash evolution driven by immune escape, leading to a large number of mutations in the ACE2 binding site which rebalance receptor affinity to that of early pandemic viruses.

Author list:

Wanwisa Dejnirattisai, Jiandong Huo, Daming Zhou, Jiří Zahradník, Piyada Supasa, Chang Liu, Helen M.E. Duyvesteyn, Helen M. Ginn, Alexander J. Mentzer, Aekkachai Tuekprakhon, Rungtiwa Nutalai, Beibei Wang, Aiste Dijokaite, Suman Khan, Ori Avinoam, Mohammad Bahar, Donal Skelly, Sandra Adele, Sile Ann Johnson, Ali Amini, Thomas Ritter, Chris Mason, Christina Dold, Daniel Pan, Sara Assadi, Adam Bellass, Nikki Omo-Dare, David Koeckerling, Amy Flaxman, Daniel Jenkin, Parvinder K Aley, Merryn Voysey, Sue Ann Costa Clemens, Felipe Gomes Naveca, Valdinete Nascimento, Fernanda Nascimento, Cristiano Fernandes da Costa, Paola Cristina Resende, Alex Pauvolid-Correa, Marilda M. Siqueira, Vicky Baillie, Natali Serafin, Zanele Ditse, Kelly Da Silva, Shabir Madhi, Marta C Nunes, Tariq Malik, Peter JM Openshaw, J Kenneth Baillie,  Malcolm G Semple, Alain R Townsend, Kuan-Ying A. Huang, Tiong Kit Tan, Miles W. Carroll, Paul Klenerman, Eleanor Barnes, Susanna J. Dunachie, Bede Constantinides, Hermione Webster, Derrick Crook, Andrew J Pollard, Teresa Lambe, OPTIC consortium, ISARIC4C consortium, Neil G. Paterson, Mark A. Williams, David R. Hall, Elizabeth E. Fry, Juthathip Mongkolsapaya, Jingshan Ren, Gideon Schreiber, David I. Stuart, Gavin R Screaton