Analysis reveals diminished effectiveness of vaccines towards Omicron COVID-19 variant

Researchers from the College of Oxford have analyzed the impression of the Omicron COVID-19 variant of concern on one of many immune responses generated by vaccination.

Utilizing blood samples from people who had beforehand acquired two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines as a part of the Com-COV examine, and a reside virus isolate, they exhibit substantial lower in neutralizing titers – a measure of the extent of neutralizing antibodies generated in responses to vaccination towards, or an infection from, COVID-19.

The outcomes, revealed on the pre-print server MedRxiv, point out that the Omicron variant has the potential to drive an additional wave of infections, together with amongst these already vaccinated, though the researchers spotlight that there’s presently no proof of elevated potential to trigger extreme illness, hospitalisations or deaths in vaccinated populations.

These outcomes align with just lately revealed information from UK Well being Safety Company, displaying diminished effectiveness of two doses of those vaccines towards symptomatic illness because of the Omicron variant in comparison with Delta. Importantly, this effectiveness was improved by a 3rd dose of vaccine.

Professor Gavin Screaton, Head of the College’s Medical Sciences Division, and lead writer of the paper, mentioned:

‘These information will assist these growing vaccines, and vaccination methods, to find out the routes to greatest defend their populations, and press residence the message that those that are provided booster vaccination ought to take it.

‘While there isn’t any proof for elevated danger of extreme illness, or loss of life, from the virus amongst vaccinated populations, we should stay cautious, as higher case numbers will nonetheless place a substantial burden on healthcare techniques.’

Professor Matthew Snape, Professor in Pediatrics and Vaccinology on the College of Oxford and co-author, mentioned:

‘It was all the time a aim of the Com-COV research to have the ability to have samples prepared, if wanted, to check varied vaccination schedules towards new variants of the coronavirus as they emerged, and we have been delighted to help our colleagues with this vital examine to boost our information of how the virus is altering.

‘These information are vital however are just one a part of the image. They solely take a look at neutralizing antibodies after the second dose, however don’t inform us about mobile immunity, and this may also be examined utilizing saved samples as soon as the assays can be found.

‘Importantly, we’ve got not but assessed the impression of a “third dose” booster, which we all know considerably will increase antibody concentrations, and it’s seemingly that this may result in improved efficiency towards the Omicron variant.’

Vaccination induces many arms of our immune system, together with neutralizing antibodies and T-cells. Actual-world effectiveness information has proven us that vaccines proceed to guard towards extreme illness with earlier variants of concern. The easiest way to guard us going ahead on this pandemic is by getting vaccines in arms.’

Professor Teresa Lambe, Professor in Vaccinology, College of Oxford, and Paper Creator


Journal reference:

Dejnirattisai, W., et al. (2021) Decreased neutralisation of SARS-COV-2 Omicron-B.1.1.529 variant by post-immunisation serum. MedRxiv.

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