Braunschweig , Dec 10, 2021 / Jan 11, 2022 - Boost immunizations help against Omicron
After vaccination against the coronavirus, our body produces antibodies that contribute significantly to protection against COVID-19. The amount and strength of binding of these antibodies to the new omicron variant and the efficiency of different vaccination combinations have been investigated in two different studies by a team of researchers from the Technical University of Braunschweig together with partners from the EU consortium ATAC (Antibody Therapy Against Corona), as well as the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and the University of Rijeka. The results contribute to a better understanding of the spreading properties of the virus, and show that boost immunization increases the number of antibodies against the envelope protein of SARS-CoV-2 in all virus variants studied, including the new omicron variant. Important findings also relate to boost immunization following dual vaccination with the Sinovac or Sinopharm inactivated vaccines commonly used outside of Europe.
An important and somehow surprising finding of the first study is that the Omicron variant of the spike protein bound the cell surface receptor less efficiently than the currently circulating virus (see figure). On the other hand, both COVID patients and vaccinated persons have reduced antibody responses against Omicron. This suggests that 15 mutations present in the Omicron RBD are there rather to allow the virus to escape recognition but not to infect cells more efficiently.
Original publickation: BMC Medicine 20:102