Omicron subvariants were found to avoid antibodies in search of solutions such as BA.4, BA.5

However, the Covid-19 vaccine is still expected to provide significant protection against severe disease, and vaccine developers are working on updated frames that will generate a strong immune response against the options.

“We found a 3-fold decrease in induced neutralizing antibody titers against BA4 and BA5 compared to BA1 and BA2, which were significantly lower than the original COVID-19 variants,” the doctor said. Dan Baruch, author of the paper and director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel’s Diconnes Medical Center in Boston, wrote an email to CNN.

“Our data suggest that these new Omicron subvalances may lead to an increase in infections in populations with high levels of vaccine immunity as well as natural BA1 and BA2 immunity,” Baruch wrote. “However, the vaccine’s immunity still provides significant protection against severe disease with BA4 and BA5.”

The newly published results are similar to a separate study by Columbia University researchers.

They recently found that BA.4 and BA.5 were more likely to escape antibodies from the blood of adults who were fully vaccinated and aggravated than other Omicron subvalants, which increased the risk of Covid-19 infections transmitted by the vaccine.

The authors of this separate study say that their results show a higher risk of recurrence in people who are immune to the virus. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 94.7% of the U.S. population aged 16 and older has antibodies to the coronavirus that cause Covid-19 through vaccination, infection, or both.
BA.4 and BA.5 caused an estimated 35% of new Covid-19 infections in the United States last week, up 29% from the previous week, according to data shared by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.

BA.4 and BA.5 are the most common options today and are expected to dominate the spread of Covid-19 in the United States, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe in the next few weeks, according to the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention. .

“COVID-19 is still capable of mutating”

Among 27 participants in the New England Journal of Medicine who were vaccinated and intensified with the Pfizer / BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the researchers found that levels of neutralizing antibodies against Omicron subvariants were significantly lower two weeks after the booster dose. response to primary coronavirus.

Levels of neutralizing antibodies were 6.4 times lower than against BA.1; 7 times against BA.2; The researchers described 14.1 times against BA.2.12.1 and 21 times against BA.4 or BA.5.

Researchers found similar results among 27 participants who had previously been infected with BA.1 or BA.2 subvariants 29 days earlier.

In people with a previous infection – most of whom were vaccinated – the researchers found that neutralizing antibody levels were 6.4 times lower than BA.1; 5.8 times against BA.2; 9.6 times against BA.2.12.1 and 18.7 times against BA.4 or BA.5.

Further research is needed to determine what the level of neutralizing antibodies means for the effectiveness of the vaccine and whether similar results appear in a larger group of participants.

“Our data show that COVID-19 is still capable of mutating, resulting in increased susceptibility and increased antibody production,” Barush wrote in an email. “As restrictions on the pandemic have been lifted, it is important that we remain vigilant and continue research as new options and sub-options emerge.”

A separate study published in the journal Nature last week showed that Omicron could develop mutations to avoid immunity caused by a previous BA.1 infection, suggesting that BA.1-based vaccine boosters may lack broad-spectrum protection. New Omicron subvariants such as BA.4 and BA.5.

As for what all this means in the real world, Dr. Wesley Long, an experimental pathologist at Houston Methodist Hospital, told CNN that people should be aware that even if they have had Covid-19 in the past, they may get sick again.

“I think I’m a little worried that people with it are probably more likely to have a false sense of security with BA.4 and BA.5 recently, because we’ve seen some re-infections and I’ve seen some. There have been cases of re-infection in the last few months with people with option BA.2, ”he said.

Some vaccine developers have developed variant vaccines to improve the response of antibodies to coronavirus variants and anxious subvariants.

“Unless we have vaccines or widespread mandates, re-infections are inevitable, which will prevent the disease from recurring. But the good news, I think, is that we are in a much better place than without vaccines.” Pavitra Roychoudhury is an executive in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Washington, who did not appear in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“There’s so much of this virus here, it’s definitely felt,” he said of the Covid-19 infections. “We hope that the protective measures we have will lead to a mild infection in the main.”

Efforts are underway to upgrade Covid-19 vaccines

The modern dual-valent Covid-19 vaccine booster, called mRNA-1273.214, generated “strong” immune responses against Omicron subviants BA.4 and BA.5, the company said Wednesday.
Search for long-term Covid-19 vaccines

This includes components of the original Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna, a candidate for the bivalent booster vaccine, and a vaccine targeting the Omicron variant. The company said it was working to submit regulations to update the composition of the booster vaccine to mRNA-1273,214 in the coming weeks.

“As the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 continues, we are very encouraged by the fact that mRNA-1273.214 has shown high neutralizing titers against BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, the main enhancing candidates for our fall. A threat to global public health,” said Stefan Bansel. , Modera’s chief executive, said in a statement on Wednesday that SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that caused Covid-19.

“We will provide this information to regulators immediately and are preparing to provide next-generation bivalent amplifiers from August, before the potential increase in SARS-CoV-2 infections due to Omicron subvariants in early autumn,” Bansel said.

The Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biological Products will meet next week to discuss the composition of the Covid-19 vaccine, which will be used as an enhancer this fall.
According to Modernna, the updated Covid-19 vaccine shows a strong antibody response to Omicron

Unpublished data published in a reviewed journal published by Moderna on Wednesday showed that vaccinated and amplified people received the vaccine one month after 50 micrograms of mRNA-127.214 vaccine. 5.4-fold increase in levels, regardless of infection, and 6.3-fold increase in people without a history of infection. These levels of neutralizing antibodies against BA.1 are about 3 times lower than previously reported neutralizing levels, Moderna said.

These findings are in line with data released by Moderna earlier this month, which show that a dose of 50 micrograms of the bivalent booster produced a stronger antibody response to Omicron than the Moderna vaccine.

Moderna’s data suggest that the “bivalent amplifier may provide greater protection against BA.4 and BA.5 omicron strains” is the first suggestion of a newly emerging “immune correlation” of antibody protection against clinical disease caused by other strains, but this study We hope you will appreciate the speed as well as the antibody responses, ”said Penny Ward, an independent pharmacist and visiting professor of pharmaceutical medicine at King’s College London, in a statement released Wednesday by the UK-based Science Media Center.

“It has already been reported that the bivalent vaccine is well tolerated to transient‘ reactogenic ’effects similar to those after a single-valent booster injection, so we can assume that this new mixed vaccine should be well tolerated,” Ward said in part. “As we move into the fall with the omicron variants that dominate the landscape of covid infection, we should consider using this new bivalent vaccine, if any.”

CNN’s Brenda Goodman contributed to this report.

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