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Immune boosting by B.1.1.529 ( Omicron) depends on previous SARS-CoV-2 exposure.

Science 2022 July 16
The Omicron, or Pango lineage B.1.1.529, variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) carries multiple spike mutations with high transmissibility and partial neutralizing antibody (nAb) escape. Vaccinated individuals show protection against severe disease, often attributed to primed cellular immunity. We investigated T and B cell immunity against B.1.1.529 in triple BioNTech BNT162b2 messenger RNA-vaccinated health care workers (HCWs) with different SARS-CoV-2 infection histories. B and T cell immunity against previous variants of concern was enhanced in triple-vaccinated individuals, but the magnitude of T and B cell responses against B.1.1.529 spike protein was reduced. Immune imprinting by infection with the earlier B.1.1.7 (Alpha) variant resulted in less durable binding antibody against B.1.1.529. Previously infection-naïve HCWs who became infected during the B.1.1.529 wave showed enhanced immunity against earlier variants but reduced nAb potency and T cell responses against B.1.1.529 itself. Previous Wuhan Hu-1 infection abrogated T cell recognition and any enhanced cross-reactive neutralizing immunity on infection with B.1.1.529.

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