The impact of Omicron breakthrough an infection on the magnitude and breadth of serum neutralizing exercise and reminiscence B cells amongst BNT162b2 vaccinees
  • Reading time:5 min(s) read

In a current examine revealed in Science Immunology, researchers evaluated the affect of breakthrough infections with extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron BA.1 sublineage on SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs) neutralization and reminiscence B (BMEM) lymphocytes formation amongst BNT162b2 vaccinees.

Study: Omicron BA.1 breakthrough an infection drives cross-variant neutralization and reminiscence B cell formation towards conserved epitopes. Image Credit: ffikretow/Shutterstock


Durable and broad immune responses are needed for cover towards the prevailing VOCs and the variants but to emerge. Titers of neutralizing antibodies and antibodies binding to the SARS-CoV-2 spike (S) protein and its receptor-binding area (RBD) have been established as correlates of safety towards SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Long-lived reminiscence BMEM lymphocytes are important for the event of recall immune responses on re-encounter with SARS-CoV-2 antigens and for the evolution and upkeep of antibody responses towards the VOCs by increasing the variant recognition breadth.

About the examine

In the current examine, researchers characterised the neutralizing and recall immune responses amongst messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based BNT162b2 vaccine recipients with Omicron BA.1 sublineage breakthrough infections towards the novel Omicron BA.4/5 and earlier SARS-CoV-2 VOCs.

Sera have been obtained from double- or triple BNT162b2-vaccinated people who developed Omicron BA.1 breakthrough infections between November 2021 and mid-January 2022. Pseudovirus neutralization exams (pVNT) and stay viral neutralization exams (VNT) have been carried out to evaluate SARS-CoV-2 entry inhibition and SARS-CoV-2 variants’ neutralization, respectively.

For the pVNT exams, pseudoviruses with the S protein of SARS-CoV-2 strains corresponding to Wuhan-Hu-1, Alpha, Beta, Delta, Omicron BA.1, BA.2, BA.4/5 have been used. Flow cytometry-based B lymphocyte phenotyping assays have been carried out to detect variant-specific S-targeted B lymphocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Additionally, SARS-CoV-1 assays have been carried out to guage pan-sarbecovirus neutralization efficiency.

BMEM lymphocytes have been stained with fluorescently labeled variant-specific S or RBD to guage the antibody response specificity. Multiple sequence alignment was additionally carried out. Further, the combinatorial Boolean gating method was used to distinguish between BMEM lymphocyte subsets that might acknowledge variant-specific epitopes and epitopes conserved throughout the VOCs.


In Omicron infection-naïve doubly vaccinated people, the 50% pseudovirus neutralization (pVNT50) geometric imply titers (GMTs) for Delta and Beta have been decreased, and that for Omicron BA.1, BA.2, and BA.4/5 have been undetectable. The third BNT162b2 vaccine dose considerably boosted the pVNT50 GMTs for Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), and Delta (B.1.617.2); nonetheless, GMTs of 160, 211, and 74 have been obtained for Omicron BA.1, BA.2 and BA.4/5 sublineages, respectively, which have been considerably decrease these for the Wuhan-Hu-1 pressure (GMT 398).

Compared to the pVNT50 GMTs for BA.1, BA.2, and BA.4/5 amongst Omicron-naïve doubly vaccinated people, the corresponding GMTs amongst doubly vaccinated Omicron BA.1 convalescents have been 100-times, 35-times, and 15-times higher, respectively. The GMTs amongst Omicron BA.1 convalescents have been greater than the Omicron-naïve triple-vaccinated individuals.

Triple-vaccinated BA.1 convalescents demonstrated excessive pVNT50 GMTs of 1182, 1029, and 836 for Beta, Omicron BA.1, and Omicron BA.2, respectively, which have been similar to these of the Wuhan-Hu-1 pressure (GMT 1182). However, Omicron BA.4/5 neutralization titers (GMT 197) elevated solely reasonably and have been extra comparable with SARS-CoV-1 titers than the Wuhan-Hu-1 pressure titers.

Live SARS-CoV-2 neutralization assays confirmed that the neutralizing GMTs towards Omicron BA.1, the Wuhan-Hu-1 pressure, and all VOCs have been comparable amongst Omicron BA.1 convalescents, indicating sturdy cross-neutralization, however with considerably diminished efficiency towards Omicron BA.4/5. Further, the B lymphocyte phenotyping assays confirmed that every one S- and RBD-targeted B lymphocytes within the peripheral blood samples belonged to the BMEM phenotype [cluster of differentiation (CD)20highCD38int/neg].

The frequency of BMEM lymphocytes amongst Omicron-naïve doubly vaccinated people elevated progressively after vaccination. In comparability to a few weeks after double BNT162b2 vaccination, at 5 months, S-and RBD-targeted BMEM lymphocytes towards all VOCs elevated by four-fold and three-fold, respectively.

Most BMEM lymphocytes from Omicron-naïve double vaccinated people and much more from triple-vaccinated people have been directed towards epitopes shared by the Wuhan-Hu-1 and the Omicron BA.1 strains. Vaccinated people with Omicron BA.1 breakthrough infections demonstrated an expanded and broad BMEM lymphocyte repertoire towards conserved S and RBD epitopes relatively than Omicron BA.1-specific BMEM lymphocytes.

Multiple sequence alignment revealed that the Omicron BA.1 RBD is divergent from the conserved RBD sequence websites throughout the Wuhan-Hu-1, Alpha, and Delta strains by 13 mutations. Accordingly, probably the most outstanding BMEM lymphocyte inhabitants detected amongst BA.1 convalescents acknowledged Wuhan-Hu-1, Alpha, and Delta RBDs, however not Omicron BA.1 RBD.

The BMEM lymphocyte recall responses towards RBD have been pushed by specificities induced by prior BNT162b2 vaccinations and never considerably redirected towards novel RBD epitopes exhibited by Omicron BA.1. The L452R mutation was recognized to be distinctive to Delta and Omicron BA.4/5, and the distinctive mutation in Wuhan-Hu-1 and Alpha was T478K. The L452R and T478K mutations conferred immune-evasive properties to the corresponding variants.


Overall, the examine findings confirmed that breakthrough infections with Omicron BA.1 resulted in strong neutralizing titers for Omicron BA.1, BA.2, and earlier SARS-CoV-2 VOCs, however not for Omicron BA.4/5 amongst BNT162b2 vaccinees. Further, sturdy reminiscence/recall responses have been elicited by Omicron BA.1 convalescents with the enlargement of BMEM lymphocytes towards SARS-CoV-2 epitopes conserved throughout VOCs as an alternative of the induction of Omicron BA.1-specific B lymphocytes.

Journal reference:

  • Omicron BA.1 breakthrough an infection drives cross-variant neutralization and reminiscence B cell formation towards conserved epitopes. Jasmin Quand, et al. Sci. Immunol. doi: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abq2427


If you are interested in working in a distraction free environment, visit our site Blissful Noises where we provide various sounds and features to help you focus or relax.