BERLIN – According to a new study, the new coronavirus variant Omicron is highly resistant to antibodies from people who have recovered from the virus and those who have received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
The study comes amid an increase in cases of the disease, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
However, when combined with Pfizer and AstraZeneca, a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine may be effective against the new variant, according to the study.
Multiple antibodies previously used to treat Covid-19 have been found to be ineffective against Omicron, according to the study published in the journal Cell.
The Omicron coronavirus variant has caused widespread concern due to its high potential for transmission and the possibility of thirty-seven different mutations.
The variant was first discovered in South Africa and has since spread to over a hundred countries around the world.
According to the researchers, the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 appears to be spreading faster than any previous variant and may soon dominate globally.
They used non-hazardous virus-like particles that carry the Omicron spike protein and are well suited to studying virus entry and inhibition in this study.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses the spike protein to enter and infect cells.
COVID-19 is currently treated with antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab, as well as Etesevimab and Bamlanivimab.
These antibodies, however, were found to be largely ineffective against the Omicron spike, according to the researchers. According to them, only one antibody, Sotrovimab, inhibited the Omicron spike.
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According to study first author Markus Hoffmann of the German Primate Center, “our cell culture studies suggest that most antibodies currently available for COVID-19 therapy will be ineffective against Omicron.”
“Sotrovimab is an exception,” Hoffmann said, adding that it “could become an important treatment option for Omicron-infected patients.”
Patients infected in Germany during the first wave of the pandemic may have produced antibodies that protect against the Omicron variant, according to the researchers.
While the antibodies were effective against the virus that caused the first wave, they were ineffective against the Omicron spike.
They believe these people don’t have strong immune defenses against the Omicron variant, though they haven’t looked into whether T cells, which are also produced during infection, play a role.
Antibodies produced after two doses of the Pfizer vaccine also inhibited the Omicron spike less effectively than spike proteins from other variants, according to the researchers.
They found that after three Pfizer doses and heterologous immunization with AstraZeneca and Pfizer preventives, there was a better protective effect.
According to the study, these findings suggest that dual immunization with Pfizer may provide less protection against the Omicron variant than the Delta variant.
It was discovered that triple immunization with Pfizer (booster) and cross-vaccination with AstraZeneca/Pfizer could provide better protection.
“Our findings suggest that Covid-19 antibody therapies should be tailored to the Omicron variant. The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine should also be considered for adaptation “Hoffmann stated.
“In contrast, BioNTech-Pfizer (booster) triple immunization and cross-vaccination with Oxford-AstraZeneca,” Hoffmann said.
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