Exposure to BA.4/BA.5 Spike glycoprotein drives pan-Omicron neutralization in vaccine-experienced humans and mice
Bonny Gaby Lui,
Carla Iris Cadima Couto,
Geneva J Schmitt,
Kerstin C. Walzer,
Kena A. Swanson,
Annette B. Vogel,
Posted 21 Sep 2022
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2022.09.21.508818
Posted 21 Sep 2022
The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant and its sublineages show pronounced viral escape from neutralizing antibodies elicited by vaccination or prior SARS-CoV-2 variant infection owing to over 30 amino acid alterations within the spike (S) glycoprotein. We and others have recently reported that breakthrough infection of vaccinated individuals with Omicron sublineages BA.1 and BA.2 are associated with distinct patterns of cross-neutralizing activity against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern (VOCs). BA.2 breakthrough infection mediated overall stronger cross-neutralization of BA.2 and its descendants (BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5) compared to BA.1 breakthrough infection. Here we characterized the effect of Omicron BA.4/BA.5 S glycoprotein exposure on the magnitude and breadth of the neutralizing antibody response upon breakthrough infection in vaccinated individuals and in mice upon booster vaccination. We show that immune sera from triple mRNA-vaccinated individuals with subsequent Omicron BA.4/BA.5 breakthrough infection display broad and robust neutralizing activity against Omicron BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, and BA.4/BA.5. Administration of a prototypic BA.4/BA.5-adapted mRNA booster vaccine to mice following SARS-CoV-2 wild-type strain-based primary immunization is associated with similarly broad neutralizing activity. Immunization of naive mice with a bivalent mRNA vaccine (wild-type + Omicron BA.4/BA.5) induces strong and broad neutralizing activity against Omicron VOCs and previous variants. These findings suggest that when administered as boosters, mono- and bivalent Omicron BA.4/BA.5-adapted vaccines may enhance neutralization breadth, and in a bivalent format may also have the potential to confer protection to individuals with no pre-existing immunity against SARS-CoV-2.
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