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Lab study suggests Omicron impact on vaccinated

Tuesday December 14th 2021

The Omicron variant is likely to increase the risk of infection amongst vaccinated people – but not the severity of disease, according to a new laboratory study by leading British scientists.

The conclusions, at Oxford University, come from a study of blood samples of people who have received either of the two most common UK vaccines.

The researchers studied neutralising titres as a means of measuring the level of neutralising antibodies.

Some vaccine recipients were unable to neutralise at all and there was a substantial fall in neutralising titres from recipients of both the adenoviral and mRNA vaccine.

The researchers write: “This will likely lead to increased breakthrough infections in previously infected or double vaccinated individuals, which could drive a further wave of infection, although there is currently no evidence of increased potential to cause severe disease, hospitalisation or death.”

Researcher Professor Gavin Screaton, head of the university’s medical sciences division, said: “These data will help those developing vaccines, and vaccination strategies, to determine the routes to best protect their populations, and press home the message that those who are offered booster vaccination should take it.

“Whilst there is no evidence for increased risk of severe disease, or death, from the virus amongst vaccinated populations, we must remain cautious, as greater case numbers will still place a considerable burden on healthcare systems.”

Fellow researcher Professor Matthew Snape added: “These data are important but are only one part of the picture. They only look at neutralising antibodies after the second dose, but do not tell us about cellular immunity, and this will also be tested using stored samples once the assays are available.

“Importantly, we have not yet assessed the impact of a third dose booster, which we know significantly increases antibody concentrations, and it is likely that this will lead to improved potency against the Omicron variant.”

Reduced neutralisation of SARS-COV-2 Omicron-B.1.1.529 variant by post-immunisation serum medRxiv 11 December 2021

[abstract]

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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