COVID’s new Omicron sub-lineages can dodge immunity from past infection, study says

Fifteen were vaccinated – eight with Pfizer’s shot; seven with J&J’s — while the other 24 were not.

“The vaccinated group showed about a 5-fold higher neutralisation capacity … and should be better protected,” said the study, a pre-print of which was released over the weekend.

In the unvaccinated samples, there was an almost eightfold decrease in antibody production when exposed to BA.4 and BA.5, compared with the original BA.1 Omicron lineage. Blood from the vaccinated people showed a threefold decrease.

A man receives a booster shot for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at a McDonald’s, as the Omicron coronavirus variant spreads through the country, in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., December 21, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Vondruska/File Photo

South Africa may be entering a fifth COVID wave earlier than expected, officials and scientists said on Friday, blaming a sustained rise in infections that seems to be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants.

Only about 30% of South Africa’s population of 60 million is fully vaccinated.

“Based on neutralisation escape, BA.4 and BA.5 have potential to result in a new infection wave,” the study said.

Editing by Frances Kerry

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Reuters source:

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/covids-new-omicron-sub-lineages-can-dodge-immunity-past-infection-study-2022-05-01