The antibody resistance profile and viral receptor binding affinity of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 subvariants

In a up to date find out about posted to the bioRxiv* preprint server, researchers investigated the neutralizing antibody titers in opposition to the newly emergent BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 serious acute breathing syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Omicron subvariants the use of sera from people with number one and booster coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) vaccinations, and former SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Find out about: Alarming antibody evasion houses of emerging SARS-CoV-2 BQ and XBB subvariants. Symbol Credit score: nobeastsofierce/Shutterstock


Even if world vaccine building efforts mitigated the large-scale morbidity and mortality related to the COVID-19 pandemic, emergent Omicron subvariants, displaying immune evasion and greater transmission courtesy of a lot of spike protein mutations, have change into globally dominant.

On the other hand, 44%, 46%, and 32% of the hot circumstances in the US, France, and the UK, respectively, were attributed to the newly emergent BQ.1 and BQ1.1 subvariants, which first emerged in Nigeria in July 2022. In India and different areas of Asia, comparable to Singapore, two new subvariants, XBB and XBB.1, have emerged and change into dominant.

The BQ.1 and BQ1.1 subvariants are concept to have advanced from BA.5, whilst recombination between the BJ.1 and BA.2.75 lineages of BA.2 resulted within the XBB and XBB.1 subvariants. Whilst BQ.1 and BQ1.1 subvariants raise two and one further mutations, respectively, except the mutations present in BA.5, the XBB and XBB.1 variants raise 14 and 15 new mutations, respectively, except the ones present in BA.2. The huge selection of novel spike protein mutations and the fast unfold of those 4 Omicron subvariants raises issues in regards to the efficacy of present COVID-19 vaccines in protective in opposition to those sub-variants.

Concerning the find out about

Within the provide find out about, serum samples have been accrued from people who gained 3 doses of monovalent messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccine (Pfizer BNT162b2 or Moderna mRNA-1273), 4 doses of monovalent mRNA vaccines, or 3 doses of monovalent vaccine and one dose of the bivalent vaccine focused on the wild-type pressure and the BA.2 or BA.5 Omicron subvariant.

Sera have been additionally acquired from vaccinated people (with monovalent mRNA vaccinations) who had step forward BA.2 or BA.4/BA.5 infections. Anti-SARS-CoV-2 nucleoprotein enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was once used to verify earlier SARS-CoV-2 infections.

The resistance of the 4 newly emergent subvariants to serum antibodies was once examined by means of comparing the neutralization of the BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 subvariants by means of sera from more than a few cohorts. The effects from the serum neutralization checks have been used to build an antigenic map to decide the antigenic distance between the ancestral D614G pressure and the Omicron subvariants.

Pseudoviruses built for every subvariant, in addition to the ones wearing particular person mutations present in those subvariants, have been used to guage the neutralizing task of serum antibodies. A complete of 23 monoclonal antibodies that centered more than a few SARS-CoV-2 epitopes have been used to decide the susceptibility of the subvariants to neutralization. Monoclonal antibodies that have been in medical use, in addition to monoclonal antibody mixtures comparable to Evusheld, have been integrated on this panel.

Moreover, structural modeling was once carried out to know the affect of recent level mutations on monoclonal antibody binding. The receptor binding affinity of the spike protein trimers of the 4 new subvariants, BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 subvariants, have been examined in opposition to the human angiotensin-converting enzyme-2 (ACE-2) receptor the use of floor plasmon resonance.


The effects reported that neutralization of the 4 new subvariants BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 by means of sera from people with vaccinations and former infections was once markedly lowered, without reference to the selection of vaccine doses or form of vaccine. The neutralizing antibody titers in opposition to the BQ and XBB subvariants have been 13–81 fold and 66–155 fold decrease, respectively, in comparison to the ones in opposition to the ancestral D614G pressure.

Moreover, the consequences from the antigenic mapping indicated that the antigenic distance between the newly emergent subvariants and the unique Omicron variant is analogous to that between the unique Omicron variant and its predecessor. On the other hand, the BQ and XBB subvariants had an identical receptor binding affinities as their parental lineages, indicating that the greater transmission skills most definitely stem from different components, comparable to immune evasion.

The monoclonal antibodies that have been efficient in opposition to the unique Omicron variant have been useless in opposition to the 4 new subvariants. The BQ and XBB subvariants have been pan-resistant to the antibodies that centered the receptor binding area and sophistication 1 and three epitopes. The XBB subvariants have been additionally proof against antibodies that centered elegance 2 epitopes. The extra mutations in those new subvariants perceived to have enabled them to flee the few monoclonal antibodies that have been efficient in opposition to the former Omicron subvariants.

With the BQ and XBB subvariants being proof against bebtelovimab, the one efficient monoclonal antibody in opposition to the circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, no approved therapies stay efficient in opposition to the newly emergent variants. This building is of significant fear to immunocompromised people who don’t broaden ok immune responses to vaccines.


Total, the find out about’s effects indicated that the 4 newly emergent SARS-CoV-2 Omicron subvariants BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 have been partly or totally proof against neutralization by means of sera from people with mono- and bi-valent vaccines and former SARS-CoV-2 infections. Moreover, the 4 new subvariants have been proof against all of the monoclonal antibody remedies these days in medical use.

The findings spotlight issues in regards to the ineffectiveness of present vaccines and monoclonal antibody therapies in opposition to hastily rising SARS-CoV-2 variants with greater immune evasion skills.

*Necessary realize

bioRxiv publishes initial clinical studies that don’t seem to be peer-reviewed and, due to this fact, must now not be considered conclusive, information medical follow/health-related habits, or handled as established knowledge.

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