The “Nice Get away” by way of SARS-CoV-2 XBB.1

In a up to date article revealed within the Lancet Microbe, researchers within the Netherlands and the UK quantified the antigenic range of latest critical acute respiration syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) subvariants, BQ.1.1, BM.1.1.1, and XBB.1, all derivatives of the variant of outrage (VOC) Omicron, which emerged in overdue 2022. This workout may turn out fruitful in figuring out SARS-CoV-2 traces for the next-generation coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines.

Correspondance: Antigenic mapping of rising SARS-CoV-2 omicron variants BM.1.1.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1. Symbol Credit score: NIAID


It’s extremely regarding that novel Omicron subvariants are rising at an ordinary fee, in spite of vaccination and prior infection-induced immunity within the majority of the worldwide inhabitants.

In regards to the learn about

Within the provide learn about, researchers used antigenic cartography to quantify and visualize antigenic traits of SARS-CoV-2 variants concomitantly. Researchers broadly use this multi-dimensional scaling option to confirm antigen positions vis-à-vis antiserum samples, each corresponding immediately to neutralizing antibody titers.

They used a SARS-CoV-2 hamster fashion for his or her experiments. First, they inflamed check animals with Omicron BA.5 subvariant, genetically on the subject of Omicron BA.2, however various by way of two deletions and 3 substitutions within the spike (S) amino acid series. Subsequent, they assessed neutralizing antibody titers for all serum samples and variants, together with Omicron BA.5, BM.1.1.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1.

Effects and conclusion

The up to date antigenic map so generated depicted that all of the Omicron subvariants had been situated farther clear of the pre-Omicron subvariants, with one antigenic unit reflecting a two-fold relief in neutralization titers. Particularly, most effective BA.5 and BA.2, being homologous variants, held antigenic positions inside one antigenic unit, while the remainder Omicron subvariants held antigenic positions 2.3 to seven antigenic gadgets further from each and every different.

Additional, the learn about information printed that Omicron BA.5 antiserum samples neutralized BA.2 and BQ.1.1 considerably however now not Omicron BM.1.1.1. Strikingly, not one of the serum samples successfully neutralized Omicron XBB.1. In each two-dimensional (2D) and three-d (three-D) maps, Omicron XBB.1, BM.1.1.1, and BQ.1.1 had been the farthest from all previous variants, without a marked growth with the upper collection of dimensions. The researchers noticed a correlation between antigen map distances and antibody neutralization titers with exceptional accuracy in antigen and serum pattern positioning. Additionally, they famous the easiest relief in neutralizing titers for BQ.1.1, XBB.1, and BM.1.1.1, adopted by way of Omicron BA.5 and BA.1/BA.2 in comparison to the D614G, the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 pressure.

To conclude, not one of the novel Omicron subvariants clustered shut to one another on antigenic maps. So, in spite of the antigenic resemblances between BQ.1.1 and BA.5, immunological imprinting would possibly impede BQ.1.1 neutralization by way of BA.5-based bivalent vaccines. Additionally, a vaccine in line with any of the Omicron subvariants would possibly weakly cross-neutralize yet-to-emerge SARS-CoV-2 variants, which may well be similarly or extra antigenically far-off. Subsequently, it’s important to incessantly map new SARS-CoV-2 variants and expand an figuring out in their evolutionary trajectory to tell the advance of COVID-19 vaccine applicants for the long run.

Magazine reference:

  • Antigenic mapping of rising SARS-CoV-2 omicron variants BM.1.1.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1, Anna Z Mykytyn, Miruna E Rosu, Adinda Kok, Melanie Rissmann, Geert van Amerongen, Corine Geurtsvankessel, Rory D de Vries, Bas B Oude Munnink, Derek J Smith, Marion P G Koopmans, Mart M Lamers, Ron A M Fouchier, Bart L Haagmans, The Lancet Microbe 2023, DOI:,

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