Vaccine-Induced Immune Response to Omicron Decreased Significantly: Federally Supported Study

A study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that the COVID-19 vaccine-induced antibody response against Omicron subvariants declines significantly over time.

Immune responses to multiple Omicron subvariants “decreased significantly” among “all groups” of individuals who received either the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine plus a booster dose, or combinations of different vaccines. Levels of neutralizing antibodies dropped up to five times three months after receiving the booster, the NIH said in a study press release earlier this week.

All vaccine combinations provided high levels of neutralizing antibodies against the original Omicron BA.1 subline which was first reported in the fall of 2021. However, those who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the booster saw low levels of antibodies against BA.1, according to the NIH.

But when the Omicron BA.2.12.1 as well as BA.4/BA.5 subvariants appeared earlier this year, all vaccines performed poorly after three months compared to the BA.1 strain, the researchers said. The vaccines offered even less protection against the subvariants than their ancestral strain of COVID-19 known as D614G, they found.

“The Omicron BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 sublines were 1.5 and 2.5 times less sensitive to neutralization, respectively, compared to the BA.1 subline, and 7, 5 and 12.4 times less susceptible compared to the ancestral D614G strain,” the NIH wrote, noting that the BA.5 subvariant is currently the dominant variant in the United States.

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The researchers, who published their findings in Cell Reports Medicine on July 19 and received virtually no mainstream media coverage so far, said they had administered COVID-19 vaccines to adults who had previously received one of three vaccines available to people at the time. . They assessed six separate groups with about 50 participants per vaccine group who either received the initial vaccine regimen and the same booster or mixed and matched vaccines and boosters.

Ultimately, they concluded that “the immune response to Omicron sublines shows reduced susceptibility to these rapidly emerging subvariants,” according to the NIH release. “The data could be used to inform decisions about future vaccination schedule recommendations, including the need to boost vaccine variants.”

Between 29 days and 91 days after receiving the booster, neutralizing antibodies in all groups decreased “by 2.4 to 5.3 times for Omicron and no more than 2.4 times for the (ancestral) D614G variant”, wrote the researchers.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a study which found that the effectiveness of booster doses of the vaccine dropped by less than 50% after four months against COVID-19 subvariants. . Moderna’s and Pfizer’s mRNA vaccines provided only 51% protection against COVID-19-related urgent care encounters, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations while the Omicron BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 were spreading in the United States, he found.

After about 150 days, the effectiveness of the vaccines fell to 12%, according to the study.

COVID-19 is caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, sometimes called SARS-CoV-2.

Jack Phillips

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Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.

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