Investigations reveal fundamental changes in the Omicron variant

Latest work by MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research reveals fundamental changes in the Omicron variant.

The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 represents a step-change in the COVID-19 pandemic with record numbers of new daily infections being reported across the globe. However, quite why Omicron is spreading so rapidly remains unknown.

Researchers at the MRC-University of Glasgow Centre for Virus Research have used laboratory experiments and real world infection data to investigate Omicron. Their work has revealed fundamental changes that are likely to be important for Omicron spread and disease.

  • In laboratory tests Omicron is largely unaffected by the antibodies provided by two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, but responses are improved by a third dose booster.
  • Importantly, this is confirmed by analysis of real world infection data; Omicron escape immunity from two vaccine doses, but three doses restores good levels of protection.
  • The work also provides evidence that Omicron has switched its route of entry in to human cells. This is likely to influence Omicron spread and the types of cells it can hijack.

Read the full pre-print available here: Omicron variant pre-print

First published: 28 December 2021

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