Neutralization, effector function and immune imprinting of Omicron variants

Amin Addetia, Luca Piccoli, James Brett Case, Young Jun Park, Martina Beltramello, Barbara Guarino, Ha Dang, Guilherme Dias de Melo, Dora Pinto, Kaitlin Sprouse, Suzanne M. Scheaffer, Jessica Bassi, Chiara Silacci-Fregni, Francesco Muoio, Marco Dini, Lucia Vincenzetti, Rima Acosta, Daisy Johnson, Sambhavi Subramanian, Christian SalibaMartina Giurdanella, Gloria Lombardo, Giada Leoni, Katja Culap, Carley McAlister, Anushka Rajesh, Exequiel Dellota, Jiayi Zhou, Nisar Farhat, Dana Bohan, Julia Noack, Alex Chen, Florian A. Lempp, Joel Quispe, Lauriane Kergoat, Florence Larrous, Elisabetta Cameroni, Bradley Whitener, Olivier Giannini, Pietro Cippà, Alessandro Ceschi, Paolo Ferrari, Alessandra Franzetti-Pellanda, Maira Biggiogero, Christian Garzoni, Stephanie Zappi, Luca Bernasconi, Min Jeong Kim, Laura E. Rosen, Gretja Schnell, Nadine Czudnochowski, Fabio Benigni, Nicholas Franko, Jennifer K. Logue, Courtney Yoshiyama, Cameron Stewart, Helen Chu, Hervé Bourhy, Michael A. Schmid, Lisa A. Purcell, Gyorgy Snell, Antonio Lanzavecchia, Michael S. Diamond, Davide Corti, David Veesler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Currently circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants have acquired convergent mutations at hot spots in the receptor-binding domain1 (RBD) of the spike protein. The effects of these mutations on viral infection and transmission and the efficacy of vaccines and therapies remains poorly understood. Here we demonstrate that recently emerged BQ.1.1 and XBB.1.5 variants bind host ACE2 with high affinity and promote membrane fusion more efficiently than earlier Omicron variants. Structures of the BQ.1.1, XBB.1 and BN.1 RBDs bound to the fragment antigen-binding region of the S309 antibody (the parent antibody for sotrovimab) and human ACE2 explain the preservation of antibody binding through conformational selection, altered ACE2 recognition and immune evasion. We show that sotrovimab binds avidly to all Omicron variants, promotes Fc-dependent effector functions and protects mice challenged with BQ.1.1 and hamsters challenged with XBB.1.5. Vaccine-elicited human plasma antibodies cross-react with and trigger effector functions against current Omicron variants, despite a reduced neutralizing activity, suggesting a mechanism of protection against disease, exemplified by S309. Cross-reactive RBD-directed human memory B cells remained dominant even after two exposures to Omicron spikes, underscoring the role of persistent immune imprinting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)592-601
Number of pages10
Issue number7979
StatePublished - Sep 21 2023


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