The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant has raised concerns of escape from vaccine-induced immunity. A number of studies have demonstrated a reduction in antibody-mediated neutralization of the Omicron variant in vaccinated individuals. Preliminary observations have suggested that T cells are less likely to be affected by changes in Omicron. However, the complexity of human leukocyte antigen genetics and its impact upon immunodominant T cell epitope selection suggests that the maintenance of T cell immunity may not be universal. In this study, we describe the impact that changes in Omicron BA.1, BA.2 and BA.3 have on recognition by spike-specific T cells. These T cells constitute the immunodominant CD8+ T cell response in HLA-A*29:02+ COVID-19 convalescent and vaccinated individuals; however, they fail to recognize the Omicron-encoded sequence. These observations demonstrate that in addition to evasion of antibody-mediated immunity, changes in Omicron variants can also lead to evasion of recognition by immunodominant T cell responses.

Fuente: Nature Communications

Published: 27 October 2022