The emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant with a surprising number of spike mutations raises concerns about reduced sensitivity of this virus to antibody neutralization and subsequent vaccine breakthrough infections. Here, we infect Moderna mRNA-vaccinated or previously infected hamsters with the Omicron BA.1 variant. While the Moderna mRNA vaccine reduces viral loads in the respiratory tissues upon challenge with an early S-614G isolate, the vaccine efficacy is not as pronounced after infection with the Omicron variant. Previous infection with the early SARS-CoV-2 isolate prevents replication after re-challenge with either virus in the lungs of previously infected hamsters, but the Omicron variant replicates efficiently in nasal turbinate tissue. These results experimentally demonstrate in an animal model that the antigenic changes in the Omicron variant are responsible for vaccine breakthrough and re-infection.

Fuente: Cell Reports
Available online 28 March 2022, 110688
In Press, Journal Pre-proof