Booster dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine required for immune protection against Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, says study

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Additional “booster” doses of Moderna or Pfizer mRNA-based vaccines to provide immunity to the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, according to a study by researchers at the Ragon Institute of MGH. Is required. , MIT and Harvard.Results of this study reported in the journal cellTraditional dosing regimens of the COVID-19 vaccine available in the United States have shown that no antibodies that can recognize and neutralize the Omicron variant are produced.

In late November, South African health officials reported that previously unknown variants of SARS-CoV-2 were rapidly spreading nationwide. Named Omicron by the World Health Organization, this variant will soon prove to be much more contagious than the variant Delta, which previously caused the majority of COVID-19 infections. prize. “People desperately wanted to know if the current vaccine would prevent Omicron,” he said. cell The paper, Alejandro Balazs, Ph.D., and the Ragon Institute’s lab are investigating ways to manipulate immunity against infectious diseases.

To find the answer, Balazs worked with a team that included the lead author of cell Paper, Wilfredo F. Garcia-Beltran, MD, MGH Resident of Clinical Pathology, and Ragon Institute Clinician-Scientist Fellow. The first step was to build a harmless version of Omicron known as the “pseudovirus”. It can be used in the laboratory to evaluate the efficacy of three COVID-19 vaccines available in the United States, including double-dose Pfizer and Modana. Injection and single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The pseudovirus created by Balazs and colleagues is Omicron with 34 mutations in the “peplomer” protein not found in the original strain of SARS-Cov-2, first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Imitated the behavior of. These mutations may be part of the rapid spread of Omicron around the world.

Next, Garcia-Beltran is a Fellow of Hematology Oncology, Vivek Naranbhai, MD, Ph.D. In cooperation with MGH colleagues, including Blood sample From 239 individuals who were completely vaccinated with one of the three COVID-19 vaccines. The survey included employees within the general Brigham healthcare system in Massachusetts and residents of Chelsea, Massachusetts, a community with a high COVID-19 infection rate. “It was important for us to represent diverse groups in our research,” says Garcia-Beltran. This group included 70 men and women who received a third booster of either the Pfizer vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, as recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Blood samples were used to measure how effectively each vaccine induces the production of protective immunity in the form of antibodies against Omicron pseudovirus, delta virus and wild-type virus. The result was impressive. “Neutralization of the Omicron mutant pseudovirus was barely detected when using samples taken from people who had recently received two mRNA vaccines or one Johnson & Johnson vaccination,” Balazs said. I am. “However, individuals who received the mRNA vaccine three times showed very significant neutralization against the Omicron mutant.”

While it is not yet clear why mRNA boosters dramatically improve immune defense against Omicron, Garcia-Beltran is that additional doses create antibodies that bind more strongly to peplomers and increase their effectiveness. Is called. In addition, booster immune doses may produce antibodies that target regions of the peplomer that are common to all forms of SARS-CoV-2. Both theories may be true, says Garcia-Bertrand.

Balazs focuses on triple dose mRNA vaccination The regimen (ie, the conventional two doses and the booster immunization of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine) lowers the level of neutralizing antibody against Omicron somewhat lower than the neutralizing antibody against the COVID-19 wild-type strain or delta variant. However, the results of this study strongly support CDC’s advice that COVID-19 booster shots are appropriate for people 16 years and older and that mRNA vaccines are preferred.

Balazs is a Principal Researcher at the Ragon Institute and an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School. Garcia-Beltran recently set up its own laboratory at the Ragon Institute.


New evidence that boosters may be important for protection from Omicron


For more information:
Wilfredo F. Garcia-Beltran et al, an mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine booster, induces neutralizing immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 omicron variant. cell (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.cell.2021.12.033

Journal information:
cell

Quote: Booster dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine required for immune defense against Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 was obtained from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2022-01-on January 6, 2022. According to a study (January 6, 2022), booster-dose-mrna-covid-vaccine.html

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