Antigenic Map of SARS-CoV-2 Variants Including Omicron
16 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2022 Last revised: 12 Jan 2022
Date Written: December 28, 2021
Although many variants of SARS-CoV-2 have emerged and posed a great threat to public health, we do not know a complete picture of how those variants are alike or different. I here present an antigenic map of 11 major SARS-CoV-2 variants by meta-analyzing data from 21 studies using 39 monoclonal antibodies. The antigenic map found the close antigenicity of the Alpha variant to the original strain, which can explain the maintained vaccine effectiveness for the variant. In contrast, the Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants, which are known to reduce vaccination effectiveness, antigenically diverge from the original strain. Interestingly, antigenic clustering of the variants is associated with mutations at positions 452 and 484 in the spike protein. Furthermore, the map highlights the very unique antigenicity of the Omicron variant. This kind of antigenic map would help prepare for future waves of the COVID-19 epidemic. We need to standardize materials and protocols for rapid systematic assessment of the antigenicity of SARS-CoV-2 emerging variants.
Note: Funding: This work was supported by the Research Program on Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases (grant number 20fk0108451s0301) from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development and by the Leading Initiative for Excellent Young Researchers (16809810) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan.
Declaration of Interests: None to declare.
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