B Cells' Effects Weakened but Not Defeated by Omicron
(Reuters) – The effects of antibodies produced by memory B cells against Omicron, while weakened, could still be significant, researchers say.
The effects of antibodies produced by memory B cells against the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, while weakened, could still be significant, researchers believe.
Once the body learns to recognize SARS-CoV-2, either after infection or vaccination, memory B cells generate fresh antibodies against the virus if there are not already enough antibodies circulating in the blood that can neutralize it. In a study reported on bioRxiv ahead of peer review, researchers analyzed the strength of more than 300 antibodies produced by memory B cells obtained from vaccinated volunteers, including some who had a prior SARS-CoV-2 infection.
“Omicron seemed to evade a very large share of the memory B cells pool,” but it “seems to still be efficiently recognized by 30% of total antibodies and close to 10% of all potent neutralizing antibodies,” said Matthieu Mahevas and Pascal Chappert of Universite de Paris in a joint email. Memory B cells’ robust ability to proliferate and produce antibodies might compensate “in less than two days” for those antibodies’ reduced effectiveness, they speculate.
In combination with other immune system components, particularly T cells, the effects of B cells likely help to explain why most vaccinated individuals who become infected do not become sick enough to require hospitalization, they said.
SOURCE: https://bit.ly/3pOcLRt bioRxiv, online December 22, 2021.