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COVID variants in US evade bivalent vaccination by 3X to 13X – Cell Dec 13, 2022

Alarming antibody evasion properties of rising SARS-CoV-2 BQ and XBB subvariants

Qian Wang 8, Sho Iketani 8. Zhiteng Li 8, Aubree Gordon, Lihong Liu, David D. Ho 7
Cell Dec 13, 2022 DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2022.12.018


  • BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 are the most resistant SARS-CoV-2 variants to date
  • Serum neutralization was markedly reduced, including with the bivalent booster
  • All clinical monoclonal antibodies were rendered inactive against these variants
  • The ACE2 affinity of these variants were similar to their parental strains

The BQ and XBB subvariants of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron are now rapidly expanding, possibly due to altered antibody evasion properties deriving from their additional spike mutations. Here, we report that neutralization of BQ.1, BQ.1.1, XBB, and XBB.1 by sera from vaccinees and infected persons was markedly impaired, including sera from individuals boosted with a WA1/BA.5 bivalent mRNA vaccine.
Titers against BQ and XBB subvariants were lower by 13-81-fold and 66-155-fold, respectively, far beyond what had been observed to date. Monoclonal antibodies capable of neutralizing the original Omicron variant were largely inactive against these new subvariants, and the responsible individual spike mutations were identified. These subvariants were found to have similar ACE2-binding affinities as their predecessors. Together, our findings indicate that BQ and XBB subvariants present serious threats to current COVID-19 vaccines, render inactive all authorized antibodies, and may have gained dominance in the population because of their advantage in evading antibodies.

Clipped from PDF: “barely susceptible to neutralization”
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Attached files

ID Name Comment Uploaded Size Downloads
18994 Bi-valent actual.jpg admin 17 Dec, 2022 66.88 Kb 321
18993 CELL evade_CompressPdf.pdf admin 17 Dec, 2022 1.35 Mb 145