The new omicron sublines BA.4 and BA.5 are designed to drastically reduce antibody production from previous infections and vaccinations. That’s according to a new study from the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa.
Blood samples from people infected with the original omicron variant showed an eight-fold decrease in antibody production when infected with one of the new omicron sublines.
“The low absolute neutralization values for BA.4 and BA.5, particularly in the unvaccinated group, probably do not protect well against symptomatic infection,” said the researchers of the study, which has yet to be peer-reviewed. Postscript: “This could indicate that BA.4 and BA.5 have the potential to lead to a new wave of infection due to the neutralization flight.”
Samples from 24 transvaccinated individuals who were already infected with the original omicron variant were tested for the study.
In addition, samples from 15 people who received the vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and seven people who received the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson were examined. Result: The vaccinated persons were significantly better protected by a factor of 5.