SARS-CoV-2 Variant Exposures Elicit Antibody Responses With Differential Cross-Neutralization of Established and Emerging Strains Including Delta and Omicron

J Infect Dis. 2022 Jun 1;225(11):1909-1914. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiab635.


The wide spectrum of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants with phenotypes impacting transmission and antibody sensitivity necessitates investigation of immune responses to different spike protein versions. Here, we compare neutralization of variants of concern, including B.1.617.2 (delta) and B.1.1.529 (omicron), in sera from individuals exposed to variant infection, vaccination, or both. We demonstrate that neutralizing antibody responses are strongest against variants sharing certain spike mutations with the immunizing exposure, and exposure to multiple spike variants increases breadth of variant cross-neutralization. These findings contribute to understanding relationships between exposures and antibody responses and may inform booster vaccination strategies.

Keywords: B.1.1.529 (omicron); B.1.617.2 (delta); COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; antibody escape; immune exposure; natural infection; neutralization; vaccination; variant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antibody Formation
  • COVID-19*
  • Humans
  • SARS-CoV-2* / genetics
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus / genetics


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants