Neutralization against Omicron variant in transplant recipients after three doses of mRNA vaccine

Am J Transplant. 2022 Aug;22(8):2089-2093. doi: 10.1111/ajt.17020. Epub 2022 Mar 21.


The SARS-CoV-2 virus Omicron variant has now supplanted wild-type virus as the dominant circulating strain globally. Three doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine are recommended for transplant recipients as their primary vaccine series. However, the immunogenicity of mRNA vaccines as they specifically relate to the Omicron variant are not well studied. We analyzed Omicron-specific neutralization in transplant recipients after three-doses of mRNA-1273 vaccine. Neutralization was determined using a SARS-CoV-2 spike pseudotyped lentivirus assay with constructs for Omicron and Delta variants. A total of 60 transplant patients (kidney, kidney-pancreas, lung, heart, liver) were analyzed 1 month and 3 months after completion of three doses of mRNA-1273. At 1 month, 11/60 (18.3%) patients had detectable neutralizing antibody responses to Omicron (log10 ID50 of 2.38 [range 1.34-3.57]). At 3 months, 8/51 (15.7%) were positive (median log10 ID50 [1.68; range 1.12-3.61; approximate fivefold reduction over time]). The proportion of positive patients was lower for Omicron versus wild-type, and Omicron vs. Delta (p < .001). No demographic variables were found to be significantly associated with Omicron response. Many patients with a positive anti-RBD response still had undetectable Omicron-specific neutralizing antibody. In conclusion, three doses of mRNA vaccine results in poor neutralizing responses against the Omicron variant in transplant patients.

Keywords: infection and infectious agents-viral: SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19; infectious disease; translational research/science; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273* / immunology
  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Neutralization Tests
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • Transplant Recipients*


  • Antibodies, Neutralizing
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus
  • spike protein, SARS-CoV-2
  • 2019-nCoV Vaccine mRNA-1273

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants

Grant support