Immune Evasion of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Subvariants

Vaccines (Basel). 2022 Sep 16;10(9):1545. doi: 10.3390/vaccines10091545.


Since the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) was declared a variant of concern (VOC) by the WHO on 24 November 2021, it has caused another global surge of cases. With extensive mutations in its spike glycoprotein, Omicron gained substantial capabilities to evade the antiviral immunity provided by vaccination, hybrid immunity, or monoclonal antibodies. The Omicron subvariants BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 extended this immune evasion capability by having additional unique mutations in their respective spike proteins. The ongoing Omicron wave and emergence of new Omicron subvariants leads to additional concerns regarding the efficacy of the current antiviral measurements. To have a better understanding of the Omicron subvariants, this review summarizes reports of the immune evasion of subvariants BA.1, BA.2, BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 as well as the molecular basis of immune evasion.

Keywords: Omicron; Omicron subvariants; SARS-CoV-2; immune evasion; molecular basis; spike mutation.