Characterization of SARS-CoV-2 recombinants and emerging Omicron sublineages

Int J Med Sci. 2023 Jan 1;20(1):151-162. doi: 10.7150/ijms.79116. eCollection 2023.


The SARS-CoV-2 Omicron is currently the predominant circulating variant in the COVID-19 pandemic. The dominating Omicron sublineages respond to host immune pressure and develop advantageous mutations or genetic recombination, which result in variants that are more contagious or better at escaping immune responses in response to previous infection or vaccination. Meanwhile, multiple genetic recombination events have been reported in coinfection cases, the majority of which have resulted from the recombination between co-circulating Omicron BA.1 (or BA.1.1) and Delta variant or BA.2. Here, we review the knowledge and characterization of recombination for SARS-CoV-2 at the population level, provide an update on the occurrence of newly circulating Omicron sublineages, and discuss the effectiveness of novel vaccines/therapeutic drugs against the Omicron variant.

Keywords: BA.5; COVID-19; Omicron; SARS-CoV-2; recombinant; vaccine.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Coinfection*
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics

Supplementary concepts

  • SARS-CoV-2 variants