Waning COVID super-immunity raises questions about Omicron

Source: Nature


‘Super-immunity’ might not be so super after all. New research1 suggests that protection against the SARS-CoV-2 virus slides over time even in people who have experienced both SARS-CoV-2 infection and had vaccines against it, a combination that initially provides hyper-charged immunity. The research, which has not yet been peer reviewed, was conducted before the Omicron variant emerged. But it sharpens questions about how well ‘super-immunity’ — also known as hybrid immunity — will fare against the latest iteration of the coronavirus.

Scientists are now racing to learn how much Omicron eludes immunity conferred by infection or vaccination. Preliminary results from laboratory studies suggest that vaccination and super-immunity offer some protection against the variant, and that super-immunity might offer more than jabs alone2,3,4 (this work has not yet been peer-reviewed).

However, previous evidence shows that the available vaccines’ potency against other coronavirus variants gradually dwindles, and public health officials say that Omicron's spread has heightened the need for people to receive a booster dose. Whether hybrid immunity will prove more durable than vaccines against Omicron is not yet known.