Gretchen Vogel: New Subvariants are masters of immune evasion, in: Science 376, Issue 6594 (May 13, 2022), pp. 679-680, online in: https://www.science.org/doi/epdf/10.1126/science.adc9448.
In her article, Gretchen Vogel highlights the immune invasion of the Omicron sublines. While the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants caused a surge in cases in South Africa, the BA.2.12.1 subvariant is spreading on the East Coast of the United States. All three variants, like earlier Omikron versions, have the remarkable ability to evade immunity acquired through vaccination or infection. However, vaccinations and previous infections at least protect against severe disease in most cases, so while the new strains are an “additional hassle,” they are not a reason to “freak out,” according to immunologist John Moore. However, the fact that the variants had different mutations in the same place was not normal. Researchers suspect that this is a reaction of the virus to the high immunity acquired through the Omicron wave. However, the development of omicron-specific vaccines could not keep up with the evolution of the virus, so a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies might be the best way forward. At present, the price of $1,000 per dose is the main hurdle. It is also certain that future versions will be increasingly capable of immune escape.