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Durable reprogramming of neutralizing antibody responses following Omicron breakthrough infection
Wen Shi Lee and Hyon-Xhi Tan et al
Science Advances; DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.adg5301
Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) breakthrough infection of vaccinated individuals is increasingly common with the circulation of highly immune evasive and transmissible Omicron variants. Here, we report the dynamics and durability of recalled spike-specific humoral immunity following Omicron BA.1 or BA.2 breakthrough infection, with longitudinal sampling up to 8 months after infection. Both BA.1 and BA.2 infections robustly boosted neutralization activity against the infecting strain while expanding breadth against BA.4, although neutralization activity was substantially reduced for the more recent XBB and BQ.1.1 strains. Cross-reactive memory B cells against both ancestral and Omicron spike were predominantly expanded by infection, with limited recruitment of de novo Omicron-specific B cells or antibodies. Modeling of neutralization titers predicts that protection from symptomatic reinfection against antigenically similar strains will be durable but is undermined by new emerging strains with further neutralization escape.