Omicron neutralizing antibody response following booster vaccination compared with breakthrough infection

Marcel E. Curlin, Timothy A. Bates, Gaelen Guzman, Devin Schoen, Savannah K. McBride, Samuel D. Carpenter, Fikadu G. Tafesse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background: The spread of the vaccine-resistant Omicron severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants threatens unvaccinated and fully vaccinated individuals, and accelerated booster vaccination campaigns are underway to mitigate the ongoing wave of Omicron cases. The immunity provided by standard vaccine regimens, boosted regimens, and immune responses elicited by vaccination plus natural infection remain incompletely understood. The magnitude, quality, and durability of serological responses, and the likelihood of protection against future SARS-CoV-2 variants following these modes of exposure, are poorly characterized but are critical to the future trajectory of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Methods: Ninety-nine individuals were semi-randomly selected from a larger vaccination cohort following vaccination and, in some cases, breakthrough infection. We analyzed spike receptor-binding domain-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG), IgA, and IgM by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, neutralizing antibody titers against live SARS-CoV-2 variants, and antibody-dependent cell-mediated phagocytosis. Findings: In 99 vaccinated adults, compared with responses after two doses of an mRNA regimen, the immune responses 3 months after a third vaccine dose and 1 month after breakthrough infection due to prior variants show dramatic increases in magnitude, potency, and breadth, including increased antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis and robust neutralization of the currently circulating Omicron BA.2 variant. Conclusions: Boosters and natural infection substantially boost immune responses. As the number of Omicron sub-variant cases rise and as global vaccination and booster campaigns continue, an increasing proportion of the world's population will acquire potent immune responses that may be protective against future SARS-CoV-2 variants. Funding: This work was funded by the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust, the OHSU Foundation, the NIH (T32HL083808), and OHSU Innovative IDEA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)827-837.e3
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 9 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Omicron
  • Translation to patients
  • antibody
  • breakthrough infection
  • immunity
  • neutralization
  • vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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