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Omicron variant is resistant to vaccines, antibody treatments and boosters, study says

The omicron variant can break through vaccine and treatments, according to new research

An illustration of the omicron variant, the COVID-19 vaccine and COVID-19 treatments.
A study says the omicron variant can break through vaccine and treatments
Photo illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

A new study from researchers at Columbia University suggests the omicron variant of COVID-19 is “markedly resistant” to the current COVID-19 vaccines, antibody treatments and booster shots, raising concern from experts about what’s to come from the variant in the coming weeks.

“We found (omicron) to be markedly resistant to neutralization by serum not only from convalescent patients, but also from individuals vaccinated with one of the four widely used COVID-19 vaccines. Even serum from persons vaccinated and boosted with mRNA-based vaccines exhibited substantially diminished neutralizing activity against B.1.1.529,” the study, which was done by researchers at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the University of Hong Kong.

The Columbia University study — which has not been peer-reviewed or edited for a scientific journal, meaning it is not conclusive data — found that monoclonal antibody cocktails are ineffective against omicron, too.

  • And natural antibodies from previous COVID-19 infections don’t help stop the virus, either, according to the study.
  • However, the study still recommends vaccination and booster shots to stay safe from the coronavirus variant.

Indeed, early data and research about the omicron variant suggest the omicron variant has led to less severe COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalizations among those infected with the virus, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • But the new COVID-19 variant can also evade COVID-19 vaccines, leading to breakthrough infections among the fully vaccinated. In fact, double-vaccinated people without a booster shot were shown to be at risk for infection from omicron.

Still, experts recommend grabbing that vaccination and booster shot to stay safe from omicron.

  • “Our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus.