New COVID Subvariant Resistant to All Therapeutic Antibodies

Coronavirus Mutation COVID Variant

Researchers discovered that neither individual antibodies nor antibody cocktails were able to neutralize the Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1.

The findings indicate that new antibody therapies must be developed.

Are the currently approved antibody therapies used to treat patients who have a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 disease also effective against the viral variants that are currently in circulation? According to a new study conducted by scientists at the German Primate Center (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research and Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Omicron sub-lineage BQ.1.1, which is on the rise globally, is resistant to all approved antibody therapies.

An immune response is triggered as a consequence of infection with the SARS coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) or a COVID-19 vaccination, resulting in the development of neutralizing antibodies that help guard against (re)infection with SARS-CoV-2 or a severe course of the disease. By attaching to the viral spike protein, neutralizing antibodies provide protection and stop the virus from entering cells.

Efficiacy of Clinically Used Antibody Therapies Approved by EMA and FDY

The Omicron subvariants BA.1, BA.4, BA.5 as well as Q.1.1 have a high number of mutations in the spike protein. Some of these mutations are escape mutations that allow the virus to escape neutralization by antibodies. In addition, resistance to biotechnologically produced antibodies, which are administered to high-risk patients as a preventive measure or as therapy for a diagnosed SARS-CoV-2 infection, is also developing. Omicron sub-lineage BQ.1.1 is the first variant resistant to all antibody therapies currently approved by the EMA (European Medicines Agency) and/or FDA (US Food and Drug Administration). Credit: Markus Hoffmann, Deutsches Primatenzentrum

However, certain SARS-CoV-2 variants, notably the Omicron variant, avoid neutralizing antibodies and cause symptomatic infections even in vaccinated or convalescent individuals due to mutations in the spike protein. This is known as immune evasion, and it poses a hazard to high-risk populations including the elderly and people with weakened immune systems, for example, due to illness or medication.

They often fail to develop an immune response sufficient for protection from severe disease, even after full vaccination. To protect high-risk patients, biotechnologically produced antibodies are administered as a preventive measure or as an early therapy upon confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Mutations in the spike protein of different SARS-CoV-2 variants confer resistance to individual antibody therapies. Therefore, it is important to regularly monitor whether therapeutic antibodies continue to be effective against currently circulating viral variants.

A team of researchers from the Infection Biology Unit at the German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research and the Division of Molecular Immunology at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg has investigated how efficiently approved antibody therapies inhibit the currently circulating Omicron subvariants. The researchers found that the Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1, which is on the rise worldwide, is resistant to all available antibody therapies.

“For our studies, we mixed non-propagating viral particles carrying the spike protein of selected viral variants with different dilutions of the antibodies to be tested and subsequently measured the amount of antibody needed to inhibit infection of cell cultures. In total, we tested twelve individual antibodies, six of which are approved for clinical use in Europe, and four antibody cocktails” explains Prerna Arora, lead author of the study.

The researchers found that the Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 could not be neutralized by either individual antibodies or antibody cocktails. In contrast, the currently predominant Omicron subvariant BA.5 was still neutralized by one approved antibody and two approved antibody cocktails.

“With high-risk patients in mind, we are very concerned about the Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 being resistant to all approved antibody therapies. Particularly in regions where BQ.1.1 is widespread, physicians should not rely on antibody therapies alone when treating infected high-risk patients, but should also consider administering other drugs such as paxlovid or molnupiravir,” comments study leader Markus Hoffmann on the results of the study.

The finding that the Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 is already resistant to a new antibody therapy that is about to be approved in the U.S. highlights the importance of developing new antibody therapies against COVID-19.

“The ever-increasing development of antibody resistance of SARS-CoV-2 variants calls for the development of new antibody therapies that are specifically targeted to currently circulating and future viral variants. Ideally, they should target regions in the spike protein that have little potential for escape mutations,” concludes Stefan Pöhlmann, head of the Infection Biology Unit at the German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research.

Reference: “Omicron sublineage BQ.1.1 resistance to monoclonal antibodies” by Prerna Arora, Amy Kempf, Inga Nehlmeier, Sebastian R Schulz, Hans-Martin Jäck, Stefan Pöhlmann and Markus Hoffmann, 18 November 2022, The Lancet Infectious Diseases.
DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(22)00733-2

11 Comments on "New COVID Subvariant Resistant to All Therapeutic Antibodies"

  1. Why am I NOT surprised?

  2. From the story: “The finding that the Omicron subvariant BQ.1.1 is already resistant to a new antibody therapy that is about to be approved in the U.S. highlights the importance of developing new antibody therapies against COVID-19.”

    If this refers to bebtelovimab, an update is in order: (“FDA Announces Bebtelovimab is Not Currently Authorized in Any US Region”). They’re on it.

  3. I learned from lambs sick with sheep pneumonia virus that lung infection resulting in lungs filling with moisture is effectively treated by lowering air temp to similar to fridge temperatures… I think it works similar to how a fridge slows down activity, and the lower temp air can take more water with it as it warms up in the lungs similar to how a dehumidifier works

  4. Just 4 more additional boosters required!

    Remember it only works if EVERYONE TAKES IT.

    LOL, drink the Kool-Aid suckers

    • I am astounded by the number of people who apparently know little about anything, yet are absolutely convinced that they know more than experienced physicians. It seems that their ‘knowledge’ comes from having read something somewhere, written perhaps by a crank or religious zealot, and is not based on any statistical, double-blind studies.

      The reason that people quit using home remedies, paying a witch doctor, or relying on prayer, is that people weren’t satisfied with the results. Thus, the field of medicine, using the Scientific Method, was born.

      I suspect that you are setting yourself up for a Posthumous Darwin Award. However, you may be lucky and either have a natural immunity, or not come across sufficient viruses to become seriously ill. If that is the case, the anecdotal evidence will convince you that you are smarter than all the bright people who spend a decade getting an MD. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m not going to be swayed by some anonymous person whose best ‘evidence’ is ridicule. You do yourself and society a disservice by trying to convince others that you are qualified to practice medicine when you apparently spend more time swatting small fuzzy balls than you do reading medical journals.

      • While I agree with the general sentiment, answering ridicule with ridicule and exaggeration is unproductive.

        Even if he is over 85, he would still only have a 1/3 chance of dying if infected and not vaccinated. You make it sound like it is all but guaranteed he will go belly up. Statements such as his have killed tens of thousands. If he wants that on his conscience, and he wants to answer for it when he meets his maker, that is his burden.

  5. We need to take health more seriously. We need to stop smoking, including pot. Stop drinking. Get active. Eat healthy (low in Advanced Glycation End-products(AGEs). Lots of fruits, and vegetables, raw seeds and nuts, whole grains, dairy minus butter and hard cheeses, more soups, and stews. Get enough iodine. No bacon. No hot dogs. No peperoni. No fried meats. No grilling. Eat oatmeal and other whole grains. Forget the overly processed breakfast cereals. If you are going to eat pizza, eat slow cooked rather than from high temperature commercial ovens). Get to a healthy weight (for elderly, a few extra pounds is just fine). Sauna. High Intensity Interval Training. Weight training. Cardio. Just being on our feet for 3+ hours a day and taking 5,000 steps a day. Get regular quality sleep. Avoid breathing dirty air. Use HEPA air filters, but don’t use ionizers. Take care of your teeth, and get them fixed if they need fixed. Keep your feet healthy. Bathe well. You don’t want bacteria flourishing in the skin folds. Be careful when handing animal waste, and don’t let the litter boxes go too long before changing. Avoid lead exposure…even small amounts can shorten life. Grape, rice, yam, carrot and chocolate products should probably be avoided because of lead. Alternatives: cranberry, wild rice, butternut squash, pumpkin, carob, coffee, and green tea. A recent paper suggests that the combination of glycine and NAC can restore youthful glutathione levels, which could benefit the health of the elderly quite a bit. Collagen Peptides also appear to do good things. Oh, random unhealthy foods no one talks about: Saigon Cinnamon (the type they put in all the commercial cinnamon products), if you like cinnamon, use Ceylon Cinnamon. Pine nuts. Don’t know why, but pine nuts have very high AGEs. Black licorice/licorice teas. Licorice naturally has a neurotoxin called glycyrrhizin. Very bad in pregnancy, but probably bad generally as well.

  6. I don’t trust the hastily put together experimental shot which Gov’t nor pharma are responsible for fallouts. But ridicule never chgd anyone’s mind as for @clydeSpencer thoughts that MDs know everything is also a bit of a stretch. Esp in this pandemic of fear where science ceased to be praticed and dialogue censored, propaganda shines through for critical thinkers. Never before have something experimental been forced upon the world or ELSE! Other alternative meds outright banned, even though proven that it worked. A pcr test that doesn’t prove that a specific virus is present but only that there are corona type dead cells present and could have been from months previous. Independent Doctors, researchers, immunologists etc threatened or lost their licenses bc they saw a threat and am agenda when they flwed the money. Big tech media shutting down true stories and burying them. Shots not preventing anyone from getting sick and seems like shots make it worse. People dying suddenly. So many that now we have SADs! Pharma, big tech, & media are running our countries not govt. Flw the money and politicians and lobby groups are in each other’s pockets too. Being religious does not mean one is brain dead. In fact, it means take care of your body, mind, and soul as it is made to take care of you. Research your articles and then look to see if the doctors have conflict of interests. Like they work for a media or pharma company, are sitting on boards that pay their salaries or connected to orgs that have vested interest in the shots. You will be surprised how many of the top people in all big orgs are holding hands and making sure one narrative is pushed.

  7. Another pretty useless Mickey Mouse article and who believes this anymore?
    It’s really simple, eat well, take care of yourself by staying at a healthy weight thru exercise and stop reading B.S articles like this.

  8. covid new subvariant, it’s purposeful and successful.
    whuan virus gain in function is intended by creators.

  9. Howard Jeffrey Bender, Ph.D. | December 26, 2022 at 10:47 am | Reply

    This article notes that the variants have different spikes and our vaccines are rather spike-specific. The real problem is within the virus shell, not in the spikes. The virus inside the shell has nucleotide strings that match important parts of human tRNA, one of the few components that can enter the cell nucleus. Getting into the nucleus is how the virus may depress our immune system, letting the virus run rampant. In this particular case, I’ve found that the omicron variants have more ways to get into the cell nucleus than any of the other Covid-19 types, and than any other coronavirus. More specifics can be found in the YouTube, “Coronavirus – Using Your DNA Against You”

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