Previous COVID-19 infection cannot protect kids from omicron

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Scientists from Boston Children’s Hospital found evidence that children who previously had COVID-19 (or the inflammatory condition MIS-C) are not protected against the newer omicron variant.

They also found vaccination does afford protection.

The research is published in Nature Communications and was conducted by Adrienne Randolph et al.

In the study, the team obtained blood samples from 62 children and adolescents hospitalized with severe COVID-19, 65 children and adolescents hospitalized with MIS-C, and 50 outpatients who had recovered from mild COVID-19.

All the samples were taken during 2020 and early 2021, before the emergence of the omicron variant.

In the laboratory, the team exposed the samples to a pseudovirus (derived from SARS-CoV-2, but stripped of its virulence), and measured how well antibodies in the samples were able to neutralize five different SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern: alpha, beta, gamma, delta, and omicron.

Overall, children and adolescents showed some loss of antibody cross-neutralization against all five variants, but the loss was most pronounced for omicron.

The team found that antibodies produced by prior infections in children don’t neutralize omicron, meaning that unvaccinated children remain susceptible to omicron.

Omicron is very different from previous variants, with many mutations on the spike protein, and this work confirms that it is able to evade the antibody response.

In contrast, children who had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine showed higher neutralizing antibody levels against the five variants, including omicron.

The team hopes these data will encourage parents to have their children and teens vaccinated.

If you care about COVID, please read studies about new antibody treatment for COVID-19, and COVID-19 vaccines need to be shored up with a plant-based diet.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about the key to suppressing COVID-19, and results showing green tea may protect your body as a vaccine.

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