Resistant to antibodies: Omikron BQ.1.1. requires new therapies

In Germany and other countries, the corona subvariant Omicron BQ.

Resistant to antibodies: Omikron BQ.1.1. requires new therapies

In Germany and other countries, the corona subvariant Omicron BQ.1.1 is gaining in importance. Analyzes have shown that all currently approved antibody therapies do not work on her.

New therapies are apparently necessary for the treatment of the corona subvariant Omicron BQ.1.1. All currently approved antibody therapies did not work on her, said the German Primate Center in Göttingen. The analysis by scientists from the facility and the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg is presented in the journal "The Lancet Infectious Diseases".

Especially in regions where BQ.1.1 is widespread, doctors should not rely solely on antibody therapies when treating infected high-risk patients, but should also consider other drugs such as Paxlovid, said study leader Markus Hoffmann. In addition, new antibody therapies would have to be developed. Antibodies should bind to the corona virus where the so-called spike protein docks on human cells. This is to prevent the viruses from penetrating human cells and thus multiplying.

In its latest weekly report, the Robert Koch Institute pointed to a quadrupling of the new virus variant in Germany within the past four weeks. The proportion of the pathogen was therefore eight percent. In their laboratory studies on cell cultures, the researchers found that BQ.1.1 could not be neutralized either by individual antibodies or by antibody cocktails. Other subtypes were already immune to some preparations. The cause of the resistance is mutations in the spike protein of the coronavirus, it said. This mutation makes it harder for antibodies to attack the virus.

"The ever-increasing resistance development of Sars-CoV-2 variants makes it necessary to develop new antibody therapies that are particularly tailored to the currently circulating and future virus variants," explained Stefan Pöhlmann, head of the Infection Biology department at the Primate Center. "Ideally, they should target regions in the spike protein that have little potential for escape mutations."

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