Emerging Omicron Variant Exhibits Increased Vaccine Sensitivity

Research by KPSOM faculty shows lower odds of contracting variant, hospitalization

July 13, 2023

KPSOM faculty members (from left to right): Dr. Sara Y. Tartof and Dr. Bruno Lewin

KPSOM faculty members (from left to right): Dr. Sara Y. Tartof and Dr. Bruno Lewin

Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine (KPSOM) faculty members Bruno Lewin, MD, DTMH, and Sara Y. Tartof, PhD, MPH, have coauthored a study highlighting the increased vaccine sensitivity of an emerging Omicron lineage of COVID-19 known as XBB/XBB.1.5. The research shows a divergence in the ability of this variant to evade immunity derived from both vaccination and previous infection. 

After analyzing data from over 31,000 cases, the study revealed that cases infected with the XBB/XBB.1.5 variant had lower odds of prior COVID-19 vaccine receipt compared to cases infected with other lineages. The odds were also progressively lower with a higher number of vaccine doses received. Additionally, prior vaccination also appeared to lower the odds of hospitalization for cases of the XBB/XBB.1.5 variant compared to cases without it. 

“Our unique ability to ask complex questions about infection versus vaccine-derived immunity is in large part due to the strong partnerships possible within Kaiser Permanente’s integrated health care system,” said Dr. Tartof. “Our partnership with laboratory teams allowed us to define variant type, while our robust electronic health records allowed us to look at important clinical and demographic variables in our diverse patient population in a way few other research organizations can even dream of.” 

Read the article here .