Consistent neutralization of circulating omicron sub-variants by hybrid immunity up to 6 months after booster vaccination

Allen K. L. Cheung*, Yingying Lu, Yufang Zhu, Tsz Yan Fung, Yulan Zheng, Zhihua Zheng, Peng Hong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The current COVID-19 vaccination program requires frequent booster vaccination to maintain sufficient neutralization levels against immune evasive SARS-CoV-2 variants. However, prior studies found more potent and durable immune response in convalescing individuals, raising the possibility of less frequent booster vaccination for them. Here, we conducted a longitudinal immunological study based on two prospective cohorts of booster vaccinated convalescing COVID-19 patients or healthcare workers (HCW) without COVID-19 history in Xiangyang, China. Comparing to 1-month post-boosting, pseudovirus neutralization titers (pVNT50) of ancestral Wuhan-Hu-1 and circulating omicron sub-variants BA.5, BF.7, BA.4.6, BA.2.75, and BA.2.75.2 spikes were stable or even increased in convalescing samples at 6-month post-boosting, when HCW samples showed substantial drop of neutralization titers across the spectrum. Variant-to-Wuhan-Hu-1 pVNT50 ratios showed no significant variation during the 17 months from pre-vaccination to 6-month post-boosting in convalescing individuals, indicating that the high durability of hybrid immunity was likely sustained by continuously improving neutralization potency that compensated immune decay. Our data provide mechanistic insight into prior epidemiological findings that vaccine-elicited humoral immune response was more durable in convalescing individuals than those without SARS-CoV-2 infection, and suggest further research into potential extension of boosting intervals for convalescing individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere28694
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number4
Early online date22 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology

User-Defined Keywords

  • COVID-19 vaccines
  • SARS-CoV-2 variants
  • humoral immune response
  • immunization program
  • neutralizing antibodies


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