Analysis of well-annotated next-generation sequencing data reveals increasing cases of SARS-CoV-2 reinfection with Omicron

Burkholz, Scott; Rubsamen, Michael; Blankenberg, Luke; Carback, III, Richard T.; Mochly-Rosen, Daria; Harris, Paul Emerson

SARS-CoV-2 has extensively mutated creating variants of concern (VOC) resulting in global infection surges. The Omicron VOC reinfects individuals exposed to earlier variants of SARS-CoV-2 at a higher frequency than previously seen for non-Omicron VOC. An analysis of the sub-lineages associated with an Omicron primary infection and Omicron reinfection reveals that the incidence of Omicron-Omicron reinfections is occurring over a shorter time interval than seen after a primary infection with a non-Omicron VOC. Our analysis suggests that a single infection from SARS-CoV-2 may not generate the protective immunity required to defend against reinfections from emerging Omicron lineages. This analysis was made possible by Next-generation sequencing (NGS) of a Danish cohort with clinical metadata on both infections occurring in the same individual. We suggest that the continuation of COVID-19 NGS and inclusion of clinical metadata is necessary to ensure effective surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 genomics, assist in treatment and vaccine development, and guide public health recommendations.


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April 4, 2023