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BA.2.86, a recently described sublineage of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron, contains many mutations in the spike gene. It appears to have originated from BA.2 and is distinct from the XBB variants responsible for many infections in 2023. The global spread and plethora of mutations in BA.2.86 has caused concern that it may possess greater immune-evasive potential, leading to a new wave of infection. Here, we examine the ability of BA.2.86 to evade the antibody response to infection using a panel of vaccinated or naturally infected sera and find that it shows marginally less immune evasion than XBB.1.5. We locate BA.2.86 in the antigenic landscape of recent variants and look at its ability to escape panels of potent monoclonal antibodies generated against contemporary SARS-CoV-2 infections. We demonstrate, and provide a structural explanation for, increased affinity of BA.2.86 to ACE2, which may increase transmissibility.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Rep Med

Publication Date





ACE2 binding, BA.2.65, SARS-CoV-2, antigenic escape, coronavirus, receptor binding, virus evolution, virus structure, SARS-CoV-2, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme 2, Humans, COVID-19, Antibodies, Viral, Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus, Immune Evasion, Structure-Activity Relationship, Antibodies, Monoclonal, Mutation, Antibodies, Neutralizing, Antibody Affinity