Vaccines Elicit Highly Conserved Cellular Immunity to SARS-CoV-2 Omicron –

The highly mutated SARS-CoV-2 Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant has been shown to evade a substantial fraction of neutralizing antibody responses elicited by current vaccines that encode the WA1/2020 Spike1. Cellular immune responses, particularly CD8+ T cell responses, likely contribute to protection against severe SARS-CoV-2 disease2–6. Here we show that cellular immunity induced by current SARS-CoV-2 vaccines is highly conserved to the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Spike. Individuals who received Ad26.COV2.S or BNT162b2 vaccines demonstrated durable Spike-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T cell responses, which showed extensive cross-reactivity against both the Delta and Omicron variants, including in central and effector memory cellular subpopulations. Median Omicron Spike-specific CD8+ T cell responses were 82-84% of WA1/2020 Spike-specific CD8+ T cell responses. These data provide immunologic context for the observation that current vaccines still show robust protection against severe disease with the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant despite the substantially reduced neutralizing antibody responses7,8.