Omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant: Unique features and their impact on pre-existing antibodies

Date of this Version


Document Type





Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been emerging in the form of different variants since its first emergence in early December 2019. A new Variant of Concern (VOC) named the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) was reported recently. This variant has a large number of mutations in the S protein. To date, there exists a limited information on the Omicron variant. Here we present the analyses of mutation distribution, the evolutionary relationship of Omicron with previous variants, and probable structural impact of mutations on antibody binding. Our analyses show the presence of 46 high prevalence mutations specific to Omicron. Twentythree of these are localized within the spike (S) protein and the rest localized to the other 3 structural proteins of the virus, the envelope (E), membrane (M), and nucleocapsid (N). Phylogenetic analysis showed that the Omicron is closely related to the Gamma (P.1) variant. The structural analyses showed that several mutations are localized to the region of the S protein that is the major target of antibodies, suggesting that the mutations in the Omicron variant may affect the binding affinities of antibodies to the S protein.


Additional authors listed on article available for download



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).