The new variant of concern (VOC) of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), Omicron (B.1.1.529), is genetically very different from other VOCs. We compared Omicron with the preceding VOC Delta (B.1.617.2) and the wildtype strain (B.1) with respect to their interactions with the antiviral type I interferon (IFN-alpha/beta) response in infected cells. Our data indicate that Omicron has gained an elevated capability to suppress IFN induction upon infection and to better withstand the antiviral state imposed by exogenously added IFN-alpha.

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