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SARS-CoV-2 recombinant subvariant XBB.1.5 is growing rapidly in the United States, carrying an additional Ser486Pro substitution compared to XBB.1 and outcompeting BQ.1.1 and other XBB sublineages. The underlying mechanism for such high transmissibility remains unclear. Here we show that XBB.1.5 exhibits a substantially higher hACE2-binding affinity compared to BQ.1.1 and XBB/XBB.1. Convalescent plasma samples from BA.1, BA.5, and BF.7 breakthrough infection are significantly evaded by bothdoi:10.1101/2023.01.03.522427 fatcat:ondwkatmcnaqjd4dkhaiffnmoe