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Home / World / South African coronavirus variant may reduce vaccine efficacy and “escape” plasma therapy: scientists

South African coronavirus variant may reduce vaccine efficacy and “escape” plasma therapy: scientists



Regarding the preliminary findings on Wednesday, there is growing evidence that the coronavirus variants first discovered in South Africa have the ability to neutralize by restoring antibodies in the plasma.

Several universities in South Africa and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NICD) of the National Health Laboratory Service released their findings before peer review on the bioRxiv website.

The 501Y.V2 variant involves 9 mutations in the spike protein of the virus, which is used to infect cells. This worries scientists because recently developed vaccines and therapeutics for proteins have raised concerns that such changes may affect the efficacy of treatments and vaccines. Scientists believe that although research on the variant first discovered in South Africa may still be ongoing, the recently approved vaccine is still effective against the British variant.

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According to the World Health Organization, researchers said that earlier this week, the South African strain̵

7;s infectivity increased by 50%, and since late December, the strain has been found in more than 20 countries. Although it may be due to surveillance, no cases of this strain have been reported in the United States.

Recovering antibody-bearing restorative plasma from recovered coronavirus patients is used to inject diseased patients with methods to fight infection. This therapy has been urgently authorized in the United States. Although it may bring benefits to people fighting this virus, there is no conclusion about its mode of action or how it works, it is better to manage it.

In the preliminary results released on Wednesday, the researchers said that this mutant strain almost evaded the protection provided by plasma treatment, even if not eliminated.

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“It was found that this lineage completely got rid of the three types of monoclonal antibodies related to treatment,” the study results read. “In addition, 501Y.V2 showed substantial or complete escape of neutral antibodies in the plasma during the recovery period of COVID-19.”

The researchers said that these data emphasize the risk of reinfection and “and may indicate a decline in the efficacy of current spiked-based vaccines.” The research team wrote that the research team tested the recovered plasma from patients with the 501Y.V2 strain of coronavirus. And 48% of 44 samples “have no detectable neutralizing activity”.

The paper read: “These data also have an impact on the effectiveness of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, which is mainly based on the immune response to the spike protein.” There is an urgent need for a “adaptable vaccine design platform, and less Identify variable viral targets for integration into future immunogens.”

Another study conducted on Tuesday also showed that mRNA vaccines (such as those developed by Pfizer and Moderna) may need to be updated to remain effective against new strains.

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Pfizer previously told Fox News that due to the flexibility of the technology, the company and BioNTech chose an mRNA platform for its currently licensed vaccine. An email statement said: “This flexibility includes the ability to change the RNA sequence in the vaccine to cover a new virus strain, if there is a virus that is not well covered by the current vaccine.”

In the findings released on Tuesday, a team including Rockefeller University scientists collected blood samples from 20 volunteers who received vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna and tested them in the laboratory against Various virus mutant antibodies.

The head of the study, Dr. Michel Knusenzweig of Rockefeller University, said that for some viruses, the antibody does not work well against the virus-one to three times less active, depending on the mutation.

He said: “The difference is small, but it is definitely a difference.” The antibody response is “not so good” at blocking the virus.

E. John Wherry, an immunologist at the University of Pennsylvania, told The Associated Press: “We don’t want people to think that the current vaccine is outdated. That’s definitely not true.” “There is still immunity here… a good level of protection,” But this mutation “really reduces our immune response’s ability to recognize viruses.”

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At the same time, Pfizer and BioNTech have published a new study that provides more evidence that their COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the UK variants considered to be infectious.

The research was published on the preprint server bioRxiv, but it has not yet been peer-reviewed. The study analyzed blood samples from eight people in the 18-55 age group and eight people in the 56-85 age group.

Researchers found that there is no “biologically significant difference” in the neutralizing activity of the Pfizer vaccine against the original COVID-19 strain and the UK variant.

The researchers wrote that although this is good news, “the continuous development of SARS-CoV-2 requires continuous monitoring of the importance of changes in order to maintain the importance of the current approved vaccine for protection.”

Fox News has asked Pfizer to comment on the findings of Rockefeller researchers.

Paul Best of The Associated Press and Fox News contributed to this report.


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