Covid-19 antibodies, less effective vaccines against variants: studies

  • | Saturday | March 6, 2021

New research indicates that three new, rapidly spreading variants of the novel coronavirus (from South Africa, UK and Brazil) may escape antibodies that work against the original form of the virus that triggered the pandemic. With a few exceptions, the researchers found that more antibodies were needed to neutralize the new variants – whether the antibodies were produced in response to vaccination or natural infection, or were purified antibodies intended for use as drugs. .

New research indicates that three new, rapidly spreading variants of the novel coronavirus (from South Africa, UK and Brazil) may escape antibodies that work against the original form of the virus that triggered the pandemic. With a few exceptions, the researchers found that more antibodies were needed to neutralize the new variants – whether the antibodies were produced in response to vaccination or natural infection, or were purified antibodies intended for use as drugs. .

The study, which emerged from laboratory experiments, was published Thursday in Nature Medicine. According to the researchers, the results suggest that the Covid-19 drugs and vaccines developed so far may become less effective as the newer variants become dominant.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus uses its spike protein to attach itself and enter cells. The peak has thus become the main target of drug and vaccine developers. Then, this winter, rapidly spreading variants emerged; all carry multiple mutations in their spike genes, which could decrease the effectiveness of the spike-targeted drugs and vaccines currently in use.

In the lab, researchers tested the ability of antibodies to neutralize all three variants of the virus. They tested the variants against antibodies in the blood of people who had recovered from infection with SARS-CoV-2 or who had been vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine. They also tested for antibodies in the blood of mice, hamsters and monkeys that had been vaccinated with an experimental Covid-19 vaccine, developed at Washington University School of Medicine. The University said in a press release that the British variant could be neutralized with similar antibody levels as needed to neutralize the original virus, but the other two variants required 3.5 to 10 times more ‘antibody.

Lead author Michael S Diamond is said to have said: “We are concerned that people who we would expect to have a protective level of antibodies to because they have had Covid-19 or were vaccinated against it, may not be protected against the new variants. . There is a great variation in the amount of antibodies a person produces in response to vaccination or natural infection. Some people produce very high levels and would still be protected against the new, disturbing variants. But some people, especially the elderly and immunocompromised, may not produce such high levels of antibodies. If the level of antibodies needed for protection increases tenfold, as our data indicates, they may not have enough… ”



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