New COVID-19 variant defeats plasma treatment, may reduce vaccine efficacy


Johannesburg (Reuters) – Antibodies can be introduced into new COVID-19 variants identified in South Africa, treated using blood plasma from previously recovered patients, and may reduce the effectiveness of the current line of vaccines Are, scientists said on Wednesday.

Researchers are racing to establish whether vaccines currently being rolled out worldwide are against the so-called 501Y.V2 variant identified by South African genomics experts at Nelson Mandela Bay late last year.

“This lineage completely escapes three classes of clinically relevant monoclonal antibodies,” a team of scientists from three South African universities working with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) published in the Biorexiv Journal written.

“In addition, 501Y.V2 COVID-19 shows substantial or complete migration from neutralizing antibodies to convincing plasma,” he wrote, his conclusion “highlighting the possibility of reinvestment … and the effectiveness of current spike-based vaccines” Can reduce. “

The 501Y.V2 variant is 50% more infectious than the previous week, South African researchers said. It has spread to at least 20 countries since it was reported to the World Health Organization in late December.

It is one of several new variants discovered in recent months, with the first being found in England and Brazil.

The variant is the main driver of South Africa’s second wave of COVID-19 infections, which reached a new daily peak in more than 21,000 cases earlier this month, well above the first wave, falling to around 12,000 per day. Was earlier.

When administered to critically ill patients requiring intensive care for COVID-19, insemination blood plasma of previous patients has not been shown to be effective, but has been approved as an emergency measure in many countries.

British scientists and politicians have expressed concern that the vaccines or developments currently being deployed may be less effective than the variants.

The paper stated that it looked at how effective current vaccines are against 501Y.V2, which would only be determined by large-scale clinical trials. But the results indicated the need for new vaccines to combat the evolving threat, it said.

(Reporting by Tim Cock; Editing by Peter Graf)

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