In the midst of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, health officials warned that a new strain of the virus – linked to several large local outbreaks – is spreading in Santa Clara County. Many are wondering what this means for the vaccine and its efficacy against the new strain
And will scientists need to make different vaccines? Experts say, maybe. But they are urging residents to continue to vaccinate available vaccines with “native” or original stress.
Take a closer look at the new stress
The version known as the L452R has been circulating around California counties since November. A quarter of the COVID-19 cases studied by local scientists have been thought to make up.
It has also been found in Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Mono, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Diego, and San Luis Obispo counties.
The Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, Drs. Georges Benjamin said he considered the new strain of COVID to be more “sticky”. They stated that it is possibly more contagious, meaning that a person is more likely to catch it with COVID-19.
“We don’t believe that it makes you sick yet, but it does mean that more people will get the disease, or at least become infected with the disease,” he said. It is still unclear how sick a person will become compared to the original stress.
A virologist and professor of laboratory medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, Drs. Charles Chiu stated concerns about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine against variants in a call last week. “The data is preliminary, but it basically raises the concern that there may be some effect on the vaccine,” he said.
While the virus is changing “in a reasonable amount”, Benjamin said the changes are still not enough to avoid the current vaccine. However, a recent study conducted on a variant of Africa suggests that the new strains may be able to reduce the immune response and avoid the vaccine.
Biochemist Mark Schwartz said the new variant in Santa Clara County is not replacing the original COVID-19 virus, but is bringing another hostility into the mix. The new strain results in a mutation in the virus’s genetic code – which helps the virus survive and thrive.
This is not an uncommon occurrence.
“All viruses are intermingled. It is a selection and survival mechanism. The virus mutated everything through random chance, ”Schwartz said. “Those who survive better than others become a ‘mutated strain’.”
He said a new version shows that a virus has captured a new property – such as more lethal, less lethal, more contagious or more aerial.
“These strains have shown themselves to spread very rapidly – more rapidly than native coronoviruses,” Schwartz said. “They may have the ability to mutate to something more deadly. I don’t think it’s a cause for panic, but it’s something we have to focus on. “
Schwartz said scientists still have trouble identifying and preventing new flu strains.
According to the Centers for Disease Control from 2009 to 2020, flu vaccines are about 20% to 60% effective. In 2020, the CDC found the vaccine to be 39% effective.
“The reason is that we get a new flu shot every year, which causes the virus to change significantly, which is the vaccine we got a year ago,” Benjamin said. “In a few years, it changes so much that it is not effective at all.”
Every year, scientists modify flu vaccines to accommodate new vaccines. They first grow the virus in hen’s eggs. They then take it out, killing it and injecting the dead virus into the body to create an immune response. According to Schwartz, monitoring and cultivating new strains takes time.
Scientists do not have time to use this method, because of the speed with which COVID-19 is spreading, so they turned to different technologies to counter COVID-19: mRNA vaccines.
While the flu-shot contains the entire virus, the COVID-19 vaccine only contains genetic material from a virus called mRNA.
Benjamin stated that mRNA research mainly focuses on killing cancer cells and vaccination against cancer.
Benjamin said, “mRNA technology is amazing.” “This is actually compared to the technology we use to make flu vaccines. I think this is going to be very effective. “He said the mRNA method would allow for quick adjustments, requiring scientists to make another vaccine to deal with new strains.”
How effective is the current vaccine?
If a person receives the first round of the COVID-19 vaccine, the shot is about 50% effective for 7-10 days, Benjamin said. Individuals are required to take a second shot after 7-10 days which increases the effectiveness by about 97%. The vaccine will be fully effective within 7-10 days after the second pill.
The CDC states that receiving the shot will not make a person ill with COVID-19, although there is a risk of allergy due to a hyper-sensitive immune response.
Santa Clara County stopped the use of a lot of the vaccine, Modern Lot 41L20A, last week, raising the possibility of allergies. Three days later, health officials resumed the delivery of the already-stalled batch.
The CDC recommends seeing patients for 15–30 minutes after vaccination.
For more information about vaccination, read the San Jose Spotlight’s COVD-19 Vaccine Guide.
Contact Carly at Wipf [email protected] Or follow @CarlyChristineW on Twitter.