02
Vaccine and infection

Do available vaccines protect against the new SARS-CoV-2 variants?

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14/6/2021
  • The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech appears to protect against the SARS-COV-2 variant first identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), according to results of a new study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed [1]. The study found that a lab-made version of the virus – with all the mutations resembling the B.1.1.7 variant – was neutralized by the volunteer’s immune system.
  • Another study from Pfizer showed the vaccine to be effective against a key mutation called N501Y, which is present in both the B.1.1.7 variant and the new strain that has emerged in South Africa (B.1.351)[2]. However, another study – which has not yet been peer-reviewed – found that the B.1.351 variant contains mutations that may be resistant to immunity from previous coronavirus infection, which doesn’t necessarily mean it could be resistant to vaccines[3].
  • Scientists have seen three key mutations in the spike receptor binding domain (RBD) on the variant identified in Manaus, north Brazil (P.1, lineage B.1.1.28). These mutations largely mirror some of those that experts are concerned about in the B.1.351 variant. Although there have been some indications that vaccines will work on these variants, experts say it is still too early to be sure if they will be effective against the new mutations seen on the P1 variant identified in north Brazil.
  • In a study published on a preprint server[4], Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine continues to protect against two of the major mutant strains of SARS-CoV-2 circulating around the world: the B.1.1.7 and the B.1.351. Blood from people vaccinated with the Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine did not generate as many immune antibodies against B.1.351 as they did against the non-mutant virus—in fact, this blood contained about six-fold lower levels of antibodies. However, this study states that the level of antibodies still remains high enough to provide sufficient protection against COVID-19 disease.
  • Preliminary analyses have shown a potentially slightly reduced vaccine effectiveness of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against the B.1.1.7. Preliminary analyses from the South Africa Phase 1/2a trial (COV005) indicate minimal protection against mild and moderate disease based on a small sample size. This study was not designed to assess efficacy against severe COVID-19. These preliminary findings highlight the urgent need for a coordinated approach for monitoring and evaluation on variants and their impact on vaccine effectiveness.

[1] Alexander Muik, Ann-KathrinWallisch, Bianca Sänger, Kena A. Swanson, Julia Mühl, Wei Chen, Hui Cai, RituSarkar, Özlem Türeci, Philip R. Dormitzer, Ugur Sahin. Neutralization ofSARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.1.7 pseudovirus by BNT162b2 vaccine-elicited human será. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.18.426984

[2] Xuping Xie, Jing Zou, CamilaR. Fontes-Garfias, Hongjie Xia, Kena A. Swanson, Mark Cutler, David Cooper, Vineet D. Menachery, Scott Weaver, Philip R. Dormitzer, Pei-Yong Shi.SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 escapes neutralization by South African COVID-19 donorplasma. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.07.425740

[3] Constantinos Kurt Wibmer, Frances Ayres, Tandile Hermanus, Mashudu Madzivhandila, Prudence Kgagudi, Bronwen E. Lambson, Marion Vermeulen, Karin van den Berg, Theresa Rossouw, Michael Boswell, Veronica Ueckermann, Susan Meiring, Anne von Gottberg, CherylCohen, Lynn Morris, Jinal N. Bhiman, Penny L. Moore. SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 escapes neutralization by South African COVID-19 donor plasma doi:https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.18.427166

[4] mRNA-1273 vaccine induces neutralizing antibodies against spike mutants from global SARS-CoV-2 variants.Kai Wu, Anne P. Werner, Juan I. Moliva, Matthew Koch, Angela Choi, GuillaumeB.E. Stewart-Jones, Hamilton Bennett, Seyhan Boyoglu-Barnum, Wei Shi,  View ORCID ProfileBarney S Graham, Andrea Carfi, Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Robert A. Seder, Darin K. Edwards

doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.01.25.427948

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Can people still get COVID-19 after being vaccinated with one or both doses and can they transmit the virus to others?

2:13
min

Can vaccines alone solve the pandemic?

1:32
min

How much immunization will be needed to reach herd immunity?

1:58
min

Giving this virus’ characteristics, is it realistic to expect a universal vaccine, instead of an annual one, like the flu vaccine?

1:43
min

Has the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 first detected in the United Kingdom been proved to be more dangerous or contagious than other SARS-COV-2 variants?

2:41
min

What do the new SARS-CoV-2 variants means for vaccine efficacy?

1:34
min

Can a patient with suspicion or confirmed COVID-19 infection be vaccinated?

1:52
min

Should contacts of COVID cases be quarantined if they have been vaccinated against COVID before the exposure?

2:06
min

Is COVID-19 vaccination safe for those who had COVID-19 disease in the past?

2:05
min

Is herd protection against COVID-19 possible?

3:36
min

What is the latest evidence on vaccine effectiveness against the new variants of the virus?

3:36
min

What will happen if the vaccines are no longer effective against the new variants?

2:08
min

Will annual vaccination be necessary?

1:30
min

Is it true that a new variant of the virus causes more severe disease?

1:30
min

How can we ever get back to normal life if the virus mutates faster than scientists can adjust the vaccine?

1:35
min

What will happen if not enough people get vaccinated?

1:30
min

Does vaccination protect against transmission? If not, how will we ever get back to normal life?

1:33
min