A preliminary study from a team from Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has raised the alarm about the E484 mutation of the new strains of the coronavirus. This research has revealed that the variation could offer greater resistance to vaccines.
In addition, the E484 mutation would help to circumvent the neutralizing antibodies that the immune system produces against the pathogen. Despite these new concerns, the biologist Jesse bloom, one of the study’s signatories, reaffirmed in the New York Times the validity of the current remedies.
Last Saturday, a conference was held in which several South African scientists unveiled that after conducting laboratory tests, serum samples from 21 out of a group of 44 COVID-19 survivors they did not destroy the variant that was circulating in that country.
The samples that were successful against the strain were taken from patients who had been hospitalized and had higher levels of so-called neutralizing antibodies that those people they only suffered mild effects of the disease.
Therefore, the results “strongly suggest that several mutations that we see in the South African variant are going to have a significant effect on the sensitivity of that virus to neutralization, “said Penny Moore, a virologist at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases of South Africa and director of the study.
You should continue vaccinating
Although these new findings lower optimism, in the opinion of Michel Nussenzwig, an immunologist at Rockefeller University in New York, vaccines should continue to be injected: “If your goal is to keep people out of the hospital, then it’s working. “
One of the keys that vaccines offer is that stimulate the body to produce antibodies. For that reason, experts expected that over time, the pathogen would obtain mutations to evade antibodies, so-called escape mutations.
But what scientists also counted on is that vaccines would remain effective for years. Now, there are fears that the uncontrolled spread has provided COVID-19 with opportunities to reinvent itself and markedly accelerate the occurrence of escape mutations.