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New viral mutations raise vaccine questions

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Paris (AFP)

As the British coronavirus has taken over national epidemic schemes due to its increased proliferation capacity, other Sars-CoV-2 mutations have raised concerns among scientists trying to find out if they would still answer. Respond to vaccines

In particular, one mutation called E484K, first detected in South Africa and other variations in Brazil and Japan, has caused a stir among researchers.

Ravi Gupta, a professor of microbiology at the University of Cambridge, said the mutation was not a very comprehensive British pattern: “The most worrisome of all”


Although research on the new variant is limited, this month’s Brazilian study examined patients recovering from COVID-19 only to be re-infected with a new, mutated strain.

This article has not been reviewed by others. But the authors found that the E484K mutation may be “related to the escape from neutralizing antibodies,” meaning it can bypass the body’s natural defensive memory that powers the immune system.

As countries accelerate vaccination programs, there is concern that the new mutation could make some vaccines less effective.

For example, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology to deliver commands to the body to produce a protein blocking the harmless coronavirus that the immune system learns to kill in anticipation of the actual infection.

With E484K, like the British species, the mutation occurs with the viral blocking protein, which makes it easier to bind to human cell receptors, which could lead to higher infection.

Gupta said the mutation “It could be the beginning of the problem for the syringe vaccine.”

They should be effective now. But we are concerned about additional mutations arising from these mutations, ”he told AFP.

– ‘Bypass Current Protection’ –

German partner Pfizer and Biotech said last week that their vaccine was effective against the N501Y mutation found in a British virus strain called B117.

Francois Balloux, professor of computer systems biology and director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, said it was unlikely that the South African species would be mutated enough to be “Avoid being protected by current vaccines”

But he cautioned: “E484K mutations have been shown to reduce antibody perception.

“This allows the SARS-COV-2 virus to avoid the immune defense against previous infections or vaccinations,” Balloux said.

There have been several new coronavirus mutations since they emerged in late 2019, and most of them have little or no effect on spread or virulence.

But the British strain has been shown in studies to be 70 percent more infectious than the normal virus strain.

And the South African breed appears to be more effective at avoiding the body’s natural response.

– A new vaccine? –

One pre-print study in December concluded that the two new strains showed that Sars-CoV-2 “had the potential to avoid a powerful immune response.”

Researchers studied what happens to the virus when left to come into contact with plasma taken by patients recovering from COVID-19.

Within three months, the virus had performed several mutations, including E484K.

The author suggests that “Vaccines and antibodies that can control the emerging variables should be developed.”

Principal investigator Rino Rappuoli, an immunologist at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, told AFP that the current increased protein mutations should not pose a problem with existing vaccines.

And even if the virus is mutated to better avoid the immune response. But the vaccine should provide at least some effective immunity.

“Even if you are less effective But there is still some neutralization of the virus, ”Vincent Enouf of the Paris Institute of Pasteur told AFP.

To be on the safe side, Gupta has sponsored an accelerated vaccination program, providing as much immunity as current vaccines can provide. “As soon as possible around the world”

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