Multiple variants can “escape” vaccines
Antibodies induced by the Moderna Inc and Pfizer Inc/BioNTech SE vaccines are dramatically less effective at neutralizing some of the most worrying coronavirus variants, a new study suggests.
Researchers obtained blood samples from 99 individuals who had received one or two doses of either vaccine and tested their vaccine-induced antibodies against virus replicas engineered to mimic 10 globally circulating variants.
Five of the 10 variants were “highly resistant to neutralization,” even when volunteers had received both doses of the vaccines, the researchers reported on Friday in Cell.
All five highly resistant variants had mutations in the spike on the virus surface – known as K417N/T, E484K, and N501Y – that characterize a variant rampant in South Africa and two variants spreading rapidly in Brazil.
In keeping with previous studies, the proportion of neutralizing antibodies dropped 5- to 6-fold against the variants discovered in Brazil …
Variant identified in UK is deadlier
The coronavirus variant first identified in the UK, known as B.1.1.7, is deadlier than other variants circulating there, a new study appears to confirm.
Researchers analyzed data on 184,786 people in England diagnosed with COVID-19 between mid-November and mid-January, including 867 who died.
For every three people who died within four weeks after being infected with another variant, roughly five died after becoming infected with B.1.1.7, according to a paper posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review.
Overall, the risk of death with B.1.1.7 was 67% higher than the risk with other variants in England, the authors said…
Variant identified in Brazil is doubly infectious
Between November and January in Manaus, Brazil, the frequency of COVID-19 cases involving the P.1 coronavirus variant increased from non-existent to 73%.
Meanwhile, the number of infections there quadrupled compared to what the city experienced in the first wave of the pandemic, according to a report posted on medRxiv ahead of peer review …