A new study recently found that the two current COVID-19 vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer are effective against the new India variant.
A Best Life report said that this global health crisis has grown considerably less severe in the United States as approved vaccines have become accessible to all adults.
At the same time, there are apprehensions that emerging variants of COVID-19 may potentially preempt or stop this progress by reducing the existing vaccines' efficacy.
This report also said that officials have been worried about a new variant identified as B.1.617, that originally emerged in India, which the World Health Organization (WHO) deemed on May 10 as a "variant of concern."
Such a designation means the new variant could be more infectious and may cause more severe illnesses compared to other strains of the virus.
COVID-19 Vaccines Against New India Variant
A team of US researchers from Stanford University, Emory University, and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases sought to find out if certain COVID-19 vaccines are still able to shield against the new India variant, publishing their research entitled, "Infection and vaccine-induced neutralizing antibody responses to the SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.1 variant" early on the server, bioRxiv.
After they isolated a swab of the new India COVID-19 variant from a patient in March 2021, the study authors examined a neutralizing antibody reaction to the B.1.617 variant from 24 patients previously infected with the virus and 25 others who had already been vaccinated.
As a result, they discovered that this new variant was almost seven times more resistant to deactivating antibodies. Nonetheless, the researchers noted that all of the "convalescent sera" gotten from individuals who got their vaccines with either the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine were still able to deactivate the B.1.617 variant.
This means that the two vaccines were effective when it comes to protection against the new India variant. This suggests, as stated in the study, that shielding immunity by the mRNA vaccines tested are possibly retained against the India variant.
The study authors did not test people though, who had been vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is not mRNA.
Vaccine Response to the New Variant
Cambridge University microbiologist Ravi Gupta, who has worked on his own research looking at vaccine reactions to the India variant, explained in an NPR episode that this new strain has more than a dozen mutations.
However, two of these mutations, specifically, have worried health officials since they are detected on an important part of the virus where the immune system is attacking.
Gupta also said the individual mutations lessened vulnerability to deactivation by vaccine antibodies, therefore, it does sort of result in a drop in reactions to vaccines.
Nevertheless, he noted that his study has shown that the said pair of mutations together, did not double the amount of trouble for COVID-19 vaccines, which is what a lot of people were worried it would definitely do.
He explained, there did not appear to be this addition of one mutation on top of the other. The microbiologist thinks that's really essential as that is what the assumption has been, causing all the panic.
A similar report is shown on Business Standard's YouTube video below:
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