The latest news on the effectiveness of vaccines against coronavirus variants

The latest news on the effectiveness of vaccines against coronavirus variants

The English variant would not reduce the protection of the cellular immune response from mrna vaccines or from a previous infection. Here's what we know about the effectiveness of vaccines against the new variants

(photo: Pan American Health Organization / Flickr) Are the anti-Covid vaccines authorized so far also effective against the new variants of the coronavirus? This is one of the many key questions that the scientific community is trying to answer and the results obtained so far seem to be encouraging. As we have told you, in fact, in general the studies in progress show a good efficacy of the mRna vaccines, as well as the more classic AstraZeneca, against the so-called English variant, and probably a little lower against the South African one.

However, a new preliminary study, just published on the bioRxiv pre-print website (and which therefore has yet to be revised), also showed that the coronavirus variants would not affect the cellular immune response, that linked to activation of T lymphocytes. As the authors of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, the Craig Venter Institute and the University of California San Diego recount, their analysis revealed that none of the four variants of the coronavirus recently emerged, namely B.1.1.7, B. 1.351, P.1 and B.1.429 (the English, South African, Brazilian and Californian variants respectively), negatively influenced the response of Cd4 and Cd8 T cells, activated both by the mRna, Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and by previous infections.

To understand this, researchers have observed how variants affect the reactivity of these T cells, using both blood samples taken from convalescent people and previously infected with the original strain, and samples from those who had vaccinated themselves with Pfizer or Moderna approximately 14 days after the second dose is given. "Overall, the results demonstrate that T-cell responses in convalescents or vaccinates are not substantially affected by the mutations found in the variants," comments the team. in pre-print) to suggest that the protection afforded by an mRna vaccine or a previous infection remains intact. As the biologist Enrico Bucci points out in a recent post on Facebook, the graph showing the response of T lymphocytes against the different spikes does not reveal “important differences for mutants compared to the original strains, neither for convalescent nor for vaccinated subjects”.

VARIANTS, RNA VACCINES AND IMMUNITY T. None of the variants that are in the headlines - Californian,…

Posted by Enrico Bucci on Wednesday, March 3 , 2021

Still with regard to the protection of vaccines in mrna, and in particular that of Pfizer, in an anticipation to the Adnkronos, Arnaldo Caruso, president of the Italian Society of Virology, reported the results of a test carried out in Brescia, according to which the English variant is not only not resistant to Pfizer's vaccine, but also that the antibodies developed by those who have been vaccinated could work even better (they have a higher neutralizing power) on the variant than on the original strain. "We will submit these results for publication in a scientific journal," explained the expert. "While waiting, I would like to send a message to all citizens who will read it: anti-Covid vaccines work, they are the prevention weapon against this pandemic and we must believe it".

In another small, always preliminary study, Columbia University researchers focused on the effects of the Brazilian variant. Testing, also in this case, samples of vaccinated and convalescents, the analyzes showed that those who were immunized with mra vaccines show a very modest loss of the ability to neutralize the variant, and in any case greater than those who were previously infected. from the virus. Data, therefore, which seem to suggest that the vaccine can confer greater protection than that obtained with a natural infection. And again: for the South African variant, another preliminary study coordinated by Wits University has shown that the effectiveness of the vaccine from the American biotech Novavax (which as we told you offers a high protection from the English variant) is relatively preserved, while the previous natural infection would not seem to confer any protection.

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