Pharmaceutical companies are taking an aggressive stance to maintain the effectiveness of their vaccines against variants.Prevent new version The worrying coronavirus requires continued containment of infection through masks and physical distance.
Since the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic broke out at the end of 2019, the world has made tremendous efforts to study the genetic variability of the new coronavirus. This makes it possible to identify different variants that are considered beneficial to public health because they have greater transmission capacity and replace the remaining variants previously circulating in specific areas.
Among these variants, the most interesting ones are B.1.1.7, B.1.351 and P.1, which were first described in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil, respectively. Although it is currently difficult to estimate its actual frequency in our country, the variant B.1.1.7 seems to be the most frequently spread in Spain.
Spain has begun to use Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford University/AstraZeneca products for vaccinations, and Janssen’s products will be vaccinated within a few weeks. These vaccines are designed to stimulate the immune system to produce specific antibodies that can protect us from infections and cells that can prevent the development of diseases. In addition, the goal is to obtain immune memory, which helps the body respond quickly, especially when SARS-CoV-2 infection occurs. This memory depends to a large extent on the production of antibody types called neutralizers.
A recent study published by Pfizer showed that its vaccine stimulated the production of effective neutralizing antibodies against the variant of interest, although compared with B.1.1.7 and Wuhan, they detected the neutralizing variant B.1.351 And the ability of P.1 is low. Variant (first sequence).Other studies seem to confirm Obvious resistance Accepted Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
Of particular concern is the P.1 variant observed in ManausThis is a Brazilian city. In its first wave, 76% of the population has been infected by other variants, resulting in an immune response that has no a priori effect on this new variant.
Faced with this situation, most pharmaceutical companies have assured them in their press releases that they will take a proactive approach to maintain the efficacy of their vaccines against these variants. Modern Two strategies have been proposed: the third dose to further increase the antibody titer produced against SARS-CoV-2; or the production of a new vaccine to deal with the B.1.351 variant.
Keep personal protection
In any case, as long as the level of transmission of the virus cannot be controlled-especially now that only a small part of the population has been vaccinated-new variants of public health interest may emerge, such as Recently observed in the UK In 35 cases, the mutation of the B.1.1.7 variant was combined with the typical E484K mutation of the B.1.351 and P.1 variants, The British government already considers this worrying.
Therefore, it is now crucial to control the spread of the virus by maintaining personal protective measures (using masks and staying away from society), and to increase the vaccination rate globally.
Francisco Deiz Fultes He is a researcher in the AIDS immunopathology group of the Carlos III Institute of Health (ISCIII) National Center for Microbiology.