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South African corona variant could lead to renewed infections - do vaccines lose their effectiveness?


A South African variant of corona appears to be even more contagious than the British mutation. Are vaccination successes in danger? Christian Drosten has a clear opinion - but a vaccine researcher disagrees.

A South African variant of corona appears to be even more contagious than the British mutation.

Are vaccination successes in danger?

Christian Drosten has a clear opinion - but a vaccine researcher disagrees.

Munich - A South African Corona variant called


could spread even further than the previous virus.

In addition, antibody therapies and vaccines should not be as effective with this type of pathogen as with Sars-CoV-2.

Researchers report these observations in two specialist articles - however, independent peer review is still pending.

The report also states that


who are already


could be

infected with this variant


This corona variant, also known as B.1.351, was first discovered in South Africa.

In the meantime, however, it has spread all over the world, and it has already been detected in Germany.

That is why the South African Corona variant is considered even more contagious than the British mutation

What is special about the variant is that it has

several mutations

and these change the so-called

spike protein of

the virus.

The virus uses this protein to attach itself to the body's cells and ultimately invade them.

The South African variant

is thought to be even more contagious

than the mutated British variant, but why is that?

Using computer simulations, a group led by Gard Nelson from ImmunityBio in Culver City (California, USA) investigated the consequences of the genetic changes.

In this research, three mutations were found in a central region of the spike protein.

And it is precisely these that seem to play an important role, because they



virus to attach to the cells even better

than any other corona variant.

The result can be

faster transmission of

the virus.

But why should vaccination lose its effectiveness with this variant?

Again, the spike protein is a key issue.

Because the place where the protein is located is the place where the antibodies attack, which the immune system produces after an infection or a vaccination.

Nelson and colleagues now claim to have discovered that the antibodies may

no longer “recognize”


virus mutation


Researcher: Vaccinations could lose their effect with the South African Corona variant

This thesis is underpinned by a study by Penny Moore's South African team from the NHLS national health laboratory service in Johannesburg (South Africa).

The content of the test was the effect of nine mutations of the variant 501Y.V2, which affect the spike protein.

As a result, it was found that antibodies that are administered during a vaccination against a Sars-CoV-2 infection

lose their effect

in the

South African variant.

The blood of recovered Covid 19 patients was also examined in laboratory tests.

In numerous cases, the antibodies contained therein

could not prevent

infection with the South African variant


There is therefore an increased risk that people who have survived a Sars-CoV-2 infection could get infected


with the South African variant


Corona: Do vaccinations have to be adjusted?

Drosten has a clear opinion - vaccine researcher disagrees

So what does that mean in terms of vaccines?

Do these have to be


sooner or


Carsten Watzl, Secretary General of the German Society for Immunology, says: "After a vaccination there are significantly more antibodies in the blood than was the case with most of the former Covid-19 patients." Whether a vaccine has been adapted to the new Corona variant depends on the results of tests on the blood of vaccinated patients.

“If a virus has a mutation at any point, it doesn't change T cell immunity.

In this respect, I don't think that we have to expect a failure of the vaccines, ”said virologist

Christian Drosten

from the Berlin Charité opposite the



However, vaccine researcher

Torben Schiffner

from the University of Leipzig

sees it differently


"These data are much worse than I expected and suggest that sooner or later the vaccines will probably have to be adjusted," he told the MDR about the South African study.

(kus with dpa)

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2021-01-24

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