Antibodies much less efficient in opposition to Brazil, S Africa variants


Berlin, March 28

Variant forms of Covid which were first reported in South Africa and Brazil are less efficiently inhibited by antibodies from recovered patients and vaccinated individuals, a new study confirms.

According to the research, published in the journal cell, recovery from Covid-19 as well as vaccination may offer only incomplete protection against these mutant virus forms.


Grappling with virus

  • These virus variants have mutations in the spike protein — the structure on the surface of the virus that is responsible for attachment to host cells — the researchers said.
  • In order for the virus to enter a cell, they said, it must first attach to the host cell surface using its spike protein, which is located on the viral envelope. The spike protein is also the target for antibody therapies and vaccines.

“This is worrisome because the rapid spread of variants that might not be efficiently inhibited by antibodies could undermine our current vaccination strategy,” said Stefan Pohlmann, a co-author of the study from the German Primate Center in Gottingen.

These virus variants have mutations in the spike protein — the structure on the surface of the virus that is responsible for attachment to host cells — the researchers said. In order for the virus to enter a cell, they said it must first attach to the host cell surface using its spike protein. “These variants were less well inhibited by antibodies from convalescent or vaccinated individuals, they partially bypassed the neutralising effect of the antibodies,” said Jan Munch, another co-author of the study. — PTI



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