June 17, 2021

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COVID 19, new South African variant 501.V2 could make vaccines ineffective according to experts

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The new vaccines may not be effective against the new South African variant of the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, according to Live

Science reports which echoes some statements published by Reuters.
The experts called are Uğur Şahin, the CEO of BioNTech, and a professor of medicine at the University of Oxford, John Bell. The two

researchers are in fact carrying out experiments to verify the effectiveness of the new vaccines with the 501.V2 variant as well as

with the so-called “English variant”, called B.1.1.7.

To understand in advance the effectiveness of new vaccines against these new variants, researchers are practically incubating the

viruses of these variants with antibodies and human cells to understand if the same antibodies are doing their job. The antibodies

and cells are taken from both vaccinated people and people who have contracted the virus without being vaccinated.
According to experts, the South African variant, namely 501.V2, would be more worrying than the English one because it would be

characterized by a greater number of additional mutations, as explained by Simon Clarke, professor of microbiology at the University

of Reading.

Too many mutations concerning the spike protein and could make the latter unrecognizable to the immune system “trained” by the

vaccine which makes the latter virtually useless. However, usually, at least with other viruses, these mutations make vaccines

irrelevant over years, and not months as it seems to be the case with the new SARS-CoV-2 virus.

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