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Covid Vaccine News: Pfizer Vaccines, Moderna Effective Against Indian Variants Covid: Study |

WASHINGTON: The Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines must remain highly effective against two coronavirus variants first identified in India, according to a new study by US scientists.
The laboratory study was conducted by the NYU Grossman Medical School and the NYU Langone Center and is considered preliminary because it has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
“What we’ve found is that the antibodies to the vaccine are a little weaker than the variants, but they’re not enough to think it will have a big effect on the protective ability of the vaccines,” senior author Nathaniel Ned Landau told AFP Monday.
Researchers first took blood from people who had been vaccinated with one of the two shots that are prevalent in the United States and were given to more than 1
50 million Americans.
They then exposed these samples in a laboratory to engineered pseudoviral particles that contained mutations in the “spike” region of the coronavirus that were specific to either variants B.1.617 or B.1.618, first discovered in India.
Finally, this mixture was exposed to laboratory-grown cells to see how many of them would become infected.
The engineered pseudoviral particles contain an enzyme called luciferase, which fireflies use to ignite. Adding it to the pseudovirus makes it possible to understand how many cells are infected based on light measurements.
Overall for B.1.617, they found an almost fourfold reduction in the amount of neutralizing antibodies – Y-shaped proteins that the immune system creates to stop the invasion of pathogens into cells. For B.1.618 the decrease was about three times.
“In other words, some of the antibodies no longer work against the variants, but you still have a lot of antibodies that act against the variants,” Landau said.
“There are enough that work, and we believe the vaccines will be highly protective,” he added, as overall levels remain well above those found in samples taken from people recovered from an infection with a previously unmutated virus.
But this type of laboratory investigation cannot predict what the actual efficacy may look like – it will have to be studied through other studies.
The coronavirus is known to adhere to a specific human cell receptor called ACE2, which it uses to force entry.
Landau’s team has shown that Indian variants are able to bind more closely to this receptor, as well as other variants of concern. This may be due to its increased portability compared to the original strain.
“Our results provide confidence that current vaccines will provide protection against the options identified so far,” the team concluded.
However, they do not rule out the possibility of newer variants that are more resistant to vaccines – emphasizing the importance of widespread vaccination globally.

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