The variant was first spotted in South Africa in October and is now found in more than a dozen countries.
In both studies, the work was done in the laboratory, not in humans, so more research is needed to assess the real threat of the new version.
“I think the evidence is that these mutations – and I think other mutations – will appear around the world – and are already emerging – that avoid antibodies from a previous infection,” said Alex Seagal, a virologist at the African Health Research Institute and the Institute. on Max Planck’s infection, CNN reported. – It affects.
It is unclear whether this means that someone would be vulnerable to the new version if they already had Covid-19, or what this could mean for people who have been vaccinated.
“When you see two groups independently coming to the same basic answer, that’s good – there’s more agreement that they’re right,” said Jesse Bloom, a virologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
This study looked at far fewer mutations in the variant than the South African studies studied.
None of the studies have been reviewed or published in medical journals.
As scientists study whether these options are particularly dangerous – and studies are underway in several laboratories around the world – one thing is clear: get the vaccine if you can.
“I would definitely get it if I could,” Seagal said. “My father-in-law had the opportunity to fly to Israel and pick him up, and I kicked him out of the house because you can’t take him here in South Africa.”
Trio of studies
In his study, Sigal found that antibodies from all six subjects failed to fully cope with the new variant.
“One participant had a pretty good reaction, but no one escaped unscathed,” he said.
The study is published on the KRISP website, the innovation and sequencing platform Kwazulu-Natal. The other two studies were published on a prepress server.
The study, which had similar findings, took blood from 44 people in South Africa who had Covid-19. Almost all of their cases were confirmed to have occurred before September, which is before the option was spotted in South Africa.
The researchers then looked to see if their antibodies would fight the new variant.
For about half of the 44 people, their antibodies are powerless against the new variant. For the other half, the antibody response is attenuated but not completely destroyed.
In the third study, conducted at Rockefeller University, researchers tested the blood of 20 people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Different mutations in the viruses allow some types of antibodies to be avoided, but the immune system of the volunteers throws an army of different types of antibodies against the viruses.
The Rockefeller study looked at fewer mutations than the two South African studies. He examined three key mutations in the spines that are at the top of the coronavirus, as this is the part of the virus that targets vaccines.
“It’s useful, but it’s not the whole story yet,” said John Moore, a vaccine researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine.
However, South African studies use the virus itself or a model of it that contains eight mutations in thorns.