In a new study, scientists have found that vaccines for COVID19 might not be efficient to eliminate the new strain of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which has been found in South Africa. They are not fully confident that vaccines will prevent people from falling ill with the new variant of the virus identified in South Africa. The UK and South Africa both countries have identified new strains of coronavirus in the past few weeks. These variants are said to be more contagious than the previous strain of the virus. The new variants have led to a significant surge in cases across both countries. British Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that he has been concerned about the new strain found in South Africa. BioNtech CEO Ugur Sahin and John Bell, a Regius Professor of Medicine from Oxford University have been testing the vaccines on the new strains of the virus. After the testing, scientists are unsure whether vaccines will be effective on the South African variant as on the UK’s strain.
Scientists have found that the new strain of the virus found in South Africa contains multiple mutations in its spike protein, which the virus uses to infect the human body. It is linked with a higher viral load as well, said the experts. It means that the new strain can infect people with a higher concentration of virus particles, which accounts for higher levels of transmission as well. John Bell from Oxford University, who has advised the government to immunize people from the vaccine task force, has said that vaccines might work on the UK’s new strain of the virus but he is unsure whether vaccines will be effective on the new variant found in South Africa. He has said that vaccines can be adapted for the South African variant and it might take another six months to come up with a modified vaccine. BioNtech CEO Ugur Sahin has claimed that Pfizer and BioNtech vaccine, which applies messenger RNA to prompt the human immune system to fight against the COVID19, might be able to cope with the new variant found in the UK.
Experts have conducted many studies to find out whether existing vaccines will work on the new variant of coronavirus found in South Africa. Ugur Sahin as well has said that the vaccine might need to be tweaked within six weeks to be able to cope with the strong mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Richest countries across the world have started immunizing their people to protect them from the virus, which has claimed around 1.8 million lives around the world and derailed the global economy. There are around 60 vaccine candidates, which are under trial along with Pfizer and BioNtech, AstraZeneca and Oxford, Moderna, China’s Sinopharm, and Russia’s Sputnik V, which are being rolled out across the world at present.