Taking a Closer Look at the new COVID Variants

Although the recent COVID vaccines are proven to be very effective in fighting the early coronavirus variants, studies are now showing that the vaccines aren’t the best at combating the new generation of virus variants. 

This research was conducted by Australian scientists at the University of Sydney. This study was described as one of the most in depth and comprehensive reports about the novel coronavirus. Its details suggest that COVID vaccines may need to keep up with the new emerging variants. 

“The team analyzed the serum of 233 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 over 7 months and uncovered that the level of immunity over time is dependent on disease severity and the viral variant. They show that antibodies developed during the first wave had reduced effectiveness against six variants, ranging from those observed in the second wave in Australia through to three variants of concern that have driven the global pandemic in the UK, Brazil, and South Africa,” says an article by the University of Sydney. 

In this experiment, there were a group of people that were classified as “super responders”. They are quoted to have a “stable and robust level of antibodies across all COVID-19 variants. This discovery could potentially be used to use blood from recovered individuals to help treat those infected. This has for now been proven ineffective in the fight against the coronavirus. However, the super responders might be able to change that, as well as have their antibodies cloned for future purposes. 

“We can learn a great deal from these people who were infected in the first wave in Australia as they were infected with the same variant that our current vaccines are based on,” says Associate Professor Fabienne Brilot of the University of Sydney and Kids Research, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network. 

Associate Professor Stuart Turville of the Kirby Institute states: “What this work has shown us is that current observations about vaccines show they offer a much broader protection against COVID-19 and its variants than the body’s natural immune response following infection, which is usually only protective against the variant of the virus that the person was infected with. We, therefore, should not rely on the body’s natural immune response to control this pandemic, but rather the broadly protective vaccines that are available.”

This new study has added a new layer to understand about the coronavirus and its multiple variants. As new variants are to emerge, the knowledge gained by this experiment is sure to be useful in the future.


Categories: Clinical, Society