UK scientists worry vaccines may not protect against S.African coronavirus variant
UK scientists expressed concern on Monday that COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out in Britain may not be able to protect against a new variant of the coronavirus that emerged in South Africa and has spread internationally.
Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, said that while both variants had some new features in common, the one found in South Africa “has a number additional mutations … which are concerning”. And “may make the virus less susceptible to the immune response triggered by the vaccines”.
There are currently 60 vaccine candidates in trials, including those already being rolled out from AstraZeneca and Oxford, Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna, Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm.The world’s richest countries have started vaccinating their populations to safeguard.
BioNTech’s Sahin told Germany’ Spiegel in an interview that their vaccine, which uses messenger RNA to instruct the human immune system to fight the virus, should be able to protect against the UK variant.