New Covid strain might partially evade protection from vaccines or prior infection, early research suggests

Written by: Dr. Ali Khatau

Posted at: 2021-01-20 12:00:34

A new study suggests someone might be able to get infected with one of the new variants of the coronavirus even if they've had Covid-19 before or have been vaccinated. The variant was first discovered in South Africa in October 2020 and has now been found in more than a dozen countries. "I think we should be alarmed," said Penny Moore, associate professor at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases in South Africa and the senior author of the study. "Based on Penny's data, it's likely that the vaccine is going to be somewhat less effective, but how much less effective we don't know," said David Montefiore, a virologist at Duke University Medical Center. Montefiore added that this is the first study that gives him serious doubt about whether prior infection or a vaccine will protect against a new coronavirus variant. "This is the first time I've been concerned about a variant partially evading the immune response and partially evading the vaccine," he said. Both experts emphasized that people should still get the vaccine. It's extremely effective against other forms of the virus and they think it likely will still give some level of protection against the new variant as well. The study was posted on a pre-print server and has not been peer-reviewed and published in a medical journal. This is one of the first reports to look at the variant's effect on antibody potency. Labs around the world are furiously studying the issue and expect to report results within the next few weeks

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