Potential Covid-19 vaccines not affected by recent mutations: Study
Vaccines currently being developed for Covid-19 should not be affected by recent mutations in the novel coronavirus, according to researchers, including one of Indian origin, who said the finding is good news for the hundreds of vaccine candidates around the world.
The researchers, including those from the University of York in the UK, noted that most vaccines under development worldwide have been modelled on the original ‘D-strain’ of the virus, which were more common amongst sequences published early in the pandemic.
Since then, the virus has evolved to the globally dominant ‘G-strain’, which now accounts for about 85 per cent of published SARS-CoV-2 genomes, they said.
There had been fears the G-strain, within the main protein on the surface of the virus, would negatively impact on vaccines under development.
However, the research by Australia’s national science agency the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), found no evidence the change would adversely impact the efficacy of vaccine candidates.
The study, published in the journal npj Vaccines, tested blood samples from ferrets given a candidate vaccine against virus strains that either possessed or lacked this mutation known as ‘D614G’.
“This is good news for the hundreds of vaccines in development around the world, with the majority targeting the spike protein as this binds to the ACE2 receptors in our lungs and airways, which are the entry point to infect cells,” said Professor Seshadri Vasan, who holds an honorary chair in Health Sciences at the University of York.
“Despite this D614G mutation to the spike protein, we confirmed through experiments and modelling that vaccine candidates are still effective,” Vasan said in a statement.
“We’ve also found the G-strain is unlikely to require frequent ‘vaccine matching’ where new vaccines need to be developed seasonally to combat the virus strains in circulation, as is the case with influenza,” he said.
CSIRO Chief Executive Larry Marshall said the research was critically important in the race to develop a vaccine.
“This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives,” Marshall said. he said.
The Kremlin echoed that Monday, claiming that Kyiv was attacking the plant and urging Western powers to force a stop to that. Ukraine's military intelligence spokesman, Andriy Yusov, countered that Russian forces have planted explosives at the plant to head off an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive in the region.
The Kremlin accused Ukrainian forces on Monday of firing on Europe's largest nuclear power plant in occupied Ukraine and warned that the alleged attacks could have "catastrophic consequences". Kyiv said Moscow was responsible and called for the area to be demilitarised, saying two employees had been wounded in recent attacks. Fighting continued meanwhile along battle lines stretching across eastern Ukraine, and Russia continued its crackdown on dissent at home.
A senior Pakistani militant with $3 million US bounty on Abdul Wali, also known as Omar Khalid Khurasani's head has been killed along with three aides in neighbouring Afghanistan, three militant commanders and an intelligence official said on Monday. Khurasani and his aides were killed in an explosion from an apparent roadside bomb while travelling in a car in southeastern province of Paktia on Sunday, the sources told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza, where a truce is holding between Islamic Jihad militants and Israel after three days of deadly conflict. China, which holds the presidency of the Security Council in August, announced the emergency meeting on Saturday, with Ambassador Zhang Jun expressing his concern over Gaza's worst fighting since an 11-day war last year.
France was in the midst of its fourth heat wave of the year Monday as the country faces what the government warned is its worst drought on record. Read US Senate poised to pass Biden's cornerstone climate and health bill The high temperatures aren't helping firefighters battling a wildfire in the Chartreuse Mountains, near the Alps in eastern France, where authorities have evacuated around 140 people.