Covid-19 Epsilon variant and how it dodges body’s immune response, vaccine effectiveness

By: |
July 12, 2021 3:19 PM

Epsilon cases are spreading fast in the United States. About 34 cases has been also reported from other countries.

covid 19 testThe state government had on July 8 informed the court that it had arrived at the figure of Rs 500 as the rates arrived at by KMSC for RT-PCR tests through static and mobile labs was Rs 448.20 per test. (Representational image: PTI)

Epsilon variant of the SARS-CoV-2, coronavirus, is currently the variant of concern as with three mutations in its spike protein it dampens the effectiveness of vaccines, antibodies gained from past Covid-19 infections and from the plasma of infected people and hence is a variant of concern for health experts. The findings are published in a Science Journal.

Epsilon cases are spreading fast in the United States. About 34 cases has been also reported from other countries.

When the researchers of the University of Washington in Seattle and Vir Biotechnology, scientists studied the variant’s built and infection machinery and how it is different from the original coronavirus that started the pandemic, they found that they are responsible for rearrangement in critical areas of the spike protein. Some crucial structural changes were also noticed in the electron cryomicroscopy study.

The researchers used plasma from an already Covid-19 infected and recovered person and of a fully vaccinated person to understand the neutralizing event of the Epsilon variants on the antibodies present on the samples and found that their effectiveness was reduced to 2 to 3.5 fold.

The study further found that the receptor-binding domain was affected by one of the three mutations that reduced the neutralising activity of 14 out of 34 effective antibodies, including the clinical stage antibodies. The other mutations that the Epsilon variant has gone through have targeted the N-terminal domain of spike protein and 10 out of 10 antibodies ineffective, researchers posted at the University of Washington School of Medicine (UW Medicine) website.

David Veesler’s lab at the University of Washington has been exploring the molecular configuration of SARs viruses and their variants. They also access how antibodies block infection mechanisms and how variants can deter their function bringing up new challenges.

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