Antibody study involving South African variant of SARS CoV-2 kindles hopes of broad-spectrum shot

By: |
March 25, 2021 5:45 AM

This opens doors for the development of vaccine candidates that can take on many SARS CoV-2 variants, and if the antibodies triggered by B.1.351 target the non-differentiated parts of the spike protein, then it could be a home run for the fighting all incarnations of SARS CoV-2.

The researchers analysed antibodies from 89 people who had suffered from serious B.1.351 infections; they modified the HIV to express SARS CoV2 B.1.351 spike protein to get a picture of antibody activity.The researchers analysed antibodies from 89 people who had suffered from serious B.1.351 infections; they modified the HIV to express SARS CoV2 B.1.351 spike protein to get a picture of antibody activity.

It would indeed be rather delicious irony if the South African variant, troubling scientists and policymakers over the implications for the existing Covid-19 vaccines, turns out to be a key that unlocks protection against past, present and future variants of SARS CoV-2. Researcher Penny Moore and her team, comprising scientists at the National Institute of Communicable Diseases and the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, recently posted a paper on the pre-print server, bioRxiv, per which the South African variant (B.1.351), which had been reported to dodge the immune system, triggers antibodies that can block many old and new variants. While the world is weighed down by the prospect of emerging variants defeating vaccines, this finding could guide researchers on the path to developing a vaccine that can perhaps take on a large raft of variants.

Outbreaks in regions in South Africa that had already seen high number of infections in the first wave of the pandemic in the country were traced to the B.1.351 variants last year, and the variant was detected to carry significant changes to the virus’s surface proteins that simply hobbled the antibodies that otherwise could block SARS CoV-2 in the body. The researchers analysed antibodies from 89 people who had suffered from serious B.1.351 infections; they modified the HIV to express SARS CoV2 B.1.351 spike protein to get a picture of antibody activity. Those antibodies blocked the modified virus, as also other strains, including previously circulating strains and the Brazilian variant. Scientists are studying why the South African strain elicits such a broad spectrum immune response. This opens doors for the development of vaccine candidates that can take on many SARS CoV-2 variants, and if the antibodies triggered by B.1.351 target the non-differentiated parts of the spike protein, then it could be a home run for the fighting all incarnations of SARS CoV-2.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1India’s second wave: Deadly, but not more than transatlantic’s
2Board examination: An elephant that refuses to dance
3Fixing shortage of judges: After deadlines for govt, judiciary must address own role in delays