Wednesday, 20 Jan 2021 8:47 PM
The scientists from the National Health Laboratory Service in Johannesburg said the SARS-CoV-2 501Y.V2 “exhibits complete escape from three classes of therapeutically relevant monoclonal antibodies.”
It also “shows substantial or complete escape from neutralizing antibodies” in blood donated by COVID-19 survivors, according to the study published on the open access preprint website bioRxiv. The study has not yet been peer reviewed.
"The data do raise the possibility that the protection gained from past infection with COVID-19 may be lower for re-infection with the South African variant," Liam Smeeth of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine told Reuters. "The data also suggest that the existing vaccines could be less effective against the South African variant."
The South African variant contains multiple mutations of the “spike protein” on the SARS-CoV-2 virus that binds to healthy cells and infects them.
“The speed and scope of (the South African variant) mediated immune escape from pre-existing neutralizing antibodies highlight the urgent requirement for rapidly adaptable vaccine design platforms,” the study authors said.
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