Researchers Concern: May Provide Less Protection
The various mutations of the coronavirus worry researchers around the world. The South African variant, now called BETA, is particularly threatening to the effect of the vaccine.
A Swedish vaccine is under development and may protect against all variants.
The National Council for Health and Welfare recently stated that the British alternative, Alpha, is more contagious than the original. It is also 60 percent more dangerous. At the moment, the British variant is dominant in Sweden.
It appears to lead more often to hospital care among the elderly, says Ali Mirazimi, professor of clinical virology at Karolinska Institutet.
studies on monkeys
According to the researchers, the Indian variant of the virus, now called Delta, is more contagious.
– Yes, it seems so. We don’t know the cause, but it may be because a small amount of the virus is needed to infect someone. So far, Ali Mirazimi says, this alternative does not appear to make one sick more.
It is difficult to determine how current vaccines protect against different viral variants.
There is still little data, and the studies that have been done are not large-scale. But for now, all vaccines seem to protect slightly worse than the South African alternative, beta.
According to Ali Mirazmi, the beta virus seems to pass through the vaccine, you can get infected but not get so sick that you need hospital care.
There have been studies on monkeys, and they have been infected but excreted less than viruses.
Astra vaccine also appears to be slightly less protective against mutations compared to Pfizers and Moderna.
– But from what I understand, the study was conducted close to the second dose of the Astra vaccine, so it is not possible to pull too large cogs.
He points out that all vaccines protect against serious diseases.
— And then you still earn a lot, says Charlotte Bergquist, Vaccine Coordinator for the Medicinal Products Agency.
The agency is closely following developments. The virus mutates to survive and the World Health Organization classifies thousands of mutations that occur to varying degrees.
There is still a lot that is unknown, all vaccines are based on the original virus and new types of vaccine may be needed, says Charlotte Bergquist.
For now, the authorities are following the development, among other things, by looking at those who contracted the disease despite vaccination, and what causes it.
– If any variant becomes more popular, this is a warning sign.
Then you can see in lab studies how many antibodies have been vaccinated, if they bind to the virus and can prevent it, says Charlotte Bergquist.
It is still difficult to determine what actually happens to infection and when the vaccine might protect less.
A Swedish vaccine is currently being developed at Karolinska Institutet, known as Opencorona. It is a DNA vaccine consisting of DNA from the virus that controls protein production in the body and to which the immune system reacts.
– We’ve relied on several different proteins, not just the nail protein. This means that it does not become hypersensitive to mutations, says Ali Mirazimi.
Phase 1 this fall
Therefore the vaccine must provide broader protection and must also be given with an electrical pulse.
The vector vaccine is an envelope to which the immune system can eventually confer immunity, meaning that the vaccine can be given multiple times.
It is believed that the Swedish vaccine will enter the first phase of studies this fall.
We really keep our fingers crossed for that. It’s a huge process to get all the permits. But we hope this is the way to bypass the mutations.