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New Coronavirus Mutations, Is the Vaccine Still Effective?

Source:Iris Liang Time:2020-12-24 14:07:57

After a severe variant of the new coronavirus was suddenly discovered in parts of the UK, it is spreading rapidly and uncontrollably in many countries. The United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia and other countries all have confirmed cases related to the British variant new coronavirus.

In South Africa, another mutant virus different from that of the United Kingdom was discovered, which made the global epidemic prevention and control situation extremely complicated and severe. Blockade and air ban have become emergency measures for dozens of countries and regions to prevent the spread of the virus.

Unlike the D614G mutation that appeared last month, the mutation this time obviously caused more panic. The biggest danger is that it is "70% more infectious than the ordinary new coronavirus."

Although this data was derived from a model, Feng Zijian, deputy director of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview with a CCTV reporter on the evening of December 21: "This gives us a very important reminder that we can see the increase in the spread of the disease in the crowd. Such a sign."

Feng Zijian said that regarding virus mutations, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is using international genetic databases to investigate issues including the risk of transmission of the mutated virus, whether it will cause global spread, whether it will become a mainstream virus strain in the future, and what measures my country should take to prevent it. Serious research and judgment.

The good news is that there is currently no import of mutant viruses in my country.

  Mutated virus-related cases appeared in many countries

After the UK confirmed the mutation of the new coronavirus on December 19, it was reported that at least 60 local governments in the UK have confirmed the virus, and more than 1,000 cases have been reported. British scientists are conducting research and reporting relevant information to World Health Organization (WHO).

According to the "Daily Mail" report, as of mid-November, 28% of cases in London were caused by this new variant, and this proportion reached 62% in the week of December 9.

The mutated virus has spread outside the UK. On December 20, Italian media reported that the Celio Military Medical School, in cooperation with the country’s Higher Institute of Health, extracted the genes of a new variant of the new coronavirus discovered in the UK recently from a sample of a confirmed case of new coronary pneumonia.

As early as early December, a patient in the Netherlands had been infected with the same virus as the mutant virus described in the United Kingdom. The Dutch health department said experts are investigating how the infection occurred and whether there are related cases.

In addition, Denmark and Australia also have confirmed cases related to this mutant new coronavirus.

It is worth noting that outside the United Kingdom, other types of mutated new coronaviruses have also been discovered.

According to the Observer Network citing foreign media reports on December 21, at the WHO's press conference that day, Maria Van Kokhoff, technical director of WHO's health emergency project, confirmed that another mutant new coronavirus has been found in South Africa, but it It is a separate variant and has nothing to do with the new coronavirus variant in the UK.

Previously, on December 18, the South African health department stated that they had discovered a variant of the new coronavirus named "501.V2" and believed that this variant virus may be the main cause of the second wave of outbreaks in South Africa.

The number of confirmed cases of new coronary pneumonia in South Africa has increased rapidly recently. There were 10,939 new cases in a single day on December 19, a record high since August.

Affected by the mutation of the virus, many countries and regions including the United Kingdom have recently tightened their prevention and control measures. Beginning on the morning of December 20, the highest level of "Level 4" blockade prevention and control measures will be implemented in various areas of the UK for two weeks, similar in scale to the blockade and restriction measures implemented throughout the United Kingdom in November.

In addition, many countries have also issued bans for a period of time not to communicate with countries where the mutant virus has been found, such as the United Kingdom and South Africa. For example, Canada, the Netherlands and other countries have banned navigation with the United Kingdom. In response to the virus mutation in South Africa, many countries including France, Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Israel have successively announced the ban on flights from South Africa.

The mutated virus may be more contagious, which is one of the reasons for the panic in various countries.

According to overseas reports, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and scientists confirmed that the new variant of the new coronavirus discovered in the UK is 70% more infectious than the ordinary new coronavirus.

The impact of mutation is manifold, but whether it will increase the fatality rate, there is still no definite statement.

According to a CCTV report, the WHO stated that it has noticed "preliminary signs" that the mutant new coronavirus that began to appear in the UK in September "spreads faster from person to person" and may affect some diagnostic tests. Accuracy, but there is currently no evidence that this mutant virus has a higher fatality rate or can cause more severe symptoms.

On December 21st, this mutant virus was named "VUI-202012/01", but it is still in the process of applying for approval.

  Central Disease Control: my country has not seen imported mutated viruses

This virus mutation has caused concerns worldwide.

On the evening of December 21, Feng Zijian, deputy director of the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, responded to and explained several important issues of the virus mutation in an interview with CCTV News 1+1.

Regarding the issue of increased infectivity, Feng Zijian said: “70% of the data is derived from the model, because there is no way to actually measure it in the crowd, and we can only use the model to speculate, but this gives us a very important reminder. The population has seen such a sign that the spread of the disease has increased," Feng Zijian said. There are also some actual data. For example, in the last seven or eight weeks, the weekly incidence rate in southeast England has increased by about 4 times, and there are new mutant strains. The proportion has also greatly increased, which can support the understanding of the increased transmission capacity of mutant viruses from one aspect.

So which part of the virus has mutated, and what does this mutation mean?

Feng Zijian further explained that the mutated virus is mainly due to the mutation on the viral spike protein. The spike protein is very important. This is a very important area for the virus to bind to human cells after the virus invades the human body, especially in the receptor binding. There are also genetic variants in this region of the structural domain (RBD), so this is even more worrying.

   However, Feng Zijian also emphasized that there is indeed an increase in transmission capacity, but it does not mean that the pathogenicity has increased. These are two different problems. He explained that pathogenicity mainly refers to how many people have been infected, and how many of them have become ill and have symptoms. This ratio reflects the pathogenicity of the virus.

"Now it seems that there is no sign that the proportion of the number of patients who are infected has increased. On the contrary, the proportion of asymptomatic infections has increased. If you look at it this way, it means that the pathogenicity of the mutant virus is on the decline. At present, no increase in virus virulence has been observed. Virus virulence is reflected in case fatality rate or fatality rate." Feng Zijian said.

It is understood that at present, my country's disease control departments and experts have fully synchronized the relevant information of foreign virus mutations, and are actively conducting research on virus mutations.

Feng Zijian said that the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has paid close attention to international virus transmission, mutation, and changes in transmission characteristics. Recently, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is also paying close attention to the British Public Health Agency and its scientific and technological institutions. , As well as WHO, EU CDC and other international professional organizations on its understanding, analysis, disclosure and presentation of data.

At the same time, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention is also using the international genetic database to deal with mutations, including the risk of transmission of the mutated virus, whether it will cause global spread, whether it will become a mainstream strain in the future, and what measures my country should take to prevent it. Ground research and judgment.

Feng Zijian also said that there has been no imported virus in my country.



"From the virus sequence obtained by our country, whether it is imported personnel, goods or cold chain products, etc., viruses obtained from various sources have not been found to have imported mutant viruses in our country. China has adopted these measures for many months. The various measures of'external anti-import and internal anti-rebound' can be very effective in preventing the import of foreign viruses, especially in dealing with the further spread caused by imported viruses. In view of the mutant virus that appeared in the UK this time, what links should be taken? We are conducting research and evaluation on which measures will be further strengthened." Feng Zijian said.

The reporter noticed that since the outbreak of the new crown pneumonia at the beginning of the year, news of the mutation of the new crown virus has continued.

Just last month, the world’s top journals "Cell" and "Science" both published academic articles, claiming that the D164G variant of SARS-CoV-2 (new coronavirus) is more infectious and has a higher viral load in the upper respiratory tract of infected patients. high. But the study also said that the variant does not have a higher fatality rate or more serious clinical manifestations of the disease.

   WHO: The vaccine is still effective

Vaccines are considered to be a global means to effectively control or even end the epidemic. At present, many countries have carried out emergency use of the new crown vaccine, and some vaccines have even been approved for marketing in some countries. my country will also implement the first step of the "two-step" vaccination strategy in the near future, to carry out new crown vaccination work for key populations.

But this virus mutation makes people worry about whether the vaccines that have been developed or vaccinated are still useful.

Feng Zijian said that the protection of the antibody produced by the vaccine and whether there is cross-protection between the new virus, or whether it has a protective effect on previous infections or post-infection immunity is of concern to everyone.

He said that there is no more data in this area, and further observation is needed, and laboratory studies, including animal studies, are needed for further verification.

According to the Southern + client news, on December 22, Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said at an event that there is no further evidence whether the virus mutation affects the effectiveness of the vaccine.

However, there is good news temporarily from the WHO. Maria van Kokhov said at a WHO press conference on December 21 that the current situation shows that the current vaccine is still effective.

According to a CNBC report, Soumya Swaminathan, the chief scientist of the World Health Organization, also stated in a news briefing on December 21: “The mutation rate of the new coronavirus is much slower than that of influenza. Although we have seen some mutations, we have not yet The susceptibility of the therapies, drugs or vaccines being developed has a major impact."

In the early morning of December 22, Zhang Wenhong, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital affiliated to Fudan University, posted a message on Weibo. He believed that it was unlikely that the vaccine would be ineffective before the vaccine came out.

"Without natural selection, there will be no virus evolution. Similarly, without the pressure of a vaccine, it is basically impossible to naturally screen out virus variants that are ineffective to the vaccine. The current vaccine will produce antibodies against many regions of the S protein, and a single mutation (such as the previous one) The D614G mutation that appeared in September and the N501Y mutation that appeared this time) is unlikely to reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine." Zhang Wenhong said.

Zhang Wenhong also said that the virus mutates every day, and as time goes by, more mutations will occur. The types of vaccines that have been proven effective in trials so far will only be screened out to be ineffective against vaccines due to vaccine pressure after they are marketed. Mutation. This requires waiting for the vaccine to be verified by sequencing the cases where vaccine protection has failed. Once a variant that is not effective on the vaccine is found, then the vaccine can be easily adjusted, just like we did with the flu vaccine.

The mutated virus has attracted global attention, and many vaccine companies have also stated that they are conducting research to test the effectiveness of the vaccine.

According to a report by the Financial Associated Press on December 22, Pfizer and Modena both said they have been testing the effectiveness of the new crown vaccine against the British new crown variant strain.

Modena said in a statement that he hopes to conduct additional tests in the next few weeks to confirm the effectiveness of the vaccine against the British new crown variant strain. Pfizer said that it is "obtaining data" to prove that people who have been vaccinated with Pfizer's new crown vaccine can "neutralize the new strain in the UK."

It is understood that the new crown vaccines of the two companies are mRNA vaccines, and the former has been approved by the United States for emergency use recently.

In addition, according to the Global Times on December 22, quoting Reuters, the CEO (Ugur Sahin) of the German biotech company (BioNTech) said on Monday that he is confident that the new crown vaccine jointly developed by BioNTech and Pfizer, It can effectively deal with the new strains of the new coronavirus in the UK.

Up to now, my country's new crown vaccine companies have not made public announcements regarding virus mutation.

However, Chen Wei, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a researcher at the Academy of Military Medicine of the Academy of Military Sciences, previously discussed the issue of virus mutation in an interview with Xinhua News Agency reporters.

His team and CanSino Bio have jointly developed a recombinant new coronavirus vaccine.

Chen Wei said that the vaccine he developed is a genetically engineered vaccine, which is to find the most useful gene and make it into a vaccine. Judging from the current data analysis, the probability of a change in the selected gene is very low. Up to now, our recombinant new coronavirus vaccine can completely cover the mutated new coronavirus.

In addition, Chen Wei said that because it is a genetically engineered vaccine, once the virus mutates and affects the protective effect, we can use the current vaccine as the basic immunization, and soon a more targeted vaccine will be made to boost it. It's like patching a software upgrade. The epidemic has spread for nearly a year. When the dawn was about to usher in, the situation changed. I believe there will be depression and disappointment in everyone's hearts. But the day will continue. SEKO Machinery will not stop exploring, and will continue to reform the process and technology of stainless steel industrial welded pipe bright annealing equipment, and provide high-quality and efficient equipment for the majority of stainless steel welded pipe manufacturers.


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Iris Liang
SEKO Machinery & Technology Co., Ltd
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