Wednesday, April 17, 2024

COVID variants unlikely to fully evade our immune system, says study

With every new variant of SARS-CoV-2 that emerges, a worrisome question arises: could the virus eventually arrive at a set of mutations that would enable it to fully evade our immune response? A new study, published in Nature, suggests that it will be hard for the virus to get there. Studying dozens of naturally occurring and laboratory-selected mutations, including those found in Delta and other concerning variants, researchers found that a future SARS-CoV-2 variant will need to pack about 20 of the right mutations to become fully resistant to the antibodies that an average person generates in response to a coronavirus infection or vaccination, reports Medical Xpress. But even if the virus pulls off this genetic feat, it still remains vulnerable to an improved set of antibodies: those arising after natural infection and possibly boosted through mRNA vaccines. The findings suggest that our immune system, if properly stimulated, is capable of dealing with the worst that the coronavirus may have to offer for the foreseeable future. “Immunity in people who fought off COVID last year and later received mRNA vaccines is impressively broad,” says Paul Bieniasz,head of the Laboratory of Retrovirology at Rockefeller. “This tells us that although natural infection or the vaccines lead to immunity, they have in no way come close to exhausting the capacity of the human immune system to mount defense against this virus.”

 

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-09-couldfuturecoronavirusvariantsfully-dodge-immune.html

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