Blog: The new SARS-CoV-2 variant – comments on transmission, virulence and response to COVID-19 drugs and vaccines

Saad Shakir writes:

Speed of transmission - it is public knowledge that it transmits much faster with significantly higher R value.

Virulence - There are no early signs that the new variant causes more severe illness among patients in affected areas. A Observations in much larger numbers of patients need to continue to monitor this.

Response to medicines - Reduction in A the efficacy of medicines used to treat COVID-19, such as dexamethasone and remdesivir, is unlikely. A However, the effects of the new variant on products that use antibodies or monoclonal antibodies need to be evaluated.

Response to vaccines - Assertions have been made by the Chief Medical and Scientific Officers in the UK that the changes in the spike protein of the new variant are unlikely to reduce the protective effect of COVID-19 vaccines. A Since the three vaccine forerunners target the spike protein, this question needs to be examined in detail urgently. A Scientists at the research facility in Porton Down in the UK are growing the variant virus and will examine the interaction between the vaccines and the virus. A Studies (cluster clinical trials or epidemiological studies) to examine this question in vaccine's will take much longer. A There are three possibilities; the new variant has no effect on the efficacy of the vaccines, it may weaken their protection, or make the current vaccines unprotective.

Scientists are working round the clock to answer these questions. A Everyone should vaccinate with COVID-19 vaccines if they are fortunate to be invited unless they are advised not to do so by a healthcare professional.