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COVID-19 Vaccine Updates
With input from Dr Monica Vasudev
1344: THE UK coronavirus strain has undergone a mutation similar to the South Africa variant, and it appears that it could be resistant to vaccines, suggest reports.
Eleven cases have been identified by Public Health England in Bristol where the Kent variant has been reported to have undergone mutation to escape immune response. Laboratory studies suggest that antibodies have decreased ability to bind to the spike protein, to inhibit it from unlocking human cells to enter them.
The mutation, termed as E484K, already exists in both South African and Brazilian variants.
Previously this mutation was not thought to be present in the UK variant, also known as B.1.1.7.
However, a recent report by Public Health England noted that gene sequencing suggests that the E484K mutation has occurred spontaneously in a few cases of the UK variant.
The UK variant is independently acquiring the E484K mutation.
If this mutation is acquired by most of the UK variants, the suggestions that mRNA vaccines will continue to provide protection against the original UK variant, may no longer hold true. (The Sun)
1345: Russias COVID-19 Vaccine 91.6% Effective, Studies Show
- Russias Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine has been found to be 91.6% effective in fighting COVID-19 in phase III clinical trials, suggests research published in The Lancet.
- The trials included nearly 20,000 people. There were 16 COVID cases in the 14,964 people who were given the vaccine (.1%) and 62 cases in the 4,902 individuals who got the placebo (1.3%).
- In August, way before clinical trials were completed, frontline healthcare workers and other at-risk groups in Russia were administered the vaccine and it has been distributed to over two dozen countries.
- The study only included COVID-19 cases identified once participants developed symptoms and were then tested to confirm. It did not assess if any of the participants had COVID-19 but were asymptomatic.
- Median follow up was 48 days from the first dose. Hence, the study cannot determine the complete duration of protection.
- The two-dose vaccine was reported to have 100% efficacy against moderate or severe COVID-19 and was highly effective in people above 60 years of age.
- The vaccine is now being tested against new variants and the early signs have been favorable.
- In late November, the vaccine developers had stated that the vaccine was 91.4% effective within 28 days of taking the first dose and 95% after 42 days.
- It has already been administered to over 2 million people across the world, including in Russia, some eastern European nations and Latin America. (WebMD)
Dr KK Aggarwal
President CMAAO, HCFI and Past National President IMA