Mutation in virus hampers vaccine progress:
Likely, it will prevent the development of effective vaccines all together
September 7, 2020
Dr. Robert Gorter: to use a metaphor; one can compare an antibody that blocks and eliminates a virus with a key in a lock. If the lock changes minimally (one mutation even) the key will no longer fit and the antibody becomes ineffective.
Therefore, in spite of approx. 50 years of widespread vaccination programs to prevent and overcome the flu (influenza), it did not make any difference.
A study published in the Journal of Laboratory Physicians has revealed that SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, has undergone multiple mutations in its “spike proteins” since March 2020. This is the protein that gives the virus the ability to infiltrate the human cells. Once this occurs, the virus starts replicating, which leads to new infections.
Most viruses mutate rapidly. Therefore, after approx. 50 years of mass vaccinations against the flu (Influenza), we still have yearly multiple epidemics of various flu strains. Thus, instead of chasing new vaccines every year, one should undertake efforts to improve immune function in the general public.
The paper published in Journal of Laboratory Physicians was based on an analysis of 1,604 spike proteins extracted from 1,325 complete genomes and 279 partial spike coding sequences of SARS-CoV-2 available at National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in the US till May 1, 2020.
Dr. Sarman Singh
Mutation in a virus hampers vaccine progress. Dr. Sarman Singh, the lead author of the study, said they found already 12 mutations in the spike proteins in a 5 months’ time, six of which were novel mutations. “One deletion was also found in an Indian strain (MT012098.1). Deletion means change in the genetic structure of the virus. We don’t know how it will affect the virulence of the disease though,” he added. But vaccines which we develop today will therefore become obsolete in the near future.
The maximum genetic mutations were observed in spike proteins extracted from genomes of SARS-CoV-2 from the US, the experts said. “Viruses are known to mutate or change easily their genetic structure upon exposure to different environments. But in this case, the change is happening quite fast. We are not sure how it will affect the disease spread. But the development of effective vaccines becomes an almost impossible task.”