Updated COVID-19 Vaccines Needed to Combat Virus Variants
The UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies published a paper on July 30, 2021, which says 'the eradication of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus will be unlikely. We have high confidence in stating that there will always be variants.'
Furthermore, 'We describe hypothetical scenarios by which SARS-CoV-2 could further evolve and acquire, through mutation, phenotypes of concern, which we assess according to possibility.'
'For this purpose, we consider mutations in the ‘body’ of the virus (the viral genes that are expressed in infected cells and control replication and cell response) that might affect virus fitness and disease severity, separately from mutations in the spike glycoprotein that might affect virus transmission and antibody escape.'
'We assess which scenarios are the most likely and what impact they might have and consider how these scenarios might be mitigated. In addition, we provide supporting information based on the evolution of SARS-CoV-2, human and animal coronaviruses, as well as drawing parallels with other viruses.'
What could we do?
'Need to continue vaccinating vulnerable age groups at regular periods with updated COVID-19 vaccines to the dominant antigenic drift variants to increase an individual’s immunological protection against future SARS-CoV-2 variants,' concluded this summary.
Note: This paper is the assessment of the evidence at the time of writing. As new evidence or data emerges, SAGE updates its advice accordingly. These documents have not been peer-reviewed.