Great news: Vaccines that work on ‘SA variant’ WILL protect against other strains
Our latest COVID-19 press conference has been a positive affair, as a collective of experts confirmed some good news about the SA variant and our vaccines.
After South Africa hit a couple of speedbumps in its vaccine rollout, ministers and scientific experts revealed on Wednesday that the antibodies generated to neutralise the 501Y.V2 mutation of COVID-19 – colloquially branded as the ‘SA variant’ – will also be able to kill-off ‘any other previous lineages’.
‘Immune response to SA variant can prevent reinfection from other strains’ – Nzimande
Those who recover from the SA variant also develop immunities from reinfection. The positive findings were outlined by Zweli Mkhize, Blade Nzimande, and Professor Tulio De Oliveira. Nzimande, the Higher Education Minister, was given the important task of delivering the key findings from the studies – boosting the credibility of these newly procured vaccines:
“Scientists have established that those infected with the 501Y.V2 variant have protection from previous and current variants. It generates immune responses that neutralize itself and other SARS leniencies.”
Experts reveal positive findings about 501Y.V2
After fumbling a shipment of the first million AstraZeneca vaccines – which were initially thought to be ineffective against 501Y.V2 – South Africa has since secured more than 20 million doses of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson jabs. A total of 76 000 healthworkers have received their first inoculations, and the speed of the rollout is expected to increase soon.
It’s also worth noting…
- – De Oliveira says other variants discovered in Mzansi ‘have not become a cause for concern’.
- – The scientific community is also unconvinced that 501Y.V2 is can cause ‘more severe illness’ than other mutations.
- – 99% of local active cases are from the new SA variant, rising from 11% in October, 60% in November, and 87% in December.
- – These latest developments suggest that vaccines WILL be effective against many new mutations.
- – The antibodies generated to overcome the SA variant can also deal with other strains – ensuring ‘cross-variant immunity’.
- – Although some vaccines evaluated in South Africa ‘have a reduced efficacy for mild cases’, this may not be the case for severe disease. Put simply, ALL available vaccines should be able to dramatically reduce hospitalisations and deaths.
What other countries have the SA variant?
These developments will also be good news for at least 48 other countries, too. The SA variant (long heralded as the ‘bogeyman’ of COVID-19 mutations) has put South Africa on numerous ‘high-risk travel’ lists. These findings, which suggest any vaccine in circulation is likely to slash severe cases of this strain, has the potential to ease fears over 501Y.V2.
The SA variant has reached the likes of Australia, France, and China. Meanwhile, local transmission has been detected in the USA, the UK, and Germany. This map shows just how far this particular form of COVID-19 has travelled:
A visual depiction of how the COVID-19 variant has spread across the globe, being detected in 48 different countries. #FightCOVID19 pic.twitter.com/02gl725BtJ— NICD (@nicd_sa) March 3, 2021