Regular booster vaccines are the future of the fight against COVID-19, top genomic experts say

(Reuters) — The head of the UK’s efforts to sequence the virus’s genome told Reuters that it would require regular booster vaccines against the new coronavirus.

Killed new coronavirus Since its introduction in China in late 2019, 2.65 million people worldwide It mutates about once every two weeks, which is slower than influenza and HIV, but it requires vaccine adjustment.

Sharon Peacock, head of COVID-19 Genomics UK (COG-UK), has sequenced nearly half of all novel coronavirus genomes globally mapped to date, internationally in the “cat and mouse” fight against the virus. He said he needed cooperation.

“We must understand that we must always have booster immunity. Immunity to the coronavirus does not last forever,” Peacock said of the non-profit Welcome Sanger Institute on the outskirts of Cambridge. He told Reuters on a 55-acre campus.

“We are already adjusting vaccines to address what the virus is doing from an evolutionary perspective, so mutations with a combination of increased infectivity and the ability to partially avoid the immune response. Is happening, “she said.

Peacock is convinced that regular booster shots such as the flu will be needed to deal with future variants, but the speed of vaccine innovation is that those shots are being developed at a pace and deployed to the population. He said it meant that he could.

COG-UK was founded just a year ago by Professor Peacock of the University of Cambridge with the help of Patrick Vallance, the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor. The virus has spread to the United Kingdom all over the world.

The public health and academic consortium is currently the world’s deepest pool of knowledge about viral genetics. Sites across the UK have sequenced 349,205 viral genomes from a global effort of approximately 778,000 genomes.

At the Intellectual Front of the Welcome Sanger Institute, hundreds of scientists (many with PhDs, many working voluntarily, and some listening to heavy metal and electronic beats) work seven days a week. , Map the growing family tree of the virus to patterns of concern.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute processed more than half of the entire UK sequence genome of the virus after processing 19 million samples from the PCR test in a year. COG-UK sequences approximately 30,000 genomes per week. This is more than the UK did in a year.

Three Major Coronavirus Mutants – First Identified United Kingdom (Known as B.1.1.7), Brazil (Known as P1) and South Africa (Known as B.1.351) – Especially scrutinized.

Peacock said he was most worried about B.1.351.

“Although it is more contagious, there are also changes in a gene mutation called E484K that is associated with weakened immunity, which reduces immunity to the virus,” Peacock said.

With 120 million cases of COVID-19 worldwide, making it difficult to track all alphabetic soups of the variant, Peacock’s team thinks from a “mutant constellation” perspective. I will.

“Therefore, if necessary, the sequence of mutations becomes like a leaderboard. Which mutation in the genome we are particularly concerned about, the E484K must be one of the top leaderboards. Must be, “she said.

“Therefore, regardless of background or lineage, any mutation or constellation of mutations is biologically important and its leader to think about the different combinations that can have slightly different biological effects. I’m developing my thoughts around the board. “

Peacock, however, warned of the humility in the face of the virus, which caused so many deaths and financial destruction.

“One of the things the virus has taught me is that I can be wrong quite regularly. In the face of a virus we know very little about, I am very humble. Must be, “she said.

“There may be variants that have not yet been discovered.”

However, a future pandemic will occur.

“I think it’s inevitable that another virus of concern will emerge. What I want is to detect it by learning what we have in this pandemic. And you’re ready to contain it. ”

Report by Guy Faulconbridge; edited by Kate Holton and Philippa Fletcher © 2021 Thomson Reuters.

Regular booster vaccines are the future of the fight against COVID-19, top genomic experts say

Source link Regular booster vaccines are the future of the fight against COVID-19, top genomic experts say

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