The new study found that the alpha and beta variants of the new coronavirus (SARSCoV2) have changed in structure due to protein spikes, which requires re-injection of the existing COVID19 vaccine. According to a study by Boston Children’s Hospital, the modified alpha variant spreads faster, while the beta variant avoids the immune response.
In a peer-reviewed article published in the journal Science on June 24, the new SARS CoV2 variants “spread very fast, and there are concerns that the existing COVID19 vaccine cannot prevent them.” The study shows that re-vaccination (dose) with a newer vaccine is required to increase effectivity and bypass the immunity of SARSCoV2 variants. This study, led by Bing Chen, MD, of the Boston Children’s Hospital, is one of the latest in a series of structural studies on the spike protein of the SARSCoV2 variant.
Five “destructive variants” were discovered in India-Alpha (first discovered in the UK-B.35 1), Beta (first discovered in South Africa-B.351), Gamma (first discovered in Brazilian travelers in Japan- B.284), Delta and Kappa (all first discovered in India-B.617.2 or B.617.1). During the study, cryo-electron microscopy (KryoEM) was used to compare the spike protein of the original SARSCoV2 virus with the proteins of the alpha and beta variants of the virus. The research revealed new characteristics. More about Alpha and Beta variants.
Beta variants: Studies have specifically shown that existing vaccines may be less effective against Beta variants, which is elusive for vaccine-induced immune responses. Structural data indicate that mutations in β variants can change the shape of the spine surface at certain points, “neutralize” antibodies induced by current vaccines, and cause antibodies to “decrease” binding to the variants. This means that even in vaccinated people, beta variants can bypass the immune system.
However, structural changes can affect the ability of the beta variant to bind to the ACE2 receptor, making it more difficult to spread than the alpha variant. Alpha variant: The genetic change of the Alpha variant’s spike protein makes it easier to spread than the parent virus. A single amino acid substitution helps the variant better bind to the ACE2 receptor in the human body, making it more infectious.
An increasingly popular new variant of SARSCoV2 has been identified as B1.1.318. According to News Medical, this variant was first discovered in travelers to the island country of Mauritius, as well as other passengers infected with alpha and beta variants.