The strain of coronavirus infection identified in South Africa poses a significant risk of re-infection. This was reported on Thursday, January 21st, on the MedicalXpress portal with reference to a preliminary study.
As the authors of the material explain, new variants of the coronavirus from the UK, Brazil and South Africa have spike protein mutations. This allows the virus to remain in human cells and cause infection.
However, experts expressed concern precisely because of the properties of the mutation present in variants of the coronavirus from South Africa and Brazil. It is clarified that it is resistant to antibodies accumulated in the body of a person who has recovered from COVID-19.
“Although many people have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 around the world and are believed to have accumulated some level of immunity, new variants such as 501Y.V2 pose a significant risk of re-infection,” the study authors stressed.
They also expressed the opinion that the results may affect the use of treatment of patients with blood plasma from people who have undergone COVID-19. The information can also affect the effectiveness of existing vaccines, which are based on the immune response to the viral spike protein.
However, the scientists added that more research is needed.
The day before, on January 21, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the British strain of coronavirus infection has spread across the territory of 60 countries. The South African type of infection, which was labeled 501Y.V2, was recorded in a total of 23 countries. The British variant is known to spread faster than the original SARS-CoV-2 variant.