October 20, 2021

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Can COVID-19 completely evade human immune response by mutations?

Can COVID-19 completely evade our immune response by a series of mutations?



Can COVID-19 completely evade our immune response by a series of mutations?

The COVID-19 virus has been mutating, but there is not enough data to show whether the latest mutant strains such as “Lambda” are more infectious, but the obvious increase in toxicity has been confirmed.

Will the virus eventually undergo a series of mutations that can completely evade our immune response?

The research published in Nature on September 20 found that dozens of naturally-occurring and laboratory-selected mutations, including those found in Delta and other related variants, were studied, and the future SARS-CoV-2 was discovered.

Variants need to carry about 20 correct mutations in order to develop complete resistance to antibodies produced by ordinary people due to coronavirus infection or vaccination.

A new study published in the journal Nature on September 20 shows that it is difficult for viruses to reach that level. Dozens of naturally occurring and laboratory-selected mutations have been studied, including those found in Delta and other related variants.

Researchers have found that future SARS-CoV-2 variants need to carry about 20 correct mutations in order to develop complete resistance to antibodies produced by ordinary people due to coronavirus infection or vaccination.

The researchers published an article titled “High genetic barrier to SARS-CoV-2 polyclonal neutralizing antibody escape”.

Can COVID-19 completely evade our immune response by a series of mutations?

But even if the virus accomplishes this genetic feat, it is still vulnerable to an improved set of antibodies: these antibodies are produced after natural infection and are further enhanced by mRNA vaccines.

The research results show that if our immune system is properly stimulated, we can deal with the worst possible consequences of the coronavirus in the foreseeable future. Paul Bieniasz, Director of the Rockefeller Retrovirus (RNA Virus) Laboratory, said: “People who defeated the new coronavirus last year and were later vaccinated with mRNA vaccines have very extensive immunity.

This tells us that although natural infections or vaccines cause immunity, they also It will never exhaust the human immune system’s ability to resist this virus.”

Multiple mutant viruses

Just as there are many variants of the coronavirus, there are many variants of our antibodies. This is why the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the most infectious virus so far, cannot completely escape our immune response.

It may escape some of the antibodies we produce, but not all. But Delta is not the last version of SARS-CoV-2 we have seen.

The virus is still replicating at a high speed in a large number of people, new mutations continue to appear, and new variants continue to overflow.

Postdoctoral fellows Fabian Schmidt and Yiska Weisblum set out to determine which mutation gives SARS-CoV-2 an advantage over antibodies.

In this study, they first created a safe alternative to coronavirus by adjusting a different, harmless virus to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein on its surface. As artificial coronaviruses replicated, some mutations appeared in the process of replication.

Then, the research team soaked the artificial coronavirus in plasma samples of people who recovered from the new coronavirus infection, and selected mutants that evade antibody neutralization.

After several rounds of research, the researchers found that many mutations are located in the same location as the naturally occurring mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 mutation, including those found in Delta or other related mutations.

Then, the researchers created a “multi-mutation” virus: a man-made coronavirus that carries a spike protein and also has 20 of the most severe mutations.

The multi-mutant strain showed almost complete resistance to antibodies produced by individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 or vaccinated with SARS-CoV-2.

Bieniasz said: “Therefore, it is possible for the virus to evolve and escape most of our antibodies, but the genetic barrier for this to happen is quite high.”

Extra immunity

The results of a group of people’s research show that, in the long run, our immune system will win the race against the mutated coronavirus.

People who have experienced natural infections and vaccinations produce very effective antibodies.

Previously, Rockefeller’s research team included Michel Nussenzweig, Paul Bieniasz, and Rockefeller’s associate professor of research Theodora Hatziioannou. They found that after the infection subsided, the antibody would continue to evolve within a few months to better bind to the spike protein.

Accepting mRNA vaccines can more powerfully enhance these antibodies, and the number of antibodies will greatly increase, and by binding more and more closely to the original sequence, they will improve their ability to deal with many variants.

In the current study, plasma from people who have been infected and vaccinated neutralized multiple mutation peaks.

It also neutralized the six SARS-CoV-2 variants tested, as well as the original SARS coronavirus and SARS-like viruses found in bats and pangolins.

Hatziioannou, who co-directed the research, said: “The antibodies of this group of people are incredibly potent and flexible. They are likely to provide protection against any SARS-CoV-2 variants that appear in the future, and may resist future coronavirus outbreaks. Popularity.”

More research will show whether booster injections will lead to similar improvements in antibodies among vaccinated people who have never been infected with coronavirus.

(source:internet, reference only)


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