South Africa testing whether vaccines work against variant
“This is the most pressing question facing us right now,” said Dr. Richard Lessells, an infectious diseases expert who is working on the country’s genomic studies of the variant.
“We are urgently doing experiments in the laboratory to test the variant,” against the blood of people with antibodies and against the blood of people who have received vaccines, Lessells told The Associated Press Monday.
The tests, called neutralizing assays, will help determine the reliability of vaccines against the variant, he said.
The South African variant, 501.V2, is more infectious than the original COVID-19 virus and has rapidly become dominant in the country’s coastal areas. It is expected that the variant will quickly become dominant inland in Johannesburg, the country’s largest city, and the surrounding Gauteng province, he said.
South Africa is currently experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 with rapidly rising numbers of cases and deaths that are surpassing what the country experienced in its first surge in late July last year.
[Source: Washington Post]