Spike protein vaccines effective against Covid variants: IIT study

While further experimental verification is called for, the researchers believe that the present spike protein vaccinations are likely to be efficacious against circulating variants of Coronavirus (SARS COV-2).
Representative Image
Representative Image Reuters

CHENNAI: Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) researchers have shown that spike protein vaccines may be effective against multiple variants of the Coronavirus (SARS COV-2).

The results of the IIT-Madras study suggest that the attack by selected variants – Delta plus, Gamma, Zeta, Mink and Omicron – may be dealt with by vaccine-induced T-cell responses despite the compromised neutralising antibodies responses, a release from IIT-M said on Tuesday.

While further experimental verification is called for, the researchers believe that the present spike protein vaccinations are likely to be efficacious against circulating variants of Coronavirus (SARS COV-2).

The researchers set out to find out what would be the response like if the post-vaccination infections were caused by a variant other than the original Wuhan strain incorporated in vaccine preparations.

In variants of SARS COV-2, there are molecular level changes to the spike protein of the virus, and these variations may include the regions of protein sequences that are recognized by T-cells called epitopes.

Understanding the effect of these variations on the immune response can give some clarity about the efficacy of vaccination against the variants of SARS COV- 2.

The vaccines could be considered effective against the variants if there are less mutated epitopes in their spike proteins and, if the mutated epitopes can still induce an immune response comparable to that elicited by original/native epitopes.

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