COVID UK variant in Pakistan: Is vaccine actually less effective against it?
Pakistan on Saturday recorded at least 3,876 confirmed cases of Covid-19 – the highest in eight months
Pakistani research confirmed that the current vaccines have some efficacy against the COVID UK variant in Pakistan — considered more transmissible than the original Wuhan variant. However, it does not provide complete immunity, cautioning people to continue adhering to standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Pakistan on Saturday recorded at least 3,876 confirmed cases of Covid-19 – the highest in eight months – as the third wave of the pandemic sweeps across the country.
In recent days, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), and Punjab and other regions reported a sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases. The UK strain of the virus – reportedly more lethal – is sweeping across these areas as the country fights with the pandemic’s third wave.
COVID UK Variant
A clinical study, published on the 11th of March in “Journal of Medical Virology,” showed that SARS-CoV-2/B117 – the UK variant – is spreading fast in Pakistan. The variant is variably reacting against the immunity gained by recovered persons from the country’s previous infection and across the globe.
A team of scientists from Dow University of Health Sciences (DUHS) compared the COVID UK variant in Pakistan with the Chinese origin variant. It closely inspected both strains for their structural, pathogenic, and immunological perspectives.
The research team showed that both these strains of viruses are binding with human cells with the same intensity through their spike protein. However, subtle differences in the spike proteins of both these strains of SARS-CoV-2 can make the UK variant escape from antibodies generated against the original strain.
Pakistani researchers have identified at least 29 major changes between SARS-CoV-2 Wuhan and SARS-CoV-2 B117 versions, but the further probe is needed in this regard.
However, they added that any patient infected with the Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2 and made antibodies against it is still vulnerable to the new UK variety of the virus.
The study stated that Covid-19 cases have sharply increased in the last two weeks in Pakistan, prompting government officials to declare it the third wave of the virus.
It said that B117 seemed to be the reason behind the sudden rise as many reported cases from Punjab are because of the COVID UK variant in Pakistan.
The report added that it might be escaping from the immunity developed against the original strain and may be relatively more pathogenic.
Another research paper in the journal “Cell” suggested that the COVID UK variant in Pakistan is 30% to 60% more contagious than the stains of the first wave of infection, Pakistan’s third wave. This research also showed that current vaccines including, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna, show less efficacy against the UK variant.
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