Track infection ratio in vaccinated vs non-vaccinated: Satish Ranjan

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 16, 2021

Germany-based molecular immunologist calls for genomic studies

India will do well to study the ratio of Covid-19 infection in vaccinated individuals versus the non-vaccinated since evidence from Israel suggests that the South African variant circulating there has been able not only to escape the mRNA-vaccine-induced immunity but also affect the vaccinated individual more.

Genomic studies need to be carried out to determine what mutants/variants are emerging out of fully vaccinated individuals and what risks they pose if emerging variants are vaccine-resistant, says Dr Satish Ranjan, Molecular Immunologist and Covid-19 Scientific Consultant as well as ex-Senior Scientist, Medical Faculty, University Hospital, Magdeburg, Germany.

Meeting mutation threat

“Vaccination may provide short-term and sub-optimal immunity which might lower disease severity in some individuals but at the same time provide excellent opportunity for the virus to mutate and escape the acquired immunity post-vaccination,” Satish Ranjan wrote to BusinessLine in an e-mail.

Given the fact the vaccine may not be able to stop its replication or transmission and in the absence of known longevity of induced immunity, it is pertinent to evaluate its short-term and sub-optimal immune benefits at the individual level versus the possibilities of virus escaping this immunity and mutating into a more virulent form.

Satish Ranjan cited a scientific study from MIT and Harvard and published in the journal “Cell” suggesting that at least two mRNA vaccines, namely BNT162b2 or mRNA-1273, have failed to neutralise five out of 10 pseudoviruses representing 10 globally circulating strains of SARS-CoV-2 and having mutations in receptor-binding domain of SARS-CoV-2 spike.

Adenovirus vector vaccine

Similar studies need to be carried out for vaccine in India especially against the adenovirus vector vaccine that has genetic material for SARS-CoV-2 Spike glycoprotein in order to determine the neutralising benefits of this vaccine or similar vaccines against existing strains of SARS-CoV-2.

“The strategy with currently available vaccines that doesn’t provide immunity against replication of the virus nor its transmission while affording immense scope for it to mutate and escape the vaccine-induced immunity should be carefully reviewed, Satish Ranjan said.

New evolving strains

Focus should be on developing broadly protective interventions against the pandemic and/or developing better vaccine that can address the limitations of current vaccine and also provide immunity against new evolving strains.

“The pandemic can be effectively controlled by imposing selective restrictions on possible identified super-spreaders and practising protocols such as wearing medical masks not ordinary masks, maintaining proper distancing, sanitising, and avoiding all possible modes of transmission such as droplets, urine and fecal material,” Satish Ranjan said.

Published on April 16, 2021

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