Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Former head says may get obviate by South African variant

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Though COVID-19 vaccines will likely render effective against the — according to an infectious disease expert — the former head of the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration () said the strain may “” other countermeasures, including .

Former FDA head says Antibody Drugs may get obviate by South African coronavirus variant

The South African coronavirus variant, known as 501Y.V2, has sparked serious concern, and the strain has already been described as more infectious than the COVID-19 virus identified at the start of the pandemic. In South Africa, it has rapidly become dominant in the country’s coastal areas.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the FDA, told CNBC’s Shepard Smith late Tuesday that the strain appears to escape immunity from convalescent plasma and prior infection.

“The South Africa variant is very concerning right now because it does appear that may it obviate some of our medical countermeasures, particularly the antibody drugs,” Gottlieb said, pointing to evidence from Bloom Lab.

The variant involves mutations on the spike protein, including E484K, though the laboratory said the changes “reduce neutralization activity, they don’t ablate it.”

That said, Britain’s health secretary on Monday warned that the coronavirus variant first detected in South Africa is a “very significant problem” and poses more of a risk than others.

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