Columbia University Study Shows That Emerging SARS-CoV-2 Variants Resist Antibody Neutralization, Contradicting Vaccine Manufacturers' Studies!
A new study led by scientists from Columbia University shows warning signs that recently emerged SARS-CoV-2 variants
such as the B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and B.1.1.28 variants have become worryingly resistant to monoclonal antibody therapies, plasma from convalescent patients and sera from vaccinated individuals.
This new study findings contradict earlier studies the last few days published by certain vaccine manufacturers and also by the US.NIH (Note the US NIH has vested interests in some of these COVID-1 9 vaccines with Dr Anthony Fauci playing a major role) with regards to the efficacy of these vaccines on the new emerging strains. Interestingly the Columbia study also had another team of researchers from the NIH that was involved in its study and also supported the study findings.
A variety of single and combination monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics have received emergency use authorization from the non-credible American FDA along with a variety of multiple vaccine constructs. Most of these interventions were directed toward the initial SARS-CoV-2 strains that emerged in 2019.
However considerable viral evolution has occurred since, including variants with a D614G mutation that have become dominant. Viruses with this mutation alone do not appear to be antigenically distinct.
However the recent emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 in the UK12
and B.1.351 in South Africa is of concern because of their purported ease of transmission and extensive mutations in the spike protein.
The study team reports that B.1.1.7 is refractory to neutralization by most mAbs to the N-terminal domain (NTD) of spike and relatively resistant to a number of mAbs to the receptor-binding domain (RBD). It is modestly more resistant to convalescent plasma (~3 fold) and vaccinee sera (~2 fold). Findings on B.1.351 are more worrisome in that this variant is not only refractory to neutralization by most NTD mAbs but also by multiple individual mAbs to the receptor-binding motif on RBD, largely due to an E484K mutation, although some mAb combinations retain activity. Moreover, B.1.351 is markedly more resistant to neutralization by convalescent plasma (~11-33 fold) and vaccinee sera (~6.5-8.6 fold). B.1.351 and emergent variants14
with similar spike mutations present new challenges for mAb therapy and threaten the protective efficacy of current vaccines.
The study findings were published on a preprint server and are currently being peer reviewed. https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.01.25.428137v2
The study team says that both the B.1.1.7 variant that has emerged in the UK and the B.1.351 variant that has emerged in South Africa have become resistant to neutralization by many of the monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) that target a surface protein on SARS-CoV-2 called the spike (or S) protein. This spike protein is the primary structure the virus uses to bind to and infect host cells.
tly the study also found that compared with wildtype SARS-CoV-2, both variants were more than twice as resistant to neutralization by plasma from convalescent individuals.
Significantly, the variants were more resistant to neutralization by sera from vaccinated individuals, particularly the B.1.351 variant, which was up to 8.6 times more resistant than wildtype virus.
This contradicts studies published the last few days by certain vaccine manufacturers and the U.S. NIH claiming the current COVID-19 vaccines especially Pzifer’s and Moderna’s were not affected by the new variants!
The team from Columbia University in New York told Thailand Medical News,
“B.1.351 and emergent variants with similar spike mutations present new challenges for mAb therapy and threaten the protective efficacy of current vaccines.”
At present too much emphasis is being paid on vaccines, convalescent plasma and monoclonal protocols and not on actual antiviral therapeutics to try to bring the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to ravage the globe to a halt, which is going to be a dreadful mistake and one that will be realized in the coming third wave.
Certain single and combination mAb therapeutics have already received emergency use authorization by the incompetent U.S.FDA as have several vaccines, including two that claim a ‘protective efficacy of around 95%!’
It should be noted that these interventions were designed to target the initial wildtype SARS-CoV-2 that emerged in 2019. The virus has since mutated and evolved new strains since then, such as the D614G variant, which was dominant throughout much of 2020, although strains with this mutation alone do not appear to be antigenically distinct from the wildtype virus.
Alarmingly by contrast, the SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 and B.1.351 are raising concerns, not only because of their increased transmissibility, but also because of their extensive mutations in spike that could lead to antigenic changes detrimental to mAb therapies and vaccine protection.
Besides the D614G mutation, variant B.1.1.7 contains 8 other spike mutations. These include two deletions (69-70del & 144del) in the N-terminal domain (NTD) of the spike protein, one mutation (N501Y) in the spike receptor-binding domain (RBD), and one mutation (P681H) near the furin cleavage site.
However the B.1.351 variant contains 9 spike mutations in addition to D614G, including a cluster in the NTD, three mutations (K417N, E484K, & N501Y) in the RBD, and one mutation (A701V) near the furin cleavage site.
The study team created SARS-CoV-2 pseudoviruses that contained each of the individual spike mutations, as well as one containing all 8 mutations found in variant B.1.1.7 variant (UK∆8) and one containing all 9 mutations found in variant B.1.351 (SA∆9).
In all a total of 18 mutant pseudoviruses and a wildtype (WT) pseudovirus (D614G mutation) were then tested for susceptibility to neutralization by 30 mAbs, plasma from 20 convalescent individuals, and sera from 22 vaccinees.
Importantly to take note of is that the vaccinated individuals included 12 phase 1 trial participants who had received two doses of the Moderna mRNA-1273 vaccine and 10 healthcare workers who had received two doses of the Pfizer BNT162b2 vaccine.
The study findings found that compared with WT, both UK∆8 and SA∆9 were more resistant to neutralization by many mAbs designed to target the spike NTD.
Most significantly, pseudovirus UK∆8 was also modestly resistant to a number of mAbs targeting the RBD and was around three times more resistant to convalescent plasma. It was also around two times more resistant to vaccinee sera.
The study team says the findings for SA∆9 were more worrisome. As well as being more resistant to neutralization by most mAbs against the NTD, SA∆9 was also resistant to a major group of potent individual mAbs that target the receptor-binding motif on the RBD, including two mAbs that have been authorized for emergency use.
Alarmingly, SA∆9 was a remarkable 11 to 33 times more resistant to neutralization by convalescent plasma and 6.5 to 8.6 times more resistant to neutralization by vaccinee sera.
The B.1.1.28 variant that has been spreading in Brazil contains three mutations (K417T, E484K, and N501Y) at the same RBD residues as B.1.351.The study team also warns that much of the findings on SA∆9 would likely be similar for this emergent variant.
The study team says the recent emergence of variants B.1.1.7, B.1.351, and B.1.1.28 clearly demonstrates SARS-CoV-2 antigenic drift, since many of the spike mutations tested in this study conferred resistance to antibody neutralization.
The study team warns that mutationally, this virus is traveling in a direction that could ultimately lead to escape from our current therapeutic and prophylactic interventions directed to the viral spike.
Should the rampant spread of the virus continues and more critical mutations accumulate, then researchers and scientists may be condemned to continually chasing after the evolving SARS-CoV-2, as they have long done for the influenza virus, the study team warns.
The study team concludes “Such considerations require that we stop virus transmission as quickly as is feasible, by redoubling our mitigation measures.”
Readers are advised to be careful of reading materials with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic from American and British mainstream media, medical and health media, and social media platforms as there is a large concerted effort financed by pharmaceutical companies and also by certain American billionaires with vested interest to mislead the general population.
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