Pan-coronavirus Vaccine Needed To Deal SARS-CoV-2 Variants
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Health experts have outlined how these variants have emerged, concerns about whether approved vaccines can protect against new variants, and the need for a global effort to combat the pandemic. In an article, published on the JAMA Network and written by health experts discuss the need for a pan-coronavirus vaccine, which can protect against most or all variants of SARS-CoV-2.

The variants of concern, first reported in the United Kingdom and South Africa, caused surging COVID-19 cases. When these variants are identified, questions arise on whether they are more infectious, easily transmitted, or may cause more severe symptoms. Hence, new variants are studied, leading to various terms such as 'variant under investigation' or 'variant of concern'.

SARS-CoV-2 is not the only pathogen that has mutated. Other pathogens can mutate into variants, which may need tweaking of vaccines to protect against all the virus strains. Since variants can different mutations, scientists worry that developed vaccines may be less effective against a particular variant.

In the report, the authors noted that the South African variant or the B.1.351 might be partially or fully resistant to specific SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies currently authorized for use as therapeutics in the United States. These new variants may also pose a challenge for vaccine makers. The already approved vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 may not work against the other variants.

The researchers recommended the development of a pan-coronavirus vaccine that can protect against most or all variants. Though similar programs are in place for other diseases, such as influenza, the changing nature of SARS-CoV-2 may warrant this type of vaccine.