COVID-19 | Where was the Epsilon variant detected and why are scientists tracking it?

Along with the four variants considered “of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO), there are another seven that are classified as “of interest” by that entity. One of these is variant B.1.427 / B.1.429, also called Epsilon, which was first detected in California, United States.

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A study published in the journal Science shows that this variant has resistance to vaccine antibodiess that are based on messenger RNA (mRNA), which are Pfizer and Moderna.

According to the publication, the plasma of individuals inoculated with an mRNA vaccine exhibited a neutralizing capacity that it was reduced by 2 and 3.5 times compared to the Epsilon variant.

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As the researchers explain, variant B.1.427 / B.1.429 “Carries mutations of peak glycoprotein S13I in the signal peptide, W152C in the N-terminal domain (NTD) and L452R in the receptor binding domain (RBD)”.

The findings show that “The three mutations present in glycoprotein B1.427 / B.1.429 S decrease the neutralizing activity of antibodies caused by vaccine and infection, suggesting that these lineage-defining residue substitutions are associated with immune evasion ”.

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According to the genetic sequencing of SARS-COV-2 carried out by the National Institute of Health, the Epsilon variant is present in Peru and it is considered “of interest”, that is, it is under surveillance, since it has been identified as the cause of community transmission. It should be noted that the Lambda or C.37 variant is the predominant one in the country.

“The vaccines that we use in Peru are effective against the Delta variant, against Lambda and against all, but there is one very important thing that science has recently shown: in the case of the delta variant, one dose of the vaccine only protects and It reduces the risk to 33%, when the second is applied, this protection rises to more than 80% ”, clarified the Health Minister, Óscar Ugarte, in mid-June.

With information from Emol, Chile

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