Dr. Karen Zoufal | 03/30/2021 </p><div itemprop="description"><p>New variants of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus raise concerns that the current vaccines will no longer be sufficiently effective at some point. Then you would have to get vaccinated regularly, similar to the virus flu, so that the vaccination protection is maintained. Researchers at the Berlin Charité have made the prognosis that this will likely be the case several times in the first few years, but less often later.</p></div><div><p>The researchers assume that the circulating coronaviruses are regularly replaced by variants for which our immune system is less well prepared. This gives the mutated viruses a survival advantage. To investigate how quickly this is likely to happen, they looked at the development of four harmless and long-known coronaviruses that cause about ten percent of all colds. Compared to influenza viruses, the causative agents of the virus flu, the coronaviruses mutated around four times more slowly.</p><h2 class="primary">More infections, more mutations</h2><p class="ad-float-right">Compared to the harmless coronaviruses, however, SARS-CoV-2 mutates more frequently: “This rapid genetic change in SARS-CoV-2 is reflected in the emergence of many different virus variants around the world. The reason for this lies mainly in the high incidence of infections during the pandemic: Where there are many infections, a virus can develop more quickly, ”explained Prof. Dr. Jan Felix Drexler from the Institute of Virology at the German Center for Infection Research.
If many people have become immune to SARS-CoV-2 as a result of the vaccination or infection, the mutation rate will decrease according to the scientists’ calculations. They therefore assume that the vaccinations will last longer after the pandemic has subsided. Influenza viruses change from year to year, which is why the vaccine is regularly adapted to the circulating viruses. A South African variant of SARS-CoV-2 is already in circulation, and it is known that the preparations that are now approved do not provide good protection. The manufacturers have already responded and are in the process of developing adapted vaccines.
What: 10.1093 / fr / veab020