• Sun. Oct 24th, 2021

Covid, Indian variant more contagious than the English one: the study

Byeditorial

May 25, 2021

The Indian variant of the coronavirus is more contagious than the English one. The cause is two mutations that facilitate the virus to ‘hook’ the host’s cells. But the good news is that the available vaccines also work against ‘Indian’, especially after the second dose which, therefore, is useful not to delay beyond the indications of the approval trailers. These are the conclusions of an international study, carried out by a team of Italians – who work at home and abroad – including Massimo Ciccozzi, head of the Medical Statistics and Epidemiology unit of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Campus Bio- Doctor of Rome. The study is currently published in preprint on BioRxiv but is being evaluated for publication, expected shortly, in an important journal. “In the Indian variate the virus has, in particular, two mutations that make it more contagious than the English one. And it is no coincidence that it is feared in Great Britain”, Ciccozzi reiterates to Adnkronos Salute, recalling that illustrious Italian colleagues such as Davide participated in the study Zella, co-director of the Cancer Cell Biology Laboratory at the University of Maryland’s Institute of Human Virology, “Robert Gallo’s laboratory,” recalls. And again: Roberto Cauda, ​​of the Catholic University Institute of Clinical Infectious Diseases, Arnaldo Caruso, of the Department of Microbiology and Virology of the Civil Hospital of Brescia, Antonio Cassone of the Department of Genomics, Genetics and Biology of the University of Siena; Francesco Broccolo, virologist of the Milan-Bicocca University, Marta Giovanetti “my researcher who works in Brazil”, lists. “Mutations of the Indian variant – explains Ciccozzi – stabilize the Spike protein more and make it easier to ‘hook’ to the Ace2 receptor because, with this mutation, the positive electric charge increases. And this allows you to hook more receptors than the English variant. In practice, the ‘arm’ of the virus responsible for the ‘hooking’ is, normally, mobile, it oscillates. So it can hook or not, because the oscillation does not make it precise. With this mutation the ‘arm’ is stabilizes, oscillates a little and therefore hooks more easily “. As far as vaccines are concerned, “nothing changes – continues Ciccozzi – as also indicated by a work by the British Institute of Public Health, according to which, in terms of vaccination coverage, the Indian variant is covered by Pfizer at 88%, by AstraZeneca 63%. This, however, after the second dose. After the first dose for all vaccines the effectiveness is 33% “. The first dose, in short, seems to cover less the risks of the Indian variant but after the second dose the coverage percentages are realigned. “This suggests that it is preferable, if possible, not to extend the timing of the administration of the second dose to what is established by the vaccine registration studies, because it would mean having low coverage for longer between the first and the second. ‘arrival of so many vaccines expected there is no need to resort to this strategy “, he concludes.

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