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Those infected with 501Y.V2 variant are immune to other variants – SA scientists

Those infected with 501Y.V2 variant are immune to other variants!

A bit of good news in the fight against COVID-19 in South Africa.

It’s been revealed those infected with the newest variant of the virus are not only

protected against this variant in future but also against earlier ones.

The announcement was made by Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande earlier on Wednesday.

Scientists say people infected with the 501Y.V2 variant generate immune responses that offers them protection against other coronavirus variants.

They are joined by Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande

and Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in giving an update on Wednesday on local research

conducted on the second variant of the coronavirus.


501Y.V2 variant are immune

A genomics team, led by the Kwazulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform

(KRISP), detected the 501Y.V2 variant last year.

Scientists found the variant is more transmissible but does not cause more severe forms of COVID-19.

Government has since made R25 million available to KRISP to undertake more research on the variant’s characteristics.

Nzimande said: “Those who were infected in the second wave, which was dominated by

what we’ve have now been referring to as the new variant 501Y.V2, have protection from

past and current circulating variants.”





WATCH LIVE: Nzimande, Mkhize give update on scientific results on COVID variant



501Y.V2 variant are immune

These findings have significant implications for vaccine design & suggest that vaccines,

that are modified to contain the 501Y.V2 spike, are likely to provide protection against multiple variants.

Vaccine developers are already making & testing such second-generation antibodies

501Y.V2 variant are immune

A visual depiction of how the Covid-19 variant has spread across the globe, being detected in 48 different countries. Professor Tulio de Oliveria uses the opportunity to say "so it's unfair to say it's the South African variant when almost 50 countries have no detected the variant."



Biovac CEO Morena Makhoana on Wednesday said the institute had the capacity to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines but it was limited to around 20 million per year.

For South Africa to manufacture a COVID-19 vaccine here on home soil, it would need to be processed on a much larger scale and Biovac said it was not able to meet such demand.

However, Makhoana said they were not going to sit back and ignore this opportunity.

“We don’t build facilities during a pandemic, we build facilities between a pandemic, sort of the preparations that they are doing but that will take a few years. That is how we will be able to prepare for the next pandemic and not rely on external companies for vaccines.”