Public Health Medicine Specialist, Doctor Kerrin Begg, says research so far has shown that the vaccines to combat the coronavirus still have a significant impact against the new variant that is fuelling new infections in South Africa.
Research is ongoing to determine if the vaccines developed would be effective against the new variant and so far there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.
The country is expected to get a coronavirus vaccine from India in January and February.
Kerrin Begg says: “From what scientists are looking at the receptor binding protein still appears to be the same and so while there are mutations on some of the spike proteins it does appear that the antibodies produced by the vaccine would still have some significant impact on the virus.”
“Remember that even if we get a slight reduction in the impact of the vaccine on the virus it still will have a dramatic impact on the transmission of the virus and therefore the number of cases that we have and the number of severe cases that we have, it will still be a significant impact to have the vaccine available. “
STREAM: WHO COVID-19 UPDATE:
On Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said there is no evidence that the variant of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Africa is more contagious than the one in the United Kingdom.
South Africa and the UK are currently battling different variants of the virus which have fuelled infections.
Research is also being conducted into both variants to better understand their mutations, as vaccine campaigns get underway in both countries, with South Africa expecting vaccine doses by the second quarter of 2021.
WHO’s Technical Chief on COVID-19 Maria Van Kerkhove, said the preliminary studies indicate no evidence that the South African variant is worse than the UK variant.