Covid-19: South African variant may immunize against other variants, according to study

South African scientists had some good news to announce to the public on Wednesday, March 3. Several preliminary studies have been carried out, at various research institutes in the country, to understand what immunity is possessed by people who have been infected with the 501Y.V2 variant discovered in South Africa late last year. And based on the initial results of this research, it appears that the immune response may subsequently protect them against this variant and other forms of the virus.
This research was carried out by the different laboratories in the country, including the KRISP in Durban, which sequences the different strains of the virus. Initial results suggest that people infected with the 501Y.V2 variant are developing resistance both to this variant, which has become the majority of new cases in South Africa, and to the older strains identified in the first wave.
Researchers are not yet certain about the duration of this immunity, nor about the reaction of these antibodies to other variants around the world, as studies are still in their early stages. But this is “good news for everyone,” according to South Africa’s health minister, because such results can help design more effective vaccines against different strains.
South Africa has so far begun its immunization campaign with doses of Johnson & Johnson after rejecting AstraZeneca vaccine following disappointing results on mild forms of the disease in a limited clinical trial.