According to an in-vitro study, the rare and new COVID-19 variant, A.30 is extremely successful at evading vaccine-induced antibodies.
A.30 is a new COVID-19 variant that first appeared in Tanzania in February. It is a descendant of the A lineage, the first to be identified. Since then, multiple patients across Angola and Sweden have presented with the variant. However, very little information is available on the variant due to limited sequenced cases. Therefore, a team of German researchers conducted an in-vitro study of the new COVID-19 variant. The team used multiple cell lines to assess the variant’s entry into cells and reaction to various vaccine-induced antibodies. They further compared the new variant to Beta and Eta.
The results of the study are available in the journal Nature Molecular and Cellular Immunology.
A.30 Evades Antibodies
According to the study authors, the new variant contains multiple mutations in the spike protein that make it distinctly different from the Beta and Eta variants. Interestingly, some of the mutations are present in two different areas that are a target of neutralizing antibodies. Thus, causing researchers to wonder if vaccines would be effective against A.30.
While looking at kidney, liver, and lung cells, researchers noted improved entry of the A.30 variant as compared to Beta and Eta. They further tested the variant against vaccine-induced antibodies from Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines. Results revealed A.30 as more resistant against the antibodies than Beta and Eta. Moreover, the new COVID-19 variant was resistant to an antibody treatment, bamlanivimab which is currently used for treating the infection. However, a combination of monoclonal antibodies bamlanivimab and etesevimab showed better results against A.30.
Lambda, Mu, and delta plus are just some of the many variants that have caught scientists’ eye. These emerging variants pose a risk of increased transmissibility and decreased vaccine efficacy. Thus, increasing the burden on global health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet classified A.30 as a Variant of Interest or Concern. However, the results of the study suggest that the new variant is likely more adept at entering cells and evading vaccines. Therefore, they urge continued monitoring of the strain.
Arora, P., Rocha, C., Kempf, A. et al. The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 variant A.30 is heavily mutated and evades vaccine-induced antibodies with high efficiency. Cell Mol Immunol (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41423-021-00779-5