The following is a summary of some recent studies on COVID-19. They include research that warrants further study to corroborate the results and that has not yet been certified by peer review.
Immunized pregnant women give antibodies to babies
Pregnant women who receive a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine pass high levels of protective antibodies to their babies, new research shows. Doctors analyzed the umbilical cord blood of 36 newborn babies whose mothers had received at least one dose of an mRNA vaccine from Pfizer / BioNTech or Moderna. All 36 babies had high levels of antibodies that target the spike protein on the surface of the virus – and all of the antibodies could be traced to the mothers’ vaccinations. The results, reported Wednesday in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology – Maternal Fetal Medicine, indicate that “the antibodies that the mother builds against the vaccine cross the placenta and this is likely to confer benefits to the infant after birth.” said co-author Dr Ashley Roman of NYU Langone Health in New York. It is not clear whether the timing of vaccination during pregnancy is related to antibody levels in the baby. And, “we don’t know how long these antibodies stay in the baby,” Roman said. “But the presence of these antibodies in the cord blood, which is the blood of the fetus, indicates that the baby also has the potential to benefit from maternal vaccination.”
Scientists map antibody binding sites on virus peak
A new COVID-19 “antibody map” is helping researchers identify antibodies that will be able to neutralize the coronavirus even after it has been mutated, according to a report published in Science Thursday. Using hundreds of antibodies collected from COVID-19 survivors around the world, a global research team has mapped exactly where each antibody attaches to the spike protein on the surface of the virus, which it uses to enter and infect cells. Researchers searched – and found – for antibodies that target sites on the tip that are so important to the viral life cycle that the virus probably couldn’t function without them. These sites are likely to remain targets for vaccines or treatments even when the virus mutates. “If you’re making an antibody cocktail, you would want at least one of these antibodies to be there because they’re likely to maintain their effectiveness against most variants,” said co-author Kathryn Hastie of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology. in California, in a press release. His team, known as the Coronavirus Immunotherapeutic Consortium, made the map and a color-coded antibody library available in public databases for other scientists to access the data.
The effectiveness of the J&J vaccine is maintained and increases with the booster
A US study comparing nearly 400,000 people who received Johnson & Johnson’s unique COVID-19 vaccine with 1.52 million people of similar age, sex and health conditions who were not vaccinated showed that ‘It was 79% effective in preventing confirmed coronavirus infections and 81% effective in preventing COVID-19-related hospitalizations, J&J said in a report published on medRxiv ahead of the peer review. There was no evidence of reduced efficacy over the duration of the study from March to the end of July – a period that included the increase in the highly contagious Delta variant, the company said. Preliminary data from a separate study suggests that a second booster dose given about two months after the first injection increased the vaccine’s efficacy to 94% in the United States against moderate to severe forms of COVID-19. The company announced the latest findings on Tuesday, when half of those in the study had received the second injection at least 36 days earlier. The side effects of the second dose were comparable to those seen in the studies of the first injection. The data will be submitted for publication in the coming months, J&J said.
Click for a Reuters graphic https://tmsnrt.rs/3c7R3Bl on vaccines in development.
(Reporting by Nancy Lapid, Megan Brooks and Julie Steenhuysen; Editing by Bill Berkrot)