A scarce COVID-19 variant that has been found among several patients across Angola and Sweden during Spring 2021 may be quite successful to avoid vaccine-induced antibodies, according to a recent study published in Nature Molecular and Cellular Immunology. First found in Tanzania in February, the A.30 variant may be dangerous in a society becoming too much dependent on vaccines while protecting against coronavirus. However, it remains isolated as of now.
A.30 is an offshoot variant from the A lineage, which is the lineage assumed to be the cause of the pandemic and among the first to be detected. But it is visibly different from other variants, compared in this research to variants Beta (B.1.351) and Eta (B.1.525), by several mutations in the Spike protein. However, a few of these mutations inhabit two different domains directly targeted by neutralizing antibodies, proving that the vaccine may not perform as well against A.30, unlike other variants.
Presently, there are very few sequenced cases of A.30, with 3 sequences from Angola and 1 sequence from Sweden after its discovery in Tanzania. Till now, not much research has been conducted on the variant.
To find out the lethality of the variant, researchers from Göttingen, Germany, applied a lot of human cell lines to analyze how successfully the virus can infect host cells, before neutralizing antibodies that develop after vaccination to see whether they still have the same efficacy against the mutations A.30 carries.