Almost 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide to date. But is it enough to wipe out Sars-CoV-2? Of course, those shots are not evenly spread across all continents. In terms of sheer numbers,
North America and Europe managed about 370 million shots each. South America with Covid-stricken countries like Brazil has a lot of catching up to do. Africa and its more than 1.3 billion people only received 34 million doses so far while Asia is storming ahead with more than 1 billion shots. But that doesn’t mean Asia is fully vaccinated. Far from it.
There are huge gaps, like in Vietnam, a country that has long been praised for its response to the pandemic. Now it is faced with new outbreaks and a new variant.
As highly transmissible coronavirus variants sweep across the world, scientists are racing to understand why these new versions of the virus are spreading faster, and what this could mean for vaccine efforts. New research says the key may be the spike protein, which gives the coronavirus its unmistakable shape. Illustration: Nick Collingwood/WSJ
Researchers are scrambling to understand the biology of new coronavirus variants and the impact they might have on vaccine efficacy.
Around the world, concern is growing about the impact that new, faster-spreading variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus will have on the pandemic.
In this episode of Coronapod, we discuss what these variants are, and the best way to respond to them, in the face of increasing evidence that some can evade the immunity produced by vaccination or previous infection.
Over the course of the pandemic, scientists have been monitoring emerging genetic changes to Sars-Cov-2. Mutations occur naturally as the virus replicates but if they confer an advantage – like being more transmissible – that variant of the virus may go on to proliferate.
This was the case with the ‘UK’ or B117 variant, which is about 50% more contagious and is rapidly spreading around the country. So how does genetic surveillance of the virus work? And what do we know about the new variants? Ian Sample speaks to Dr Jeffrey Barrett, the director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, to find out Coronavirus – latest updates See all our coronavirus coverage.