Observation of the Spread of a Virus Variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the United Kingdom
Currently, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut does not see any direct evidence that the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine licensed in the EU and other COVID-19 vaccines being developed for European marketing authorisation may be compromised against the coronavirus-2 variant detected in the United Kingdom (UK). This is because the recognition sites of the surface spike protein (S protein), which are relevant for immune protection, are little affected by the viral mutations and the protective immune response is directed against several regions of the S protein.
The Paul-Ehrlich-Institut will experimentally investigate whether the immune protection generated by vaccination, specifically virus-neutralising antibodies, can also neutralise the new CoV-2 variant. Two to three weeks are needed for the corresponding experiments. In addition, the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut points out that the genetic vaccine technologies used in DNA, RNA and vector vaccines would allow a rapid switch of vaccines to new virus variants.