Potential COVID-19 vaccines not affected by dominant "G-Strain"

Vaccines currently being developed for COVID-19 should not be affected by recent mutations in the virus, according to a new study involving a University of York virologist.

Most vaccines under development worldwide have been modelled on the original 'D-strain' of the virus, which were more common amongst sequences published early in the pandemic.

Since then, the virus has evolved to the globally dominant 'G-strain', which now accounts for about 85 per cent of published SARS-CoV-2 genomes.

There had been fears the G-strain, within the main protein on the surface of the virus, would negatively impact on vaccines under development. But the research by Australia's national science agency the

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), found no evidence the change would adversely impact the efficacy of vaccine candidates.

The study tested blood samples from ferrets given a candidate vaccine against virus strains that either possessed or lacked this mutation (known as 'D614G').

Professor Seshadri Vasan, who holds an honorary chair in Health Sciences at the University of York, is leading the Dangerous Pathogens Team at CSIRO and is senior author of the paper.

Professor Vasan said: "This is good news for the hundreds of vaccines in development around the world, with the majority targeting the spike protein as this binds to the ACE2 receptors in our lungs and airways, which are the entry point to infect cells.

"Despite this D614G mutation to the spike protein, we confirmed through experiments and modelling that vaccine candidates are still effective.

"We've also found the G-strain is unlikely to require frequent 'vaccine matching' where new vaccines need to be developed seasonally to combat the virus strains in circulation, as is the case with influenza."

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said the research was critically important in the race to develop a vaccine.

Dr Marshall said: "This brings the world one step closer to a safe and effective vaccine to protect people and save lives.

"Research like this, at speed, is only possible through collaboration with partners in Australia and globally. We are tackling these challenges head on and delivering solutions through world-leading science."

McAuley, A.J., Kuiper, M.J., Durr, P.A. et al.
Experimental and in silico evidence suggests vaccines are unlikely to be affected by D614G mutation in SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.
npj Vaccines 5, 96, 2020. doi: 10.1038/s41541-020-00246-8

Most Popular Now

COVID-19 containment shaped by strength, duration …

"Much of the discussion so far related to the future trajectory of COVID-19 has rightly been focused on the effects of seasonality and non-pharmaceutical interventions [N...

Scientists identify synthetic mini-antibody to com…

The ability of SARS-CoV-2 to infect cells depends on interactions between the viral spike protein and the human cell surface protein ACE2. To enable the virus to hook ont...

New drug candidate for the treatment of COVID-19

Researchers from the University of Kent, the Goethe-University in Frankfurt am Main (Germany), and the Hannover Medical School (Germany) have identified a drug with the p...

Cancer treatment could be replicated for COVID-19

Beta-blockers could potentially be used to treat COVID-19, according to a new international study by Italian and Australian scientists. University of South Australia c...

European Commission approves contract with BioNTec…

Today, the European Commission approved a fourth contract with pharmaceutical companies BioNTech and Pfizer, which provides for the initial purchase of 200 million doses ...

Pre-existing coronavirus antibodies could help pro…

Researchers at the Francis Crick Institute and University College London have found that some antibodies, created by the immune system during infection with common cold c...

Remdesivir for COVID-19: FDA approved but still un…

The United States has become the epicenter of the world in the ever increasing pandemic of COVID-19. While public health prevention strategies of social distancing, crowd...

Fluvoxamine may prevent serious illness in COVID-1…

In a preliminary study of COVID-19 patients with mild-to-moderate disease who were attempting to recover in their homes, researchers at Washington University School of Me...

The Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine efficacy amounted t…

The National Research Center for Epidemiology and Microbiology named after N.F. Gamaleya of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation (Gamaleya Center) and the Rus...

Medicago and GSK announce start of Phase 2/3 clini…

Medicago, a biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Quebec City, and GSK have announced the start of Phase 2/3 clinical trials of its plant-derived vaccine candidate f...

Lilly's neutralizing antibody bamlanivimab (LY-CoV…

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Eli Lilly and Company's (NYSE: LLY) investigational neutralizing antibody bamlan...

Swissmedic begins rolling review of Moderna's mRNA…

Moderna, Inc., (Nasdaq: MRNA) a biotechnology company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines to create a new generation of transformative medicines for...