The first known evidence that the deployment of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccination is constraining the evolutionary and immunological escape paths open to severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus two has been presented by researchers from the United States and India (SARS-CoV-2). Venky Soundararajan of nference Labs in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and colleagues discovered that as rates of mass COVID-19 immunization rise, the variety of SARS-CoV-2 lineages decreases at the country level.
Vaccinated individuals who had breakthrough SARS-CoV-2 infection had viruses with much lesser variety in the B cell epitopes that are exploited following vaccination than unprotected COVID-19 patients. While the publication is peer-reviewed, a pre-print version of the research paper is available on the medRxiv* server. Following SARS-CoV-2 infection, the host immune response is a critical selective pressure that influences novel virus strains.
The researchers caution that such rapid immunization of a massive part of the population during the pandemic’s peak could put enormous evolutionary pressure on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began in late December 2019, global data-sharing initiatives have resulted in more than 1.8 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes being deposited in the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) database by May 2021, representing 183 nations and territories.