Relevance of immune response and vaccination strategies of SARS-CoV-2 in the phase of viral red queen dynamics.Indian J Med Microbiol. 2021 Oct-Dec; 39(4):417-422.IJ
Following a relatively mild first wave of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in India, a deadly second wave of the pandemic overwhelmed the healthcare system due to the emergence of fast-transmitting SARS-CoV-2 genetic variants. The emergence and spread of the B.1.617.2/Delta variant considered to be driving the devastating second wave of COVID-19 in India. Currently, the Delta variant has rapidly overtaken the previously circulating variants to become the dominant strain. Critical mutations in the spike/RBD region of these variants have raised serious concerns about the virus's increased transmissibility and decreased vaccine effectiveness. As a result, significant scientific and public concern has been expressed about the impact of virus variants on COVID-19 vaccines.
The purpose of this article is to provide an additional explanation in the context of the evolutionary trajectory of SARS-CoV-2 variants in India, the vaccine-induced immune response to the variants of concern (VOC), and various vaccine deployment strategies to rapidly increase population immunity.
Phylogenetic analysis of SARS-CoV-2 isolates circulating in India suggests the emergence and spread of B.1.617 variant. The immunogenicity of currently approved vaccines indicates that the majority of vaccines elicit an antibody response and some level of protection. According to current data, vaccines in the pre-fusion configuration (2p substitution) have an advantage in terms of nAb titer, but the duration of vaccine-induced immunity, as well as the role of T cells and memory B cells in protection, remain unknown. Since vaccine efficacy on virus variants is one of the major factors to be considered for achieving herd immunity, existing vaccines need to be improved or effective next-generation vaccines should be developed to cover the new variants of the virus.