Hyderabad: Scientists have called for modifications in booster doses as 20 percent of the samples sequenced in Telangana have been found infected with BA.4 and BA.5 variants. Scientist Vinod Scaria at CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology tweeted that the variants have immunity from previous infections and vaccines.
It is thought that the L452R mutation in spike could contribute significantly to this. The L452R mutation was previously detected in Delta Variant. It is more contagious and enhances the ability of the virus to attach to human cells. The binding to human cells is similar to that of the Delta variant. This helps it to evade the destruction by human immune cells. Due to this reason, surveillance is recommended to understand what is leading to the rise in cases. While the disease is mild, the surveillance will help to assess and understand the extent to which the virus has spread. US Food and Drug Administration has already recommended a new bivalent booster vaccine incorporating BA. 4 and BA. 5 spike protein components in the current Covid 19 jabs.
BA .4 and BA.5 are spreading fast in India, Europe, and South Africa. To protect the population from the new variant, the booster doses must be modified. Data in Europe and South Africa made World Health Organization declare them as variants of concern. This dominant circulating coronavirus is also shown in the Indian SARS-Cov-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).
Both BA.4/ 5 have emerged in different cities in South Africa. US FDA said the new booster doses must protect against these two variants as they are expected to rise and spread all over. For this reason, modified booster vaccines are recommended to have this formulation.
There will be no change in primary vaccination.