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COVID-19 does not only disturb our social rhythm

  • Arthur A.M. Wilde
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests and correspondence: Dr Arthur A.M. Wilde, Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam Universitair Medische Centra, Meibergdreef 15, 1105AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, Heart Centre, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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  • Joost Allard Offerhaus
    Affiliations
    Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Amsterdam UMC, Heart Centre, Amsterdam Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
    Search for articles by this author
      With 10 vaccines currently approved and another 81 potentially to be approved in the coming months, the focus on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has changed from confinement to elimination. However, it is a known viral law that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, with natural selection bringing forth the most favorable mutations. Among these, the most worrying were found in South Africa, Brazil, and the United Kingdom, of which the latter initially has been designated as a “variant of concern.” Early research shows that mutations in these variants might (partly) escape the immune response.

      Greaney AJ, Loes AN, Crawford KHD, et al. Comprehensive mapping of mutations to the SARS-CoV-2 receptor-binding domain that affect recognition by polyclonal human serum antibodies. Preprint. Posted online January 4, 2021. bioRxiv 2020. doi:https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.31.425021

      Whether this will prevent vaccine-induced immunity remains to be seen, but at least one vaccine has already shown a large drop in efficacy (total efficacy 49.4%) in a South African population of which >90% was infected with the new variant. Together with an expected increase in “variants of concern,” this finding indicates that the end of the current pandemic might be further away than initially thought, further justifying cardiac research in the COVID-19 population.
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