Immune responses to COVID-19 and vaccines – ICST

Immune responses to COVID-19 and vaccines

Tutorial presented by Dr Richard Cousins, Consultant Immunologist

In this tutorial, Richard answers three frequently asked questions around the coronavirus and coronavirus vaccine immune responses.

To communicate with patients about the vaccines, it is important to understand how each vaccine works. Both current coronavirus vaccines use the genetic sequence from the coronavirus spike protein; the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines deliver the genetic sequence by lipid nanoparticles, and the AstraZeneca vaccine uses a genetically modified adenoviral vector.

The suspicion is that vaccine-induced immunity will last for a long time. There is uncertainty about how protective this immunity will be, against other variant of the coronavirus. If there is a sufficiently different variant of the virus, the individual’s immune response might not protect that person from becoming unwell with COVID-19.

Further doses of coronavirus vaccine will likely be needed.

Currently, the vaccines have been developed to neutralise the spike protein on the coronavirus, causing an effective immune response. Antibodies attach to the receptor binding domain, an essential part of the spike protein on the coronavirus. This neutralising of the coronavirus causes sterilising immunity; where a person is exposed to the virus but does not become infected. However, any variant to the spike protein can leave these antibodies ineffective.

Other coronavirus vaccines are in development that target other parts of the virus, not just the spike protein, which might be advantageous in fighting multiple variants at the same time.

For more information, check out the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium website, linked below.

Immune responses to COVID-19 and vaccines

Tutorial presented by Dr Richard Cousins, Consultant Immunologist

In this tutorial, Richard answers three frequently asked questions around the coronavirus and coronavirus vaccine immune responses.

To communicate with patients about the vaccines, it is important to understand how each vaccine works. Both current coronavirus vaccines use the genetic sequence from the coronavirus spike protein; the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines deliver the genetic sequence by lipid nanoparticles, and the AstraZeneca vaccine uses a genetically modified adenoviral vector.

The suspicion is that vaccine-induced immunity will last for a long time. There is uncertainty about how protective this immunity will be, against other variant of the coronavirus. If there is a sufficiently different variant of the virus, the individual’s immune response might not protect that person from becoming unwell with COVID-19.

Further doses of coronavirus vaccine will likely be needed.

Currently, the vaccines have been developed to neutralise the spike protein on the coronavirus, causing an effective immune response. Antibodies attach to the receptor binding domain, an essential part of the spike protein on the coronavirus. This neutralising of the coronavirus causes sterilising immunity; where a person is exposed to the virus but does not become infected. However, any variant to the spike protein can leave these antibodies ineffective.

Other coronavirus vaccines are in development that target other parts of the virus, not just the spike protein, which might be advantageous in fighting multiple variants at the same time.

For more information, check out the UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium website, linked below.

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Resources

UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium – website

The UK Coronavirus Immunology Consortium (UK-CIC) is a nationally targeted effort to understand the immunology of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19, and deliver real benefits to patients and public health at pace.

© Institute of Clinical Science and Technology (ICST) 2020

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