The second Biontech dose could be even more important in the future – because it seems to be particularly important in the fight against the Delta variant of the coronavirus: After the first Biontech vaccine dose, the antibody reaction with the Delta variant is much lower than with the Delta variant Wild type. So if you only received the first injection, you could possibly be less protected with the delta variant compared to the wild type or the beta variants.
This is the result of a new study carried out by researchers from the Francis Crick Institute and the National Institute for Health Research UCLH Biomedical Research Center in London on 250 adults. It has now been published in the renowned specialist magazine “The Lancet”.
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Accordingly, after the first vaccination, internal neutralizing antibodies against the Delta variant (India) were found in quantifiable quantities in only 32 percent of the study participants. The antibody response against the wild type, however, was 79 percent, against Alpha (Great Britain) at 50 percent and against Beta (South Africa) at 25 percent.
The scientists write: “Our data indicate that most participants who received two doses of BNT162b2 would be protected from B.1.617.2 infection and related diseases.”
However, they also point out that the respective antibody levels alone cannot predict the effectiveness of the vaccine against the variants. In order to be able to check such a statement, larger population studies are necessary.
The new study is particularly relevant against the background of the discussion in Great Britain: B.1.617.2 has now become the dominant variant there. There is currently a discussion in the United Kingdom of shortening the interval between two vaccinations in order to face the new variant that was initially detected in India.
The World Health Authority (WHO) has placed B.1.617.2 under special observation. She sees a “significantly increased transmission rate” and a “higher risk for the general public”.
Delta variant has hardly been found in Germany so far
However, it is not yet clear from the new study whether the delta variant can increase the severity of a disease in vaccinated persons. Because age also seems to play a significant role: across all variants, antibody production decreases with increasing age. However, no correlation was observed for gender or body mass index.
In Germany, the proportion of the delta variant is currently 2.1 percent. In absolute numbers, that’s 30 cases.
According to the weekly report on virus variants from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) dated June 2, the advance of the new variant in this country has even stopped for the time being. “The increase in the proportion of B.1.617.2 in the last few weeks can be clearly seen, although this trend did not continue in KW20 / 2021 according to the currently available figures,” writes the RKI.