Johannesburg – A new study has shown people previously infected by the Covid-19 variant identified in South Africa have better immunity against other coronavirus mutations, experts said Wednesday.

The findings, from preliminary research by the team of South African scientists who identified the variant dubbed 501Y.V2, raise hopes that vaccines modelled on the strain could protect against future mutations.

Identified late last year, the variant fuelled South Africa’s second wave of infection and delayed the start of vaccinations in February.

Scientists said Wednesday plasma collected from people infected with the variant had “good neutralising activity”, including against “first wave” viruses and potentially other variants of concern.

After the antibodies were tested against the original strain and another identified in Brazil, “results are showing a clear sense of direction”, virologist Tulio de Oliveira said in a video conference.


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