Alpha and Iota Variants of SARS-CoV-2 Predominate the U.S.

Jul, 2021 - By WMR

Alpha and Iota Variants of SARS-CoV-2 Predominate the U.S.

The researchers in the U.S. revealed that Alpha and Iota variant are currently circulating in the U.S. causing infections in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals.

The researchers conducted SARS-CoV-2 genome sequencing in COVID-19 positive individuals. These COVID-19 infected individuals completed their vaccination before they were considered for the study. The individuals considered for the study were vaccinated with any of the three vaccines such as Pfizer-BioNtech, Moderna, and Janssen approved by the U.S. FDA. In this study, the researchers also considered the randomly selected control group of participants for genomic sequencing who were tested positive for COVID-19 and are unvaccinated. All these participants considered for the study were a part of NYU Langone Health system, a U.S.-based premier academic medical center. Out of 126, 367 vaccinated individuals, 98% were vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine till April 30, 2021.

It is important to note that 86 participants were infected by coronavirus after vaccination. Out of these 86 participants, 69 were administered with Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, 16 with Moderna, and one with the Janssen vaccine from February 1, 2021 to April 30, 2021. In this context, it is important to mention that 80% of the cases yielded full SARS-CoV-2 genomes and this is helpful for the researchers to trace back the virus’s lineage. More importantly, 7 participants with full SARS-CoV-2 genomes required hospitalization and one participant died. Moreover, among the 67 infections with full SARS-CoV-2 genomes, approximately 39% were from Alpha variant and 42% were from the Iota variant of SARS-CoV-2. The researchers sequenced 1,187 SARS-CoV-2 sequences in unvaccinated participants. It was found that 29.1% infections were caused by Alpha variant while 41% from Iota and its sub lineages. Additionally, seven hospitalization cases were observed in unvaccinated participants. Out of these seven participants, five had COVID-19 from Alpha and two from Iota variant.

The study revealed that there is no significant difference in contracting a variant of concern or a variant of interest in vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. The researchers concluded that the coronavirus infections from the Alpha variant were connected to a higher degree of viral load in the body, though there is slight difference in the amount of viral load caused by the Iota variant.

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