SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Vaccines

July 8, 2021

Philip R. Krause,Thomas R. Fleming, Ira M. Longini, Richard Peto, Sylvie Briand, David L. et al

New England Journal of Medicine

In addition to tracking the current COVID-19 variants, there are four major priorities globally to respond to the variants. First, we need to determine if the current vaccines are efficacious against the variants. Authors recommend we can study this through large-scale randomization studies as the vaccines are administered. We also need to study this through non-randomized observational studies to see if the current vaccines are losing their efficacy against the variants. The second global priority is to decide whether modified or new vaccines are required. Though we are not yet aware of the efficacy of the current vaccine against the variants, now is the time to look for vaccines against the variants. The third global priority is to reduce the likelihood that more variants will emerge. As more transmissible variants are emerging, vaccination roll-out efforts are essential to reduce the emerging variants. Lastly, we need to coordinate international research and response to the variants through the WHO. We must increase international surveillance, communication, and sharing of data to determine if variants require attention, effort, and resources.

Krause PR, Fleming TR, Longini IM, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Variants and Vaccines. N Engl J Med 2021; 385:179-186