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Vaccination is not enough by itself to stop the spread of variants, study finds | St. Louis News Headlines – St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri 2021-07-30 06:45:00 –

(CNN)-Vaccination alone cannot stop the emergence of new variants and, in fact, could boost the evolution of strains that circumvent their protection, researchers warned Friday.

They said people would need to wear masks and take other steps to prevent their spread until almost the entire population was vaccinated.

Their discovery, Published in Nature Scientific ReportsIn support of the unpopular decision by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we advise even fully vaccinated people to start wearing masks again in areas of persistent or highly infected.

“We found that the faster the vaccination rate, the less likely it was that resistant strains would emerge,” the team wrote.

“Unintuitively, the likelihood of the emergence of resistant strains increased significantly when the mitigation of non-pharmaceutical intervention occurred when most individuals in the population were already vaccinated,” they added.

“Our results suggest that policy makers and individuals should consider maintaining non-pharmaceutical interventions and infection-reducing behavior throughout the vaccination period.”

“When most people are vaccinated, vaccine-resistant strains have an advantage over the original strains,” Simon Rera of the Austrian Institute of Science and Technology, who worked on the study, told reporters.

“This means that vaccine-resistant strains will spread faster throughout the population when most people are vaccinated.”

However, if so-called non-pharmaceutical interventions, such as mask use and social distance, are maintained, the virus is less likely to spread and change. “There is an opportunity to remove vaccine-resistant mutations from the population,” Rera said.

The team used mathematical models to predict these changes, but their findings follow what is known about viral epidemiology and what is known as selective pressure, the power to evolve organisms. is.

The findings suggest that policy makers should resist the temptation to lift restrictions to celebrate or reward vaccination efforts.

This is especially likely to be the case with more contagious variants, such as the delta variant, said Fyodor Kondrashov of the Austrian Institute of Science and Technology.

“In general, the more people infected, the more likely it is that vaccine resistance will develop. Therefore, the more infected Delta, the more reasons for concern,” Kondrasov told reporters.

“By having the situation of immunizing everyone, vaccine-resistant mutants can actually gain selective benefits.”

On Tuesday, the US CDC changed its guidance on the use of masks. Earlier this year, the CDC said that fully vaccinated people are very safe from infection and can take off their masks in most situations.

It is now said that even fully vaccinated people can catch the virus, and catching delta mutants is as likely to infect others as unvaccinated people. I have. We advised everyone in areas with high or persistent virus infections to wear masks when they are around others.

Many Republican politicians mocked new advice. On Thursday, Mississippi Governor Tateives called it “stupid.”

The CDC wasn’t thinking about the evolution of variants, but Kondrasov said that people skeptical about staying alert should be.

“People who are already vaccinated and wearing masks should not think this is meaningless, but that vaccine-resistant strains are running around,” he said.

“By preventing the spread of vaccine-resistant strains, we can prevent the evolution of this virus,” he added.

“There are two tools in the toolbox to do this. One is non-pharmaceutical interventions such as wearing masks and whole shebangs, and the other is vaccines. From an evolutionary point of view, this (spread) All that is needed to reduce this is to vaccinate as follows. As soon as possible, many people around the world. “

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