Oxford Professor Fears COVID Vaccine May Not Work Against South African Mutation

Image Credits: LUCA SOLA via Getty Images.

A professor at the University of Oxford fears that the COVID vaccine may not work against the new South African strain of the virus, meaning lockdowns could continue indefinitely.

The South African variant is said to be even more “problematic” that the UK strain which led to dozens of countries banning Brits from entering last month.

According to Professor John Bell, Regius Chair of Medicine at the University of Oxford, there’s huge doubt over whether the coronavirus vaccines currently being rolled out will protect against the South African mutation.

Bell, who helped develop one of the leading vaccines against the disease, sounded the alarm during an interview with Times radio.

“The mutations associated with the South African form are really pretty substantial changes in the structure of the protein,” he said. “My gut feeling is the vaccine will be still effective against the Kent strain. I don’t know about the South African strain – there’s a big question mark about that.”

According to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock is also “incredibly worried” that the vaccine will be ineffective against the new strain, which is more infectious than the original.

While expressing some optimism that vaccines could be adapted to deal with the new strain, Professor Bell said the scientific community was involved in a “cat-and-mouse” battled with the different strains of COVID-19.

Given the known fact that viruses mutate and that vaccines are never 100% effective, one wonders whether COVID-19 lockdowns will continue to drag on for years.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce yet another national lockdown during a television announcement later tonight.



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