Do Vaccines Diminish COVID-19 Genomic Diversity?

Do Vaccines Diminish COVID-19 Genomic Diversity?

An interesting, some might suggest provocative, study emerged recently on the preprint server medRxiv that offers possibly some promising news. Of course, not peer-reviewed hence not considered full evidence, it's nonetheless worthy of preliminary discussion. The work points out what is already assumed as a foregone conclusion among a majority of virologists—vaccination will reduce the rate of SARS-CoV-2 replication. After all, it’s that rate of replication that determines the rate of mutations, and more mutations produce greater numbers of variants.  Following the logic, a greater number of SARS-CoV-2 variants boost the probability that a new strain will emerge to increase transmissibility, worsen severity, and/or evade immune protection from vaccination and natural infection.

Led by a team from nference (both in Cambridge, MA, and Bangalore, India) and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, the group conducted a longitudinal analysis of over 1.8 million SARS-CoV-2 genomes from 183 countries or territories to capture vaccination-associated viral evolutionary patterns.

To augment this macroscale analysis, they performed viral genome sequencing in 23 vaccine breakthrough COVID-19...

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