Aug. 24 - Will we need new vaccines for the variants?
The sky reflects in the windows of the science library. Photo by Steve Zylius
Each day, a UCI expert will answer one of your questions about COVID-19, vaccinations, variants or the future of work. Submit questions via email.
Today’s question is fielded by Philip Felgner, professor in residence of physiology and biophysics, and director of UCI’s Vaccine Research and Development Center. Professor Felgner will answer another question tomorrow about whether immunity from mRNA vaccines declines over time.
Is it likely we will need a new vaccine for the upcoming variants, or will the current vaccine suffice?
Nearly all research indicates that the current vaccines are sufficient in protecting us from the known variants. The alpha, beta and delta SARS-CoV-2 variants differ in the amino acid sequences of their receptor binding domains (RBD). We checked and found that the mRNA vaccines induce antibodies that bind just as well to all of the different RBD variants. The increase in delta virus case numbers is associated with an increase in virus levels that are shed from delta virus-infected people, and close contacts experience a higher level of virus exposure compared to earlier strains. The original mRNA vaccines protect against severe disease requiring hospitalization; people experience cold symptoms and recover at home.
UCI ANNOUNCEMENTS AND NEWS
UCI expert outlines seven reasons to get vaccinated
America is in the first of four virus surges that will hit over the next few months, according to Dr. Susan Huang, who discusses “Seven reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine now.” Huang is UCI Health’s medical director of epidemiology and infectious prevention.
Korean studies center wins $1.1 million in grants
UCI’s Center for Critical Korean Studies has received two prestigious grants that will fund research, graduate student fellowships, a new faculty position and other programs.
UC NEWS AND GENERAL NEWS
Employers’ COVID vaccine mandates likely to gain traction, surveys show
Regulators have fully approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, and companies are taking the opportunity to impose vaccine mandates for employees. Bloomberg reports (via the Los Angeles Times) that employees increasingly support more stringent vaccine requirements.
UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., reflects on extraordinary year
In a video address earlier this month, President Drake marked his first year in office — with all the triumphs and challenges — and shared his optimism for the future of such a resilient community.
The Black Panther Oakland Community School: Community Archives, Activism, and Storytelling
Thursday at noon (sponsored by UCI Humanities Center)
Visit today.uci.edu to see and submit event listings. Events of general interest will be shared in UCI Digest two days before they occur.
UCI IN THE NEWS
California Supreme Court Swiftly Denies OC Board of Education School Mask Mandate Petition
Voice of OC, Aug. 19
Cited: Dr. Coleen Cunningham, chair of the Department of Pediatrics and senior vice president and pediatrician-in-chief for CHOC Children's
Landmark FDA approval could turbocharge COVID-19 vaccinations in California
Los Angeles Times, Aug. 24
Cited: Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s professor of law at UC Irvine and the director of the Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy
257: “Price gouging” in emergencies (Raymond Niles and Amihai Glazer)
Rationally Speaking Podcast, Aug. 18
Guest: Amihai Glazer, professor of economics
COVID-19 NOTIFICATION AND RESOURCES
No new campus cases
No on-campus employees and no on-campus students tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. For more information, visit the UCI COVID-19 dashboard.
Remember to upload your vaccine record
Vaccination is a critical step toward our campus's fall return. Help our community by uploading your vaccine record.
Potential workplace exposure
UCI provides this notification of a potential workplace COVID-19 exposure. Employees and subcontractors who were in these locations on the dates listed may have been exposed to the coronavirus. You may be entitled to various benefits under applicable federal and state laws and University-specific policies and agreements. The full notification is available on the UCI Forward site. If you have been identified as a close contact to a COVID-19 case, the UCI Contact Tracing Program will contact you and provide additional direction.
For COVID-19 questions
UCI Forward - information on campus status and operational updates
UCI Health COVID-19 Updates - important information related to UCI Health
UCI Coronavirus Response Center - available at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (949) 824-9918
Contact Tracing and Vaccine Navigation Services - assistance with vaccines and vaccine uploads; available at email@example.com or via phone at (949) 824-2300
Program in Public Health chatline - answers to questions about COVID-19
For questions specific to your personal health situation, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider.