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A convoluted passage with ”reduced for”

Hello all,

I have some problems interpreting the passage in bold in this piece of scientifc article about the mixed (Astrazeneca+Pfizer) covid vaccination:

"Neutralizing activity against the prevalent strain B.1.1.7 was 3.9-fold higher than in individuals receiving homologous BNT162b2 vaccination, only 2-fold reduced for variant of concern B.1.351, and similar for variant B.1.617. In addition, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells reacted to SARS-CoV-2 spike peptide stimulus 2 weeks after the full vaccination."

In your opinion, what is "reduced for" referred to?

1-To the protection offered by the mixed vaccination against strain B.1.351, compared to the protection offered against the strain B.1.1.7 . This would mean that, instead of being 3.9 higher than homologous vaccination, the protection offered by the mixed vaccination against the strain B.1.1.7  would still be 1.95 times higher than the protection offered by homologous vaccination against against the strain B.1.1.7 .

2-To the protection offered by the mixed vaccination B.1.351, compared to the protection offered by the homologous vaccination against strain B.1.351. This would mean that mixed vaccination is LESS effective than the homologous vaccination against variant of concern B.1.351 and B.1.617

Can some native speaker help me?

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AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBg4 weeks ago
”reduced for” is referring to the reduced efficacy for the B.1.351 and B.1.617 variants. They use the terminology ”reduced” in this manner when describing ”variants of interest”, ”variants of concern” and ”variants of high consequence” in CDC documents and so on.

The ”homologous BNT162b2 vaccination” is comparing the vaccine candidate BNT162b2 with the mixed ”Astrazeneca+Pfizer”. ”homologous” is referring to the ”Astrazeneca+Pfizer” being in some way equivalent to BNT162b2 by dosage and so forth (I hope that all this is exactly defined in the paper!).

So, for the B.1.1.7 variant (That’s the so-called ”Alpha” variant by the way) the neutralising activity for the Astrazeneca+Pfizer vaccine is 3.9. times higher than for the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate. For the B.1.351 and B.1.617 variants, this falls to 2 times higher.

The paper is almost certainly out of date now. There’s the B.1.617.1 (so-called ”Kappa” variant) and the B.1.617.2 (the infamous ”Delta” one).

The sentence you quote is poorly written. I sincerely hope that the paper you got the quote from is something like a preprint from arXiv.org and not a peer-reviewed one published in a journal.
  • AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBg2 weeks ago
    Yes, the quoted sentences by the poster had some very basic mistakes for a scientific text such as ”and similar” instead of ”and similarly”...
  • AussieInBg profile picture AussieInBg4 weeks ago
    My guess was correct! It definitely had the feel of a quickly written paper someone wanted to get on the record.

    B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 definitely have different propagation characteristics ”out in the wild” in India. This is what makes it out of date just to describe them as a generic B.1.617 variant and highly unscientific to blindly lump the two variants together in that data set.

    Therefore, it is a legitimate question of differentiating them in the data set. If I were refereeing this paper, then this would be one of the first things I’d ask for prior to a resubmission

    Now, if it did come up that the efficacy for both the
    B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 variants was pretty much identical, then this would also be an extremely valuable result. It would tell us that there is very likely something besides the spike protein at work in terms of how these two virus variants are propagated.
  • rickycom profile picture rickycom4 weeks ago
    The paper is on medxriv, and is still in preprint.
    And the ”Delta” and ”Kappa” variant are substrains of VOC B.1.617. So this may not be completely out of date.