How Vaccine Inequity Leads to SARS-CoV-2 VOCs With Kara O'Neal
For this week's Teach Me in 10 video, we're joined by Kara O'Neal, who discusses how vaccine inequity leads to viral evolution as susceptible hosts (both unvaccinated and vaccinated immunosuppressed individuals who rely on herd immunity for protection) act as “factories” for variants of concern (VOCs).
The more SARS-CoV-2 is allowed to spread and infect new hosts the higher chance there is for mutations within its genome that result in VOCs. Given enough mutation it is possible for a vaccine evasive VOC to emerge. Vaccine equity is the only way to end the pandemic along with other measures such as masking, Kara explains.
Kara is a fifth year PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where she studies the immune response to malaria. Immunology and science communication are some of her favorite things. When she isn’t in the lab, you can find her tweeting about science @kara_ash_.
For more information on how vaccine inequity leads to variants of concern, Kara recommends the following resources:
- GISAID Tracking of Variants
- Vaccine Equity, by The World Health Organization (WHO)
- Project N95
- DIY Box Fan Air Filters
- The removal of airborne SARS-CoV-2 and other microbial bioaerosols by air filtration on COVID-19 surge units
- Characterizing the performance of a DIY air filter