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Interviewer: Professor Danny Altmann, thank you very much for
taking the time to do this interview with us today to discuss
the increasing potential of SARS-CoV-2 for immune escape, with every new emerging variant.
First off, could you provide us with some background to the research you recently published in
the journal Science, which addresses the increasing potential of such risks?
Prof. Altmann: Yes, I can. Since the beginning of the pandemic we've done a lot of COVID-19 immunology research.
The main way that we've been able to do this is by studying a very large longitudinal cohort of
healthcare workers, in major teaching hospitals in London,
particularly Barts Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital.
We've really studied all aspects of their immune response and viral screening and symptoms, over
the period since the first wave here in the United Kingdom.
In this paper in Science it's the next instalment of this investigation, where one of the things that we
did was to take all the healthcare workers,
the ones that had never been infected, the ones who had been infected,
and at that stage, the ones who'd been infected and received their first vaccine dose.
That, locally, for us was very significant, because at the time in the United Kingdom,
most vaccinated people had only had one vaccine dose,
and we thought that for the moment that was probably good enough.
Our findings were very clear that when it comes to neutralizing the variants of concern,