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MIT ML Models Find Gaps in Coverage by Moderna, Pfizer, Other Warp Speed Covid-19 Vaccines

By ZDNet

December 8, 2020

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A report by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and others that are in Phase III clinical trials may not be as effective in people of Black or Asian genetic ancestry as they are in white people.

The report, which has not yet been peer reviewed, indicates many of the vaccines do not use a sufficiently diverse set of viral particles to stimulate the same level of immune response across the population.

The researchers used machine learning models to predict the likelihood of vaccines to stimulate an immune response in different population groups based on self-reported ethnic type or genetic ancestry.

They found that the vaccines use the same Spike protein and a special area of the Spike protein, the Receptor Binding Domain, and that focusing on a limited number of viral peptides results in coverage gaps.

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