Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine effective against South Africa variant, companies say

pharmafile | January 28, 2021 | News story | |   

Pfizer and BioNTech have said that their COVID-19 vaccine is effective in protecting against the variant of the virus found in South Africa.

The announcement comes after the two companies confirmed last week that their jab was effective against the new coronavirus strain that emerged in England last year.

In a statement, the companies said early tests had suggested the vaccine would be similarly protective against the South Africa variant. They said the findings “do not indicate the need for a new vaccine to address the emerging variants”.

The companies added that they are “prepared to respond” if a new strain proves resistant to their vaccine, and said that the jab can be updated if necessary.

The latest research, which is yet to be peer reviewed, was carried out by researchers from Pfizer and the University of Texas.

The scientists tested the antibodies of 20 Pfizer jab recipients against lab-engineered sets of the mutations found in the UK and South Africa variants. The study showed that the antibodies were effective in neutralising all of the mutations that were tested on.

Researchers noted that the neutralising effect was “slightly lower” against three mutations in the variant found in South Africa, but the companies said this was “unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in the effectiveness of the vaccine.”

Darcy Jimenez

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