Lab test shows Pfizer Covid vaccine is effective against Brazil variant

The neutralising ability of the vaccine against the Brazil variant was equivalent to its effect on the less contagious version

Namita Singh
Tuesday 09 March 2021 06:35
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<p>File Image: A health worker prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19</p>

File Image: A health worker prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19

The coronavirus vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech was able to combat a new variant that was rapidly circulating in Brazil, a new study has found.

The research published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the engineered version of the virus, containing the same mutation carried on the spike protein as the highly contagious P1 variant first identified in Brazil, was effectively neutralised among people who were given the jab.

The new variants are observed to carry changes in the spike, which is used by the virus to enter the human cells. These changes, in turn, affects how transmissible the virus is and therefore, is the primary target of the many coronavirus vaccines.

Scientists from the two companies and the University of Texas Medical Branch said that the neutralising ability of the vaccine on the new variant was equivalent to the effect on the less contagious version of the virus from the last year.

The Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Biotech Ltd has also shown promise against the P1 variant. The preliminary data from a study in Brazil indicated that Coronavac, as the Sinovac shot is known, was effective against the P1 variant of the virus.

Pfizer in its previously published researches found that its vaccine was able to effectively counteract against the other contagious variants that were first identified in the UK and South Africa although the study suggested that the South African variant of the coronavirus might reduce the antibody protection from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by two-thirds.

Pfizer has said it believes its current vaccine is highly likely to still protect against the South African variant but the scientists added there is no established benchmark to determine what is the level of antibodies that are needed to protect against the virus.

The pharmaceutical giant has begun studies on the third dose of their vaccine to better understand the immune response against the evolving variants of the virus.

Additional reporting from the agencies

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