Latest on coronavirus outbreak

'Pfizer jab effective against UK, S.Africa strains'

Variants 'unlikely to lead to significant reduction in effectiveness of vaccine,' according to Pfizer, BioNTech study

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 28.01.2021
'Pfizer jab effective against UK, S.Africa strains'

ANKARA

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the virus strains detected in the UK and South Africa, the companies said late Wednesday.

The US drugmaker and its German partner said in a statement that tests were carried out on 20 people with three coronavirus strains; mutations common to both the UK and South Africa variants, mutations common to the UK variant, and mutations common to the South Africa variant.

“The sera from individuals vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine neutralized all the SARS-CoV-2 strains tested,” the statement said.

It stressed that “small differences” detected in tests comparing the original virus and the variants “are unlikely to lead to a significant reduction in the effectiveness of the vaccine.”

While these findings indicate that a new vaccine may not be required for the new strains, the companies said they “are prepared to respond if a variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates evidence of escaping immunity by the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The companies said they will continue to monitor emerging strains and their vaccine’s “real-world effectiveness.”

“Pfizer and BioNTech believe that the flexibility of BioNTech’s proprietary mRNA vaccine platform is well suited to develop new vaccine variants if required,” read the statement.

After emergency use authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration in late December, more than 13.5 million Americans have received doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data.

The US remains the world’s worst-hit country, with its COVID-19 case count now over 25.5 million cases and fatalities nearing 430,000.

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