COVID-19 : Pfizer’s vaccine is effective against the British strain

The news strains arisen in UK, Brazil and South Africa They have triggered the alarms around the world due to the fact that they are more contagious and the question of whether the vaccines developed so far will be just as effective. However, Pfizer and BioNTech they have shed some light on the matter. The latest clinical trials conducted at your vaccine They have revealed that this could be effective against the British strain, as the Financial Times has advanced.

Known as B117, the variant identified in England last October 2020 from a sample collected in September has 10 distinctive mutations. To see if the vaccine was effective in fighting it, the researchers exposed the blood samples from 16 participants vaccinated with a synthetic virus called pseudovirus, which was designed to have the same proteins as B117. The antibodies in the blood of volunteers who received the dose of the BNT162b2-based mRNA-based vaccine neutralized this pseudovirus as effectively as the previous version of the coronavirus for which the vaccine was originally designed.

“The immune sera had neutralizing titers equivalent to both variants. These data, together with the combined immunity involving humoral and cellular effectors induced by this vaccine, make B.1.1.7 lineage unlikely to escape BNT162b2-mediated protection”, Specify the study authors in a published document that is still pending review.

The variants that concern the most

Less optimistic are the forecasts regarding the effectiveness of the vaccine against strain 501Y.V2, which is generating a serious second wave in South Africa. A group of experts there has warned the drug might be less effective against her because she has a additional mutation in a key part of the spike protein the virus uses to enter human cells.

Salim Abdool Karim, senior adviser to the South African government on COVID-19, explained last Monday during a scientific meeting by videoconference that the ability of the new mutation (501Y.V2) to bind more strongly to human cells is due to the fact that “The virus and the spike protein now rotate about 20 degrees”, what allows it to “adhere more deeply to the binding site.” It also revealed that “current data suggest that this virus se is spreading 50% faster“, though there is no evidence that it causes a more serious infection.

Instead, Ravi Gupta, a professor at the University of Cambridge, warned on Sunday in . that the E484K mutation “is the most worrisome of all” regarding its impact on the immune response because the body recognizes the virus less and decreases its neutralization by antibodies. This mutation “could help the virus to bypass the immune protection acquired by a previous infection or by vaccination”, warns Dr. François Balloux, from University College London in Science Media Center.