Pfizer vaccine effective for UK and South Africa new mutations

The Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine against him Covid-19 It seems work against a key mutation in the new variants highly transmissible coronavirus discovered in UK and South Africa, according to a laboratory study conducted by the American pharmaceutical company.

The study, which has not yet been peer reviewed and which was conducted by Pfizer and scientists from the medical branch of the University of Texas, indicated that the vaccine was effective in neutralizing the coronavirus with the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein.

The mutation could be responsible for higher transmissibility and concerns had been raised that it might also cause the virus escape neutralization of antibodies caused by the vaccine, according to Phil Dormitzer, one of the leading scientists of the pfizer vaccine.

The first test results offer some hope, while Britain and many countries in the world try to control more infectious variants that authorities believe are causing an increase in infections that could overwhelm healthcare systems.

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« Everyone should be vaccinated; it is an ethical option, because you bet on your health, your life, but you also play the lives of others, » said the Supreme Pontiff.

The study was carried out with blood taken from people who had been given the vaccine. The conclusions are limited, because the complete set of mutations found in any of the new virus variants was not analyzed. Dormitzer said it is encouraging that the vaccine appears to be effective against the mutation as well as 15 other mutations that the company had previously tested.

« So now we have tried 16 different mutations, and none of them have really had a significant impact. That’s the good news, « he said. » That doesn’t mean the seventeenth doesn’t. « 

Dormitzer pointed otra mutation found in the South African variant, called the E484K mutation, is also worrying. The researchers plan to conduct similar tests to see if the vaccine is effective against other mutations found in British and South African variants and they expect to have more data in weeks.

Scientists say these variants are more transmissible than previously dominant ones, but not believed to cause more severe cases of the disease.

Some scientists have expressed concern that the vaccines that are being rolled out could prove ineffective in protecting against new variants, particularly the one that emerged in South Africa.

Simon Clarke, associate professor of cell microbiology at the University of Reading, said this week that although both variants had some new features in common, the one found in South Africa « has several additional mutations » that included more extensive alterations in the protein of the spicule.

The vaccine Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which use the technology of Synthetic messenger RNA, can be quickly modified to address new mutations of a virus if necessary. Scientists have suggested that the changes could be made in as little as six weeks.