BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine less potent against S African virus strain: study

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on February 18, 2021

An FT report says a lab study showed the vaccine provides one-third efficacy compared to the wild-type virus

A new study has revealed that the BioNTech/Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine is less potent against the South African strain of the virus.

The study, published on Wednesday and cited in a Financial Times report, stated that the vaccine shot provides one-third efficacy of what is provided for the wild-type virus during the lab study.

Also read: UK gives go-ahead to expose volunteers to Covid in medical trial

The partners noted that was “no clinical evidence” but it is hard to draw conclusions on how this vaccine works against new emerging variants.

The companies said that they were in talks with investors and regulators to launch an updated version of the vaccine “once a strain that significantly reduces protection from the vaccine is identified.”

For the study, the researchers carried out experiments based on the blood samples of 20 vaccine trial participants.

The researchers from Pfizer, BioNTech, and the University of Texas Medical Branch examined three different genetically engineered viruses, one with all the mutations of 501Y.V2, and two with subsets of the changes.

Also read: Covid-19 risk could be 70% higher in pregnant women: Study

Many vaccines, including AstraZeneca’s, Johnson and Johnson’s, and Novax, also reported that their vaccine was significantly less effective against the new variant.

The paper was published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

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Published on February 18, 2021
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