In promising news, Pfizer researchers claim its vaccine is only slightly less effective against certain mutations of the coronavirus, specifically the UK and South African variants. It will be conducting further analysis on both.
The UK and South African variants of the coronavirus had only a small impact on the efficacy of the antibodies generated by the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, making it only slightly less effective, in findings consistent with previous, preliminary results.
In a new, yet to be peer-reviewed paper, Pfizer said the “findings do not indicate the need for a new vaccine to address the emerging variants.”
It joins the Sputnik V vaccine in showing effectiveness against variants of the virus.
Admittedly, the Pfizer research was conducted in a laboratory, using blood serum from vaccinated people, and only on a small subset of the mutations found in both variants of the coronavirus, not the variants themselves.
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Broader research on the effectiveness of the vaccine against both the UK and South African variants is underway, with results expected within two weeks.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and the Moderna vaccines employ new technology called messenger RNA, which affords producers more agility and flexibility in making changes to their formulae, while making the vaccines more precise and targeted, like a laser-guided bomb at the microscopic level.
The coronavirus uses the spike proteins from which it got its name to enter and infect cells, before hijacking their internal mechanisms to replicate copies of the virus. These proteins are the key targets of the antibodies produced by the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines.
Moderna is producing a booster shot for its vaccine as a precautionary measure, but the latest research from Pfizer suggests that booster shots for its vaccine may be surplus to requirements, especially given the tight supply and challenges in production already experienced around the globe.
The current research was conducted on an engineered virus with three key mutations from the new coronavirus variant found in South Africa. Pfizer and BioNTech scientists are now busy engineering a virus with the complete set of mutations to truly test their vaccine’s mettle, and expect to have results in the next two weeks.
Russian Direct Investment Fund head Kirill Dmitriev said in December that the Sputnik V vaccine had already been proven to be highly effective against the UK variant of the coronavirus.
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