Pfizer vaccine effective against 16 Coronavirus variants

Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine appears to work against a key mutation in the highly transmissible new strain of Coronavirus detected in Britain and South Africa.

According to a laboratory study conducted by Pfizer and scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch, the COVID-19 vaccine was effective in neutralising the killer virus with the so-called N501Y mutation of the spike protein.

The study was conducted on blood taken from people who had been given the vaccine. Its findings are limited because it does not look at the full set of mutations found in either of the new variants of the rapidly spreading virus, the report added.

Phil Dormitzer, one of Pfizer’s top viral vaccine scientists said it is encouraging that the vaccine appears effective against the mutation, as well as 15 other mutations the company has previously tested against.

“So we’ve now tested 16 different mutations, and none of them have really had any significant impact. That’s the good news,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that the 17th won’t.”

Dormitzer noted that the E484K, another mutation found in the South African variant is also concerning.

Scientists said it is concerning that vaccines being rolled out may not be able to protect against the new variants, particularly the one that emerged in South Africa.

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