The discovery of the variant of the Coronavirus in the United Kingdom went like a bomb all over the world. While we believed that the arrival of vaccines against Covid-19 would mark the end of this global pandemic, it seems that we are not at the end of our sentences. A few weeks ago, health authorities announced that a new strain had also been detected in South Africa.
The appearance of these new variants is of great concern. They are indeed more contagious than the original virus. Following these announcements, pharmaceutical companies working on Coronavirus vaccines began to conduct research to find out if their remedy was effective against these new variants. Today, a light of hope comes to us from the Pfizer laboratory.
A recent study found that Pfizer's vaccine is effective against UK and South African variants.
A proven experience
This study was carried out by researchers from the Pfizer laboratory and the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston (United States). They set themselves the objective of verifying the efficacy of Pfizer's vaccine on the new 501.V2 and B.1.1.1 variants, discovered in South Africa and the United Kingdom respectively. To do this, they created a version of the Coronavirus that has a mutation called N501Y.
This mutation is present on the Spike protein of the two new variants and increases the ability of the virus to attach to human cells. To find out how it works on vaccines, the researchers compared how a virus with this new mutation behaves compared to a virus that did not mutate. They then tested whether the viruses were neutralized in blood samples taken from 20 people who were injected with the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech.
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The vaccine neutralizes new variants
Since these people have already been vaccinated, their blood sample contains molecules that can fight the virus. This includes in particular the neutralizing antibodies which prevent the penetration of the Coronavirus into the cells. The results of this study are rather encouraging.
The researchers wrote that “there was no reduction in neutralizing activity against the virus that carries the new mutation. "However, they stressed that this study had some limitations. According to them, they were unable to test a variant that includes all the mutations found in the Spike proteins of strains from the UK and South Africa.
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Studies in this direction should be carried out in the coming weeks.