Pfizer: South African COVID strain could affect vaccine protection

Updated: February 18, 2021 01:52 PM
Created: February 18, 2021 01:50 PM

(WHEC)— The COVID-19 variant first identified in South Africa could significantly reduce antibody protection from the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that's according to Pfizer.

In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers created an engineered virus with the same mutations found in the variant, and after testing blood taken from 15 people who had been given the vaccine, they found the level of neutralizing antibodies dropped by nearly two-thirds. According to NBC News, developers at Moderna reported a similar outcome.

Despite this news, scientists say the vaccine was able to neutralize the virus, and there is "no clinical evidence" that the variant escapes the vaccine's protection.

However, scientists are talking about developing an updated version of the vaccine, or a booster shot, if needed. Currently, the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses.

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