Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine significantly effective against strains in Brazil, UK and South Africa

A new study has found that the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is significantly effective against the new mutant coronavirus strains detected in Brazil, UK and South Africa.

The study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Monday stated the Pfizer shot demonstrated “roughly equivalent” levels of neutralising activity against the Brazil and UK strains compared with a version of the virus from early last year.

The spike, used by the virus to enter human cells, is the primary target of many COVID-19 vaccines. In previously published studies, Pfizer had found that its vaccine neutralized other more contagious variants first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa, although the South African variant may reduce protective antibodies elicited by the vaccine.

Pfizer has said it believes its current vaccine is highly likely to still protect against the South African variant. However, the drug maker is planning to test a third booster dose of their vaccine as well as a version retooled specifically to combat the variant in order to better understand the immune response.

Scientists from Pfizer, BioNTech and the University of Texas Medical Branch led the research.