The Coronavirus vaccine developed by US giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is likely to be effective against a new key mutation that emerged in the UK, according to a study published online on Tuesday.
The study, published on preprint server bioRxiv and not yet peer-reviewed found that antibodies found in the blood of 16 patients who had received the Pfizer/BioNTech jab were able to neutralise a version of the new UK variant, the so-called B.1.187, which has “an unusual large” number of mutations with 10 amino acid changes in the spike protein, and is reported to be more contagious.
“The preserved neutralization of pseudoviruses bearing the B.1.1.7 spike by BNT162b2- immune sera makes it very unlikely that the UK variant viruses will escape BNT162b2- mediated protection,” the study reads.
“It is possible that vaccine efficacy could be preserved, even with substantial losses of neutralization by vaccine- elicited sera,” another part of the paper reads.
Researchers stressed, however, that “the ongoing evolution of SARS-CoV-2 necessitates continuous monitoring of the significance of changes for maintained protection by currently authorized vaccines.”
Earlier in January, a similar study published by Pfizer said the vaccine could protect against just one mutation of the virus, the so-called N501Y, which was found in both of the new variants detected in Britain and South Africa.
“BNT162b2-immune sera neutralized SARS-CoV-2 (USA/WA-1/2020 background strain) with an introduced N501Y mutation as efficiently as SARS-CoV-2 without the mutation,” the study read.